Join our FREE COMMUNITY as a member of the Unbroken Nation: Everyone was born to be a genius at something. What's the common way of thinking or problem solving that you were doing? In this episode, I speak with my great friend Jonathon...
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Everyone was born to be a genius at something.
What's the common way of thinking or problem solving that you were doing?
In this episode, I speak with my great friend Jonathon Kendall, the co-founder & COO of LeadNurture: an all-in-one Sales, Funnels, & CRM software; and the Executive Director of VirtualWorkerNow, an international outsourcing agency.
We talk about how to discover your inner genius and practical capacity when creating your purpose in life.
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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation. Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. Very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest entrepreneur, Jonathon Kendall. Jonathan, my friend. How are you today?
Jonathon: I'm doing really well. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Michael: Dude. It's my pleasure. I'm super excited to get in this conversation with you today. For those who don't know about you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today.
Jonathon: Yeah. I like to begin with the end in mind. So, right now I own a few companies. One is a outsourced digital marketing agency, so we have over a hundred clients, over 400 employees kind of scattered around the world. And so, we do everything from paid ads to funnel building and eCommerce and customer support and anything to do with the online digital marketing space. I also own a company called deal rays; we help startups raise capital so, we've raised over a hundred million dollars for startups and entrepreneurs. And then I also own a company called lead nurture, which is a full-service backend system for events and coaches and it's basically an advanced CRM. And so, how I got there, I grew up in Ohio originally and learned a lot about speech and debate when I was in high school. So, I got obsessed with arguments and copywriting and content writing and storytelling, and a lot of that from speech and debate. I studied philosophy at the university of Michigan, after that I worked for a series of failed startups typically, and then wanted to be a novelist in my twenties and so, I had a published novel from a press in Portland, Oregon, and lived there for a while and then transitioned into copywriting; copywriting transitioned into San Francisco startup world again, and digital marketing. And worked for, I got named Alex Mayor who started a company called Zoosk, sold that company for 300 million dollars, it was one of the top dating sites in the world. And so, really had an incredible Mentor under him for a couple years, became the CEO of a company called mentor box. So, we had over 200,000 subscribers and over 300 courses, we worked with New York times bestselling authors and Nobel prize winners and pool of surprise winners. So, my job was basically to read books and interview super smart people and learned from the best. And then I eventually transitioned into starting my own companies. So that's my quick journey.
Michael: Dude, that's a lot of hats, man. You know, I think one of the things that caught my attention, one - I mean to sit and read books and interview people talk about dream job. Right. But not to mention for those not watching on YouTube right now, there's a ton of books behind Jonathan. You know, I think about these journeys and we live in a such a different world where people are not just trapped and tied into this idea of, okay, you go get this job, you work it forever, you die. Right. And I think that the more people get into creating a lifestyle that they wanna live, it seems very difficult right now, probably more so than ever to kind of figure out where to begin this process because people all have these ideas, they're like, I wanna do this and this and this and this and this and this and we become masters of none. Right. For lack of a better way to phrase it. For folks who are like in this journey and, you know, maybe they've overcome some struggles, they had some failures like, I love that you said you failed a bunch of startups cuz me too. And I think that creates a lot of resiliencies, but for those who are like, okay, I'm in this place, I wanna try one experiment, gosh, this guy's done so many things like where do they start?
Jonathon: I think it all starts with self-awareness belief and also understanding that it's okay to fail, it's okay to, for it to take a lot longer than you think it's gonna take and as long as you have the right process goals, the right habits, and you're taking it day by day, eventually you'll get somewhere, you know, if you believe in God or the universe or destiny or whatever may be, I believe that everyone has a purpose and that slowly but surely if they diligently do the right things every day, or at least try to with a clear heart that eventually they'll get to where they need to be. But I think to be tactical there's a great lesson from good to great by Jim Collins, which is a book about all the greatest companies. And he has this idea of a hedgehog and then he says a hedgehog is very particular and just like a great business, there's something that you have that a lot of people don't have a unique value proposition if you will. And he says that it should be three Venn diagrams and the overlap in between these Venn diagrams. And so, one is something that you have a shot at being potentially world class at, so something that you might be sort of talented in Cal new port and his book so good they can ignore you. He says, when you're looking for the thing that you're very talented in, you may want to notice what people ask you for advice about or what people ask you for help with this is usually something that you're probably pretty good at, so something that you're naturally talented in, you combine that with something that the world needs. So, a lot of artists get this wrong where they think that art is about self-expression when in fact, I believe that the product of art, you are helping someone transport themselves into another emotion very quickly, or maybe they can think a certain way or feel a certain way, music does this most obviously you still are producing a change in their life so, you're still solving a problem for them. And it's not really as much about as much as you want to be, I'm just gonna express myself at some point, if you want to make money in the real world, you have to solve some other people's problems. And so, does the world need it basically is the secondary question and then is the timing, right for the market right now. And so, if you're doing something that's a little bit more first principles or something that everyone would need, like sales, like helping people with consulting or something like that. Then obviously that will work across all times whereas if you're hyper specific of a certain type of code, for blockchain right now, then, you know, you may only have a certain amount of time to be able to really take advantage of that. But anyways, these three circles just being self-aware, what am I good at? What does the world need? And you know, is it the right time? And then once you have that, I would recommend journaling about it, reading about it, you're really thinking about it deeply, then just start trying. And a lot of people will fail before they begin, because they don't begin because they're trying to protect their ego or they're worried about being judged or they're worried about the first a hundred hours of trying something new. And I always tell my team, I say, listen, if you don't know how to do something and you think that you're gonna be really good at it right away, you're sort of delusional. You would never think that you, if I said, Hey, I'm gonna, I know I've never played a guitar ever, but I'm gonna start playing the guitar because this is a pivot that I wanna make in my life or a hobby that I want to take up to clear my mind. And after five hours of playing, I was frustrated and I quit and I threw the guitar against the wall because I'm not good. It's like, okay, well, Jonathan, calm down a little bit, this is you're not that much of a snowflake, you're not that unique right there, everyone has to go through the hard part of practicing something. So, just knowing in advance that it's okay to fail and then I would also say that if you're around people, this is why your inner circle matters so much. If you're around people that you can't say this out loud, Hey, here's this thing I'm gonna try, and they don't support you and know that you're going to be bad at it along the way and support you nonetheless. Then it's very difficult to put yourself out there and try these new things and find yourself and find your career, your path and find your passion and find point of mastery. If along the way, you're getting doubt from a lot of people so, there's a lot there, but tactical summary is chosen something that you have a potential to be good at that the world needs right now, believe in yourself, know that you're gonna fail along the way and also be around people that will support you while you're failing.
Michael: Yeah. And that feels to me like the theory of everything. Right. And I think more importantly, and I would argue now more than ever, is really taking inventory about the people who are in your life. And, you know, every podcast, every person ever has said that. But I think it's so true because one person's limiting belief is a reflection of their own experience that you could find yourself trapped in. And I think that's a really dangerous game to play when you're trying to create a life and the people around you are being either nonchalant or vindictive or they don't care. And you need to be around people who are gonna prop you up, who are gonna bring you up, who are gonna say yes, I believe that you can do it. But you know, even with that, Jonathon, I think still a lot of people don't believe. And so, I actually wanna rewind that to where you kind of started and you said, you know, you have to believe, and I fear that so many people just do not because of a - the society we live in, maybe the status of the environment they grew up in maybe abuse or mental health elements or whatever it may be, and if there are, what would it look like to create belief in a practical way in someone's life?
Jonathon: Yeah, this is very, very smart to point that out because before you begin. If you don't believe you will never start, which is why the first chapter of thinking grow rich, which is one of the godfather texts of the self-development industry. Chapter one is about belief, you have to first believe before you have in chapter two, you're burning desire, which is your goal. And if you don't have the belief, you're never going to be honest about what your real goal is because you're limiting yourself before you've even started and in terms of answering your specific question, how to be practical about it. I think there's a few things. One - is look to people that are like you that have, you know, maybe come from a similar circumstance as you, and around what you want to accomplish. Right. Or if they're not from the same, you know, geographic location, maybe they have a similar circumstance or a similar background and this is just being proactive about your inner circle. So, you know, using social media in the way that it could be used, which could be incredibly powerful, where you're searching the appropriate hashtags and you're searching the appropriate YouTube channels. You know what your home screen on YouTube says a lot about yourself and what ads you're getting on Instagram says a lot about yourself and not to say this in a braggadocious way, but my YouTube is full of great podcasts and lectures and courses and people that I admire. And so, I'm constantly brainwashing myself over, when I go on Instagram, I learn something, every 20 seconds, I'm learning something new on Instagram because I'm militant about who I'm following and who I'm not following. And so, my point is that you can find a community of people if you're on purpose about it.
So, if you start with, I have the problem that I don't necessarily believe in myself, how do I solve that problem? Well, step one, let me get around some people who are like me or who have similar stories for me, that will inspire me and we'll be able to speak my language so that I can connect with them and on a daily basis, understand that, yeah, I can do it because they did it too. I would say also a second practical point is to start smaller. So, James Clear in atomic habits, he says, if you want to start running, the first thing to do is to make it easy. So, prepare your shoes, your running shoes at the base of your bed in the morning and put your running outfit on the base of your bed. And he says, even if you just put that on, put your shoes on that is a win and go outside and walk and just touch the door or touch the end of the street and come back. That's a win. So basically, think smaller. If you wanna change the world and, you know, be, have a 10 million a year company or whatever your goals are, that's fine. But start with, can I change my Instagram account to include one product in my Instagram store? That's step one, right? Or can I build one Shopify store with one product in it? That's maybe the very base thing, or can I come up with a product offering or could I ask my boss for some feedback so that I can improve or whatever it may be, just something very, very simple and lower your bar. And that will allow you to start believing in the little things which will allow you to believe in medium things, which allow you to believe in bigger things. And then I would also say, ask self-reflect, whether it's through therapy or journaling about times in your life, when you had doubts about your abilities and you won anyways. And if you can hold onto those as a home base and you can say, well, have I thought of this before? Have I had this type of doubt? Did I not believe in myself before? Has that ever happened? Yeah. I can remember when I was in third grade or I can remember in high school or I can remember when I was whatever. And I doubted it, I didn't believe in myself, but I tried anyways and I did win. And so, now if you can, if you did it, then, then you can do it again. So, I think those are the three practical ways to start believing.
Michael: That makes so much sense. And as you said that I was reflecting on like, what does my YouTube look like? And it's exactly like what you just laid out, it's these amazing lectures and phenomenal podcasts and education and courses. But it used to be like, I don't know, dudes farting on each other in stupid shit like that. You know what I mean? And it was really funny cuz it's this like transition where you have to, you used a word that I love and I want to go deeper into this word because I don't think it's actually talked about enough in personal development and mental health and business, and anything. You talked about doing things on purpose. How do you figure that out? Like how do you know, okay, this is the thing I need to do on purpose. This is how I need to show up in my life. These are the things that matter to me, on purpose this makes sense. But like, what does that actually mean? What does that look like? Because I love that word and I think you just really hit the nail right on the fucking head.
Jonathon: Yeah, I have this conversation with a lot of my team where I'll ask them a simple question. Did you Google this first, which is such a simple, it sounds condescending and sometimes I mean where I'm making a point. I said, did you Google? The top 10 steps to making sure a podcast goes well, right? Let's say if we're launching a podcast or if we're having an event for some of our students. 20 things, to remember when you're having an in-person event, like, did you Google that? Right? And a lot of the times the answer is no. The world is conspiring to solve your problems in the easiest way that they've ever been organized in the history of humanity right now. Right? There's a competition right now for free and paid to solve all of your problems as quickly and efficiently as possible right now. And so, if you have a goal, just as simple as it sounds. I asked my team this, did you read the first 20 articles about it? Because if you read the first 20 articles about it, you're probably in the top 1% in the world after reading those 20 articles about whatever the thing is then anyone else? Oh, we're having trouble meeting our deadlines. Okay. Did you type in top project management systems? And did you read, okay, this is what click up does, this is what Monday does, this is what Trello does, this is what air table does. If you take two hours to read articles on those, all of a sudden this is being on purpose, you're being purpose about actually trying to solve the problem and not defaulting to accepting the excuse of, well, someone didn't spoon-feed me the answer, so I'm not going to do it. You say I have this goal which usually the best goals are. I want to help people, that's how you can empower yourself when you feel lazy because our amygdala, our animal brain is very lazy, we just wanna survive and eat and replicate basically is all we want to do. And so, if we survived and we potentially replicated yesterday, we're gonna default to that, that's all we're gonna do. And your brain and your body does not want to go into, you know, a discomfort zone, which is how you get better at anything. It does not want to read something new and then have this self-doubt of, well, I don't know what that is or I don't understand that word, so now I have to read this new vocabulary word. I don't even want to confront that demon of my own lack of knowledge. So, I'm not even gonna confront it and so, I'm just gonna kind of go through the motions. And this is why these first principles, these mindset, soft skills are so much more important in my opinion than any hard skill, because hard skills will always change with software and, you know, new technologies and new companies. And whatever's really hot in Facebook advertising right now in 10 years won't exist and so, who cares, what really matters, is first principal's thinking and knowing that if I want to learn something, how do I learn something? And what are the objections that my own brain is gonna have against learning that thing in advance, which is, I don't wanna do it because then I'm gonna put myself out there and I'm not gonna be good at it and I'm gonna fail, you know, I don't want to use the brain cells to really learn something new. So, you already know that you're gonna do that. And so, in my opinion, a lot of it is attaching yourself, you know, Simon Sinek style to a bigger why, which is to someone else. I often challenge my team, I say, if I gave you a million dollars right now to solve this problem, that 10 minutes ago you said was impossible, are you gonna find a solution for it right now? And of course, all of a sudden, you know, 10 minutes ago was impossible and now 10 minutes ago it's done, they've Googled the right thing, they've figured out the answer and they've solved it or I say the opposite where I say, imagine if someone who's someone who you really love? Oh, you know, my niece or my nephew or something. Okay. What if by solving this problem, you gave them a full ride scholarship to university. Would you figure that out? Oh, all of a sudden, you're inspired. And so, a lot of times I think people are not attaching, they don't realize how powerful they are if they just get out of their own way. In my office, I have a quote that I can see as soon as I walk into my office and it says leadership is sacrifice. And I think that a lot of people think that leadership is, you know, being on the spa and telling what people to do and this old idea of, you know, this CEO that's overpaid. And in fact, its leaders eat last, leaders get paid last, leaders have more responsibility, leaders in the best-case scenario are really trying to help the most people possible. And so, if you feel inspired by that, if you feel that energy, then you gotta get outta your own way and just start living and producing for other people.
Michael: Yeah, you do. And I think also one of the things that's really interesting is you have to forego instant gratification because anytime you're building something and I think you can attest to this, it's just gonna take longer than you think. There’s so much to learn, so much to educate on yourself on, and I try to tell people all the time, like even like great podcast episodes or great books or great courses. If you only go through them one time, you're doing yourself a gigantic disservice, because you will never, it's the same as your analogy about playing guitar. If you play guitar one time for five hours, you will not be proficient, if you play the guitar 100 times for five hours, you'll probably start to have some mastery there. Right. And I think that people, because innately again, to your point, we don't like the struggle of going through the process we would rather, that's why fast food's so fucking successful, cuz you don't have to do anything, but pull up into your car. You can eat in your car. You don't even have to get out of your car to satiate a need and a desire and that desire is so built into us, it's so easy to be like, okay, cool, double burger with cheese and fucking fries and a milkshake. Go sit over here, eat it, consume it, feel like crap and then not do anything the rest of the day. Cuz you've got the mouth pleasure of eight seconds. But in life and when it comes to goals and the things that you want to accomplish, if you're willing to forgo the gratification of the instantaneous, what starts to happen is you're like, wait a second, maybe I can get an alignment for learning more, consuming more, growing more, stepping deeper into this journey. But, you know, Jonathan, something came to mind as you were speaking, I thought to myself, you know, and this was something that I was guilty of 7, 8, 9 years ago that I've now beat the habit of is I would read the books and I would listen to the podcast and I would watch the videos and I would go to the courses and I wouldn't do fucking anything with it. Like I would just be like, I am an avid consumer of knowledge and I think that there's this really interesting pivot that I had in my own life that I see happen for a lot of people in which they step into execution. Talk about execution in a practical capacity when it comes to creating your purpose in life.
Jonathon: Yeah. I think that you have to give yourself an arena to play in. So, the way that you learn anything, the first is this is like from deep work, by Cal Newport, the idea of deliberate practice which actually comes from Andrews Erickson. But the idea is that in order to learn something efficiently, you have to first have the goal of what you're trying to learn. Right. Then you have to go into, what's often called a deep work session where you're undistracted, you have to push yourself past your limit. Not so far past that you're frustrated, but you're not playing the same song over and over and over again, you're playing the same song a little bit faster each time. Right? So, you're pressing yourself a little bit, then you're getting feedback from the world or hopefully from a mentor or coach or someone like that, then you're using that feedback to start the process all over again. And you just keep that loop over and over and over again. Right. So then once you reach a level of mastery, what I like to do is I test myself by teaching it to other people, right? So, first is I go through that loop for myself and then step two, I start to try to teach it to someone else then step three, when I understand or I feel like I can teach someone so that they can understand and I'll often do this with my wife or, you know, with other executives on my team in the beginning when I'm just learning something and then immediately as quickly as possible step three, I'll apply it in one of my businesses. Now, if you don't have, I understand the objection that's coming up, well, what if I don't have a business? Or what if I? This is what I mean by creating an arena to creating a goal that's in the real world. So, if it has to do with physical fitness, this is why it's so important to, let's say I running, so, I use a lot of running analogies, but pay for the 5k or the 10 K or the marathon pay for in advance. So, give yourself a real a goal now, it's not just an idea, it's there. If you're doing CrossFit, pay the fee to the whatever CrossFit is the tournament or something, right? If it's, let's say you wanna start a business, put out on social media, give yourself some pressure, a deadline, make it public and you'll find that people love vulnerability. This is Brenè Brown, right? Brenè Brown, this her entire career is built off of this because it's such an incredible and powerful idea that we worry that if we put ourselves out there publicly, because our old tribal brain is worried about being kicked out of the tribe, because we're pack animals, if we're kicked out of the tribe, we literally. If you're imagine a fire and a walled garden, and everyone's hanging out there and then you get excommunicate you're out there by yourself, you're literally gonna die. So, this is why we're so afraid of being kicked out of the tribe and our place in the social hierarchy we're worried about this, right? But in fact, in modern times, it's the exact opposite. So, imagine two people, one person comes up to you at a wedding and they whisper in your ear. I'm an incredible dancer. Watch I'm gonna go dance. Okay. And they go dance and they crush they're world class, they absolutely crush.
Another person comes up to you and says, vulnerably. I'm actually not very good at dancing. I'm really scared of dancing, but I think I'm gonna try today anyways. And then they go out there and they're terrible but they told you, I'm gonna try, who do you respect more? Of course, you respect more the person that put themselves out there and was vulnerable. So, we have to understand that nowadays, putting yourself out there and saying, Hey, these are my goals, creating an arena for yourself with some real stakes and some real deadlines and whatever it may be. One, it forces your hand, but it also what will happen is the opposite of what you think it will happen is that people there'll be an outpouring of support from both friends, but also even potential mentors. So, you gotta create the stakes, even if they don't exist, it's easy for me because we have paid media and I say, oh, I'm gonna change this, I'm gonna try that, the stakes are, I'm spending money on it and I gotta get data real fast otherwise, you know, we're not gonna get an ROI in whatever we're doing. So, the stakes are easy for me, but for someone else, you gotta create them.
Michael: Yeah, but I would guess Jonathon, the stakes haven't always been easy for you, right? Because you've had to go like anyone you go through the process it's iterative and you find yourself in this position of all right, here we are, step one day one I'm gonna go and attack this thing like to your point about debate in school, like you're probably shitting your pants. You know what I mean? Just putting words in your mouth, but you know, that's what I think about too. The first time I've been on stages is, the first time I wrote a book, the first time I had a podcast, it was like, Ugh, fuck. Just do it anyway. And I think honestly, to some extent, like a level of convincing yourself, like, and on the backside of that, not only convincing yourself, not only being vulnerable, not only putting the date out there, but the follow through, because I think that the only way, and I'd love to know your thoughts on this, you know, you talk about getting this place of building a zone of genius. One - I would like you to break that down for us, but two, what I'm curious about leading into that, would I be correct in assuming that finding your zone of genius is an iterative process?
Jonathon: A hundred percent. I love the idea of the Greeks had this idea that you didn't, you weren't a genius you had a genius so, everyone had a genius. And the idea it was, they personified it like a little angel on your shoulder. So, everyone would have a genius you just need to tap into it. A lot of famous poets, talk about this as well, where they say that they don't even know how they write what they write they just tap into the energy and it flows, but they have to sit down and put in the work. And eventually, sometimes they tap into their genius. And the idea is that in order to find that moment of brilliance, right? Give you an example. Albert Einstein, what is he known for? Right. He's known for a couple equations. Think about your entire life. Life is short, but also to an extent, life is long. There's a lot of things that happened in your life. Right? Imagine the only thing that happened in your life was this one equation. And it came to him in a moment, it really did. There was an aha moment and then he wrote it down and then of course he said, okay, let’s reverse engineer let's figure it out, but it took him a long, long, long, long time to have that one spike. So, I was just reading a book about him and they thought he had to go to a special school because he wasn't able to talk very well and he wasn't even really that good at math. He was more of a big ideas guy and he needed mathematicians to help him improve his concept because he wasn't even that good at math. The point is that it took a long, long time of iterating and practicing and deliberately practicing and trying lots of different things and going against the grain, even when people doubted him and you see this all the time with writers that are known for one book. You wrote one book, maybe it took you two years, well, you were alive for 80 years. So, the other 78 years you were not writing that book, right? So, it takes, you had to like lower the pressure I think it it's weird. There's a book called billionaire brain and it says that billionaires are able to have seemingly paradoxical or dichotomous beliefs in their brain at the same time. Right. So, if you want to find your zone of genius, you both have to be okay with you know, kind of iterating and failing all the time and knowing that you don't really know and just being okay with that. But also at the same time, you have to increase the stakes, so on the one hand, it's like, ah, it doesn't matter. I'm just practicing, you know, I'm gonna figure it out, right? Lower the stakes on this side. But on the other side, while you're doing the thing, you have to go all in because that's how you attain mastery. So, you have to take a full swing, you might take thousands of full swings, but each swing needs to be a full swing. And I think if you can balance those two ideas in your brain at the same time, eventually you're gonna have an aha moment or a series of aha moments that will coalesce hopefully into you finding whatever your zone of genius is. I think that also there's this idea, I think that people create false dichotomies going back, actually full circle to one of the first things that you said, where people will have lots of what they consider disparate skills. And they say, oh, you know, I'm kind of shallow in all of them. I was in Egpyt and I was talking to a lady who runs a school for basically teaching advertising in Egypt was in Cairo. And she came up to me afterwards, very humbly, cuz she was a teacher there and she said, Hey, I have this problem. So, I'm good at advertising, I'm good at HR but I really want to be a teacher. And she said, so which should I choose? And I said, your competitive advantage, you may be top 10% in the world advertising. You may be, let's say top 20% in HR and you might be top 25% at teaching. Right. But if you combine those three into one position, you may be top 1% or top 1% of the 1%, because that the middle of that Venn diagram is your sweet spot, that is your zone of genius, so instead of thinking, well, you know, I really like video editing, but in my free time, I like, you know, science fiction. Right. And then I like coaching. Okay. Well, is there a way to find a middle there, right? Can you teach other people how to do video editing using science fiction as an example. Now all of a sudden you have you and the thing that people will buy, especially nowadays is authenticity. So, don't be afraid of really digging into who you are.
Michael: Man, I'm so glad that you said that. And the reason why is I think about Donald Glover, AKA childish Gambino. And that dude is a modern-day Renaissance, man. I cannot think of anyone else who does as much as him because he's tapping into the things that bring him joy. And sometimes I sit here and I look at it, I go, okay, well, I'm a leadership coach and I'm a podcast host and I own retail companies and I'm a childhood trauma survivor and I've done all these things. But guess what, dude, what I realized about six years ago is like, what happens if I put them all together? And it's been this really, really interesting journey and what it's done for me personally, it's created more authenticity in my life. It's helped me for lack of a better phrase, know thyself at a deeper scope, because I realize we often try to pigeonhole ourselves into this idea of what we should do, what we should be, how we should operate. And I think if you look at the greatest minds, the greatest inventors, creators, stars, celebrities, business owners, entrepreneur, they all do different things like Mark Cuban does not only own companies. He does shark train; he owns the Dallas Mavericks. He does all these things, and you think, and he goes, why would you put yourself into a corner? Why would you do that to yourself? And so, I'm curious, in your own life, where has this played out for you?
Jonathon: I like to just say yes to everything for a short term. I think that's the way I like to dabble. And I have so many Shopify stores that are completely ready to go and are just from the outside world if you looked at 'em you'd think, wow, this is a proper brand. And I just never really pushed it, there was something else that was had a higher ROI at the time, but I went through the motions so I have like a running store. My cousins are from Detroit and they really got into Detroit coming back and so, we made a line for Detroit and, and Michigan cuz I went to the university of Michigan as well, my wife is a music producer and we made her a merch line with all of you know, I have a friend who, I helped her build a store for her, her art and her writing and none of that is I wouldn't, it's not even on the list of the top 20 things that I'm doing, but I went through the motions for a month or two. Right. And I built it out and then you know, handed it off to someone else. And if it makes a little bit of money, it makes a little bit of money, but I'm not gonna overthink it, I know how I'm putting food on the table. And so, I'm gonna double down on the things, you know, the companies right now that are scaling and that's fine, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel like I can't dabble. I have a bunch of podcast episodes, I haven't really launched a podcast, but I've been on podcasts, I really enjoy it, I think, Hey, that would be fun in the, in the future to maybe do a podcast. So let me go through the motions, let me set up the camera, let me put on the audio and let's go through it. And if I ever come to it, if I come back to it and wanna really take it seriously, then I will but I just say yes to things. And I trust the universe, I try to live by first principles and be a good person and work hard and stay disciplined in the things that I know that I should do and I have to do every single day, but beyond that I try not to put too much pressure on myself and just try things out.
Michael: And I'll put words in your mouth. If you don't mind, it sounds to me like you give yourself permission to change your mind. It's like fucking totally fine. Right? I mean, I think to me, one of the greatest senses of self of zone of genius, of purpose of every is like, you can change your mind.
Like I say, all the time, if I wake up one day, and even though I've dedicated six years plus of my life to this. I'm like, I don't wanna do it anymore, I'm gonna just go do something else. And it's like, that's okay. I think about it in terms of like marriages, you see these marriages not work and you go, yeah, okay. Divorce rates high, but you know what. Maybe it's for the best. Maybe you don't have to suffer through raising the kids and college and all that other shit, maybe it's for the best. And most of the time it is, I mean, obviously that's an easy, low hanging fruit example, but you know, I think I come to that quite often because it just makes sense to me that if you have the willingness to be vulnerable and truthful with yourself, you'll discover the reality that actually may be that thing you thought you were interested in, you don't give a shit about.
Jonathon: A hundred percent. And if you're really self-aware, especially if you go through therapy where they're asking you lots of questions and you get to the origin of maybe why you started the thing, maybe you started the thing for maybe not very good reasons. And you forgot that you started the thing or you thought you liked it because of some pressure or you were really playing another person's game, whether it's society or your parents or whatever it may be. And so, yeah, a hundred percent that this is what science is, right? Like if your beliefs are not falsified, then who said it, I think it's have your belief should be firm, but loosely held something like that, where the idea is that if you're gonna argue, understand why you believe what you believe, know why you believe what you believe, but if new evidence comes about and someone convinces you of the opposite. Okay. It's completely weird to me to be stuck on even if your brain thinks in the moment, oh, that's actually a good point. But because you are worried about your identity, basically being attached to this idea or this concept or this mask that you're currently wearing. And it's not a very strong identity, if your identity is attached to your career or some belief system or a political party or whatever it is, it's kind of quick stand whereas if your identity is attached to things like, I am someone who learns or I am someone who pushes myself when I'm scared, I am someone who tries to help other people. I am someone who tries to find the right answer rather than be right. These types of things they're meta and therefore you're sort of untouchable if you create your core values based on these, they seem like they're less foundational, but they're in fact more foundational.
Michael: Yeah. They're actually the essence of life, I think because when you, when you put yourself in that position of creating the framework of understanding who you are, then you filter literal every choice and decision that you make in your life through those value systems, through those boundaries, those wants, those needs those interests. You know, Jonathon, I think one of the things that I come to quite often is when I have conversations like this and I'm sit across from someone who's had so much success in their life, I can't help, but think there's been a lot of lessons to success, a lot of like smashing your face against the keyboard moments. I wanna ask you this question and if you can make it practical fine, if not, that's totally understandable. But what do you think has led to your success?
Jonathon: That's a deep question. I think from the time I was very young felt I've unlocked this from therapy. I think I felt pressure to get validation from my parents and particularly my father, and this is common. And so, I had a series of outward goals that I would have, whether they were through sports or academics or certain competitions where you could really keep score. So, you could point to it and say, Hey, look, I was first place or Hey, I won or that sort of thing. Right. And that I think is the beginning of it. If you remember the physical fitness award or presidential physical fitness award from public schools, in this little school I went to in Ohio, I remember in first grade being at an award ceremony and there was only one person who was a fifth grader, who had got the presidential physical fitness, all five years. And so, I thought in my brain, Ooh, I'm going to, this is an exceptional award obviously, he's the only person in the entire grade to get it and it takes delayed gratification, you know, to your point and it's five years. And so, there's something probably innate in me, probably in my DNA, but also, I think I was trying to find validation and love for my father. And so, I thought if I do this in the, in the world, if I get this award that no one else gets, if I get a four point, oh, if I go to this university, if I'm the captain of the speech and debate team. You know, basically conditional love feeling if I meet the conditions and then what happened is that in order to do those things, I started reading very, very young age people like Tony Robbins or Jim Rohn when I was really young. And so, I got into this idea of like, there's a pattern here like there's a reason why chefs that are really great, are similar to LeBron James, are similar to Bill Gates like there's something that they have in common, right.? And similar to Oprah or whatever, whoever your person is. And so, I started in high school trying to figure out how to do that. Basically, the meta, how to accomplish any goal and I got sort of obsessed with that and that led to different games being played. So instead of trying to win the state championship with speech and debate, it turned into reaching a certain milestone of number of customers and sales and that sort of thing. So, the metrics of the game change, but I think that the origin of it is, you know, probably not that interesting, it's just trying to feel accepted and feeling loved and all of that, but I think now, you know, I've gone through enough therapy to know that that now my big why is not to, or I hope it's not to try to get validation, but it's to be a vessel and help more people.
Michael: And I'll say this from my own personal experience, that outward validation, just it never will satiate like the thirst that you have, syou will lap that water until the cows come home and you will still have thirst. You know, I discovered that and that's held more true, the more that I step into being on bigger stages and more podcasts and books and stuff like that. You know, and I remember as a kid, I would come home. I played sports too, and not having parents, but instead being adopted, I would bring home like wrestling, medals or trophies, I'd be like, look what I did, I'll tell you a very embarrassing story. So, I'm like 17 and I just won the city wrestling tournament and there was this girl I had the biggest fucking crush on ever, and I had this medal. And I went, dude, this is so embarrassing. I went and I sat down next to her and I was just like, look what I did, and her response was like, dude, get the fuck away from me. And that was this really interesting moment I had super young to realize like validation starts with you. Now, I think that it's a journey to getting to that conclusion and people will even listen to this and they'll like, okay, whatever and then you'll sit in it one day, cuz you'll have this weird experience and you'll recognize the truth that, you know, it really does start with the decisions that you make, about how you determine how you feel about yourself. And that you are the universe and ultimately if you're willing to be okay with that and recognize like some people fucking don't like you, some people do like you and it has nothing to do with you either way, you'll actually get this really interesting sense of freedom. Now you mentioned something and I want to go back to here for a second. You said that when you were working at Zoosk, you had this amazing mentorship. What role did that play in your life? And talk about just mentorship in general.
Jonathon: Yeah, just to clarify, my mentor was the founder of Zoosk and then we were working at a company called mentor boss, but he's one of his biggest wins and just in case he's listening to this. So, mentorship, I think was what happened very specifically is because I had a lot of book mentors, I had a lot of virtual mentors, so this is when impact theory first came out. I know you've had Tom on the podcast. I became obsessed with Tom Bilyeu. I became obsessed with everything that Ryan Holiday was putting out, like just lots of virtual mentors. And I would buy all the courses and listen to all the podcasts and read all of the books. And so, I would put myself in their mind when I was sort of mentoring myself relative to what I was doing. So, I would write something or I would build something and then I would say, okay, what would, Tom say, let me put on the hat, the alter ego effect, right? Like let me put on his hat, what would he say? And so, I would play this, basically play chess with myself and that was helpful because that's where I was but then I got in the real, the real world of Silicon Valley, downtown San Francisco VCs, lots of money, lots of stakes, super high pressure. And under one of the best entrepreneurs, you know, I would argue of our generation, he rang the bell and the New York stock exchange, you know, that only happens 250 times a year, it's 250 people in the entire world, you know, every year do that, you're in rarefied air. And so, when I was mentoring under him, I basically had to start playing at multiples higher than I was playing at immediately. So, I think that what happened was I was on a trajectory, but it forced me to play at such a higher level, so fast, it's like if you're playing in high school and you go to division three, or you're playing in high school and you go to division one, or you're playing in high school and you play at Kentucky is very different, where you're playing in high school, and then you go straight to the NBA. These are different worlds, even though each one is, if you went from high school to division three, that is another level. So, I felt like I was maybe a division three. I was pretty good and then I went to the pros and it forced me to really not care or it didn't give me the freedom to think about how I felt about it. Like, it didn't matter how I felt, the thing was, had to be done now and the stakes were now. And so, I sort of to be frank blacked out for about, about two years in terms of my personal life. Right. I just worked but that saw was being sharpened so fast, so, talk about learning something and then being in the arena and applying it in the arena. Tom Bilyeu, just said this in a post just the other day, he said this is super controversial, but he said that you have to work smart, work hard and work long hours. And he said the long hours is controversial because people that work smart don't wanna necessarily wanna work long hours. He says, but if you wanna compete with me, I'm doing all three. So, if you do two out of the three, I'm gonna beat you and I felt like for those two years, I had to do all three. So, it beyond what I learned, tactically, I think it was just trying to keep up that was the biggest thing.
Michael: I think there's a lot of benefit to trying to keep up, right? If you're willing to not beat yourself up about it, which I think can be this really fine line about the experience. And you're like, okay, I'm gonna dive in, I'm gonna go hard. I'm gonna work 14 hours a day, I'm gonna go Monday through Sunday, every single day, 24/7, eventually like this crazy fucking thing happens and your dreams come true. And I think that's one of the things that people, I mean, if I could give anybody anything, it would be that level, you know, and for me, early on, my dreams coming true were just healing, feeling better about my life and, and loving myself. And dude, I did my 10,000 hours in a year therapy, coaching books, podcasts, money invested, and it was incredible to watch my life just kind of transform because when you put yourself in those positions, you're short cutting, the amount of time and suffering it takes to learn what somebody already knows. Jonathon, my friend, this conversation's been incredible, I think we could talk for hours, man, but before I ask you my last question, can you tell everyone where they can find you?
Jonathon: I'm most active on Instagram. So just add @jonathonkendall
Michael: Brilliant. And we'll put the link in the show notes for the audience. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be Unbroken?
Jonathon: This is a great question. My background before digital marketing was in copywriting. And so, I'm deconstructing it in the present tense and the past tense in my brain.
So unbroken, meaning in the short term, it's sort of an identity. I'm an unbroken or like Nasim tale says, antifragile, it kind of feels like that to me, where if I get a cut, I'll come back stronger. Right. So that's sort of the present tense, but I'd like the idea of deconstructing it as something from the past. So, I was broken and now I am not broken. I am unbroken. And I don't know if that's how you thought about it when you titled this. But I like the idea, it feels to me, especially the theme of this podcast and the show, it feels like maybe you were once broken or you have felt broken in the past and you can become unbroken. You can turn the corner and you don't always have to be you. You don't always have to be broken by taking the right steps slowly but surely and being in the right community, you can become unbroken. So that's how I view it.
Michael: Brilliantly said my friend. Thank you so much for being here.
Unbroken Nation. Thank you so much for listening.
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An executive, Investor, Speaker, Copywriter, Author, and Avid Reader.
Jonathon is currently the co-founder & COO of LeadNurture: an all-in-one Sales, Funnels, & CRM software; as well as the Executive Director of VirtualWorkerNow, an international outsourcing agency.
From 2008 to 2015, He was a published novelist, freelance business ghostwriter, and professional marketing copywriter.
He then spent three years at MentorBox, first as an internet marketing and copywriting expert, then as an executive, ultimately taking the role of CEO in his final year: helping scale MentorBox to 60,000+ recurring paying subscribers.
In 2020 he served as an Executive at Retail Ecommerce Ventures, where he helped raise over $100 Million from accredited investors.