In today’s episode, Allan welcomes Luke Layman. Luke spent his early years as an Air Force fighter pilot where he learned the principles of communication, initiative, and accountability. After that incredible career, he spent the next decade perfecting ways to grow businesses. Allan and Luke discuss the important aspects of having business partners, and why you should not let fear get in the way of taking risks as an entrepreneur.
Luke can be reached via his webpage at Luke Layman
or on social media at Luke Layman | LinkedIn
Allan has started and grown several multi million dollar businesses, his mission is to help you do the same. Welcome to the Business Growth Pod, building the future one entrepreneur at a time.
I would encourage everyone to look back onto their track records. If I go back, let’s think about pilot training. There was absolutely a significant amount of fear, being scared risk that I would fail out of pilot training. But at some point, all the preparation, you still have to get in the airplane and turn the engines off. Take a vote of confidence in yourself. If you look backwards, you’re going to have a track record of success. And you can point to specific times in your life where you thought that you were going to not be able to accomplish the task, you sought information. You had mentors, and then you accomplish the task.
Hey, everyone, welcome to the show. I’m Allan. I’m a family man and attorney and an entrepreneur. Each week, we provide resources and advice to help build your business. Are you ready? Then let’s go.
Hey, everyone, welcome to the show. Today, I’m excited to welcome former fighter pilot. This is a first for us, a former fighter pilot, Luke Layman to the show, Luke is a serial entrepreneur, man after my own heart,investor and transformation coach, he has decades of experience leading high performance and high growth organizations. So, Luke, thanks for joining us. Welcome to the show. Great, Allan, thanks for having me. It’s good to be here. So tell us a little bit about yourself. Give us a little background. Tell us your story. Well, it’s funny, Alan, you know, here we are in 2021, my brother a few years ago accused me of being a recovering fighter pilot. And that kind of as a hat that fits me well. But I spent the first decade post college in the United States Air Force flying the a 10 warthog. If you’re familiar with it, or your listeners are familiar with it, they’ll blame me for not actually being a fighter pilot, because I was an attack pilot. And then I spent the next decade as an entrepreneur. So here we are today. And I’m very passionate about growing and scaling businesses past the eight figure mark, tell us a little bit about your your business background. What are some businesses that you’ve invested in and tell us some of your accomplishments and achievements? And in that field? You bet I you know, I started the business very first business. Well, I guess if you go all the way back, my very first business was 14 years old when I was pushing around lawn mowers. And I figured out I could make 100 bucks on a Saturday afternoon, which for a 14 year old. That was an enormous amount of money. I couldn’t blow that in one weekend. But my first real business, I thought that I was going to go into a management consultancy role because I thought that fighter pilots had something that they could tell business owners about how to operate in a boardroom. And while I may have been right, that was not the way the business trajectory went. So my first business was an aerospace and defense company. And since then that business has grown substantially and as a leading provider of defense solutions for the Department of Defense. But now I’m really interested in investment opportunities. And I’m invested across multiple sectors from hospitality to radio frequency engineering, and pretty much anything in between if it’s non Amazon, I’m pretty interested in it.
Okay, I gotcha. Tell me a little bit about what type of relationship you have with companies that you’re looking to invest in? Do you take a seat on the board? Are you active in day to day? Are you a silent, just a silent investor? What does that dynamic look like? You know, it really depends on it’s kind of interesting, sometimes I take a much more active role, but it really depends on the company. Some companies that I’m interested in don’t even have boards, it’s a single owner entrepreneur that owns all of the business and is looking to scale but most of the time, what we see is that they hit a wall, they get to the point where they’re at a million or 2 million $3 million of revenue, and they just don’t know how to take the business to the next level. And instead of bringing on a chief operations officer or somewhere at the executive level, it’s a good fit for them where I can come in and I can basically apply the same formula that I’ve done time and time again to grow businesses. So I do something very similar and and I actually didn’t didn’t know that about you, I knew quite a bit about your background, but I didn’t realize you know, kind of your current trajectory in the business world and investing in things like that and so but I very similar and with with my portfolio I’m I look at all sorts of different businesses. I’m
teaming up with somebody in the food service industry right now I’m getting involved in software, and my background is in law and in home service businesses and so, so it’s a little different. That’s one of the reasons why I like spreading my wings a little bit and you know,
Getting uncomfortable in these industries that, you know, a lot of business principles apply. But those areas aren’t necessarily my, my niche or my niches. That’s awesome. But but because I kind of have that background, I obviously see the value in that, right? It’s almost like I’m tooting my own horn saying,
hey, listeners, this is somebody that you should pay attention to. Because I understand that value there. And I don’t think I realized until you know, I spent years developing some of my businesses from scratch, what type of Head Start that gives to somebody that especially somebody that gets into an industry because they know something about that specific trade or service, or whatever it is that you know, that they’re a quote, unquote, technician in that field? What were your strengths? When you come into a business? What are some fields? What are some areas, some specific areas where you feel like you add value? Immediately? You know, if I were to go back 10 years, I would have said very simply, the answer was leadership. That was the skill set that I thought that I was bringing to it. And while I do believe that leadership is very important, it’s frankly, sales and marketing. It’s the ability to go in there and look at a value proposition inside a company and create a blue ocean out of it, especially in the service based industry. And I, you know, I know your background, Alan, and I actually would be very interested to hear kind of what your taken how you interact with your future investments, or how those business owners can best benefit from your relationships there. But to answer the question is, it’s frankly shoring up sales and marketing to go in there and create a value proposition inside a company that you can take something that that is unique, and you make it to where it’s an absolute blue ocean to steal the title of the book there. But what I found is that the business owners just get stuck, and they get, frankly, lazy. And they get into these price shootouts and these commodity games, where they go all the way to the bottom of the barrel because they think that they’re going to get a better customer base or a larger growth reputation, if they just go to the bottom of the price barrel. And when I go into these companies I go, that’s, that’s not the game I’m playing. Conversely, we want to find the most value, we want to find the most opportunity and we want to ramp that up systematize that put into a process. And then the real secret sauce. Alan, you kind of hit it. You mentioned the word teaming is joint ventures in the marketing world, we call that the cross sell on the upsell. But I’ll tell you a story about my plumber later if you want to hear it. But I just I really think that the opportunity to get out there and figure out, you know, for example, if you’re a pest control company, what other services does your customer want from you? And how do you bring that into a marketing and sales relationship?
I agree with you 100%. I think that
a lot of the reason why sales and marketing is such an important area when you get into a new business is because a lot of businesses are started by people, like I was referring to before, as technicians, right? Somebody that, you know, and I definitely wanna hear the story about your plumber, but your plumber probably started a business if he owns his own business or work for somebody else, because he’s a plumber, right? And he’s like, well, I, you know, want to control my schedule, I think I can make more money if I do this on my own or whatever. And so they go into business, and then they realize, well, I don’t know anything about sales and marketing. And there’s some other things that I’m realizing that a lot of my partners, they have definite strengths in some areas, some areas, and then opportunities for some assistance in others, but sales and marketing, that’s, you know, I get more questions. I bet 90 95% of my questions are about some form of marketing, probably up to 99%. If you’re including maybe 98% of your cleaning, including sells, right, I don’t get people asking me, Hey, you know, help me create my chart of accounts. So my profit and loss looks really sharp. And so there’s so much value that can be added through those two, through those two areas of a business. And so I’m actually really not surprised by your answer, even though I didn’t know what you were going to say. When you get into you know, you make a relationship with somebody you guys start talking about, you know, potentially partnering up, what what do you do to make sure expectations are clear about what you’re going to do, what services you’re going to provide? And then the ongoing work of you know, the person or or entity that you’re partnering up with? There’s a few answers in there. Alan, honestly, I’ll tell you that. So what do I look for first and foremost, in in my life in my businesses, I think that value, there’s this saying that I think it’s culture eats strategy for breakfast, and I’ll probably butcher that one. But the point is that the the value in the culture is so important and I think about it, communication initiative and accountability are the things that I look for and everything that goes right in a business.
Or everything that goes wrong in a business. And I can point to some acceleration or someplace that we did one of those correct, or one of those places that we went into those very well. So I can almost immediately when I meet someone and can tell if I’m going to be able to do business with them based on the rapport that we’re able to build very quickly. So communication initiative and accountability are the first ones there. The second is the very first thing that I do when looking at an opportunity, whether I’m going to be coaching or mentoring or or making an investment in it, is I go through, I’ve got a document that’s, that’s kind of born out of the years of being a business owner, I call it the five hour strategic plan. It’s I joked, Allen the other day, I pulled out this thing, I dusted it off from probably 15 years ago, it was 770 pages long on how to start a consulting business. And I’m like, man, if I can only take a month to read through that I may be able to start a consulting business. But that’s really it. Can we codify where we want to go in? When the business is over? How’s it going to act? Who are we going to serve? What products are we going to give them? And how are we going to measure our successes. And if we can get that five, our strategic planning document done together, and we can find commonality in our approach, we’re going to make it it’s going to be okay, one thing that, that I’ve noticed in getting involved with other businesses that have already started, right, I had done it done startups on my own and with partners in the past, but one thing that I’ve noticed, and getting involved kind of, you know, they’re they’re already rocking and rolling a little bit, is, there’s this initial, at least for me, and this might just be my personality, but there’s this initial, hey, I’m super excited about that, like I really wanting to invest, and then you get you get into the nuts and bolts, you start looking at books, you start, you know, finding, you know, getting all this information together. And then it’s almost like the honeymoon phase wears off a little bit and you’re like, oh, boy, like, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Have you found that to be true? Absolutely. And there’s a valuable lesson there to just walk away. And that’s, you know, that’s part of that they’re not all going to be gold mines, you know, it’s not going to be a great relationship where somebody is going to come to me and say, you’re going to be a great partner for me, and I’m going to be a great partner for you. And things do go bad. When a business is
dirty, for lack of better words, where they are, maybe the books aren’t clean, or the sales and marketing process isn’t great, or operations or delivery, those things are relatively easy to clean up. It’s when you go in and the culture is broken when you look and you see high turnover in their their workforce. When you see disgruntled employees, when you see things like that, those are the those are the big giant red flags for me that would say, I don’t think this is going to work out. But Alan, I want to go and tell you everything works. It all works. You know, you can go out there and do pretty much any business and I live in central North Carolina and the populations growing. But we have needs for barbershops we have needs for real estate agents we have needs for mortgage brokers and you know everything in between. So there is opportunity and demand signal for everybody. It’s just about going out there and doing it and committing to it, and staying focused. So I have some listeners that are trying to scale their business right now. And some of them, my guess is they’ve kicked around the idea of, hey, maybe we should bring somebody on whether it’s in a, you know, to help with financial backing, whether it’s in a strategic role, whether it’s in a advisory role, whether it’s just a consultant, whatever. And the reason why I know this is because several of them have reached out to me and said, Hey, Alan, we need you know, we need some help. What should these types of individuals be looking for? So entrepreneurs, they’ve started a company, and they’re starting to plateau a little bit? What should they be looking for? What questions should they be asking themselves to determine if they should bring somebody on board either as a consultant or as some type of partner? The answer to that, in my opinion, is it’s just a scale, it’s what kind of relationship that you want to have with the person that you’re going to bring on. You may hire down you may find someone that you want to hire lower and then train, teach coach, mentor in your own liking and make that person be somebody that that will be a good fit for your business or you may want to hire up. And you know whether or not you bring on a consultant, whether or not you bring on a business partner and investor. those are those are hierarchies on a scale to me of how big the problem that you need to solve is. So the way that I think about it, is if you’re trying to solve a small problem, you let’s say you’re your sales are stagnated. Bring on a consultant, have someone come in that’s walked the walk before that understands the industry and can bring you a couple of decades of experience of how to fix that single problem. But if you want to take your business on a journey
And you want to move it from a significantly different starting point at point A to point B, that’s where I would consider bringing on an investor. And, or, or even a strategic business partner, maybe that’s a board member or a board advisor, whatever it is, however you’re structured, if you bring that partner on is going to go on the journey with you, that’s where I make the decision for what kind of partner I’m going to bring on. So if it’s something you can fix in 90 days, you don’t need to give up any equity in the company. If you need a couple $100,000 to grow a business, you should go to the SBA and get a simple loan, because those are easy things to leverage debt. But if you want to go on a journey, and take your business, you know, a good example is if I’m going to take my business from two to $10 million in the next 24 to 36 months, that’s when I’d be looking for a partner that knows how to scale a business and a 5x return and can do that predictably. Yeah, I think that sounds right. I think I agree with that. Because there’s different ways to get money, right, you can borrow it, you can, you can raise it, you can kind of leverage assets that you already have, you can, you know, there’s you can use personal funds. You know, whatever the case is, there’s different ways to, to do that. But when you bring on a partner, it just changes more than just the financial aspect of the company. And I’m a huge proponent of partners, except for a couple of my businesses, all of them I have partners in and there are a couple of folks with national voices that swear up and down that you should never have a business partner unless it’s your wife never go into business with somebody, unless it’s your wife, and I’ve had partnerships fall apart. I have and it is tough. I’ve never been divorced. But I imagine that you know that that’s kind of
there’s some analogies there. It’s analogous to, to get into divorce if because you you become friends with them. And there’s all these issues. And so the rich, there’s that risk, right? But I think that the the reward with a partner, if it’s, you know, if my listeners are considering it, I’m going to encourage them to if if they think that it’s going to get them to the next level, if they think that it’s going to allow them to reach their goals, and allow them to kind of complete their vision and their their mission for why they started their company. You know, I would say, at least look into it a little bit, right? What are some things about personalities that come into play, when when some of these folks are looking to bring on an investor or a partner, there’s you said, to go into business with your wife, I love my wife, we’ve been married for 10 years, we we even dipped our toes into the idea of going into business together. But I will tell you, we make better spouses than we do business partners. So. So for the folks that are beating the drum of going to business with your family, that’s probably not my forte there. So just again, just to clarify, there’s a there is somebody that has a nationally syndicated radio show is borderline celebrity status works out of the South. And he says you should never have a business partner unless it’s your wife. That’s where that came. Yeah, that is not coming. That is not computer research and try to find that out. But you know, I don’t believe that. There’s the saying, if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go further go together. I don’t own 100. I don’t even own 100% of my house. Alan, why, you know, why would I own 100% of my businesses, I believe wholeheartedly that the sum of the parts is what we should be looking for if we can make one plus one not equal two, because of your background and my background, and when we combine our skill sets together, that that’s the outcome. But just as an aside, Alan, one of the things that people kind of get real stuck on is equity. And you know, I get new employees that come on that want equity, and I’m actually all for that. But what’s really interesting is when folks say that they’re either worried about giving up equity or worried about taking equity in the company, is when does equity pay out? If you don’t know the legal structure, and this is kind of the this is the tricky part for people looking for investments. I can take 1% ownership in a company and bind them up an operating agreement so that I have full control of the company. Or I could take 99% control of the company and have or 99% of the financial responsibility for the company and have no control of the company. So I really would encourage folks to think about that. If you’re thinking about taking an investor, think about what you want to retain. Do you want full control of the company do you want part control of the company, but when it comes right down to it for me, I would much rather have a slice of the watermelon than the whole tomato. That’s funny that you brought up equity because it’s such a hot topic. It really is and it’s a double edged sword. A lot of times I
Love that somebody’s in there with me. They’re in the trenches with me. And they get it. Right, they have skin in the game, I love that. My partners are who I vent to, they’re who I, you know, I can complain to them I, cuz they get it. There’s that emotional aspect because there’s that equity, but I hear this a lot, right? Look, I hear people say, you know, but I don’t want to give up equity like I don’t want to give up, I’d rather take a loan or I’d rather, you know, I’d rather borrow money from from grandma or whatever. And it’s like, okay, so if you get 150,000, from Grandma, you get 150,000. from, you know, George is going to be your business partner, if those are, you know, the money, the amount of money is the same. But besides that, that’s kind of where the similarities in because you’re getting somebody that’s really bought in to the cause, and, but equity for my listeners, I can just I can tell that that is just something, I hear it all the time, but I don’t want to give up equity. I don’t and I use kind of a similar explanation, you said I’d rather have, you know, a part of the watermelon than the entire tomato. And that’s exactly right. Because you can get so much further with with a partner, just because of different skill sets and different ambitions and different experiences and stuff. I want to shift gears a little bit with you, Luke, and I’m gonna throw you a curveball, I want you to tell me about the time
that you were the most scared in your life. That is a curveball.
You know, fear is the difference between being fearful in being scared, one being natural, and one being, you know, if I were walking through a parking garage, and the hair on the back of my neck stands up, that’s a natural reaction, that there is a heightened sense of awareness that I need to be aware of.
You know, it’s funny, because I love to talk about this in the business component. We’re all scared, and I kind of was thinking about this, as you were talking a little bit ago, it’s lonely at the top. When you’re the CEO of a company, it’s lonely, you cannot go into your employee pool and complain about something that’s going on in the company. The tax man’s come in, all the bills are going to come to the accounts receivable is not going to match the accounts payable. It is scary at the top of the company. But that’s not what you’re asking. You know, I’ll tell you a story. Alan, I, there’s there’s a couple times that in the airplane that that things got spooky for me. Almost all of them were in training environments but but being scared and realizing that there’s that death is imminent.
So I’ll just tell you about briefly, I was actually flying in Utah. This is many years ago, as a young lieutenant we were actually flying out of
let’s see where we were leaving, we were leaving Colorado, we went up over the Rockies and we were going out to Utah over to the Wasatch mountain train and we were flying low level and the the weather began to come down. So generally, what we would do is we would just route about route aboard, which means that we would just climb up above the mountains, and we would just go land somewhere else. But we didn’t we stuck with it, I was actually flying on the wing of a guy. And we turned up this valley. And as we turned left, so as we turned to the west and the Wasatch mountain, we thought we were in one saddle, but we weren’t. And that was called a dead man saddle. Because what I couldn’t do is I couldn’t see the other side of the valley that I was trying to go through, the weather was above me, and there was a mountain ahead of me. So when you realize that there’s not that many options left, and the best thing that you can do at that point is push the throttles up and start climbing over the mountains. Well, for those of your listeners that know the a 10 da 10 is not a power horse have an engine in the airplane. So it was a hope and a prayer, you pitch the nose up and you were in the full weather waiting to figure out whether or not you’re gonna hit the mountaintop or come out on the other side. So that was a pretty fearful memory for me. Yeah, that’s, I mean, I’m my palms are getting sweaty, just kind of listening to that.
And, I mean, fears, fears kind of interesting, especially from a business owners perspective, because it’s, it’s kind of a daily, daily thing, right? And the really successful entrepreneurs are the ones that can separate the logical aspects of fear from the irrational ones. Right? So they they know, okay, it’s okay for me to get nervous for me to make sure to dot all my eyes and cross my T’s with this, but we’re gonna keep going. Right? Like you said, we’re our options are, you know, one to, you know, to, to get to the next level and plow ahead. And so, you know, I imagine as a fighter pilot, I can’t. I think that’s, that’s awesome that you’re able to transition in, you know, into the business world because
listening to you know that story and
And, you know, some some other things that I’m aware about the armed services and stuff like that I, I feel like business owners sometimes the fear that we experience isn’t commensurate with how emotional we get about it. A lot of my listeners, they’re, they’re stuck right now they’re stagnant, because of fear, they’re paralyzed, because they think they’re gonna lose their entire businesses. And when somebody calls me, and they asked me, you know, hey, Alan, should I take on this? Should I take on this risk? I always tell him, Hey, it depends. You know, I don’t know your personality. I don’t know, you know, what your wife says, or your husband says, or, and as we face fear as business owners, and decide what to do in the face of fear? I think there’s a lot of things that come into play. Would you agree with that? Absolutely. And, you know, it’s interesting, many years ago, I had to come to a realization that my risk tolerance was actually quite low, you would think that a fighter pilot would have very high risk tolerance, but I don’t, my personal risk tolerance, you know, if I hadn’t measured on a scale of one to 10, it’s probably a fork. And I don’t know if that’s a good trait of an entrepreneur, or it’s not. But everything that I do is very calculated in, you know, when you come back and you start thinking about fear, as a function of risk, there is absolutely things to be fearful of, in your business, and things can go wrong. The difference for entrepreneurs, business owners and CEOs is, you’re the captain of the ship. If you’re the employee of the company, that same fear exists, the good news for you is you probably just don’t know, the risk is there. And COVID certainly gave us all those indications of that. But if you’re the business owner, yes, you have the increased responsibility. But when you take that fear into accountability, it just becomes one of any other measures of risk. And you mitigate it inside your business the same as you would as an insurance claim or a problem with somebody paying your bills. Oh, yeah, I think it’s cool for entrepreneurs, because they’re, you know, their risk, a lot of it is controlled by them. So they’re the ones that and, and that’s why I invest more heavily into businesses that I own, then I invest in the stock market, right, although I do invest in stock market as well. But I definitely invest more in businesses that I have at least some saying, right? Besides one, you know, annual vote, or whatever that means, next to nothing. Because I, I feel like, if I have a little bit of control, it just makes me feel better. Makes me feel like, hey, when loser draw like at least there’s some control. So for me, a lot of fear that I have comes from the lack of control. And there’s a lot of people that are listening that when they’re trying to get to the next level, they’re trying to double ourselves, or, you know, they’re trying to double their workforce or whatever. they’re experiencing the same types of fear that entrepreneurs are experiencing, they haven’t even, you know, completed their startup yet, right? They haven’t even opened their business. And I learned this, I always thought that, hey, once I’m going on good, right. Once I’m once I opened my doors, you know, the risk is over. And I realized it’s not the case. And actually, once you start putting a couple of bucks together, your risk increases, right. I’ve learned that as my companies get bigger, the target on my back gets bigger also. And so you talked a little bit about mitigation? What are some things that that these entrepreneurs, you know, let’s say there’s somebody that wants to put a million dollars into a Google AdWords campaign this year? What are some things that they can do to either mitigate the risk or to just feel better about their decision to you know, push ahead. The easiest thing for me, Alan, when you think about it, is I would encourage everyone to look back onto their track records. If I go back, and I, you know, I can go back into let’s let’s think about pilot training, there was absolutely a significant amount of fear, being scared risk that I would fail out of pilot training that I would crash an airplane, whatever it is, but at some point, all the studying all the preparation, you still have to get in the airplane and turn the engines on. And so there’s two things that I would say about that. The first is, take a vote of confidence in yourself, if you look backwards. For most entrepreneurs, you’re going to have a track record of success. And you can point to specific times in your life where you thought that you were going to not be able to accomplish a task. You sought information. You trained, you practiced, you had mentors, and then you accomplish the task, and this thing that you’re getting ready
To do on your business venture is only a different scale of that same problem. And I, you know, I kind of joke about it a little bit because I look at my, I’ll give you this, I’ll come back to it real quick. My daughter was, she’s just turned seven and she was climbing over this
tower at a park it was probably about 12 feet tall. But as she came over the top, she could not figure out how to get her foot onto the next rail and I was there coaching her at the bottom Tenley, just put your foot down, you’re literally one inch from the rope that’s gonna get you down the other side. But fear, paralyzed her and made her unable to get over the top of that thing. And she came back down and she looked at she realized how easy it was. And she went back up and over that thing three, or four or five times right after that, the point of that is the first time, it always feels fearful, because you don’t know what could happen. But once you see it, and you can control it, it’s a lot easier. So taking that leap leap of faith is easier if you think about it as a capability that you possess, and how to solve decisions. But the second one is really easy. You’re not spending a million dollars on an SEO campaign. Tomorrow, you may spend $10,000, on the SEO campaign tomorrow, but you’re not spinning the million dollars tomorrow, there’s always a first step, and you’re going to get feedback each step of the way. So as long as you wait for that feedback, you’re going to get the encouragement that I just spent $10,000 on SEO campaign, and I’m getting feedback that is working. So I’m going to put the next tenant and the next tenant and the next tenant. And then when you’ve completed the million dollar SEO campaign, you’re just going to add that as another feather in your quill that says that you know how to do something.
So I feel like a lot of the fear that we have, especially as entrepreneurs is exactly what you talked about. And that’s, you know, especially doing things for the first time is fear of the unknown. We don’t necessarily fear, you know, worst case scenario or anything, we just fear something that we don’t know, because we feel like we don’t have control over it. I feel like sometimes risk can be such a great, such a great thing. Because it binds us to what we’re trying to accomplish. Right, you’ve heard the, you know, the kind of cliche that you burn your boats, in what ways has has fear of something or taking something on allowed you to improve your life or, or kind of level up? Yeah, I love the analogy about burn your ships or throw your hat over the fence. You know, whatever it is, it’s about making a commitment to move forward. Fear, you know, this goes back to it. And a couple of years ago, Marissa pier actually was talking about this that entrepreneurs face two major fears. They face the fear of inadequacy, and the fear of judgment. And when I look back on it, I’ve seen about poetry in an example as well, for this one. Sure, I was arrogant. I was 22 years old. And I was happy to strap that jet on and go fly it and I was confident. But at the root of it, I was fearful, I was fearful that I was going to not be prepared, not be ready that I would crash the airplane, when it comes down to it is the fear of inadequacy in the fear of judgment.
But once you know that, and once you see it, and you can give it a name, it makes it easier to move forward. So now, you know thinking about the businesses, there are certainly things that I don’t know how to do yet, in the business world. I have not ran a multi billion dollar company. I have not employed over 1000 people. So when I think about those things as things that are in the future, if I can give it a name, and I can recognize that that fear of inadequacy or fear of judgment may be something that’s causing me a limitation in my own thinking, then I can backwards solve for that. And I can give myself the reassurances and come up with an answer. So it’s not so much the unknown. That’s the problem. For me, I mean, they are known as the future, but it’s my response to the future in that inadequate, or way that someone would judge me. And once I can give it a name and begin to think about the thing that I’m actually solving for it becomes a lot easier. Like how you broke that down and into those two kind of aspects of fear that we experienced as entrepreneurs. And I know,
the fear of being inadequate is that’s so big. I think that’s big,
just in general, but especially for business owners, this, you know, this individual that’s wanting to launch this million dollar AdWords campaign. They, you know, they might be thinking, you know, I know people that do it, but those people are smarter than me or those people or this or those people or that and I’m not adequate, right, this imposter syndrome that entrepreneurs have, and it’s something I struggle with, and it doesn’t matter as I progress in business and I you know, I progress in
Life or whatever. So I get older, it’s still there. And it doesn’t matter who I’m surrounding myself, myself with. What do people do to get this imposter syndrome? This, you know, fear of being inadequate is so big to entrepreneurs, what? What are some tips that you can give to help them get beyond that? What is the thought process? As someone’s trying to improve their business, hire additional employees? And they get this doubt, right, they get their demons saying, you know, other other people can build businesses like this, but not you, there’s a lot to that they’re first and foremost, nobody is smarter. There there is. Sure, I guess that’s not true. There are folks that are smarter. But frankly, entrepreneurs are not the smartest group in the world. If you wanted to go to the smartest group, you would go to college professors, you would go to an engineering pool at Google, you would go to Apple or MIT or whatever it is to find somebody that’s smarter than you. The folks in the entrepreneurial pool are just willing to go out there and put their name on something and give it a go. And they’re willing to take a little bit more risk. But so I think it’s you know, for anybody that’s thinking, well, that person could do it, because it’s smarter, no, that person took action. That’s the only thing that’s different. But I love the way that you talk about imposter syndrome. There’s something that one of the things that I talk often about is limiting beliefs. And I know you’ve probably got some thoughts on this. But here’s what’s interesting about a limiting belief.
A limiting belief is only limiting when you can look backwards and see that it was limiting for you. Because when you feel that way, right now, it’s just a belief. So if I believe that I can’t do that million dollar AdWords or SEO campaign, it is my belief right now. And until I get over the hump, and I can see that I could do it. That’s when I can look back and realize that it was limiting.
But when you get to that point, and probably Alan, you know, as we’ve been a little bit longer in our careers here is we can realize, when we are having imposter syndrome, we can realize when the belief or the value or the way that we perceive something is actually limiting for us. And we can begin to move forward and go forward with it. You said something a second ago, actually about having a target on your back, I love that concept about having a target on your back, that actually means that you’re doing it right, if your competitors are trying to undercut you, if you are feeling the pressure from other people trying to steal your employees is because the culture of your company is such that you have something that is enviable. So I actually love having a target on my back. But the answer to your question there, you know, for me, there’s only a couple of things that I would really recommend. Number one is stay in the work. And there’s another, you know, lots of actually a couple of folks that say you need to take large action, massive action, well, that’s just not sustainable. I actually love my kids as well. And at the end of that 24 hour day, I’m really not going to work more than about six or eight hours, all my work, and I’m going to dedicate the rest to my health and my family. So first of all, it’s not massive action that you need. It’s imperfect action. And I thought often if I ever had to go back to work and work environment where I had to interview for a job and someone said, Luke, what’s the what’s the characteristic that you can bring to the company? And my answer would be that I make decisions that are 90% correct, with 80% of the information. But I’m really never trying to get past that 80% of the information, unless there’s something that’s really driving me to a real specific, precise answer. I’m only trying to get to 80%. And I usually get it right. So the first one, take imperfect action, stay in the work, realize that you don’t need to solve what you’re going to try to do this year, you just need to solve what you’re trying to do this week. And then the other analogy that I really love is put your shoes on.
I was listening to it, you know there was a weight loss, I think was somebody who’s talking about that and said, You don’t get fat from eating one pizza. You don’t get skinny from running one mile. But when you think about the way that you need to approach the day is if I were if I said that I wanted to lose 10 pounds or if I wanted to go be a track athlete or whatever it is, there’s always a first step and that first step is put your shoes on. So if you’re going to go out there and face the day, face to day with your running shoes if you’re going to go lose 10 pounds or run a triathlon. But for business owners, dress the part go out there and face the day put your shoes on and take the first step for what you need to do to go slay that beast. I love that because action. It solves so many problems. it alleviates so many fears and so many it just it just takes care of a lot of things that that we’re concerned about. Another couple things I might add, you know as I’m as I’m thinking about, you know my introspection when I when I’m facing
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