Lessons from a Serial Entrepreneur Who Has Won Big and Lost Big With Robert White

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Robert White is a Speaker, Author, Leadership Trainer and Executive Coach who specializes in integrating a heart centered, result-oriented and transformational leadership approach to being effective. 

Robert’s culture change work has been praised by corporations like JPMorganChase, Progressive Insurance, Duke Energy and The American Cancer Society. 

Additionally top business experts and authors Ken Blanchard, Jimmy Calano, Kathy Gardarian, and Robert Wright, plus thousands of training and coaching clients, have endorsed his professional skills.
Today you’ll find him speaking at conferences, hosting masterminds mentoring today’s emerging business leaders and teaching everything he knows about fostering entrepreneurial success and building an entrepreneurial mindset in established, growth-oriented companies.



Show Notes

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Josh: What is up everybody, Josh Tapp here again and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast today we’re here with Robert White, I am so excited to have him here today, Robert is an executive coach and a transformational architect and honestly, his career just precedes him I mean, this guy’s worked with some of the top names in the world like lifespring,  Ark International, some of these big companies that, you know, people really, we know the names, a lot of times, we don’t even know what they do but the reason they’re so successful is because people like Robert come in and help them and one of the main reasons I wanted to bring Robert in today’s he has built multiple, very, very successful companies, and the coaching and training arena, which for most of you listening, that’s really one of the big industries of people who listen to the show, and, and watch these interviews and so I’d really like to have you say, what’s up to everybody, Robert, first off, and then we’ll kind of hop in here and get going.

Robert: I’m delighted to be with you and I, you know, your audience are my favorite people, of course. 

Josh: We are the world’s favorite. 

Robert: We are, we are brothers, we are brothers and sisters in the struggle and in the winds

Josh: I love it. It’s fun, it’s fun to talk to people like you because you understand the real struggles of being a coach and, and some people think it’s just in the financial side where a lot of it is overcoming mental barriers, I guess 90% of the work as a coach, and that’s really kind of been your area of expertise is helping these executives with massive companies to break barriers in their company and see big transformational change so I want to get into that topic. But I want to first ask you, if you were to start another consulting company, starting over from scratch, or excuse me coaching or training company, if you were to start over from scratch, how would you build it like to start with you? Would you go reach out to past clients? What would you do as far as building your next company just kind of curious?

Robert: Well, it, it may sound counterintuitive to many people, because the emphasis is usually on the product or the service. That’s that’s what we pay attention to we’re proud of, we’re excited about, we got excited about it, we want to share it with others that’s pretty normal, and certainly has been true in my case, if I had to do it all over again, if I put myself in the place of people that are starting up and want to go beyond just a lone ranger individual contributor kind of rolled, really want to build a company, I pay a lot of attention to three things, to focus, to alignment, and to commitment, those are the things that I’ve found, have hurt me in the past when I skipped over them and that have empowered me in building, you know, my last company, Ark International, pet 240 people active in seven countries, and 70 full time trainers and 15 offices. So, but it all started out and you know, me and my individual practice and so I think that that those three things focus, is everybody on the same page are we really up to the same thing here, alignment and the answer the question, of course, there is alignment to what, what are we aligning to and then finally, do we have a shared commitment here is every single person we bring in having same or very close to the same commitment that the owner the entrepreneur has, and absolutely absent attention to those three things, I think it’s extremely difficult to grow a company, you can still be a superstar, a writer, a teacher, a coach, a trainer, a group leader, whatever but if you want to attract people around you that which is the only way to build that kind of company, you’d better be clear about what we’re up to what the focus is, today, this week, this 90 day period this year, what are we really up to and then secondly, alignment and alignment is the one that’s the most simple and the most difficult, frankly, 

Josh: well and alignment is such an interesting topic, because I love how you articulated it when we were first talking in the pre interview, you have to align to something and I think everybody just throws these terms around, oh, we need alignment, we need alignment, alignment, I think people confuse congruency with alignment and so my curiosity with for you is how do you decide and determine what to align to.

Robert: It’s the heart of both my coaching with executives and entrepreneurs and it’s the heart of our trainings, even though the methodology for those two are different with a group versus individual, what we’ve discovered is that the key areas to align are, first of all, your purpose. What is unique about you personally and the organization you’re building? What is it that you can do better than anybody else, or that the bring that causes you to get lit up, that just, it’s just so exciting, you can’t, you can’t sleep, you know, you’ve got to get up and do it. Purpose is one of those simple, but not easy things and also, it is, in my experience a moving target, the purpose that I had when I started out was so simple and it served me well and it also limited me, because my purpose was a negative one, I will never be poor again, I grew up in poverty, I know what that’s like, I know the, the shaming and embarrassment that comes with I mean, I literally wear shirts to school that were made by my mother from feed sacks, you know that, that kind of, and we lived on the wrong side of the tracks and we didn’t go on the school trips, because there wasn’t that fee that you always have to pay, that and it all of these things add up to blame and shame and guilt and all that stuff that’s not very positive but that purpose of never being poor, again, motivated me, that’s the positive side of it. Now, it also does not include joy and satisfaction as a result, I mean, you know, I retired to Aspen at 46, with a 15,000 square foot home and 76 acres right outside of Aspen, Colorado, and my own jet, and you know, all of that, that stuff. So it worked, but no joy and satisfaction so my next level of purpose was one that was not negative in a way, but it wasn’t much of a contribution and that was being a rich guy in Aspen, you know, going to the right parties being on the right nonprofit boards, traveling to 40 countries, you know, all of that kind of stuff and. 

Josh: sorry to interrupt you, but did you just feel like you didn’t fit in in those groups because of? 

Robert: No, no, never.

Josh: It’s the same thing, you go to those things? No, I just

Robert: No, I was still the guy, I was still the poor kid who had one semester of college and made it on my own. You know, I was actually talking with a very rich guy and I asked him once, and he basically, he asked me what I did and I said, Well, I I’ve found it and led these two training companies and it was this long silence and he said, Yeah, but how did you afford that house?, I said, from founding and leading those streaming companies, you know, I made a lot of money, he just couldn’t get it, you know, but but I was still the poor kid not fitting in. And, you know, my book living an extraordinary life is it’s not about me, a lot of people have asked about that but you know, I read your book, I love your book. But it’s not about you and I go, No, it’s about our graduates and their interaction with our material and that’s how I became a best seller. If it was about me, I don’t think it would be on my family, I don’t think it would sell that well but one chapter of the book is about me and it doesn’t say that in the book but the chapter is that it’s about what I believe to be the world’s most limiting belief, and our beliefs, gumert and everything, that for me, for you, for the listeners, everybody. You know, we have a set of beliefs and we adopt them because they work for us at some point in our life and then we defend them, we go looking for why we’re right about that belief and but sometimes they’re limiting and, and the most common limiting belief is I am not enough, I’m not enough, I don’t have enough education. I don’t have the right background. I don’t know the right people. I don’t have the right network. I’m not smart enough. I’m not disciplined enough, you know, limiting beliefs. The biggest one is, I’m not enough and getting that you are enough is a freeing experience but that’s kind of going into the personal growth side of things but for alignment, that thing that you need to be aligned to is the sense of purpose. Why are we doing this? What’s our vision? What’s something that’s so big? I mean, I’m talking about goals, I think there’s a lot of confusion, in the distinction between mission and vision and goals, your vision is that biggest picture you can imagine, of contributing into and creating, you know, I have a vision of one world one people in my lifetime, I will not create it but I can contribute toward it in the work that I do and the way I live my life. So, but does the group have a vision, people do not work for money, I mean, the research is overpowering people work for a cause, I want you to see that throughout history, what people will do for a cause but that movie Braveheart is not so popular, I mean, there I know, people in my clients that watch it every year, every year, they’ve seen it 10 times, they can quote from it, you know, it’s amazing people that you can never imagine quoting from a movie can quote from Braveheart and there’s a couple of other movies like that right, or in songs, I mean, I have a song that has moved me in my life at various points in my life and I, you know, I can sing it badly but I can sing it.

Josh: I won’t make you sing it here. But I was really tempted.

Robert: I know, thank you very much. That’s the way guys relate, actually, is by putting each other in embarrassing situations. So you know, what, what’s that division? What is it? And is it compelling? Does it draw other people in and can they adopt it as part of the organizational vision and finally, values? What do we stand for? And not none of this virtue signaling, culturally popular or politically correct stuff? What is it we really put a stake in the ground about, a friend of mine that I met in a training, I’ve been to over 50 outside trainings, you know, things outside my company, personally, for me, I try to do at least one per year and then for industry knowledge, certainly and for theft, basically, you know, see if I can find one good idea here that I can use and fit into what I do, but in one of them, I met a guy named Matt, Matt, and Matt Moulage, It had been educated as an attorney, his father died suddenly kind of younger and he ends up running this trucking company. And he took it from $8 million a year in revenue to 85 million in revenue in five years, uou know, it’s like, unheard of growth and part of their deal was that they specialized in just one thing, which was moving, rock and roll shows, Broadway musicals, trade shows, so like a specialty hauling business you know, if you’re hauling iPhones, and you’re three days late, so what it’s not good but so what, you know, everybody’s going to adjust to that, if you’re hauling all the instruments for a rock and roll show, and you’re even one day late, you’re in big trouble big trouble. So his deal was, we just kind of like the FedEx, they will absolutely get you there on time and one of his drivers one day was driving through the American West, and his truck blew up and he was going to Las Vegas for some show and they couldn’t find the parts locally, they had to be flown in. So you would have missed the show, the beginning of the show. He stole a truck from a truck stop you stove, you know, the motor, the motor end of things, right? For a semi, you know, they leave them running at truck stops and he stole the truck and unhooked his and hooked up his trailer, went to Las Vegas, and made his delivery on time, drove to the police station and turned himself in and when he got in front of the judge, the judge says Why did you do this and then you turn yourself in he said, because I made a commitment, I made a commitment, our values are that we keep our promises, no matter what, so put me in jail, find me do whatever you’re going to do, the judge busted out laughing, you know, he had never seen anything like this and he did find the company and and there’s a bunch of expenses involved in it, they had to pay that not one day in jail because the judge was inspired by the level of commitment. What are your values? And do you live them? So that’s, that’s what you need to align to if you’re going to build an organization, you need to find others and do the work of getting them aligned around your purpose, your vision and values, which means you have to do the underlying work to find out what are your purposes, your purpose, your vision and your values, which is you know, you know, the next question is, well, how do you do that and that’s like asking a barber if you need a haircut, I’m going to tell you to hire me or somebody like me, I’m going to tell you to spend the money to put all your people in a room for a few days and do the hard work it’s simple, it’s just not easy, because you’re busting through all of the beliefs that everybody has they’re all over the map, about what work is about, about what, how you should be rewarded about how you should be acknowledged you know, we all have different beliefs, I mean, there are people that say, what I want at work is to be left alone, so I can do my work, somebody else says, I need a lot of approval, I need a lot of appreciation, somebody else just tell me what to do, you know, those are different belief systems, you’ve got to sort all that out and get everybody aligned. Otherwise, you spend 80% of your time dealing with people issues of the studies are pretty consistent about that and only 20% on running your business that’s, that’s increases the level of difficulty and the chance of failure to about 1,000% 

Josh: yeah, and I, like you said, there’s kind of like an obvious next question of, how do you do that but I really love that you’ve articulated that, because when it comes down to the mission, the values the purpose, I remember studying this in college, you know, we talk we read Jack Welch is winning, you know, he, he talks about that very heavily and it really, it’s one of those things that I don’t think you can do on your own, it requires somebody with an outside perspective to kind of direct the conversation and really help you kind of articulate that for yourself because one of the things that stood out to me as I was studying that is that your, your mission and your values, art, hey’re not something that you can guess there’s something that you live, it’s something that you’re already living. 

Robert: Yep. 

Josh: So many people, when they put their missions and values are like this is in an ideal world, this is what we would like to do but but it’s really more about like, Who are you? What are you currently doing, and how do you align everything with those? So I thought that was you sparked that thought in my head, I forgotten I had forgotten about that until you you mentioned that. 

Robert: So there’s a there’s an app, you know, there’s an app for creating purpose vision values. If there’s an app, and you just plug in words, and then when you read it back up, you go, this is this is like oatmeal, this has no depth to it at all maybe it’s aspirational, but it’s not real right and, look, if you’ve got a lot of, you know, we, we joked about that little video with the woman with a nail in her head, you know, in saying it’s not the nail, you know, if you if you had a brain tumor, would you heal it yourself? You know, of course, the answer is no, you’d find somebody with an expertise in that area I have used with and building my own company, I’ve used a lot of outside experts on experiential learning on neuro linguistic programming contributed a lot to our work with groups we’ve hired all kinds of experts and then of course, like, I have three personal coaches, I have one for Personally, I have one for marketing and so so you can pitch me later and, and I have I have one for nutrition, and, and physical health so and because I don’t, I don’t tend to change very easily and I it helps to have an accountability partner, it helps to have somebody that knows more than I know, it helps somebody helps to have people that hold up the mirror to me about my stuff because, yeah, I’ve been, in some ways hugely successful, I’ve been a spectacular failure, you know, I fired 240 people and closed 15 offices, I’ve done that a very public failure. It’s also where I learned the most read and got some humility, which was not something I was particularly studying at the time until that time. 

Josh: And I love that you mentioned that because there’s, I think most people are assuming Oh, I need a coach when I’m wealthy but once I have the money, I can afford a coach but what’s really interesting is, you know, in our business, we couldn’t break barriers in our business where I could even bring home an income until I hired a coach and it’s because they can look at your specific situation where with you I love you said a nutrition coach, right? They’re going to look at where you’re at, and they’re not going to compare you against anybody else they’re going to say, right, this is you based off of you everything that you are and where you’re currently at this is what you should do you’re not going to get that by buying a course or doing a YouTube binge. You know If I’m going to figure it out without hiring somebody, to specifically be there with you, so that does kind of lead us. 

Robert: When I sat, when I sat down with a nutrition coach, I gave him my story, you know, which was keeping me stuck where I was in terms of my physicality and a listen kind of politely for a while. He said, Well, excuse me. He said, Do you have a half an hour? I said, Yes. He said, Good. Let’s go to your house, I want to look in your refrigerator. Ooh, that was a bad day. You know, my story got exploded. Yeah, by the reality.  So, yeah, and that’s what a good coach does. You know, I have a great coach story, I know we’re getting near the end here but there’s a very famous woman in China has spent the last five and a half years their name Li Na and heard, she’s on these big billboards, she’s quite attractive but she’s on but there’s a lot of attractive women in China, why her and because she’s all over the place. Well, Li Na is a professional was a professional tennis player and she got to being about number 100, .in the world, if you’re number 100, in the world, you are not traveling with an assistant and an aide and a coach and you’re not staying in five star hotels, you’re flying coach, you’re carrying your own bags, you’re living with some other tennis player when you can to save money, and you’re working your butt off, and you’re fighting and she couldn’t take it anymore, and she quit and two years later, and you know, you quit at that level for 30 days, it’s over for you, two years later, there was a big tournament in Shanghai, which is where she lives and some other tennis players went to her home and confronted her and said, you could be great but you’re not well coached and she and her family, they sold things they sold the car, they sold a lot of things, to raise enough money and Li Na is now the only Chinese woman to win a major tournament and she won a bunch of them, she became in the top five in the world and she blew up her knee and had to retire, fortunately, she’s retired as the most famous woman in China, 1.3 billion people, everybody knows her name what they don’t know is that she how she became successful was that she left the government program for athletes, she hired a nutritionist, a stretching, physical fitness person, a strength coach, a sports psychologist, she had five coaches, she went from number 100 to number five in the world, and won a major there’s a lesson in that. I mean, if you want to win big if you want to go Olympic class in what you’re doing, find someone else that’s done it, hire them, sell your car, you know, but again, that’s like asking the barber if you need a haircut.

Josh: Yeah, 

Robert: of course, I’m gonna say that, 

Josh: I’m gonna ask the barber here, though, so as my next question for you is, you know, obviously, this is something you do professionally, I’ve been doing it for a very long time helping a lot of people, so how can people get in contact with you and learn more about how they can work with you in particular?

Robert: Well, first of all, I’m not the only good coach in the world, there are a lot of them, and that people might know who they are, and to just not be stepping up to hiring them, so speaking for the whole industry, it’s time for action, If I’m somebody that you resonate with, and you think I can help you do what you want to do, it’s the best way is, is Robert@ExtraordinaryPeople.com, just email me, we’ll set up a free 30 minute call where and I’ll ask you to bring an issue, you know, not to talk about me, it’s to talk about something that’s important to you that’s got you stuck that’s keeping you awake at night, that is a reoccurring issue, particularly a pattern, you can see the pattern, you can see how you get in trouble how you stop yourself, most people have a lot more wisdom than they give themselves credit for in that arena, so I have some understanding of what stops you, maybe that’s something I can do better than you can do for yourself, I can be that mirror and that mirror won’t be clouded, the way we tend to cloud, our mirrors, you know, it’ll be a pretty sharp mirror, so Robert@ExtraordinaryPeople.com, if you want to just connect for now and think about it for a while, go on extraordinarypeople.com sign up for my using, I publish one every week, it’s, it’s called an extraordinary minute because it could be read in one minute or less, you know, an idea of something to move you along on the, the journey, I always encourage people to buy my book, I feel like I’m one of those guys on the street selling bananas, you know, buy my boxes, watches, so anyway, I get connected that happiness, that’s what my life is about is meeting people that are up to something, you know, I am not a life coach. I’m not, you know, you’re having trouble with your marriage, go talk to someone else, I’ve been wrecked, I’ve been horrible at marriage, right? How could I ever be a coach, but I know something about building a company and I know something about the blocks and barriers that get in the way personally, for you and your team in building a company, that’s that’s, you know, that’s the area where I’m not a guy in a diner, you know, that story about the diner. 

Josh: I do not

Robert: know the guy that just a great story, you know, you you go out drinking and it’s late, but you’re hungry, you’re younger, you’re hungry. You go to the diner, you sit at the counter. And next year is a guy that knows everything about everything. He’s a guy in the diner, got to talk politics, he knows everything about talk sports, yeah, he’s he can dissect your team. He’s usually a mile wide and an inch deep right now, he doesn’t know everything about everything. But he talks like he does and he very confident about most of life, I’m a guy in a diner. But I do know something about the human condition, and what empowers you and what stops you and how to move through that so if if somebody wants to check me out, you know, book me for a half an hour and see what happens. 

Josh: I love that. Make sure you go check that out. So it’s Robert@ExtraordinaryPeople.com, is that correct? 

Robert: Correct. 

Josh: Perfect. So make sure you go check that out, you can obviously email him or you can check out the website as well but Robert, before we sign off today, I want to ask you one final question so if you were to leave one final parting piece of guidance with our audience, what would that be?

Robert: The clock is ticking, The clock is ticking, you don’t get time back, while you’re hesitating, while you’re considering while you’re analyzing while you’re evaluating while you’re judging, that all takes time, and things are moving too fast it’s time to act, the best book on entrepreneurship that I know of is is Charlie Kiefer and Lindsey Schlesinger’s book, just start, the clock’s ticking, get out of analysis, paralysis, get into testing, by doing it, see, and getting feedback, entrepreneurs are nothing if not adaptable, successful ones and you only find out what you need to adapt by doing it, what worked, what didn’t work, it’s not complicated, it’s painful but it’s not complicated and again, it’s that line from my book, it’s simple, it’s not easy, if it was easy, everybody would do it bad you know, you are enough so just start act, the clock is ticking.

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