Episode 18: Leading on Purpose with Purpose
with John Ramstead

Do you want to live a life more fully alive? What does it mean to live on purpose, with purpose?

In this episode our guest, John Ramstead, shares wisdom on how to discover your core values, clarify your mission and leave a Legacy you will be proud of.      

John is an author, podcaster, speaker, and leadership expert with an approach to leadership that creates measurable results and is a catalyst for creating significance and success.

About our guest

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Learn more about Beyond Influence

John Ramstead is a keynote speaker and trainer, former combat Navy fighter pilot, leadership coach and international podcast host. John was named by Inc. Magazine as one of “The Top 12 Podcasts Leaders Need to Listen To.” It is John’s purpose and joy to launch individuals, companies, and government organizations into their full potential.

John was at the peak of his professional career nine years ago when his dreams were shattered by a freak accident. 23 surgeries and almost two years of medical care later, John emerged with a profound vision for how to live a life of significance. Since then, he has coached and mentored hundreds of individuals and companies. John’s passion for helping others discover their true purpose and exactly how to get there will inspire you to take action today!

Episode transcript

Sara: John Ramstead, I'm so excited to have you on the podcast today. I think you are the first guest I don't think I know. You are the first guest that we have had on our podcast that I don't know that I've never met before today. So I'm really excited to hear more about your story. You came highly recommended by a colleague of ours, and I have read your book and done my homework and so I'm really excited to hear your story and hear your message and introduce you to our listeners and our community. So thank you for being on the show.

John: Yeah, thank you for having me, Sara, and just our pre-conversation before we hit record. My goodness, you are just so likable and so welcoming for everybody you work with. Your clients and your audience just love you so thank you for having me into your world.

Sara: Oh, that is too kind. Well, thank you. So like I said, I was given an advanced copy of your book that is going to be released by the time this podcast is aired, which is exciting. It is ‘On Purpose With Purpose’. So I read it, and I've listened to some of your podcasts just because I thought “I want to know who this guy is that I'm talking to”, and realized that we have so much in common in terms of our mission and our kind of -- in your language -- our vision for what we're trying to accomplish. And the two big things that stood out to me in terms of where there's great overlap that I would love to just hear more about as we get into our conversation is you mentioned that the leadership industry tends to really focus on kind of the what, why, and how of leadership, right? Really talking about what you need to be doing as a leader and for you, and for us at the Lyceum, it's more about who you want to be as a leader, who you should be just as a human being, and in focusing on yourself as a person and growing yourself as a person. Because for me, I don't know if this metaphor resonates with the world, the way I explain it to people is that for me, working on who you are as a person is like upgrading the operating system, right? Like you think about all the updates that happen on your phone so that when you add the apps, when you add the skills, when you add the best practices, they function more effectively because you are a more grounded person and it sounds like that's something that you value as well, that who you are as a leader. So I love that about you.  

John: Well, yeah, well, think about it, are we up to an iPhone 12? If I had an iPhone 6 and I was trying to run today's apps, I would be frustrated constantly. And here's what I found Sara, in the US, which kind of blew me away as I did some research, we spend 24 billion, with a "B", a year on the leadership training in corporate America. And let me ask you guys a question - does anybody feel like we have a leadership crisis, not just in Washington, but like in our companies, in our communities? And if you actually look at all of this money that's spent, that is focused, I think the leadership industry is actually doing, they've actually figured out what they are good at selling, and that is processes and policies and new initiatives are all around the "why's" and the "what's" and "how's" but here's what I found is, let's say I come in and hire you and Keith, and I have this goal for my company and my team and you give me your best stuff, your best coaching, your best processes but if I'm a flawed person, if I'm that iPhone 6, I am not going to get the results that I had hoped for, that maybe other clients that you've had have been able to get. And so what I realized is becoming that best version of yourself, really understanding that operating system - what are some of those lies that we've let in into our identity? It's like who we are. I mean, you have a degree in this, right, in Industrial psychology, and I'd love to even hear your thoughts, but, you know, our identity is formed as we go through life with our own experiences. You know, those things that people have said to us. When I was younger, somebody told me -- it was an argument, people were angry -- is when I was getting in to start my first company that I could never succeed as an entrepreneur, that I would fail and embarrass myself and it was somebody I respected.  

Sara: Oh, wow.  

John: Now, that turned out not to be true, but that was in the back of my head for years and what I was doing is what I realized looking back, because I had some real struggles in the beginning with business, was I was operating from a place to prove that person wrong. That was my primary goal versus doing the right thing for me, my team, and my company and I ended up succeeding and blowing that company up, that first one. But we have all this stuff that's all in who we are that shows, it completely informs -- without our knowledge, often -- how we think, the emotions that come up in all kinds of different situations because it's out of that emotional place, how we're feeling, whether we're aware of or not, is where we take actions from. And those actions over time lead to habits and those also is what give us our results. So what I had to realized that I had to do, a first step for me and it was hard, was to take personal responsibility for how I thought, the emotions I had in different situations, the actions that I took, and the results that I had in life, and I could not blame them on anybody else. And I had said that was that was hard to do but when I went through that and really understood that now, you know, I actually am in control, I'm not at the mercy of somebody else, that life happens for me, it doesn't happen to me -- for me, it was like the start of this inflection point where things just got "gooder". How's that?

Sara: "Gooder", I love it. I mean, that's exactly why I felt so much resonation with what you wrote in your book and for our listeners that are more familiar with the way we talk about it at the Leaders Lyceum and the Growing as Grown-Ups podcast, it is this idea of vertical development, as Keith talked about from his book, this maturing where you go through this effectiveness transition, where you let less of the outside sources influence you in more and more, you become grounded in who you are. You take responsibility. You decide that what matters most is being the person that you want to be, that you feel like you were designed to be, and less energy trying to figure out what other people want from you and so, you know, just in that little 60 seconds that you shared without even having read Keith's book probably, you know, your life testifies to that which I love and now --.

John: You know, I...What you and Keith, I think what we've tapped into and it's just through our experience, what we've seen over the years of what works and what doesn't, is just some universal truths. You know, these fundamental things you're talking about at becoming the best version of ourselves, and there's actually there's a lot to actually doing that and I think it's hard to do alone because I got myself in this jam alone and then if I could think I could get out of it myself, I was kidding myself. But, you know, working with coaches and mentors and having people around me as I had to identify what are the changes I needed to make and why, what would that do for me? All of these things came together and it's a process, but for me personally, one of the most worthwhile processes I've ever been through because I went from life just being this grind to being this -- I woke up this morning, Sara, I was just totally excited to get out of bed and I'm that way every day now and I didn't think that was even an option a few years ago.

Sara: I love it and that seems to be kind of the motivation behind the book that you wrote, which we will get to because I want you to share some of the key principles that came out of your book, but I think we would be doing our listeners a disservice if I did not give you a chance to share one of your stories from your past. Your book goes through so many of them that are just fascinating and we've had a number of guests on our podcasts up until this point who talked about the challenges they faced and how those challenges shaped them into who they are and I just thought, "I can't not give John the chance to share," and so, you know, there's so many to choose from but if you want to just pick one. You know, when you think back over these experiences that you've had, these challenges and adversities that you faced, what's one that you think had the biggest impact on who you are today?  

John: Well, clearly. Well, you know, back in my youth when I was flying F-14s, I got orders to go to Top Gun at the end of my second tour, and I was about to go, never been more excited in my life, it's a dream come true, and the next weekend I get hit with a softball in the eye and I had nerve damage. I lost my medical and I was done and I was out.  

Sara: I mean, just that quick.  

John: And I just want to share, my identity was completely in everything external Sara. As a fighter pilot, as a naval officer and all these things and it was ripped away from me and I honestly thought that was going to be one of the hardest things I ever had gone through but fast-forward to 2011 -- I got in the Navy in 1995 -- and I had this long business career as an entrepreneur, all kinds of ups and downs of business, and I decided I want to start another company with just some great friends of mine. I was five months into that and I get invited to a retreat up in Montana for -- I live in Denver -- for a nonprofit called Family Talk that Dr. Dobson had started, a friend of mine who was on the board, and one of the things that we're going to do, we had a small group, 15, 16 people, one of the things we're going to do is get on horseback and ride in the back of this beautiful property and have lunch. And I'm the first one in the saddle and all of a sudden my horse starts trotting out into this open area and then he bolts and he takes off and I'm laying flat on my back and his rump is pounding me in the shoulder blades as he's accelerating and I was scared to death I was going to flip off the back of this horse, get kicked in the head and get killed. So I did the only thing I can think of at the time, and that was to squeeze with my legs as hard as I can. Are you a horse person, Sara?  
Sara: I know enough to know that was a bad idea.  

John: Yeah. Why? What was I telling the horse to do?  

Sara: Run faster!  

John: Yes and that little guy, he selected full afterburner. He found another gear, I'm telling you. I'm a dude, I did not read the manual, I'm just being honest. I was not expecting this. So I get back up in the saddle and I'm looking ahead and we are heading straight at a series of steel paddocks and I'm like, "OK, well, what do we do?" I try to get the horse to turn, he won't turn. Try to get him to turn again, he won't turn, he won't slow down, he won't stop and I literally start absolutely going into a full panic mode. I'll never forget, twenty yards in front of the fence at a flat-out run, because none of this makes sense, like why would the horse do this? I didn't even have time to think, but it's like everything slowed down and I remember thinking to myself, "This is not going to end well," and that's the last thing I remember. Now at a full gallop, the horse -- somebody else who was watching this, there was other people there -- he came in and he bucked so hard, he flipped over and landed on his side on the dirt and slammed into that fence front-first but when he did that, he launched me Superman into this three-inch steel beam and it hit me across the skull. I caved in the left side of my skull. I lost eight teeth. I broke virtually every bone in my skull except my jaw and my right cheekbone. I broke my neck. I shattered my shoulder and another one of the bars actually hit my ribcage and I crushed my ribcage and one of the broken ribs punctured my left lung. I woke up on the --  

Sara: It didn't end, well.

John: No, it did not end well and just put everything in context, what happened was I spent the next five weeks up there in a trauma center, in ICU. I had -- and then I spent 20 months here in Denver at Craig Hospital, the specialty hospital with a severe traumatic brain injury. During that period of time, I had twenty-three surgeries from minor to major reconstructive surgeries. But we'd heard from multiple doctors, though, during that time, that what happened to me was not survivable. I actually had somebody, a doctor just follow-up with me out of the blue, it was a couple of years ago, and said, "I was a doc in Iraq. I saw things I absolutely couldn't reconcile. I just want to share with you. I completely walked away from my faith because of what I saw, I could not reconcile it. But seeing you physically, medically, there is no explanation at all why a) you're alive but b) that you can actually walk and talk and function. And because of that, I've actually completely reconnected to my faith." He called me just to thank me, it was a short conversation. I wanted to go longer, but here's what happened is at the accident, I woke up and I was in more pain that I could even describe to anybody and I was yelling and screaming and trying to get away from the pain. People were holding me down and head injury so the whole thing's kind of a bad experience for everybody around me. I wasn't even aware of this, I was just aware of the pain and the panic and the fear and, you know when they say "God won't give you more than you can handle"?    Well, it's not true telling you that right now, but then all of a sudden I was in God's presence. His love was absolutely just washing over me. It was personal. I remember the first thought I had was, "I'm not worthy of somebody loving me like this," and then we had a conversation, Sara, and I'm happy to go into detail about what happened, but I was given a second chance and I was told I was going to be healed because what happened next is -- and at the time where I was faith-wise, it just wasn't a big part of my life to be honest with you. He shared some things that actually I found out later that were actually in the Bible I didn't even know, OK? So that's kind of where I was at, because this whole thing, the fact the God of the universe actually cared about me individually was like this crazy new concept. But I opened my eyes and I said to everybody around me when I woke up, I said, "Hey, God's here. You don't have to worry. He said, it's going to be OK," and there's a woman next to me who'd been a paramedic for 30 years and she's like, "Yeah, I don't think so." She didn't say that out loud. It was an hour to Life Flight got there and she did not think I was going to make it.  

Sara: Yeah, they probably thought you were delusional, like you were crossing over to the other side.  

John: But here's the deal. That entire hour, do you know, I laid there and I was in no pain. I did not have -- I did not complain of any pain. I was talking with Him and I was repeating some questions. One of the guys described it like it was like your brain was trying to reboot from getting bonked on the thing but they thought from how I was showing up that -- you know, as a matter of fact, they called my wife and basically said, "John got thrown off a horse up here in Montana. You need to come up and get him so you can bring him back to Denver. It should be OK." That's how normal I was acting in the moment. They get me to the hospital and assess me and call my wife and say, "You need to get up here with the boys because it doesn't look good." They actually didn't think I'd make it through the night.  

Sara: Oh, wow.  

John: And -- But here's something to talk about, how hard it was. I mean, you're starting to -- I'm forty-five years old, I'm starting a new company. My wife is staying home, homeschooling the kids. This is her dream, her calling, her purpose has been and always has been to be a mom. She was, I mean, she was living, she was doing what she was designed to do and then everything gets turned upside down. For two and a half years, she was my caregiver. We had to put the kids in school. We had no income for two and a half years. I was in chronic pain and I have this severe brain injury and I'm sure you're familiar with the frontal left lobe, right? So my emotional control was not there, my social filters, executive functions. I was not the person that my kids even remembered for a very long time. But for me, looking at this, I just want to share two little points from this. I was sitting in my hospital bed, or laying in my hospital bed in this trauma center. It was a few days after the accident and the neurosurgeon walks in and they have to do a craniotomy. They got to take everything off to fix stuff and he's explaining this, it was just my wife in the room, and said, here, "Here's all the things that we have to do, but here's the chances of survival. What I heard is they're not good. And the chances of John being who you remember him to be is not the best either." But then he asked her, "Does John, have a will and a more importantly, a living will?" Like, "Well, that's just kind of got real."  

Sara: Yikes.  

John: So they walk out of the room and I'm laying there and what I was convinced of, Sara, was the next weekend was my funeral, even though I just had this, you know, near-death experience. But I was convinced in that moment and I started playing the tape. I started saying, "OK, what is it that everybody says? Well, at the front of the church, everybody says nice things because that's what you do. But what did everybody say afterwards, you know, rooting around the back of the church for whatever food we have there? And what would they say a year later? And I honestly, I started thinking about, "OK, are they going to be OK?" My wife and kids. Inheritance - that is what we leave TO people. But then I started thinking of legacy. What have I left IN my kids and IN my life, have I lived a life so the USE of my life would outlive my life? Have I shown my kids how to how to go through adversity well? Have I shown my kids how to be people of character? Have I shown my kids how to serve others in a way because I started thinking about all these amazing men and women in my life, Sara, that had been mentors in the military, in business, when I failed as an entrepreneur, when I rose to the top of the corporate ladder, people that saw things in me that I didn't see in myself and they challenged me and they brought it out and they pushed me. And I'm like, you know what? If I do get -- if this second chance is real, I'm going to completely rewrite my script and create a legacy that I would absolutely be proud of. So one of the things I did in that moment -- Oh, go ahead, Sara.  

Sara: No, it's just impressive. I mean, it's's amazing. So keep going.  

John: So here's one of the things I did. I actually started working with a coach and he asked me about -- I thought was a great question -- He said, well, "What were those obituaries, those ones you are imagining, what were people saying?" Right, and I said, "If you were being real with yourself and you lived this life that you're talking about in the way that you have this chance to recreate, what would they say?" It was this amazing conversation. And then what I decided to do is actually write that down. What was that obituary someday, 40, 50 years, hopefully from now that my wife would say? What is it, that if I lived a life and treated her this way and showed up as that best version of myself, not the person I was before the accident because we can talk a little bit about that. And my kids. And here's the thing, Sara, I haven't shared that with my wife, but I've actually shared it with some of my closest, what I call wingmen, and I've given them permission to ask me, "Hey, is Donna feeling like the most loved woman in the world today?" because that's in there. And, like, "Why didn't you call today?"  

Sara: "Why, today?"  

John: "You should've called yesterday. Would have been good!" I got -- you know what? I need to go apologize and go buy some flowers and "you can call me tonight". It's like, you know what? I will. I'll do that but having that accountability toward that for me -- but here's what I realized was the person I saw in the mirror, and this was a process, was very flawed. All my life experiences, my identity, still at that time I was under the what I call "the Tyranny of THEY". What do THEY expect of me? How did THEY think I should show up? What did THEY think my values should be? How do THEY define success? I was trying to meet all these bars of family members, of my boss, of people at nonprofits I was at, and I was so disconnected but not only that better version of myself, who I really was at the core, but a sense of true purpose that was compelling. The only thing I knew how to do was work harder and from the outside-in, everybody would look at me and say, you know, "He's doing pretty good, right? He's at the top of his career. He's on these nonprofits. He's at all of his kids games." Sara, I had never been more miserable. I describe it in the book as you said as "smoldering discontent".  

Sara: I love that phrase.  

John: You know, and it's interesting because I got in the executive coaching and as I was getting into it, I interviewed 10 CEOs from anywhere from 100 employees all the way to much bigger. And it's really interesting because every single one of them used, at some time during our conversation because I was trying to understand what are their biggest problems they're trying to solve as a leader, they all use the same phrase in some form or fashion, and that was this: "You know what? I'd love to live life more alive. I'd like to live life more fully alive." They all talked about being alive and every one of them said they don't have it today. They don't even know what it looks like. They don't even know how to move toward it but they just know that it doesn't exist and I said that's exactly how I felt. Right, and what I realized was, is this whole journey for me of -- what I realized is, Sara, I had to slow down, if you actually look at some of your clients that have had the best results, you have to slow down in order to speed up. We have to slow down in order to actually look inside and say, "What are some of those lies that I've let into my identity and accepted them as truth? What are some of my limiting beliefs, and is there a liberating truth on the other side of that belief that can start to free me up? What are my core values, what are my passions?" And I talk about in the book about this place of convergence as you go through and you really start to understand, and for me, it was not who I saw in the mirror, but the person God sees when He looks at me and I realized the gap was massive and this is my opinion: I think the bigger that gap is. The more stress, anxiety, burnout, frustration, anger problems -- because I had all that -- that show up in your life, and as I started closing that gap between that person in that mirror and that best version of myself, for me, all that stuff just started to melt away. Now, some of it's still there but I got to tell you, it's gone from like a 9 out of 10 down to literally maybe a 1 or 2. I'm thinking about the pain scale. So--  

Sara: I mean, you think about would you ever want to go through the tragedy of that horse accident again, you would never wish that on anybody. And yet, would your life be anything like it is today if you hadn't gone through it? And I think what you're describing right now is something that we find to be so true in our clients and it's – we use different language, but it's the same principle and we talk about helping people identify their "bigger me" value, that "who do they want to be" and identifying the "smaller me", which is the kind of "how I'm living my life today". Most of the time it's based in what you just referred to as this limiting belief. It's this fear of something, this protection of something that says, "I can't risk changing this even though I really want to be this other version of me," and I think that was another point that I fully resonated with you, was this idea of the importance of naming both where you want to go, your destination, your legacy, and an honest evaluation of where you are today. And so to kind of bring it back to what you talk about in the book, talk to us more about this idea of how you close that gap between your purpose, your destiny, this better version of yourself, this life, "fully alive", all these different ways it can be described and the process of understanding where I am today, what do people need to do? You know? Like, give us the highlights of your book. How do we do that?  

John: OK`, so here's –if you guys think of flying along in an airliner, you're up at altitude, the crew's got the autopilot on, you realize that that airplane is only on course less than 3% of the time. That's it.  

Sara: That's terrifying.  

John: And that's because it's constantly being pushed off course by winds and the engines are turning and people are walking up and down the aisle, it's throwing it out of balance. Our life is the exact same. We are constantly being pushed off of course, with relationships, with a pandemic, with economics, with our health. I'm struggling -- I had severe COVID. I'm tied to an oxygen machine right now; it's kind of an interesting time in my life. But that autopilot needs three things and this is where I started with to be able to course correct. The first one is it has to have a True North. It has to be able to set an initial course and have a reference for a course correction. And we need a True North in our own lives. That could be your faith, but I think a huge part of that is your identity, Sara, when you start looking at really who you truly are, because what I believe is that inner game determines that outer game and I wanted to get to a place where my identity was based on my core values and what was important to me and my core beliefs versus the approval of others. And that was a process. The second one is like, think about your app, your phone, you jump into your car, you're going somewhere. First thing you type in is their destination and the app doesn't even work without telling it where you want to go and how often in our lives -- I know for me -- do we have a worthwhile dream or goal that we are pursuing with a passion? When I was pursuing my Navy wings, those wings of gold, when I was building my first company, I couldn't wait to get up in the morning and put in the work, even though a lot of it was difficult and hard and I didn't enjoy it, but I knew it was going to get me this great outcome and I think we drift off course and we don't have a mission and a destination that's really compelling for us. And then the other one, like you said, is our present position. You take out that phone and think about the time like it doesn't know where you're at and you're in a hurry and it takes you the wrong way down the street and then you got to reroute and it adds like eight minutes your route and you're like all annoyed. It's no different if we don't know where we're starting from right now and that is our thinking, our beliefs, our values and our passions. And I think it's a process, but the best place to start, I think, I really do, is starting in assessing and understanding your core values, not the values you think you should have. One of my first mentors, Sara, when I got into coaching, said, "It doesn't matter whether it's executive coaching at the C suite of a Fortune 100 company or life coaching of a neighbor down the street. The most transformational experiences that will happen every time you're working with the client is when you can get into and work in the area of core values, because those are just the part of the essence of who you BE." Right, and the BEING informs the DOING. So if I can tell people to start with one place, that would be a great place to start and I think that when you start to say, "OK, if I say a core value is family", but before the accident, because that is one of my core values at the top of my list, but I'm working 70 hours a week, I'm out at either social functions or charity functions two or three nights a week, and I'm traveling constantly. There is no evidence in my life that family is a core value. Right? And that causes -- so that is one place that I think you could start and I think also just think back to all those moments in your life. Moments, I'm talking about an instant, that bright moment where you were just smiling, you're laughing, you're fully alive, it could be up in the mountains, fly-fishing, it could be celebrating a win with somebody in your family or somebody that you mentor but what is that moment? And if you look at them, those moments, those bright moments, there's incredible evidence in there about your passions, your talents, your gifting. And on the other side of that, what are some of those moments that you were, at your worst? The most stressed, panic attacks, anxiety, butterflies in your stomach, you're about to just go to the bathroom and hurl? What was going on? Because I'll guarantee you, those were times were things that can give you some indications of what was it about yourself that you were crossing a line or you had to violate with how you are that was causing that feeling? I honestly, I've found for a lot of people is actually looking at some of those experiences can illuminate the positive, the good stuff and who they are as quickly as maybe looking at some of those bright moments.

Sara: Oh, my gosh, John, there's a thousand things I want to say in what you said, because, again, it's just so in line with what we believe and what we teach. So maybe I'll work backwards and that will help but what you just said about finding those moments of frustration and that's what we use in a resource our listeners will have heard us promote over and over again because we believe in it so much -- the Growth Gap Tool -- which is starting with what is frustrating you in life right now? What are your big persistent complaints? Because those are those areas where your core values are being violated or aren't being fulfilled and by unpacking complaints, you get to identify those core values and then say, "OK, why am I not living more into this?" and that's the "bigger me" value in our language. And so it's so true and we always joke here that we were taught as children not to be complainers, right? "Oh, shh! Don't complain," and you don't want to be a complainer but complaints do have value, right? Frustrations and moments of extreme stress, they have value when you use them as an opportunity to grow. So I think that's such a great point and then core values, right? Again, I fully support that. I think it's so important. I think it's something that feels so touchy feely and personal that a lot of times companies don't want, you know, we have our company values, but they're not going to ask people to really do work on their personal values. But it is -- it's a part of our program. It's what we have people do is think about values. We have these little decks of cards that are pretty similar to the list that you have in your book. I'll try to reference the cards that we use. You can get online for free, but we ask people to pick out their top five values and check their life for evidence that you're actually living. You know, not just aspirational "oh, I really want to be a generous person, but I haven't given money to anyone or in need ever." OK, you're not living in the generosity, but what we find, we have a name for it here in our program, we call them "Lyceum Casualties" because we don't tell companies this in advance but what we have found that in any group of 30 people that we work with, when we ask people to sit down and name their core values and evaluate their present position in light of those core values, one out of 30 people realizes that their way too off course and they leave their job and they go do something else. And we celebrate that and we encourage the companies to celebrate it, that that person wasn't the right fit for this job anyways, that they're now doing something better with their life, you're going to find somebody who loves this, but it's just so true that the taking the time to think about your core values and envision that future that you want that at the end of your life, people would say, "John lived according to these values." I think sometimes, even for me, it's scary to say, "I'm going to take a day. I'm going to go off by myself, I'm going to think about these things. I'm going to reflect on what I want to be true of my life in the future, what's true of my life now." It's like I don't want to face the fact that I don't have clarity about the future and I'm not fully living into it today. It's like, "Ooh, I know that it's not great. So let's just keep going," and I think that's where so many people in the world get stuck is, "Well, I'm successful. I got a job. I like what I do most days. We're doing good. Let's just keep going." Kind of that "go with the flow mentality".  

John: Yeah, that's well, you know, so I had two thoughts as you were talking. I had a client, we went through the whole core values exercise and he was all excited about it because he wanted to make some changes and he -- we get back and we're in a coaching session. He goes, "Hey, I did something this weekend, I don't know if I should have, but I was -- I'd done all of this work, so I knew what I thought my core values were and we're all together with our whole family and extended family and I said, 'Hey, folks, I'm doing this exercise. So I'd love to go around the table. Wife, kids, you know, everybody.' I just said, 'What do you observe in me? What do you think my core values are?'"  

Sara: Wow, bold move!  

John: Oh, my. Some of it was very affirming. Some of it was some very candid feedback that he didn't even realize how he was showing up with some of the people closest to him. And another point you said about generosity, I think something that we create, that I know I've done it myself many times, it is incredibly limiting to our potential and that is dependent events. I have -- let's say generosity is my core value and now I say, well, "When I make more money, when I get the pay raise, I will start giving," but we do these dependent events all the time and what we're doing is we're taking off the table challenging myself in the present. It's like deferring things and so that said, here's -- what we're talking about is everybody listening, to move into a life where you're just fully –  imagine just being fully alive. Imagine what keeps you up at night is dreaming about the future, who you get to serve tomorrow or what you get to do, or just the mystery and the wonder of what life holds in the morning. And what I found is, though, that change and growth, it does not occur until the pain of staying the same exceeds that pain of change. And so this work on your purpose, your destination, your whatever you want to call it -- your leadership brand, your leadership legacy. I have an exercise when I work with clients, I have them right down almost an epitaph. Let's say it's three years from now and you get promoted, you're no longer in that position. What do you want to be known for by your team in this company? And very few people have ever done that before, but it helps them to start to realize the changes they need to make in the present to be more effective, to be better people, to be better leaders. That has to happen or that stuff will never be said by their boss and their peers and their team. So there's -- so just remember that, that change isn't going to occur unless you connect it to something emotionally important to you personally versus trying to meet other people's expectations.

Sara: Yeah. Oh, so good. I feel like we could just talk about this stuff for hours, but we are running out of time. So I just want to encourage our listeners, John goes into so much more detail in his book about this. I love that you put like space for people to answer specific questions, right? Like, if they were sitting down with you, what are the kinds of questions you would be asking them and space to reflect on it and I had to read the book kind of quickly to prepare for this but I do want to go back and work through some of that. There's so many other things I have notes on that I was like, "Oh, I really want to talk about that!"  

John: I need to watch, what do you call it? The leadership gap. What's the gap?  

Sara: The Growth Gap Tool.  

John: I would love to go through that and I'm sure I can, that's something I would love to, even with your permission, share with my clients too. You guys are doing great work.  

Sara: I will make sure to connect you with that after this podcast and our listeners, you know how to find it. OK, I could I could keep going, but I'll stop, but. John, let me just ask you, this episode is going to be coming out April 27th, right?  

John: Yeah, that's the book launch!  

Sara: A few weeks from where we're recording. It is a book launch day so where can people go to find your book to find more about you? Where do we find you?  

John: Super simple. The company is Beyond Influence and we want to help people have such a positive impact they're leading in the lives of people that are beyond even their own influence, right? This is, we're talking about creating a movement and a ripple effect and we're seeing it so and on that page, all the links to go buy it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Books-A-Million are there and here's what we'd love if you guys are open: buy a book and then leave us a review. We're really trying to make this a bestseller because our community of leaders all over the world is trying to create a movement where we not only become better versions of ourselves, because when we do that for ourselves, we can then do that for somebody else and when I can look at everybody who works in my -- around me, my sphere of influence, and see their unique value as a person versus an object or putting them in a box, all the stuff that's happening, I believe in society, we could make a radical transformation of this society in the next two years, just starting with the power of one individual who makes a change in how, in what they're doing and it's happening all over the place. You guys are a part of it, we're doing our part, but we're just excited to see what could be when we stand up.  

Sara: I love it. I love it and we are going to support you. We're going to give people the links to your website and where they can buy your book, ‘On Purpose; With Purpose’. I think it's such a great way to think about how to live life, to be more fully alive. I love that statement. So, John, thank you so much for your time. Thanks for joining our community and sharing your wisdom, your stories, your experience, your inspiration with us and we will definitely keep in touch with you and support you as you continue in your work out in this space. So thank you, so much.  

John: Thank you, Sara. Keep knocking them alive out there. You, you guys, you and your whole team are just doing amazing work and your community is seriously fortunate and blessed to be with and around and working with ya'll.  

Sara: Oh, thank you so much. Take care.  

John: See ya.