My faith is I'm a Mormon. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We have a particular scripture where one of our church leaders talked about the importance of wasting and wearing your life out, bringing to light the hidden things of darkness. You can be wary of working in fast food every day, a meaningless job. All work is meaningful to some degree, but you can feel like it lacks purpose, meaning, and everything like that. There are lots of things that you can do for work.
I find significant meaning in being weary for a good cause. Changing people's lives, helping them talk to their kids about these things, having meaningful conversations, getting more financially prepared, being more aware of their environment, being skeptical of authority and all the lies that we're being told, being civically engaged, and able to be the change they wish to see in the world. That to me is a worthy cause. I've got deep bags that are forming under my eyes and all the things. To me, it is a hallmark of meaningful effort that has made a difference for others. I love being weary when my energy is applied toward productive meaningful causes.
There is good weariness and there is bad weariness. The apostle Paul is my hero. Finish the race and stay through the faith. There is no greater way to be poured out. When you orient it back to your why, that's where you get the intrinsic, divine, and supernatural. We see it throughout the history of people doing that. The Titanic example was brilliant.
We have talked about loneliness and weariness. The next thing my dad talked about was abandonment. Typically, abandonment has a negative connotation, like fear of abandonment. I'm in pet rescue, so that's a big no-no. What he's called abandonment was to stop thinking about what you like and want to think about, maybe arranging deck chairs, and start focusing on what you ought and need to do. It is making meaningful change.
Especially as stuff starts exploding and you get all these people coming out and saying, “I need you to do this. I need you to represent this. I want to partner with this. Can you write a book on this?” I can't even imagine all the different ways and plates that get thrown your way. How do you stay singularly focused on the highest and best use of your calling and time?
That's a powerful question. For a long time, I struggled with that. I have gotten better at it. Before I started all this, I was a web developer. I wasn't an awesome web developer. I was decent. I was good, but I wasn't great. However, what set me apart was my communication ability. I would communicate super well, and I was extremely responsive. When clients would email me or people have questions, I would be on the phone immediately. I would drop what I was doing and I would go communicate. I would get them what they needed. That had a huge benefit in my early years. I built a successful career for myself from being only a good web developer by being an amazing communicator, trying to create value for others, and trying to think about what they needed.
When I transitioned into this role and started my own organization, it was okay in the early years because I was building something from scratch. It was lean and mean or whatever. In recent years, it's been a big problem because I habituated myself into being a yes-man and dropping what my priorities were to get that dopamine hit of responding to somebody else and helping them with what they need.
A lot of times, it was like, “You wrote this thing six years ago.” It’s all the most random things and I would be like, “Let me reply. Let me help you.” I would get that dopamine hit. I've had to retrain myself. I'm not, by any means, perfect at it yet, but I am making sure that it's okay to ignore people. It's okay to say no, which I struggle with.
One of the things that has helped me substantially improve is I'm a member of Strategic Coach by Dan Sullivan. It's a coaching program for entrepreneurs all over the country and all over the world. I've been in it for about two years. They have a process in there called Unique Ability. It’s his model for the things where you get the highest energy, where you get the highest reward, and where you have the highest impact.
They have this whole process that they walk you through where you inventory all your activities. What do you do? Where do you spend your time? What do you have going on? You classify them in different buckets and figure out, "This is my unique ability. I'm competent at this, but it's not my unique ability. I'm incompetent at this stuff, but I still have to do it." They systematize it and then create this process where you can start to identify specifically everything that isn't your unique ability. It is like, "Let's start chipping away at delegating, eliminating, and so forth for all these things."
The result of that process was I have a document that says, “Connor's Unique Ability.” It lists out, “Here are the different things. I'm a strategic freedom fighter and I help try to save the world one life at a time, and all these things. I am a public speaker and author.” It goes into detail. The point is the clarity about my unique ability has allowed me to prioritize where I'm at my best. A lot of what I do with my assistant, even my wife, or my COO is to constantly re-orient things. I’m like, “Am I out of alignment? Are we out of sync? Let's go back and look at this.” Everything creeps in. All the DMs, emails, requests, and everything are always creeping in.
It is that constant re-orientation. It's like a compass. I fly a lot. If you're flying into a destination, the pilot never goes in a straight line. They have a ton of little tiny course corrections to make sure they are generally on a straight line. It is not a perfect exact line. It's a very slight back and forth, making sure that you're always pointing towards your destination. That's what a lot of this boils down to as well. It is having people in my life who can help support me in re-orienting as a leader to make sure that I'm pointed toward the goals that I want.
You said the word clarity, and earlier you said, “What sets me apart?” I love that tight focus like a laser beam. We could be pretty colors of the rainbow or we could get that tight focus. I love that. I want to check out that Dan Sullivan program. I have heard of Dan. You've been in it for about two years?
Yes. It's awesome. I’d recommend it.
Is it something you stay in forever? Tell me about it.
Dan has this quip where he says his best clients are the ones who have deep pockets and long-term memory loss or something like that. His point is some of these people have been in it for a very long time. The way I think of coaching is as a church for entrepreneurs. That may sound silly, but what I mean is when I go to church, I've heard all those messages before. I've read those scriptures before. I know what they're talking about, but I'm at a particular point in my life where what the speaker is saying or whatever I'm reading lands a little bit differently. Simply being in the pew and hearing that message tied to my life and my current circumstances is this continual impression upon me that's always precise with what I need to hear.
I think of coaching the same way. They've got some awesome tools, but a lot of them are simple prompt questions to get you thinking. They are putting you in little breakout sessions with different groups. None of it is super revolutionary. It's a church for entrepreneurs where you are hearing the right things that you need on a particular cadence.
There are these quarterly meetings so that as you're going through different seasons of life, business, or whatever, you are like, “Thinking about this is prompting a lot of thoughts of what I need to fix here or what I need to do there.” That's how I think about it. It has merit. It has substance. It's important. No one is going to sit there and be like, “This is the most revolutionary thing,” even though it's impactful. The cadence, the frequency, the people that you're with, and all of that has made it very impactful for me.
It's so good you're sharing it with people. I tell other people, “I can't do it for myself. You can't do it for yourself.” There's something about the fact that we have to be with other people. We're meant to be in fellowship and community with one another where somebody is an expository teacher. I love the church for entrepreneurs. We can't read our own labels. I love that you're bringing out that even somebody like you, we all are unfolded by getting in collaboration with other people. There is nothing new under the sun, but the discovery process is until our last breath when we get perfect on the other side. Thank you for that.
We have talked about loneliness, weariness, and abandonment. The last topic my father talked about is vision. We hear about this visionary and you think it is someone with this Mensa IQ or they're born with this dove alighting on their heads or something like that. He said, “Vision is seeing what needs to be done and doing it.” He had this attraction kind of thing, but very strategic and tactical. How do you craft your vision? What's next for your organization?
A couple of recommendations, and then the answer to what's next. I struggled for a while to communicate vision. You have your mission statement and vision statement. When you read most vision statements, they do not help anyone else envision anything. They suffer from a massive curse of knowledge where the people who created them understand what they're saying but they're not meaningful to your vendors, customers, and random people viewing your website.
There is a book called Vivid Vision by Cameron Herold. He is very well-known in the entrepreneurial community. He runs a group called COO Alliance for number twos in organizations. His book, Vivid Vision, is not a long book. It talks about how you create a vision statement that is explicit and detailed. The very simplified version is to imagine yourself traveling three years into the future and then you look around your organization. What do you see? You describe in detail what you see in the aspirational sense. It’s like, “My fundraising team has all these relationships. They've attracted all this interest in our work. My communications team is making daily videos for social media. They are getting a lot of engagement. People are sharing them. Look at my policy team. We're changing all these laws.”
It should be more detailed than that, but the point is to be very detailed by department or by topic in your organization, and then you reverse engineer how to get there. You say, "What's the yearly goal for this to be true in three years? What has to be true this quarter? What foundation do we need to lay this year?" That process has helped me as a leader not only to clarify my own vision but to communicate it.
When I hire people now, before I even hire them, I make them read Vivid Vision and we talk about it. It’s a 3 or 4-page long document. They read it and I say, “Now is your time to ask any questions because this is the direction that we're going. What is unclear to you?” They love it. They are like, “This helps me understand what you guys are trying to do. I want to be a part of this.” Vivid Vision, I highly recommend it. It is by Cameron Harold.
In terms of what we're building, we have a few different facets to what we're doing. We have the policy work where we talked about changing laws. We have these Tuttle Twins children's books that have sold five million copies. It teaches kids entrepreneurship, freedom, and all the rest. We have another program called the Children's Entrepreneur Market. These are like farmer's markets, but they're run entirely by the kids. Mom and Dad can help set it up and take it down, but the kids run the show. We incubated this program in Utah for five years to refine the model. We got a well-oiled machine and we said, "Now we're ready to scale."
This 2023, we added six states. In 2024, we're adding ten more. Within 3 or 4 years, we're going to be fully national with this program, serving hundreds of thousands of kids across the country with entrepreneurial experiences so that they can learn not just money and customer service but marketing, economics, business, and all kinds of stuff.