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Learning to Dad with Tyler Ross 032 - Steve Gordon

Speaker 2: Hello and welcome to [00:00:30] learning to dad. My name is Tyler Ross and my guest today is Steve Gordon. Thanks for being here, man. Hey, Tyler. Excited to be here. It's going to be fun. Yeah. Yeah. I enjoyed our quick little intro talk before we jumped on here. But, uh, you know, in reviewing your biography, I'll hit a couple of these high points. Uh, you're an author, a bestselling author. Uh, you're the founder of the unstoppable CEO. You host a podcast when you were under 30, just 28 years old. You ended up being the CEO of a, uh, engineering firm and have since [00:01:00] gone on to create a new, uh, consulting business, helping service-oriented business, get their marketing in line and lead generation and things. And, uh, one of the things that I'm excited to kind of segue into is what you call the true free gift or getting the true freedom of business.

Speaker 2: Cause I'm sure that'll apply to workers who want more freedom to spend time with their kids. So let's start a little bit on your bio background. Like where, where are you from? Where do you live now? [00:01:30] So I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and uh, went to university of Florida. I'm second generation Gator. And my daughter is a third generation Gator now. And, uh, and now I live in Tallahassee, which is sort of like the, the big rival towns. So, um, homo, Florida state university. So it's, it's very, very interesting to live here and, and, uh, be a little bit on the outside of that. But yeah, we, we have a great time and I do have dueling flags on the front porch with the, uh, the Seminoles on one side [00:02:00] and Gator zone. Thankfully my wife went to Florida as well. So, um, he, you know, the, the, the theme or the motto of the, uh, alumni club for us here is that, you know, civilization among the savages because Florida state is, we have a good time.

Speaker 2: A lot of our friends went to Florida state, so it's always interesting and football season. Yeah. That's great. So you were, you were born in, uh, Jacksonville. I was actually born in Anchorage, Alaska. [00:02:30] That's a whole other story, but I grew up in Jacksonville. Yeah. Okay, great. So you you've been a Florida boy for most of your life. It sounds like just about all of your life. So what was, uh, your first introduction to professional life? Like what was your first job? Oh, gosh, my very first job. I sold shoes for a local competitor to Footlocker. And this was back in the late eighties around the time when the original Jordans came out. Uh, [00:03:00] so exciting time to be in the shoe business.

Speaker 3: Oh yeah, no, it was like great. We had to have crazy security like for those shoes, cause people were trying to shoplift them left and right. Oh, wow.

Speaker 2: And how old were you at the time or was this a high school? College or

Speaker 3: Yeah, high school. Yeah. I was like a 16, 17 something, something in that range. Yeah. Do you have

Speaker 2: Any siblings?

Speaker 3: I have a brother. Yeah. Younger brother. Yeah.

Speaker 2: My high school experience was some kids worked, some kids didn't I got [00:03:30] my first job when I was 15 years old. I created it myself and I feel like the proportion of high schoolers that don't have to work, but want to anyways, kind of small, like, do you feel like you were just ready to start earning money? Like what, or did your parents say go get a job?

Speaker 3: I certainly wanted to earn money, but I probably would have chosen something else to do with my time at that point, if I didn't have the choice, but no dad said, no, you're going to go, you're going to go to work. And it turned out to be a good thing. So that was actually [00:04:00] my first exposure to sales. Oh yeah. You know, it was, uh, w was in the store. So certainly it was a great experience. And, you know, I think it ties in with some of the things that I'm doing now.

Speaker 2: And what, uh, what'd you study at UCF?

Speaker 3: My degree is in a really tiny discipline of engineering called geomatics and surveying and mapping. And so studied that I had about, gosh, I had probably 10 different majors in the course of a five years [00:04:30] and finally decided I'd settle on one and get out of there before they invited me to leave otherwise. And then, and that actually worked out really, really well because, um, you know, I went to work for a small consulting firm in that industry. I was the 10th employee in, and, and that led to the opportunity to be able to run that company about four years later. And so I sort of stumbled into that all, you know, all along the way, it was just a series of falling forward into that, but, [00:05:00] uh, worked out really, really well. Yeah. So

Speaker 2: When you started at this, uh, engineering firm where you actually a man out on the ground, pulling the stakes and looking for iron pipes and things, or were you kind of working in the cab trying to design layouts or any of these things?

Speaker 3: Yeah, I w I was more on a kind of the computer side of it and, and interfacing with the clients who, you know, early on, I think one of the reasons that I got the opportunity to run that from so young was that, you know, most engineers don't [00:05:30] want to go talk to, they like the technology. They like, you know, the, the technical aspect of whatever discipline they're practicing, but, um, the minority of us tend to gravitate towards going out and interacting with clients and doing that kind of work. And I just enjoyed that part and I got fortunate enough to, to have a really great mentor and the founder of the firm. And then he just would, you know, drag me along to all the meetings [00:06:00] that he was going to. So those are a great learning experience.

Speaker 2: I know this is, this is outside of the area of your books, but to speak to your experience and my experience mentors, I want to key in on mentors, like what was the, the role that that mentor played in? Do you have any advice to young people that are looking to find a mentor?

Speaker 3: His influence on me is huge, you know, to this day. And that's really where I began to learn about business [00:06:30] and, and, uh, you know, and so I was just really fortunate to have somebody that was willing to take that kind of time with me. And, you know, as I think back about that, and one of the things I used to go back and, and talk to folks who were coming out of college, and everybody wants to kind of gravitate towards these really big companies that look glamorous and all that stuff. And those are great, you know, you can find really good opportunities there, but once you get there, [00:07:00] your job then is to get out of the pile and somehow differentiate yourself. I had a really different experience. I went into a small company. I was able to do lots of different things. So I, you know, one point or another, I had kind of worked in every aspect of that company and got a lot of broad exposure and I was able to get in and, you know, and interface with clients and work at kind of that high level, which, you know, as a first year person [00:07:30] out of college, you know, in a bigger company, I never would have had that.

Speaker 3: And so, you know, in thinking back and like how that all worked, the mentorship was huge. Would I have had that in a, in a bigger place? I, you know, I don't know. I, I think having that in a small firm environment was, was a actually pretty special.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I'm with you on that in my professional journey started in a very similar way as a real estate agent, I went, I always gravitated [00:08:00] towards the boutique firms, the specialized firms, the ones that were very kind of felt familial rather than the corporate structure. I don't know why, but I got a lot out of it. Maybe. Do you think maybe it's a, some, a characteristic of a business that somebody who might be a little bit more, not a nine to five type of person, like I'd rather work 80 hours for myself than 40 hours for someone else. I don't know why it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Why do we do this to [00:08:30] ourselves, but we enjoy it, or you think we're,

Speaker 3: I mean, in hindsight, there's a lot of that to it. I, I, I've just finally realized, you know, I'm 48 years old now. And I finally realized that I don't work well for other people. I'm fundamentally unemployable. And, um, you know, and it's, it's not that I don't do do good work it's that I just don't like, I want to, I want to do my own thing. I want to be the one that's leading the charge [00:09:00] and, you know, and so I think from that standpoint, looking back, being in that smaller environment allowed me to kind of grow into that role really quickly. Whereas I, you know, I wouldn't have had, I don't think I would have done very well in a big company. And so,

Speaker 2: Um, as a, as a young man, really, as the CEO of this consulting firm has this engineering firm, I, can you recall some of the pressures or insecurities that you had as somebody kind of handed the torch to you and said, take [00:09:30] it from here?

Speaker 3: Oh yeah. I mean, there were all kinds of them. I mean, and to tie this into the, you know, the theme of your show, I actually got the call about this while I was out, you know, for, uh, a week when our first daughter was born. Yeah. You know, and, and my partner at the time, it was the founder of the company called up and said, yeah, when you come back, you know, we're gonna make you, you know, CEO. And I'm like, okay, well, there's, there's a little bit of added pressure. No worries. [00:10:00] Nah. I mean, I'll tell you it's I was totally unprepared at the time. And you just sort of grow into that. I think I was 28. I've been in, you know, in the business for four years. I'd had a lot of good experience and a lot of good mentorship, but I was now gonna have people working for me who had more experience than I was years old.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 3: And, and trying to manage that, you know, and these were people that, you know, in [00:10:30] their mind may have very well thought that they were the logical choice for that role. And so, yeah, it was, it was a challenging transition for sure.

Speaker 2: Yeah. No, uh, that's a, I'm sure a common experience for a lot of super motivated, ambitious people that I know one of my good friends here was 23 years old running a call center with people that were twice her age that were easily overlooked. And I mean, to anybody, [00:11:00] who's trying to overcome that fear of being the boss to people that are older. Do you have any advice to help them feel better about it?

Speaker 3: Uh, you know, I think whether it's that situation specifically, or just in any new situation in business, confidence is the key, but at the beginning you never have competence. And so, you know, you really kind of have to [00:11:30] get focused and, and sort of commit to, um, I'm going to get to this level, you know, and I think once you make that commitment, it, you begin to build that confidence over time. You begin to take the steps forward and get there. But, you know, for me, it was just a matter of being committed to being really good at that. Yeah. You know, and, and continuing then to, to progress forward, you know, as, as we were, and I made mistakes, I mean, I made a ton of mistakes. That's part of the learning process. [00:12:00] Yeah.

Speaker 2: Uh, I think that's great advice. And now thinking about it, when I started my brokerage, I was 26, I think. And the only way that I got business was by reading the 300 page zoning ordinance that the other real estate agents weren't willing to make. So it's like, it just had to be that much more committed to it than everybody else. So what was your work life like leading up to your first child? And then how did that change after [00:12:30] a child was introduced to your world?

Speaker 3: So leading up, you know, I probably worked more weekends, you know, I would sacrifice some Saturdays to, to, you know, get work done and get projects done once, you know, once we introduced kids into it, that changed a little bit, you know, and, and now there were more demands, you know, my wife at the time was then staying home. And so there was certainly [00:13:00] more pressure on me to deliver financially, but there was also pressure to, to be home and be present and all of that. So, you know, from, from that time forward, really, till now I've kept the weekends pretty well free. And actually, I shouldn't say that within the last couple of years, I've probably introduced a little bit more, uh, work into the weekends. I like to get up really early and right. So I'll get up before everyone else is up and all right.

Speaker 3: But, uh, you know, having, having the weekends clear was, was kind of a big [00:13:30] deal, you know, but it's, it's difficult. I mean, with a young family and, and, uh, you know, at that time a brand new role and a company that was growing from a kind of a local company to a statewide company, you know, travel started coming into play and, and I was on the road a fair amount. And it's just one of those things you gotta, you gotta find a way to find your own balance. I don't think there's a perfect formula for anybody. And, and I don't even like the word balance because [00:14:00] I, my experience with that has been, it's always been out of balance one way or another. Yeah. You know? And so there've been times when it was out of balance and, you know, I was, I was working those 80 a hundred hour weeks.

Speaker 3: You can't do that forever. That was one of the great things that I learned from the founder of the firm was that, yeah, you can do that stuff for a little while, but you know, one week, two weeks, maybe three weeks, that's about the limit of it. And then you gotta [00:14:30] have a break. I mean, you gotta give the team or break, you know, so you might be out of balance for a little while, but then it's got to come back in and then you've got to go reclaim some of those days and take some time off that you, you were, you know, working kind of in excess before. And so it, I think it swings back and forth. Yeah.

Speaker 2: I I'd imagine you had this, uh, obstacle when it came like you, you were just ingrained 80 hour weeks, 80 hour weeks, and then something changed [00:15:00] and you had to reprogram yourself. Cause I it's not as though, I can't imagine that you went from 80 hour weeks to a, we'll

Speaker 3: Just plug in 30 this week and feel the same level of accomplishment as you did at the 80. So was there any particular practice that you had to engage in to kind of help yourself understand that, taking those Saturdays off as okay. And things like that? Well, I, you know, I've talked to a lot of people who run into this and I certainly did, [00:15:30] even the days that I'm off, sometimes it's hard to turn it off. Yeah. I, even today I love what I do. And so I also have discovered that there's so much creativity that comes from free time. And, uh, I've gotten to a point in my career where I understand that, that having that creativity is actually a really great asset for the business. And, and so I tend to protect that free time a little bit more, but it's hard to keep it from creeping [00:16:00] back in, you know, ideas come and they start flowing and, and I think that's just the way I'm wired. So it's one thing to, to carve the time off. It's another to really try and turn it off and, you know, and, and, and be present with the people that you're around in that moment.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. And I can see your creativity just by nature of you having a whiteboard behind you. There's that line is right there. And then I have another one [00:16:30] over here and one right in front of me. Yeah. I can relate to that. So the catch catch us up on the profile of your family. It sounds like you were married before and had a daughter and then you've since remarried and had more kids.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So I had two daughters with my first wife and, and, um, and then unfortunately that didn't, that didn't go the way that, you know, you hope when, when those things start. Yeah. But it was really blessed to remarry and not long [00:17:00] after that. And, um, yeah, my wife and I now have four children, so she had two sons and, uh, I had two daughters, so we're sort of like the Brady bunch light. Yeah. And, um, and it's just been tremendous and we've been married for eight years now, so it's just been fantastic. Our, both our oldest daughter and our oldest son are in college now. And so we're, you know, we're, we're just kind of cranking them out into the world.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. So, so I understand correctly, you, you biologically you have two daughters [00:17:30] and she has two sons. And I come from very similar family. My parents divorced, they both remarried. My dad had more kids. My wife married a guy with kids. They both divorced again. And then one remarried again, now step. So it's modern family Brady bunch. It's, it's, you know, we can all have Thanksgiving together now. It's wonderful. Um, but it's, and it seems so not surprising anymore, but the challenges are [00:18:00] there, if, you know, you're, you're now role model for people that are, that you're not, you're not, I don't know what kind of challenges you had, but is there anything in particular that stands out that you're super proud about that you overcame that somebody else has got a stepchildren or has their own kids that are trying to ingratiate their new spouse with?

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, we, you know, we always, we approached it from the standpoint of like, we don't know what the word step-parent [00:18:30] means. Yeah. You know, I don't know how to be a stepdad. I know how to be a dad and while, you know, and I, and what I, I, I told the boys, you know, the day that we got married, I kind of pulled him aside and said, look, I'm not going to be your dad. I'm not replacing your dad, but I don't know how to be a step that I don't even know what that, that means. And so, you know, as far as I'm concerned, our relationship is going to be, you know, father and son, and [00:19:00] that's how I'm going to treat it. And, um, you know, and I never put any pressure on them to ever reciprocate that, but I think we've done pretty well. You know, the kids really all came together and, you know, really did blend very, very well. And, and that's something that my wife and I are both very proud of. It doesn't always happen that way. And so they, we worked really hard on, on making sure that they really viewed each other as siblings and, [00:19:30] and they'll turn to each other, which is, uh, it's really great to see.

Speaker 2: It's gotta be incredibly satisfying. Like I pat yourself on the back type of thing, uh, to make this, you know, all these pieces that were formulated in other places come together and make a full picture is a wonderful, so I'm excited for you for that. So how old are your kids?

Speaker 3: So we've got, uh, our oldest girl [00:20:00] is 19. Our oldest son is, uh, about 10 days away from being 18. And then we've got a 16 year old daughter and the youngest is 12 going on 13 and about a month. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. So at what point did you start writing?

Speaker 3: I started, I guess 2010.

Speaker 2: So my, that you had, you had kids when you started to add more things to what you were doing.

Speaker 3: Yeah, no. And it was, um, [00:20:30] when I started the current firm and got out of engineering and really focused on, on marketing and sales, it was just what had to happen to attract clients, you know? And so I started publishing my ideas and, uh, really kind of got serious about the practice of it. Back in 2012, I started writing a daily, every, every weekday wow. To our email list did that for four, four and a half years, something like that. So, [00:21:00] I mean, all told, I've probably easily written about 1500 articles at the,

Speaker 2: The discipline associated with writing every single day is extraordinary. Like what, what allows you to be that disciplined,

Speaker 3: Making the public commitment?

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. You feel like that accountability is, is meaningful.

Speaker 3: I mean, I, I mean, I made a big deal about the announcement that we were moving. We had a weekly newsletter at the time, big deal about the announcement that we were moving [00:21:30] from weekly to daily. And, uh, and I think, I think we did it on a Thursday. I mean, I had the Iowa, this is kind of the way I work. So I had the idea on like a Tuesday or a Wednesday. I thought about it for about a day or two and announced it to our list on Thursday, which is when our normal email went out, said, starting on Monday, you're going to begin getting these every day. You can unsubscribe below. You'd [00:22:00] be shocked that we really didn't get very many unsubscribes. And, uh, and the next Monday we started and, uh, and then went for four and a half years and it was great for our business, but more importantly, it taught me how to be a much better writer, how to never, you know, you never gotten a situation where there was writer's block because you didn't have time.

Speaker 3: You know, I would give myself like 20 minutes to write the email for that day. I'd have lists of ideas and things. And usually I'd be working a few days [00:22:30] ahead, but, you know, I'd pull an idea and then set a timer and then go because it couldn't take up any more time than that in the day had to have a deadline. And, you know, when I wrote the last word, it was quick spell check and copy paste, set it up in the email system. And you know, it's going to go out in a day or two. So we, you know, it, it will teach you to become a better writer, just the sheer volume and the daily [00:23:00] practice.

Speaker 2: You know, uh, the idea behind this podcast is to talk to entrepreneurs in part, because they are their own worst critics. They are the people that self-analyze, and self-critique to a point where it has to be just perfect. Whereas I find people that aren't wired to be entrepreneurs might ha might benefit from somebody to give them direction and to, to, to motivate them. So [00:23:30] writing every day I got to believe has to force you away from making that writing. Perfect. And that the importance isn't that it's tightened, tightened exactly right up to your standards. It's just, I don't ever want to say good enough, but, you know, can you speak a little bit about like the being okay with the imperfection in your mind?

Speaker 3: Well, there is, there's no such thing as perfection, right? Particularly when [00:24:00] it comes to your, your message and your ideas, the things that you're using to communicate with other people, the value that you want to deliver to them. I mean, there's always another iteration and, and that exists for two reasons. Number one, because it, as a, as a communicator, you're never going to get perfect. But number two, the, the recipient of that communication is a human being. [00:24:30] And that human being is evolving and changing their own thinking over time and the culture and the society is working on them. They're exposed to different things, the language that they use to describe things, the, you know, the problems that they're facing, that you can solve that language evolves over time. And so there is nothing but iteration in that. And that to me was one of the most powerful things.

Speaker 3: And you don't have to do it with writing. There are a lot of ways to do that, [00:25:00] but I think as a, if you're the leader of a business and your job is to set the message, one of the most valuable things that you can do is create a structure for yourself where you're, you're communicating that message different ways through all the different nuance that it has from all the different angles that can be communicated from. And you're doing that consistently on a, at least a weekly basis, if not daily. Yeah. You know, and I love this particular meeting. I love [00:25:30] podcasts. They give a lot of people who aren't natural writers, the same kind of capability, you know, because we can get here and we can talk through this and, you know, and, and you can talk through your message, particularly if you got a situation where you, you're doing it with a conversation partner, you know, whether it's an interview podcast or somebody else in your company, and you're just adding ideas back and forth, man, what a powerful way to hone your messaging

Speaker 2: Truly. And not to mention, [00:26:00] not everybody has time or even can read, but everybody with the ability to listen can listen. Absolutely. So that's wonderful. Well, I feel like the topics that we've been kind of skirting around for the last three or four minutes would be a pretty good segue into what you're doing now with the unstoppable CEO and your source and your service oriented marketing. So can you expand on what it is that you're doing now?

Speaker 3: Yeah, so we, we work with, with professional service businesses. [00:26:30] So people that would normally have to get a credential, you know, and they primarily get paid for their brains. And, you know, in our experience and, and I, I was one, you know, that's kind of how I started my career in our experience. They are expert at what they do, but not always really great or comfortable at marketing or selling or promoting what they do. And, and that's kind of where we come in. So we, uh, we started off 10 [00:27:00] years ago, just consulting, giving advice to those types of businesses, helping them develop strategies. And that worked great. And we have clients that got great results. But what we discovered over that time was that most of the business owners that we worked with didn't really want to become master marketers. You know, they wanted to stay in their lane doing what they were doing.

Speaker 3: That's what they enjoy doing the marketing and the sales stuff was just sort of like, ah, yeah, I got to do that. And so a couple of years [00:27:30] ago, we launched a done for you service because we, we just found that our clients didn't want to mess with any of it. And, um, they didn't necessarily have the team or the capability or all the tools to execute marketing on a really effective level. And we started looking for ways where we could let that business owner just do the part that they were uniquely capable of doing, which was conveying the message and then building the relationships. And so, you know, we looked at all sorts of [00:28:00] different ways, uh, you know, different marketing strategies to do that. What we settled on was podcasts. The reason we like podcasts so much is that, you know, in this, in this sort of format, you can do a lot of different things.

Speaker 3: So we talked to a few minutes ago about using it as a way to convey your message and really hone your message. But it's also a really powerful relationship building tool. And so our we'll have our clients go out and connect with the influencers that they want to do business with [00:28:30] and then be referred by, or the prospects that they want to reach. That might be really hard to reach prospects. And you'd be amazed at who you can get to show up and spend an hour with you, you know, on a podcast interview. Yeah. Got all kinds of people that you would never be able to pick up the telephone and get ahold of them. We had a client, a brand new client. We haven't even launched his podcast yet. He cold emailed Tony Horton. I don't know if you know that fitness guy. Yeah.

Speaker 3: P90X, right. Cold emailed him. [00:29:00] I don't even know how he found his email address, but he did. And, uh, and he gets a reply back in like 20 minutes from Tony's assistant. Yeah. He'd be happy to do the interview. How do we schedule it? Yeah. Yeah. You would never have been able to do that just by picking up the phone and saying, Hey, can I talk with Tony for an hour? You know? And, uh, whether or not that will get shared through, you know, Tony Horton's network, I have no idea, but the point is, it gives you the ability [00:29:30] to, to get in contact with people that you couldn't otherwise easily get in contact. So you can build relationships really quick. You know, a lot of people who look at different forms, internet marketing, they tend to look at it. I think the wrong way.

Speaker 3: And, and I think podcasting is, is kind of prone to this, this mistake as well. You, you always kind of gravitate towards thinking about the audience and while the audience is valuable and everybody listening, we love you believe me. And then we're glad [00:30:00] that you're here. It's difficult. And time-consuming to build a large audience. Yes. I was reading a book over the weekend by, uh, an author talking about podcasts and he was listening all these case studies and the premise of the book was how you create, you know, thousands and thousands and thousands of downloads within the first a hundred days of a podcast. And I was reading all the case studies, but in every case, it was a situation where, you know, you had somebody who already had an extremely [00:30:30] large audience, they had a big email list of 50,000 people or an Instagram following of a hundred thousand people.

Speaker 3: And then they were able to launch a really successful podcast. Well, yeah, that's great. That's really helpful though. Yeah. You're a local business and you've got, you know, maybe a database of a couple hundred people, so it's not going to be about the audience for you at that stage. It's going to be about the people that you're able to interact with, that you wouldn't otherwise [00:31:00] be able to interact with to be able to give value to them first and a really easy way to start the relationship and start it without it being about sales, you know, and, and then carry the relationship forward. So it's really a relationship development tool. Yeah,

Speaker 2: I think that's wonderful. And it blows my mind that it doesn't occur to more people that you need to give first, add the value first. So talk to me about your writing

Speaker 3: Your books. [00:31:30] So I've written three books. We just released the latest one, which is called the followup formula, but my first book called unstoppable referrals. And that was it. It really outlines a referral strategy. That's, that's really different and really takes all of the pressure out of the referral process for your client. The reason most of us don't get all the referrals that we should is because we put all the work on our clients. And, you know, I, when I give speeches, I, you know, I call them your unpaid on-trade [00:32:00] Salesforce. They've got other things to do other priorities, and you're asking them to do something fairly risky and, you know, bringing someone to you and putting someone they care about into a sales situation. And so that was, that was the first one. And, uh, and you know, it was just, it was such an educational process, you know, to actually write the book, to get it out there, to go through the promotional process, which interestingly enough, and I didn't realize the influence has had at the time, but we [00:32:30] used, uh, the relationships that I developed on a podcast that I started back in 2012 to ultimately promote that book.

Speaker 3: And that's really what made it successful was the relationships that I developed, you know, several years earlier. But so that was the first book, happy to dive into, to, you know, the strategy, you know, more deeply if you'd like, but my second book is called the exponential network strategy. And that's all about how we use interviews and podcasts to get clients and generate referrals. And the third book, the followup formula was actually when I wrote [00:33:00] for a couple of, uh, of our clients. And, uh, we decided we publish it because they were constantly asking me, you know, I went to a trade show, how do I follow up with people where I went to a networking event? How do I follow up? You know, or I sent a proposal out, I hadn't heard anything back. You know, I got ghosts that, how do I, how do I follow up? And so we actually kind of wrote down our process for how we do all of that kind of step-by-step and then create a templates that go with it. So it's, it's pretty pro uh, excuse me, plug and play [00:33:30] is

Speaker 2: Awesome. So I'm a real estate agent. I feel like 90% of the work that real estate agents do is trying to generate leads and trying to exercise their network. And we don't get very many opportunities to actually do our job, which is protecting people in a home sale transaction, helping them find exactly what it is that they want. So the market that you, that the market gap that you are filling is wonderful. And I'll look forward to reviewing your materials in more depth, because I have no doubt [00:34:00] on being all my people will benefit tremendously from it. How are your kids all very impressed by you and all of your, uh, how do you find that they are influenced by you by the, by those that have your genetics and those that have you, the environment that you live in, that they see what you're doing and take after you?

Speaker 3: Well, my oldest daughter has written a book, wrote a book when she was 16 [00:34:30] and self published it at Amazon. So she's kind of going down that road. In fact, she's an English major, she's a dual major, but English is one of them and she wants to write. And so she's kind of heading down that road. In fact, I drove her back to college a couple of days ago for her sophomore year. And on the way down, I'm trying to give her all of my little tips. And of course she's doing what oldest daughters do. And it's like, no, dad, I got this, you know, here's how you make money being an author, but, you know, yeah. They all look at [00:35:00] it, I think, and see that I'm, I'm doing stuff that that's a little bit different, you know, I think they're all, you know, I'm still dad, so I'm still, you know, the, the big dork that's their dad, you know, but they, they all think it's hilarious. I have a podcast and yeah. But, uh, you know, it's, I, I don't know. I'm not sure how it's influenced them at this stage, but [00:35:30] we'll see as they get a little bit older. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Well, what, what qualities do you see in them that they may or may not admit to getting

Speaker 3: From you? Well, my oldest daughter is probably the most like me and she's stubborn and she gets that from me as much as I don't want to admit that, but, uh, no, I mean, they all have, you know, how it is with kids. I mean, they're all unique in their own way. They all have their own kind of little [00:36:00] personalities as they develop. That's been the most interesting thing to watch. And particularly as they kind of become older and seeing how they interact with other people, you know, and they get their little friend groups, you know, together and all that. It's, uh, it's fascinating to watch those personalities kind of evolve. How, how has having kids changed you for the better over the last 19 years? I have less hair. I don't know if that's for the better, I have less hair than I you're much faster.

Speaker 3: [00:36:30] Absolutely. Yeah. I think it's made me more patient for sure. And particularly as we approached really when our, our oldest daughter was approaching high school, so I'd remarried at that point. My wife and I were know, really started to, to realize that, okay, the clock is going to tick here and then they're going to be gone. And, you know, we, we really were very [00:37:00] intentional. I had a buddy of mine who was an entrepreneur, very successful. And he told me probably 10, maybe 12 years ago. And he said time, he was going to take a couple of months off during the summers. His kids were older than mine, but at this point, his kids were kind of in middle school and he was going to take a couple of months off, take his boat down, go to The Bahamas, spend a couple of months in The Bahamas, just going around.

Speaker 3: And he spent a year getting [00:37:30] his company ready for him to do this. And then he did it. And then he was able to do it the next year. And then I think the following year, they went on this multi-month trip through Europe. And he told me the reason he did that was because he knew he was going to run out of time. And then once they got to college, that was really going to be yet because there would be other community competing demands on their time. And, and, and I'm, I'm thankful that he did that when he did, because he passed away of cancer a couple of years [00:38:00] ago. And I'm really, really thankful that he came in my life and shared that message with me because it, you know, my wife and I had those conversations, like, you know, as our kids were getting to be about that same age, Hey, we need to start thinking about this.

Speaker 3: Let's start doing some things that we aren't going to be able to do later. And we started traveling more. And so, you know, we were able to take the kids to Costa Rica. That was the first little international trip with all of our little Brady bunch [00:38:30] family, you know, and then we, you know, we took them several places in the us and we've been able to take them up to Canada and over to Ireland and on all of these trips where we were able to create these memories for them and for us, you know, frankly. And I'm glad we did it when we did it because, you know, I, like I said, I just took my daughter back for her sophomore year. So we just finished the summer between her freshman and sophomore year. And she wasn't able to go [00:39:00] on vacation with us this year.

Speaker 3: She was in class, she did summer school so that she could do study abroad next year. So I'm glad we did it at the time that we did it. I'm glad we thought that through because as predictably, as we thought, as soon as they hit college, you no longer have that opportunity. And, uh, and so, and it, and it's, we had a great vacation this year, but it was a very different dynamic because one of our family members wasn't there. And, uh, you know, and so I think that's [00:39:30] the big thing, you know, when I, I think about some of the decisions that we've made and the fact that being an entrepreneur allowed me to kind of make my own choices there and be very intentional about how I'm gonna interact with the kids earlier. You know, when they were a little bit younger, I decided I wanted to be the one that took them to school, picked them up from school, which, you know, totally interrupts the Workday. [00:40:00] But that was the most valuable time I ever had. You know, so I spent several hours a day in the car, but I was in the car with my kids, you know? And so being able to make those sort of choices that I couldn't have made otherwise, I don't remember what your question was. I know I've gone down a total tangent, but being able to make those decisions and have that freedom has been, um, I think really rewarding for me.

Speaker 2: So how did those, those times, those, those couple hours in the car taking them to, and from school to the [00:40:30] vacation time where you're outside your usual environment, like, how does that impact your family dynamic your relationship with your kids?

Speaker 3: You know, we would like to have a good time. I'll never forget I was taking them. We had two in elementary school and our oldest son was in middle school at that point. And, and he was, he just enjoyed it. I listened to this talk radio show in the mornings and he would get in the third row, in our [00:41:00] SUV way in the back, you know, he was in middle school. So he had just gotten a cell phone, you know, and he's like, Hey, can I call on this radio show? And so he starts calling, I mean, just, I think of little things like this, these little memories that we have, these little interactions that we had. And, you know, during that time that I'll remember forever, you know, so he would call in and he was a regular enough call her the radio show, host, remembered his voice, you know, and he'd call in and, you know, just [00:41:30] that kind of little stuff, we ended up with all these little sort of inside jokes from, from all of that and has a lot of fun

Speaker 2: And brings everybody closer. Attaches everybody a little bit more.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Shared memories I think are critical. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And then, uh, it's, I think of that's part of the challenge is that we're so obsessed with our jobs, our careers, our, you know, our passions that are professional, that it's easy to say, I'll just miss [00:42:00] this game or I'll just miss this play. So I want to encourage parents out there. The common theme in all of these conversations is always, you don't get that time back.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And don't, don't do that. That's one thing that I'm particularly proud of. I don't know that I've missed a game. I haven't missed very many practices for any of them. Now. Sometimes that meant that I leave work and I'd go do that. And then I'd come back [00:42:30] and I'd work pretty late into the evening where I'd be getting up really. So for a long time, when I was making those rounds, I was up at 4:00 AM. You know, the work still had to get done, but I, I picked the hours that it got done. And, um, I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Speaker 2: Um, one of my favorite topics and talking about parenting and being a parent now is context we're in a world of accelerating change. Things are crazy different now than they were [00:43:00] in 2007, different than in 1985. Like when you were growing up, what is one of the advantages that you had growing up in your era that your kids don't have in their era?

Speaker 3: Well, I mean, obviously electronics is, is a big influence on them. They don't have the boredom that we had, and I think there's a lot of value to be found in boredom. I think there's a lot [00:43:30] of creativity that comes from boredom. We've, we've tried to give him some of that and we, um, built a house and moved into a neighborhood several years ago that we've got a lot of open space and a lot of, you know, trails and natural areas and places where they can kind of go run around, you know, and, and for our youngest in particular, he got more of that, that sort of freedom to roam. The older ones had kind of grown, grown past that. And I think they missed that. I mean, I [00:44:00] know we used to run and we had a pack of kids. We'd roam all over our neighborhood.

Speaker 3: Our parents didn't know where we were. And I mentioned earlier, I dropped my daughter off at the college she's down in Gainesville. So she's about two and a half hours away. And she calls the next day and she's sick and she's got a fever. And, you know, and, and if that had happened to me, when I was in school, I was just sort of laying there and it, you know, I'd get over it. Well, what do we do? We, you know, we use [00:44:30] Shipt is a grocery delivery service, feeding her Uber to go see the doctor. I mean, you know, it's just different. And I guess it's a good thing, but, um, at the same time, you know, growing up, we had to just be resourceful and, and, you know, you just, you did with a lot less information and a lot less, uh, immediate knowledge of what was going on.

Speaker 3: Well, let's flip that question on its head. Now what's something that your kids had grown up that you did not have that you feel [00:45:00] like you could have benefited from. They have, I mean, when I was growing up, I mean, my, my parents did well, but we didn't, we were, you know, money was always a little bit of a constraint on things. And you know, my wife and I are fortunate enough now that, uh, you know, we're not, I wouldn't call us wealthy by any means, but you know, pretty much anything we want we can get. And so they, they live [00:45:30] in an environment where there's, there's just a lot more abundance and a lot less constraint on the things that they do. You know, I can remember, uh, growing up, you know, I grew up in Florida, but a trip to Disney was a big deal.

Speaker 3: And we only did it a couple of times when I was a kid. Yeah. You know? Um, and, and now our kids, you know, they they've been so much, you know, they they've got the place memorized, you know? [00:46:00] And so it it's from that standpoint, it's different. But you know, they also have some, some really amazing advantages. You know, I was talking with my daughter about, you know, she's a theater major at UCF. She's just passionate about acting and she's, she's good too. And, and, um, and she's a writer and, you know, the fact that she wrote a book at age 16, you know, it's, I think she's taken it down off Amazon now because she was embarrassed by the quality of the writing, you know, but I said, you shouldn't have done [00:46:30] that. You should have left it up there. Tremendous opportunity that when I came out of college in 1994, the most advanced communication technology we had was a fax machine. Yeah. You know, there was no audience building. We didn't get the internet for a year. And when we got it, it came with a book which literally was a directory of all of the websites that exist.

Speaker 3: And so you've got this ability to go now and communicate with people all over the planet [00:47:00] that, and we take it for granted. I have to remind myself how truly revolutionary it is, the fact that you and I are talking right now, you know, we're, video-conferencing, yeah. The fact that this conversation is going to get recorded and shared with people. I mean, we used to do ghetto podcasts. I call them that now. I mean, we would interview people like this over a phone line and record that, take the recording, get it, put on a CD and mail it out. Yeah. And, and that in the two thousands. [00:47:30] Yeah. So the, the advantage that we have with technology now to, you know, to make our own way in the world, I think is just, it, it's going to be so tremendous for them. And that's why I'm, I'm, you know, if my daughter had gotten the two degrees that she's getting now, when I came through school, I would have been very worried for her. Yeah. Because there were not great career paths that way, but now, you know, [00:48:00] you can, you can create, and you have, uh, an avenue to get it out there. And I just think there's such, such great things to come. And, uh, I'm a little jealous, frankly, you know, I'd love to have another 20 years on the clock to use all of these advantages.

Speaker 2: Yeah. She's making fun of you for having a podcast because you are taking advantage of those things. So I think you're doing awesome, but you've touched on something. That's an interesting concept to me because a lot of [00:48:30] entrepreneurs come from not a whole lot and they build a lot over the course of that time. And so they often grow up poor or constrained. Jesse Itzler is a great example, grew up, you know, a middle upper-class and now is a multimillionaire a hundred times over. And he talks about, uh, letting his kids get hit in the face, like resilience. Like how do you, how do you raise resilient kids when they don't want [00:49:00] at a level that, you know, you might have as a kid?

Speaker 3: I think that's a really hard thing. There's all this discussion these days about bullying. And we've talked with our kids and, you know, they'll make comments, you know, that they use the permanent way that we wouldn't use the term. Yeah. You know, like there, there were a couple of times when I was bullied as a kid, I got made fun of, and there were a couple of times when [00:49:30] I got beat up. And that was just part of growing up. And you, you sort of, you learn how to, how to push through that and not, not to minimize or, or I don't want to sound like I'm condoning bullying of course, because that's not the point, but, you know, it's like, we want to remove all adversity from the lives of our children. And I mean, I'll never forget the time I [00:50:00] got in a fight at school. And I went to a, I mean, I went to a private school. We had to wear coats and ties don't ever get in a fight with a tie on

Speaker 2: The handle.

Speaker 3: Yeah. But, you know, I got punched in the face. I had to make a choice. Well, what was I going to do? And, you know, it was a learning experience. That little bit of education that was painful and embarrassing in that moment was actually one of the most valuable experiences that I've probably ever had. [00:50:30] Yeah. You know, man, there was this kid that just made fun of me mercilessly in the seventh grade mercilessly, you know, I mean, if it were done now he'd have probably been expelled from school. And then, you know, his family shamed in the local newspaper for allowing him to bully, you know, but you know, all he was doing was calling names. So what effect did that have on you ultimately? I mean, ultimately I realized that you can call [00:51:00] me a name and it really doesn't affect me. You know, you get to the point where you learn that, that all of that outside stuff is just noise.

Speaker 3: And I worry that, and not just for our own kids, but, but for their generation that, because they haven't had all of that adversity, you know, I mean, we, when we played sports, we lost like we lost games and that was okay. You know, now when [00:51:30] they're, I will say, as they're getting older and getting into more competitive sports, you know, there's winners and losers and it, it can be pretty rough. You know, we, we competed on a lot of different levels for a lot of, a lot of things and I think that's okay, there's a healthy way to do it. Certainly there's an unhealthy way to do it. But you know, I think these kids are all a whole hell of a lot stronger than we give them credit for. Yeah. And they can persevere through stuff that we think [00:52:00] they shouldn't experience. But when they get out into the real world as adults, they're going to quickly realize that not everybody's nice and no one is looking out for their interests, you know, and that's not to say that there's anything wrong with anyone else.

Speaker 3: It's just that human nature is we all look out for our own. Self-interest the way you get along in the world is you understand that, that, that, that is reality. And you look for ways [00:52:30] to align your interests with other people's interests and cooperate. And that's how things sort of move forward. But you're always going to come across somebody who doesn't want to cooperate with you. Yeah. You know, and what are you going to do with that? Well, I mean, my, my response to that has always been next. Yeah. Need that person. There's another seven and a half billion minus one. And so I, I hope that they learn that over time. [00:53:00] It's one of the things we try and instill in our kids that, you know, it's okay to fall down and scrape your knee. You're not going to die. You know, it's, it's okay to get in a situation where you feel uncomfortable because that's how you learn and grouse. I don't know. But it's a, it's a challenging thing. Yeah. And then through this, that, that response, uh, question popped in my

Speaker 2: Head. I'm not sure how to ask it or if it makes any sense, but I'm going to give it a try and [00:53:30] then I'll jump into some short answers to be sensitive to your time. But I think about, uh, you know, what, what parents of kids who just started listening to Elvis would say to their kids, like you shouldn't listen to that. That's the devil's music, you know, you shouldn't move like that, all these things, you know, and like that, that's what was happening then, you know, that's the context, that's the difference between this generation doesn't understand that generation. And so my wife and I talk about our kids [00:54:00] and like what are going to be the things that we just cannot relate to, like where the parents that just don't get it. Like, it's like your parents just, they don't, my parents just don't get it. Like, can you think of anything that like, they've experienced that they say, dad, you just don't understand.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Social media. Yeah. The way that they use social media and the way that they communicate, you know, it's primarily through text, whether it's a, you know, true [00:54:30] text message or Snapchat or, or whatever, you know, and, and the way that they're always connected, you know, I mean, we, my wife and I joke, like we're going to install a phone with a rotary dial and a long cord, you know? And anytime you want to talk, like we told her sons, anytime you want to talk to a girl, that's where you have to go. And we're going to tell the girls, anytime a boy calls, that's where the call is taken. We had to have those conversations out in the open, in front of the attire.

Speaker 3: [00:55:00] And there wasn't a, I mean, in my house, we didn't have a long cord on the telephone. My wife's like, yeah, at least we had like the 12 foot or 15 foot cord. I could walk around the wall, you know? Yeah. They could listen, but I didn't have to look at him. You know? And, and so that's the part we don't get. It's like, whoa, you know, like I was driving my daughter to school this morning. She's getting texts from her friends. What are you going to work six o'clock in the morning? You know, why, why are you texting your friends at this time? [00:55:30] Come on, you know? And, and that the constant newness of that it's. And I find, I worry a little bit about that. I mean, particularly with the studies that are coming out now with the effect of that kind of constant connection on the brain. Um, and so, uh, we haven't figured out an answer to it. Um, so if you've got one, I'm all ears. But, but, uh, I, I do think that that's, that's one area where like, we don't get it at all.

Speaker 2: [00:56:00] Yeah. I have to respond in knowing the answer. The best answer I have is just not understanding it. It's that maybe just spitballing, maybe it's part of the evolution of human biology. That communication will just forever be different. That humans, you know, you see that evolution of, you know, the little monkey and then getting up taller and taller. Like it's so easy to think that we're the end, but the next one might look more robotic or alien, [00:56:30] like, because all of our intelligence has been shifted onto a machine that's either in our hand or installed inside it. I don't know. I don't know, but I put my tempo hat on and come up, but let me, let me get into some short answer stuff, uh, to talk about parenting. And I'll start with this one, because as a writer, you might enjoy it. If you were writing a book about being a parent, what would be the name of a couple of chapters?

Speaker 3: Um, [00:57:00] well there, there would definitely be a chapter in there about do, as I say, not as I did then, because we hope that they don't make some of the mistakes that we made. And there would probably have to be a chapter in there titled because I said so, and I think every parent can relate to that.

Speaker 2: So, uh, do you have a favorite fictional dad, TV, dad, or movie dad?

Speaker 3: Gosh, the time I grew up bill [00:57:30] Cosby was the dad, but you can't say that anymore.

Speaker 2: You have to qualify it.

Speaker 3: He was like America, add one. I mean, I grew up in the eighties, so, gosh, I don't know. I, uh, well I'll tell you the one I can relate to the most is probably Steve Martin in, um, gosh, what was the, the movie where he was in? I can't remember the movie now, but he was a fatherhood I think, or something like that.

Speaker 2: Okay. Yeah, there was parenthood and father, the breath

Speaker 3: Getting those to [00:58:00] conflate it.

Speaker 2: So what's the greatest hope that you had for your children

Speaker 3: And that they're happy and that they, that they understand that that's a choice that they get to make every day. What,

Speaker 2: What kind of father would you like to be remembered as

Speaker 3: Fair? I think

Speaker 2: That's a great answer. I've never heard that answer

Speaker 3: Fair. I don't know why that, that word came into my head, but [00:58:30] that came into my head.

Speaker 2: No, I think that's wonderful. So what's the best piece of advice that you've been given as a parent?

Speaker 3: I think, you know, I think what I shared honestly earlier about, uh, paying very close attention to the time that I got from my friend who passed away, that was probably the best piece of advice I've ever had. Now you can choose to, you know, to kind of act on that in any different number of ways. You know, we chose to travel [00:59:00] and I chose to, to prioritize driving the kids or being in the office. But that was probably the biggest wake up call for me. And that happened. I had already set that in my mind before he passed away. And when he passed away, it put a gigantic exclamation point on it.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. The billboard question, if you were driving on, what is it? 10, if you were on 10 from Jacksonville to Tallahassee and every dad drove by your billboard at 80 miles an hour and they could read one piece of advice [00:59:30] you would give to every father. What piece of advice would that be as to fit on the billboard has

Speaker 3: To fit on the billboard? Ah, man, these are challenging questions. Uh, I, you know, I think, um, pay attention,

Speaker 2: Love it. If money was no object, time or space was no object. What gift would you give to every father?

Speaker 3: [01:00:00] I think the best gift you can give to any parent is time.

Speaker 2: Okay. So I have two more questions. The first is when in your life do you feel the most love?

Speaker 3: I have to say when I'm in prayer in church, [01:00:30] there are days when you, I just know that there's that connection to God.

Speaker 2: And my final question, if this recording and video lasts for forever and you could send a message through the generations of the Gordon family, what message would you deliver to your kids? Their kids and their kids.

Speaker 3: Uh, it's kind of become the mantra on our podcast, but [01:01:00] stay unstoppable.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Stay on stop. Well, so Steve Gordon tell us where everybody can find you, your website, any of your social media handles.

Speaker 3: Yeah, absolutely. I'm on Twitter at Steve underscore Gordon and uh, our website is unstoppable And we actually put together a page just for listeners of the show. And so if they go to unstoppable T D and [01:01:30] they can go there and then get a free copy of my second book, the exponential network strategy, and we've got some other, uh, resources that they can find there. So if you're looking to grow your firm and grow your business, there's some, some things that might help you there.

Speaker 2: That's awesome. And then the faster our business grows, the faster we can hand it off to somebody else to run the more time we can spend with our kids. Absolutely. All right. Well thank you so much, CBRE. Really appreciate

Speaker 3: It. And Tyler, it's a bit of fun. Thank you.

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