Posted on: December 23, 2020

If you are like most people, it is highly likely that you have leaned on someone’s guidance and support at one point in your life or another. Even brilliant coaches like REI Radio’s Chris Arnold had to rely on coaches and mentors to help them stay at the top of their game.

In this episode, Chris shared the 5 biggest lessons he has learned from high level mentors this year and how he applied what he has learned to win and thrive despite 2020’s unprecedented challenges!

If you’d like to learn extraordinary wisdom that can help you become one of the best in the industry, consider listening to this episode a must!

Key Takeaways

  • How to become the Michael Jordan of leadership / entrepreneurship
  • The four levels of burnout
  • The most attacked thing in a leader’s / entrepreneur’s life
  • Why you need to prioritize your family
  • The five priorities of most business owners


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Episode Transcription

Chris Arnold:
Welcome to The Wholesaling Inc podcast. I’m your host, Chris Arnold, as always excited to be with all of you today. So today is a solo podcast. You are just getting me, and if you’re tuning in, we are wrapping up the year at this point for 2020, and I wanted to spend some time just sharing on some of the lessons that I learned throughout the year from the coaches that I work with. Obviously I am a coach, and if you are a coach, the most important aspect is somebody is also got a coach to coach as well, and I am just such a big believer in coaching as a whole. I believe that we go further, and faster with a coach than we’ll ever go on our own. So for me throughout this year, I have five coaches that I work with. You might say that’s crazy, but for me, that’s just a place that I’ve grown to, and I find that of all the things that I really invest in, in my life, having the right mentors, and coaches around me matter the most.
I know I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Well, Chris, what coaches do you have?” So I will share that real quickly. I have a leadership coach that I work with, that really focuses on helping me become a better leader within my organization, a better leader within my household. Anything that I’m leading, that’s what he focuses on. I have an accountability coach as well. That is someone that I can really just open up, and share the difficult things with, the hard things, and is there to check me, and keep me on pace, really a safe place for me to be able to go open up potentially about any struggles I have. The other coach I have is of course, a fitness coach, someone that I work with, I believe that health is such an important aspect of the leader’s life. On top of that, I have a business executive coach, just all strategy, all about growing the businesses that I work in.
Finally I have a marriage coach as well, and she works both with myself, and my wife, and really just comes in to make sure that my wife, and I are continuing to better our relationship, which is something particularly if you’re an entrepreneur that you’ll continue to have to focus on because business has definitely challenge marriage, for sure. So those are the five coaches that I currently work with. So it’s day, here’s what you’re going to get. I’m going to share five things from the leadership coach that I picked up this year that I think would be a great value to you. I sat down, and was just reading through all the notes that I wrote down. So you’re going to get to glean honestly to say from an entire year of session, after session, after session, me cherry picking for you, what I would consider some of the best principles that I picked up.
So if you guys remember there was a documentary series that came out on Netflix this year called The Last Dance, and it was about obviously the Chicago Bulls, and Michael Jordan. Excellent documentary, if you haven’t seen it. But I think a lot of us watched that documentary, and were just mesmerized by the level at which Jordan played the game. I mean, he is obviously a goat, one of the greatest of all time, and I remember going back to my leadership coach, and I asked him, I said, “How do I, or how does someone become the Michael Jordan of leadership? How do you attain that type of level?” Because watching his commitment to the game really made me question my performance level, because I’m not pushing at the level that Jordan did.
My coach told me something that was really important. He helped me understand the difference between situational versus what would be called lifelong performance. Situational performance is what we see with people primarily that are athletes. So if I’m preparing for the Olympics over a four year period, and you look at the pace that I’m running at, you’re going to see me sacrificing on extremely high level. You’re going to see a sense of obsession about getting everything right, shooting for perfection, that’s what’s required, you see this with athletes as well, that are playing at a professional level. But what my coach helped me understood was, that type of performance is situational, it’s for a season. Even if you watch the Jordan series, you saw how exhausted he became. He could do that for a certain amount of seasons, but in no way, was that a lifelong pace.
He said, “Chris, you got to understand that as a leader, as an entrepreneur, you’re not in situational performance, you are in what you would call lifelong performance.” That was huge for me to understand, because the pace at which you move at, the way in which you really balance your day, treating life much more like a marathon really is a better picture of what our day to day should look like as entrepreneurs. I know a lot of times, there’s a lot of people out there talking about the grind, and the hustle, and what I really understood and learned this year that, I think a lot of times we apply what we see from these great athletes, with these people that are showing us performance situationally, but we shouldn’t model that in our business, and our leadership, because really it’s apples and oranges, because we’re really on a lifelong journey, and it’s about performance.
Now I want to share something, really a quote that he gave me that I thought was powerful. He said, “I’m not going to jeopardize my long-term sustainability for a short term blast, that consistently pushes me beyond my boundaries.” Let’s say that one more time. “I’m not going to jeopardize my long-term sustainability for a short-term blast, that consistently pushes me beyond my boundaries.” That just really brought it home. So for some of you listening today, I just want to paint that perspective, and give you permission to not feel guilty, not feel because you’re not sacrificing, and burning it at both ends every day that there’s something wrong. But I’ll tell you is the wise, or the really a prudent walk is the one that’s much more at a sustainable pace. The second thing I want to talk about that’s in relation to this is, really a grid to be watching yourself on what my coach taught me was the four levels of burnout.
Again, we hear about burnout all the time. It is one of the major reasons that people drop out of business, or fail in leadership, is they literally burn themselves out. My coach said, “Chris, you realized that there’s four levels of burnout.” I’ve never heard of that. He said, “What I want to do is really give you a filter so that you can understand where you’re at, at all times, and know really when you need to back off.” So level one is, I’m physically exhausted, but I’m just going to push through, and make it happen. Nothing wrong with that level. We all find ourselves at that place. Level two is, I’m physically exhausted, but I’m going to keep pushing through, and all of a sudden I’m starting to drop all responsibilities, I’m missing meetings, and calendaring things wrong, and making mistakes. So all of that mistake making, and forgetfulness is obviously a sign of being physically exhausted.
Level three is, I am physically exhausted, but I’m going to push through, and at this point what I’m seeing happen is I’m starting to lose appetite. I’m not sleeping, I’m losing sleep. All of a sudden there’s a physical manifestation of my body telling me that I’m exhausted. Obviously this is a dangerous zone to be in at level three. Level four is a complete shutdown. It’s just literally when all of a sudden, mentally, emotionally you shut down. These are those moments you hear where people literally just collapsed on a bed, or in a room and just say something happened, but I just literally had a breakdown. So I wanted to share that with you guys, because I think it’s important to utilize that filter as I am, to understand where you’re at on those levels, and to understand when you’re really beginning to hit that danger zone, that red zone.
One of the most important things I would tell you is that you can’t jump back these levels quickly. You have to back out of burnout. Why we say back out of burnout is because if you back out, that means that you’re backing out slowly. So you’re not at level three, level four, and then a couple of day period, just go back to level one. So one of the things that my coach challenged me on was understanding when I push up to those levels, I’ve got to be very strategic for longer periods of time to really understand what it means to move from level three, to level two, to level one, it’s a much slower process. So I wanted to share that with you guys, that you can back out of burnout.
The third thing I want to share with you guys, which I think is really important, is the fact that marriage is the most attacked thing in a leader’s life. Running Multipliers Brotherhood, as long as I’ve been around 15 years, I know this to be true when my leadership coach told me this, “Being a leader, and the way that we’re wired as visionaries, and we’re drivers, we’re not normal people. We have a goal in mind, and a lot of times we will do whatever it takes to reach that goal.” We’re not quitters, we’re perseveres, we have grits. But one of the challenges we have is that can a lot of ways get into the marriage in effect that… My coach was really clear about the importance of understanding that, as a leader that’s the place that you got to watch the most because it is the most vulnerable area in your life. So the thing I want to challenge you with, and I was challenged with, is you’re focused on growing your business.
Don’t take your eye off of your marriage, and off of your family. Continue to put time, and to put that as a priority in your life. As you heard me say at the top of the podcast, one of the reasons I have a marriage coach is because, if I have a coach in that area of my life, that should obviously communicate to all of you, that I’m making that a priority. That’s what I’m doing with my time. I’m devoting a particular amount of time to that. So one of the things I think that’s important as we’re talking about, pace, and all of that type of stuff is… The real skill of business is the ability not to drive, and turn it on. It’s the ability to be able to turn it on, and turn it off at will. Is that ability that when you sit down at the table for that day, you turn it on, you get that focus, you accomplish what you need to, but when you push back from the desk, and you walk back into your life, it’s that ability to turn it off.
If you can’t turn it off, this is where your marriage is going to get attack. Again, I’ve been married, and entrepreneur for every long. I’m sure your spouse, husband, or wife will tell you, “I just don’t feel like you’re here. I don’t feel like you’re present.” So that’s that inability to be able to truly turn the brain off, to turn the business off. I really believe that, that’s a skill. So one of the things I wanted to share that I was challenged with this year is, just understand that the marriage is an extremely vulnerable place for you as a leader, and you’ve got to put extra time, and attention into that. The fourth thing is, I really was taking the visionary role, everything that we have to focus on in a business, particularly if you’re new right now, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, the amount of things I feel like I’m trying to keep up with my business and focus on, I can’t even think about taking on one, or two more things.” That’s a normal place to be.
I want to paint a picture for you of really what the bullseye is term. If you’re new to the business, you’re not here yet. That’s okay, but you are on a journey, and so what I want to paint for you is really, what would it look like for you as the owner of this company to walk in, and do every day as the very most important things. The final place, the final seat that you should be in, the final lanes in which you should be running in, and everything else should be delegated. So talking this year, my coach really helped me understand that, every owner fundamentally has five priorities, and you want to get to a place that all you’re doing is focusing on these five priorities.
Number one is vision. The direction of where the company’s going, you’re responsible as the leader to pioneer, to answer the question, what are we going to do next? Where are we going to go? Because as you build a team, they’re looking for you to be the one out front, guiding them, and letting them know what’s going to be next. So vision is something that you will end up with, and continue to drive forward. The second priority of a leader is cash. The finances, it’s something that you should never ever take your eye off of. You will be responsible for the cash in the company. The cash balance is in the balance sheet, and the P&L. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have bookkeepers, and CPAs, and CFOs, but at the end of the day, your responsibility is cash, because cash is oxygen for your company, and if you run out of oxygen, you die bottom line. So it’s got to be a continual priority for a CEO.
The third one is the right people on the right seats. As a CEO, you will always be responsible for finding great talent, and making sure that the talent in your company are in the right positions, doing the right things. As we’ve all heard the analogy that Jim Collins gives, “It’s all about getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” So what my coach is telling me, and helping us understand is what Jim Collins is talking about is something that the CEO will always have their hand on. The fourth thing is key relationships. Building and networking. Networking is something that I have seen such value in, because the broader, and stronger you build your network, the bigger levels, and rooms that will vent you with people that are more successful, and have more experience.
Those relationships pay off in so many ways, because you get ideas, and you can raise capital. You can get pointed into JV relationships, and opportunities. So as the actual owner of your company, the key relationships will always be important. This could even be with people within the company, someone that’s a key person in your organization, like a COO, also vendors, people that you’re working with that have a big part, or a big hand in your overall revenue. So understand that key relationships are important. The fifth one of course is continuous learning. You’ve always got to be learning as they say, “Leaders are readers.” If you’re not reading, stopping being a leader.
So what I want to do is summarize those quickly for you, because I think it creates such a clear picture in the midst of the tornado, and the chaos, and all the things that sometimes get thrown at us, being entrepreneurs, business owners. At the end of the day, the sweet spot that we should all be trying to attain is that all that I do, and focus on as a leader is I focus on vision, I focus on cash, I focus on the right people on the right seats, I focus on keeping key relationships, and building those, and of course continuous learning. Man, that really simplified it for me, and I thought that, that would be valuable for you. The very last thing I wanted to share that I learned this year from my leadership coach was this concept of, the farther you go in business, the farther you go in leadership, the more you are the resource.
This is such a big shift, because what I find is, we get so caught up in the doing side of the business, the performance side, the strategy side. What my leader is really ingrained in me this year is that, the being, and the becoming side of the leader is what’s going to matter further down the line, because impact, and the ability to attract the right talent, the ability to have people come and work for you that want to help build your vision, your ability to get out, and do all the things that are required to do, which are primarily a lot of times through other people, all of that is dictated on who you become as a person, because if you’re a high performer, and an absolute a-hole, it’s going to limit you in what you can do. You’re not really going to impact the lives of people. You’re going to get crap done.
I’m not going to say that you’re not going to drive a business, and build revenue, and be profitable. But if you are in the game of business, because you understand that more important than building your bank account, is actually building a legacy, and really living a life that has impact in the lives of people, and you’re known as a business owner that took your business, and turn the profits of that to really impact causes that were near and dear to your hearts. I’m sorry. I mean, for me, that’s an absolute no brainer. So what I’ve realized is the longer that I’m in leadership, it’s more about who I’m becoming, rather than what I’m doing, because the farther that I’m going down this journey, the more, and more I am becoming the resource. I’m becoming the thing in the organization, that’s important in the sense of who I’m becoming as a man, and as a leader, and as a father. I’m sorry, I don’t have kids yet, but as a husband. But if you’re listening as a father, or even a wife.
So I think that that is such a powerful thing to understand that right now, as you’re growing your business, make sure that you’re taking the time to read books, and go to conferences, or hire coaches, whatever it does that sharpens you, but I’ll leave you with this statistic. I heard from a leader one time that I thought it was powerful. He said, “In my opinion, 50% of a leader’s time should be spent on personal development”. 50%. I heard that and I thought that that was staggering. But this year I began to understand a lot more that the reason that is, because the leader that said that understood the importance of becoming, the importance of being overdoing. So that’s what I want to share with you guys today. I love these podcasts. If you were down into Loom, visiting me because you were on vacation, and we were sitting by the ocean, just kicking back, having a cappuccino, I’d enjoy talking business with you, and some strategy.
But you would find me really moving over to these types of topics, because the longer I’m in business, the less I care as much about the business side, as I do more about the people side, and the impact side. Again, I love business, I love strategy, I love those things, but I find that the older I get, the more I really want to have those conversations that I fill matter. Not always about what marketing strategy are you working on, or how are you tracking that KPI, those conversations are obviously important, but at the end of the day, I think the priorities is the conversations that really change who we become as leaders. So hope this was valuable to all of you today. This was really my reflection for today, coming from my heart, and what I wanted to share with all of you guys. Until next time, we will catch you soon when we add more value. Talk to you later.

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