Our guest today is Mr. John Carroll, founder and CEO of Tres Coaching Services. As an author, a blogger, and a speaker, John is a valuable asset to our business community. He’s also a father, a grandfather, and a widower, having lost his wife of 38 years just last year. His firm provides professional coaching, education and training, as well as speaking services. John brings more than 40 years of experience in sales, marketing, and operations. He’s on the podcast today, sharing how God took “the most shy, introverted kid on the planet” and made him into a successful businessman, speaker, and leader.
Jake Enriquez: 00:43 Welcome back to Press and Reach My name is Jake Enriquez your post. Hey
Jake Enriquez: 00:47 listen I just want to share with you guys real quick.
Jake Enriquez: 00:49 The reason that we come out and do this podcast is just to simply encourage others along the way you know we know that we’re from all walks of life out here everyone does something different but you know in the faith you know we all unite in our efforts to encourage people in their faith to just continue to press on doing the things that they’ve been called to do. And today we have a special guest on with us and he’s actually a extremely valuable asset to our business community out here. He’s he’s in business and he’s in leadership. He’s an educator He’s an author a blogger speaker and we’re delighted that we get to have him with us today. So I just ask that you would welcome Mr. John Carroll. John How you doing this morning.
John Carroll: 01:33 I’m doing great. Thank you for inviting me. I’m looking forward to it.
Jake Enriquez: 01:38 Yes sir. Absolutely. You know John we know that you. I
Jake Enriquez: 01:42 know that you know that you’re a life coach and a business coach but you actually do a little bit of all different things there in the business world not just you know to one side or the other but could you kind of before we get into that could you introduce yourself. We just want to get to know you on a personal level so if you kind of just tell us where you’re from and who you’re Are you quite happy to. My
John Carroll: 02:04 name is John Carroll and I’m the founder CEO of training coaching services and terms of personal background grew up in the Kansas City area.
John Carroll: 02:15 When people ask Missouri or Kansas I say I was actually born on the Missouri side and raised in Kansas City Kansas and but have lived on both sides of the river during my adult life and currently residing in you know over more Texas areas and you have number eight in five states in the last oh 40 years of my life. So
John Carroll: 02:43 we’ve moved around quite a bit. When I was in long in the corporate world.
John Carroll: 02:47 Sure. I have three adult children three grandchildren that I’m very proud of. And you know I’m a widower.
John Carroll: 02:55 I lost my wife of 38 years to breast cancer last March.
Jake Enriquez: 03:01 Yes. And certainly our thoughts and prayers remain with you brother.
Jake Enriquez: 03:06 OK. John will your business now. You’re the area that you perform in is in coaching right. Actually
John Carroll: 03:12 there’s three pillars. That’s why race is on coaching education and speaking the coaching area.
John Carroll.: 03:23 I really center on a lot of what I’d characterize as how to plan. I provide private coaching coaching through my mastermind program all the business leaders forum and that’s been going since I’ve had six groups go through the program about 45 or 50 business owners have completed it successfully. And I also had them in an online course discover your formula for success which is downloadable content. You’ve got 21 modules audiovisual a lot of workbook exercises and reference materials to help business owners and business leaders develop a comprehensive business and like plan if you will.
John Carroll: 04:12 Yeah. And you also knew quite a bit of writing to speak in I authored three books now one of which was in the Amazon best seller and about a hundred and seventy five lots of articles. Not
John Carroll: 04:27 only do my own blog Tres coaching but also through several other digital publications that I write for and I love to speak.
John Carroll.: 04:37 I focused primarily speaking on business leadership and globalization topics.
Jake Enriquez: 04:43 Sure. OK. Think a lot too. At
John Carroll: 04:47 business conferences celebrations and networking groups. That’s
Jake Enriquez: 04:51 wonderful and I do know that you know because I know a little bit of your history and have kind of grown to know you a little bit out of a friendship now which is awesome I greatly appreciate the things that you always share. So
John Carroll: 05:03 you know guys when I think about John the two words it really come to my mind are sincere and compassionate because if you get around him you’ll know what I’m talking about but hopefully I can allow that to come out today so you get to know him a little bit. Tell me now. Because you’re able to do these things. You
Jake Enriquez: 05:19 had to have a you have had to have a background I should say in these areas. In
Jake Enriquez: 05:25 other words you came up doing it from different levels. In other words you started in the business world and I remember reading a little bit about you when you were in college. You started off in the numbers right. Were you an accountant or something. What exactly were you the numbers cause you switched over your major.
John Carroll: 05:48 as an undergrad, I actually started out my first two years majoring in accounting and I absolutely loved the numbers.
John Carroll: 05:54 I was a Admittedly the most shy introverted kid on the planet at times so the numbers versus people were a lot more comfortable for me to spend time with. To put it that to put it bluntly. And my sophomore year I switched majors and did about 30 or 35 percent of the accounting majors because we ended up getting the college basketball coach as a professor and chair. And even here in the been an educator for over 20 years in addition to a basketball coach and wanted to stay with the original text and so a lot of the accounting principles he was trying to educate us on were not a part of the new text and it was so confusing and frustrating to us accounting majors that I switch to the marketing.
John Carroll: 06:52 But when I came out of college with a marketing degree that everybody will.
John Carroll: 06:59 And you know my hero in the world was the guy at that time you know not having any real knowledge and expertise in that area is the used car salesman passport.
John Carroll: 07:11 And I had you know not only being shy and introverted I had no desire to be in sales but I wanted to focus on new product development and marketing research. And I learned very rapidly that you don’t get there without some kind of background in sales because that’s right with respect. And so I was kind of it was quite poor choice. I ended up selling Real fairly early in my career and had quite frankly changed my life.
Jake Enriquez: 07:44 Absolutely. And you know you and I could take it now that you you don’t have any regrets about that right.
John Carroll: 07:50 Oh not at all. Now no I had a lot of incredible experiences. One of my my first promotion was with a manufacturing firm and at the ripe old age of 23 about two or three months before my 24th birthday I was promoted to the international version and that was an eye opening experience for a young kid from Kansas because it had a huge responsibility for Canada your military all branches of the military outside the US.
John Carroll: 08:22 The Middle East in Mexico and it was so culturally rich diverse background and I so I learned and quite frankly got horns very quickly. That world is a lot different than when I was growing up to believe in and you know just the aspect of language diversity doing business in terms of the corporate governance outside the U.S. you know everything is just totally different and products and services how you want to market. So it was.
John Carroll: 08:57 Going to help me be very well-rounded at a very early age. Sure. I think that from a leadership standpoint down the road because I was able to impart a lot of that knowledge on people that once they were confronted with new and unique challenges in their career as well.
Jake Enriquez: 09:15 Sure. And you know that one slight change that one little move and change of direction took you men into something that was you know Far Greater than you probably could ever imagined. But you know talk about you know your experiences inside the business world because there are some key elements that you learned in the business world which apply not only to a smaller business but to a major corporate area in business. So what would you say I should ask are the basic fundamentals for any business if you could just bring it down to maybe two or three things. What would they be.
John Carroll: 09:50 Well first and foremost some focus on people not pay , for me.
John Carroll: 09:58 What I learned particularly in the selling environment Jake is that if people it makes a difference.
John Carroll.: 10:03 You know it’s it’s first and foremost it’s your team second estimate and then your suppliers etc. as you go to market with your products and services. I think for too often we try to articulate new situations. We try to push products at the clients before we really cultivate a relationship and really get to understand what their options are what their priorities are quite frankly what they’re losing sleep over. And so I I always started the conversation with what are the top three things you’re losing. The mom try to be in a position as a true consultant to their business. How can I help you work through those challenges when you try to retire from every section. First and foremost is focus on people not things because of shareholder value and stock prices and your golden parachute. All
John Carroll: 11:03 those things as you move up the court or into executive positions most people will take care of themselves as long as you are doing the right things the right way where people are concerned and that kind of gets me to the next thing you on the right things the right way. And that’s what integrity I think come into play and for me integrity is everything. You know we just walk in and talk. But it’s you know the old golden rule principle. Sure. Why do everything on the people’s side as well as on the business side in terms of building a high performing organization. Sure. The third thing is vision and collaboration. You know it’s great to have a theory on how you want to be successful but if it doesn’t if you don’t take people with you all along that journey and collaborate and all levels in terms of the execution then things fall apart very rapidly.
John Carroll: 12:02 And I have a term that that dates back to when my son was first playing soccer at 9 years old. We were in Chicago and one of the teams we played every year there was there were always great matches. They were always 1 0 1 1 kind of matches was one way. And the coach Jake was from Scotland originally and he used the marble he used to sit in a lawn chair with a little white board with these kids in. Now keep in mind there are only eight nine 10 years old at this point right. We’re so well feel that they were some in and out themselves. The coach didn’t have to tell when the study in a way. And the only you they could say anything in their coverage program was players square yard.
John Carroll: 12:49 And that was kind of a riot. Nothing on the people side just because where I saw things fall apart in the corporate world is when sales were focusing too much of their time and energy worrying about what marketing was doing or not doing when marketing was you know outside their square yard worrying about what operations was doing on the execution time except for you know I always think people focus on the things that are your true strength and competencies and spend less time worrying about what other people are doing in their space and putting more energy into what you need to be doing to grow your skills and abilities.
Jake Enriquez: 13:30 Yes.
John Carroll.: 13:32 It’s hard to grow people if you’re not growing it right. You know that’s I’m sure sound advice you know coming from you John people. Integrity and vision. You know people first always building with people with the integrity always doing the right things even when no one else is watching. But definitely sharing the vision and taking others with you because you don’t want to go alone in this thing right. Absolutely
Jake Enriquez: 13:54 . So but let me ask you something you know now that you bring those up.
Jake Enriquez: 13:59 Is this something that was imbedded in you in other words given to you from youth. I mean how was it for your childhood coming up Are these some of the things that you cultivated from you these were given to you and just kind of grew in it.
John Carroll: 14:11 Not really. I had all of them with me and what I would characterize as unremarkable. We we weren’t dirt poor but we live paycheck to paycheck.
John Carroll.: 14:22 And my family and the first person to ever go to college for my family and get a college degree a master’s degree and then and was blessed to spend time at MIT in the executive DIVOLA program later on. But my mother had a ninth grade education. But my parents came from broken homes from broken marriages and growing up in the Depression era. They were I would say they were probably bigger There were broken people. They had a very tough life. My dad finished high school after his parents divorced. Literally living at the YMCA and working his senior year in high school. And like I said my mother being adopted she had an eye for education and she wasn’t you know back then in the Depression era. Why do people not kids because they want to work. She works in general store she clean the house five days a week.
John Carroll: 15:20 She worked at the counter at the lunch kitchens serving lunch. She worked. And you know the thing I did was fundamentally about is hard work and getting you. And because I’ve watched them you know our house is very small it’s 50 square feet.
John Carroll: 15:39 With my parents my it and my grandmother says they were Orgel seeing me in my bedroom was asleep or so. So it was a it was a tough environment we were you know the kitchen there came. They had rough beginnings as well. In fact two of the ship’s boys knew that I grew up with one of them didn’t get out of junior high. Another high school who only ended up in prison. It was a it was a pretty rough environment and back then you know your idea of any time you had a conflict was a fight that you don’t know yet if you had a fight. He cried and then you went home.
John Carroll: 16:19 And so it was where I really started to emerge in business in this business leader was during a difficult time in my life I was going to the first marriage a very an acrimonious divorce. And I was 26 years old.
John Carroll: 16:38 Everything I had built up at that time was about to lose my home my family my joining NATO and all of my life was a mess. And three days after I filed for divorce my company had a major layoff in my resume was shut now. So now I was not only without family but also without a career. So I had to start over. That’s when I started prayer really asking the Lord for guidance there to know. And he was fine and I got a great opportunity in the health care insurance area with Mark. And that brought me to my first mental show my first. What is the one that changed my life because three years into any key. On a Friday afternoon he phoned me in to his office. Now you know in the corporate world when the walk in his office late on a Friday it’s usually not a good situation.
Jake Enriquez: 17:35 All right.
John Carroll: 17:37 Oh my you know my self-esteem was at a low low point to begin with at that point in my life and he is only coming to weigh me and ask me to shut the door and take a season. I’ve got a concern I want to talk to you about. Well then my you know I’m on high alert you know.
John Carroll: 17:52 And I thought oh my god I’m going to get fired. Forgive. In small towns and you realize you don’t look at it when you talk. OK. Those were worse. Changed my life. It
John Carroll: 18:03 brought the other person out a persona John out of his shell and he’s said you know more to build trust credibility and trust with people in the role that you’re going to be in. You’re going to be working at more level people who know exactly who is in the healthcare industry and a lot of times the things are going to be talking about are going to be not something they want to hear.
John Carroll: 18:23 And you and Tony have to look him in the eye and OK. And by the way you’re going to be doing a lot of public speaking which I wasn’t aware was part of the job description so sure anymore than he was like a whole and by the way six weeks from now we got a new launch of the new Medicare regulations.
John Carroll: 18:40 You’re going to be in one of the speakers speaking on it.
Jake Enriquez: 18:43 Yeah. Let me ask you this though. How old were you at that time when you were called into that office. Were you 26 26 years old. OK so when up when I’m here and you know I’m listening to what you’re saying when you’re a kid you didn’t get the mentorship you didn’t get the guidance you didn’t get those things. It sounds like something was lacking because now I see where you’re at now I see that that you are. Like I said before I’m a valuable asset to the business to me. You’re able to teach. Able to show to able to help people. And it gets is very interesting to me how you came from youth and you didn’t really get the first mentorship or the first of somebody speaking into your life that way to 26 years old. That right.
John Carroll.: 19:26 Don’t you forget. My parents were both very shy. Infiltrate you know tough life though they didn’t notice it.
John Carroll: 19:32 Teachers coaches you know I had that I had time I had two international assignments with two different companies up to that and none of my managers bosses et cetera or friends for that matter it ever brought it to my attention. And my first mentor he asked me he said you need to go home and practice in front of me. So I went home that night and talking to myself in the mirror and laughed and said I’ve got this down. Well fast forward a year later and I was at the University of Kansas Medical Center I was on a three day symposium lecturing for college credit to medical students. I was the only nine or Ph.D. on that program and I sat there on the stage with 500 students in the auditorium for 45 minutes and then all of a panel speaking with now knows what they look like. And that’s really not how many I knew. You know my inner voice was always telling me there’s somebody else inside me trying to get out.
John Carroll: 20:35 So I knew I loved people but didn’t know how to relate to them at that time because I was you know small stature and soft spoken. Yes. And what I noticed in people is when I start looking at them you know I didn’t change my word choice my voice inflection and how they react to me was totally different. You’re on TALK in nature are professionals today. One of the things that they tell me is the challenge with millenials is eye contact.
John Carroll: 21:07 They’re used to staring into a smartphone or a computer screen. I’m looking at another live person.
Jake Enriquez: 21:13 Oh yeah. There you go. That’s good stuff right here. So we’re talking about the people factor in other words how can I stand before you eye to eye and we can have a conversation and we could talk about these things. That’s
Jake Enriquez: 21:25 awesome. But you know I think about how you’re coming up and for the listeners by the way I just want you to I just want to recap something real quick. John comes up from very humble beginnings right away the grass roots of it all for him is a very humble beginning. And as he goes through and I want you to know that John is very again a valuable asset to the business community is able to teach now is able to go out and share things with folks but not till he was 26. It’s sad when i actually speak. This his life and it’s 14 words in those 14 words John. Say it again because I want to I want everyone to hear this just another time. Go ahead. I’m
John Carroll: 22:01 sure you realize that you don’t look at people when you talk to them.
Jake Enriquez: 22:04 That’s so. So I want everyone to hear those words because I think about it myself I think about out here what you just shared is us on these smart phones us. You know we think social media is everything. You’ll get to see it through social media we just you know we I mean I understand the way a contact people reach now but that person factor the people factor is missing then. So when someone guided you into it and led you into it you just kind of catapulted all through there. It started using the gifts that God has already given you. I think that’s amazing. That’s what we’re going to do though. We’re going to take a really short break and then we’re going to be right back. Hey
Speaker 20: 22:04
Jake Enriquez: 23:24 Welcome back to press and reach my name is Jake. Hey thanks guys for coming back. We were just hanging out with Mr. John Carol and before the break we were just kind of talking about the transition of life you know just this coming from a younger age into the age where God is actually use in John to do great things and show him his own strength.
Jake Enriquez: 23:41 And we’re just listening to how these things are so amazing. But John I want to ask you a question here though because each and every one of us out here we go through time that’s very challenging in life. OK. And in those times is when our faith is absolutely strengthened for us each and every one of us. Can you share a time that your faith was strengthened for you. Absolutely
John Carroll: 24:05 . And I’m happy to. I in fact have spoken about this a few times.
John Carroll: 24:12 I really haven’t shared with a lot of people this part of my story but I’ve tried it. Funny things happen on the way to the border. And what I meant by that is at the time I was in the corporate world I was with AT&T had just been promoted for the fifth time in eight years and I was on. I was on a fast track. You know my goal was to become a senior executive at AT&T in an officer. By the time I was 15 at the time I was 39 and I had a we just moved to Chicago from here in Ohio. You know I’ve been promoted to regional staff so I’m starting to do the math in the 1:39. So I have 11 years to get my goal and I only need about three promotions way I calculated to get there and already been promoted five times and I’m thinking OK this wind up right. Yeah. Well you know the old saying about God you know you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.
Jake Enriquez: 25:14 All right.
John Carroll: 25:15 So I’m literally you know I am so career oriented and driven at this time I’m sitting there my warm ups because I ran five days a week and painting the metal cap on my fireplace three weeks before Thanksgiving. And know my two story house and I had a bad accident and I shattered my lower leg in the fall off the roof in five or six places. The damage was so severe they couldn’t even operate for three days. They had to stabilize my leg and get the swelling down and then they would go whether I was going to lose my foot because of varity of the breakage. And so two major surgeries two metal plates 12 screws nine months in a cast. Seven and a half months. They’re intense. And a lot of rehab talk with twelve hundred miles on a stationary bike just to get back some of the flexibility to where I can walk normally without a pronouncedly up and show it totally changed my life. You know I wish I was an only child fiercely independent career driven. In
John Carroll: 26:18 fact as I learned through that process to focused on one area of my life but sitting there is where I had the cathartic in that is I’ve been away from the church for over 20 years. Poignant and you know I knew it was all about me right. You know how so. But you know I was making all of this happen. And the first thing I did when I was sitting there in the hospital bed as I reached for mine.
John Carroll: 26:45 Yes sir. And I said God I really messed up this time.
John Carroll: 26:51 I can’t fix this. I need you.
John Carroll: 26:54 And that’s when I start writing and you start to get in touch with my spiritual side to a large degree I was I was off work for a month and had to become my kids were small at that point. You know literally sitting there with propped up in bed with six pillows that in cast because the swelling I had to reduce the swelling and had to have the kids bring me food except etc. on my mobile so limited that when I finally did get back to work.
John Carroll: 27:25 You know walking with one leg not being crutches my literally had asked members travel with me because I had 10 states responsibility. So it was very painful for me to transfer a lot of that responsibility to someone else to help me and to play the spirit inside you know bringing me back to the church was a great thing for me because background and experience was start ups and turnarounds.
John Carroll: 27:56 And it was not only the organizational operational issues but all the people the issues involved with start up and in transformation turnaround because I learned that you know the same type of stressors or whether it’s you’re just starting something in or you’re going through the transition with a turnaround. Right and I was able to help organizations and a lot of people through the well lo and behold the church that I became a part of was going through a similar transition going through a big expansion program and as you can appreciate there comes the big dagger.
John Carroll: 28:34 Yeah. So the focus of the church started shifting more to the tithing aspect rather than the spiritual side. So it created a divide within the membership. And I became who when they decided to remove their senior pastor and promote their junior pastor to the senior level I became a coach and mentor for the junior master and became an elder in the church you know helping through this transition period. So it’s funny how God works in people’s lives and helps to not only bring out the best in us but enable us to transfer action with that event. I was able to help a lot of the challenges the church was going to help the members through as well as the whole record.
Jake Enriquez: 29:21 Shinar sure.
John Carroll: 29:22 A junior Stroheim was able to coach and mentor him because one of the things I learned is that pastors don’t get a lot of leadership and people train you know they get a nice amount of spiritual training. Sure. And not dealing with the people issues and some of the operational issues in managing a 14:00 member church.
Jake Enriquez: 29:42 Right. Right. Well I mean definitely God takes what he has given us. And you know we turn around and when you use it for God’s glory the the awesome things that it does are just amazing you know and it’s unlimited by the way it continues to go that way and I’m glad to hear that that’s what has taken place for you in that. I mean definitely he’s given you the vision to share it with others and continue to move that way. Well let me ask you this John you know because I know you know because you’re actually an author you write books what other books you know if you can think of any that you would come up with. Would you be willing to share with others if you think it’s a good read for somebody who’s pursuing leadership or business or even in their own spiritual journey as well.
John Carroll: 30:25 A The one the one I really enjoy right now and helped me a lot was Halftime by Bob Buford halftime show.
John Carroll: 30:33 And for all of you for and its a great book because it talks about his walk of fame.
John Carroll: 30:40 So if he if he describes a period of time in his life well we’re all going to get to at some point in that 40 to 45 year old group where you’ve had a certain amount of success in your career you’ve made some good money. Yeah. And so a lot of cheerly in the year you’re doing well or you haven’t done well. Have
John Carroll: 31:01 we all just get to this point like kind of did in the church where something’s missing. Sure sure.
John Carroll: 31:05 Something that was missing was that spiritual aspect because when I went back and look at my my own personal life when I was real heavy like I mentioned on the career aspect but was missing the spiritual side because I was on airplanes a lot traveling missing a lot of the family time later on you know filling that void in one of the things that you felt was a very successful cable in radio television.
John Carroll: 31:33 Operator OK how very successful career and his coach mentor when he sat down with him ask him a question what’s in the box. And this is that no one you that but something for all of us to think about in terms of priorities in our lives. One thing about the thing. Yeah. What most important thing to in your life today. Yeah. And he said Give me an answer now I want you to think about. Yeah. Well when he came back with it he said oh by the way you’re going to have one thing in the box. So if you put one in a box without any help or in it is Christ. And a lot of the story is you put Jesus in the box. Everything else keeps things there.
Jake Enriquez: 32:14 Absolutely. That’s great. I appreciate that. I do want to be able to share you and what you do with others so how would we as listeners go about reaching you. How can we reach out to you. How can we connect with you or follow you somewhere where would we go.
John Carroll: 32:33 Well I’m as you probably know I’m all over social media but the best way to get to me is through my website and that’s trace coach dot com. TR Yes Coach dot com. OK. All my all my contact information there and link to Twitter Facebook and so forth are all there.
John Carroll: 32:56 Awesome. So we’ll go ahead and put that in the show notes for you John I really appreciate you coming out and just hanging out with us so let me ask you this before we go it’s the last one OK.
Jake Enriquez: 33:07 What word of encouragement would you share with someone when you’ve got a great story you’ve got a great history and some of those things. Man I know that you really really want to convey that to others but for somebody else who’s struggling right now it could be someone in their youth or someone just going through other ventures. What would you share with them as an encouraging word. Well
John Carroll: 33:27 the thing I would encourage Jake is just recognize that life is a marathon not a sprint.
John Carroll: 33:37 And that’s that’s an overused term but it’s so true. And what I learned through my own grief experience. But my wife’s passing over the last two years and going through grief counseling is not to over think things.
John Carroll: 33:53 Just enjoy your life. In fact I posted something out that I thought was a good characterization or a visual image of that and that is that life is an enigma wrapped in a jelly roll.
John Carroll: 34:07 OK. Don’t try to solve it. Yeah. Just enjoy it and savor it sweetness.
Jake Enriquez: 34:13 A man a man I greatly appreciate that John and men like I like I tell anybody who’s willing to come out and share it with us. And hey we we love you we thank God for you. I greatly appreciate not only what you do for the business community job but for the kingdom of God. And we greatly appreciate what you’re doing there.
Jake Enriquez: 34:30 Well I appreciate being able to spend time with you and your listeners today I hope. I hope some of the things the challenges that I’ve been able to walk through and work through through faith will be helpful to them as well when they’re struggling.
Jake Enriquez: 34:46 Absolutely and I know that they will. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today Mr. John Carol.
John Carroll: 34:51 You bet. All right. Take care.
Jake Enriquez: 34:53 Once again guys as Mr. John Carol and I got to tell you it’s a joy and honor. Any time I get to hang out with him. So for the show notes on this episode. Make sure you go out to press and reach dot com forward slash PR 21.
From small business to major corporations, there are basic fundamentals for success. John starts with people. Whether they’re clients, executives, or teammates, people make the difference. Cultivate relationships before pushing the product. Determine their needs (ask them!) in order to create solutions that will help them work through those challenges. Focus on the people, not the things. People are first, but second is integrity. Integrity calls for doing the right things, the right way; walking the talk; the golden rule. The third key John shares is vision. If you’ve got a vision, share it with others. Don’t be afraid to take people with you on your journey and collaborate on all levels to execute that vision. Without that collaboration, your vision can fall apart.
John comes from very humble beginnings in Kansas. He’s the first in his family to go to college, and both of his parents were also very shy people. With a degree in Marketing, he quickly learned that he needed a background in sales in order to land a position in new product development. Though he had no desire to be in sales, he was met with some success early on, even being promoted to the international division of a manufacturing firm. Being in sales helped him to be very well-rounded early in his career. Out of those experiences, he’s been able to impart much of that knowledge on others who may be facing new and unique challenges in their career. He was not, however, succeeding on all fronts. At the age of 26, he found himself getting divorced. That same week, company layoffs put him out of a job. There he began asking the Lord for guidance. His next job put him in the health care industry, which unexpectedly called for him to do A LOT of public speaking. At the time, he knew he loved people, but didn’t yet know how to relate to them. He was soft spoken by nature, but he learned that making eye contact with his audience captured their attention. That on-the-job training would be the beginning of his speaking career.
Thirteen years later, John was well on his way to becoming a senior executive at AT&T. He’d already earned several promotions and was on the fast track for reaching his goal. As the saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans!” At that time, he was incredibly driven and fiercely independent. The timeline he’d created hit a snag when he badly injured his leg falling off the roof of his home. He faced two major surgeries, two metal plates, 12 screws, and nine months in a cast. All followed by intensive rehab to regain flexibility and the ability to walk “normally” again. This process of healing and being dependent on others led to a moment of catharsis, in which he realized he’d been away from the church for over 20 years. He’d been calling all the shots up until then, making it all happen. In his hospital bed, he recognized his need for God. He began writing and returned to church. There, a new purpose was revealed as his previous work experience was needed to help his church during a period of transition and restructuring. He also found himself in the position to coach and mentor the church’s new pastor. There, he was able to begin taking what God had given him and use it for His glory. He continues utilizing those skills today, as he coaches and mentors individuals and companies alike.
Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance, by Bob Buford