Discovering Your Why In Business

Discovering Your Why In Business

Regular listeners to the show know that I talk a lot about what I call The M Cube, the six sides of business success that every professional must recognize and master in their pursuit of their own entrepreneurial dream

The first and most important of those six Ms is M1: Mission. Why have you chosen to start and run a business rather than pursue a more traditional career path?

Let’s face it you’re taking on a lot of risk. You’re probably taking on a lot of ridicule from friends and family who say oh you’re crazy, you can never do it.

You’re sacrificing time away from your family and from hobbies and other pursuits. I believe that if you’re not clear about the reasons why you’re making this move you could find yourself in trouble before you know it.

Today’s guest, Coach Reggie Jackson of JS Coaching in Woodbridge, Virginia, has a special gift for helping business owners discover their entrepreneurial WHY and use it to power their success.


Complete, unedited interview transcript:

Welcome back to Radio Free Enterprise. My guest today is Mr. Reginald Jackson a life coach based in Woodbridge Virginia. Coach Reggie Welcome to the program.

Good morning thank you.

Regular listeners to the show know that I talk a lot about what I call the MQ the six sides of business success that every professional must recognize and master in their pursuit of their own entrepreneurial dream and the first and most important of those six EMS is one mission. Why have you chosen to start and run a business rather than pursue a more traditional career path. I mean let’s face it you’re taking on a lot of risk. You’re probably taking on a lot of ridicule from friends and family who say oh you’re crazy you can never do it. You’re sacrificing time away from your family and from hobbies and other pursuits that you could be going after there’s a lot of changes in your life that are going on when you make that big decision to start your own business. And I believe that if you’re not clear about the reasons why you’re doing it you could find yourself in trouble before you know it. So let’s start with that coach Reggie why is why so important. How is it that can being clear on just this one thing can be so critical to our success. Small business owners.

[00:01:49] Well that is a great question and I chuckle anytime you know people ask me a great question and I often wonder should I say that’s a great question but it actually yes.

[00:02:01] Because you mentioned clarity and that that’s that’s the ultimate driver. That’s the key. Imagine you want to go on vacation. Where are you going to go. You know we’re not talking about the logistics. We’re not talking about making reservations. We’re talking about the destination. Yes of course. You know you want to relax or have a good time or unplug. Oftentimes you know I’ll I’ll take a mini vacation as a writing retreat. But you have to know where it is you want to go.

[00:02:34] And for me also it’s where I’m going with this. But also what what how do I see this serving me and I know that might sound a little selfish when I really jam that word me in there but after all I’m the one who’s going to have to answer the bell every morning. I’m the one who’s going to have to put in those 16 18 hour days when they’re required. I’m the one who’s going to have to talk to my vendors when for whatever reason I’m not able to pay them on time. So I’m the person who sort of at the point of the spear and I feel as though it’s really critical for me to understand why I’ve put myself there. And let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean of reasons why somebody might have done that they might have done it.

[00:03:15] I actually surveyed people about reasons why they started their business and some of the answers they come back is I wanted to prove myself to someone like a previous employer their father or their spouse selves they wanted to prove they could do something. Now the thing is they’re looking to make an extraordinary level of income.

[00:03:38] Some people have a big idea that they want to go out and prove to the world that it is correct and that they can make it work. A lot of people don’t like being under the thumb of a boss if you will they don’t like you know answering to the man. So there’s a wide variety of reasons and many of which on a personal level for an individual business owner may not even realize exists. So whatever that reason is what is it about being clear on why I’m doing something. Where’s the power in that.

[00:04:12] Well if you’re talking about a business owner. In my mind and one of the things that I talk to my clients about is from a clarity perspective what’s the one thing that you can’t stop thinking about. The first thing you when you wake up the last thing when you go to sleep. The thing that you’ve dreamed about birthing What is that burning desire in your gut. And what would you do for free that’s when when you when you approach it from that perspective nothing else really matters.

[00:04:45] You know as an example I had you know I spent a lot of my adult life in the Marine Corps and I met with them on one of my Marines and he was thinking about going into business for himself in real estate. And I said well why do you want to do that. He said well because it’s a great way to make money. I said OK yeah. But but what would you do with the money. And it was a conversation that took several minutes. But what we were able to drill down to was he was looking for a way of life that would vied for his wife the ability for her to choose her own path and career. A great source of income for him. So his children could go to the best schools they would be able to take vacations so. So for him it actually wasn’t real estate. That wasn’t that vehicle right. It was the desire that he had to create a life for his family that would put them in a certain position. So I said so. So if you could do that and it was it real estate would it really make a difference and he sat there for a. Actually no it wouldn’t said OK if real estate is a vehicle that’s great but if you’re super clear on why you’re doing this in the first place that’s that’s the driver. That’s why you wake up every day it could be it could be anything but because you want to make sure that your family is provided a way of life that you and your wife see as as your vision.

[00:06:22] That’s the thing.

[00:06:24] I love that. That’s a great example and that’s exactly the kind of thing I was driving and it wasn’t real estate that he was passionate about it was providing for his family and the exact word you used was vehicle that real estate was the vehicle he was choosing or thought he would choose to get to that destination. And that’s exactly the type of thing that I’m driving in. Well I think another great example of why Ed is personal to you if I may you and I have had a couple of chances to talk about your business and about business in general and the work that you do. You seem very clear on your why what exactly is your why and how does it fuel what you do.

[00:07:05] Sure. I believe and since you’re asking me to tell you what I believe I believe that every person on this planet is here for a reason. I believe every person on this planet has a unique gift and in some cases gifts multiple more than one. And when you are able to give to the world that gift or those gifts that is the ultimate reason for your existence in my opinion. For me the thing that resonates more than anything else is for others to see the light come on for them to realize they really do have the power the ability and the capability of accomplishing anything they set their mind to. We have a lot of people in our life that tell us how we ought to do it the way we ought to do it why we shouldn’t do it. If we had done it differently you name it. And over time we actually fall prey to the wishes whims and suggestions of others which is completely dis empowering. So the whole reason that I was into coaching which actually was born out of leading and actually serving the Marines that I was responsible for when I saw that they had every opportunity available made to them to do whatever it was with their career or in their life that they really felt passionate about. They became a completely different person. It happens with my clients. It even happens with family members. You know I have two children they’re both adults. You know you know my son. So.

[00:09:05] So the why for me is to afford others the opportunity to connect with the thing or things within them that causes their inner brilliance. To show to the rest of the world.

[00:09:26] And that’s exactly the reason why I wanted to have you here on Radio Free enterprise today is because of that being your focus and that’s what I understood it to be that. And this comes obviously directly with their why. Connecting with who they are what their special gift or gifts are and how to draw that out of them and I really appreciate you taking the time to work with us today. Now I have a question for you. Within the Marines that you were leading just as any other group of human beings what that why is was unique to each individual. So it sounds like as a leader let’s say as a manager of a business by extension that that’s a little bit more of a challenge I can’t just you know spread jelly across all pieces of bread and everybody is going to be happy with the taste. I have to actually dig down a little bit and learn what drives each individual person. Well might you say to a manager who would say hey I don’t got time for that. They should be happy they got a job get in here and work out only to find out I don’t want to know about what’s going on under the surface.

[00:10:29] Why should a manager care. The question that I would have for them is why wouldn’t you care. Now that may seem a little challenging but the reality is if your idea is that people or if your position is that people should just be happy because they have a job. Do you even know why they’re working in the first place. What is it that causes them to show up. I found as a leader the more I knew about the people that I worked with the better I understood them and the better I understood them the easier it was for me to inspire them.

[00:11:18] And I treat inspiration and motivation completely different. So.

[00:11:25] Inspiration in my mind is what takes place within you. And I can’t I can’t spark that right. I can motivate you to a certain extent but it’s like water. It will eventually evaporate. But if I’m able to inspire you then I connect with what is within you. There is a constant ember that every time we either get together or you have a thought or you reflect on a conversation or if I’m fortunate enough to be able to connect with you in such a way that you then are able to whenever you’re ready to ignite that Amber for that inspiration then you go on to do great things wherever it is wherever you are.

[00:12:16] Oh that’s just wonderful. I love that distinction that you made between motivation and inspiration. I also like that analogy of water evaporating a guy that I know refers to the effect that perhaps a motivational speaker has on someone as ether that wears off you know over the next 12 to 24 hours and the attendee at that seminar at the motivational seminar wakes up the next morning. What was that guy talking about.

[00:12:43] Right. Any time any time someone asks me to speak to their group. The first question I ask is What do you want them to walk away with. You’re having me come to speak to your group for a reason. What is that so if if they’re not clear on you know. Oh I wanted to talk about so and so.

[00:13:06] OK why.

[00:13:09] Because once I leave. You’re still with them. So. So what can I leave with them. That then becomes you know the tools the tips the the whatever the inspiration for them to do something different because that’s why you have me there. It can be to just check a box. So let’s talk about that first and what it typically what I find is most people are prepared to answer that question. No.

[00:13:41] No they’re not that question why is it.

[00:13:44] You know and it’s it’s funny because of that. That’s what a little kid will say. Why why why. But then also I believe you and I have talked about the six levels of why or something like that that as you continue to ask that question you finally get down to the real essence of what’s driving somebody’s behavior.

[00:14:03] Exactly.

[00:14:05] Now if you would speak a little bit more about how you came into this line of work it clearly clear to me at least you know this is your your sparking. Amber your Why is to help others get in touch with theirs. What how did what was your aha moment. Tell us a little bit more about your background in the Marines and elsewhere and whether it was all at once or little by little how it became clear to you that this is what your mission in life was.

[00:14:34] Sure it did become clear over time. And to be perfectly honest it very well may have been clear much earlier but my willingness to accept it took a bit longer to to come about. But the short answer is I had attended a continuing education class in leadership and the instructor was talking to someone over a break and he had mentioned this coach training program I typically don’t over you know I don’t ease drop on other people’s conversations but there are a few things that he said that really sparked my attention so I. I asked him more about it. He invited me to this coach training program. He was actually a mentor coach for the program and it was you know free of charge it was something that I could go to as an observer just to check it out. That was four years ago. I still have the notes that I took from that session which is how impactful it was. But just the whole coaching process was something that I had done throughout most of my career. In the Marine Corps but I I didn’t realize that what I was doing. You know I’ve always had people I remember as far back as as high school you know I feel like I can tell you anything it’s so easy to talk to you I feel like I’ve known you all my life you know that one conversation we had made such a difference. And it was just me being me.

[00:16:18] And then when I actually went through this coach training program and began to be introduced to coaching methodologies and and actually right now I’m pursuing my Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology focusing on leadership development and coaching for that very reason because of the passion I have. For the thing that I do. I want it to be a life student of it to understand it better so that I could be better equipped to work with people who are searching for that why or who have a business that’s struggling or they have a business that’s going well and they’re ready to take it to the next level. So you know one of my mentors a family member and also a Marine One of the first Marines I ever met was my you know my mother’s brother. And he said You’re never too old to learn and you should always be learning something. So I could pick up the phone right now and call him and he’s probably enrolled in some class at the community college to learn something. So so education and always being willing to learn and being willing to open I mean being open to to new things is what is what allows you to grow. Because when you open yourself up to accept more as you learn more you then become more.

[00:17:53] I think that’s a really important verb opening opening oneself opening your mind opening your heart and being available to whatever that new information new idea new feeling new direction might be. And so many of us are not open but it’s of our own doing. We close our mind. We close our heart and we prevent ourselves from moving forward and we prevent ourselves from listening to that still small voice that might be telling us Hey pal This isn’t for you. You need to look over this way instead. And that’s one of the things so I wanted to. It leads right into my next question which is what are the words you obviously as you say you have a natural affinity for this you’re now learning more formal training and so forth. What are the words that you hear someone speaking that are like a trigger a red light that tells you oh this person is out of alignment with their own why I could help them. They’re not clear on their Why what are the words we might hear ourselves saying or we might hear a loved one or coworkers say that would trigger that in our perception.

[00:19:00] Another great question. So so because I love the language and the words that we use communicate thoughts feelings and expressions oftentimes that we’re not even aware of. So when I hear people use words like hope, might, probably those are the those are the squishy words that really don’t speak to any type of declaration. I hope things go alright. I’ll probably give you a call at such and such a time. We’ll give this a try and see how it works. So so any type of language that’s non-committal because if you’re not declaring what it is you are doing or what you will do or what you are doing then subconsciously it gives you a back door. It doesn’t work that way. You know as I said I try or you know I might see to me and this is one of things that I stress to my clients and just people that I talk to in general. Any time you’re not willing to commit there’s a reason why right going back to the why. And if you never investigate why. You are so hesitant to commit. That is one of the primary reasons why people don’t move forward that’s why they don’t accomplish the things they want to do. That’s why they wind up in that that grind that right. I’ll give you a prime example. If you say I hope it works out. What does that really mean. For most people I hope it works out. They have completely removed themselves from having any influence on the outcome. Think about the.

[00:21:03] I hope it works out means it’s all in the hands of fate not me or it or anything I can control.

[00:21:08] Right. Right now that takes us to another topic that dovetails into this. There are things within your control and there are things that are out of your control. For the things that truly are out of your control the weather. We have no control over the weather however we do have full control over how we approach our position in life as it relates to the weather. We can’t stop it from raining. We can’t stop the wind blowing. You know we can’t keep it from snowing but we can certainly take full responsibility and can be completely empowered as to how we show up how we approach life not in spite of the weather but because of the weather. So if it’s raining outside and you need to go someplace outside it sounds like common sense but you address yourself appropriately perhaps take responsibility for taking an umbrella. Exactly. You know or a raincoat or whatever or or maybe you don’t even care that it’s raining. Right but the the whole point of the matter is you know take something that’s that’s even less control like a sport. Right. So. So you want to make sure that at least your body’s in shape. If there’s any equipment that you need to protect your body. Right like kids are playing soccer so they wear shin guards or playing football you wear and a helmet and your pads. Things of that nature. You are preparing yourself for the things that could occur. And when they do occur you just take full responsibility for how you have made yourself an active participant.

[00:22:56] That’s great. I really like that what you’ve said there about taking responsibility. You know something that’s occurring like snow fall may not be your fault but it’s your responsibility to deal with it in whatever way you choose. And part of what dovetails into that is that our state of mind is really the number one thing which is within our control irrespective of what external circumstance may come our way.

[00:23:21] Exactly. My favorite quote is by Henry Ford he said whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right.

[00:23:28] I love it. Let’s give me example if you can please. You know just you can just turn this and make a creature out of whole cloth or you can refer to a specific person you’ve actually worked with but can you give us an example of somebody who was struggling with connecting with their why and how you dug down. You did earlier dug down with somebody to help get them in touch with what their why was and then what the outcome was for them as a result for getting clarity on that point.

[00:24:00] Sure. This is a client that was a business owner and it was going well but he wasn’t really quite sure if he wanted to continue with it or sell it off shut it down. What have you and it actually took a while for him to really really understand what his thoughts and feelings were about his business. And the thing that he struggled with the most was he really was he was no longer happy with the business. Yet if he shut it down or sold it then to him that meant failure. So he approached this he approached this business from you know the the the mindset of struggle and and not necessarily dread. But it wasn’t something that he really felt good about anymore and he wasn’t sure if he should sell it off and actually go back to the corporate sector or not. So he was pretty much torn. So through a series of conversations reflection and and some occasional homework he came to the conclusion that the business had run its course. The thing he wanted to accomplish he had accomplished. There were other challenges that he wanted to pursue. So he decided to sell off his business and go back in the corporate space.

[00:25:44] And feel good about it.

[00:25:47] That’s awesome. I can’t tell you how many business owners I’ve met who are in a very similar state. Emotionally there’s a lifecycle to every business and in the maturity stage you know for many people the business is kind of on autopilot. They’re not challenged anymore as this person came to the recognition of what they’d set out to accomplish. They already did but they didn’t realize that. And and there’s no problem with going to get a job. You know that steady paycheck has a lot to say for itself especially after you sell a business and you might have a couple of shekels in the bank as well. So what was his state of mind after he came to those realizations and engaged in those behaviors.

[00:26:32] He he was much lighter emotionally psychologically. He even had a different gait. Right. Like like the way he walks through life. Was was better because you know from a coaching perspective some of my clients especially those who are geographically I’ll say displaced if we’re not in the same space you know we can certainly use whatever technology is available. I have other clients that I meet face to face and this happened to be a face to face client. So I would you know I would greet him as he walked in and once he you know finally made that decision and then there was the interview process and you know it’s been you know a decade or more since I had an interview I don’t even know if I you know he went through all of those things which of course is is the non-committal conversation. But after he finally made that decision went on some interviews and you know realized that yeah this really is the thing that I want to do because it does challenge me in ways that my business you know no longer satisfies you know he was a completely different person.

[00:27:54] Happier.

[00:27:56] Absolutely. This brings me to my next question. You know we were in one state of mind let’s say we’ll use this person as an example when we’re at our business we’re running a business we’re unhappy but we’re not desperately unhappy we’re not unhappy enough to you know make that change or even do the hard work and thinking of what we need to do. On the other side is it back in corporate world he’s got a jump in his step. He’s happy he’s released himself for the balance of the responsibilities of his business. He’s getting a steady paycheck has a few shekels in the bank. But between those two states and mine is the transitionary period and that is a hard place to be as I once heard it expressed. You got to go through the red hot to get back to the cool blue. And many of us will we fear that transition and transition more than we fear whatever’s on the other side of it. And so when we are feeling upset and we do know something’s not right. What are some tools we can use to have those hard conversations with our self. How can we allow ourselves to face the facts that that not only are we unhappy but we actually are responsible for our own happiness. We need to face the transition we need to face with the new circumstances going to be how can we help ourselves if we don’t have access to somebody like yourself.

[00:29:24] So the first thing that the first thing that comes to mind for me is one simple word and that’s context. So our context and everyone has one it’s not good it’s not bad it just is. Your context is the lens through which you see the world. Right. Some people call it mindset some people call it perspective. So your context hopefully is something that’s fluid and pliable meaning you can choose to see things differently so that you continue to grow and stay in that state of openness when your context becomes rigid and fixed. That’s when things become hard. That’s when things are difficult. That’s when you’re not ready. Right. Again those not that conversation. So the thing that I really really stress is what is your context. Right. And you talked about binary you know much earlier in the conversation. So either you see things as possible or you see things as not or impossible or something other than possible. So what if it were possible. What would be available to you what things could you accomplish. That immediately begins a conversation of what I call possibility where you really start to think about the things that could happen as opposed to the things that won’t happen or can’t happen or probably won’t happen. So. So some of the things that come to mind for me where context is concern is how are you looking at it now. And does that serve you. And if you could look at it differently what way would that be and then when you discover another way to look at it how does that turn out.

[00:31:29] That’s great. That’s great. And it all dobes still comes from within us. We have to make that decision to look at things a different way and so forth and you know you just can’t you can’t get blood out of a stone if somebody is unwilling to change their context. I don’t think you’re going to be able to beat that perspective into them although we often feel like we’d like to.

[00:31:50] Well and you know that’s one of the powers of coaching is you know I always want to draw the distinctions between different professions different professions that people may sometimes mix or or confuse with coaching. So coaching is not fixing because from a coaching perspective there’s nothing broken. So you have consulting therapy and coaching with consulting your the subject matter expert you come in. You make an assessment you give a plan you may execute it yourself. You can have someone you know that’s that’s a flooring expert. Right. So. So they are a consultant there. They’re going to tell you the different types of materials there are you know how I can best fit your use so on and so forth. That’s not coaching. You may have you know a therapist psychiatrist someone who is a subject matter expert and different types of behavior where there may be some trauma or something that needs to be addressed. Right something maybe something psychologically emotionally is broken. So they’re the subject matter expert that’s going to help you resolve any of those issues that that could be holding you back whereas coaching is completely in the future coaching is completely voluntary. If if you’re not if you’re not hungry and I keep shoving food in your face you’re eventually going to get pretty upset with me or walk away or something. But if you are hungry and you’re not quite sure what it is you want to eat but you do know you need to satisfy that hunger.

[00:33:40] Then greenlight that lets you know that you could possibly be open to coaching world.

[00:33:51] Plus plus the coach is not the subject matter experts you are because nobody knows you better than you. Now there are some coaches who provide you know a consulting type of service in certain situations. And if I have a client that asked that of me I make sure they understand when my coaching hat is on and when my coaching hat is off because I’m not going to sit around and just tell you what to do because guess what that takes away all of the responsibility that takes you off the hook when it’s an idea you come up with or if it’s something that you decide to execute guess what. You take ownership of it it becomes empowering to you. It ignites the passion and then that’s what drives you to move forward to the next thing.

[00:34:45] That’s great. So you really almost like each of us has like a nuclear reactor within ourselves that you’re helping to get us to fire up rather than and then energize and fuel our own forward motion Raggatt rather than you pushing us or pulling us along in a direction that you feel we should go.

[00:35:06] Yeah. Tell you a really really quick story I saw video just actually was just yesterday. It was this this man in Africa out in the desert someplace or it was it was barren land. And the narrator said you know to the average person they would have no idea where water is and would certainly either die of thirst or be in a really bad spot because they can’t find water. And he said but this I don’t know if he was like a warrior or a hunter or whatever. But anyway he was able to recognize this one tiny spot in the sand and he dug with his hands pulled up the root of like what appeared to be a dead tree dug a little bit further scraped off the root squeezed the material that came from the root and out came liquid. That was absolutely fascinating. But the the whole reason for ferde telling you that is just the imagery or the analogy of being able to discover something that other people would typically overlook and then guide that individual to a place where they’re then able to see that for themselves. And then you know that goes to the teaching someone to fish as opposed to giving them a fish. And that was really powerful for me because it really really showed how when you take on something that you’ve learned right like like he didn’t just stumble on that you know maybe his father or his grandfather taught him that same skill. And now he’s able to quote unquote fend for himself.

[00:37:16] Without the aid of someone else but you know obviously there had to be someone that got him to that point of being more self-sufficient in whatever area it is you know it doesn’t have to be water. It could be you know your business or you know you name it. But the thing that that you are given some type of guidance and assistance for because at some point I’m sure he was let off on his own you know. Now you go find it.

[00:37:46] None which is really where we all should be and need to be and taking responsibility for our own lives. I can’t believe we’ve actually run through the time we have a lot of talk today. There’s so many more questions I’d like to ask and get your wisdom and insight on. But before we go if somebody’s listening has resonated with what you’ve had to say or would like to reach out to you and learn more about how they might be able to work with you. What’s the best way for them to connect with you.

[00:38:18] The best way for someone to connect with me would be to e-mail me at Regy at J s coaching dot net so that’s my first name. R E G G I e at J. S coaching dot net Reggie.

[00:38:35] AJ s coaching guide net will also include a link to that in the show notes page for this episode. Now once they do e-mail you then what. What happens next.

[00:38:48] What happens next is we have a conversation for fit right in. Basically what that means is there’s absolutely it’s not even low pressure there’s no pressure because it’s simply a conversation for you as a prospective client to see if I’m someone that speaks to you. This is like figuratively and to the point where you say you know what I really do believe that this is a good match and you’re the person that I’d like to work with. That’s a 15 or 20 minute conversation once you decide that. You do want to work with me. We’ll just take the next step which is then we’ll talk about the logistics. You know whatever goal or goals you have because for me as a coach it’s my job to help you get wherever it is you want to go. So the first thing that we need to identify is the clarity right. We talked about that several times in this conversation. So the first thing is we have a 15 or 20 minute conversation just to see if there’s some chemistry. And you know what Frank to be honest with you it typically goes a little bit longer than that. But I tell people 15 to 20 minutes because normally in the first 30 seconds or so you have an idea as to whether or not you want to continue that conversation.

[00:40:09] Well coach Reggie Jackson thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:40:13] Thank you for having me.

[00:40:15] Thanks again to coach Reggie.

[00:40:16] And thank you for listening. Now here’s what we need to do next. You need to head over to the iTunes store and subscribe to the radio free enterprise podcast while you’re there why not leave me a glowing review and a five star rating. I’ll just say then head back over to Radio Free Enterprise and register with the site so you can stay on top of all the exciting happenings here at our f e HQ. If you promise to do that for me I promise to remain your fearless host Frank Bellaver until next time I’ll see you. On the radio. Don’t touch that dial Uncle Frank. Will be right back after this.


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