Overcoming Life's Challenges to Achieve Success

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Mr. Biz Radio: Overcoming Life's Challenges to Achieve Success

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:

 (00:05):

Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.

(00:19):

All right. Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz radio with me, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth. And today we're gonna talk about something that actually relates a little bit not more than a little bit to, to my most recent book, to, to "Don't fake the funk". Our guest this week is someone I went to school with. And he and I have been connected on Facebook, et cetera. And I don't know, maybe a month ago or so we were messaging back and forth and you know, there was a lot of things we had lost touch with each other for several years in between basically high school. And I don't know, probably, I don't know, got connected on Facebook probably. I don't know, six, seven years ago. There's a big gap in there. Well, we're messaging back and forth one evening and I'm like, he's filling in some of the gap for me and I'm like, holy crap.

(01:05):

He's super successful. Now. He's been through all sorts of trials and tribulations. I'm like, man, I gotta have you on the show. I gotta have people gotta hear you with story because life isn't always perfect. Life's gonna kick you. It's gonna knock you down. You're gonna get kicked in the shin slugged in the stomach, but you gotta keep getting back up. And Jeff is a person who is a prime example of someone who kept getting up and look at him. Now, look at him now the pride of bingo junction, Jeff Wolfe, Jeff, welcome to Mr. Biz radio.

(01:31):

Hey Mr. Biz. Thanks for having me on.

(01:34):

Yeah, yeah. So, so let's dive into that, you know, let's, let's, let's walk through this journey because again, you've had so many different ways that life is just, you know, just giving you the business, you know, <laugh>,

(01:46):

<Laugh> Nope. Unintended, right?

(01:49):

Yeah, yeah,

(01:51):

Yeah. That's, that's fine. You know, it's, everybody has their challenges in life, you know? I'm no different, I don't think I'm a special case in any way. It's just one of those things, you know, you, you have things that happen to you. You just, you gotta look at it like, okay, am I gonna use this as a millstone and drag me down or a stepping stone? And you know, at one point or another, you're gonna have to realize for each individual person, which way you want to take it, you know we went to high school together, you know, at that was a lot of good memories. We had a small school, you know what I think my class graduated 68 <laugh>, you know, really so small schools, small classes, you know, but it was great because we were all very close and I mean, even though we had been away for so many years, it was almost like it was, you know, last week since the last time I've seen you in high school, you know, but yeah.

(02:52):

I graduated high school barely made it through as you, you could probably remember I didn't care much about score or classwork or anything. I always knew I was going to go into the Marine Corps. That was gonna be my career. And I didn't have to be a rocket scientist to, to be in the Marine Corps or get a great score. I went into the Marine Corps as planned right after high school. That things got a little twisted there. I was doing an obstacle course where I had fallen three stories and broke my back. Geez. So my career of choice there was kind of messed up cuz I, I, I found myself a year and a half later out of the Marine Corps and in fact I was homeless cause you know, I couldn't walk very well and I, I couldn't do daily things like you know, just standing up running a cash register or anything. Right. So that was a big challenge.

(03:54):

Well I can't, I can't imagine like, especially at that age, I mean breaking your back's not good at any age course, but to be, to be that young and you know, on top of the world and physically, you know, ready to kick the world's butt and then to break your back and then, you know, here you are, you, you want to go in Marines, you go in Marines and you break your back and then like you said, you're out and you're like, crap. I, you know, what job can I get, you know, with, with the physical limitations?

(04:20):

Yeah. What am I gonna do now? You know literally living into the, in the woods, behind my parents' house. You know, my, my grandfather passed while I was in the Marine Corps. I didn't have anywhere to go. So it was one of those times where it was trying, you know not gonna lie. That's, that's definitely a hard thing to go through and you have doubts about yourself. I, I didn't know which direction to go, cuz as I mentioned, that's that was my career choice. All of a sudden I had to rethink everything. So it just kind of one of those self checks I looked back and, you know, looked here and said, you know, what kind of person are you gonna be here? And after feeling sorry for myself for a little while, I decided that wasn't the path for me, you know?

(05:13):

So I, I started with different jobs once I I'd get better. I'd have times where I was able to walk and you know, I I'd be able to do things fairly well for some time and then I'd have some setbacks and I still do, but you know, I'm not gonna let it hold me back. I only got one life <laugh> and I'm gonna take advantage of it and I'm gonna live it, you know? Every time I golf and I think, oh my goodness, is this the last swing I'm gonna make? Cause my friends gonna have to pick me up and put me in the golf cart and take me back, you know? Yeah. But I'm not gonna let that hold me back. You know, I'm, I'm still gonna go and take care of what I need to do and have I'm gonna live my life.

(05:59):

Well, yeah. And again, the back as a whole, you know, again, no injuries are great, but like if you break your arm, your arm's gonna heal. And how often does someone break their arm and then have long term impacts and breaking their arm or breaking your leg. It's a terrible thing. But most of the time you're gonna heal up and you're gonna be right. Especially at that young of an age, you break your back. Holy crap. I mean, you know, there's, there was one time from lifting that I had, I had messed my back up a little bit, just super minor in the long term thing string of things. But you know, I remember just, you couldn't get comfortable. You can't sleep, I'm sitting there and just raising your arm, hurt your back, you know, raise your leg. It hurts your back. You twist your head, it hurts your back. Like there's nothing like I was so frustrated. I can't imagine having to go through that, especially when you're like, I'm gonna be a Marine. And then all of a sudden that gets completely derailed. And, and, you know, having to battle through that and figure out what the heck was next.

(06:54):

It was, it was a struggle, you know? I wanted to wrestle in the Olympics and you know, I had those kind of ideas in my head. And it just, and then a flash of an eye, it was, you know, it was gone. So, you know, rebooting, I, I took different jobs, learned different things. I wasn't a very studious person, as you remember, <laugh> not very book smart. I don't it's not my thing. Exactly. So I'm a person that learns by watching things. But that's, that's a key to everything I believe. I mean, if you can watch something and you can learn something from it you're gonna make mistakes, but you learn from those mistakes. And if you can do that, eventually you're gonna forge yourself something that's, that's pretty solid and you're gonna have a direction to go in one way or another. So I got into sales I sold some home improvements for a while. I got into the comp some car sales and you know, that was that was a different industry. It was a long hours. And you know, so I went back to the home improvement sales, and I was fortunate enough that I was going to different places where I was learning from older guys that were in the industry for years.

(08:16):

Yeah. And, and I think that's what our, our system's now missing is those old guys in the old school teachings. But I was fortunate enough to catch the end of that. And those, those guys were right there for me. And I learned so much from those guys that it's a lifetime of knowledge.

(08:35):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, look, I mean, I, I don't remember you being on the honor roll, but I will say this. I do remember as you, as someone who a frequent guest of the show, Paul Rockwell says you are GSD. You get done. <Laugh> so I remember that about you. So again, this week, guys, I'll talk with Mr. Jeff Wolfe. We're gonna hit a break here. We'll come back. We'll give Mr. Biz tip of the week, continue talking through his journey. You got a whole, much more to hear about this.

(09:04):

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(09:43):

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(10:12):

Got a question for Mr. Biz. You want answered on air, email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Now once again, here's Mr. Biz.

(10:23):

All right. Welcome back

(10:24):

To show. It is time as we always do at the top of the second segment is Mr. Biz tip of the week. Mr. Biz, tip this week is start with yes. Start with, yes. It's a mindset. And when I say, start with, yes, I mean with ideas, I mean, with your customers, I mean, with employees, when someone's got a new idea, a customer comes to you, customers not are not always right. Uunot like the cliche. However, I would challenge you to really think about that. And, and when a, when a customer comes to you, maybe they have an idea and they go, gosh, have you guys ever thought about doing this? Don't start with how it won't work. Figure out how it can now maybe how it can work is not feasible. That's fine. Your employees come to you with a new idea.

(11:06):

Don't be that guy or that girl. That's like, oh, we can't do that because, or, oh, we've never done it that way. You gotta start with yes. Think of how it can work. Not how it can't work. And again, sometimes when you figure out how it can, what it, what the requirements are for that are not feasible for your business. Maybe it's too expensive. Maybe it's gonna take too many resources, et cetera, but at least consider it. If you never consider it, you will never consider new ideas. You'll be stuck. And eventually that's gonna catch up with you in business. There's no doubt about that. So that is the Mr. Biz tip of the week. All right, Jeff. So we got through you're learning someone homes are, and by the way, I agree with you a hundred percent. I, I, I was just, I was interviewed about 10 days ago on a show.

(11:46):

And I think that's a huge problem right now in the country is that we have a whole generation of people who were raised, that if you want to be successful, you have to go to college. Right. And the trades just got dumped in the crapper like, oh, you don't wanna do that. You know? And which is, which is BS. I told my brother, you know, my brother's eight years younger than me. And I told him he's, he told me he was going to school his first semester in college and he was not doing well. And he was like, I, I don't like school. Like you, I go, I don't like school. I study. So I don't have to take classes over again. The last thing I wanna do is take class twice. Right. But I told him, I said, drop outta school, learn a trade go work for someone, follow the, the owner around like a puppy dog for five years, leave and start your own.

(12:32):

And, and you know, 10 years later you could be running your own show. Have, you know, you could not go back out in the field. If you don't want, you can go back out in the field as much as you want as less, you want can be super successful doing that. And I think that whole, the whole generation of people about, you know, you have to go to college crap is just not true. And we're seeing the impacts of that as these baby boomers who are in the trades are retiring and tapping out, especially with the pandemic. You know, I, I know myself, I ran to a lot of people that, you know, these guys are, you know, in their sixties. And they're like, man, I've been doing this for 40 years. I was thinking about sticking around from their two or three years a pandemic. Just forget it. I I'm just gonna tap out now. You know? And so I think that accelerated a lot of that. So I agree with you a hundred percent. So it's, it's fortunate for you. You were able to tap into some of that knowledge base you know, before we started having this, this Exodus of all these baby boomers out of the trade, but so where did you go from there?

(13:23):

Yeah, I was very lucky to be able to learn from all these guys, you know? And it's one of the things when I interview salesmen, now I tell them I'm gonna teach you something that you would never learn in college and something that you'll have with you for the rest of your life. You will always be able to make money with what I can teach you. And you know, so I, I worked for several different companies over the years, doing different things. I worked for place in Columbus, Ohio doing what I'm doing now. I got out of that industry actually started in a different home improvement industry. And I, I ran an office for a national company down here in, in Charlotte. And I, it was one of those things where I just didn't, I like doing what I was doing, but I, I didn't like the big corporate world where, Hey we don't care about you.

(14:20):

We don't care about your staff. We don't even care about your customers. What, what, what's the bottom line? So, I mean, I kind of, I was making good money and I, I, you know, I was having a, you know, success and we were hitting records every month, but it was never enough. So I almost felt like I was selling my soul to the devil. So I was miserable with it, my wife and I started talking about different things and I was like, you know, why don't I try something, not on my own. I'm not gonna do the same thing I'm doing now, but I learned a trade when I was in Columbus, Ohio, and that's what I'm doing now. And I know the ins and outs of the business, the sales side of our, I can take care of that. So we basically started from scratch with a waterproofing business here in the Charlotte area.

(15:11):

And every year it just grows and grows and grows. And, and I think the, the best part of it is all of my customers know that I'm gonna do the right thing. We don't take advantage of anybody. I don't have crazy, crazy margins. We are in business to make money. Sure. So, you know, everybody's getting paid, but all of my employees they can take whatever time they need off. I, you know, obviously I want to advance notice, but you come here to make money for you to live your life. You know, I'm not shackling anybody, you know, I, I want you to come here and I want you to be successful. And I think that's one of the, the biggest things that a lot of these businesses today are missing. You know, I feel, I feel like we should go back to doing stuff like that. I, I didn't know if it would work at first, honestly, because I was in that corporate world where, you know, everything had to be done by the book and you had to do it this way or it isn't gonna work. And that's not true.

(16:20):

Yeah. Well, so I talk about this with my clients all the time is, and I agree with you a hundred percent. Once again, is I think that's missing. I think that's been pushed aside as well over the last whatever 20 years or so, is that too many business owners treat their employees like commodities. Yep. And man, you know, Jeff, like when you find a rock star employee, you gotta treat them right. Because they are so freaking difficult to replace. If you got someone who's got your culture, your work ethic, your morals your character that you want portrayed in your business, man, that person is super invaluable. Like you got, you gotta hold onto those people. And so, and the other thing that helps you when you're growing and the business is growing, and you're trying to hire people, especially over the last few years, it's becoming increasingly difficult.

(17:08):

A labor pool just seems to be somehow shrinking. I'm not sure how that is when the population's going up, but nonetheless, whole another topic there. But you know, if you, if people in your industry, if you treat employees even just a little bit better than all the rest, you're gonna be the employer of choice. So when you have a job opening, people are gonna be knocking your door down because people in the trades talk, they all talk, they see each other at job sites, et cetera. And they're like, Hey man, we get this and we get a bonus and we get all the time off. We want, we get this, holy crap, you get that. I don't get any of that crap. Like, do you have any openings? You know what I mean? So making yourself an employer of choice is huge, huge. And especially as you grow and expand,

(17:48):

And that's the difficult, I mean, that's the, the, the biggest thing about being successful in a business is surrounding yourself with people who are gonna do the job and want to take pride in their work and are committed to being successful as well. My foreman's been with me for seven or eight years now. He makes probably three times what he would make anywhere else. I, I see the value in him. I don't want to go look for another guy like that guy. Nobody works like he does. He has the option to work Saturdays or not. I'm I'm like, you wanna work it fine. If not, I don't care. You're on your own time schedule. Last year he missed two Saturdays.

(18:31):

Oh geez.

(18:32):

He's a, he's a beast. I mean, he is a yeah. Little guy from Guatemala, man. He come up here and he's seen the American dream and he just went for it, you know? And I'm more than happy to pay him because he is worth his weight and gold.

(18:45):

Yeah. Well, that's awesome. And obviously I'm sure he appreciates. He's been with you that long. There's a lot of transient workers in the trades. So you know, having someone that's a foreman and been with you that long, obviously you're treating him well and he's he appreciates working in, in the business and, and whatnot. But all right, guys, getting talking with, going to Mingo, junctions, finest, Jeff Wolf we're gonna hit a break here. We're gonna come back and we're gonna learn. We're gonna get some tips from Jeff on how to overcome obstacles in life.

(19:14):

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(19:43):

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(20:15):

Check out all three of Mr. Business best-selling books at mrbizbooks.com. Now, once again, here's Mr. Biz.

(20:24):

All right. Welcome back to the show. So, you know, we've heard about a lot of the trials and tribulations that Jeff's gone through in his life, in his career how he's overcome some of those. So I thought it would be a really good thing for us to hear some of the ways that he has developed for himself to overcome those things, right. Again, cause as I mentioned at the outset life, life's gonna kick you and knock you down. It's gonna, it's just gonna happen. I mean, it doesn't matter how smart you are, how pretty you are, how well educated or not educated. It doesn't matter. Fat, skinny, purple, blue. It doesn't matter it's gonna happen. So what I look at and I've been asked this question many times, what what is the one thing that separates successful entrepreneurs from those that are either aren't at nearly successful or unsuccessful at all in the fail.

(21:11):

And that is, I call it consistent perseverance. It's it's continuing to get up because you're going to get knocked down, not even decision you, make's gonna be the right one. Jeff's had some things outside of his control. And by the way, I do wanna throw this in here. Cause I, I wanna make sure we don't get through the show without mentioning this Jeff there's one other thing that I know that Jeff is really good at and that's making a family cuz he has at last count 114 kids <laugh> so maybe I'm exaggerating just a little, but <laugh> so he's at, you know, there's challenges there too, right? He's building a business and you know, he's got kids to worry about, he's got, you know, a big family and everything and there's, as everyone knows, if anyone, you guys have kids, kids, you know, that's a challenge as well. So, so, so Jeff, what are some of those things that, that you found over the years that really helped you, you know, overcome those inable challenges in life?

(22:05):

You know, being, having a nice, solid relationship with my wife helps a lot, you know we, we have eight children and one on the way and you know, I I've been very blessed in that department, but I, I agree with what you said earlier about not giving up and always going after it, you know maybe it's a pride thing, but I refuse to, to let somebody beat me down, you know, you can take your lumps, but it it's how you take those lumps and just come back at it. And, and most importantly learn from it. You know, if you learn from mistakes that you made or something that you did that wasn't correct, or maybe you treated or didn't do something right by a customer, you know, you learn from that. If you can keep learning from these, these different things, less bad things are gonna happen to you. It's, that's just the, the biggest key I think is just learning from your mistakes.

(23:09):

Yeah. I mean, you don't wanna make the same mistake twice as they say, right. I mean, that's, that's, that'll, that's just gonna inevitably delay your success, right? If you keep making the same mistake, so, and, and you know what, that seems so obvious, Jeff, but I think again, there's still a decent percentage of people who don't realize that because their pride or their ego or whatever is just too big. And so they're one of these people, right? And it's not, it's not my fault. I didn't do anything wrong. It's it's this person or that person or the weather, the economy, or the government or this, instead of taking, you know, responsibility for everything around you to create success and say, you know what? Yeah, I got, I got nailed because you know, I'm gonna I have an outdoor business and the weather killed me. I didn't, but how can I learn from that? Right, right. I can plan around the weather better. Let me figure out how I can do that. Right. There's always lessons to be learned. I think that's a really important thing that people need to be self-a enough to consider. What could I have done better after every setback? Think about what could I have done better?

(24:10):

Well, the blame game doesn't help anybody. You know? One of the things I tell my sons, seven boys, one girl they're always, oh, it was him that did this. Or it was him. It did that. And I'm like, no matter what you say, no matter what you do, it's your fault. And even if it's not your fault, it's your fault. So if you own it and you take responsibility for it, you know what, I, I, I do it all the time. I'll own something that I had nothing to do with it. You know what I mean? But it just seems easier just to take the blame, take the responsibility, own it and move on. You know, you gotta own those different things, even if it, you know, it's not on you sometimes, but just being the bigger guy, having what I think America's missing a lot of today is integrity and doing the right thing when nobody's looking right. You know, when nobody's paying attention, did you do the right thing or not? You know, it's one of the things that I also say to my boys very often.

(25:18):

Yeah. I mean, kids need to hear that for sure. And especially with customers, you know, the, the, the scenario you just mentioned, I think is important with customers. Sometimes again, I don't agree a hundred percent that the customer's always right, because sometimes they're not. But I think a lot of times you can quell those issues pretty quickly with a, oh, you know what? Mrs. Jones, I understand exactly what you said. Yeah. We probably could have handled that differently. Here's how I wanna make it. Right. Even though, you know, you got you, your team did everything. You could have possibly done that simple thing. You didn't necessarily admit something wrong or whatever, but you're just trying toque the situation you're take care of. And that completely disarms someone, even if someone's super mad about something, when you have that type of approach, man, the difference in their response instead of you going, yeah, well that's because your dogs were running around and we couldn't get the job done well, now all of a sudden, now she's on her Honches and she's come back at you. Right. And it just gets nowhere fast.

(26:12):

Absolutely. You know you gotta remember, or to try to remember who the profession is here, you know I do this every day. I experience this every day. I've seen a hundred and you know, people last year, that act just like you do, how did I handle it? You know what I mean? If, if, if you, if you think about it that way, I mean, they have one go to defense mechanism, you know, and, or it's just the old thing. Hey you, would you asking for an order other than price or payment, is there any reason we can't do business today? Oh my, my dog's sick and I gotta take it to the hospital. Well, other than that, is there any other reason we can't do business today? You know, that was their one defense mechanism. All that'll throw the salesman off and he'll never, you know, he's gotta leave after that, you know, but if you learn how to overcome that, I, I do it every day, all day long. They have that one defense I've heard 'em all, so, oh,

(27:16):

Sure. Yeah.

(27:17):

If, if we take a step back and remember who the professional is here, I think that takes you to another level of thinking and you should be more successful based on that. Cuz a lot of times we forget that

(27:32):

And I think a key to that is listening

(27:34):

Exactly

(27:35):

Right. As being a good, active listener and not listening to respond, but listening to learn big difference there.

(27:43):

Well the old guys that I learned from were very wise, you know, and they told me God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Yeah. Use 'em in proportion.

(27:55):

You

(27:55):

Know, if this was easy, everybody would be doing it.

(28:00):

I say that all the time. Yeah. A hundred percent. If, if, if it were easy, everyone would, if, if it was easy to be worth $10 million, everyone would be worth $10 million. If it was easy to fill in the blank, whatever your goal is, whatever you're trying to do, everyone would do it. And it wouldn't mean as much to you and you probably wouldn't even have as a goal. So that's what makes it special. A lot of times

(28:18):

We, we just basically gotta look at ourselves, evaluate ourselves, find a little niche for ourselves. I don't discourage college for my sons. I think it's always good for them to be educated. They're all homeschooled. But you know, one, one of my sons wants to go to class, learn how to be a professional guitar maker. You know, my oldest mm-hmm <affirmative> and I think that's awesome. Yeah. You know, one of my kids loves building go-karts and race cars and stuff. And he actually works for, at a buddy of mine shop and he's only 15, you know, he's working at a, a shop where they do high professional modifications on cars. So I totally am in with that. I totally encourage them to do stuff like that because these these other odd things that you can find are probably gonna be your life, you know, it's gonna make you happy to be doing your life.

(29:18):

Yeah. Yeah. I absolutely agree. Well, great Jeff we're out of time here, but it's been great having you on. I appreciate you sharing your story, sharing how you've been overcome so many things. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

(29:29):

Thanks for having me, Ken. I had good time. It was good seeing you.

(29:32):

Yeah. Yeah. Good seeing you too, man. All right guys. Well, thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Have a great week. And don't forget as always cash flow is king

(29:40):

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