This week on the podcast, I had the opportunity to interview Jon Gordon, the author of “The Carpenter” and the “Energy Bus.” Today You’re going to learn all about the obstacles that he faced and how he overcame being turned down by 30 publishers for his first book. He’ll dive into all his failures and how he’s dealing with overcoming tough moments. He’s full of positivity, and I’m excited for you to hear from him, so let’s dive right in.
How Jon Became The King of Positivity
I consider myself a naturally pessimistic optimist. I always start by focusing on the negative. In fact, I had to learn how to become positive and, after years of practice, firmly believe that somehow, someway we will always get through difficult times.
The worst parts of my life have to lead me to where I am today, so I am grateful for those moments of growth and learning. I had to somehow find hope and have a strong foundation in order to move forward every time things get tough. I didn’t choose positivity, it actually chose me.
As a naturally negative person, I know how hard it but also know that you have the power to overcome the thorns and turn the negativity you’re feeling into something incredibly positive. The people who choose to take a positive approach are the ones who take action, are timeless, and end up getting things done.
I was rejected by 30 publishes when I wrote my first book and it didn’t become a best seller for 5 years after it was first published. I actually started out by doing my own small tour with a few people showing up in every city.
My vision was to encourage and inspire as many people as possible, one person at a time, and I knew that even though I was starting out small, it was still worth it. The goals for my business have changed over the years, but the vision has always remained the same. My motto is “win today.” If you wake up every day focused on winning just for the day, you will create the future.
You have to overcome fear and doubt and focus on what matters most. I have found that by trusting in God and encouraging others, I am able to set aside negative thoughts.
No matter how tough things get to continue to work hard, and you will eventually see great success in the future. What you believe in right now will help to determine what you create moving forward.
There is a positive and negative dog inside each of us and whichever one we choose to feed will win the fight in the end. I recommend talking to yourself instead of listening. Feed yourself words of encouragement to motivate yourself and keep pushing forward. Being positive doesn’t guarantee that you will succeed but if you focus on the negative it means that you will fail.
Note From Scott: Even the most successful people have challenges. We all face obstacles and have rough days. Whatever you feed your brain, that is what is going to win. Whatever you focus on is going to become your reality.
Jon’s Take Action Moment
When I had the idea for my book, The Energy Bus, I wrote it in 3 ½ weeks. Every day I got up early to write, took a break to walk, practice gratitude say a pray and do it all over again. At night I would spend some time editing and brainstorm more ideas for the remainder of the book.
After I finished writing, I found an agent and started to reach out to publishers. I was turned down by 30 publishers, but I didn’t give up. Eventually, it was picked up by a few coaches, businesses, and teachers, and it snowballed from there.
I self-promoted the book and went on tour. There were some cities where I didn’t have scheduled appointments, but I chose to be fearless and just went for it. I wouldn’t be doing the work I do today if I didn’t do all that. I choose to stay humble and hungry, even to this day.
The most successful people never think they have arrived and always want to grow and are always on a mission to make a bigger difference.
How Jon Overcame 30 Rejections of His Book
I just keep showing and up and doing the work. Don’t let the critiques get in your head, and don’t worry about the response you’re getting now. It takes time to see success.
Now in a year or two, if you’re still not getting a response, then it may be time to reevaluate your current direction. For now, just keep going, and you’ll see it start your business grow and hard work pays off.
Instant success just doesn’t happen. If you love what you do, you’ll continue to work at it. Discipline is easy if you really love doing something, so focus on getting better and ask yourself where you want to be in ten years.
The Path to Success
- Love the process
- Have a vision
- Start building it every day
- Don’t give up if you don’t get a quick response.
How Jon’s Side Hustle Became His Full-Time Career
My number one piece of advice is not to leave your full-time job until you start to see some success in your side hustle. I owned a restaurant when I first started writing my books. I found one hour a day to write and kept moving forward with my goal. At first, I had to do both so I could keep food on my family’s table.
Make money with your job and make sure you’re dedicating time to building your side hustle every single day. You’ll know when it’s time to make the leap. Even an hour a day will have a huge impact and make that jump-off point arrive even faster than you could have ever imagined.
Ways to Manage Your Side Hussle
- Stay true to who you are
- Work on your craft
- Build it
- Make a commitment to work on your side hustle
Note From Scott: It might not be your ultimate passion but you need to be passionate about the process from the beginning
How Jon Defined His Core Message
I have experienced many ups and downs in my life.
I found that every time I talked about positivity and encouragement, I felt energized, and I knew that is what I wanted my life’s work to focus on. At the time, I had no idea that I would write about leadership, but I just jumped, and it led me to all these other things I could never have imagined.
Often times, people think you have to have it all figured out when you start. Just go with your gut, and when you’re on the right path, it will lead to other things. Eventually, it will all come together in time.
Everything prepared me for future ventures, and it’s crazy to see how far I’ve come.
I found my calling and purpose around 30 years old and didn’t’ become “successful” in my chosen career until I was closer to 40, so it took a long time to get there. One thing will teach and lead you to the next. Just be patient.
Ask yourself ten years from now what do I want to create, what am I doing and what does it look like? Is it part of my core purpose. Don’t want to waste time ad energy on things that aren’t.
Note From Scott: I went from being Scott the e-commerce guy and selling on Amazon and realized I wanted to be the guy who supports people in starting their own business and living out their dreams. In the past 18 months, I’m worked to shift my trajectory.
If you care more you’ll do more and those who care build greatness. Those who focus on excellence and are craftsmen will always do well no matter the economy. You need to focus your efforts to love to serve and care. I wrote my book around those principles.
Wrap Up With Scott
As we’ve done the rebrand for the podcast, Jon has built what we call a rockstar brand. Someone who is willing to share and help others. It’s about staying true to who you are and always focus on winning the day. Now it’s time for you to go check out his books the “Energy Bus” and “The Carpenter.” Both are must-reads and have changed my life for the better. Thanks again for joining us today.
“As always I am here for you, I believe in you and am rooting for you. It’s time for you to get out there and take action“
Take-Aways From The Episode
- How Jon Became The King of Positivity (4:38)
- Jon’s Take Action Moment (18:00)
- How Jon Got Through 30 Rejections From Publishers (21:21)
- Jon’s Side Hustle Became My Full-Time Hussle (25:26)
- How Jon Defined His Core Message (30:00)
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Quote from the episode:
“Being positive doesn’t guarantee that you will succeed but if you focus on the negative it means that you will fail”.
00:00 There's always ups and downs. There's always pivots. There's always moments of doubt and fear that you're not going to make it, that it's not going to be successful
00:10 way. Hey, Hey, what's up everyone? Welcome to the rock your brand podcast. I'm your host, Scott Voelker, a serial entrepreneur on a mission to help you.
00:19 This show is designed to teach you to inspire you, to motivate you to take massive action and build a future proof business. So whether you're just starting out or taking your existing business to the next level, this is your home. Now if you're ready, I'm ready. Let's rock your brand.
00:41 Welcome back guys to the podcast. This is episode eight 37 and you might be asking yourself, well, if you're watching this, if you're not, you don't see me doing it. I am holding these two books, the energy bus and the carpenter and they are written by an amazing guy by the name of John Gordon. And today I have the privilege, the honor to have him on the podcast and you're about to listen to this interview. But let me just tell you this. If you think that someone that has a book that has sold 2 million copies, had it easy, well you'd be wrong because there's a lot of obstacles, a lot of nos. 30 nos on this book before he got a yes. What if he stopped? What if he never kept asking? Well he wouldn't have changed that many people's lives. We're talking sports teams, we're talking high level companies have now hired him from this right here.
01:45 That was declined. That was denied by over 30 publishers. All right. Now the other thing I want you to be aware of here is John is not going to just tell you everything that worked cause there's some things that didn't work, not just in the beginning but also recently he's going to tell us about a recent product that they launched that uh, well it was a complete failure in his words and also how he's dealing with his business right now. His brand is built off of speaking and really a lot of his revenue comes in that way and you know, different types of training. He teaches leaders how to lead. Well, those are all kind of not happening right now as we all know. Right? So how does he adjust? How does he get through the mental trash? Which by the way, he admits he's still got mental trash, right?
02:36 He's got to figure that stuff out and he reads his own books. All right, so I am going to stop talking now. I am fired up cause I just got done with the interview and I'm recording this intro that'll lead you into this, this interview that I did with him. But I want you to take note at not just the wins but the failures. I also want you to take note at why positivity. If you focus on positivity, it will turn in to your own great life and positivity in your own life and family. All right, so guys, I'm going to stop talking like I said, so you can enjoy this interview that I did with John Gordon. Well, Hey John, welcome to the podcast man. So happy to have you on. I've read your your books, at least a couple of them. And, uh, man, it's an honor to have you on the podcast. How you doing man?
03:27 Good, good. Scott. Thanks for having me on. You know, we're in the middle of a, the whole pandemic thing, but staying positive through it all and yeah, helping others do the same. That's my goal.
03:37 Yeah, no, I, it's a, it's a a great time to actually have you on because I think there's a lot of people that are struggling with whatever this has dealt them. I think everyone is, is being dealt something different. It could be your job, it could be your business, it could be just life in general. Right. But I think it's great to have you on because to me you are like the King of positive, if you will. I'm serious dude. I mean, it's like, uh, everything that I see that you touch and I'm sitting next to the books that I own from you and it's, it is all of that positivity. And I just literally wrapped up reading the carpenter and I actually listened to it. And then I, I actually I always buy the books as well cause I like them as a place I can just go and kind of go through it. But I'm more of an audio guy and I listened to your book and uh, it was very, very good. So welcome to the show. But let's just kind of get people caught up if they don't know who John Gordon is. Give us a little glimpse and then what I want to do is I want to dig into some of these components and then also how you even arrived to where you are.
04:38 And I think we can do both by answering the question of, you know, am I mr positive? And the answer is no. When you said I'm the King of positivity, it made me laugh because I am not naturally positive. People think I am because of the books that I write and so forth. But I'm naturally a pessimistic optimist. And so I go toward the negative at first and then I have to work really hard at, at, at staying positive. But then I find this eternal Ray of hope, this optimism, this faith is belief that somehow some way we're going to make it through this. And that's something that has developed in me over the years. But I grew up in long Island, New York, Jewish, Italian family, a lot of food, a lot of guilt. My dad was the New York city police officer, undercover narcotics. So not a very positive guy, very loving dad, but just very negative like the world is out to get you.
05:25 And so I grew up with that kind of mindset and I had to learn to be positive. And what happened was my wife came up to me when I was around 30 years old. We had two small children and she said, I love you, but I'm not going to spend my life with someone who makes me so miserable. You need to change. And that was a huge wake up call because I loved my wife. I wanted to stay married. The dotcom crash had happened. I lost my job, no insurance for the kids, didn't know how I was going to pay the bills, and I was so full of fear and stress in many ways how people are feeling right now. And that was a a huge time for me and I failed that test. I know that I did not do well during that time.
06:04 Fearful, stressed, anxious, tons of anxiety, but somehow some way, that's where my faith was born. That's where I found some belief and hope to move forward. That's where I started to research ways that could be more positive. That's when I asked what am I born to do? Why am I here? Writing and speaking came to me during that time. So out of the worst event in my life, right, it led to one of the best in which I get to do to now being here with you, being able to share this message, be able to write these books, and I know that positivity was my life's work. It was my calling. I didn't choose it. It shows me and I think I'm a good teacher of it because I am naturally negative. So people really connect with me and relate to it because, and that's someone who's like, Hey, just be positive.
06:47 No, I know how hard it is. I know this is not about Pollyanna. This is not about seeing the world through Rose colored glasses. This is knowing that you have the power to overcome the thorns. This is knowing that optimistic people are the ones who create the future. Like let's face it. Pessimists do not change the world. They say or say you can't do it right. They're always saying, you can't complain. As we're always complaining about problems, critics write words, but they don't write the future. Throughout history, I think about it and positive leaders, believers, dreamers, doers who take action. I know you like that. We take action. You're all about taking action, right? That's what it's all about. Like, and the carpenter, I talked about building with optimism. I talked about how to build great success, and these principles are timeless, right? They're not my principles.
07:32 They're timeless principles on how we can use them. So I started to actually live those principles, do those things, and then it led me to just start writing and speaking first, very small. I did 80 free talks. Anyone who would listen, I just would go out there and start doing it. When I wrote the energy bus rejected by over 30 publishers. So I had to go through that challenge and that battle. Yeah, think about it. It sold 2 million copies now worldwide and yet rejected by over 30 publishers. Didn't become a bestseller for five years. I went on a book tour, paid for myself. My publisher would even pay for it. I went from city to city sharing the message in the book, you know, five people, one city, 10 people and other 20 people at other, the most people that were a hundred people in the Moines, Iowa, they thought Jeff Gordon was coming. That's why they showed up.
08:21 Scott, that's not a joke. That's actually a true story. And I remember I got home, I didn't know my future hell, but I knew I had this vision and here, here's what it was, and then I'll, I'll be quiet. But it was to encourage and inspire as many people as possible, one person at a time. So that's what was driving me even back then, and it drives me now when this whole coronavirus hit, at first, my business started to just go down big time. All the events were canceled, all the money that was supposed to be coming in was not coming in. Still gotta pay my team, so you got to pay my employees. It was a scary time at first, but then I went back to the original days of, Hey, you know what? It's like to hustle. You know what it's like to, to get out there and do the work.
08:58 You started this with the vision and mission, just do that. So I've been doing it every day. Tons of zooms so much like at zoom, but right now, I don't know if the doctors have diagnosed that yet or what they're, what they're calling it, but call it Kayla Bell. Actually, I gotta give her credit. She's on my team, she's our workshop leader. She calls it zoom. But I'm like, that is so good. I got to start sharing that. And so I got that right now, but I'm doing so many zooms. So think about it. Maybe the goals for my business have changed, but the vision has remained the same to continue to reach people and inspire people, encourage people. And now just finding this way to do it.
09:36 Yeah, no, I'm glad that you shared. Even like even currently, like I've thought a lot about that. Last year we did our first ever live event with 250 people. And it was a big undertaking for us. It was a biggest thing we've ever done. And it was amazing. It was scary. And we did it. And then this year we're like, we're going to do it again. And then we booked it and we got it all lined up and then this happened. And then then you're like, Oh my gosh, like I'm gonna have to pay all these penalty fees to the hotel. And you know, and so you go through all of this stuff. So a lot of people look at you, they'll look at me, they'll look at someone that appears to be successful to them and they feel like they never have those struggles anymore. They never have those obstacles anymore. And I'm just so glad that you shared that, that you know what, there's actually something just right now that's happened to you cause you speak, you get paid to speak and there's things that are driving your business that are not able to happen right now.
10:26 And I have a team I have to support and keep them going. And I did not take the PPP money. I could've applied for it. My accountant said to apply, my wife and I were going to, and I had this overwhelming strong feeling and conviction that people needed it more than me. And then I couldn't. And I don't want a metal or anything. I just knew I couldn't take it. And so we didn't apply for it. So it's real, it's difficult. Right. And, and I wasn't sure any events were going to book, but you know, it's funny, I deployed the principles I've been, but I've been teaching all these years. At first, at first my wife will tell you what really negative, pessimistic. Then I'm like, is this going to help me get through this time? Is this going to help me get through others?
11:06 Come on John, read your own book. Let's go. And so I then started to focus on winning the day. My motto was win the day. Don't worry about tomorrow. Just win today. Reach others, connect with others, impact others, did it. I'm doing three or four zooms a day. Now my voice is shot. I got to take a break. And in Jude, I've been doing so many, but I've been trying to do as many as many as possible and when today, then when the next day, then when the day after that, and if we win each day, we're going to create the future. And so we did an online virtual leadership event. We like you, we had a number of events lined up, trainings and so forth, and we had to cancel a few. But then we did our virtual one this month. 150 people signed up for the virtual live event.
11:50 We adapted, we stayed positive. We, within a month we had a new program and that allowed us to move forward. So I want people to know we face real challenges, we face real concerns. We were stressed about this. Are we going to have people do the virtual? What's it like? You know, what happens? People don't have money to be able to sign up for it. Should we do it right now? Does it look like we're trying to capitalize or help? And, and, and our big goal was no, we teach leadership. We teach positive leadership. Like we got, we gotta, we gotta get out there and do this right now and make a difference and helping. Sure enough, those 150 people were helped and loved it and it were impacted by it. We lowered the fees a lot, so we made it a lot cheaper than the live event.
12:27 So that's going to be part of our model going forward. But yeah, to deal with real challenges, real issues told both my kids guys, they're 22 and 20 get to work. You need to make your money right now. Like, you know, that's got no money coming in. Let's go start working. I want them to understand what it's like to have to support themselves. My son started selling stuff online on Maccari. He started using that selling stuff online, made about five $600 doing that. My daughter has been doing Postmates delivering food. Right. I want them to have to struggle with you. I could. I still support them. Yes. I mean, I don't want to act like I'm a poverty case. I've had money saved up. Right. But it's not like you have to want to use that for your future to use it now. Right. But I would if I had to, but the point was I knew that this situation right now in the operating cashflow was in dire straits to run a business and then at the time when we first heard the news, you don't know how long it's going to last.
13:24 How long is speaking not going to happen? How long until we have events, there's a, there's a lot of uncertainty. Some people were saying a year, two years, so then you go, Oh wow, what about that? So again, you have all these thoughts run through your head. You have all the fears and all the doubts, but then at that point you have to overcome. You have to overcome with optimism, with belief. You get to focus on what matters most. You got to encourage yourself every day. You have to encourage others. You got to trust. I'm a big believer in just trusting on the faithful person. I've learned to trust in God. That has carried me through so many challenges times in my life starting when I lost my job. Then the.com crash, that's when I found my faith. It was actually during that time. So that's helped me and prepare me for this moment.
14:05 I'm so much stronger now for this moment to help others and um, no. Again, I'm just thankful that I get to do what I do and I know you, me and others going through this, we're going to get through it. I know that the people listening this too shall pass. I know that. And you stay positive. You continue to work hard, you look for opportunities, you win the day, and great things are gonna come your way. I'm telling you there's going to be so much great success in the future. It doesn't look like that now. And that's the thing I've never looked. I'm sure during the Spanish flu it looked like things were hopeless and people got out of it during the great depression. That's when the golden gate bridge and the empire state building were built during that, during the great recession, it looked hopeless and many times. And so those who stay optimistic and faithful are the ones who will create success in future. And I just want to say this, what you believe right now will determine what you create. It's really important that people really focus on believing things.
15:01 Yeah. 100%. Yeah, man. Yeah. Nah, I love all of it. And uh, it's, it's so valuable just to hear that, not just from you, but just from others. And I think that's the other thing. It's like, you, you need to, you need to put that in, right? It's like, and I think you had mentioned in one of your books, but it's just kind of like what you feed your, you know, your brain, kind of like the angry dog. It's kind of like you're, you are going to, either that is going to win, right? Or you're going to win whatever you're going to focus on. And I, I totally believe in that. And it's not Woofy stuff. It's just like, it just made it common sense says, listen to my focus on this a lot. This is going to happen. And if I focus on, it's going to happen better because I've got more of a chance. Right.
15:40 Yeah. Um, you know, we, we have two dogs inside of us. We have the negative dog and the positive dog and whichever one you feed, that's what grows. So we have to feed the positive dog. Yeah. That's the advice I ever heard is from Dr. James gills, only person on the planet to complete six double iron man triathlons. That's a double iron man. And the last time he did, he was 59 years old and he was asked how he did it. He said, I've learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself. So we listened to. So we all the fear, the doubt, the negativity, the complaints we talked to herself, we could feed ourselves with the words and the encouragement that we need to keep on moving forward. Not we will, but what you feed each day is what will grow. And if you don't have it, you can't share it.
16:21 So being positive doesn't just make you better. It makes everyone around you better. And I know this being positive won't guarantee you'll succeed, let's be honest. But being negative will guarantee you what exactly. And so we'd give ourselves the best chance when we are optimistic and positive. We still have to be smart. We still have that talent, right? It's not about, Oh, I'm just positive. I work with a lot of professional sports teams and it's like, okay, you made me positive, but you have talent. You're not a professional athlete. You can just cheer the team on from the sidelines, but you're not going to play much. So you gotta have both. Right. But all the people I've worked with and all the great Dabo Swinney of Clemson, his optimism is a competitive advantage. I worked with the Rams, right? Sean McVay, optimistic positive coach. That's a competitive advantage by him heat. Eric Spoelstra such a great leader, a positive guy that helps him get through the challenging times. You see it over and over again with the great teams and the great leaders.
17:15 Yeah, no, that's, that's awesome. Uh, okay. So let me ask you this, cause there is something that I believe, uh, just even looking back at my own, you know, track record, I'm sure you have it as well. And I like to ask all of my guests that come on. Uh, really like there are Mo, I believe there's moments and like one of those moments was in the.com crash for you. That was probably one of those moments you're like, if that never happened, I never would have did this and you might not be sitting here talking to me. You might not have written all those books. Who knows? Never would have happened. Is there another moment that you're just like, you always kind of like if that never happened? Yeah, that one take action moment is what I call, there's one take action moment that you did. It could have been a phone call, it could have been whatever that changed your direction or pivoted you to a direction, open the door, whatever. Is there anything that comes to mind for you that you can just put a finger on? Like right away, big time. I mean it's the energy bus. I was walking one day
18:09 and the idea came to me and I went to my home office, never wrote a fable before and I wrote it in three and a half weeks. Every day I got up everyday I got up, I wrote, I would take a walk. I would practice gratitude. Thank you, ox. You can't be stressed and thankful at the same time. I had a lot of stress during that time. I would pray. I'd come back, I'd write some more, and then I take a break at night. I would edit what I wrote and I started to make some changes and some I get some new ideas. Next morning, do it again. Did that every day for three and a half weeks. Wrote the book, didn't have a publisher, just wrote the book and then say, let's send it out. Let's try to find a publisher. Found an agent, send out to publishers 30 rejections, but if I don't write that book, if I don't take action every day, I'm not living the life that I live.
18:55 I'm not doing the work that I do. Jack Del Rio read in 2007 gave it to the Jaguars. They all read it. I spoke to the team. Next thing you know, Mike Smith becomes the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He was a defensive coordinator for the Jaguars that year. He brings me to the Falcons. I work with them at Ryan as a rookie at the time. Then I go work with the Texas Longhorns. The year Colt McCoy is a senior there. Then all of a sudden, all the coaches start hearing about it, reading it. The next thing you know, it starts spreading. I go on that tour, all these different, um, this isn't, the schools started using it very small at first. Right? Very, very, a few adopters. But then it just starts to spread and that book changed my life cause everyone started reading.
19:36 It started bringing me into the speak of their companies and I've written 21 other books since. But if I don't write that book and take action on that and go on that tour and just say, I'm going on a tour, I got, I'm just doing it. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm going, I didn't have it all planned out. We literally showed up in some cities that had nothing planned. The next scene I'd get on a radio show and a local TV show and it was like the most fun, random, spontaneous, crazy time. Well, we were fearless. I was young, my wife was supportive. She said, go for it. And I went for it. So if I didn't take action, I'm not doing the work I do today. I mean, so many people, right? They want success and they want it now, but they're not willing to do all the things that it takes to get there.
20:18 And that's the thing. I was willing to do anything, everything to get there and still am like still humble and hungry. I'm still thinking like a rookie right now, still showing up, doing the work. I don't think I've arrived. I'm still building. I'm still growing and that's the way I'm approaching life. And I find those that are really successful, that have been through the grind, that had a really worked for something. They have a distinct character and humility that continues to drive them, to make them even want to get better. They're lifelong learners and they never, they've arrived, I think Tom Rady, you look at him, he has it. You look at drew Brees, he has it. You just see it in certain people, um, that they, they just want to be their best and they want to grow. And they're never, they're never, they're never just settled with who they are. They want to, they're satisfied. They're, they, they're thankful for their life, but they made, they always just want to get better and, and make a greater difference.
21:09 Yeah. So the one thing that you mentioned there that I don't want to, I don't want to gloss over, is the 30 nos, right? Yeah. So how do you get through the 30 knows, cause see what we deal with.
21:21 Okay, cool.
21:21 I have people that listen, they're, they're stuck in their job. They want to get out, they want to build an online business. And I always tell people like, listen, the business you're building now probably won't be the business you're going to build in five years or 10 years, right? It's you're, you're building the skill set. You're, you're, you know, you're, you're creating your, your craftsmanship as you would say in the carpenter, right? You're building that over time. Well they get frustrated cause they might say, Oh I want to start, you know, doing something around my passion. I start publishing some videos on YouTube, but it doesn't take, I don't get viewers and I just give up. Like that's kind of how it looks. Right? So you're doing this, you're getting, you're getting 30 and you don't even know where that's going to lead to. Right. You're like, I'm may get a book deal and I don't even know what that looks like. So how do you push through when you get that many nos?
22:01 That's a great question. You just do the work. You just show up and you do the work. Like I wrote in and I'm the carpenter. Also the power of positive leadership. You do the work, you don't have praise. Go to your head, you don't let it critics in your head. You just continue to do the work and you can't worry about what your market looks like now or what, um, what kind of response you're getting because you just got to start doing the work and putting it out there now after a year or two and if you're not getting any response, well then you gotta evaluate. Maybe you're not publishing it the right way. Maybe you get to work on your content or the quality of it. That might be a thing. But at the same time you can't expect immediate success. So I mean, people all the time, they keep on putting it out there, they keep sharing it and you can see it start to grow.
22:43 Like for me, it wasn't overnight. It happened over time. And that's the thing, I think people want instant success so they don't get the feedback right away. But if you love doing it, that's what I want to get back to. I think if you love it, you continue to work to be great at it. To be a craftsman, you have to love what you do. Pavarotti was asked about his incredible discipline and he said, everyone thinks it's discipline, but it's devotion. His devotion is what drove his discipline. So if you don't love it, you're not going to be disciplined. But if you love it, discipline is easy for me. I love my wife. Discipline is easy, so if you really love something, you'll be devoted and have disciplined with it. So I really think for those people, focus on the craft, focus on the work, focused on getting better, and just say to yourself, where do I want to be?
23:29 Like 10 years from now? No, you're not going to get there immediately. That's what I do with speaking. Like it may take me 10 years to make it. I said to myself, what I'm going to get there? I get out there and start doing it. So I gave 80 free talks. Anyone who would listen, I just spoke. My wife's like, you weren't even good eye, but you just did it. You know? And it's true. I wasn't good, but I just did it and I got better. I didn't get always a great response early on, and that's the thing, you just got to go do it and do the work. And if you love the process, you'll love what the process produces. And I think too often people want the outcome, but they're not focused on loving the process. So for me, that's the key. Love the process. Have a vision of what you want to create, the greatness you want to build, and then start building it every day and don't give up, but you don't get a response. Continue to build it. If you can add one person a day, another person that day, another person a day, you keep doing that and over time you're going to have more and more people on your energy bus as you move forward.
24:25 I love it. Yeah, it's funny because after I read that book, I only read the one and at the time that's all I really knew that you read, even though you have them all posted in the back of your book. But you know, I'm like, it was, you know, it was fantastic. I always recommend that to people that are either negative or have negativity surrounding them because it really, it's a great way that you share it. And even in the carpenter, how you take a character or characters and then you frame it versus you just saying like, this is what you have to do because I have this experience. You know what I mean? So I, I learned best that way and it just makes it more engaging. Um, so, okay, so let me ask you this though,
25:02 because again, you know, you, you're, you're like one of them too. And I'm a lot like that too. It's like I'm just going to do it and you know, we'll let the rest figure it out. But it's hard in the beginning because like for you, like it's got to produce some cash, right? You got to pay the bills, man. Right? Like so if you don't get a book deal, so what are you doing in the meantime to kind of help that part of it? Because a lot of people are starting their side hustle, hoping it can turn into their full time hustle.
25:26 Well, you keep your job in the meantime, you don't leave your main job until you actually start seeing some success with your side hustle. Yeah. But like writing, I was getting up every morning before the kids got up to write. I wasn't going on writing retreats. I was at that time, yeah. I second mortgage on my home and opened up a restaurant, a Moe's Southwest grill. So I'm really, yeah, I own a burrito place called Mo's Southwest grill franchise first franchisee in Florida. I'm literally running that while I'm getting the speaking and stuff going. So I'm doing that. Wow. And then I eventually sold them and when I, when I sold them and I was able to focus a hundred percent on writing and speaking. But at first I was basically doing both and I started speaking while I own the restaurant. So that's sort of my side hustle.
26:11 So make your money with your job, but making sure you're actually working on your side hustle every day. Devoted a certain amount of time to building your brand and building your side hustle. And the more it grows, as it starts to be autonomous and you start bringing in revenue, you'll know when it's time to take the leap. But you also gotta do the work, right? If you love it again, you're going to find the time in our day. Doesn't have to be a lot like for me, it was like an hour a day. Get it up, writing in the morning and the chaos with the family and the kids and everything, but, but still doing it, reaching out to emailing people. Hey, I'm John Gordon, I'd love to speak at your company. I'd love to speak to, I still have some of those emails that I sent out.
26:49 I didn't get a response and most of them, right? But that's what I was doing. And uh, that's, that's the key to do that. Now I don't, we don't do any outreach now. People will just reach out and when they want to book me, they booked me. And so that's how it works. We'll see how it's going to work going back. But I thought it did work, but again, you know, it's so cool. Like I got a couple of 'em people respond already reached out. I just reached out to me, Hey, I get your message. I've read your books. Will you do a virtual online training? We do it on a virtual online keynote. I've got like five or seven virtual online keynotes already on the books to space. Am I making as much as I made when I was speaking? You do less for online virtual, but it's going to keep us going until things turn around and so it's going to help me pay everyone.
27:35 So, but that wasn't happening immediately. Stayed positive, worked hard, kept on sharing the message. What would happen if I would have gotten online on Twitter and social media and started bitching so it'd be negative. Sorry, complaining. You think any of those people would, would, would book me and they're like, wow, this guy's a fraud. He ain't the real deal. This guy had a lot of circumstances. The fight them, no, they want me to help them overcome their circumstances so you stay true to who you are. You work on your craft every day, you spend time building it while you're doing your other thing, and you'll know when it's time to leave. But you've got to make a commitment to work on your craft.
28:08 Yeah, I love what you said too, is you got to start learning to love the process, right? Like it's funny because my story in the, in the beginning when I left my father's construction company, my wife wanted to be a photographer just because she wanted to get us out of doing what we were doing. And then she never knew how to do photography. I didn't know. And this is back before digital cameras. And so I didn't care. I'm like, I'm not passionate about that, but I'm passionate about getting out of my job. So like, let's do it. And we learned. But during that process, I learned that I love marketing. I also learned that I loved Photoshop. I also love video editing. So I learned all that by doing that other thing. So I love to tell people, like, it might not be your ultimate passion. You got to fall in love with the, you gotta be passionate about the process. Right. And then if you can wrap that around your pet, like my wife's photography thing game over cause you're going to be like, I need to find time for this. I'll stay up late. I'll get up early. Like you said, right. You wrote your book even though you might've been tired even, you know, because you were just passionate about getting the message out there.
29:04 Right. He's still, she's still doing it. The photog
29:06 no, we actually left that probably, Oh gosh. My daughter, my youngest daughter is 12 I have, we have kids similar ages too. I've got a 24 year old who's going to have her first baby. We're actually going to be grandparents. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. And so thank you. And so a 24 22 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. But when she was born, that's when we got out of the photography business. So it's been about 12 years now. And we then went and took that online and created our digital side of the business where I was teaching Photoshop. And I got into the informational world, um, back then. So that's kinda how I got my foot in the door. But another question for you, John, you've been at it a long time. Has there been like these little cause for me there, there has, but I'm just curious for you, has it been a straight path man or is there been pivots along the way or they're like, Oh wait a minute, I'm not really feeling this. Or Oh my directions should be going here cause that's where I want to go. Is there any of that ever been coming your way? I'm just curious.
29:59 Oh yeah. There's always ups and downs. There's always pivots. There's always moments of doubt and fear that you're not going to make it, that it's not going to be successful. So there's been a lot of those along the way. There's been a lot of ups and downs. I think one of the key ones was really identifying what my core message was. What is my core message? Like what am I really here to share? And I realized that anytime I talked about positivity and encouragement, that I felt energized by that. And when I would talk about like health and wellness, which I used to talk about, it sort of drained me in a way. So I realized my core message was, was optimism. It was positivity. I didn't know I would write books on positive leadership, the power of positive leadership or the power of a positive team, which are used by a lot of companies now and organizations.
30:44 That's what our training is built on. But like you right, I was just jumped in to knowing positivity is I where I was wanting I wanted to be and that led me to do all these other things. And I think so often what you were saying was ringing true because I think so often people just think you have to have it all figured out before you start. And what I've learned is no, you go with your gut, your intuition, you follow that lead in positivity. And from there when you're on the right path doing the right thing, it leads to so many other things. [inaudible] you might learn from something you're not supposed to do, but it leads you to the next thing you're supposed to do. So for me, like when I, when I moved to Atlanta, after college, I was waiting tables. I got a bartending job, I started a non profit.
31:27 I got into the bar business at 24 on the bar with a few guys like grandmother left me money 30,000 when she died at 18 and I took that money and I invested it. My brother spent it all in New York city, but I took it and I invested it and I used that money to buy this first bar. And then from there I went to law school for a year and a half, dropped out, ran for city council of Atlanta, lost almost one with the 7,000 houses and then all these things that when you think about it, I just jumped in. Were they all successful? No, but everything prepared me and taught me for the future. When I ran for city council, I got John gordon.com Jon gordon.com for city council. Well that would help me when I would actually start my writing and speaking business so you can look at all the things you've learned along the way and how it prepares you. Then I moved to my move to Jacksonville with my wife on a major beach. We moved there, lose my job in that.com crash, decided to open the most Southwest grill, do that. Then I realized writing and speaking is for me and I've been doing that ever since. I really found my calling and my purpose around 31 32 years old didn't become successful at it until I was around 38 30 years old.
32:40 Right? Think about that. I'm 49 now, so, so it took a lot of time to get there. And I think that's the thing. People think you should have immediate success. No, it doesn't work that way. You gotta continue to work at it and one thing is going to teach you and lead you to the next. Yeah, absolutely. And I think what you said there too, it's like even even though you arrived when you wrote the book and you got out there finally, you still kind of went down that path, but then you started to shape your message differently because now you started seeing that you were lit up by positivity and that's where people were starting to be drawn. So you kind of pivoted and shifted even though, uh, it's not really different, but it is, you know what I mean? Like the messaging, the core of what you're about and what you want to be known for.
33:25 It's funny because I was just going through this, John, like literally this past year I went from Scott Voelker being the e-commerce guy, how to, you know, sell on Amazon guy. That's how I got my, my kinda my spotlight. Um, and then from there I'm like, I don't want to be that guy though in five years or 10 years. I want to be the guy that helps you, you know, get out of your own way and start a business that supports you and your, and your lifestyle so you can spend more time with your family and kind of live your own dream. Right. And I'm like, and so I was actually talking to a friend of mine, Pat Flynn, I don't know if you're aware of Pat Flynn from smart. Yeah. So Pat and I, I was talking to him and I'm like, dude man, I'm like locked up here.
34:01 I'm like, not sure what to do. He goes, let me ask you something. If you were to walk in or if you were to walk into a coffee shop five years from now and two guys walk in behind you and one guy didn't know you, the other guy did. And he was explaining that the other guy who you were, what would he be saying? And I'm like, I hope he's not saying what I think he's going to be saying because that's what I, that's what my messaging is. Right. And so I'm in that spot right now over the past probably 18 months of where you were at that point where you're like, I gotta, I gotta shift that a little bit, but then you're like, everyone else kinda does that. Like I wrote a book on take action effect, which is about building a business, but it's also about just taking some action and getting started and figuring it out along the way. Um, but you always have that doubt like, yeah, but I can't be there. I mean, you can't be just a positive guy. There's Tony Robbins, come on John, you can't do it right. And you're like, I can, and you're dead and here you are. You know?
34:48 Yeah. And I know that was my message, my core message and yeah, you know, Tony six eight but people said my energy six eight. So
34:57 I love it.
34:58 And so, you know, for me it was like knowing what my core purpose was and I love that you're figured out on yours and everyone really needs to ask that question. Like, alright, 10 years from now, what do I really want to build? Yeah. What do I want to design? What do I want to create? What does it look like? What am I doing? Get very clear on that so you're not wasting time and energy. Like I know that I don't love coaching, so guess what? I'm not coaching one on one, but I create a coaching program where I'll coach many people at once. I'm not a one on one coach. I know that, but now I have people who do consulting and coaching who worked with me. I wasn't going to start a business where I had people working with me, but that was something that came about and I saw that it can be something that would allow us to have a greater impact.
35:36 I saw people were great people who want to do more of this work, and I asked, should I do this? Is this part of what I'm doing? Should I make it part of it? Yes. It became very clear. I should, but I was hesitant at first really figuring it out. So I always think about what it is that do I really want to build. Is this part of my core purpose? I don't want to waste my time and energy on stuff. Oh, here's some that you can learn and other people can learn that I, I've, I learned from that. I started a positive cookie a year ago. So I did go down the course of an, the path of creating a positive cookie where inside every cookie in the rapper was a positive, encouraging message and it was a healthy, organic cookie and so forth.
36:16 So we did that Epic failure. Okay. Epic failure. The people I partnered with, I thought had more experience in the cookie business than they did or what they said they did. And it was an Epic failure. But out of that, it was so clear to me that I had taking a bite off of something that was the wrong right. The wrong cookie, not been focusing with something that couldn't chew. Whatever that expression is, yeah, do it. I should have done it. It was definitely some that I thought was part of my core, but my wasn't. But as a result of that, of failing with that, I realize even more what I am here to do. And I said, I'm not here to be in the cookie business. I'm not here to sell tee shirts and stuff cause we made sure that they stay positive and so forth.
36:58 I'm not even here to be in that business. That's not Michael. I'm here to empower, encourage people, tell people with positive leadership to build stronger teams to help people in half their leadership capabilities. That's why I'm here. And so I even am more clear on that and everything I've done since the cookie, we have now gone like skyrocketed again until everything here. But even then we're still getting, my team members are still getting calls to do our virtual workshops and so forth. Now, you know the virtual training we just did for the leadership training. So we are so focused on what we are here, do we know it? And when you know that you can build it every day and that's the moat. Like w w doesn't Collins call that the flywheel effect, right? The Fox. So you show up and you build it and it grows and you build it even more and it grows.
37:46 And that's where we are. You just keep on building and it compounds and it grows and grows and grows. So I don't do many things. I do a very, very core few things and I stick to that and I'm not going to let any distraction get in the way of what my core purposes. So I want to encourage hope people get that would their message of getting really clear what they want to build and they might say, I don't know what I want to build. I don't have a clue yet. It's okay if you don't, but once you get clear on it, then you do in the meantime, keep waiting, keep asking the questions, keep exploring. The more you open to it, it will come.
38:18 Yeah, definitely keep exploring. I love that. Or we're going to be wrapping up. I want it. I want to respect your time. I know you're busy. I know that you're a, you've got some zoombak going on there. So my voice to zoom voice in zoom. But yeah, I did want to ask you something kind of random on the carpenter, but I, there was something I was wondering when I was reading this book, all right. And I said to my wife, I go, you know, the book was awesome, but there was just one missing thing that I wasn't sure how this, how this Jay, the carpenter was actually doing this thing. I mean, the book makes sense. Everything makes sense. There's one spot that didn't make sense. So I'm hoping you can actually answer this and this will be fun for people because we'll see if you can answer it. So he was a carpenter. He a lot of tools. So how did he get his tools from one job site to the other? I was a contractor. I had a band. I had to go travel around with my band, have the ladders, have all this stuff. Was that just, was that like, did I miss something or am I just being like overcritical on that?
39:15 Know that, that's really a good detail that you're, uh, you're picking it out there. But we would walk with his tools now.
39:21 No, he didn't walk in with a table saw on his back. Commodities cutting up some wood and stuff. I mean that's some heavy stuff. Joel, you know, he would, he would leave it at the job site.
39:31 Okay. Whatever he was working, he would leave at the job site. So he would always go back because he didn't have many, many projects. He would work on only one at a time. So we actually lived at the job site and go to his job site.
39:40 Yeah, I figured I'd just give you a hard time when I had John. I go, I'm going to ask him that question.
39:45 Someone said the other day with the energy bus, like you know, he would've took a bus, he would've just called Uber.
39:52 Well my head, the book was written before Uber, so you know, listen, we're still going to go with the bus chip. Okay.
39:58 Yeah, I love it. Uh, one other quick thing, I actually got two quick things. One, one is where, and if you can just kind of tell me real quick, where did the idea for the carpenter come from? Like, where did it be like, all right, I'm going to do the thing on the carpenter. That makes sense. With the toolbox on the cover thing,
40:13 I was thinking about caring being the key difference between average and greatness. And if you care more, you'll do more, give more and become more than those who care. Build greatness. Caring was the key thing. And what happened was I had a carpenter come to my house to build an entertainment center at my house. Oh wow. It was during the great recession and this guy was great and I asked him how he was doing in the great recession. Was his business going down because of it? He said, I'm busier than ever, and it hit me because he was great at what he did because he cared more. The guy was busy and I thought those who really care, those who focus on excellence and our craftsmen will actually be great in any economy. They will do great no matter what because it will always be demands for people like that.
40:59 So then I was speaking about this at one of my events and I wind up bringing love and serve into the talk. I said, you've got to love, you've got to serve, and you got to care. Everyone started hashtag and love serving care, put on social media. And I knew right then and there that those were the key principles to the book. And then I started writing the book. I'm like, Oh, you gotta build your masterpiece. You first have to design it. That made its way into the book. And so every principal then unfolded to the next to build it with optimism and so forth. So that's where the idea came from. And it sort of unfolded as I began to write the book and people say it's my best. So I'm thankful you read it.
41:34 It is really good. And really another side note here, and this is crazy, I think you'll, you'll enjoy this. So we, I got all done with the book just about all the way done and we moved here. I'm in South Carolina. So we moved from upstate New York to South Carolina about three and a half years ago. And my, my, my, my wife put this in our laundry room. It's kind of in our, in our area, like a mudroom and it's, and you know, and she's got like, you know, cabinets, the white cabinets and there's, there's this wouldn't heart hanging on my cabinet with this thing. It's been there since we moved here. And I kind of was getting annoyed with the damn thing cause it kept making noise and I'd open it up. I'm like, what the hell is this heart doing here? Right. And so I get all done with the book and I go like, that's crazy. It's a wooden heart. So I literally took a Sharpie and I wrote love serve care on it. And now that's a reminder for me. So it's not, it's not going anywhere. So dude, man, I, I just again thank you for the book, but just that was just like a sign to me. Like I'm like, this was meant for this to happen. It took three years for me to realize that wouldn't heart was there for a reason.
42:35 That is so cool. I love that we're in, we're in the South. Caroline, did you move?
42:39 Oh, we're actually just outside of Charlotte. We're an actually a small town called Fort mill.
42:43 Oh yeah, great area. Okay. Yeah,
42:45 yeah, yeah, yeah. We're about 25 minutes from Charlotte though. So I always tell people, I'm like just outside of Charlotte cause we're like right over the border.
42:51 Love that. And I love that story. You know, we have, we have wooden hearts that we sell now and all the proceeds, 100% of the proceeds of the wooded hearts that say love serving Cara them go to support different nonprofits and charities and so forth. So that's been a lot of fun to, uh, to use that vehicle to make a difference.
43:06 Yeah, no, it's, it's, it's awesome. So, all right, I'm not going to take up any more of your time, John. I know that you've given me a little bit of your time here on your busy schedule. I just want to thank you so much for number one, writing these books and coming on and being vulnerable and sharing, you know, even just now like some of the uncertainty and and, and the struggles but also the positivity cause I do believe that positively will prevail and I appreciate you again for coming on. Where can people learn more about you other than getting the 21 other books that you have written, how can people get in touch with you or at least follow what you're doing?
43:39 Yes. God, I'm gonna tell you, you have to read a few more now. I'm going to get on you about reading a few more. Should I do next training camp training camps? My favorite.
43:47 I think you'll really like to do that. Coffee bean, I think you'll like the coffee bean too.
43:51 Okay, cool.
43:53 Coffee beans, a 20 minute read, but basically they can find me a John gordon.com Jon gordon.com social media channels at Jon Gordon 11 which is Twitter, Instagram at Jon Gordon 11 and then I just want to, I want to leave people with just the thought that that star shine the brightest in the darkness and positive people shine the most through adversity. So even though we're going through challenging times, this is really a chance for us to shine, do all the challenges that we're going to face along the way. And we can't look backwards, right? We've got to look forward. We can look at what we were going to do this year, right? We're going to crush this year 2020 was going to be amazing. We got to basically create will be. And I, and I know, I truly know that that things are shifting in a positive direction and we are moving in. That you can feel the energy shifting and great things are gonna come. So I just want to share that hope with people, but help them. Don't buy the doom and gloom. Invest in faith. Love and hope. Thanks so much for having me, Scott.
44:47 Yeah, no, thank you so much John. I appreciate it. We'll have to do an update with you, uh, in the future, but again, I just want to say thank you. I appreciate you man.
44:54 Hey, keep up the great work you're doing. I appreciate it. I love, I love your brand and yeah, what you're doing and finding your core purpose. I think it's gonna be incredible. Take care.
45:02 Thanks man. All right guys. I hope that you enjoyed that interview with John and I again want to say thank you so much to John for doing this. You could hear it in his voice. He's been on a ton of zooms and as he said, he had Zumba and I just again want to thank him and I'm really, really enjoying doing these interviews as we've done the rebrand and named this podcast, the rock your brand podcast. That right there, my friends is what we call a rock star brand, the one that he has built, but also someone that is willing to share, someone that is willing to help others. And you heard it from him. It's about staying true to who you are, but always, always be focusing on winning the day. I want you to leave with that. How can you win the day today and tomorrow and the next day?
45:53 Well, the first thing you can do is check out the energy bus. This one here to me is a must read. The other one is the carpenter. That was the second one that I read of his and I love it. He's already given me homework to read his next one that I should be reading and then also this one here. I wanted to mention this one. This is stay positive. This is a morning book. You read one page in this every single day and I absolutely love it. So guys, go check out John, check out the show notes to this firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash eight 37 all the show notes, the transcripts, all of the goodies will be over there. All of the links to his books will be there as well. And like I said, you got to get out there. You got to make it happen. And as I always say, you gotta take action. So guys, that's it. That's going to wrap it up. As always, remember, I'm here for you. I believe in you and I am rooting for you, but you have to, you have to come out and say it with me. Say it loud. Say it proud. Let's say it together today. Take action. Have an awesome, amazing day, and I'll see you right back here on the next episode. Now go rock your brand.
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