Today’s conversation is a special one as I’m talking with my friend Jim Sheils. I have to tell you, this won’t be a typical episode where we talk about tactics to improve your marketing, appointment process, or how to scale your business. We hit on a topic that’s far more important… how to make sure running a successful financial services practice doesn’t sabotage your relationship with your family. Unfortunately, over the last decade of working with advisors, I’ve seen this happen far too often. I’ve seen those with a massively successful business and huge bank account that came at the expense of their spouse and children. A big bank account means nothing if you have no one to share it with, which is why I thought it was important to have this conversation with Jim and share it with all of you.
Personally, ever since being introduced to Jim a few years back, I’ve been doing much of what we cover in this conversation today and as a parent, this is the most impactful thing I’ve ever done when it comes to developing an incredible relationship with each of my children. Besides my personal experience with Jim’s teachings, his “Family Board Meeting” framework has been shared across the country with groups like EO, YPO, and even on Harvard University’s campus.In fact, we recently brought Jim into Advisors Excel’s headquarters and his talk was the highest rated in the history of our 12-year-old company.
Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
- How Jim’s Family Board Meeting framework came to be and why his entrepreneur friends felt so strongly about it that they literally forced him to write a book and share it with others. [05:13]
- How to avoid the entrepreneurial excuse of “I’m building a business for my family”—and find out what truly matters based on Jim’s time speaking with a number of entrepreneurial families. The children’s viewpoint on their parent’s businesses may surprise you. [18:18]
- Discover the magical combination of Jim’s 3 step Board Meeting formula, why it works, and the simple way to implement your very own quarterly meetings with your kids [27:36]
- [05:13] What is the Family Board Meeting and how can you use it to build a deeper, more meaningful connection with your spouse and kids.
- [09:43] The power of holding a separate quarterly board meeting with each one of your children.
- [15:03] Are you accidently delegating yourself out of family life? Learn how to run up the entrepreneurial mountain and bring your family with you!
- [18:18] Don’t fall victim to the entrepreneurial mindset—recognize that the #1 thing your family wants, is you.
- [20:10] Find out why the opposite of addiction is connection and that there is no substitute for quality time.
- [23:04] Why bringing success back to the home will bring more success to your business.
- [26:50] The importance of 1-on-1 time—learn to strip away the distractions and create true connection with your kids.
- [32:29] Why it’s so important to let you kids choose the 1-on-1 activities you build into your quarterly family board meetings.
- [36:26] Once you create a rhythm, the questions your kids start asking you will blow you away!
- [41:22] “That which we schedule, get’s done.” Learn to carve out time for your most important clients—your kids!
- [45:41] Find out who Jim thinks of when hears the word successful and why.
- [47:39] Hear about some of Jim’s favorite books and the impact they had on his life.
- [50:00] Discover the 3 skills your kids need to build a solid foundation for success.
- [53:05] Jim shares one thing he would like to see as absurd 25 years from now.
- [01:1:59] Sacrificing profit upfront to continue to build trust and reputation that comes back in bigger ways down the road.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Jim Sheils
- The Family Board Meeting: Is Business Success Hurting Your Family?
- Education Matrix
- Dads Retreat
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
- Advisors Excel
- The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
- Man’s Search for Meaning
- The Richest Man in Babylon: Six Laws of Wealth
- How To Win Friends and Influence People
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Jon Vroman
- Hal Elrod
- Yanik Silver
- Dr. Shefali Tsabary
- Jon Berghoff
- John Kane
- Viktor E. Frankl
- Napoleon Hill
- Tony Robbins
- Jeff Hoffman
REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Thanks for checking out the latest show, here’s this weeks featured review! This one comes to us from Trib Reader who says:
Thanks for the review, kind words from anyone who’s studied under Dan Sullivan’s Strategic Coach model are extra appreciated. I’ve definitely been a student of everything Dan has to teach that’s ever been shared with me. Glad you enjoyed the Shark Tank analogy as it applies to financial services as well. For those of you who haven’t checked out the episode referenced yet, you can get to it by clicking here.
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
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TRANSCRIPTSClick here to Read the Transcript
Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of Advisor Development and Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US. He’s also a regular contributor to Investment News, the Wall Street Journal, and other industry publications.
[00:00:25] Brad: Welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint, the podcast for world-class financial advisors. My name is Brad Johnson and I’m the VP of Advisor Development and Advisors Excel, and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
Today’s conversation is a special one as I’m talking with my friend, Jim Sheils. I have to tell you, this won’t be a typical episode where we talk about tactics to improve your marketing, appointment process or how to scale your business. We hit on a topic that’s far more important, how to make sure running a successful financial services practice that doesn’t sabotage your relationship with your family. I have to say, unfortunately, over the last decade of working with advisors, I’ve seen this happen far too often. I’ve seen those with a massively successful business, a huge bank account that came at the expense of their spouse and children. And a big bank account means nothing if you have no one to share it with which is why I thought it was important to have this conversation with Jim and share it with all of you.
Personally, ever since being introduced to Jim a few years back, I’ve been doing much of what we cover in this conversation. And as a parent, this is the most impactful thing I’ve ever done when it comes to developing an incredible relationship with each of my children and besides my personal experience with Jim’s teaching, his Family Board Meeting framework has been shared across the country with groups like EO, YPO, and even on Harvard University’s campus. In fact, we recently brought Jim into Advisors Excel’s headquarters and his talk was the highest rated in the history of our 12-year-old company.
So, here’s a quick recap of what we cover and then let’s get to this conversation. First, we get into how Jim’s Family Board Meeting framework came to be and why his entrepreneur friends felt so strongly about it that they literally forced him to write a book and share it with others. Next, we cover how to avoid the entrepreneurial excuse of, “I’m building a business for my family,” and find out what truly matters based on Jim’s time speaking with a number of entrepreneurial families. The children’s viewpoint on their parents’ businesses may surprise you.
[00:02:23] Brad: Finally, the magical combination of Jim’s three-step board meeting formula and why it works, and the simple way to implement your very own quarterly meetings with your kids. Okay. This is a first, but I thought why not, as worst-case scenario, I’ll buy a few books from a friend and share them with a few of my loyal listeners. It seemed like a win-win to me. So, here’s what I’m going to do. Jim’s book, The Family Board Meeting, it’s my most gifted book probably ever so I thought I just continue the trend and ship them out free of charge to all of you. All that I ask is that you leave an honest review out on iTunes for our show which we’ve made super easy to do. Just visit BradleyJohnson.com/iTunes. Once you’ve left a review, just drop us an email via email@example.com with your iTunes username and a mailing address and we’ll drop you a copy in the mail as a thank you. That simple. Other than that, as always, everything we cover is in the show notes over at BradleyJohnson.com and that’s it. As always, thanks for listening and without further delay, my conversation with Jim Sheils.
[00:03:28] Brad: Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast. I’m incredibly excited. I’ve got my buddy, Jim Sheils, here with us today. Welcome to the show, Jim.
[00:03:37] Jim: Hey, Brad. Good to see you again. Thanks for having me.
[00:03:39] Brad: This conversation is long overdue. I think we’ve known each other for a couple of years now, met originally at, of all places, a dad’s retreat which I think most people in business don’t even know these things exist. Our mutual friend, Jon Vroman, he was out there looking for, you know, there’s all these business conferences, how can I become a better marketer, how can I become a better speaker and he was out there and he said, “How can I become a better dad?” and looking all over the place and there was nothing. So, he just decided to create his own dad’s retreat of which you were one of the featured speakers the first time. So, I’m excited about today because we’re going to go way off track from what a normal podcast than the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast is for me but in my opinion, this might be the most impactful conversation I’ve ever had on the show. So, I’m excited to have you, Jim.
[00:04:28] Jim: Yeah. Good to be here. Good to get to talk to you at a new format. Usually, it’s at your table with a glass of wine.
[00:04:35] Brad: Which, hey, we need to have some more of those too. So, as we dig in here, I’m going to just, for those following along on video, how Jim and I originally connected. He has a concept called the Family Board Meeting and for those looking at the video, this is about the skinniest book I think you’ll ever read but it’s the most impact per page I think I’ve ever seen in a book. And in fact, I’ve gifted this book more to friends, clients than any other book I’ve ever come across. So, what I want to do is I’m going to turn the mic over to you, Jim. I know I’m giving you a big buildup here, but I’d like to dig into just right here at the get-go, so we can hit it and everybody can kind of – and then we’ll see where the conversation goes. What is the Family Board Meeting? How did the Family Board Meeting come to be? Can you just give us kind of the overview of the whole thought process behind it?
[00:05:27] Jim: Yeah. The Board Meeting Strategy, and again, The Family Board Meeting is the company I founded for helping entrepreneurs succeed in homes and connect deeper with their kids, not lose their status at home, their connection at home. And I started working with entrepreneur families before I even had my own family. I have a family of four now, but I actually started working with entrepreneur families almost I think because I’ve started a young age into entrepreneurship. So, when I spoke at events, people would come to me as like the young fun uncle because I was in between the age of their children and the age of the parent. And so, somehow, I just fell in the backwards of working and starting to do retreats with entrepreneurial families. And as you know, you’ve met my family now, my own family came along. And I needed to connect with my sons. Again, I have two biological and two adopted sons. My two older sons are adopted. When you come in someone’s life at the age of seven and five, it’s a pretty odd circumstance. It’s like asking a girl to dance for the first time at the seventh-grade dance. We all remember that. Awkward, you’re not sure, you want to make it work but you’re a little uncomfortable. And the Board Meeting Strategy was just a simple rhythm and I have been taught by some mentors to develop rhythms. If you can rhythmize, you can be successful in your relationships.
So, I just created this rhythm that was based around the premise that I should be able to, as an entrepreneur and as now I have my own real estate investment company, I should be able to treat my family members, especially my children, with the same attention and respect that I give my key clients, my biggest clients, make key team members and biggest investors in my business. And so, the Board Meeting Strategy, which originally came from a group of surfers making a promise to treat their children with this promise, was to develop a rhythm that kept me grounded with them and in sync with them. And that’s how the Board Meeting Strategy came about. It’s a simple rhythm that can be followed throughout the year that doesn’t overwhelm but keeps you grounded and helps keep deepening the connection.
[00:07:27] Jim: And you see, you’ve used it for a few years now. The principles are sound, they’ve been tested, and I never would’ve thought that – I didn’t even want to write the book. My friend, the Strategic Coach, Shannon Waller, pushed me to say, “This is too important. You need to write it.” And thankfully I did because I would never have met guys like you. But I never thought that the difference that made for me and my sons and now my other daughters and sons, my all four kids now, I never thought it would make such a difference in other families. So, you just never know where things are going to turn. But I guess it’s gone semi-viral and it’s making a difference which is what it was all about. So, I’m humbled and just so grateful for that.
[00:08:03] Brad: Well, and it continues to go viral by the way. So, just yesterday got back from Pete Vargas’ event out in Colorado Springs, I’m sitting at the dinner table. Hal Elrod, author of the Miracle Morning, sitting across from me and Nick Silver who I know you know as well and a topic of conversation over dinner was the family board meetings.
[00:08:23] Jim: Really?
[00:08:24] Brad: Yes, absolutely, and Hal was talking about how big of an impact it made for him and even this last dad’s retreat which you were out of Jon’s, but it was a topic of conversation there and I think some guys have kind of have been doing half family board meetings and that was kind of the topic of conversation is let’s make sure we do it by the book. So, while we’re here at the front of the conversation, can you just give us the three simple steps just as an overview, so everybody can get an understanding of exactly what a family board meeting is?
[00:08:52] Jim: Yes. Absolutely. And one of my biggest goals, Brad, and I know you and I’ve had hours of conversations, I really want to do something that would stick. I want to do something that was so easy that I could talk to you about it and you could test it out and then you could share it, just a simple framework, and that’s what the board meeting strategy is. Family board meeting is so easy to put into practice and I had to make it simple. I’m an entrepreneur with ADD. I mean, my follow-up skills are semi-par at certain levels. That’s why I have help in certain areas, right?
[00:09:22] Brad: You’re on a good podcast, Jim. I think all of the listeners and myself also have it.
[00:09:27] Jim: Yes. So, all of my Kolbe people are out there, they’re like, “Oh yeah. Okay. You have a quick startup in the eights and nines. Yeah. That’s me.” So, I want to stay grounded. I didn’t want to get to October of every year or November and turnaround and go, “Geez, I feel like I might have done some business stuff, but I feel disconnected at home.” So, the Board Meeting Strategy was set to principles that were already in my head as an entrepreneur and I just set into action and they’ve worked. And so, it works like this. Just like in the old days and still with a lot of companies, Advisors Excel groups that have the entrepreneurial spirits though, you have a quarterly board meeting. And a quarterly board meeting for good companies had a purpose and that was to reunite the team and look ahead to the next 90 days, reflect on the last 90, reunite the team and look ahead to the next 90. It’s a very good principle. I’m not talking about the old boring, IBM stuff suits board meetings where people are like, “Oh man, crunching numbers on those long spreadsheets.” That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m looking at more exact principles, bringing people together, reuniting the team and looking ahead. I said, “Why can’t I do that with each one of my children?”
So, what I do and what I’ve done now for six years, haven’t missed one is I hold a board meeting with each one of my children every quarter, a quarterly board meeting. And so, that’s every 90 days I have a board meeting and there are only three principles. Besides this, it has to be a minimum of four hours uninterrupted and I could go into the science of that of decompression and connection but every quarter at least four hours I have a board meeting with my children and there are only three steps to it, only three. First one is one-on-one, the second one is without electronics, and the third one is called fun activity with focused reflection. And we’ll get into that. That might sound a little confusing but all that is is the shortest definition in the world for experiential education. And experiential education, I’m kind of an alternative education nutcase because I really get into the how’s the best ways we can educate our children, to build relationships, and experiential education is just off the charts with success.
[00:11:29] Jim: So, I just used it with my children and I’ll explain exactly how a fun activity of focused reflection works. But when you put those three things together and get into the simple rhythm of once a quarter, every 90 days for at least four hours uninterrupted, one-on-one, without electronics, a fun activity of your child’s choice, not your choice and with focused reflection, these become absolute pillars in a relationship, absolute. In fact, I’ll show you this. The Power of Moments was just at a cadre event that I was just at and these guys were a lot smarter than me, Brad, Ivy League guys who have designed how do we have memories that stick with our family with things.
And basically, without me knowing so I’m not that scientific, we’ve plugged into these exact science is that once they go together, we set pillars in the relationships, they deepen the relationships, they take away barriers from your children, they help set up things for when you want your kids to come to you for advice instead of their friends or the internet, this simple strategy is, again, one of those just stakes in the ground that hold steadfast in the relationship and I watch it build year-after-year. And I never thought it would make such a difference. You’re saying, “Oh is 90 days enough?” It makes the time in between each board meeting more special, more connected, builds the family. You got to separate the parts to strengthen the whole, and we’ll go into each step but that’s pretty much how it works. You can put it at the back of a napkin of how this strategy works and it can be used over and over and over.
[00:12:57] Brad: And it is an absolute game changer. Doing them personally with my two oldest boys who are seven and six now the last two years. What’s interesting from at least for our family dynamic and I think most families, the older child’s kind of the dominant one. They’re older. They kind of tend to take over conversations. I find the one-on-one with my second oldest, Nash, it just allows his personality to come out because he does not have that older sibling that’s kind of always looking over his shoulder telling him what to do. But before we go into kind of the power of the actual board meetings because we can spend a long conversation on that, I want to back up because quite honestly, I was like, “Should I have Jim come on the podcast?”
For those out there, financial advisors listening in to this, this is not a marketing conversation. This is not a, you know, what’s your appointment process or how to scale your business but in my opinion, I was like especially after you came in and talk to our company, Jim, the emails I’m getting from people thanking me and the impact to your short little hour conversation had on families and the compound effect that’s going to have over time, I’m like, “I absolutely have to have Jim on,” and this might be the most important conversation that I ever have on in this podcast because I’ve seen it the last decade or so, high performers, A-type personalities, in business you tend to go all in and it’s consuming.
[00:14:19] Jim: Yeah.
[00:14:19] Brad: And so, I want to spend a little bit of time because to me success is not the money in the bank account if your kids, you don’t have a relationship with them, you don’t have a relationship with your wife. So, let’s go back because I’ve heard you a couple of times some entrepreneurs where this was kind of like a massive wakeup call to them where they had an ultra-successful business but then when they went back home, they really didn’t have that relationship established with their kids and with their family and how the board meetings impact to that. Could you share a story or two around that?
[00:14:47] Jim: Yeah. And it comes from feedback of the strategy for the last five years. And also, as you know, I run private retreats for entrepreneurs and their kids and I had some mentors go through it who are business mentors and probably I can say I became a family mentor to them. So, we’re able to leverage off each other. But what I found is the way that we’re wired as entrepreneurs and I’ve worked with a lot of financial advisors, we have the best intentions. We have gusto. We have get up and go. But what can happen is with the best intentions, because most of us got into the career, we got into to create a certain amount of wealth, to create space and to create certain freedoms. And we say, “What do we want to do with those freedoms?” We want to spend time with our family, pursue our own passions, get into causes that we care about. All these things are super important, but we can get so focused on running up on the entrepreneurial mountain.
What I saw happen, to put in the most simplest stories, we start to run so hard, so fast and so dedicated up the entrepreneurial mountain, that and it’s with the best intention that we finally stop and really with moments of clarity look around and the people we’re closest to or supposed to be closest to are not there anymore or even worse, they’re still there but if we’re really honest, we’re pretty much a stranger to them. We put ourselves in a position where, in honor of the business, we’ve actually delegated ourselves out of family life. And the power and the art of delegation is phenomenal for growing a business. It can absolutely be a curse if we bring in at home too much. Because what I’ve had to explain to a lot of very successful and I’m talking guys worth hundreds of millions, if we completely delegate ourselves out of family life, we can lose that connection that we all really vie for deep down. When we stop to really think about it, that’s what we want. We want a deep and more meaningful relationship. We want our kids to be able to turn to us for help, for advice, for fun. We don’t want to be looked at as a simple bank source, parole officer or shift manager.
[00:16:47] Jim: None of us want that and that’s the role that we get stuck into. So, what I found is I am the last person, Brad, to take away ambition. You and I have lots of talks about building businesses, investments. But what I’ve found is I want to save myself from myself and what I found is if I set really powerful grounding without-a-doubt no exception rhythms in my life, that it’s saving from myself, it doesn’t take away ambition. It helps fuel more ambition because I’m feeling such success where it really counts and it’s a huge recharge and it’s the reminder of balance. So, I didn’t have to think about it.
So, for people like us that are wired a certain way, rhythmizing your life do not take away freedom. They actually create more freedom, more meaning and that’s what we want. From the success, no one wants to just build a huge business and have no one around them. It would be a very rare case but at the same time, I understand how we’re wired. I’m saying let’s work with how we’re wired. Let’s put some concrete rhythms in place that as you run up that mountain, your family is coming with you. The time that you spend is not just passing by time as I talk about in the book. It’s true quality time and there are principles to quality time. In an hour or two of quality time, it does way more than 15, 20 hours of passing by time, if that makes sense. You know what I’m talking about now because we’ve had this conversation.
[00:18:18] Brad: Let’s go to I’ve heard you share kind of the entrepreneurial mindset. It’s almost like you’re, I want to say this the right way, you’re giving yourself an excuse because you’re like, “Hey, I’m dedicating my time in the business so that I can have the cash flow or the money so that my family can take these fun trips or have nice stuff or all of that.” Can you share maybe, and obviously no stories that give away personal identity here, but maybe sometimes where you’ve seen like somebody that was using that crutch or that excuse from an entrepreneurial standpoint where the light bulb went off and then they made changes, put some stakes in the ground and the impact that created with their family? Do you have some of those maybe to pull from?
[00:19:02] Jim: Yeah. I mean, and I have a theme of them which is probably the most powerful. And one thing I have to start with is we all think that as we build the business, our kids will understand that they all have our perception, that they’ll have our 20,000-foot view of what we’re trying to do. I’m just learning, “No, right now they don’t. They won’t understand.” And kind of a relief for me from the more and more I’ve worked two, three days at a time with families, you hear it finally come out. The theme that really comes out, Brad, the most is, “I don’t want all this stuff that you just talked about. I want you. I want your attention. I want to be able to talk about you. I want to be able to know about the things that interest you outside of work,” and that was a huge aha for me with my sons. So, as I build, I have to also remember what’s really important. Before you figure out what’s next, we figure out what’s important. And what’s important to them is the things that I can give them from the things we’re talking about today.
And to give the strong example in the theme because I’ve seen it a few times, unfortunately, but the people that have responded in the right way, they’ve actually had huge turnarounds and that’s with one of the biggest fears of any parent that I know is addiction. Addiction is a terrible thing. I’ve had some alcoholism and addiction in my family. It’s a very painful thing. We all have that concern for our children. And I learned that in events, it was actually a female entrepreneur, very successful now but went through the trenches with her own addictions and she said, “The opposite of addiction is connection.” And that stuck with me forever, Brad. The opposite of addiction is connection. So, one of the best ways that we can be on the offense and defense of addiction for our children and let them live a fulfilled life avoiding pain like that is connection, true meaningful relationships with them. And I actually got to sit with some rooms where I was invited to support some different families with children and parents who all their children were addicts, teens, young adult addicts.
[00:21:02] Jim: And as we started to pull out the stories, as we started to pull out the “what happened” question, there was a common theme. And especially in one instance I was in a room and every single person there had a successful business, every single person, but the theme was they had sacrificed quality time to build the business. And whether it was direct to that or the child didn’t have the supervision or they have an endless bank account which is also something that I’ve seen great danger in and not showing giving financial responsibility to our children, a lot of us are first generation wealthy and we want to give. But if that lack of connection, lack of supervision and an endless ATM card really cause some problems and the block, Brad, was a lot of the men and women were saying, “Well, look, by building this business I’m able to pay for this best rehab that we’re at here in the world to be able to get my kid help for the addiction.” And so, you sit back and you go, “Oh man, which came first, the chicken or the egg?” And it’s just such a powerful example.
And when we started to unravel and said, “Look, there has to be a balance here,” the opposite of addiction is connection and there is no substitute for quality time. What are they really vying for? The people that I know that went home and started to lessen the delegation, delegate themselves back into family life, have committed rhythms, did unbelievable things for their kids. Now I’m not saying it’s the cure for all addictions. That’s a very serious and big problem but I’m telling you right now, it is absolutely a huge proven offensive move to help people in that situation. And there’s been definitely a few that a simple thing of slowing down and spending quality time not only reignited their relationship, help remove that pain and suffering but also their business did great.
[00:23:04] Jim: And that’s the thing that’s amazing is everyone thinks, “No, no, no, if I take my foot off the gas, I got to be going 90 miles an hour in this 25-zone or we’re in trouble.” Actually, it’s the opposite. With having that kind of meaning and fulfillment at home, usually, they’re making better decisions at work. So, the addiction thing has been huge. Bringing quality time back to successful business people at home, game changer. Absolute game changer.
[00:23:28] Brad: So, let’s speak to quality time because I think there are different definitions of that. And I remember you sharing a story, I think it was one of your retreats actually, one of your recent ones and it was around cellphones and actually you didn’t ask the parents. You asked the kids. So, can you share kind of that? And I think that’ll segue into what makes quality time, and how you define that?
[00:23:51] Jim: Sure. When I started doing these retreats and created the Board Meeting Strategy I started to interview just scores and scores of entrepreneur families. People were very generous with their time. They’re with something that they really care about and we start to see a pattern. And the pattern that you see is we as entrepreneurs might be saying something but not eating our own cooking. Now the easiest one I can talk about which is principle number two, without electronics, is definitely the electronics. So, I was in Utah in June and did a retreat with about 30 entrepreneur families and Dr. Shefali, she’s been on Oprah, wrote a book called Conscious Parenting, really good principles. Cool lady. We had a great time with her and she separated – we were playing this fun game and the kids were ranging from again 8 to 24. So, there was a big range there.
We’re all having a good time and laughing, beautiful mountaintop spot and she said, “Okay. Let’s separate two sides.” And she asked the question about electronics and she said, “How many of your parents give you a hard time for being on your phone all the time for doing the little thumbsies?” And almost every kid raised their hand. I think every kid did raise their hand. And she said, “Well, let me ask you. How many of you think your parents are hypocrites then?” And a couple of the younger kids didn’t know what hypocrites meant. They said, “What’s a hypocrite?” And she explained what a hypocrite is. Almost every arm went up. And what I found is so many times the electronics you had a disconnect and reconnect. We’re not eating our own cooking. And one thing I’ll say, and this is out of humility, believe me, because this was not the case. This was absolutely not the case. Only three kids did not raise their hands. There was one young girl and my two sons. And Dr. Shefali went and really drilled my sons and said, “Hold on, your dad’s running the event,” and she’s a pisser. She’s funny.
[00:25:47] Jim: And she’s like, “Don’t give me that. So, he’s not on his phone doing that?” and they’re both like, and believe me, if my boys joke, they could throw me under the bus, they would. They’re 11 and 13 and they just said, “No, he’s not like that.” And that meant the world to me and this comes from someone who didn’t have it under control, Brad, who would take that text real quick, he would take that email at the table that when they’re trying to talk to us and it really is there a block in having a connection in true quality time. You can’t have it. So, that’s one of the principle things that I found that quality time, there are certain additives that have to be set. A certain environment has to be set for true quality time. Rushing here and there and having been on the phone and the radio going and driving your kid from this place to that, that’s passing time. That’s not quality time and quality time is the meat and potatoes. That kind of time is the garnish and we want more meat and potatoes.
[00:26:40] Brad: I almost find it – it’s like an awakening. Honestly to me, that’s something I struggle with, I really do, and we’ve talked at the dad’s retreat. In fact, one of the guys out there shared. This is a fun little tip for some parents out there, if you struggle that much with kind of turning the business off, the emails, the text, the late-night phone calls, he actually, I’m trying to think who it was.
[00:27:01] Jim: Sean. Yeah. Sean.
[00:27:03] Brad: Sean out of the event actually went and bought one of those little gun safes, those handgun safes and when he gets home for dinner, he will actually take that, actually he’ll give it to one of his children. They’ll take it, they’ll lock it up in the gun safe and it’s gone until they’re in bed that night.
[00:27:19] Jim: Yeah.
[00:27:19] Brad: And so, that’s something I’ve actually done because out of sight, out of mind and just going back to the board meetings and doing those the last two years, you realize how bad it is when you literally are like, okay, four hours unconnected and you start to get this urge.
[00:27:38] Jim: You get these shakes.
[00:27:39] Brad: Yeah. It’s crazy how addictive cellphones are. And what it’s made me realize, number one, when you don’t have them, your relationship with your child exponentially, I mean, you’re 1,000% more present. But number two, now I start to become an observer. I go to restaurants and I start to see people at family dinners and they’re not at family dinners.
[00:28:02] Jim: No. They’re just glazed over.
[00:28:03] Brad: They’re literally, you’ve got a table full of people in their own little world. They might as well not even be eating together. And this is something I think as society progresses we weren’t ready for this and it’s something now that you know it’s there, you have to actually constantly guard against it or it naturally happens without you even trying. And so, have you had some of those types of experiences with some of the stories that you’ve seen where it’s just like, “Oh wow, this is what quality time actually is and here’s what came out of it once I actually realized what interacting with my child looks like?”
[00:28:37] Jim: Yeah. Well, to take the first two principles, one-on-one time and without electronics, it is so rare. So rare, Brad, and people go, “Oh my gosh, I never thought about that to have those two combos.” One-on-one time when you have a busy family of a couple of people and then you say, “Why don’t we get together for the holidays?” And that’s great. I love big holiday get-togethers but it’s crazy. It’s pandemonium. People are running around. And although I consider that quality time because you’re bringing the whole family together, one-on-one time, game changer. It is literally, that is the deepening tool of all deepening tools. You look at any professional team, they separate out. I remember I used to go, and I talk about it in the book, I used to watch the Giants play in my hometown where I grew up in New Jersey. They’d separate. The quarterback’s out. The wide receiver is out. You know this, being an ex-football player, the line out and you’d have separate practice and then you’d bring the team back together and you’d play better as a team.
Family works the same way. You got to separate the part to strengthen the whole and one-on-one time puts the magnifying glass on a relationship in a positive way. And here about couples’ retreats, well, you’re not going to bring your kids even though you love them on a couple’s retreat. That’s not what they’re there for. This is about you and you wife or you and your husband reconnecting. Not that you don’t love them, but they’re not invited to that. I found the same thing was important with one-on-one time like you talked about your two sons. When you’re one-on-one, it takes away that sibling rivalry which I don’t care what family you have. It does exist. It’s almost primal. It takes away distraction. If you’re the busy entrepreneur and your husband or wife stays at home, your kids might lean more into that relationship. If your spouse is in there, that’s a good thing because they can’t do that. They can’t stay separated. It’s just you guys. Now there is no best friend on, “I love my kids’ friends. We always bring along,” but on a board meeting, you’re not coming. You’re not invited. I need that one-on-one time. How many teenage kids want to talk about puberty in front of their little brother? Like, “Oh my gosh, I’d cut my arms off before I do that.” And you’re saying, “Well, all my kids don’t talk to me.”
[00:30:36] Jim: One-on-one time helps set the stage and then without electronics. I mean, getting one-on-one and without electronics like you said, “These dinners you see, Brad, and people just were all like this,” it serves a purpose to a point, but it’s been overused. Like you said, I don’t think we’re ready for the stimulation. And it is almost like a new frontier where you say, “Okay. I’m going to turn off my phone and you turn off your phone,” if you have a teen and you’re allowing them to have electronics or some younger I guess. It’s a whole new thing like, “Okay. What crutch do we lean on now?” Well, all that’s left is true connection. It’s really a stripping away of the distractions and nothing I think, and this reports back and letters back, takes away wars from a board meeting. If you try to break that rule and you keep that phone on, you take that one text, that one email, you’ve totally lost them. You’ve proven that that is more important than the relationships in front of you and it just kills them.
But for otherwise, they can see that if they had possibly been taking that one call, if they’ve been taking that one text, during this potential time where your child might be trying to open up, it would’ve been totally lost. But the fact that there was not that distraction, it’s led down the road that they’re like, “I can’t believe my son or my daughter opened up or started talking about this or asking me about this,” and that absence of electronics has been really, really important. I can track it back to see that it’s so key not to have for this type of quality time.
[00:32:03] Brad: It’s really sad when you think about it. If you’re in a business meeting, an important business meeting, and a text goes off or your phone starts to ring, if you and I are here, Jim, and we’re having a meeting, I’m not going to pop up my cellphone and say, “Hey, sorry, Jim. We’re talking about really important stuff here. Let me take this.”
[00:32:19] Jim: Yeah.
[00:32:20] Brad: And we do it with our kids.
[00:32:21] Jim: Exactly.
[00:32:22] Brad: That’s a much more important relationship, no offense. We’ll sit there and do it with our kids and it’s just I think it’s huge just the whole framework. Well, we just hit one and two, so we might as well go into three with the focused reflection and letting them pick the activity and then I want to come back as how the listeners can actually make sure they actually take this and run with it.
[00:32:40] Jim: Sure. So, yeah, this is the peanut butter and jelly, one-on-one, once a quarter, four hours uninterrupted at least and one-on-one without electronics, fun activity of their choice with focused reflection. Again, that is the shortest definition of experiential education and I won’t go into it today, but it is the most powerful form of education with the best results and it’s the most fun. And now you’re just using it to strengthen the relationship with your son or your daughter. And people say, “Can we use this board meeting strategy with our spouse?” Yes. We won’t get into that today, Brad, but as you know I do, without a doubt, weekly date night with my wife and that is one of the most important things in our marriages. It’s one of my firmest commitments. No, I’m not available. Now, this is important. But getting back to fun activity with focused reflection with your child, if you let them choose the activity, we always think we know what they want and then, I’m sorry, we’re going to lean toward something we kind of want. Something I said at Advisors Excel, look, if you guys really like to choose and your son or daughter, they kind of do, they’re not really into them but then you drag them off into a Chiefs game for four hours in the cold, they’re not really that into it and you’re saying, “Isn’t it great? We bonded.”
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but if you really want connection and ownership and vying especially from teens, you let them choose the activity. Now you’re going to get a better feel of their creativity. You’re going to get a better feel of what they’re really interested in. They’re going to get a feel, it’s a test to say, “Okay. Will they actually do something I really want to do? And they might have no interest in.” So, with my kids, it’s been really cool over the last six years to see the things that they come up with that they create. It gives ownership. They get so excited to plan it out and to put it together. And all it is is creating that time. They plan it and then the fun activity with focused reflection. And all that means is what experiential education is you put students in direct inspiring experiences and then you save time at the end to have focused reflections where you ask certain questions that help clarify values and instill the lessons and concrete reapplications moving forward. That’s kind of the geeky definition.
[00:34:45] Jim: So, all you’re doing is having this fun together that they plan, maybe sharing a meal and at the end having some time to talk. And what happens when you’ve taken four hours to do this without a phone one-on-one, you’ve created something called decompression where you’ve actually started to decompress. They’ve started to lower their guard. Because most of us entrepreneurs are like this whether we realize it or not, we are. Both of our guards have been lowered and by having this fun together, it decompresses us, it opens up the lines of communication. And the focused reflection just starts by saying, what did you enjoy about today and why. And it might last for three minutes the first time you do it but that simple question has opened up so many doors for parents to talk about subjects are like, “I can’t believe my teen talked to me. I can’t believe my young child had the awareness to bring this up.” It’s just so important.
So, that is the absolute glue, using experiential education, fun activity with focused reflection. You can go, “Focused reflection, I’m not a psychologist. I don’t know what the hell that means.” Look, all it means is me vulnerable and asked the question, “What did you like about today and why?” And I can go into those the five strategies as we talked about or the five tips to really strengthen this strategy, but you got to be vulnerable. All of us are like this. We’re big tough guys. If you want your kid to open up, you got to open up first and that’s just how it goes. So, with using that simple fun activity with focused reflection is going to bring it all together. And it’s nice. Every 90 days you know you’re having some sort of fun thing that they’re choosing. They look forward to it and reflecting on the last one. Any day is a magic number to really set something where they can look forward to and they can reflect on the last one if that makes sense.
[00:36:25] Brad: Yeah. What’s been really cool to see happen over the last couple of years and each of my boys is picking different things and my youngest girl she is getting at the age, she’s almost 2 so we’re about ready to start that. It’s really cool. We’ve created this rhythm, this little family tradition where we’ll typically do them on Saturday morning so start at eight, get down about noon or so and then we’ll go to the same pizza parlor. It’s got this really cool little bar area, not the bar by the way. I’m not taking my kids to the bar.
[00:36:55] Jim: Brad?
[00:36:55] Brad: Let me clarify there. I’m throwing the board meeting off track here. It’s got a bar setting that actually overlooks the guy making the pizza. So, he’s tossing the dough up in the air and my kid just loves that spot. But I remember you saying the first time that once you created a rhythm of this, your kids will start to ask you a question that you never really thought they would. And it’s crazy how it comes out. It was either the first or second one and I think Braun asked me, he said, it was like one of those, “Dad, what do you think about this question?” Like one of those like life questions, he’s kind of pondering as a seven-year-old and then we just got into this really cool deep conversation that I’m like, “Wow. How am I having this with my seven-year-old son?” But it was because that space had been created, it was just me and him, there was a high level of trust, fully present and it works like clockwork. You can’t even really describe it until you do it and you get in those rhythms but it’s just that connection with your kids just it goes to a whole another level.
[00:37:55] Jim: Yeah. It really does.
[00:37:56] Brad: And it’s weird because I’m sure there’s science behind it if you got into all of that but it just works.
[00:38:02] Jim: There is. And honestly, I didn’t even realize the science until it started to work and then people started to bring the science to me. So, maybe there is some intuition there. It really was just plugging into some powerful principles and putting them together. The science is there. That’s been supported. Now but even better than the science is the results, the feeling, the stories I’m getting back, it’s undeniable at this point. And like you said, if you would have had a text come through, no way. “Hey, buddy, I’m going to take this quick 10-minute phone call. I’ll be right back.” No way. If he had been playing whatever blah, blah game on his phone, no way. See what I mean? We’re setting the stage for connection and this is true quality time that gets us from the surface to below the surface and it’s fun. This is not like a painful process. There are some vulnerable touching moments for all you tough guys out there. I’ve got to warn you, there is. I mean, you’re talking to cats in the cradle type stuff but, man, it’s some of the most meaningful stuff.
At the end of every year, Brad, around the holidays, when we do reflections on the year like highlights of the year, one of the things most proud for me, and again we’re just plugging into principles, is the boys always say, “Ah, the board meeting where we did this or the board meeting where we went that.” I mean, it is true pillars in our relationship now. And it has strengthened the family as a whole. I think that something really important that I want to mention is people go, “Oh well, if you’re just doing this one-on-one, it’s not going to cause jealousy for the rest of the family, and problems?” The answer is absolutely no. Because I do it for all of my kids and you got to separate the parts to strengthen the whole. And what I found is when they get this one-on-one attention with me, they’re not vying for it and it coming out in unconscious worse behavior ways. So, it definitely strengthens the family as a whole to separate the parts.
[00:39:52] Brad: Yeah. So, I want to speak to the listeners here for a little bit, to the audience. This is not that hard to do. I mean, I’ve now been to three different dad’s retreats and it’s interesting and I am, I mean, I’m the guy that comes back from these retreats. I’ve got a notebook full of notes. I’ve got all the energy that I’m going to implement every single idea and then I look back six months later, and I’ve got a notebook and I’m like, “Ah, I only did one or two of those.” Well one thing I’m so happy I did that first dad’s retreat was I came back, Jim, and I immediately put board meetings on my calendar.
So, that’s something I just want to encourage any of you out there that are listening that have children and it doesn’t matter if they’re in college. I mean, it doesn’t matter what age they’re at. Just go out three months. Doesn’t have to be that far. But go put it, put that big rock on the calendar and just set it there and then as you go back and tell your child about this, the first time they’re in there like “What’s this weird thing dad’s or mom’s got me doing?” But going back to actually letting them pick what is the activity we’re going to do. So, for me, a seven and six-year-old it’s been a lot laser tag which is fun by the way. I think I enjoy it more than they do. But the most recent one was my six-year-old, he’s into Pokémon cards now and so we went to a local little card shop. He wanted to learn how to play Pokémon. So, that’s an interesting crew we were hanging with but, hey, it was fun. And we were sitting there engaging. So, letting them pick is actually what will drive the engagement and then once you do the first one, Jim, it’s like the most addicting thing in the world now.
[00:41:19] Jim: Yeah. It rolls. It just rolls. As long as you don’t set your schedule and I’m glad you brought that up, Brad, there’s been people again at the dad’s retreat who contacting me to their power. I give them a lot of credit saying, “Look, I read the book. I get it. I haven’t put it to work. And I’m kind of ashamed to say that.” I say, “Okay. Well, first thing, stop being ashamed. That’s not going to do us any good.” You’re busy. You have good intentions. Let’s figure it out.” And it really came down to, “That which we schedule gets done.”
So, someone that we both know and I’m not going to say any names of course that we both know very well, very successful business, we spend time monthly on our private calls together with our dad stuff, he’s like, “I can’t get it done.” I said, “Well, that which we schedule gets done. Do you even handle your own schedule anymore? You’re running a $100 million business. Do you even schedule your own appointments anymore?” He said, “No.” And I said, “Okay. So, here’s what we’re going to do right now. We’re going to get on with your assistant right now and I want you to have her schedule it.” And they’re going great now. It literally was just that thing. It’s that little block of saying that which we schedule gets done. Needing to handle your own schedule now because he is a top-level entrepreneur. I said, “That’s the blockage. You put it on the calendar,” and now he’s rolling with it. It’s perfect. So, that’s such a…
[00:42:35] Brad: He treats it just like a business meeting, just block it right there on your calendar just like you would anything else.
[00:42:41] Jim: Yeah. It is for us like it’s our most important client key team member and investor in our business and people would say, “Oh, that sounds really shallow,” and I said, “Look, I’m going to work with how my mind works and my relationship is better. I see my kids as the most important client by far in my life, and wife,” and just saying that, I’ve spent better quality time with them. So, put things on the calendar and they seem to happen more, just like anything. You have a huge client in your business, I mean financial advisors, let’s say there’s someone who is one client is 30% of your book. Are you not going to set schedule time with them? Are you going to just say, “Oh we’ll figure it out sometime during the year?” No way. No way would you kind of put that off. You’re going to give that some focused attention. That which we schedule gets done.
[00:43:30] Brad: And the other thing that comes out of scheduling it out, it’s just like a family vacation that you plan and you look forward to. I’ve actually started, I think I got this from Jon Berghoff. So, my seven and six-year-old, they’ll actually write an itinerary. And at this point, it’s essentially, they’re just coloring a picture of what they want the meeting to be. So, my six-year-old this last one he literally drew a picture of the Pokémon store and he’s like, “Dad, here’s what we’re doing.” So, it’s creating some ownership like he’s running the meeting and what I found is they’re now looking forward, we call it like a daddy-Braun or a daddy-Nash meeting.
[00:44:03] Jim: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:44:04] Brad: And they’re like when’s our meeting? And it just creates this really fun anticipation as you lead up to it. So, if you don’t actually ever schedule them out, you don’t get that side of it either.
[00:44:13] Jim: Exactly. Yeah. That which we schedule gets done and that it gives them that commitment to start being creative to plan the day. And it’s vying an ownership. I mean there are so many times, we invest intention and say, “This is what we’re going to do,” and they might be like okay. But to give them the ownership of saying, “You create it,” total game changer.
[00:44:31] Brad: Yeah. So, I haven’t shared this yet. I wanted to share this with you. John Kane who was at the first dad’s retreat and he was at the last one, but he shared a story just encouraging everybody to incorporate this into their family. And his child, he’s been running with him since the first one as well, his child, the last one they did, told him, “This is better than Christmas.”
[00:44:56] Jim: No kidding.
[00:44:57] Brad: Which, I mean, as a child I’m thinking back was there ever anything that was better than Christmas?
[00:45:01] Jim: No.
[00:45:04] Brad: So, that just shows you the power from the child’s perspective of how a big of an impact these things make. So, I wanted to share that.
[00:45:10] Jim: Yeah. Now I want to write to John. That’s beautiful to hear. Yeah, I mean, we’ll plug into some deep primal principles here. It’s not the big business they want. They want you. And this is going to give it to them on their terms and the consistency that they can depend on, consistent rhythm. So, that’s awesome. That’s so good to hear.
[00:45:27] Brad: All right. Jim, this has been an awesome conversation as I knew it would be. Are you ready to flip into what I call some more philosophical questions throughout the conversation here?
[00:45:36] Jim: Uh-oh. Sure.
[00:45:39] Brad: You’ll be fine.
[00:45:39] Jim: I’m serious.
[00:45:41] Brad: When you hear the word successful, who’s the first person you think of and why?
[00:45:45] Jim: Most people I know, and this is not a judgment call on the Buffets and the Bransons. I don’t know them. I don’t personally know them. So, I stopped a long time ago naming the successful people that I read about in a featured article because I don’t know the person. I want to know the person. So, I only really look up to people that I’ve known and spent real quality time with. So, I have a mentor in Australia that helped us with our real estate business, lives in a small beach town, surfs often, has three sons that I’ve watched grow up and he’s still close to. His son just turned 18. He said, “This teen things where they’re supposed to fight you tooth and nail on everything, I just didn’t see it. I haven’t experienced that.” And he was getting with his time, successful. So, it’d probably be him. Major support in my life. When I almost got broke in 2008 I was heavily invested in real estate in California, in Florida during that fun meltdown that we went through and he was there for me like nothing. So, that would be my friend Craig in Australia. He won’t probably be showing up in any featured articles but he’s a big feature in my life for sure. So, it would be him because of what he created not only at home but in business, the two went together well.
[00:47:05] Brad: If there was one quality about him that just put a bump, nothing else, what would it be?
[00:47:09] Jim: I think he has his value straight at least in my opinion. And so, he enjoys nice things and getting nice experiences, but he doesn’t have to show off the best of the best. So, one thing he said, he said, “I don’t need to wear the fanciest suit somewhere, but I like to be able to walk into a nice restaurant and order an expensive roll of sushi and not worry that I can’t afford it.” So, little philosophies like that I just think he has his values straight.
[00:47:38] Brad: Cool. All right. What’s the favorite book you’ve ever read and why? Or as you’re thinking, as the wheels are turning, what’s a book you’ve repeatedly gifted over the years?
[00:47:49] Jim: Good questions. Being a fire red entrepreneur like, okay, well I can break into seven different books. But if I had to pick, Man’s Search for Meaning is one of my absolute favorites, Viktor Frankl. I just think he stems so much of positive growth and personal development for us that it’s easy to track it back to him. So, Man’s Search for Meaning was a real good one. Gifted, I’ve gifted the book, The Richest Man in Babylon, quite a bit. I work with young kids’ education and stuff and team education. I just think that book is so important and so principally aligns with financial intelligence in certain values that it really can open up a part of the kids’ brains that most school doesn’t. So, that’s one that I really like as well, and I’ve gifted quite a bit.
[00:48:39] Brad: I don’t want to take the conversation way off track here, but I think it’s worth noting and honoring you for all of the work. Obviously, the Family Board Meeting is massive by itself but you’re also – you have this whole other life on the educational front we’ve had a lot of conversations on. And, The Richest Man in Babylon, there’s a piece of that where it talks about giving a percentage back to yourself and investing in yourself. And, I think that’s huge for the route that you’re going down the educational front of self-improvement. So, I’m guessing that has something to do with that as well.
[00:49:10] Jim: Yeah. I mean, I just think if our kids today could get personal development relationship skills and financial intelligence, those can be a foundation to build them in a direction of wherever they want to go. If they don’t have those three skills, they’re likely going to struggle. It doesn’t matter if they become the most successful doctor. If they’re uncomfortable in their own skin, their relationships are in the toilet, they don’t know how to handle the money, they’re going to struggle. But in other cases, if they’re a starving artist, a starving artist doesn’t have to be starving. An artist who wants to do art if you have an artistic job, they get a good base in financial intelligence, they have strong personal development in their relationship skills, I think that they don’t have to be starving artists at all. Just to give two examples. Not to get too far off track. As you know, I could start to talk on this for hours but…
[00:49:56] Brad: Well it’s interesting and it’s worked kind of with what everything we’ve talked about, about family and how your children and your spouse are the most important relationships in your life. We had a conversation out the dad’s retreat and I think this is an interesting exercise. If anybody wants extra credit for this conversation, we really did some deep searching and we journaled the five lowest points in our life. Then we went into which, you know, it can get into some pretty heavy stuff. And then we talked about, “Hey if we could, would you choose to have your children avoid moments like those?” Yes. Unfortunately, it’s life and things like that happen to everybody. And what I love about your education and the way you approached it was it was a toolset to allow your children to deal with tough situations. You told the story about suicide. I mean, I can’t even imagine any parent having to deal with that and you went into, “Hey, here’s a toolset that our educational system does not prepare,” and you’ve spent a lot of time there so maybe that’s for another conversation, but I think it’s amazing the work you’re doing on that front as well.
[00:51:01] Jim: Thank you. Thank you. Well, I think I know again especially in this time of year wanting to get together with family saying, “How do I really make the most of it?” If people just put this simple board meeting strategy into work or some of the principles, I mean, to follow it, the exact strategy is great. To take the principles and apply them somewhere, you’re going to see some results and that’s all we want to see happen. There’s no reason that a successful entrepreneur has to be a stranger at home. There’s no reason that you have to give up the ambition and to keep connection at home. You can keep your ambition, but you can strengthen your success at home and there’s no reason you can’t. And this strategy has been such a starting point for so many people. Again, don’t read another parent. And this is not to promote me or my book. But here’s what I found. Everyone’s choking on content and starving for execution. Stop watching that extra video. Stop watching that extra article or read that extra article that you think, “God, that made a lot of sense,” but then you never even put it into practice. You probably have enough information that you’ve already learned or even from this podcast. Start to execute. No more content. Stop chewing on the content. Digest it, execute. That’s where the real results are going to happen.
[00:52:12] Brad: 100%. I mean, you could be a brand-new parent and not have read one parenting book and just spend four hours there and present with your child and it makes all the difference in the world.
[00:52:22] Jim: You’re now an expert more than some of the parenting experts I’ve met. Because sometimes behind the curtain you want to eat your own cooking. That’s all I want to encourage of everyone. So, don’t put anyone on a pedestal and don’t beat yourself down. Especially a lot of the financial advisors out there, Brad, are probably listening going, “I’ve missed the boat. I’ve the missed the boat.” No, you haven’t. These things can start to work retroactive like start them now, don’t beat yourself up. What’s happened, happened. You can still harness the power of quality time even if they’re 18, 20, 25. I’ve seen that happen as well. But no use in beating yourself up. Pat yourself on the back. You’re doing the best you could. Try to make something happen now.
[00:53:03] Brad: Yeah. Time for two more questions?
[00:53:05] Jim: Sure. Yeah.
[00:53:05] Brad: Okay. I have to hear your answer on this one. This one will be intriguing. So, Jim, if there was something that you would like to be considered absurd 25 years from now, so we go out 25 years from now and that’s absolutely absurd that that ever happened, what would that be?
[00:53:19] Jim: This is funny because mutual friend through MMT actually put this on Facebook.
[00:53:26] Brad: That’s where I got it from.
[00:53:27] Jim: Cameron Herold.
[00:53:28] Brad: Yeah. I started using that after he posted it. Yeah.
[00:53:30] Jim: It was a great question. So, and I didn’t even think, and he’ll write something little to me and I’ll write it back and without even thinking the way that you word it, what is something that you would like to see considered absurd in 25 years, right? That’s the question. And I simply just wrote in that thread, “The traditional education system.” And I went about my day and checked, got on Facebook that night and I think there were like 40 something likes of my little comment. That was just one little thing in the thread and people writing to me like, “That was so profound to say that,” and I don’t know if it’s profound. It’s just something that I care about and I just think that a lot of our education system is so outdated that it doesn’t help our kids harness their gifts and it doesn’t prepare them for the practical affairs of life. And I’m not okay with that. So, for me, it would be the traditional education system. There’s a better way. I’m just so convinced to that.
[00:54:25] Brad: Do you want to take a minute or two and unpack that a little bit? We don’t have to go clear down the path but, I mean, do you want to dig into that a little bit, why and why you feel that way?
[00:54:35] Jim: Well, I think going back to I got really clear again interviewing so many successful entrepreneurs, we all go through tough times and let’s start with the toughest times. School at its best, and this isn’t a Napoleon Hill line, it’s supposed to prepare us for the practical affairs of life. And then from others I’ve heard, it’s supposed to help us harness our gifts, discover our gifts. I haven’t seen that necessarily happening. And what I found is for me, for my children from interviewing tons of successful people who are successful in business and what I consider successful in their personal life, there are certain lessons and subjects that have made 90% of the difference that helped support me in the worst times of my life, accelerate me in the best, and my worst times wouldn’t have been as bad if I had more knowledge in those subjects. And it’s something that certain subject at school, all right, there’s less than a 10% chance you’re going to actually use them in the real world. These 90 plus percent chance, no matter what career you go into, you’re going to use.
And for my children now after basic reading, writing, and math, I need to make room for what I consider core curriculum because most of the times it’s not even done as enhancement curriculum and we got to put that which is priority and priority. So, for me, not only the way we teach it which I can’t get into today because it takes too long, the delivery of education has been shown to be one of the worse ways that we do it. I mean, it’s like almost like just someone started doing a funky dance and we all just followed it and we didn’t know any other dance to make up. And it’s almost like the Elaine from Seinfeld and we’re all just following that delivery of education that’s been proven to be awful. But the content, the subject matter and I just feel now from talking with thousands now of successful entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, people that have I think gone deep into something that they really have a gift for and share professionally but their home life or their personal life as well, it’s the people who are able to develop their own personal development, relationships skills, and financial intelligence, those three skills will support so many different genres of life.
[00:56:38] Jim: But I don’t ever remember having a class that directly hit on those in school. But when I go to events like I met you at, Brad, that I pay good money to go to for some of the top thought leaders in the world, those three subjects constantly and I have a breakdown of financial intelligence includes marketing, it includes understanding in ROI, includes healthy risk-taking, it includes service and contribution and giving back. There are different sub-titles in each one of those but if you really start to think about it, the toughest times in your life, the biggest triumphs you’ve had in your life, we all have a one specialized skill. Brad, I couldn’t do the things you do on a financial side. I don’t understand it. I don’t think you can do the volume of stuff I’ve done on the real estate side. But that was kind of our one specialized skill. We’ve gone deep into it and that one specialized skill we now leverage into doing podcast like this, doing retreats and writing books on something that we care about. But we got really good at one specialized skill and then we leverage off of it. But besides that one specialized skill, three things always surround it, always, financial intelligence, your own personal development, and relationships skills, personally and professionally.
Everyone always just focus on the one specialized skill like I gave that doctor example. I’ve met lots of doctors who are broken, happy and uncomfortable in their own skin. I met lots of financial advisors who they’re running big books through their things, they’re making their clients a lot of money but they’re blowing their money. They’re very unsure of themselves. They have lots of issues within themselves they’re not willing to deal with and they’re divorced and happy and they’re separated from all their friends. So, they might be showing in the top 10 rankings of the top financial advisor but is that really success? And I know everyone would honestly say no. So, we say how do we combat that? Our kids are ready to get those lessons by the age of eight or nine. Absolutely without a doubt. Why do they have to wait until they’re 28 to figure out, “I don’t know my own self. I don’t know my own personal development value,” and you got to fall backward into a Tony Robbins seminar.
[00:58:39] Jim: And that’s not to beat up on Tony Robbins. I think his material is great but why do we have to wait to fall backward on such an important subject? Why wasn’t it given priority at school? So, my whole thing is we need to be able to put priority of a protocol and saying no to things that don’t work for our kids. My loyalty when it comes to education is to my children and never to what is being insisted on being the priority if that made sense. So, I’ll just end with I think that, Brad, you saying, “I want to get in front and involved with my kids’ education. I don’t know how. I’m not satisfied with what the school is teaching.” I agree with you. I don’t think it’s preparing for the practical affairs of life. Don’t stress. And I’m not saying you have to pull your kids out of school and start homeschooling them. That’s not what I’m saying.
What I’m saying is get involved and if you can just start to drip lessons in personal development, relationship skills, and financial intelligence at a young age and I’ve seen this now from the last 10 years of work that I’ve done, the child at the age of 18 leaves the house with the foundation in those three subjects compare it to the child who does not have any even awareness of those subjects or has done almost nothing in them, Brad, you’re talking about the difference of someone who invested in Enron in 2002 or Apple in 2003. I mean, you’re talking a major difference. So anyway, I digress. But you know I get really excited about this. This is like my geeky passion. Some guys build cars in their garage. I build like education models and not math stuff. Anyway…
[01:00:07] Brad: I’m glad you went there. It’s interesting. I think a lot, obviously being a podcast for financial advisors, personal development is huge in our industry because I think anything that starts as a sales type of role and sales lead you down the path of personal development which is why I read How to Win Friends and Influence People the first time and on down that path, The Richest Man in Babylon, and, man, like a didn’t get exposed to that until I was like 26 or 27. Imagine if I would’ve been exposed to that at a younger age.
[01:00:38] Jim: That’s my whole schtick. Let’s get it to them at a younger age and let them know. I made my kids aware, “Hey, schools important but I don’t care about grades. I care about learning.” And these subjects, I have to be honest with you, are most important because there’s a 90% chance you’re going to use them. That’s what I’ve just chosen to tell my kids and it seemed to be beneficial.
[01:01:00] Brad: Yeah. All right, buddy. Last question. You’ve crushed these. This has been easy for you.
[01:01:04] Jim: I don’t know about that.
[01:01:06] Brad: What is the one piece of advice you can share with the audience that’s led to your success?
[01:01:11] Jim: I think I have the ability to build trust and that would be it. Yeah. Man, I’ve actually asked that question. It was a powerful question and I said, “It was a challenge to me. I’m trying to remember who it was. IT might have been Jeff Hoffman of Priceline.com who said, “Go back to your closest friends and then say, ‘Why are you my friend or why you work with me?’” And the word trust keeps coming up. “So, you have a really good ability to build trust with me and my kids or you have really good ability to build trust with me and do that real estate deal with you. And you stayed in contact.” And so, that word trust came up, so I know trust is a very powerful principle. So, I think I have a good ability to build trust and be trustworthy and that’s been a major part of my success.
[01:01:55] Brad: I agree. Number one, I think that’s a massive part of who you are. Just for the audience, just to dig in there, is there any one thing you do or anything behind how you think you establish trust is off the top of your head? Anything that comes to mind? Because I think a lot of people struggle with it, so I think you might be able to help there.
[01:02:16] Jim: I mean, I’ll put honesty and trust ahead of profit and sometimes that might seem expensive like in 2008 we were going belly up and we were losing over $1 million a month and it was an awful time, but I made the conscious decision at that point. We have a lot of family and friends’ money, a couple of million dollars tied up in real estate deals. I made the conscious decision that I would take certain lumps on the head and protect my investors through this downturn. And I did. And I probably wouldn’t have the strength to do it if I didn’t have other people’s money involved and watching out for the clients like that and having to get them through, built my reputation as someone that stood by and didn’t just walk out when the fire got hot. So, I think that there have been times that I’ve had to sacrifice “profit” and it’s always come back to produce more profit if that makes sense.
So, and I know you and I have had conversations on that. I could sell crack houses in Jacksonville, Florida. You’re not going to catch me doing it. Won’t do it. Yeah. There’s a model and I’ve seen it blow up and people get hurt. I know there are products out there that you’re like, “Jim, I wouldn’t touch those with a 10-foot pole,” because it’s going to align you, but your clients are going to be hurt in four or five years and we know this. And I think I was willing to take a slower approach and sacrifice profit upfront sometimes or temporarily to continue to build trust and reputation that came back in bigger ways.
[01:03:46] Brad: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that.
[01:03:48] Jim: Yeah. So, well good.
[01:03:50] Brad: Jim, I’m honored, buddy.
[01:03:52] Jim: Wow. You too.
[01:03:54] Brad: It’s been, well number one, the impact you’ve already made on my family just the last couple of years, it’s real. It’s changed my life. It’s changed my kids’ lives. I mean I see my wife and she’s like this like mysterious little board meeting like, “Brad, what did you come back with from this conference this time?” But now she sees it and she’s the biggest fan. So, I just want to say thank you and if this conversation I’m hoping that it can start a compound effect in the financial services industry where more of you out there listening will take this and run with it because I promise you, it will make a massive impact. It will matter. So, Jim, thank you for spending the time with us here today.
[01:04:32] Jim: You’re welcome, Brad. Thanks, and enjoy the rest of the year and the holidays, please.
[01:04:36] Brad: All right, buddy. Take care.
[01:04:37] Jim: Yeah. Bye.
[01:04:41] Brad: Thanks for checking out the latest show. Here’s this week’s featured review. This one comes to us from user Tribreader who says, “Solid advice. Thank you, Brad, for this advice. I’ve been through Sullivan’s program and I appreciate your integrating that into your podcast. Thanks also for helping cut through the clutter of a typical FA pitch using the simplicity of the Scrub Daddy from Shark Tank.” Thanks for the review. Kind words from anyone who studied under Dan Sullivan’s Strategic Coach model are extra appreciated. I’ve definitely been a student of everything Dan has to teach that’s ever been shared with me and I’m also glad you enjoyed the Shark Tank analogy as the whole concept of selling process over a product definitely implies to financial services. And for those of you who haven’t checked out the episode referenced in the review, you can get it at BradleyJohnson.com/33.
One last thing before you go, as a reminder, I have something special to offer this week. If you enjoyed this episode with Jim Sheils on his Family Board Meeting approach and are open to leaving an honest review out on iTunes, I’d love to send you a copy of this book free of charge as my way of saying thanks. Simply go to BradleyJohnson.com/iTunes. Click the ratings and reviews tab. Once you’ve left one, you can email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org with your iTunes username and your address and we’ll drop you Jim’s book in the mail as a thank you. So that’s all for this week. Thanks for listening and I will catch you on the next show.
[01:06:13] Brad: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. For access to show notes, transcripts and exclusive content from our show’s guests, visit BradleyJohnson.com. And before you go, I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you’re liking the podcast, you can help support the show by leaving your rating and review on iTunes. Not only do we read every single comment, but this will help the show rank and get discovered by new listeners. It really does help. Thanks again for joining and be sure to tune in next week for another episode.