Episode Summary

What if I told you that overcoming the fear of failure could motivate your success? Accomplished business coach, Steve Smith, joins me today to discuss the power of resilience, courage, and mental clarity in leadership roles. Drawing from his personal experience of navigating through business bankruptcy, Steve shares how this daunting period transformed his life, career, and perspective on failure. This enlightening conversation with Steve promises to guide you through the labyrinth of men's leadership success and the cultivation of unshakable habits. Tune in; you wouldn't want to miss this.

10 Questions to ask you yourself from this episode

  1. Steve emphasizes the importance of not confusing activity with accomplishment. How do you differentiate between being busy and being productive in your own work or business?
  2. Steve suggests developing an inner circle or board of directors to provide support and feedback. Do you currently have a support network in your professional life? How do they contribute to your growth and success?
  3. How do you prioritize your time and tasks to ensure you are focusing on the highest and best use of your abilities? What strategies or tools do you employ to stay organized and avoid feeling overwhelmed?
  4. Steve discusses the challenge of delegating administrative tasks. Are there any tasks or responsibilities in your work that you could potentially delegate to free up more time for strategic thinking and growth?
  5. The concept of vulnerability in the business world is mentioned. How comfortable are you with showing your true self and vulnerability in a professional setting? How do you think it can impact your interactions and relationships with clients and colleagues?
  6. Steve mentions the importance of recognizing the need for change in business strategies. Have there been instances in your career or business where you've had to embrace change and adapt your approach to achieve success? How did you navigate that process?
  7. Steve emphasizes the value of mentorship and getting feedback from trusted individuals. Do you have a mentor or someone you can turn to for guidance and advice? How has their perspective and support influenced your personal growth and decision-making?
  8. Steve discusses the concept of building an organization and delegating tasks. Have you experienced challenges or reservations when it comes to delegating responsibilities to others? How have you addressed those concerns and ensured effective delegation?
  9. Steve suggests avoiding burning out and maintaining balance in your work by implementing practices like taking regular breaks and scheduling time off. How do you prioritize self-care in your work routine? What methods do you use to recharge and prevent burning out?
  10. Have you ever experienced a significant setback or failure in your career or business? How did you overcome it and what lessons did you learn from that experience?

Quotes We Loved

  • "...Even though I was making zero money for the next two months, that was probably the most energized time in recent memory, because I was just all of a sudden filled with this feeling of I did it for somebody else, I can do it for me." - Steve Smith
  • "Where you can, you know, disconnect yourself from what you're doing, go out and participate in something that brings genuine joy, that gives you the greatest amount of recharge that you need, to be able to not only go back with energy, but go back with a fresh perspective." - Steve Smith
  • "I recommend to everybody, regardless of where you are in your career, what responsibility you have, title whatever, develop your own inner circle, your own board of directors no more than four or five people that you have a lot of respect for, that genuinely want to see you succeed..." - Steve Smith
  • "It's only when you start to see radical change around you that you become aware of the fact that what you're doing isn't working anymore." - Steve Smith
  • "Don't confuse activity with accomplishment." - Steve Smith

Guest Bio & Links

Steve Smith, a professional business coach in Orange County, CA. has a mission. This mission is to provide an extraordinary coaching experience that helps business professionals develop a keen sense of clarity, confidence and belief about being able to achieve what is most important to them and their organizations.

Since 2008, Steve has worked with over 700 business professionals from a wide variety of industries and roles to ensure these clients could envision a future of growth, profitability and long lasting success.

His specialties in leadership effectiveness, management practices and marketing strategy make him ideal for professionals who want to become world-class business owners or company executives.

Read Transcript

Steve Smith: [00:00:00] One of the things I recommend to everybody, regardless of where you are in your career, what responsibility you have. Title, whatever. Develop your own inner circle, your own board of directors, no more than four or five people that you have a lot of respect for that genuinely want to see you succeed and are willing to give you the straight, candid scoop on things that you need to be doing.

Intro/Outro: Are you ready to break free from your old habits and create a better life for yourself and those around you? If so, welcome to Unshakable Habits, the podcast dedicated to helping men be better husbands. Fathers and leaders by prioritizing their physical and mental wellbeing. Each week we'll look at health from a 360 degree perspective with inspiring stories and practical strategies for building Unshakable habits that'll transform your life.

Join Stephen Box, [00:01:00] a board certified health and wellness coach, and let's change the world together. One habit at a time.

Stephen Box: Hey guys. Welcome to another episode of the Unshakable Habits podcast. I am your host Stephen Box, and today we have something dis unique for entrepreneurs out there or people who have leadership positions high up in their company because this is an area that I know I hear from a lot of people that.

Hey, can you do more episodes on this? Can you talk more about some of the struggles of being in business for yourself or being in a leadership position? Um, and you know, because you guys know, we help men to become better husbands and better fathers, but also better leaders. And whether that's at work or in the community, we wanna make sure that we're giving you the tools you need to be [00:02:00] successful in leadership.

And today I have a guest with me. That is gonna bring a wealth of knowledge and a personal experience that is going to be able to help you to do that. So allow me to introduce you to a man who has a great first name. Mr. Steve Smith.

Steve Smith: Thank you for having me on, Steve. I appreciate it.

Stephen Box: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you, you're missing a few letters outta your name, but that's okay.

We won't hold that against you.

Steve Smith: I can buy some vows if I need to.

Stephen Box: So, so, Steve, you. I had this story that you shared with me during our pre-interview about, you know, a struggle that you had early on that made you passionate about helping, um, especially entrepreneurs but also high level leaders. And before we dive into that story, can you just kind of gimme like a, a quick 30, 62nd breakdown of what is it exactly that you help these guys [00:03:00] do?

Steve Smith: All right, so I have a business and executive coaching company, and my focus with these professionals, whether they own their own business or they're at a higher level in a larger corporation, is to help them get really clear, mentally clear about what's most important for them to be doing to further.

The growth and the success of the part of the organization that they're responsible for. And once people get really clear, it adds a certain amount of inner confidence. That's very difficult to replicate any other way because people, when people really know their purpose, they know where they're going.

They know who's going to benefit by their effort. It just exudes all of this confidence and self-worth that just allows people to just go into the, in the depths of things, not knowing a lot of times what they're gonna find out, but they just know they're gonna come out on the other side. Okay. And that's a tremendous, that's a tremendous skill to, to be able to help people [00:04:00] develop.

Because once you have it, you have it forever.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. And we talked a lot in the pre-interview about this idea that for a lot of people when they come to you, they're experiencing some of those burnout symptoms, right? Where it's, they're, they're overwhelmed. They're not loving it anymore. They feel I.

They're at work, but they don't feel like they're at work. They don't feel connected to it anymore. And you know, for, especially if someone is worth their way up to the top or built a business up from scratch on their own, that can be incredibly difficult to kind of experience. And just kind of dealing with this adversity is something you, you personally dealt with.

Uh, so would you mind just sharing a little bit about that story with

Steve Smith: us? Oh, absolutely. Um, I spent 30 years in consumer products manufacturing and worked for some really well-known, well-run companies and learned a tremendous amount in, in my course of doing that, and that's kind of what propelled me into the career that I [00:05:00] have now.

I. Although I didn't see it coming right off the bat and the very first time I was out trying to figure out what my next chapter was gonna look like, I was introduced to a small coaching company and they were kind of in startup phase themselves. But their whole philosophy I just fell in love with. I just thought it was the greatest approach ever.

And I like what they were trying to do for their own clients. So I bought into the franchise and. Everything was going along pretty well. You know when you're, when you're trying to get off the ground, you're bootstrapping a lot of stuff yourself. You go through those usual, those growth pains, two and a half years into it, they went bankrupt.

And I'm looking at, I mean, believe me, I can remember like it was yesterday, the day and the time I got a call from the founder of the company basically explaining the situation and saying, you know what, when I hang up this phone call, you know, we're done. We're, we're already packing up on the internet.

We're gonna, we're we're going off, we're, we can't, we can't go any farther. So I hang up the phone and I'm, I'm white, I'm white as a sheet [00:06:00] because I looked at two and a half years and about a hundred grand of investment. And I'm thinking, oh my God, I'm back to square one. What am I going to do? And my wife walks in the office, she's bringing in the coffee, you know, and she looks at me and she goes, what happened?

And I said, it's all gone. The company has folded. What do you do with a franchise in a particular market when the mothership goes down? There's no salvaging that. Yeah. You know, I wasn't gonna go in and, and, and put all the money in and repurpose the company and try to build it back up again. So she basically tells me, she goes, you're always telling me how clients stay with you way past their contractual obligation, so why don't you just do this on your own?

And I sat back there and it was one of these aha moments and I thought, Dang. I've wanted to have my own company since I was nine years old. Yeah. I can remember what I was doing back then that caused me to start feeling this way, and so I spent the next 60 days repurposing [00:07:00] everything and coming up with a new name and the website, and went out there and just basically graduated from working under somebody else's brand.

To having my own. Yeah. And I look back on that now because I'm, quite honestly, I'm doing very well these days and I look back on that and I think I would never be where I am today if I had not gone through that hardship and figured out how to get out on the other side.

Stephen Box: Yeah. One thing that you, that you touched on there and I, and I really love is, well, a couple things really.

So one is, Like a lot of people, you went and made a significant investment, right? Both of time and money, and I think anyone who has put a lot of money into education and working their way up the corporate ladder, or anyone who started their own business, they can relate to that. Yes. Along with that, and you didn't really talk about this, but it was kind of underneath, there is this idea that when you invest that [00:08:00] much, right.

And all of a sudden it's taken away from you and, and whether it goes away completely or it just feels like it's gone away, like we talked about, you know, those guys who maybe have those burnout symptoms, right? There is that moment of fear of how do I let this go? Like, what do I do now?

Steve Smith: Oh, I can tell you it was more like panic.

Yeah. Because at some point you, you may not like the the condition you're in at the moment, but you feel like you have traction, you're moving in a certain direction. You know what the ultimate vision of what you're trying to accomplish looks like. You're not there yet, but you know what? It looks like you're moving in that direction and all of a sudden it's like somebody letting all the air outta your tires.

Or, or, or you know, something that basically causes you to feel like you're now stranded. You're a float. You have no direction, you have no immediate plan B. You're just there. Yeah. And it can create [00:09:00] a massive amount of stress and self-doubt, because the first thing you think is, was it me? Yeah. Did I do something to cause this problem?

And then once you get over that, the second question is, How come I didn't see this coming? Yeah. How come I'm the last man on the boat now? I wasn't. Yeah, but you feel that way. Yeah. Because you don't have anybody else to talk to. All, you're sitting in your office, you're doing your stuff. You get this phone call and all of a sudden everything that you were working on, everything you had planned for the week, for the month is crap.

Yeah. It's gone. It's the weirdest feeling that I've ever had in my entire life.

Stephen Box: Yeah. That's I, I can only imagine, right? Just. I've gone through similar situations, obviously not the exact same thing, but like when you described that idea of I had all these plans, right, and now they're, they're gone. They're useless.

Like every, every plan that I even made is completely [00:10:00] useless. Yes,

Steve Smith: yes. So, yeah. So it was a, it was a moment. Uh, it wasn't, I'm, I'm not going to talk, talk about self-reflection. No. It was a moment of, oh my God, somebody turned the lights out. I don't know where the switch is. Yeah. And I've got to figure out what I'm going to do, how I'm gonna get past this.

And you don't have any good answers. And if, in fact, if it wasn't for my wife coming in and making that comment, I don't know how long it would've taken me to get to that same revelation that, you know what, I can do this myself. Yeah. I've been operating under somebody else's umbrella, but take the umbrella away.

I can do this myself. But I wasn't in a, in, in a, a, a mental. Place where I could just deduce that on my own. I was too busy freaking out.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. And, and I love the fact that you, you brought up your, your wife here and this comment that she made, right? Because to me, this is so much like when you're getting coaching from somebody, right?

And they, right. They just, they ask you [00:11:00] that one question or they give you that one insider, they right point that one thing out to you that you're like, oh yeah, I didn't think about it that way. And. She just comes in and she goes, uh, you do this anyways. This is like, this is what you've been doing. Like in your mind it's, I can't resurrect the entire company.

I can't do all this stuff. And then she comes in and makes one comment to you and it's like, oh, wait, I don't have to resurrect your entire company. I have the processes, I have the information here, and I've been using it. You

Steve Smith: know what I learned from that moment? What I learned was in my day of just doing stuff and, and getting things done and, and planning and committing and all this stuff that people do when they're trying to get a business off the ground.

A lot of times I don't listen to myself. And so the things that she listens to or things she takes away, were, were, were literal gold in that moment. Yeah. That's what propelled me onto a new track. Yeah. It was not a track going in a different direction. It was a parallel track. [00:12:00] It was like moving into a different lane of the highway.

Mm-hmm. Little slower lane. 'cause I needed, I needed that. But by the same token, it gave me direction. It immediately allowed me to start thinking, okay, what can I do with the resources I've acquired through this company? Yep. How can I repurpose them to something that fits me, not necessarily fitting somebody else?

Yeah. And I tell you what, even though I was making zero money for that next two months, That was probably the most energized time in recent memory because I was just all of a sudden filled with this feeling of I did it for somebody else. I can do it for me.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. I'm, I'm gonna, I'm gonna put a, a pin in this 'cause I want to come back to this in, in a few minutes, but I, I just wanted to kind of piggyback off of something you just pointed out there.

Right. Which is, A lot of times you weren't listening to yourself, right? You weren't trusting yourself, you weren't being aware of your own thoughts, your feelings, and [00:13:00] it's amazing how often we do that. Um, I'll share with you that, believe it or not, I would say probably at least 75% of the guys that I've coached over the years.

Have actually come to me because their wife told them to, oh my God. 'cause, because their wife will go and find me online, will read my website, see my social media posts, and she will go, you're describing my husband. And when the guys come to me, they have no idea that that's who they are.

Steve Smith: You know what? I didn't see that coming early on as a possible referral source, but it started about six years ago.

And ironically, um, I'm on a lot of different websites so people can find me. The one that I think I go to the most is Google 'cause that's what most [00:14:00] people use to find stuff. But I'm also, I have a placement on Yelp and I have gotten three clients over the last four years, not by the guy. Calling up and saying, Hey, this is what I'm looking for.

It was by the wife calling up and saying, can you help this person? Because I don't know if I can live with him like this anymore. So it's it's amazing that you said that because I never realized how many times people, they don't see, I. The help that they need, they have to rely on somebody in their inner circle.

And it doesn't have to be a spouse. Sometimes it can be a business partner, sometimes it can be a colleague, a, a mentor from outside the company. But it's amazing how many times I will, when I ask people, well, gee, you know, why are you calling? How did you find me? And they'll reference that they've been dealing with this for X amount of years.

And finally, somebody that they know at church took 'em aside and said, you know, you might wanna think about yeah, X, Y, Z.

Stephen Box: Yeah. And you know, we won't go off onto this [00:15:00] tangent right now 'cause it's not necessarily completely relevant to the conversation, but I just wanted to, to bring this to people's attention.

Uh, during the pre-interview, you and I got into a bit of a side conversation about coaching. Mm-hmm. You know, to me that's one of the things that makes coaching a or. Lemme rephrase that. That's what makes the difference between a really good coach and just an average coach is a really good coach doesn't just tell you what to do, right?

They actually ask you questions, they get to know about you, and they're listening for those things so that when those moments arise, they can actually point them out to you. Yes. And so, you know, I mean, if you're, if you're fortunate enough to have a spouse or a business partner, or a best friend who is really good at that, Awesome.

Most, most of us unfortunately, don't because people in our lives are not trained to, uh, do that or aren't always willing to speak up so

Steve Smith: well, and, and the other thing is, I think especially in a, in a [00:16:00] relationship like a husband and wife, um, I. That, that whatever side of the party is trying to get the message across to the other one.

There's a lot of history and a lot of affection and a lot of love for wanting that person to be their best and, and be shielded from unhappiness or risk or anything like that. And so they tend to want to cut right through it and just say, I've told you you need to do this, and unfortunately, it's not received well.

Even though it could be spot on, it's not received well. It takes somebody from the outside that doesn't know 'em that well, that can do exactly what you just talked about, guide them down the path with the questions that allow them to arrive at their own solution by themselves.

Stephen Box: Absolutely. So, so going back to the, the previous.

Conversation that I, that said I was gonna put a pen in there. So, so you talked about, you know, you weren't really making any money, but you decided to make the shift and a really big part of that it sounds like was you kinda reconnected to your why [00:17:00] am am I, am I reading that

Steve Smith: correctly? Well, I'll tell you, it was a why that I didn't know I had and when I was in my corporate life, I moved around a bit, moved into a lot of really unique and different types of roles.

I. Was really, really happy with the whole experience that I got, but what I realized looking back on it, was a fair amount of the job that I was doing was devoted to figuring out how to help people that either reported to me or worked with me, or even some cases that I reported to, how to help them. Get that kind of clarity that would allow them to operate with confidence.

'cause I so, so I saw so much wreckage. Yeah. At the corporate level, people that were really smart, really talented, getting up to a certain level, and the demands and the stress was so bad, they would collapse. And I just thought, you know what, if I have the ability to [00:18:00] help somebody see something the way I see it, and it's a way out, then I'm gonna give it to 'em, you know?

When I moved into coaching, I realized, wow, that's, that's what I'm doing all day long now. I don't have to wait for some colleague that's having an issue that I get a chance to have coffee with. Now people call me up and say, I need help with this part of my business, or I need help with communication, or I need help with developing relationships at top to top levels.

And they're well-meaning, but somewhere along the line, they've gotten off track and

Stephen Box: they can't get back. Yeah, so, so I'm glad you brought that up because I, I actually want to get your input on this, right? Something I see a lot, and I'm sure you see it too with your clients, is as men, we are told by society a lot of times to kind of figure things out for ourselves.

No one express our feelings, things like that, right? And so I think as a result of that, even once we've made the commitment to reach out, we've, we're paying for coaching, we're, we're doing those [00:19:00] things. We still have a tendency sometimes to not actually call the coach and say, I need help.

Steve Smith: Yeah. I think it's very much a cultural thing.

Mm-hmm. But you know, that old that that, that old saying, and especially when it comes to first impressions, you know, you're always told, put your best foot forward. Yep. And basically what that means is show up your best self. Mm-hmm. It might not be your normal self. But it needs to be your best self. Yeah.

And I think guys, because we're kind of programmed to be the providers, you know, the, the slayers, the things like that. Mm-hmm. And, and you know, 'cause we have families that, that, that we want to grow and protect and provide for. Yeah. When you go out in that business world, I. You can't just open up your kimona and show everybody everything because you don't know how it'll be received, what it will do to you.

Will you be able to close that deal or will people get spooked and walk away? So we keep ourselves shrouded in our best selves, even if it's not [00:20:00] the most effective self. It's what we have kind of created for ourself over time. Yeah. And getting people to want to peel that back layer by layer. Can be tough.

Yeah. Some people, if they've gone through real trauma, they're willing to get rid of it quick because they know what it's doing to them and that's all they're looking for is like, help me out of this. Yeah. But if you have somebody that hasn't quite got to that point, but they've been led to maybe you need to work on this and that, they're still guarded and quite a few people that I work with, it takes me sometimes two to three sessions for them to kind of let down.

The exterior and, and be honest about what they're really struggling with.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. We, we actually talked about this a little bit when we did the pre-interview where you were saying there's an assessment that you give people and mm-hmm. Rather than asking people upfront, like, you know what they think about themselves, you wait until they've answered, like all the other questions to ask them this question because you found over time [00:21:00] that when you ask them that question up front, They were giving you the answer they thought you'd want to hear or the answer to make them look the best.

Right? But after all this self evaluation, then it's like, okay, now I have to get a little bit more honest about who I'm, right.

Steve Smith: Yeah. And, uh, I purposely put that at the tail end for what you just said. Most people, when you ask them to evaluate themselves and their business, and this thing is quite lengthy.

It's like eight pages long. Um, I find most people are willing to give over facts and figures. How much revenue does the business have? How long has it been around? How many employees, how long have you been at the c e o level? You know, they're, they're willing to give that kind of stuff up because there's no, there's no feeling of vulnerability in doing that.

Mm-hmm. So when you get on later to start asking them about their mindset, you know, from a scale of one to 10, are you stuck? Are you blocked? Do you have limited beliefs? Yeah. That really starts going deep into who they are as individuals. Yeah. And I found that when I put [00:22:00] that first. If I get any responses, they're not accurate.

Yeah. You gotta put that at the end and kind of give them time to work their way into that.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. I love, I love that approach. So one, one thing you kind of pointed out there was this idea that we're all taught to be our better, our best selves. Right? And part of that is it's, is the fear of losing out on something or missing out on something that that FOMO kicks in, right.

And. We have our own little ways of dealing with things. They, they've gotten us to the level of success that we're at. And so even if they're not the absolute best approach, we will clinging to them. And, and I think this is a good segue to start talking about really this big problem that, that we promised to talk about at the beginning of the episode of when you feel as though you're on the outside of the business looking in.

And you feel like you have no control over what's happening even though you're physically [00:23:00] there, because a lot of that comes from the fact that you are holding onto systems that are no longer working, but you're scared to let them go and and change them into something else.

Steve Smith: Yeah. People who have owned businesses for long periods of time, 20, 25 more years, um, you get a certain comfortableness with your environment and your routine and that environment and routine may no longer be the best way to operate.

Yeah. But because that's your comfort zone, you acclimate to that and you learn to live with that. Yeah. And it's only when you start to see radical change around you that you become aware of the fact that what you're doing isn't working anymore. Yeah. Most everybody around you has already figured that out.

Typically, the things that cause radical change when all of a sudden you start getting a lot of new people in your organization that you personally didn't hire. Maybe the people below you for different departments made those hires. Yeah. So you're walking down the hallway and half the [00:24:00] people, you, you, you, you walk by, you don't even know who they are.

Yeah. So there's a little feeling of alienation there. Um, you can have radical shifts in the marketplace in terms of the product or service you provide and have some disruptive technology come in and place and, and sweep the place. And all of a sudden you're looking at your, your monthly numbers and things are crashing.

You've never had that experience before. Everything's always been on a nice, even keel, and all of a sudden you're having to think, oh my God, what am I gonna do to turn this around? That can create the kind of fear that paralyzes people, and if you don't get the help to get out of that, you can literally live through and watch your business completely D blow up.


Stephen Box: So if someone is kind of. Getting to this point, right, where maybe they're starting to feel some anxiety, maybe they're starting to kind of feel like they're losing control of things outside of just that general feeling. What are some of the other warning signs that might clue somebody [00:25:00] in that things are about to potentially go

Steve Smith: bad?

What I have seen over the, over the years that I've been doing this are, and it's interesting because if you read a lot of entrepreneurial books, what you learn is that the smart thing to do is build your organization up, fill it with people underneath you, and kind of work your way out of a job. I. You know, that's kinda the mantra.

You know, you've got a really successful entity that you're not personally attached to. Right. And I buy into that. Yes. Until you get to the point where the individual at the, at the helm, that's done, that has no next phase to move to, because that whole concept was designed for people who were real entrepreneurial in their mindset.

Build this up. Give it to somebody to run, go out and find another business, build that up. You know? So you're kind of just doing 'em one at a time. Well, what if you just do it with one and you don't do anything else? Yeah. All of a sudden you start getting what I call mental drift, meaning when you wake up in the [00:26:00] morning, the first thing you're thinking about is not the business.

Maybe you start coming in at 11 o'clock instead of eight. Maybe you're only working three days a week, you know, maybe you're spending time on Monday instead of being at management meetings in your garage, working on your boat. Yeah. You know, all of these things cause you to drift and they feel comfortable in the moment until something happens in the business that forces you back in and now you feel like you're on the outside looking through the glass.

You see what's going on, but you can't affect anything.

Stephen Box: That's an interesting perspective. I. Instantly had this thought of, you know, imagine that you like left your home for six months and you had, you know, very little contact with your family or anything, and then all of a sudden, six months go by, you have to go back home for some reason, and you're expected to act as if you weren't just gone for six months.

That right. All the awkwardness of [00:27:00] that doesn't exist. Right, right.

Steve Smith: Right. So here's a, here's a very real example that I'm dealing with right now. Um, it's a privately run business, family owned, second generation. Uh, the guy at the helm is in his late sixties. Mm-hmm. And he's still vibrant, you know, he's still kind of calls his shots, although not at the ground level like he was doing years ago, but he's got visions of wanting to retire.

Mm-hmm. When he moved out of the kind of the general manager role into a C E O role, because now he had C-level people under him doing a lot of the major functions. I was surprised, but he admitted one day he said, I don't know what CEOs do. So he had now moved into a phase that many companies have people in without any understanding of what that purpose was.

His purpose was very tactical. Yeah. You know, go out and make, you know, connections with, with prospects that eventually will do business [00:28:00] with you. You know, watch your, your finances so you're collecting what you're selling. I mean, all this kind of basic stuff that now other people were hired and, and fully capable of doing on a regular basis.

Yeah. And his, his fear was around, I don't know my purpose anymore, and my name's on the front door. Mm-hmm. And that was a real struggle for him to try to figure out how do I fit without looking like I'm trying to force myself in on an organization that I've built up and I've assigned people to run 90% of it.


Stephen Box: Yeah. It's, it's a, it's a weird position to put yourself in, right? Because no one prepares you for how to handle it.

Steve Smith: No, and the people that fall prey to that are the ones that are so emotionally invested in what the business does. Maybe because they were the creator. Yeah. They started it and they built it up, and now they're at the top looking down and they got a hundred people working for 'em.

Okay. People that are [00:29:00] really, really emotionally connected to the core of the business. Yeah. Those are the ones that I find fall prey to this the most because. When you ask them, they really don't have any clear vision of ever doing anything else but this. Yeah. They don't know what their second and third chapter of their life looks like, so they have something to look forward to, which will naturally help propel them from where they are now to that next phase.

Yeah. When your next phase is darkness, you're not going there. Yeah. You wanna stay where you know what you do, even if what you do is no longer relevant.

Stephen Box: Yeah. I. Yeah, and I think you, you kind of hit on it, right? It's that, that sense of why right, is having that purpose. Because if something has been your purpose for years or maybe even decades to now, just take that outta your life completely.

It's like, what do, what do you do? Like, you know? Yeah. There, there's not a [00:30:00] hobby that you go take up that, that fills that void.

Steve Smith: No. And uh, you know, a lot of times, and I think men are more guilty of this than women are necessarily, uh, but a lot of times people over the years identify who they are by what they do.

Yep. And when you take away the, what they do, their identity becomes suspect. Yeah. They're not sure now who they are because they don't have a forward plan. They don't have enough balance in their life to be able to say, you know, okay, I'm giving up this business that I've run for 30 years. I'm gonna sell it off to somebody else.

But you know what? I've always wanted to have a house on a lake 'cause I love fly fishing. Mm-hmm. They have something of value to them to look forward to and to move on to. When you have people that don't have that, they're the ones that struggle the most. With how to separate themselves from the business that they've grown, that they've, that they've operated now that they own.


Stephen Box: Yeah. One, one [00:31:00] thing I've had to learn from myself and you know, I don't know if this is the kind of advice you normally share with your clients or not, so hopefully I'm not stepping on your toes here at all. Um, it's quite right, but the thing that I've learned from myself is the importance of. Not making my business everything right, like I, I intentionally stop doing business at a certain time of day.

I have some entire days I don't even think about my business. I won't do anything I. Uh, there is just certain priorities that I put on other things. You know, being a, a good husband, spending time with my wife, finding personal time for relaxation, finding time for exercise, and, you know, things like that are super important to me and I make those a priority so that if something were to ever happen to my business, I now don't feel like my entire identity's gone.

Steve Smith: Well, not only that, but [00:32:00] engaging in those, what I call offsite activities. Okay. A hobby that you have, uh, maybe a pension for, you know, staying in shape. Uh, certainly family connections, things like that. I. What that does is it allows you to rejuvenate. Yeah. Because as people work in their business six, seven days a week, or they spend 12 or 14 hours a day, your batteries don't recharge.

Yeah. You basically drain 'em right down to the bottom and you don't get much time to charge 'em back up. Yeah. And the only way to charge is to do it mentally where you can, you know, disconnect yourself from what you're doing. Go out and participate in something that brings genuine joy. Yep. That gives you the greatest amount of recharge that you need to be able to not only go back with energy, but go back with a fresh perspective.


Stephen Box: Yeah. I, I love that you brought this up because one of the core things that I coach people on is [00:33:00] optimization of your health isn't what we've been taught. The biggest component of optimizing everything is rest and recovery. Yeah,

Steve Smith: absolutely. Yeah, it's absolutely,

Stephen Box: but it's, it's the most neglected thing that for most guys, right?

Because again, like you mentioned earlier, for a lot of men, their work is their identity, and so they feel that they need to pour every ounce of energy into work. Because that is their identity.

Steve Smith: Right? Well, I'm sure you've heard of this old saying, uh, and it goes like this. Nature abhors a vacuum, so in the presence of a vacuum, something in nature will fill it.

Okay. In business time works the same way. Mm-hmm. If you allow yourself to have extra time, it will [00:34:00] get filled. Something you think is important or something somebody else thinks is important. Yeah, which is one of the things that I work with. In fact, I've got an owner right now who is trying to get out of his business, but he's holding on because this is his baby and he doesn't really know what he's going to do if he leaves.

So I thought, okay, we need to do this in baby steps. Yeah. So this year, his first goal was to decide what day of the week he was gonna take off, and I gave him two choices. I said, pick Monday or pick Friday. I said, personally, I would pick Friday because a lot of your national holidays are on a Monday, so you're gonna get that day off anyway, but pick Friday and now learn to run your business four days a week.

Yeah, and you know what? He's surprised that he's actually getting everything he needs to get done in four days. Yeah, because I kind of. Encouraged him slash forced him to put boundaries around [00:35:00] his calendar. Yeah. My next step, probably around August or September, pick another day. We're gonna get you down to running this business three days a week.

Now he's not doing it all himself. Yeah, he's got a warehouse manager, he's got an office manager. He's got two field sales guys. The whole point is he's more getting in the way than anything else. Yeah. And by spending less time there and giving them expectations and support to do their jobs, they're smart enough.

They'll do it while he is gone. Yeah. And you know how he knows that? Because twice a year he takes vacation. When he comes back, everything's running the way he left it. Yep. So I said, why can't we take that same formula and apply it on a weekly basis? Yeah. And he's now getting comfortable with that idea that he doesn't need to burn the candle at both ends every single week of the year.

Stephen Box: Yeah. All right. So you brought this up. So now I have to dive into this a little bit, right? Because this is one of my, one of my core things that, that I talk about around everything [00:36:00] that's important to you is creating those boundaries around your calendar. So, so, so talk to me about your perspective

Steve Smith: on this.

I liken time to another industry slogan, which if you know anybody that's in real estate and they work with raw land development, there's a concept called highest and best use. Mm-hmm. When you look at undeveloped land, that's what they're trying to determine. What is the highest and best use of this parcel of land.

I look at my calendar the same way when I look at the amount of time that I plan to spend running the business. I block it out on my weekly and monthly calendar. My next question is, what are the absolute, highest and best activities I can be putting in that calendar so that when it's filled up, that's it.

That's all I do. Yeah, and so I have a priority list. Clients come first, you know, networking comes second. [00:37:00] Public speaking that I do for some of the local organizations around here comes third. Mm-hmm. And I just go down the list and everything that's on that list that falls into that activity. I have a, I have a day and a time, I've got my clients, I've got their, their, their appointments scheduled out for two months.

Mm-hmm. Because what I want to find out is where is the available time? Yeah. I've already committed to what the most highest and important activities I can engage in on behalf of this business. I. Where's the slack time? Yeah. What am I gonna do with that? Yeah. And when you do that, you'd be amazed at how it frees up your head.

Now you're not operating from a point of stress, oh my God, I've got too much stuff and not enough time to do it. Yeah. You got all the time in the world if you just make decisions based on what is the most valuable thing for you to be doing every hour of the day.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's such a powerful idea.

Right? Like I've. Seen this numerous times where people will schedule a podcast [00:38:00] interview and then they get the reminder on the calendar notification or the email that pops up and says, Hey, remember you have this, you know, interview this week or whatever, and then they will go in and reschedule. And I cannot tell you the number of times that I've seen the words work.

Conflict is the reason for rescheduling, and it's because their calendar is not. They don't have boundaries on it. It's not right situated. So it's like when that person calls you and says, Hey, I, I wanna set up a sales meeting and this is what time I want to do it. You're like, oh, I have to do this right now.

Steve Smith: Yeah, you know what I, um, there's only two things in my world that would cause me to cancel a client appointment or, uh, some kind of a meeting or something where I am an appreciable part of what's going down. The house has gotta be burning or somebody in the house has gotta be having a heart attack. I.

Anything short of that, you can, you can rearrange it. [00:39:00] In fact, today I conducted an online four hour management seminar for one of my clients. They had a group of managers that needed help. Yeah. The and and i, I give 'em the house rules. I tell 'em exactly how it's gonna work. We're gonna take breaks here and there.

You do all that kind of things to let people know how it's gonna work. Yeah. The very first question out of somebody's mouth was, is it okay for me to answer emails while you're presenting? 'cause you know, they're not in the room with me. They're all, wherever they are, and that we're all being connected on, uh, on, on virtual, you know, virtual meetings.

And I, I, I just for a moment there, I thought, what the hell? I can't believe somebody would ask that. And we haven't even started the training yet. So I basically calmly said, look, I laid this out. So we would have 50 minutes to dive into the topics. You're gonna have a 10 minute break every hour. To get into those emails, phone calls, whatever you want.

That's more than enough time. I'm hoping you can work with that. So I didn't force him. I just said, Hey, I hope you can work with it. [00:40:00] And he backed down and he said, okay, we'll do that. But it was a knee jerk reaction that I can't pay attention to anything in front of me unless I'm doing busy work at the same time.

It's just a habit. You can break habits if you have an incentive to

Stephen Box: do so. Yeah. Yeah. I. I, I, I really liked this example, right? Because, I mean, first of all, that's absolutely hilarious. So somebody would actually

Steve Smith: ask. I know, I know. I couldn't believe it. When you said that, I thought, did you, would you say that again?

Did you really say

Stephen Box: that? Uh, but the, the thing I like about it, the example here is did it really kind of highlights this point of we have convinced ourselves that we need to be doing not just something, but everything. All the time. Right, right. I actually had a, a business coach that I was working with who gave me this wonderful, uh, [00:41:00] realization.

He said, even if you are the only person in your business, Your bus, your business still has a C E O A C F O, right? It still has an operations manager. It, it's just, you know, you're all those things. You're the marketing department, you're the customer service department, you're the sales department, right?

You're, you're just filling all those roles, all those roles, have your name next to them, and I, I think especially for a lot of entrepreneurs, When you start off and you're wearing all those hats, it can be difficult to let them go. And it leads to that exact kind of mentality and even people who are in corporations where there's always a demand to do more, right?

Where you're supposed to be getting more done than everybody else. It so easy to fall into that trap and, and that just, I mean, I can't even think of a better example to illustrate it.

Steve Smith: There is a concept that, and, and, and I didn't [00:42:00] come up with this, but you know, I, I pirate every good saying I can come up with, and it's don't, don't confuse activity with accomplishment.

Mm-hmm. And a lot of times, here's a good example. Um, I worked with a magazine publishing company a number of years ago, and the, the, the sales manager who ran the whole crew that, you know, drove the revenue for this company, hardworking lady, knew a lot, wanted to help a lot. She was in everything. And so our first call, I asked her, I said, you know, tell me a little bit about what you typically do.

And she goes, I'll do better than that. I'll show you. And she holds up this legal size notepad. Legal. Mm. Yellow little lines. Mm-hmm. She had two and a half pages of line item things that she had to do every day. Yeah. Well, it was a running list. It never, it never went away. And, and I, and so we worked really hard on getting her to get away from the [00:43:00] to-do list and start looking more at strategies of how you are gonna accomplish key.

Key, you know, responsibilities within your department. And I said, the to-do list should be a catch-all for those important things that you can't do right now. You wanna remind yourself. But I, I have a to-do list. It's got 12 lines on it. Yeah. And when, when I fill up the 12 lines, nothing else goes on there.

I gotta get something off before I put something on. And it's my way of controlling my desire to overwhelm myself without realizing it. Yeah. So a lot of people get into that, oh gosh, I got all this stuff done today. And I said, okay, great. What did you accomplish? And that's usually where you get the blank stares.

Yeah. They're like, what? Because none of you know, it was always, they might've thought it was essential, but none of it was that important.

Stephen Box: Yep. Yeah. And I think a lot of people, if they, if they're in business for themselves, probably experience this early on in the business, right. Where. What was important was you going [00:44:00] out and getting clients right?

Or customers. Yes. And instead, what you spent your time doing was setting up your L L C or getting your logo designed or

Steve Smith: Right, right. Setting up QuickBooks, you know, all that kind of stuff. Yeah. And you know what? It's all necessary stuff. And, and believe me, when you're in bootstrapping phase, what you have a lot of is time.

You don't have a lot of money. So I always encourage people at that level to learn basic things that when you hand them over later on, you know enough about them to ask good questions. Here's a great example. You start off, you open up your own QuickBooks account, you're doing your own invoicing, you're categorizing your own expenses.

It's long arduous work. Nobody likes doing it. Okay, so all of a sudden you get enough money to hire a bookkeeper and now he or she is doing that for you? Yeah. Okay. The problem is they seed over all that stuff and they don't. They don't tell the bookkeeper, ask the [00:45:00] bookkeeper, what can I expect to get back from you in the way of reports that will help me evaluate and make decisions about my business?

Well, one of the reasons they don't is 'cause they don't know what goes into it. Yeah. So learn it well enough to be able to ask good questions of the professional you pay later on to do it for you. Yeah. And that works for bookkeeping, it works for marketing, it works for IT Services. Do these things well enough to understand that world because you will get so much more out of your providers and they will respect you more because you don't waste their time with

Stephen Box: stupid questions.

Yeah. And, and the, and the really nice thing about that, to kind of bring this full circle here is. If you're doing that, if you're learning just enough about the business, you're helping to create systems, you're asking those questions. Then later on, when it comes time to hand it over to somebody else, when you've made that decision that it's time to make that transition, then you are giving them a completely done [00:46:00] system that anybody can follow.

And so if you're one of those people that I'm worried about what's gonna happen, I what if people don't do it the way I want it done. You're giving them exactly step by step what needs to get done.

Steve Smith: And that is the basis for the most successful business model on the planet today, which is franchising.

Yeah. And we go back to the original story that I told. If I hadn't have gone through that experience, I would not have been able to vault myself into what I have today. 'cause much of my setup is based on that failed practice. Yeah. Now it failed for particular reasons, which didn't have anything to do with how the company was formed and how it operated.

So I just, I said, Hey, I bought it. I might as well use it. And I, I have the luxury of having that today

Stephen Box: and it works. Yeah. May, maybe they spent up too much time setting up all the paperwork and not enough time getting people out on it.

Steve Smith: Oh, believe me, if we, if we had a much longer podcast, I could tell you some horror stories about what brought that place [00:47:00] down.

Stephen Box: We might have to bring you back on just for that story. One. So, so Steve, if somebody is finding themself right now, they're, they're seeing some of these warning signs, right? So they're, they're finding it difficult, or they go with things they feel like they have to do everything, or, you know, maybe they're, they're reaching that point of overwhelm.

They're starting to feel that disconnect from it. They don't. Have that bigger sense of why anymore, right? They're, they're starting to experience some of these things. What, I mean, obviously calling someone like you to get coaching is, is the obvious answer. Uh, but like, what are some other steps that they should start to take?

Steve Smith: Um, one of the things I recommend to everybody, regardless of where you are in your career, what responsibility you have, title, whatever, develop your own inner circle. Your own board of directors. No more than four or [00:48:00] five people that you have a lot of respect for that genuinely wanna see you succeed and are willing to give you the straight, candid scoop on things that you need to be doing.

Get them together. Have yourself a quarterly meeting, maintain contact with those people, talk to them and get that outside perspective that can help re recalibrate what you're seeing and what you're doing. Yeah. It doesn't cost you any money. It might cost you a dinner once a quarter. Yeah. But it's probably the most valuable thing any business owner can do because when you're at the top, it is lonely.

Yeah. You, a lot of things you want to talk about. You can't tell people down line of you in the company 'cause it's just not appropriate to weigh them down with that kind of stuff. Yeah. But if you have that inner circle, and you can also find a mentor, somebody that you know you can ask those hard questions of or open yourself up to, and they won't judge you and they won't belittle you.

They'll listen to what you have to say and they'll say, okay, [00:49:00] here's what I'm hearing. You want to hear it? Yeah, I want to hear it. And then they play it back exactly the way they heard it. There is so much value in getting that kind of feedback. Most people don't take the time to cultivate those kind of relationships.

Stephen Box: Yeah. And, and, and it's, it's interesting you mentioned the relationship thing because we talked a little bit about this in the pre-interview and, and anybody who's listened to the podcast knows this concept of, of connected health that I like to talk about. Where we're looking at the, the mental, the emotional, the physical, the relationships, your environment, that connection to something bigger than you.

And, and you're looking at the. All those things in the way they're interconnected with each other. Mm-hmm. And whether you are in a leadership position or you are an entrepreneur and other people are counting on you, even if you're just a. Taking care of yourself physically is, is important. Taking care of your, of your mindset, your mental health is super important.

Taking care of those relationships [00:50:00] around you. Having an environment that is conducive to to growth and to allow you to take care of your health. And as we've talked a lot about on this episode, You know, being able to always connect back to something bigger than you. Right. It's all interconnected and it's all so important.

It's not just go do one thing, check that box off, and, and everything is good there. There are a lot of

Steve Smith: boxes. Yeah. You hear a lot of people talk about, you know, you need to find your passion. Mm-hmm. And, and passion's important, but for me, passion is just emotional fuel. Yep. It gets behind what it is you're excited about.

I'm passionate about riding motorcycles. But I would never dream of opening up a motorcycle repair shop. It just, I have no interest in that. I like riding 'em. I don't like working on 'em. Right. Find your calling. Find that natural thing that keeps reorienting you wherever you go, you always find yourself pointed in that direction because that is your true purpose.[00:51:00]


Stephen Box: All right. So Steve, I've got one more question I want to ask you here and, and then I'm gonna give you an opportunity to tell people how they can reach you. Sure. So let's just say that I'm, I'm going through this stuff. I, I've maybe taken your advice. I've gone out, I've gotten my, my group of four or five people, my board of directors to bounce ideas off of, uh, I'm doing all these other things and it's come time for me to start letting some things go.

Is there any tools or suggestions that you can give us to help us figure out what things we should let go of first?

Steve Smith: Yes. Um, the things that take up most business owners or executives, time is administrative work, if you can. But through delegation, which is a another skill that needs to be learned. 'cause many people aren't good at it.

Or you can hire third party vendors to handle that. Get rid of as much of the. The administrative work as you possibly can. [00:52:00] Now, a lot of people will say, well, I don't know if they can do it as well. I mean, I know what it is. I can do it. I'm comfortable with it. Yes, that's right. But that's what's holding you back.

So as long as you know what the outcome needs to be, you're very clear about what you want back. Let the professionals do their magic and provide that for you. And if you can systematically start unloading that, You know, unload your bookkeeper first. Unload your IT system second, your marketing third, you know, you just systematically do it.

You don't have to do it all at once, but what you really wanna hold onto is the operation that facilitates that promise you make to the customer that decides to do business with you. If it's a product or service, you wanna make sure you have control over that. And you wanna make sure you have control over what creates revenue for you, which is the sales process.

I see a lot of companies that will outsource salespeople. I'm like, are you crazy? That salesperson is a representative that that prospect is going to meet and evaluate your company based on how they show [00:53:00] up? You know, you need to know what they're saying and doing and how they're developing those relationships.

So there's things you can get rid of and there's things that you should hold onto. So,

Stephen Box: so if you, if you want a sales department, go hire them and train them yourself, right?

Steve Smith: Yes, yes. Yeah. Bring 'em one, train 'em up one by one, and then get them to train the next people that come in. Uh, but yeah, that's, it's so important because sales is vital.

Any company that doesn't have sales, they're not gonna be around long.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. That, I mean, that's like for me, you know, When, when you look at even just this podcast, right? I, I can outsource a lot of things. I've used automation for a lot of my podcast, but when it comes to the pre-interviews and the actual interviews themself, I'm never going to turn that over to somebody else, right?

For one, this is my, my zone of genius, right? This is, this is what I'm good at, but this is also my connectivity with the rest of the world.

Steve Smith: Well, not only that, but you're, you're vetting [00:54:00] your perspective guests and then when you come on and have these conversations, you are very well prepared in terms of how you guide these, guide these shows.

I mean, it, and I mean, I'm, I'm amazed at the stuff you remember from the conversation we had several months ago.

Stephen Box: Yeah. And, and, uh, honestly a lot of that too for me is I, I'll just really quick story I'll share with you here. I, um, I had a previous podcast that I did and I didn't do pre-interviews and all that stuff, and I brought on this one guy, and it's the absolute worst interview that I've ever been on.

Like, we, just, personality wise, we didn't mesh like it was, it was just horrible. And. That's why when I started this one, I wanted to do the pre-interviews. That was literally the motivation behind me doing them. Right. And as I've started to get into doing them more, they've kind of morphed into really opportunity to do like what you just said, to really kind of get in depth, make sure that people are presenting their [00:55:00] stories in the best way possible, making sure that things are gonna be engaging for the audience and all that.

But, At the core of those, for me, it is always still about, I want to bring on people that I feel like I connect with. Hmm.

Steve Smith: Yes. Yeah. Look, I mean, the beautiful thing about this is this is your podcast. You write the rules, you set the standards, and if, if the people that come on meet your requirement and fulfill what you're, what the people listening to your podcast want, you got a successful podcast.


Stephen Box: And, and at the end of the day, you know what, I can continue to do that if I do like what you just suggested and start handing off other stuff. If I allow somebody else to handle the booking, if I allow someone else to start handling the technical aspects of things, right, if I let somebody else start doing editing and all that kinda stuff, I, I can give that off to other people.

And it doesn't make the show lose anything,

Steve Smith: right? Yes, absolutely. In fact, [00:56:00] I just hired a guy, um, that's in another country that does video editing and I've been sending a lot of my interviews to him to have him chop 'em up to little two minute segments. 'cause they play better on social media. And I didn't tell him where the timestamps were.

I just said, here's 45 minutes of interview. Pick out as many really good quality snippets and, and send me back, you know, with the little bumpers on him and everything. And I was, I was floored at how well he could pick that stuff out. He was doing it better than me, and I was in the, I was in the interview.


Stephen Box: Amazing. I don't, I don't know if you caught this or not, but, I specifically designed the layout that we're using right now. If for anybody watching on YouTube, you can see it, but if you're listening on audio, I've got the stacked uh, videos here, one on top of the other with like the logo off to the side.

And that's because a lot of people nowadays are using things like TikTok or YouTube

Steve Smith: shorts or, or they're watching it on their phone. Yeah, absolutely. So

Stephen Box: [00:57:00] now it's super easy to just crop out our videos and be like, boom. That's smart. That's very smart. So, yeah, so I, I think there's a lesson in there that we don't have ton to get into today of if you are in business and you're not sure like exactly what to go, don't be afraid to just try stuff.

Like more than likely, you're never going to end up on your first idea. Right. Just so, no,

Steve Smith: the, the first idea is just the springboard to your ultimate solution.

Stephen Box: Well, awesome. Well, Steve, if someone out there is, uh, thinking, you know what, I, I feel like I'm at this point, but I also want some personalized help with this, and, and Steve seems like.

A really good fit for me. How would they reach

Steve Smith: out to you? The best way to do it is to go visit my website, which is growth source coaching.com. The reason I say that is because my phone number's on there, my email's on there, but you can see a lot of the different videos I put on about, about my specialty topics, you know, [00:58:00] management practices, leadership, and you can read reviews.

You can get a really good feel as to. Who I am as a package. And then if you wanna make the phone call or fill out one of those little boxes, I'll reach out to you and schedule a call. I found that to be the best way. 'cause then when people show up, they already feel like they know who I am and now we can spend talking about what they need.

Stephen Box: Awesome. Well really appreciate you, uh, coming on today and, and sharing your insights with us. And just so you guys know, I will have links to Steve's website, uh, any. Thing else that he wants to, uh, you know, offer up to you guys. I'll have that all in the, uh, the show notes on the, uh, the website. So just make sure that you go check that out and you'll be able to get those.

And as always, I just wanna remind you that while none of us are born Unshakable, We can all become Unshakable. Thank

Intro/Outro: you for listening to the Unshakable Habits podcast with Coach Stephen Box. Be sure to hit the subscribe button and [00:59:00] help us spread the word by sharing the podcast with other men. If you are ready to create Unshakable habits, you can learn more and connect with us at Unshakablehabits.com.

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