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Avoiding Entrepreneurial Burnout with Aaron Young
I’m excited to be here and have my good buddy, Aaron Young, from Laughlin Associates joining us as well. Our topic is a little bit different. I got back from a three-plus week vacation traveling. Aaron was headed out to Tuscany for a mastermind. You’ve been doing some traveling as well. We thought we’d talk about some of the ways that we avoid burnout and what are things that we can do to help recharge our batteries. Welcome back, Aaron.
It has been fun keeping up with you in all the different time zones we’ve been visiting. We did the mastermind. We also road tripped. You boat tripped. We went from Paris up through Eastern France, Switzerland and all around the northern part of Italy and back to Paris and did the mastermind. It’s a two and a half weeks trip and three and a half days work. Think about that one. We got to have tremendous experience, but we were able to wrap it. We’re there anyway. One of the people that came to my mastermind group had never been to Italy and decided to stay for five weeks. They’re two weeks before the mastermind and two weeks after. People realize that sometimes you have to go. Let’s go down whatever road you want to talk about. We’ll play with this topic because I’ve got a lot of opinions on burnout.
For those that don’t know, Aaron Young is the CEO of Laughlin Associates. They’re a company doing business out of Reno, Nevada for several years but working with entrepreneurs and business owners all across the country. They not only maintain their books but also keep their books up to target, keeping their documents and everything rock and rolling to avoid the IRS and other things from stepping in. They help you provide a lot of asset protection for your business so you can keep more at the end of the day. We’ve been friends for a few years. Time flies when you’re having fun. Aaron is a regular here on the show. We’re very honored that Laughlin Associates sponsor the show as well.
We bounce a lot of ideas off each other when we’re traveling, speaking in a lot of the same events or hanging out. That’s the thing a lot of people struggle with. They look at, “You went to Italy and hung out in Tuscany. I would love to do that, but I could never do that,” or “You went on a vacation. I could never do that.” A lot of times, as entrepreneurs, we get so busy looking at the bottom lines, keeping our nose to the grindstone or going day in, day out back to the salt mines. We forget to take the time to recharge a little bit or plan something to celebrate our wins or the successes that we have or step away a little bit to relax.
I’ll go a step further with that. I meet people constantly. I met them on the airplane flying back. They said, “I could never do that. It’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to Europe.” You hear these all the time. These aren’t just from workaday employees. These are also from business owners. As long as you think that way, you never will have it. I understand if somebody works for a wage. They get so much an hour or so much salary and they’ve got to budget it. This much for mortgages, this much for the car payment, this much for food and we can squirrel away a little bit for vacation. If that’s the zone you live in, it’s where my parents and my siblings live. It’s where most of the people I know casually live. They’ve got a finite amount of money and restrictions on their time. They are trying to figure it out.
My attitude has always been, and I bet yours is too, Scott, if I want to do something else and it’s going to be a greater expense than what I’m doing, it’s always like, “How am I going to make more money?” and not, “How am I going to do it out of my limited money?” “What else can I do?” The Tuscany thing started because we wanted to build a new house. I need about $500,000 down. “Where can I come up with an extra $500,000? Let’s do an event.” We did something brand new and people resonated with it. People felt like they got more than they paid for by coming. All of a sudden, the bank account goes up. Do you want to go on a vacation? Put it on the calendar, start planning it and start booking things. It’s magic how all of a sudden, it happens. You find a way. There’s always a way.
You’ve got a goal and an idea. The first thing you have to do is write it down versus just thinking about it. That’s one of the big things that we’ve been very big about over the last couple of years. “Let’s put it down the calendar. Let’s go ahead and put it down.” We were doing, planning an event or planning a workshop, “Let’s plan the vacation. Here’s what we’re going to do. What do we have to do between now and then?” Make it a goal to post it where other people can see it so they know and respect it.
You also become accountable. If you tell people you’re going and you put it on the calendar, people are going, “Are you so excited?” You have to go. If you say, “I want to go in the fall. We’re going to go for a week this summer,” but you don’t put it down on the calendar, forget it. Either the calendar will get filled up or more likely you won’t prioritize going and doing it. There’s more to it even than that. Let’s get clear about this. I got back from Europe. I was home for almost a week and flew from Portland, Oregon to Washington, DC where I met with a bunch of diplomats, a bunch of foreign service officers, ambassadors. I got home on Sunday. I was home on Monday.
On Tuesday, I got up first thing in the morning, flew to Los Angeles, met with the president of a hospital and went to Frank Shankwitz’s movie premiere for the Wish Man by Gregory, Marc Gold and all those guys. I got home on Wednesday. I got up Thursday morning, flew to Vegas and trained the hospital on Friday and Saturday, the executive team. I got home on Sunday. Here’s the point. If you go, “You’ve got to go to DC. You’ve got to go to Vegas. You’ve got to go to Hollywood,” those trips are rewarding but they’re not a vacation. How many places have you been where people are like, “That’s so cool. You’re in New York. You were in Miami?” You’re like, “I was running my butt off. I never saw it. I went from the airport to the hotel to the airport.” Those aren’t vacations. You can’t count that. That doesn’t help with burnout. That creates burnout. Is that true?
It does create it. Airport and airplane air are not the cleanest air out there. You’re getting up early. Your time zones are all off, especially going from Europe where you’re six or seven hours ahead or, for you, nine hours. Your body gets off. Plus, you’re not eating the best food. You’re not sleeping the best.
That’s not a vacation. It’s not helping. It’s good to do it. It’s interesting. Almost the entire time we were in Europe, I never called the office. I didn’t have to get on and do reports or get work done. We were on vacation. We were gone. That’s part of the whole idea of being unshackled. The system works when you’re not there. Some people don’t believe that’s possible. You’re wrong. It is possible. As business owners, if we’re going to stay fresh, come up with new ideas, manage employees and deal with stress, there’s got to be a way to decompress. What’s your favorite thing to do, Scott? How do you let go of it?
I’ll give everybody a little bit of insight. I’ve been gone for three and a half weeks. We do a lot of marketing and have a lot of moving parts. We’re selling assets. I empowered my team to make decisions while I was gone. To help selling assets off, I put a third-party buddy of mine, Joel Markovitz. You’ve met Joel before. He’s helping me sell some assets. We communicate via a couple of text messages. It’s roughly about it because the internet on a cruise ship is not the greatest. It’s horrible and, for the most part, expensive. Even though we spent about $1,000 on the internet from uploading photos and things, I only logged in my email twice the whole period just to take care of a couple of things.
You plan a quarterly. You put people in places and empower them to work. Shannon was marketing while we were gone. In New Jersey, we’re still working on loan modifications and borrower outreach. Hazel made decisions that saved us money while traveling. We empowered our employees to make this thing. Many entrepreneurs are such control freaks. They have to control everything themselves. They’re like, “I can’t take three weeks off because the business is going to fail.” You have to delegate.
You’ve got to delegate and trust. If your employees are only there to do your bidding, like all they’re going to do is do what they’re told, if you go back to the scriptures, it says that’s a slothful and unprofitable servant. I don’t know why I’m jumping into scriptures because I’m not a big church guy, but one of my favorite parts of the New Testament is the parable of the talents. The person who just waits and holds on so they don’t lose any money for the boss gets fired. The ones who go out, trade, work and end up multiplying, and their responsibility was by tenfold, they get more responsibility. They get elevated. That individual in that story was the happiest employee in the business. They got to go make choices, do things, use their brilliance and not just wait around to be told or to get in trouble. If we hire a team that’s more competent than us in a lot of ways and, in their specialty, they’re way better than us, we can feel very confident going away because we know we have brilliant people in key roles. They’re going to do probably a better job of doing the job than we would do. I’m better at long-term and the big picture. I’m better at, “Let’s go do this. Let’s go put on a play. Let’s put on a show.” When it comes to the costumes, the script, the lighting, the food and all that, don’t get me involved. I’ll screw it up.
You’re a forest, not the banging your head against the tree guy.
I love all the people on our team that do such a phenomenal job of making all the little parts work day-to-day. I go, “How can we do better? Look at what worked. What happened?”
I like to step away. You asked the question, “How do I recharge?” I prefer if I’m going somewhere on vacation, to be floating in the water somewhere. We’ll go to the Caribbean or something like that. If I can get in the water, that’s the best thing. Give me the water and I’ll be floating. Steph can go snorkeling. I’ll be the happiest guy, throwing my hat on. I’ll be floating like a beach whale on the water, enjoying myself. That’s my favorite thing to do, is to float in there.
I’ve done that. I’ve stood out there on the Caribbean side. You get up to your chest and just bob there. It’s like being in a nice, comfy bathtub. You can stay out there for hours and talk. It’s completely meditative. I would encourage people to figure out. You know it’s water. I love walking around the old buildings. “This thing has been here for 900 years. How come my house is falling apart after 30 years?”
We were both talking about the Alhambra excursion. It’s a gorgeous place back in the 14th, 15th century. It’s still standing nowadays.
The Alhambra was the last Moorish castle. They’d come across from Africa. About the same time, she was sending Columbus off to find the Caribbean. Queen Isabella was also chasing the Moors out of Southern Spain back across into Africa. The Alhambra was their last big outpost. You were just there. I was there a few years ago. You can’t help but be transported away from your normal, “My internet is so slow. I wonder if I have time to stream one more episode.” This place takes your imagination away. Whatever stress you had at work goes away when you look at endless scrolly writing on every single wall and all the layers and the huge clock that’s made by water flowing into it.
Getting away to see that stuff, you can’t think of anything else because of being overwhelmed by what’s going on. Dad has been gone a few years. One of the big things he left me with was, “Go out and make memories.” He worked his ass off. I got my work ethic from my parents. The thing is he was always like, “Let’s make some memories. Let’s go take an excursion. Let’s go get off the boat.” A lot of people just stayed on the boat for different places. That’s not experiencing anything. If you wanted to do that, you can go to a Golden Corral with a water park and be fine. It doesn’t have to be in Europe. It could be going to Disneyland. It could be getting the weekend away. It doesn’t have to be something massive. It could be for a couple of days. It can be a day to do something. The biggest thing is putting on a calendar, empowering your staff to do that and taking the time to do that.
Here is one of the principles that I love talking to people about. I stole it from a book. It’s not my idea. In the book, they call it an artist’s date. I try to do it once a week. I try to block out time for myself. I protect it. The idea of The Artist’s Date is to go where the wind blows you. Don’t make a big plan. Take a different road. Walk into a store or a museum. I used to love to go until I ran out of closet space. I would go to Goodwill for an hour and thumb through the junk. I didn’t need any of this stuff, but everything I looked at triggered a memory. I think, “Maybe I could use this for this.” I would always leave with a couple of little treasures from the Goodwill. It’s a treasure hunt. Other times, I’ll go up and park. We live in a mountain area in the Northwest. I’ll go park my car sometime and walk down a trail. I don’t know where it’s going to go. Maybe it will take five minutes and I’ll run out a trail. Maybe I’ll walk and find a waterfall, a stream or something.
Also, I’d like to go horseback riding. It’s those things. I had an opportunity to speak. Megan Cole, whom we both know and love, said, “Can you do this last minute speaking thing?” I said, “No.” She was like, “Why not?” I said, “Did you look at my calendar?” She goes, “Yeah, it just says horseback ride.” I said, “I’m not giving a talk. I’m going horseback riding.” If we don’t protect those times, we become a slave. We become indentured servants. Our buddy Greg who introduced us said that if he has a little win, he’ll go out and buy a pair of socks. If he has a big win, maybe he’ll go out and buy a car. It’s fun to look at that pair of socks, that car, that golf club, that watch, that snorkel or whatever it is you want to buy as a memory that says, “I picked up some Swiss Army knives when I was in Switzerland.” I could go buy them at Walmart. It’s different when I buy it in Switzerland and I go, “Do you see this little $20 thing? I was in Lucerne, Switzerland when I got this.” Those little trophies or little prizes take you back on the vacation.
Those are the little trinkets of time. One of the big things that Steph and I love doing is getting refrigerator magnets. Our fridge is full. We got a big fridge and we’re running out of space. There are cities and areas we go to. We’ve got some interesting ones from our travels. Our favorite thing also to do is Christmas ornaments. We’ve got an eight-foot, nine-foot tree. It was covered with ornaments from all the places that we’ve traveled. That’s always a great thing. I got it down to one big tree, which is a big accomplishment. I was so happy that it was up for four months. I was like, “It’s fine. Leave it up.” It’s got all these great memories that we can see. She’s embarrassed about that. I was like, “I don’t care. It’s you, me and the cats. Who cares?”
Stephanie doesn’t ever need to be embarrassed because she is very fun and creative. She’s willing to be in touch with her emotions and wants to feel those things. I’m terrible. My mom will have a tree in every room. I wouldn’t even want to store that many Christmas decorations. When it’s full of memories instead of just a decorating feature, why wouldn’t you want to celebrate it all the time? Your idea of the refrigerator magnets has got me thinking. I love that idea.
It’s simple. We find some interesting ones. It’s always funny when guests come over to our house. They’re looking at the fridge and they’re like, “What is this?” I’m like, “That’s from Florence from the David statue in Piazza.” They’re like, “What’s this image of St. Kitts?” We’ve got some magnets from Four Seasons at St. Kitts.
Was it in Nevis?
I was there in the hurricane in ‘99 that destroyed the whole place. They had to rebuild the whole thing. It washed the restaurants out to sea. That’s a phenomenal place, but almost nobody goes there. Even the word Nevis is weird. If somebody sees a little memento, you go, “Let me tell you Condé Nast top ten every year.” It’s a good place. It sweeps you back from Austin, Texas back to those nice, beautiful sandy beaches, that nice Caribbean air, the breeze and being in the water. Your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined. If you can take yourself back in your imagination, you can get right back in the hammock. In our stressful lives, sometimes it’s good to give yourself five minutes to drift back to St. Kitts in Nevis to Piazza to Florence to wherever. You guys have been to so many phenomenal places. It doesn’t have to be just for those two or three weeks. It can be in the moment.
In my other room in my studio, I have the little bat globe. It got bats floating around it and not snow. You gave me that a few years ago. Every single time I see it, every time without fail, and I’ve got it in a prominent spot, it takes me back to the room and to the trip. I’m thinking about baseball games we’ve gone to together and all the fun and comedy shows. That little thing takes me back to all these pleasurable, not stressful places. It’s important to give your mind a place to rest, sometimes for an extended period of time and sometimes for five minutes. It’s too easy to go insane being an entrepreneur. Give yourself space.
You can only burn the candle at both ends for so long. That’s part of the reason why we’ve done so much stuff in the last couple of years. It’s to remove a lot of that stuff that burns out. I’m trying to reduce my travel schedule for going back and forth and being crazy to do things online. I’m using what we’re doing now with the show to help us educate people out there in a variety of different issues versus doing a class every month.
We’re going to have a 90 minutes session on burnout. First, we have to get all these people in a room. We’ve got to rent the room and organize the food and beverage. We’ve got to travel. This is a great thing. You’ve got such a great following. It’s an honor for me to be able to come on and be here. You mentioned the word sponsor. You and I were hosting each other way before anybody who’s exchanging money. I’m delighted to sponsor because I want to see your work get out to more and more people. You’re working with a lot of individuals. A lot of them are taking incredibly stressful risks at first. They’re starting to buy notes, getting their first entity set up and figuring out like, “What does this all mean to me?” I have to evict somebody or renegotiate a contractor. I’ve got all these people who are business owners who are taking risks and stressing out. When you said, “Let’s talk about burnout,” I thought, “What an appropriate topic.” Many people feel tired, a little scared and a little stressed out. A lot of people say, “If I go away, this thing I’m so stressed about could fall apart.” The argument you and I are making is if you don’t go away, it will fall apart.
You won’t see the bigger picture and the smaller picture because you’ll be overwhelmed with things. That was one of the big things prior to leaving. When we plan, I was like, “I’ve got a podcast. I don’t want to miss out an episode. We’re doing dramatic growth. I can’t leave for a couple of weeks. My podcast is going to dip.” What I did is I planned ahead of time. I filmed extra episodes. We leverage things out so that we had our best month ever as far as downloads, plays and views. I wasn’t here three-fourths of the month. We pre-planned. We used some of the simple tools out there. My staff did a great job. We had a great month also with our educational sales.
We have a company that helped out with that and ran some promotions. We did great stuff. The only time I had to answer a couple of emails was to update a couple of people on a couple of things. People don’t take activities because they don’t plan ahead. “I can’t take my hands off the wheel. I can’t delegate.” You have to start delegating. One of the best bits of advice I can give to people is if you are seeing yourself doing everything and you’re struggling from burnout and trying to get anything done, hire an assistant. It’s one of the most important things. If you want to make six figures in your business, hire an assistant. Aaron, do you agree to that?
How can you not have somebody doing the little ticky-tacky stuff, figuring stuff out and looking things up? If you want to spend your whole time doing research on Google, YouTube or somewhere, that’s fine. If you know what you need, you can hire somebody at a much lower hourly rate to dive in and do a probably better job than I would do. I was talking to somebody. They were talking about money and money issues. They were trying to explain to me that where I came from was not where they came from. That’s why I can do it and they can’t. This is an excuse that we hear all the time. People who are under pressure say, “It’s easier for you.” I came from having no money. My dad had a job, doing sales for a tracking company. He would often have a second job on the weekend. My mother did daycare for most of the time I can remember. If I was going to have anything, I had to figure out how to make the money. I started figuring that out in my teenage years. It wasn’t from going to McDonald’s. It was from figuring out a way to make more money by taking on more responsibility. That’s a different story for a different day.
You start to do things and you don’t get scared or quit. The people that are doing well are people who are taking a risk. People who stay in that finite, locked-in, bordered zone are the ones who assume that that’s all there is. They don’t jump the fence and try something new. My dad will tell me, “I don’t know how you’re always taking these risks. I would be freaking out. I’d be having a heart attack.” I adore my parents. No disrespect, but that’s why you live with my younger sister in her basement. You are always worried about everything that could wrong, not what could go right. Humans have money paradigms. They believe things they’ve heard over the years. Mostly everything I’ve done is against the grain of what I was supposed to do. It was not how you are successful. All of the things that I learned about, “Follow this track and you’ll be successful,” those are people that are now my employees or that are my service providers. They’re not telling me what to do. I’m instructing them. I’m the guy with one year of junior college. I don’t say that out of pride. People that get stuck in believing that there’s only a predetermined way to have a big life are probably destined to have a small life versus people like you.
I love your story, selling everything and you and the dog getting in the truck and off you go. You’re going to hit all the baseball stadiums. You get to teach note closing and buying nonperforming debt. Who does that? It’s the guy who becomes the biggest name in the business. Who goes and eats ketchup packages because they can’t afford the cheeseburger? It’s Mark Cuban, a billionaire, Shark and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. That’s who does it. Every one of the rich people has stories of doing what nobody else would do. Their parents are going, “Why don’t you get a job?” They’re going, “You don’t understand. There’s something more than being limited in your thing. I don’t want to just have a job, being limited in your thinking.” You can have a job. How many people do I meet with your team, your followers, who are working a W2 job? They’re going, “There must be more. I’m going to take my 401(k) or my IRA and I’m going to self-direct it. We’re going to start buying stuff,” or “I’m going to go get investors. I’m going to bird-dog deals. The investors will bring the money and we’ll get it done.”
My uncle is such a cool guy. He’s a meter reader for the gas company in California. That’s what he did. He read the meters. This is the low end of the totem pole, walking door-to-door and reading the meters. He started investing in real estate. Pretty soon, he’s living in this great big house. He’s still working for the gas company, but he’s got a home in Lake Arrowhead and a big home in LA. They’re driving nice cars. He’s still working the W2 but he saw that there was more. If he followed the rest of the meter readers and just went, had a beer at night, did nothing else and watched TV, he would have retired on a meager pension and Social Security. That would have been it. People that jumped the fence, who get out of the line and off the beaten path and say, “I can do more and accomplish more. I can think of bigger thoughts. I can dream bigger dreams,” are the ones that do it. The best, richest, most successful and happiest people I know take time for themselves. They guard it jealously. They don’t find their worth in the line of people waiting outside their door to ask a two-minute question. They find their worth in being free to do what they want, not having to wait to deal with the lineup. Don’t you think that’s true?
It’s true. I always make the joke that asking forgiveness is better than asking permission sometimes. You’ve got to. You can’t limit yourself. It’s one of the biggest things. There’s got to be more to life than punching a clock in. You make the joke about, “Why don’t you get a regular job?” My mom used to ask me that question years ago. “Why don’t you quit doing all this risky stuff and get yourself a real job?” I’ve always been a proponent. One of the things that we’re doing on the coaching call is some of the things that you can do with your side hustle to help you get to where you can leave your full-time hustle. You’ve got a book, the AskGaryVee book that I gave you from the event. Gary Vaynerchuk always likes to talk about the side hustle, 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM. We all have that. That’s the thing. We get so busy doing whatever it is, whether we’re working for the government and we put in the time for the job. We don’t put time into the side hustle.
At some point, you have to get outside of your comfort zone. Most people aren’t going to get outside of their comfort zone or their comfort spot until it becomes uncomfortable. They’re looking at getting laid off. They’re looking at not having enough for retirement. We’re all guilty of this. That’s where the most amount of growth comes from, is getting outside of that comfort zone. You’re going to learn more about yourself. You’re going to stretch yourself. You’re going to do some risky stuff or take some risks. The more you learn about something, the less the risk is involved.
If you’ve ever been zip lining, they tell you what to do and put you in a big, old heavy harness. There’s a mechanical thing hooked to a cable. Especially the first time you ever do it, you understand that you’re harnessed, that there’s a steel cable and that they do this as a business. I waited in line for other people to do it. I’ve watched other people do it. Your mind should tell you that you’re going to be safe and it’s going to work. It’s going to happen. Still, you stand on the precipice. There’s a moment where you have to let go and believe in the system. It’s terrifying the first time. Down is certain death. The difference between going, “I’m pretty sure I can swing on this vine over to the next tree,” and getting in the harness, hooking it onto the steel cable and having somebody that’s done this a thousand times next to you is life and death. The difference is success and failure.
People are nervous, but there are so many formulas. There are so many proven ways. If you will take the risk and let your feet off the platform, all of a sudden, you’re flying. You’re exhilarated. It’s amazing. You get to the next platform. You’re like, “Let’s go again.” That moment before is the moment that holds almost everybody up. They’re not willing to trust that the teaching, the mentorship, the structure, the process and the software will work. They hang back. They’re like, “I almost did it. I had a great idea one time. I look back to what I should have done.” You didn’t do it because you didn’t want to let go and trust.
I had a guy call me. He said those exact words. “I was thinking about getting into that note business a few years ago but I didn’t. I stayed at my job.” I’m like, “That would have been the best time to get into it but now is not a bad time.”
A few years ago, can you imagine all the assets available? It’s not like now where it’s a little harder. Things have been pretty good. A few years ago, you could have made millions of dollars.
You were talking about an analogy. The first time I went skydiving was on my 21st birthday. You talk about stress relief. You talk about anticipation growing, your heart pumping as you’re getting ready to jump out the thing. The first time you usually go, you’re in tandem. You’re latched into somebody behind you. I asked the guy I’m with. I was like, “How many times have you done this?” He said, “I’ve done this thousand times. I was in the Air Force for years or army.” I was like, “I trust you. Let’s do it.” We had a group of 25 people that were going to do it. Only three people out of the 25 ponied up and did it.
You get to that plane. You’re looking down. He opened the door. It’s like a garage door beside the plane. You’re not even in seats. You’re on a wooden platform, sitting down latched in. You get over there and he leans you out of the plane. You’re looking at the belly of the plane as you’re looking down. You can see planes down below looking like little ants flying. When they do that, they make sure you’re not going to pass out on them. They don’t want 200, 300 pounds of dead weight on them. I’m like, “Let’s go. Let’s do it.” They jump out. You don’t feel like you’re falling. You feel like you are floating. The wind is pushing your face. Somebody took a video of me falling. You feel that wind pushing back a little bit. It’s a minute and a half until they pulled it. It jerks you and then you are floating down there. To this day, it has been the most stress-relief thing that I have ever done. I didn’t give a crap about anything for two weeks because I was like, “I just jumped out of a plane.”
“If I lived through that, I can live through this traffic.”
We get so out of shape on little things a lot of times. That ends up causing us to get more frustrated and irritated. I have friends that are like, “You’re like, ‘It will be okay.’ We’re going to put that on your tombstone.” I’m like, “It is.” We always worry about the worst possible solution, the worst possible thing about why we shouldn’t do something. You and I have a tendency to say, “What’s the rarity, the likelihood that the worst possible thing can happen? It’s very small and minuscule. What’s the likelihood that the good is going to happen?”
“How could we win?” I was working with these people at the hospital. One of them said, “I want to go to Europe. I particularly want to go to France. I’m afraid to go because of all the terrorist stuff.” I was like, “I’ve been there multiple times in the last few years. I didn’t ever blow up. Nobody ever shot a gun in my direction. I never saw something explode.” A short time after we left Lyon, France, there was a suicide bomber in a bakery that was only about five blocks from where we were staying. Do things happen? Yes.
There are over a million people at any given moment in airplanes around the world. There are thousands of flights every day. How often do we hear of a plane crash? Yet, somebody will go, “I’m terrified of flying. What if we crash?” I’m like, “You’re not going to crash.” It’s way more dangerous to drive to the airport than to get into the airplane. If you do crash, you’re going to die. Who cares? It’s over anyway. Are you going to sit on the sidelines and never try something? It’s like winning Powerball. You’re much more likely to get run over by a bicycle than have a terrorist attack. Especially if you go to Amsterdam, the bikes are everywhere and they’re silent killers on two wheels. You’re so grateful they’re ringing their little handlebars. They’re on you that quick. There are no cars. Bikes are everywhere.
It’s like the scooters on 6th Street.
If you’re talking about scooters, go to Rome. There are 100 scooters crowding in between cars. It’s like, “What is wrong with these people? They’re going to all die.” You do hear a lot of ambulance sirens going.
Many of us get programmed. I’m going to refer to The E Myth by Michael Gerber. It’s a fabulous book. We all end up with trying to wear three hats as entrepreneurs. These are the forward-thinking, the customer service, and the research and development side. We’re all wearing three hats. You’re the guy that wears the hat of forward-thinking. You’re thinking ahead. As CEO of your company, whether it’s a company of one or a company of thousands, you’ve got to be forward-thinking. You’ve got to learn to delegate the other things off, whether it is having an assistant doing the little piddly things or the things that are income-producing or that take away from you being forward-thinking. It’s bringing on vendors, partners or virtual assistants to do that stuff for you. You’ve got to learn to do that. It’s cheaper than anything else. It’s $4 or $6 an hour. If you even paid somebody $10 an hour for ten hours a week, they would exponentially help you grow your business and your sales. It’s not all about the expenses. “I’m looking for $500,000. I’m going to do down payment. What do I have to do to do that? Let’s think of a way to raise that.”
It’s a new creation.
Some of the things that I have are my availability and my power to do that. A lot of people forget that they have so many free resources around them, especially these days. There are podcasts, webinars or things like that to make it fruitful.
It’s if people will allow themselves to open up their creativity and to think out of the box. Get out of line with everybody else. Get out of the crowd. Go somewhere else. I said to my wife one night, “Let’s go out to dinner.” It was a beautiful summer evening. She thought we were going to drive at the farm to downtown Portland. I said, “I’ve got another thing in mind. We’ve never eaten there but I want to go try this thing.” The logical route would have been down Interstate 5, cross the bridge into Oregon, turn east on Interstate 84 and Waze down there. An hour later, cross back into Washington to this lodge, this place I wanted to go. As we were going, I thought, “I’m not going to cross the bridge.” I’m going to get off the interstate. I’m going to get on the state road, the two-lane, because I’ve never driven that far on this little two-lane road. I turned off. We were in no hurry. I turned on to Highway 14 and went along the Columbia River. Instead of Interstate 84, it sits right down next to the water. You’re going right along the Columbia River. It’s two or three lanes on either side. You’re going fast. There’s not a lot to see, except for other semi-trucks and all that stuff.
Instead, we get on the two-lane, one lane each way. It climbs up high in the Columbia River Gorge. It goes up along these cliffs and through a few little dinky, charming little towns I didn’t even know existed. The main thing is there was a moment where we’re in the trees in the forest. We turned a corner and the road was built into the side of a cliff. They couldn’t go through it or over it so they built on it. I’ve lived here almost my entire life. I’ve been up and down that river hundreds and hundreds of times. We came around the corner and I thought I had gone to heaven. It was the most majestic view. The light was right. We were hanging off this cliff. The view was phenomenal. I thought, “I get to live here. This is fantastic.” We went back and the moment passed. We’re still going along. I thought, “If I’d stayed on the interstate with all the crowd, I would not have had that view.” I would have never seen that. It would’ve never been this transcendent experience. It would’ve never happened if I were trying to do the normal route that everybody else does instead of the one that takes a little longer that there could be a little traffic jam along the way. You don’t know. There could be some shepherd out there with the sheep blocking.
The point is as soon as we got off the normal, traditional beaten path and went a different way, our experience was exponentially better. That’s what it is to be a business owner who’s taking risks but also a business owner who’s taken the risks and also is saying, “I’m going to allow myself the time and the space to get out of my day-to-day and do something.” It’s an adventure. You don’t know if you’re going to love it or hate it. That’s what makes it an adventure. You’ve never done it. You’re going to try. Those moments when you get to glimpse the world from a different perspective is art. They change your life. It’s like jumping out of that plane. It changes your life. You go, “There’s way more to life than what I normally think of. I can do anything I want.” There’s my sermon.
Get off the beaten path. If you’re struggling and dealing with issues, don’t be afraid to take the path less traveled. One of my favorite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson. He’s got the famous quote of taking the beaten path. I want to quote this. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” For years, that is what I felt like I’ve done here with closing notes and note investing. A part of the reason was getting off the beaten path. It’s selling everything, going on my road trip and still doing it to this day. You never know who you’re going to talk to, who you’re going to meet with and who’s going to follow you down that path and go from there.
Get off the beaten path and leave a trail. I love it. I used that Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken, in some of my talks. The fact is it’s a choice. Every day, we have a choice. We can do what we’re used to doing or do something different. At the end of that poem, he says, “I will be telling this with a sigh, ages and ages hence.” At some point, we will look back and say, “Did we make our own path or did we just go with the crowd and get the same outcome that the average Joe gets? Did we end up making our own path, having our own experience and maybe,” like you do so effectively, Scott, “carving a path that others can follow?”
You do the same thing. I want to thank you again for being on the show.
Thanks so much. See you, Scott.
Thanks, Aaron. Don’t be afraid. If you’re finding yourself in the same traffic jams, the same bumper-to-bumper traffic, take the exit ramp. You never know which way it’s going to lead you. Don’t be afraid. It might take you a little bit longer or it may take you faster. You never know until you take the opportunity and make sure to do that. Go out and make something happen. I’m glad to be back in the office. We look forward to seeing you all at the top.
- Laughlin Associates
- The Artist’s Date
- Mark Cuban
- The E Myth
About Aaron Young
Aaron Young, is a lifelong entrepreneur, trusted advisor to CEOs and business owners and creator of The Unshackled Owner a program for entrepreneurs looking to build a business and not just a glorified job.
Aaron is Chairman/CEO of Laughlin Associates, a 44-year-old company that has helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs start, grow and profit from their business. This has given Aaron an ideal vantage point to observe common mistakes and successes in businesses from Main Street to America’s largest yacht broker from medical professionals to manufacturers to investors. For over 34 years, his experience founding, acquiring and directing multi-million dollar businesses as well as working as an officer for a publicly traded, multi-national, sets him apart from the crowd as a voice of real-world knowledge and authority.
Aaron has made it his life’s work to arm other business owners with success formulas that immediately provide exponential growth and protection. Below are some of his career highlights: