In this episode, I speak with one of my very close friends, Damon Burton. Damon is a Forbes contributor and an Amazon best-selling SEO book author that helps you show up higher on Google… without paying for ads.
See show notes: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e125-creating-success-in-your-life-with-damon-burton-cptsd-and-trauma-healing-coach/#show-notes
In this episode, I speak with one of my very close friends, Damon Burton.
Damon is a Forbes contributor and an Amazon best-selling SEO book author that helps you show up higher on Google… without paying for ads. His clients include the Utah Jazz’s Team Store and businesses featured on Shark Tank and recognized by Inc. Damon and I connected and this fascinating way, not only because we're entrepreneurs but because we have this fascination with trying to create change in our life. It’s very much about living life on your terms and having what you want to have. Damon is a person in my life that I see embodied. I talk about the site about mentorship and coaching and things like that, but I look at Damon even though he's not directly my mentor, but I love the way that this person is creating the life that he wants to have, and that becomes a point of measurement for me. I'm always looking towards other people, not because of any other reason than I believe. As a communal species, if we look at people who are simply one step ahead of where we want to go, we can also start to formulate and create the pathway.
I want to share one of the insights that I took away from my conversation with Damon. You can probably relate to this; we have this drive to make things better for other people. I look at his story, his life, what he's come from. No matter what we come from, our experience, our zip code, our family structure, any of those things, if we stay focused, remove distractions, create a north star, make this goal and move towards every single day, on a long enough timeline, it can come to fruition.
Join us as we dive into this episode!
Learn more about Damon Burton at: https://www.damonburton.com/
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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world. Super excited to be here with you today with my friend Damon Burton. Damon, how are you my man? What is going on?
Damon: What's up Mike? I am good. Thanks for letting me chat and I feel like we've been on like a three-week bromance whirlwind.
Michael: Yeah down in the basement playing karate. I'm excited to have you on, man. You know, I think first off to The Unbroken Nation to our listeners, today we're going to have a conversation today. So it'll be a little bit different than, a lot of the episodes you listen to because I connected with Damon a couple of weeks ago, three or four weeks ago at this point. And I think on the occasion, you come across people in the world and you're like, oh I connect with that human being and this really we real way and I knew that we'd have a tremendous amount of value to bring to this audience by having you on. So I'm really excited to have you here bromance or not, I think that opportunity for people to understand just how important it is like saying hello can be in creating a change in your life.
So I reached out to a friend who reached out to you and said, hey, you guys should connect and here we are but before we get into, kind of bad and dive a little bit deeper, tell everybody a little bit about you so we can have some context here.
Damon: Yeah. So the usual background is, you know, married, 15 years, father, three got two boys and a daughter, found it an SEO agency in 2007. So, about 14 years into digital marketing team of three dozen half in the state's, half in the Philippines built a seven-figure agency without spending a dollar on an ad so that's like usually the spill but I think where you and I connected as about how you take things from the past and turn those into positive things. So, yeah, I like these conversations more than as we kind of touched, touched on before the recording, like just those real conversations instead of getting into the bulleted list. So there's a lot of ground we can cover and I think, the cold see where we go.
Michael: Yeah, I agree. You know, it's a funny man. As I was thinking about this, so I want to install that new Anthony Bourdain Documentary Road Runner and I loved him when I was a kid and still to this day do, and I recognize that some people are just meant to carve their own path in life and I think that's the majority, I think that's everyone should go and carve their own path in life, but specifically, people have the ability to, I think it's different now than ever because if you rewind 200-300 years ago, everyone had a trade, everyone had a thing that they did that was about something that brought them at least to some extent, some kind of joy, whether you were putting, horseshoes on horses or running a bar or whatever that thing was. And then you kind of find these subcultures of that in the world today where whether it's like being a chef or being an SEO guy or being a coach or whatever, we still kind of have that but we have this huge majority of people who are still like, for lack of better term slaves took to the conglomerate who are terrified of the idea that they can step in and make their dreams come true.
And so, I'm watching this documentary last, and I'm sitting there and I'm just like you, this is a person and Anthony who likes yourself and me was like, you know, I'm just going to go and see what happens. I'm gonna test it. I'm going to do that thing while recognizing now obviously, his trajectory ended a lot differently than I hope that it does for either of us, but when you take that the consideration, I think entrepreneurship is like, really the key to discovering who you are. And so that's what I was thinking about last night. Like is, learning who you are really about stepping into creating a career for what your interest them and so I was really interested about your thoughts and curious about what you think about that.
Damon: I don't think it's necessarily the career but I think you hit it on saying where you got a test thing, right? And so that's kind of been the whole thing where that's contributed to where I'm at in a career. So I guess we kind of, you know, I'll answer it that way, just because I think that's the most immediately obvious then we can kind of take a step back and look at it outside of a career. So for me, like, I always felt comfortable with the unknown and what I tell people is date your job, state your careers, date your date, your anything until you figure out what thing you want to marry.
So like in my case it was like okay, I was going through college, I was growing up lower-middle-class, trying to figure out on my own, what I doing what I didn't want to do. And so I was only one semester away from graduating with a degree when I stopped going. And so for me, that was because I saw the opportunity in front of me with, what I was at the time doing design and so that led into media and digital marketing, which led to the founding SEO National. And so throughout my career every time I had a job, it was like, okay, I like and I don't like this in the job. And so then you would take from that and figure out, okay, what's the next opportunity that addresses the things I like, and this is from the things that I don't like and then to continue to evolve that process until in my case, I got to the career that I can marry. And so a lot of that, just like you said, has to do with testing and so, whether it's your career, your relationships, I mean, even my relationships, my wife knows these stories.
So I was dating six women right before it does sound so bad to say that I was dating six women before I met my wife, but it wasn't like I was out, slutting around, like it was me going, okay, what do I like about like in relationships? It wasn't like I was sleeping with all these women are anything but it was like there was one person that I enjoyed for this type of company, and one person I enjoyed for this type of company and I was very transparent with all of them. And I think that's a huge part of what's made me happy in life and all capacities is transparency. I don't have anything to hide. My wife knows all my stories. My team knows all my stories. And so when I met my wife within probably the first week, I told all the other women like Hey, let's, you know, let's stop this dating thing and so then it just went all-in on my life. And so the way I was able to make that comment decision with her and with my career is because I had gone through the process of elimination of all the other things that I liked and didn't like.
And so, I think there's a lot to be said for the value of delayed gratification and giving yourself the freedom to test whatever you need to test to make that decision in whatever vertical your space, you're talking about.
Michael: Yeah, and I agree. And there's, it's funny because I can relate to so much of this idea of just trying things, trying things, trying things. Most people don't know this, but I've had probably like 15 different careers, right? From sales to marketing too, I used to work at a Wendy's, working on an assembly line to selling drugs, to being the VP of an international company, to running Think Unbroken, and it was like in retrospect of what you're saying, all getting to where I am today in my life has been just this accumulation of skills, right? Trying things, learning things, adapting and adopting these skills, but I think people get so caught up in this journey that they want it now, they wanted it, they want it yesterday. I was watching this comedy special. I can't remember the guy's name, I wish I could but he's like, you know, the next thing that they're going to invent is Amazon right now. So true because we lack patience in our life and I think whether you're in a healing journey or in entrepreneurship, friendships, or anything, especially like dating and relationships, there is such a huge space for patients and that's kind of one of my favorite word's. What's it been like for you and you kind of touch base on this too? Why is that so pivotal in your life?
Damon: I think, it lets you make the right decisions, it's that delayed gratification. I've always been okay with not having the immediate answer. I don't want the immediate answer, I want the right answer and that's kind of been through my whole life and I realized the older I get, I realized that that's not the norm. You know, it's not as common amongst my peers and I think that's just it's so simple, but it's one of the biggest differentiators, and where you can be in life is yourself the freedom to have delayed gratification. Like an example of what I'm going through right now is so, I've always had like before I got into an entrepreneur is, I didn't know what I was going to do, but I felt comfortable and not rushing into finding like, whatever it was. And so I dated my career has found SEO, found some success in that and so I did like the hustle and grind thing before I had kids because I wanted to establish that Foundation of Freedom by the time I did have kids, then I've enjoyed that for the last, 10 or 15 years, but now it's like I'm going through this next chapter, I don't know what the chapter is yet, but it's like, I'm not a morning person but historic I woke up early in the mornings because for me it was like, okay, when can I get in the extra hours in a day and choices are late nights, early mornings, but my kids sometimes will be up late, they will never be up at 5:00 a.m. So for me process of elimination, okay, 5 a.m. is the right decision, but now I'm getting tired of waking up at 5 a.m. I still have the mental drive of wanting to do the hustle and grind thing but I also realize that I need to find something new for me. And so now I'm like, okay, do I do split sleep schedules? Do I do late nights after the kids go to bed? Do I still do mornings but I find a more motivational routine? And this is something I've been trying to figure out just kind of like the last couple of months and I'm not rushing myself to finding an answer, I'm giving myself the time and patience to find the right answer by testing, all these things and process of elimination and figure out like what's right for me. And so I think that's what important, which is for everybody is like, the guru, says; Do this, it may not be that black and white for you like fill it out, give yourself the freedom test, don't look for the right, and don’t look for the quick answer, look for the right answer.
Michael: Yeah. I love that you said that and I will frequently post, a Twitter post I'm a made like, you know, you can listen to all the people in the world, but ultimately you have to choose what’s right for you because it's going to be different because, you know, I get up at 5 a.m. and your 5 a.m. is going to look different than mine, right? And you can try and do all the things but ultimately, I think it's really about, like, trusting your gut and your intuition, and that can be arguable, one of the most difficult things in anything that you do is trust in yourself and I think for me, I've come to the place of being able to do that from just taking in so much data about who I am that now I can trust because I've made sizably every mistake that you can make in life and that's not to say I won't make more because I fully intend on it.
I think that's the only way that you can create change as you have to be willing to fail and mess up and pull data. And so, as you're in this and looking at the trajectory of your life, and I have a little bit closer of an understanding because some of our conversations in anyone listening, but you are a person who by all likelihood should have failed, like that's just the nature of it right? From the community, from different aspects of the family to, you know, going out on your own as an entrepreneur, right? There is failure, failure, failure, laid in the prospect of what could happen in your life. Now, obviously, that's not what has happened in your life but people often are so scared of the idea that what they come from is, what dictates doing that, they are paralyzed like they won't even take the step into trying to see what happens. And let me be clear because I don't want to misconstrue this success I believe is self-defined, it's going to be different for everybody and ideally, it would be but looking out from the outside looking in measuring your life, I go, okay, you've had so many successes in your life, but there must have been tremendous failures. So what is that journey been like for you to kind of have the juxtaposition of looking at, all right, life kind of set me up for this but this is the direction I'm going anyway because this is what I choose to do.
Damon: Well, apologies got jets flying over if there is loud background noise. It’s interesting because you say in that kind of hit in a different way than I really thought about before because you're right on paper, there should have been a lot of opportunity for failure with a semi-broken childhood, growing up with an alcoholic stepfather, parents divorced when I was two but until people say that, I don't even think about it and I think that obviously a big part of that's a mindset and some of I don't want to say is a lot, I don't think anything that I've accomplished is locked, but I think there's a little bit of luck that I was born with the mindset of I don't know, it's just I kind of always been the way I am and I haven't really realized that until as an adult and in the last 10 years or so that's kind of its honestly something. I don't know how to answer in some capacities because I can't wrap my head around the other side of things, like why wouldn't you trust yourself? Why wouldn't you want to do big things? And I understand that's the majority of society and that's okay and I become more sympathetic to it over time, but I would come at it from a different perspective and be like, why would that? Why would I let that define me? Why would I let those limitations?
For me, it's always been like okay if I'm at POINT A and I need to get to POINT D just reverse engineer B and C and then I just go, like, I've never anybody ask me, like what's next or what are your biggest gaps, or what are your this, your order that? And I can never answer it because anytime I have a problem, I go, how do I solve it? Anytime I want to get somewhere, I go, what's in my way and so it's a unique position to be in to, to be in because you're, right. I've been married, 15 years, first marriage, no divorce, prior to this, SEO National Like first business, I've owned and sold other ones and invested in others but SEO National is the first one that I started and I'm still in it almost 15 years later.
And I think all that goes back to what we were touched on earlier is like I'm not in this to find the fastest engines. I'm in this to make the right decisions, you know, even when I started the business, there was a lot of methodical calculations and so like the short story of when I started the business was I had my day job taken up 80% of the income but only paying 50% of the income, the other 50% was on my side hustle. And so I said, well, that's a lot of time being consumed for not as equal of a reward, and if I were to cut out that 50 percent of my income that would save 80% of my time without loser that income, absolutely, but I only have a mortgage and a car payment, my wife don't have kids yet and its life's not going to get any easier as I get older, especially when we have kids and we take on more responsibility.
So seems like it's calculated as risk is I can take and so I've always been very methodical about like the pros and cons and what is the long-term answer instead of the easy answer now.
Michael: Yeah, I really love that and I've had the fortune of being able to be mentored by Tom Bill. If you know Thomas founder of Quest Nutrition Bazillionaire guy and he's an incredible human being. And in one of the things that he's really like, blasted into my brain that carries with me all the time, is exactly what you said this idea of reverse engineering and he said to me, one time, he goes, if you can turn a problem into a mathematical equation, you can solve every problem on planet earth and I was like, I'm so fascinated by that because it just hits home. And I will say this, as I agree with you entirely if you can figure out where you want to go and you understand where you're at right now, the rest is just a series of trial and error, right? You have a hypothesis about what you believe you're capable of them, then you just kind of have to go through it. When you think about this process because I know certainly there's been a failure in this for you, mistakes things – you go, oh man! I don't know, I didn't see that coming, how do you handle that? How do you process that as someone who's willing to see what's on the other side of their dreams?
Damon: You know, I get asked that in interviews, fairly regular about what were the failures and can't say I've ever had any and it's not to say that I haven't had any in retrospect, it's probably that I haven't addressed them as failures for me, it's like, oh well now I need to pivot this way or how I approach it this other way. I literally couldn't tell you a single failure, but I could probably look back and go, well, I could have expedited things but if
I did things, like one example is, when I was growing my team and it was probably some 14 years into this, this was probably about your five or six and it was like, okay, we need to document processes because we want to scale better while retaining quality control and so that ended up taken 2 to 3 hours every other day for a year to fully document all the processes in all the dynamic ways that our fulfillment could have gone and so that sucked going through that but now it was like the best thing ever because that was when we first had, when we had our first six figures a year, retainer from just one client and that's when within the year after that, I doubled the team from 5 to 10 or whatever it is. And so there's like moments that where that was probably a mistake and there were probably missed opportunities before that but it didn't even cross my mind, I was just like, oh, now is the time to do that. So for me, I've always been okay with learning as I go and it's almost like phases and so the easiest one to quantify is the growth of the company and so it's like okay the first year or two it was awesome being self-employed, I was so important, that was it brad because then I can you know like up whenever I want to wake up, I can have a beer at ten o'clock in the morning, if I want, I can stay up late, I can get up early, whatever I want to do, right? And then after a year or so, it's like okay. Well you exhaust that phase, the coolness in, the sexiness like whatever it is that entices you in that phase.
So then for me I go the next phase, it's like, okay, well, why don't I bring on more team members that they can take on some things that maybe I don't care to do as much anymore or I can spend time doing more things that I do like to do. And so then I started bring it on team members and so then it was like, this is cool I got I can share the responsibilities with other people, I can support other people and then you go through that phase and then after that, it was like, why don't I go to the next level? And so that's when we go through documenting processes and scaling and then we go from however many people, you know, double it to 10 people and then it did that for a couple of years. And then it's like, you go through, I'm okay, going through those phases because I've learned things and become a better person, and then I can do the next phase, more confidently.
And I think, with Amazon now and things like that. Everyone wants to go from solopreneurs to billionaires. I don't, I will get there eventually, but I want to do it without sacrificing family time, without sacrificing relationships, without sacrificing creating mental, doubt and insecurities. And so I think there's a lot of value in giving yourself the freedom to go through the phases and learn the things, you need to learn in that phase become a better person then, apply it to the next phase.
Michael: Yeah. I love what you said and I wanted to dive into this because I'm really curious. When I talk about failures, I look at them as data points, right? This is really about kind of the same thing that you mentioned looking for pivots but there was a time in which failure would just like corrupt everything around me. It would bash my ego into a million pieces and feel like I can't even get out of bed, like those words that that negative self-talk thing would start to happen, I had to train my brain out of that. I had to become relentless and not allow that to come to pass but what you said, which I want to touch on which I'm fascinated by and I'm super curious about is saying, even since you were a kid, you had this mindset about wanting to try to see what you could do. Where does that come from? Do you feel like that's like innately inherited in you? Like where does that come from? Because I you might be the only person I've ever heard say that in my life.
Damon: Yeah, there's definitely some aspect of it. But I think I was born with, I mean, I even remember little things and I was younger I was probably 9 or 10 and my parents, like I said, we're divorced and so at the time it was Christmas and my dad came over to pick’s up over weekend or whatever and so both my mom and dad were there and I got a disc holder CD, discolored, right? Those sleeves and it was like the cool one is like a hundred sleeves, and so, I was putting on my CDs away because I had like few over here and a few over here and they were all just disorganized, so now it's putting them into the school, big one. And I get a couple sleeves deep and my mom goes, are you alphabetizing those? And so like, that's probably the first biggest moment where things started to stand out in my mind and about how organized and methodical I was in life in general.
And so yeah, I think there's just been a part of it, I was born with now. I think when I realized that I was able to embrace it amplify it but yeah, I don't think I can, I will take 100 credit for our where I'm at in life now because I've been intentional about all the decisions I made, but I can't take a hundred percent credit for having that mindset that the little seed planted, it's just been there in some capacity, but then I figured out how to maximize it.
Michael: Yeah, I love that. And it's really fascinating, man. I wish that I can have an insight like that. So young, and maybe I do and as we're having this conversation, I'm like, maybe what you had in mindset I had on stubbornness? And what I mean by that is just being vehemently stubborn has not only brought me huge success in my life just in general, but huge opportunities and things were it's like, whether it's with winning $10,000 from Grant Cardone or winning all these other speak officers, writing a number one best-selling book or coaching, or being a vice president of a multi-million dollar company in my early 30s, or whatever it is, is just stubbornness man.
So I think the same drive I'm just going to recategorize what you've said, apply to myself is been. Man, I don't want anybody to stop me because everyone is always going to be in your way, everyone's always going to tell you what you can't do, everyone around you and you've had, I'm going to assume you've had those people in your life as well. We’re there are naysayers, are there people that say, who do you think you are? And I'm always like, well, I'm going to do whatever the fuck I want, watch, and the more that you deny me, the more I'm like, I'm going to prove myself right.
It's funny because people will leverage other people's opinions of them as the fire that stowed or the coal that stokes to fire, whereas I look at and I just go like well, that's great! You can have that opinion, but I'm gonna go do my thing anyway, and that's certainly super, super well, but I'm saying this to a point. You said a word that I absolutely love that is such a part of the nomenclature of who I think I am and believe I am, what I believe Think Unbroken to be, what I think the potential in life is and that's the intention and I really don't think people understand that word, Damon. Can you talk about that word in the role that it plays in your life?
Damon: Yeah, every single decision I make is based around what is the intent and in the short term or long and literally every single thing, every decision, big or small, it's become such as so ingrained in the day-to-day things that I do that even a little short on words on how to explain it because it just becomes part of your process. And I think you're right where other people don't understand it because we all know anything we talked about so far is nothing new, it's nothing new that you should pursue delayed gratification, it's nothing new that you should wait for the right answer or the quick answer but until you hear it in the right way or from a person that you can resonate with, it just means something different. So I literally mean every single decision that I make is like, okay, how is this? Is this the better or worse decision? Period. Like just do one good decision at a time and it's not like and I think that goes back to reverse-engineering things, it's not like, okay, I want to go from A to Z. So, how do I get to Z? It's like okay. What's the one right decision to get to B and then you conquer B and then it's like what's the one right decision to get to C? And so I don't know that's a super interesting question because I don't have the right answer because it's just, I've adapted it so much and I think that's good or bad, that's good for me, but that's bad for your audience because I can't give them the right answer.
Michael: You know, I don't think there's a right answer here, but maybe let me parley with you here a little bit and see if we can't create something of value. I had zero intention and the way that I used to live my life other than making money, getting laid, having nice cars, having nice clothes and that intention served me until it no longer did. And what I mean by that is, I found myself in my early 20s being super successful in Corporate America, living this lifestyle that homeless kids from where I come from the dream of having like I thought Damon, I was living that American dream, I thought I was doing that thing that everybody wanted to do but I lacked this really foundational level of fulfillment because the cheques would come in and I would look at them in my bank and on go, okay, and then I'd go spend all the money because I was like, oh, maybe this is how you get the fulfillment you go out here and you acquire things, right? Because the only education I had growing up really was education from the street and I was like, all right. Let me get a cool car. Let me get awesome clothes. Let me put myself in this position in which I can do anything I wanted any time I want financially, and then I'd go do stupid shit, like spinning three thousand dollars a night in Las Vegas and $800 dinners all the time. And I had all these expensive clothes and shoes and I was miserable otherwise, 350 pounds, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, then the audience, they have heard the story, but the thing that I want to I'm touching into here and what I'm curious about is this idea of fulfillment and intention because I believe that when you lead your life with intention, you can step closer to fulfillment recognizing and understanding what you're actually capable of thus kind of creating the life that you want to have. How close to home base do you feel like that is in your own life?
Damon: I think, what the answer is that like so you did all those things because that was the world that you knew, right? And so where you became when you reached peak satisfaction and then it started to decline, you didn't pull out of that, you didn't get out of that valley until you realize, the world was bigger than what you had starting the picture you have been painted, right? And so I think for me a big part of that intention is like, I don't look at the boundaries. I don't like I told you earlier, I could hit a little differently when you're talking about it by all means. There should have been a lot of failure in my life that I would set up for like, I don't look at those things, they don't cross my mind. And I think other people are too concerned about are the boundaries or what is the norm? Like, the norm doesn't even cross my mind. Whatever the problem is in my life, I go, what are all the possibilities? I don't go. How do other people solve this or what are the immediate options in front of me? I go to what are the right options whether they're in front of me or not. And so for me, it's always been like, you know, if we talk about the opportunities that I've set up for failure based on childhood or even like, I mean, I can think about a lot of things.
So like all the things that I've gone through we're ideal in my life, I've now used it as a positive. So like with my childhood it was like, okay, well, I don't want this for my future family. I don't want instability. I don't want an alcoholic environment. I don't want to, I don't want to move all the time.
I used to move like two or three times in the greater years. I'd move as many two or three times a year, but at the very least, it seemed like it was once every year to all the way up until I was like a senior in high school and then, I had like really messed up teeth and so my parents can afford braces, how to pay for braces myself as like, a junior in high school and then they couldn't afford anything and so I paid for college myself, one semester at a time, it's like all those things. Like other people look back and say, oh my life sucks but those were learning opportunities for me to go that's not what I want to repeat in the future.
And so I took that and we've now lived in our current home is a perfect example, right? So when we bought our house, we bought this 6 bedroom, 4 bathrooms, when we first moved in, it was just me, my wife and our 11-month old son and that was it. Of course, we don't need a six-bedroom house with just the three of us, but I never wanted to move again. I didn't want my kids to have to go through the things I went through, where we were moving all the time, I didn't have roots and always have abandoned your friends and so here we are ten years later every room filled out now between my three kids and a house and a guest room and the office that I'm in right now, we don't have any leftover space anymore and the house served its purpose. And now my kids don't even have to move and I don't have to like that hits on a couple of things like the intention and citizens in the long-term goal and delayed gratification, so it's like that.
And then, maybe one other example is with one of the last gentlemen that I worked for before I started my business super successful. He was doing maybe two million a month and it was just me as the only full-time employee and it had a part-time secretary and he just treated us like shit, right? And it wasn't even about the money, the compensation wasn't there but it wasn't even about that was just how we approached the relationship, and he wasn't grateful for the greater contributions that everyone is giving.
And I remember one night, I talk a lot about managing remote teams and work-life balance, things like that and one very clear moment I was at dinner when I was working for the gentleman, I was at dinner with my wife before we had kids, it's like a Friday night, and this was before smartphones but some of us remember, like, T-Mobile has this little sidekick is like a semi smartphone had, this will flip screen and you could connect the email to it.
And so, my boss was hit me up like 7 o'clock on a Friday night and I long after work hours on the weekend and I can't remember what sequence between phone, email, and text, but he went from one to the other and to the other, and at that moment, I said this is ridiculous. It's after hours, and it wasn't even anything by the time I answered, wasn't even anything else that was important it couldn't wait until Monday. And so at that moment, I deleted the email from my phone. And so gosh that was like 16-17 years ago, and I have never put email back on my phone since then. I don't have them on my phone. I do have a message on my phone. I don't give clients my cell phone number or office, I shut off at 5 and so I was able to take that problem and use it as a positive and not only for myself but now I apply that that appreciation and sense of privacy for all my team members to. I don't ask for their cell phone. I don't blow them up on the weekends. I don't even care what hours they work. So long as they're getting their work done because I realize people are people and have a life outside of work.
So anything that I've gone through in the past, that might be annoying too, I mean, it doesn't have to be detrimental but just frickin stupid. Did I think I've just turned into turn into a positive and that's how it is every moment like, okay? What can I take from this to make the circumstance better next time?
Michael: Yeah, I love that so much, and not only that but make it better for the people around you as well, right? By taking those things that you experience and leveraging that against building your teams. And, I love what you just said about taking the email off your phone. I'm sitting here. So, here's my thing. I have no notifications on my phone. So call me, text me, whatever, nothing happens, right? But I do, I have email my phone and now I'm thinking about taking it off and I never contemplated that until this moment and I'm wondering how that will impact my productivity. So I'm super curious. I'm actually going to test it starting like, right now, I believe that when you hear something like, put it into practice now, immediately see what happens, so I love that. I love that idea. And the same free I think about the way that you're working in these different industries, especially like whether I'm in the service industry or working at a Chili's, working at a LongHorn Steakhouse, working at Wendy’s, he's working at factories, I worked on assembly lines, putting CPUs in motherboards out of a very, very big warehouse and all these places people treated me, terribly and that has been one of the things that I've pulled over and to my life as an entrepreneur, not only in having the team's here Think Unbroken but the other businesses as well, and always, always, always trying to put my team first and taking care of them. And so it's funny because that actually ties into my values and one of them being kindness, one of the main leadership, one of the main self-actualization, and honesty because I'm always thinking about the scope of the ripple effect of everything that we do like a pebble, can create an avalanche and I'm always thinking about that avalanche, can be a good avalanche or it could be a bad avalanche but ultimately you're going to create something with every action that you take in your life when you think about your life going forward, and not necessarily only just from the all entrepreneurial standpoint, but like what's the ripple that you want to create?
Damon: I think about that a lot and I don't know yet, but I'm okay with that. And so I don't want to force myself to figure out what my legacy is going to be but it's just like when I became an entrepreneur, I never knew what I had a straw a high level of confidence that I would do something on my own but I didn't know what that was. And so I was okay going through the motions until it revealed itself, it's kind of like the same thing with my legacy like you know, the one is to be a good husband, a good father and pretty confident I got that locked in but it's my impact on the world is like before I came an entrepreneur. I don't know what my entrepreneurial journey will be but I know it'll be something unique and it's the same thing with my impact on the world. I don't know what it is just yet, there's a lot of little things that I've done, you know, I can give you an example of the kind of like a special moment those couple years ago.
So a couple of years ago I made this when you get to a certain point of success that you want to get back, right? And so I don't have a go-to way, I don't have a go-to charity that I donate to, I don't have a go-to thing that I go provide my time for. And so for me, it's more intimate, it's like I kind of figure out what I feel like I can make a direct impact. And so a while back I have had this big desire like, okay, what something big that I can do, that can help a lot of people. And I didn't want to force myself to just pick a random charity, and so what I did is I kind of sat on it for a while and I started going through my head like the process of elimination, what are the things I want to do and don't want to do? Work in an impact? Where do I not feel as personally drawn to making an impact? And so what I'm going to come and come into is when I grew up, I would get the free lunches through school because we're low income, and so then I started thinking about, okay, well, how do I help those students? Those kids that are in a similar situation that I can relate to? And so I had an assistant call, it's called the title, one school, so low income schools, although I'm come schools in the county that I went to school that I grew up in. And said, you know what? What's the quantity of past do lunch balances at your school? And she tallied this all up into a spreadsheet and there ended up being about a dozen schools and the total is around two grand. So I just called the counting and I said, hey, I want to give you a check for two grand to cover all the school lunches. So they ended up covering that and then it ended up getting national attention, was all over the news and but that experience for me is like, coming, full circle to your question is like that felt right, right for me. And that wasn't the quickest answer but it was the right answer for me and it took me I sat on that idea for like a year and so I don't know what my ripple effect on the world is going to be yet but I'm okay waiting until I find out what the right thing is.
Michael: I love that and I'm right there with you. Like I've projected into the world because I do believe in visualization is this incredible tool for creating momentum in your life. And so, you know, my goal is to help, 250 million people heal through trauma, but also in generational trauma in my lifetime and I recognize that some practical, improbable, far-fetched, all of the above, but that doesn't mean I don't go for it either way and in that, you know, there are peaks and values to it, but are also people throwing stones. I think about that every single day and I'm curious when you did this and first off, I applaud you for making that effort to cover the school lunches, that's really beautiful! It's actually something I've been thinking about over the course of the last couple of years as well because I grew up in sometimes you just had to steal food from the cafeteria like you they'd give us these little blue cards and you have to go get it stamped and sometimes I'd like to lose it or wash it or forget it or whatever, and so then they like you don't have a card, we're not even going to feed you, like what a crazy way to treat children. And part of one of the initiatives I want to move towards in the future, exactly what you've done. I'm going to have to assume that some people threw rocks at you for doing that, right?
Damon: I think, unfortunately, that's the bigger part of the memory from that experience. You know, two things stood out was and this is really interesting because, nobody's asked me this before, but it's what stands out so much. So two things stand out on the positive side the unexpected benefit beyond the obvious of helping those families is that it was cool to see the way that inspired other people to do other inspiring things like I would get messages saying that really made me think outside of the box and now I'm realizing that I don't have to just do charity. No, there's nothing wrong with charities but people were just stuck in that mindset of how do I help people? Donate money. How do I help people? Donate money. And then somebody else, it just made them go, Oh, I can think of other ways, but I think the bigger part stood out for me, personally that I don't really talk about it was the naysayers. I mean, to really stand out.
One, I would see in some of the threads on like Facebook and wherever, and because it got national attention, like, all these news outlets would publish it on their Facebook, anytime, they would like, tag me or something that would get the notification, I just kind of cruise through the comments and there was one guy that said there was a lot of people that said, a bunch of stupid shit, but there was one guy that I more or less remember what he said, and he said, also two thousand dollars is the price of sainthood and so for him it was like, okay, it doesn't matter the Damon help people. He's now getting glorification just because he wrote a two-thousand-dollar check, right? And it's like, why does that even matter whether it was a dollar or a million dollars or anything? Like why would you have anything negative to say about something that was only positively benefited other people? Like there are zero situations, zero scenarios in that donation, that had any negative impact on anybody, so that was one.
But the bigger one that stands still stands out is like my mom. You and I have talked about briefly our backgrounds before this like I haven't talked to my mom in years and it wasn't because of this, but this was probably one of the stepping stones to lead to the deterioration of that relationship is, my mom was pissed off that I made that donation. She was mad, that money didn't go to her. She was mad that money didn't go towards my siblings, which is nonsense because I was helping them out all the time. I'd help them pay, rent all the time at helping them with their gas money all the time, I'd help cover Christmas all the time, and I just can't wrap my head around that negativity. And I think what made me more upset is that she's taught my siblings that mindset not all of them, you know, and somehow I'm the oldest of seven, some of them as they get older, growing out of it, but just the thought that even siblings could come at me, that was taught from my mom and so, just that whole situation was, yeah, I think the negativity of such a beautiful opportunity is, unfortunately, my biggest my bigger memory of it.
Michael: Yeah, and that's hard, man. I got so much, sympathy and empathy for you in them, because it's difficult. And as everyone knows, you know, I stopped talking to my mother when I was 18 and it was a decision that had to be made. Let me ask you this because I'm really curious, despite those naysayers, would that stop you from doing it again?
Damon: Oh, no, no, never crossed my mind.
Michael: Yeah. I want people to understand that because this is really important and pivotal and this is what I'm trying to convey to people all the time. Unbroken Nation, guys, you got to take this with you. There are always going to be naysayers. There are always going to be people in your way. There's always gonna and sometimes it's your mom, and I'm sorry, but that's the nature, that's the truth of life, but you can't let those things stop you from making the impact and change that you want to have on the world because the second that you do, you're going to be lying in bed and going, well, who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to do? And worse, you might die with regret? There's always going to be somebody in your way. That's the nature of the world. I'm sorry. I wish it were different. I wish we could all support each other, but there's always going to be someone no matter, Damon, you get a given a dollar or ten million, somebody still would have come out the woodwork, who do you think you are? But that's not going to stop you from doing it again and I appreciate that. I love that. I applauded. I think it's really beautiful way to think about the the world in life. Before I ask you, my last question, can you tell everybody where they can find you?
Damon: Yeah, well, we haven't talked to any business. So anything I point you to is gonna be business-related. You know, I talked a probably LinkedIn and damonburton.com I share some of the like on my blog. I share more of the one-on-one stories and the ups and downs of entrepreneurs and things like that. I'm pretty transparent on my Facebook as well. So I guess if you want to, even though you haven't talked shop, much Linkedin's, probably more of what I do as an entrepreneur, Facebook I share some more personal stories and then damonburton.com
Michael: Yeah, and I know that there are some entrepreneurs here. You also have a book, which I have read called outrank. It's actually sitting right next to me. I do into it last week. Thank you for that. Amazing gift. I loved it.
And so guys, you go support Damon, you can check out outrank. My last question for you, my friend is, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?
Damon: I think your last comment probably now that is just a not let other people get in your way. I think that's part of the lucky side. I've been blessed with one way or another is, as a kid push through those things that you don't realize that not to say that they're smaller things but you realize those are what plants the seed for what you are as an adult, so I was fortunate to make a little headwind, you know, make a little ground on that when I was younger, but then is it all it gets like you have to make more intentional decisions to accept the crap that comes with the positive impact, you're trying to make.
So, I think it's largely what we've talked about today is that you want to do big things and then reverse engineer, what's in your way, and don't pay attention to any of the noise that comes with it because it's going to come with it.
Michael: Amazing! And well said, my friend.
Unbroken Nation, thank you guys, so much for listening for watching, for being a part of this.
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My friends, Be Unbroken.
I'll see you.
Damon is a Forbes contributor and an Amazon best-selling SEO book author that helps you show up higher on Google… without paying for ads.
He is husband and father of three has been featured on Entrepreneur, BuzzFeed, USA Weekly, spoken at conferences, and has optimized websites for INC5000 companies, NBA teams, and businesses featured on Shark Tank.
Having started his business right before the 2008 recession, Damon is familiar with navigating and growing a business through times like today. Never before has there been so many people needing something to focus their attention on… AND the time to do it.