Darren Virassammy

and Robert discuss personal development and the power of knowing your strengths. As a co-founder fo 34 strong he helps individuals and teams focus on their strengths and apply them directly to their life and work. 

A little bit about Darren...

Darren Virassammy is the co-founder of 34 Strong, a public speaker, and someone who is obsessed with seeking personal greatness through connection with nature. Darren Virassammy is uniquely positioned to help those in corporate America and individuals reach the potential they desire. He works hard on his own personal development through hobbies, passions and personal life.  As a husband, father, avid bassist and black belt, he believes our down-time is just as important as our work time.

Check out more of Darren

Website: https://sites.libsyn.com/442167/website

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/strengthsfinder/

Website: https://34strong.com/

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Show Notes

Robert Peterson 0:13
Welcome to the add value to entrepreneurs podcast. The place where we help entrepreneurs to not hate their boss. Our mission is to end entrepreneurial unhappiness. If you dream of changing the world, but you're not sure where to start, the add value entrepreneurs podcast will help you transform your life in business. This podcast is for entrepreneurs who want more freedom and fulfillment from their work so they can live the life that they desire. You deserve it, and it is possible. My name is Robert Peterson, farmer, passer turn CEO and the smiling coach. I believe that success without happiness is failing. But there is hope. Join us each week as we bring you an inspiring leader or message to help you. Thanks for investing time with us today. Our guest today is the co founder of 34 Strong, a public speaker and someone who's obsessed with seeking personal greatness through connection with nature. Darren Vera Sammy is uniquely positioned to help those in corporate America and individuals reach their potential they desire. He works hard on his own personal development through hobbies, passions, and personal life as the husband father and avid bassist, and blackbelt. He believes our downtime is just as important as our work time. Darren Veera Sami and Robert discuss personal development and the power of knowing your strengths as a co founder for 34 strong, he helps individuals and teams focus on their strengths and apply them directly to their life and work. If you're an entrepreneur who started their business with a purpose and a passion that has been lost in the busyness of the daily grind, we get it. That is why we've opened up our free strategy calls. A lot of entrepreneurs, probably including you just want a sense of clarity on the barriers holding them back that you need to overcome in order to accelerate your growth and achieve your dreams. These short 30 Minute Calls give you a chance to work with one of our coaches without any commitment or pressure. Scheduling is easy. Just go to smiling cole.com. Let's jump on a call and get you the help and clarity you need. Select a time and let's build your business. It's time for you to add value. All right, Darren Well, I typically let my guests just share their entrepreneurial journey and what what made them you know, make the leap into into doing their own thing.

Unknown Speaker 2:35
Absolutely. Happy to do that. You want to jump right in? Yeah. All right. Well, Robert, so for me. It's an interesting journey. Because I was not an entrepreneur, I had no plans of being an entrepreneur. And then I had a little little daughter just over 10 years ago. She was she was born in 2012. And it's interesting at the time, I was living in Sacramento, California, and I was commuting down for my job down to the Bay Area down to San Francisco Bay area that was about 100 mile commute one way. And I was commuting to a job that I really didn't love but I'd gotten good at. And one day in December, my daughter was about four months old. It was first time my wife, my daughter and I had taken a trip together and had an experience of just just being able to be together truly as a family. And every morning, I would give my wife a break my my daughter would wake up early, and then I would take her down to the beach, we'd go take a walk. My wife would sleep in arrest and was mornings we did that. And I was just really enjoying just the journey of really being a dad and getting to fully embrace that. Finally, we came up from that walk sat down on the balcony, the Lanai over look in the roar in Pacific Ocean, right and my wife and I are just chatting daughter's laying in my lap. I take a sip of coffee. And Robert she laughed out loud for the first time. And for me that was truly one of the most amazing and terrifying moments of my life. So it was amazing because here I am looking at my little girl. She's four months old, and thinking, wow, this girl is going to be nothing but potential. She's going to walk she's going to play football. She's going to talk who knows what's in store as her life continues to unravel and kind of open up here into who she's becoming. And it was terrifying because in that moment, Robert, it hit me that here I am with two of the most important people on the planet to me. But I wasn't actually living a life that was true to that, you see, I was leaving in the morning way before my daughter was waking up, I'd get home in the evening and she was getting ready for bed. I really wasn't making my wife and my daughter the priority that I wanted them to be. And here I was kind of disengaged in my job. I again, I was collecting a paycheck, and I'd gotten really good at doing something that I really didn't love. And at the same time, I had been teaching just on the side at a local college, in the Sacramento region. And I love that I got to see what an engaged workplace could look like. I love the team that was there. Even though I was only there just a few hours a week, I got to see the power of adding value to people's lives, not only to my colleagues that I worked alongside, and how we work with each other, but to my students, Robert, I know you're a veteran, and many of my students were also veterans for many different services of the US military. And it was really cool to get to help students that were transitioning from active duty into a civilian life, that wasn't all of my students, but having a few of them doing that. And just anybody that was was coming in and wanting to better themselves. I had this juxtaposed life that I was living. So I came back from that trip and knew that something had to change. And as fate would have it, that same college, let me know that they had a position that was open for me to come on board and teach five classes. Take you know, a 60 or 70% pay cut, you know, to trade in my job as a senior project manager in the commercial construction industry. And I took the job because it gave me some time gave me some freedom to have that space and to really make my family the most important really think about trying to do work that added value. And I knew I was ready to start dabbling with doing something I didn't know what that was. And as fate would have it. A dear friend of mine, who had been my counsel for many years, ended up just saying, Hey, you might want to sit down with with this guy that's doing this StrengthsFinder this Clifton Strengths deal. He's he I think YouTube would balance each other out really well. And you might want to talk to him. So we sat down, we had a cup of coffee in February of 2013, Robert and I loved what Brandon, my business partner was about with with thinking of a strengths based approach to human development, and how we can actually change organizations and workplaces. And the rest is history. And the last thing that I will say, because I know you really focus on adding value and adding value to life. It's easy to look at the consulting that we got into and taking the strengths based approach to human development and to organizational development. And get stuck in the lens of well, you're just doing it for right now. That's not why we're doing it. And in fact, I'll never forget our first conversation because we were so values align the question that we asked as we sat down as dads as two gentlemen, that we're looking at getting into business, but really focusing on family. What happens to the next generation, when parents come home? And they they're not exhausted and drained from workplace cultures that suck the life out of them? What's going to happen to those people that go to work and their boss doesn't treat them? Like a baby treats a diaper, they come home and they're engaged. What do they do for their community? What do they do? How do they show up to their spouse to their loved ones, to their friends? To anybody that they're impacting? And that's in their circle? How does that ripple kind of transform? So the workplace culture piece is more of the transformational components when when we put our glasses like what what is the work world look like? 20 years, 25 years from now. That's what got us excited. That's a little bit of a long winded answer, but you told me to tell the story. So those are all of the elements as to how it kind of came together and where our heart and our value really was and where it still lives today. Robert,

Robert Peterson 9:30
I love that. So yeah, my, my wife and I just recently started basically committed to a mission of ending entrepreneurial unhappiness. And and it has a very similar similar purpose, right? entrepreneurs start their business with that passion for spending time with their kids that passion for you know, taking that vacation to Hawaii and and doing doing those things and then the business takes over because they treat it like a job and it and it becomes, it becomes that overwhelming burden, rather than that passion and joy thing that they started out with and in, we absolutely believe that, that like you, you can design a business around the lifestyle that you want instead of the other way around. And, and so many people, because of our culture and the way we're brought up and the way we're taught about work, we do it the other way around, we take a job for the sake of the pay, because the pay will help solve all the other problems. And we're not intentional about what we really want. And so I love that you've made that intentional choice. Wait a minute, my wife and my daughter are far more important than this stupid project I'm working on. Right? I mean, that's really what it is, right? I mean, that's the conversation you have to have, and say, Wait a minute. Yeah, I'm making money, hand over fist. But I hate myself and I, I'm missing out on the thing that I love the most. So your choice to say, I want to do something different. And it's not about the money, right? I can take a cut and pay I can, I can start over again. But I can focus on time with my wife and daughter, keep that at the center, put that back where it belongs at the center of your life. And then build work around it, that honors it and grows it and so love, love, love that you made that leap because so few do. So few do they sit there at that vacation, and then the minute they come home from vacation, they jump right back in and they they're telling themselves that story in the back of their head, oh, I want to spend more time with their kids. But maybe when I just get when I just get when I just get when I just get right. It's always that, you know, someday we put it off on that horizon of someday. And honey, I promise someday we're going to we're going to do this, Oh, honey, I promise someday we'll we'll have a weekly date night. And so congratulations. Because that's it's huge. I don't know if you realize how few really make that leap. But how many of us are having that same conversation, as the clients that you serve in the corporate space are having that same conversation with themselves. And I'm not saying, you know, you got to quit your job and become an entrepreneur, I think that's a great opportunity that this country presents. But there's other opportunities, like you quit that job and took the job at the college and it because it was more in alignment. And then once you're working in alignment with your values, and your passion and, and purpose comes out of you. Other opportunities are gonna walk right up to you and smack you in the face and say let's do this.

Unknown Speaker 12:42
It's It's so true, what you say, Robert, and I know, I believe it was in in your book, you talk a little bit about the reticular activating system. And really, without getting into all of the neuroscience behind that. It's just the whole component. I mean, I love what you share about that with the whole focus on we got to move the needle on our limiting beliefs, like it starts fundamentally on the wiring of who we are. For those of you that are tuned in, virtually, you'll see over my right hand shoulder, a part of my core. And for those of you that aren't, I'll tell you what it is I have one of my bases hanging over my shoulder. And that is a source of energy for me. And I talked a little bit about my family in making that a priority. Playing music is a form that helps me get into my flow state. So if I'm gonna show up at my best when I've given keynotes when we've been growing the business when we've been going places and we've needed to activate, hey, I got to step into a zone of creativity that I'm not in because I've been in heavy execution mode. For instance, for for 34 Strong, we're building out something along those lines. Sometimes sitting down with that base helps me dig in to get to the places of creativity that we need. So that whole point of what you've shared just with changing our beliefs of the i cants to the icons, I think a Henry Ford said this whether you think you can or you can't, you are right. But we are truly what we focus on. And for your listeners. I want to share an example that comes from a dear friend of mine, Joseph McClendon, he Joseph McClendon, the third, for those of you on the Tony Robbins circuit, you've seen him alongside of Tony he facilitates with with Tony at many of his events, but he's he's done so much in the neuroscience space. And he tells this story that really hit me early in my entrepreneurial journey that I think is relevant for those that are building their businesses, even those that might be further along. That that kind of hit the nail on the head. So when he was growing up, Robert, he was in a small kind of Inland Valley in Southern California, close to one of the Air Force bases. And it fascinated him because there was a two lane stretch of highway that had telephone poles on one side. And the telephone poles are what, every 100 meters. And growing up, there'd be accidents on the road. And like, over 50% of the accidents, I think it could have been as high as 60 to 70% of accidents, ended up with at least one vehicle hitting a telephone pole. That made no sense to him. Because he was he was saying, look, there's all of this space that's in between and a flat open field, there wasn't like a ravine or anything, it was just flat and open. He conducted interviews, as he was, as he was going through his research, and was asking just, you know, what did you see? What did you observe? Obviously, you couldn't interview everybody, because there was many that didn't survive. But there was this common answer that he heard time and time again. And it was simply this, the last thing I saw coming at me, was a telephone pole. And just like that, Robert, it all clicked, they were so focused on what they didn't want to hit. That's exactly what they hit. It was so focused on the telephone pole and missing it, they never saw the open field that they could have driven to. And our brain works the same way. When we're when we're thinking about our own beliefs and our wiring as entrepreneurs. And we've, we've had to unlock the same component in individuals that are leaders in organizations. And then when we're opening it up from from the self awareness of a strengths based focus to human development, to one of, of where we're going from the self awareness to the team awareness, what does it mean, when team members are playing in their lens of strengths? It is asking, like, we're always trying to be what we're not we see the value that others bring, and think that's what I have to do, to really step into my greatness. And the whole thing is sometimes there's like greatness in you that you bring that other people are seeing in you that you're undervaluing yourself, but we truly are what we focus on. And I think for entrepreneurs in particular, it's really important to make sure ask yourself, Am I seeing the telephone poles? Or am I seeing the open fields?

Robert Peterson 17:37
Well, in for many, like, the first place is, is that money conversation, right? You're early on in the business and you're focused on what you don't have the money and you feel like the bills are overwhelming, and the bills become a focus, the invoices become a focus. And, and there's, there's no focus on the abundance and the opportunity that that that's available, right around the corner, right. And I think the same thing happens. So my wife and I are both motorcycle riders and and the pothole is the same. If you if you focus on the pothole, you drive right to it, because your hands go where your eyes go. And it's a very similar, very similar tale. And it's incredible how our mind works. And we, we study it so little. And I, I just started reading another neuroscientists work. And, in fact, I listened to his book on on Friday, and it's it's spiritual, it's church based, but it's talking about the church is missing the neuroscience of transformation. The church is teaching all these transformational things, and for me, it just clicked because after leaving the church and working in this entrepreneurial space for three years and being able to, to tap into Joe Dispenza, and, and just a McLennan, and some of these others that are into this neuro neuro space and saying, all the brain does this this way. And, and, and we can, we can work with it instead of trying to work against it. And what's really incredible is that transformation happens in this joy space. And, and we have to be joyful in order to want to transform, and it was like it was just eye opening for me, because unhappiness is our is our target. And helping people recognize that the power of a smile and the power of of that positive. I mean, it's, it's, it's more than just a positive energy, right? Joy is joy is this belief that no matter what's happened to you, or is happening around you, you have options and you can get through it. And I see, I've been a part of enough teams through the military through through corporate and others that there's a big lack of joy, right? There's a big lack of, of happiness happening out there and so the impact of hell I think people find their strengths can be so powerful, because it will bring that joy back. And when they have joy in their work and joy in their team, their opportunity to transform is 10x. And to me, that's just, that's just incredible. You mentioned something just a little in there, the thing you focus on. And I feel like we see that component, right, we see that strength in somebody else. And we say, oh, I need to have that. Instead of saying, or what's, what's my strength that I bring to the team. And so instead of trying to be like that person, I get to be, I get to be me. And I think that's the power of being able to come into a team and, and take all their strengths and mash them together, the way that the way they were designed to be. So let's dig into a little bit about, you know, working by design, just that extra level of I mean, because really, it's intentional, right, you're trying to intentionally help people see the value that they bring.

Unknown Speaker 21:04
That's right, Robert, and the way that we go about this, and is we we follow the path of the Clifton Strengths Assessment. So we use that as a tool. It gets lumped in as a personality profile assessment tool, and it's actually a talent measurement tool. And I'll start there. So Dr. Donald Clifton, decades ago asked a very simple question, what happens when we focus on what's right with people, instead of fixating on what's wrong with them, and that launched him into four decades of work studying a million people plus, across the globe, trying to identify how talent naturally exists? And he wasn't studying Robert, talent through the lens of hey, how good of a painter Are you or basketball player or bass guitarist? Right? He was studying talent through this definition, what are natural patterns of thought, feeling and behavior that can be productively applied. So in his research over those four decades of his life, what emerged was the results 34 buckets of talent that exists in a ranked order in all of us from one through 34. And here's the thing, you, you don't have to be what somebody else is, in fact, what the research has shown with now over 28 million people having taken the assessment worldwide, is the likelihood of somebody having their top 10 of those results in the same order as you is one in 6 billion. So our results are almost as unique to us as our fingerprint. And there are certain areas that when we look at when we look at where our results come back at, you know, our bottom five, for instance, our 30, through 34, are going to come up and they're going to not be our zone of genius, our top 10 of those 34 is where we can truly make the impact. That's our secret sauce. Here's the beauty of the assessment, Robert, it measures the presence of talent, but it doesn't tell us how effectively we're using those talents. So those top strengths those top 10 can be our greatest assets. They can also be our greatest liabilities, we can overuse them, we can under use them, we can miss calibrate them. But when we start with awareness, we can start moving towards asking ourselves, what do we do best? What are the things that we do best that can create the greatest impact for the work that we are trying to do? What are also the areas that we could potentially be leading our teams that we're on, that maybe aren't connecting quite as well, that could get us into trouble could get our teams into trouble. I'll give you a great example of that. One of one of our clients had this realization we were we were working we work with a lot of large organizations. And we work with smaller teams as well within some some of these organizations as well. And we have done some work as well with with entrepreneurs and small businesses as well, because we'd love serving this community to kind of help the rise as well just to help entrepreneurs break through smaller teams we were working with and about 10 employees, the CEO, came to realize that his talents showed up in a way that made him really effective at messaging, championing an idea connecting through people influencing the idea going out. He also realized his way of thinking was verbally processing, meaning he talked to think that there's certain strengths that come back and they're they're more execution based they they'd like to hear something, catch an idea and put it to action. So times what he realized is when he was verbally processing where he was just thinking, he had a lot of his team that were highly execution based they to hear what he was putting out to hear what he thought actually determined what he think, then they go to task on it, only to realize a day later, that's not what he wanted. And his ability to learn that, hey, I need to actually just tell my team, I'm just talking it out here, don't act on that yet. We're just talking about we're talking an idea out, that's helped him understand how to communicate with this team, and also his team to receive his messaging better, and vice versa. He's started to learn about his team. So it starts with self awareness, and it moves to Team awareness. And for entrepreneurs. Final thing I'll say that helps us to move from being the CEO, the chief, everything officer, to actually functioning as a CEO, when you're in the CEO chair, and you know, in how that goes, but we got to move away from being the chief everything officer and think of where are our gaps? Where are the areas that we don't thrive, because that's all stealing from your zone of genius, where you could actually be growing your business and making that impact over the long haul.

Robert Peterson 26:17
We will be right back after this short break. This episode is sponsored by perfect publishing a different approach to publishing a book. Perfect publishing carefully chooses heroes of Hope, who exemplify living a life they created through faith, hope, patience, and persistence. No matter what page you open to in this mini cube of hope, you will find a leader with a big heart, you will see you are not alone. The authors may share similar challenges that only hope and action could resolve. Get your free ebook at get a dose of hope.com Welcome back, let's get back to more greatness. That's so good. I, obviously, one of our big pieces is that design piece, right? Choosing the life that you want. Now let's design the business to support it. And the next step is, so many entrepreneurs start their business with that skill set, right that expertise that they have, and they put it to work but they treat it like a job because they don't know any better. And so how do we help them elevate it from that Chief everything officer to actually running your company as a chief executive officer and, and our friend Mike McCalla wits would actually recommend a, you don't even want to be the CEO, you want to be a stockholder? Exactly. So make that shift to where to where you're the stockholder and you're watching the business, you know, run with that awareness that you have everything that's going on. But but you're not necessarily, you know, pushing buttons day to day. And so it's, it's a powerful mindset. Transition. And like you said, it starts it starts with awareness and the Clifton Strengths tool is, is certainly a powerful tool to help you have awareness of yourself and awareness of of your team's strengths and how to put those to use. I mean, I love the premise of the strengths finder, right? The bottom line is, is is is there a way to find out what people are good at? And use that right? And it's right, it's focused on. It's so challenging in our culture to focus on the good that we have. So many get caught up in all the negative and it's so easy to get pulled into that negative cycle, especially in a workplace, right? The coffee shop. Oh, did you hear Oh, wow. All the negative. And some of it's gossip, but some of it's just work related? Just frustrations, right. And, and, and we want to vent our frustrations. We want to share our negative stories. Rather than finding ways I think even with with our kids, it's it's so much easier to say don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do that. And now we're coming to find out that all the kids hear is sit down. That really the mom said don't sit down there. But the first thing that kid does is sit down because the their brain just heard sit down and helping people see the L focus on what you want them to do, not what you don't want them to do. That's right goes against it goes it seems to go against their nature.

Unknown Speaker 29:17
It does actually, it's a great point. And I just want to thank you for bringing that up. It's totally goes against so much of what's been ingrained in us and much of this Robert, comes from our upbringing. It comes from our parents, it comes from education, it comes from a lot of what we've experienced societally. But you know, we seem to understand this. When we look at for instance, athletes, right? So we look at athletes, right? It's it's now, November, it's football season, right? So we would never take the core, the center of a football team who's tends to be a pretty man. As a human being right, and move them to the wide, wide receiver position, which they're big, but they're not necessarily as big. And they can run up and down the field really fast and catch patch passes, we would never take those two positions on a team just because of the physical sizes and say, you know, what we want everybody to be we want to have a well rounded team. So we need you to to switch roles, and that's going to be our path to win. But yet, that's exactly what we do on our business. That's exactly what we do on our businesses. And that is not a recipe towards success. So when we look, look at it, you know, I'm not always the one to just say, hey, the sports analogies, fix everything. But this is the conditioning that we have as a society. I'm talking about this on a societal level, we see this physically, we would never do this. And we understand why. Well guess what, when we start thinking of our brain as a muscle and thinking of that, if you create a parallel neural pathway to think of that the same way looking at it through the same glasses, you can come to the exact same result that that does not make sense. So we can start making those shifts. And I want to get back to something you said as well about like, I think what Mike says, Mike McCalla wits, I think it's fantastic. As you know, him and I are really, really good pals. I've been in mastermind groups with him and, and whatnot. And one of the things that we've talked about is, it's easy for entrepreneurs to listen, because I've have definitely been there, where you're thinking like, well, I can't think like a stockholder like I, I'm just trying to get by the day to day. Here's the thing. Here's the important part in what Robert and I were just talking about, if you start thinking that that is the truth, and the future, someday that future will come because you start acting in that way, the pothole analogy that Robert shared the telephone pole analogy that I shared, it gets you actually seeing the open field. And yes, that might not be true today. But it's gonna be a little more true six months from now. And you got to do the work daily and create that that rhythm in that groove for yourself to start making that a little bit more true. And over time, that's exactly what starts to happen. So it's not I think the there's no way to necessarily just fast track that. Just without doing some of the work, the Fast Track is you got to do the work, and you got to create the habits, we got to hit that switch. And it all starts with that belief that yeah, I can get there. And I'm going to be working towards that. And I'm gonna set a goal, maybe that's four years, maybe it's three years out, but you can ask yourself daily, what am I doing? To move towards that? Not? What am I doing today? What box? Am I checking today? Right? Like that's, that's, that's what many of us live through what box? Am I check into that? Yeah, I'll say yes to that client, because they're paying me, but they're a terrible client. They're terrible client, and they're taking us away from where we could actually create the impact and add that value that we want to have

Robert Peterson 33:13
out there. And what you mentioned, they're so strong, and I think in that personal development space there, there's that fake it till you make it phrase. And, and that's what you were just describing is the reality of that. And it's really belief it till you make it. Right. It's, it's believed that that you can, you can move to this place that you want to be in. And the belief is what leads to the different actions. And I think people get this wrong idea of the fake it till you make it. And of course, in our digital space, it's so easy to fake so much. And it's not really about faking it, it's really about believing it.

Unknown Speaker 33:50
Yeah, you know, on the heels that I gotta share this quote, because you made me think of it, I think I think this is a Les Brown quote. We constantly hear Robert, when I see it, then I'll believe it. For you to be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to shift that, when I believe it, then I will see it, you have to believe it, to see it. Because your actions will put you more in alignment with what it will take to see that and you will have many people that don't that don't see it. And that's okay. That is actually exactly what you signed up for. In being an entrepreneur that's like the quintessential components of what it means to be an entrepreneurs, you're believing something at your core, that maybe others can't see it. And it's on you to do the work to turn that into a reality to make sure you're doing the work not just on the business, but on yourself because you got to do the work on you, your family. You know what, whoever that is to you, whoever that is, what are the things that you value? What are the things that Energy, but you got to do the work on those areas. And the other part that I really want to address on that, Robert, this notion of balance, balance is absurd. Agreed balance does not exist, integration exist. But let's stop using this word of balance. Because as an entrepreneur, if you ever get to a place of balance, you know what you're gonna do, you're gonna yell at everybody to do nothing to just stop, like, don't move. Because if they move, it's gonna set things off balance, and then your life's gonna be out of balance, you're gonna have seasons where you got to hunker down, and you got to push a little past what you want for, just to get to where you need to with the business. And here's, here's the important aunt, do the exact same thing with what you love with those that you love with your family, I do it regularly, I tell my family, I'm like, I'm gonna be in a season where I've got a I've got to go at it pretty hard, Dad's gonna be working a little bit more than I like having a little bit more of an even keel, where things are integrated, and I've got time, but there's gonna be little seasons where I've got to step in a little bit heavier than I'd like to. And unapologetically, I can look at my team say, hey, the past three weeks, they've been pretty intense. I'm going to not focus on the business now for the next week, or whatever it is, and I'm going to be with my family, because they can see those seasons. And it's not that I'm not there. In those three weeks, it's just that I'm not there at the level that I'd like to be and the level that I'm able to maintain for the most part, but you're gonna have seasons like that, and it's okay, to then unapologetically, take that time back for yourself, because you got to that's, so if we do want to get back to balance balances, not ever, like right in the moment, it's gonna be over time. But it's really living your life as an integrated way of understanding the components of business and life. And there's gonna be ups and downs with that

Robert Peterson 37:02
during the work. That's so good. We talked about all the time, like balance, like when you're on a playground as a kid and the teeter totter. And our goal was always to get the teeter totter to stop. And then of course, when the teeter totter is right in the middle, and you're both leaning back and holding, you have to stop. Otherwise, if one of you moves, the teeter totter is gonna fall one way or the other. And I love that analogy, because I share it all the time when all right, the family is imbalanced, the kids got good grades, the wife made a great dinner, alright, and we're just stop. Nobody moved, because this moment is perfect. This is what we want. That's not really what we want, right? We want harmony, right? We want I like, like integration, you use the word integration, we talk about harmony. And there are seasons, right? When it's kind of like music. If you think of harmony, harmony, like music, there's sections of the song where you know, everything's going crazy, you got to offset that, you have to have moments where the song comes back down and, and gives you the place to breathe. Right? Right. And life is that way, right? Each of us has a natural cycle, your family has a natural cycle. And when you have awareness, right, because we're being intentional about our awareness, you can be aware of that cycle for your business for yourself, for your family. And, and you can honor it. Nothing worse than trying to take family time when the family is in a low spot, right? Because that's a challenge. Now you got to know you got to bring the family back up, and I got to add to it. But if I know when the cycles hitting Good, let's hit hit. Let's take the family when the family is in that high note. And let's rock it and do something crazy.

Unknown Speaker 38:45
That's it. Yeah. And really maximize that time. And it and it could be that you're you're going and you're taking, you know, a lot of time away. Or it could be the little things that you're you're making sure that hey, you know what, I haven't been able to pick up the kids or give the kids a drop to school, little things. The little things are the big things. That's it, we get caught up with the big results. And all these pieces will where they start. They started as a thought anything that humans have ever done started as an idea. It started as a thought. And it started as these little components of action. Yeah, from from a physical standpoint. People say I don't have time to run all all all these sorts of things. True. Maybe maybe that maybe that might be the case. But really, what I've learned in my decade of coaching is not for myself personally for myself personally, but for the numerous clients that 34 Strong has served. One things that we've learned is a lot of times all people really needed to do was put on their shoes, get dressed, and then say you don't have to go that I've helped so many people to get active leaders, senior leaders of large organizations that One were feeling out of balance and felt like they needed to get active. But were actually starting to resent their teams that they were leading starting to resent family, because they're like, I just need to keep giving. And they're like, Well, I don't have time for myself, I can't make that time. And I said, that is one of the most selfless things you could do is give yourself the time. Because if not, are you really showing up at your best for your team? Are you showing up at your best for your loved ones when you feel exhausted? And it was a resounding no. So then the question shifted from not how can you afford to make time to give yourself some time it shifted to how can you afford not to do this? Yeah. And then our bet that was real simple was okay, all you have to do is put your shoes on and go outside. And you don't have to go for a run, just just do that. And that can create the momentum. Mike McCalla wits, the patron saint of entrepreneurship, as Simon Sinek called him, his hack is he puts his his shoes, his workout shoes on the toilet in the morning, because that's going to be the first place that he goes when he gets up. So that it's just, it's creating a habit, that's subconscious, because Because over 90% of our decisions that we make daily are subconscious. So it's just there, you don't have the time to think you just do it. And it creates momentum, and whether it's for running or whether it's you know, you need to write more, and you need to set aside 30 minutes or 20 minutes to write in the morning, to get get content out there. Whatever it is doing these little rituals, even if we start small, they escalate over time.

Robert Peterson 41:45
They're not so good. First of all, it's it's your taking belief to the identity level, because a person that puts on running shoes, in their identity, their brain says, Oh, you must be a runner. So we're putting on these running shoes every day. Now I identify as a runner, why wouldn't I run? Right? Exactly. If I'm a runner, right? My brain says, well, obviously, we're a runner, we're putting on running shoes every day. And we need to run and it's, it's really taking belief to action. And and it's as simple as, as putting on the running shoes every day and starting starting small. But the other piece of that is that identity goes from I don't keep my word to myself to I'm doing what I say I'm going to do.

Unknown Speaker 42:31
Exactly, exactly. That's it fits into all of those spaces. And And when we're thinking about these elements, and transitioning it back to the business, one of the one of the pieces, Robert, that I think has been a really powerful tool that that many of our clients across the across the US and even internationally that 34 strongest has had the privilege of working with. It's a really simple exercise. It's called grind, greatness, genius. And if you're able to make three columns and ask yourself, so one column is grind zone, one's your greatness zone. One is your genius zone. What are the things that you do in your business that are in your grind zone that like just the thought of doing it, Your stomach hurts, your head hurts just in thinking about doing these tasks and the business? What's your greatness zone? So these are the areas that you you can deliver, you can do these elements? Well, you enjoy them. There's a level of satisfaction, you can get yourself motivated, you're like, Yeah, I can do these these pieces really well. And then what's your genius zone, that genius is elusive? Here's why. These are usually the areas that come so naturally to you as an entrepreneur, they're actually going to be your points of frustration, meaning that when others can't do them at the level that you can, or at the speed that you can, you're frustrated. You're saying anybody could do that. That's so easy. What's the deal? When you find yourself frustrated at somebody else for what they're not doing, I invite you to actually pause and say, Is this actually part of my zone of genius? And simply, you can look at those three different areas and just have a brain dump. And then ask yourself, just rough math. What percentage of your time are you spending in those different zones? Great greatness and genius. If you as an entrepreneur are spending the majority of your time in your grind, I guarantee you you're not maximizing your return on time invested for yourself because the real magic of what you do is going to be living in your greatness in your genius zone. Let me also be clear that everybody is going to have time in the grind zone. It's called work. So it's not that it just go As a way you will have to grind in doing this this is this is part of what we signed up for. But over time, if we're paying attention that we're starting to bring that number down, you feel like God, I'm spending 60% of my time in the grind zone. You start moving to 55% to 45%. Guess what you're gonna feel this magical thing called momentum, and the tide starts shifting. And you can do this exact same exercise with members of your team. Do that exercise members of your team Dr. Sabrina Starling. who's written the whole series of how to hire the best she's part of the whole Profit First community with Mike McCalla wits actually met her through Mike McCalla wits, she uses that exercise that I shared with her she she uses that with her team internally. And every month, they actually do an evaluation of how are how are people doing in their grind greatness in genius zones? And what percentage of their time are they spending in those areas? What could shift and guess what you start to reveal? Robert, what's in my grind zone, very likely might be in your greatness, Virginia sound. So you start revealing on your own team who loves to do what not just being a cog in the machine. And we start actually aligning our teams. And even if there's months, where people have to step up their time in their grind zone, because they know their leader is committed to their engagement, their ability to show up at their best in their work, they're going to jump in, and they're going to do it more often than not, because they know their leaders are actually looking to have them spend as much time in their greatness and their genius zone as possible. That's at the core of what we get into at 34 is 34 Strong is moving organizations into high levels of employee engagement, creating great places to work. This is one of the simple seeds that anybody can do, no matter how big or small your team is, that will help advance you towards making that a reality.

Robert Peterson 46:58
Well, and just the awareness, right, I'm willing to spend more time in the grind zone, if I know their goal is to shift more of my time out of the grindstone. That's right. And that that honors the team that honors honors the employee. And of course, everybody wins as an even as an entrepreneur, if I'm aware, this is my grind, but I gotta push through the grind because so I can focus on my genius. And, and that awareness is is pretty powerful in in helping you be motivated. And recognizing there's just stuff that I mean, it's kind of like working out, at least for me, you know, the pain is for the sake of my body. But but the I mean, obviously, if I had the choice, I wouldn't do it. Like, it hurts man, to drag but But recognizing the outcome, right. And I think the reality in business and the reality with our physical body is that there's a cost, there's a price to pay for results. And, and that it's measured in that pain, it's measured in that grind. And, and I'm, I am not a fan of the hustle and grind culture. I don't I don't think that that's necessary to grow great businesses. Absolutely. But there is a place where grind is necessary in a life and in just the reality of, you know, all of us are going to deal with flat tires, all of us are going to deal with cars that don't start in the winter, all of us are going to deal with kids that get sick and in life just has stuff that you have to grind through. And, and your business is going to have it too. And so definitely appreciate that, that that gift, right? The gift of this little exercise can be really powerful. Yeah, in somebody's life and business

Unknown Speaker 48:43
very, very much. So to your point, that's a really important point. It can be used in life and in business. And in that grind that we're talking about. Yeah, that that the hustle and grind culture, definitely not my gym. My jam to your point is conditioning resiliency, because that's a muscle that we need to make sure that we go through and we're going to have seasons and pockets of stepping into those areas. But knowing that we have it internally that we can push through and get ourselves and get our teams to the other side. There is some level of importance within that. But yeah, the hustle and grind side, there's a different way to growing really, really strong, sustainable, profitable, healthy businesses that can continue to make a much, much bigger impact in the world than then, you know, even what you thought you could definitely living proof of that I would not have thought that when we when Brandon and I started the company back in 2013. We, you know, made the Inc Magazine best places to work and, you know, grown to the size of the company that we're at right now. It's just it's mind blowing, just the journey that you can take when you're able to kind of take that pause and breathe and see and ask the bigger picture questions of where we go. Playing telephone poles or open fields and what what's really out there in the open fields? Maybe that's a journey I want to go on.

Robert Peterson 50:06
Absolutely. Well, I love that resiliency because I think that's really the true definition of joy of what brings happiness is really that resiliency, your ability to, to face the challenges. And I think the more we're prepared, the more we're aware, the more those challenges become just bumps in the road instead of overwhelming mountains that destroy lives.

Unknown Speaker 50:28
Exactly. Very true.

Robert Peterson 50:30
All right, Darren, fantastic information. Fantastic. Appreciate all that all that you shared, but NDG episode with the guests sharing their words of wisdom. So what would you share?

Unknown Speaker 50:43
I just want to bring it back to the whole notion for entrepreneurs have I said this earlier, and I'm gonna, I'm gonna restate it we are what we focus on, be wise in that choice. So we are what we focus on as we're growing our businesses as well. You're going to have a culture, whether it's just you, whether it's you and one other person, two people. And as you grow, you can have a culture, either by intention and design, or by accident, just like you can have a life and a business by intention, or design or by accident. Choose wisely. Choose wisely, my friends, because the way that you envision that and the way that you focus into that, even if it's just with one person, can completely be transformative in the way that you grow and scale. And be sure to focus on what's right, with you focus on what's right with your team, catch people in the act of doing things, right, and show them what that is connecting to and making an impact and adding value to the business, adding value to the stakeholders adding value to the clients adding value to the world at large. That will give you the opportunity to create some transformative components in your life and in your business.

Robert Peterson 52:06
There. And thank you so much for sharing today, man. I appreciate your wisdom. I appreciate the things you're doing in the world. And I appreciate your commitment to your family.

Unknown Speaker 52:16
Thank you so much, Robert, I really appreciate you having me on.

Robert Peterson 52:19
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