There is no secret formula to success.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t essential tools you need to get there either.
I was recently interviewed by Dr. Edwin Adams on his podcast The Aesthetics of Leadership, where I shared some of the skills and other things I’ve utilized to bring me the success I have today. Dr. Adams knows of my background as a Crossfit Athlete and football coach and was curious to explore how I applied the skills I gained from those times in my life into the businesses I’m cultivating today.
I’m at a very important stage in my life at the moment. Between the ages of 25 and 50 is a time that people should be creating wealth to sustain a lasting generation, but I’m at a pivotal point in my own journey. Right now, I’m at a stage in life where I want to create wealth, but I also want to make the wealth that I create work for me as opposed to me working for it. I want to multiply my wealth exponentially, not simply add to it. I think that the years I’ve spent building my skills and practices in the workforce have taught me how to be patient with processes like growth, but probably the most important aspect of my success is that I genuinely enjoy what I do. I of course enjoy good food, like most people, but I also live to take care of people and I love working in business. These are only a few highlights of the things that have made me successful so far in life, and my conversation with Dr. Adams illuminates a lot of the other factors in much more depth. I wanted to share this conversation and discussion with you in hopes to inspire you to use my advice in building your own successful life. Like I said, I enjoy taking care of people, so this is my way of helping you achieve the life you’ve always wanted!
I’ve singled out some of the important questions I was asked on this podcast to discuss below, but you are more than welcome to listen to the full interview as well!
Q: How did you start your business?
During my time as a Crossfit Athlete, there were a lot of things I realized I had to learn early otherwise I was never going to succeed. One of those things was that understanding nutrition and how it impacts the body was key. Knowing the ins and outs of how nutrition works was the only way to succeed on that fitness journey, so I embraced it. It took some time, but using the internet it was easy to find meal plans and this was the starting point to what eventually led me to a career in food. It’s important to understand that business focuses pivot naturally. My own, for example, began with the process of meal planning and evolved into meal prepping for other people, then it evolved further into a catering business, and now, we cater and feed a small college! I saw a need in my own life, and that need was to create healthy and easy meals to fit my busy lifestyle. Once I realized that other people were in need of the same thing, I took it upon myself to be the one to provide that service to others. As people’s needs changed, so did my business practices. It’s really about flexibility and being versatile in what you bring to the table for others. Staying open to new possibilities will help you and your business grow much more than you can imagine.
Q: Who was your mentor?
It’s almost impossible for me to pinpoint one specific person as a mentor. There are so many people that have left a tremendous impact on my life in so many different ways. My dad, for example, was a huge inspirational figure to me. From a coaching perspective, he taught me a lot of what I know. My dad is an Alabama Hall of Fame football coach and coached in Georgia for around 10 years, so he had a lot of knowledge to pass on to me over the years. We were very close and for a long time growing up, I wanted to be just like him. It’s not just me that he inspired with his teachings, but he had the ability to teach everyone around him. I’ve had people come to me and tell me how some of the most important things they’ve learned in life, they learned from my dad, and that’s pretty special. I lost him this past November, which has been a really hard part of life to accept. No one can prepare themselves for that moment, but he left behind a really strong legacy that continues to impact my life today. In fact, it’s taught me a lot about what is important in life. When he passed and people reached out to me for condolences, they talked to me about his legacy and the pride that came with his name, not football. I think these things in my dad have impacted the way I live my life a lot, and for that I’m incredibly thankful.
There are a lot of other people that taught me everything I know today, too. From a leadership perspective, Ted Darby was a great influence in my life as well. He was my technical quarterback coach during my junior year of high school and helped shape the way I approach leadership on and off the field. Pat Sullivan, my quarterback coach from college, taught me a lot about the importance of humility and passion. He also taught me how to make a mean steak, and to this day, it’s the only way I’ll prepare it. Todd Stroud, who has worked in the D-1 football world for years, gave me my first college job and left an impact on me as a deeply caring person and gave me great insight on developing personal relations skills. Another key person in my life is Marc Trestman. He taught me how to take multiple parts of myself and mold them into what works best for me. He’s an amazing football coach and a lawyer that’s built a career in the NFL, CFL, and in the world of college football. He’s put his powerful mind to work for him and taught me a lot about productivity.
Q: How do you see the influences of your father showing up in how you lead your team in business now?
Like I mentioned before, my dad left an enormous impact on me and the way I live my life. One of the ways I see him in my own practices is in thinking about how he coached. He didn’t just coach people, he empowered coaches to do their jobs and didn’t hover or micromanage them. He built their own confidence so that he could trust their work and they wouldn’t have to depend on him to do it. I feel like I have to empower my own team on a personal level too if I want to see that same level of success. I have to empower Emilee to run events smoothly, to manage sales, and to nurture the people around her. I have to empower Sierra to manage the kitchen and structure the schedule so that everything gets done when it needs to be the way it needs to. I have to empower Brian and Tanesha to run the kitchen assignments and manage the level of quality in everything we do. I depend on these things in order to run my business, but by empowering my team, I’m assured in their capabilities. In order to grow, your team needs to be empowered and that’s a fact. This is one of the ways you can begin the transition from working for your business to having your business work for you.
Q: What have you learned about yourself?
One of the most important things I’ve learned is that in order to succeed, you can’t let yourself get bored with the everyday mundane tasks. There will never be a day where you won’t find yourself doing things you find boring, I find myself there all the time. It can’t always be the best parts of your life all the time because then those moments wouldn’t be nearly as special or enjoyable. You have to be okay with sharpening your axe daily knowing that you are making progress. Essentially, in order to achieve great things, you’re gonna have to put up with the less enjoyable things, too. There are some really useful and important principles I learned in these two books, The Slight Edge and The Compound Effect, that have made this much easier to cope with.
The thing is, understanding how small things stack up and compound on one another is important in navigating a successful life. But, this isn’t something that’s easy to learn about since our society doesn’t like to talk about it! It’s vital that the larger picture is always in the forefront of your mind during moments of boredom in order to push you through them. Having a long-term vision will help you to tackle the small steps it takes to get there!
With everything that COVID-19 brought with it, life as we all knew it was suspended for some time. The way we lived had to change and slow down, and picking things back up in an effort to come back to semi-normalcy isn’t something that came naturally. I found myself pushing through this uncertain time by facing challenges head on, which seems to have given me an advantage. While everyone was looming in the uncertainty, I continued to work as if there were no obstacles in front of me. Calling, setting up meetings, communicating and planning, these were all things that may have been hard at the time but would help me progress in the coming months once things started moving towards normalcy again.
Maintaining persistence and consistency in everything you do, whether it’s working out, eating, building a business, or whatever you’re doing, is the most secure way to meet your goats. There is no get-rich-quick scheme that’s going to solve all your problems because there is no substitution for hard work.
Q: What do you lean on in times of adversity?
I was in church 9 months before I was born, but that doesn’t define relationship to Christianity. My relationship with Jesus has taught me the importance of persistence and consistency, which I can apply to other areas of my life as well. I also do my best to take what I’ve been given and be grateful for it. It’s not always easy, but I’ve found that being optimistic and not complaining about obstacles in life makes problem solving significantly easier. I strive to be a problem-solver rather than a problem-stater and I work to encourage those around me to look for solutions before letting others in on any kind of problem. It’s one thing to say “hey, looks like this is a problem,” and another to come to the table and say “we have this problem, but here is a way to solve it.” It may not always work, but I’ve found that at least training yourself to suggest problem-solving methods in the face of adversity is the best way to approach an issue for guaranteed success.
Q: How have you built quality into your formula for success?
Because I’m working with several businesses, each one has a set of individual needs that have to be tailored for each brand. Mealfit, for example, was designed to provide busy people a healthy and affordable lunch and breakfast option. I strive to offer great and healthy products and an affordable price because that’s a service I’ve found is needed in the community. Table & Thyme, on the other hand, was created because I wanted to put myself in a position where I could do events for people with a higher end of service. With Table & Thyme, we work to listen to our client’s wants and needs and apply those to creating special events perfect for them. What I’ve found in this practice is that quality really depends on the people in your team. It comes from the people that create and do the services. Without my team, the quality would not be as evident in what we create and I think it comes down to the level of passion and care behind the work. We truly do enjoy and care about our work, and we care about what our clients want. We want to get everything right which is why we limit the number of events we can do per year so that we can dedicate the right amount of attention and resources into perfecting each event.
Q: Have you discovered your purpose and passion and if so, is this it?
Three years ago, I would’ve said yes to that question. Five years ago, I would’ve said the same thing. Even ten years ago, I would’ve said I’d found what I was meant to do in life and that I was doing it. What I think is interesting about this is that the purpose is always in some way changing, but staying consistent at the same time.
First and foremost, my purpose in life is to serve Jesus wholeheartedly. This is what I know I am meant to do and prioritizing this in my life has led me to where I am today, which means I’m doing something right.
Next, loving and cultivating a strong relationship with my wife. She is my partner in life and I can’t even begin to navigate the world without her. That means that being a good husband and friend to her is part of my life’s responsibility.
I know that I was also put here to create good people. Raising my children to be good citizens and people with the skills to make the world a better place is another part of my life’s responsibilities. I always tell people “good people need to make good people” and I believe this is the best way to leave a legacy of positivity when I go.
I also aspire to help make people’s lives easier by helping them to reach their goals. In some ways, helping people feel more comfortable in life won’t help them improve their lives overall. It’s by giving them the tools they need to overcome obstacles on their own that people are truly benefited by the aid of others. This is really the core of everything I do and all of my business practices, and I think that no matter what form it takes, whether its coaching football or catering a wedding, this is what my purpose is.
Q: As a coach, how do you help people see their potential?
Potential is projected success, and in order to be successful, you’ve got to be willing to do the work. You’ve got to be willing to be uncomfortable, too, otherwise you will find yourself stagnant in your marriage, your business, your job, or as a parent. Growth is filled with unpleasentries and ignoring them or avoiding them will not help you progress in life. It’s important to remember that just because you may not find yourself passionate about sending emails or having a difficult conversation with a partner does not mean it doesn’t need to happen. For example, I don’t always enjoy waking up early in the morning and working out first thing, but I still push myself to do it because I know that’s what it takes to be successful in my shoes. Working out can be uncomfortable and it leads to soreness, but it’s from that discomfort that you build the strength you need to succeed. Nothing in life is easy, and if it is and you see a light at the end of a tunnel, it’s probably a bear with a flashlight. You’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty and put yourself in uncomfortable positions if you want to succeed and once you truly acknowledge that, you will be able to witness your own potential.
Q: What do you hope your kids will say is your legacy?
I’ve learned a lot about what is important in life and in leaving behind a legacy from my dad, and I hope that these things translate to my own legacy. I hope that my kids will see my life as I attempt to live it and that is that I love Jesus, I’m a hard worker in everything I do, and that I always loved my family first.
I hope this interview gave clarity and insight into the aspects of my life that have helped to develop my approach to success.
It’s hard to really pinpoint exactly what leads people down successful paths, but I think this conversation with Dr. Edwin Adams really helped to illuminate some of these things in my own life. I hope that by sharing these things with you that they can inspire you to approach success in news ways in your life.
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