Welcome to the Terminal Value Podcast
Jan. 11, 2021

#18 The Mastermind Principle with Aaron Walker

#18 The Mastermind Principle with Aaron Walker

Napoleon Hill first wrote about the mastermind principle over 80 years ago in his classic book 'Think and Grow Rich.'

Aaron is taking Hill's classic lessons and taking them to the next level as a leader & participant in multiple mastermind groups that propel success-minded people to even greater heights of achievement.

It is almost impossible to underestimate the impact of positive, constructive association. Consciously executing the mastermind principle in your business and life is an exceptional way to ensure continued, growth-oriented interactions that propel everybody in your circle of influence to greater heights.

Learn more at www.ViewFromTheTop.com

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Welcome to the terminal value Podcast where each episode provides in depth insight about the long term value of companies and ideas in our current world. Your host for this podcast is Doug Utberg, the founder and principal consultant for Business of Life, LLC.

Doug: Welcome to the terminal value podcast. I have Aaron Walker with me.  So Aaron it's, it's hard to say exactly what Aaron does. He is a man of many, many talents. He is of course known mostly for his, a view from the top, book and series. But, what I actually brought him on here to talk about was the mastermind concept originated by Napoleon Hill will not originate it but popularized by Napoleon Hill, as well as many of the other really important parts of building a successful business and becoming a successful leader. Aaron, please introduce yourself to audience.

Aaron: Hey Doug, thanks for having me on, man. I really appreciate it. I'll give you a 30,000 foot view. I won't bore your audience too much. I hope I'm a native Nashvillian live in Nashville, Tennessee.

Doug: Outstanding:

Aaron: My 60th year here. I love it in Nashville. People ask me all the time on interviews. If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would you live? And I said, well, I can live anywhere I want. And I do. And it's Nashville, Tennessee. I love it here started my first business at 18, 42 years ago. And I've been an entrepreneur since we've started. And so 14 different businesses. I retired for the third time when I turned 50, 10 years ago, and then a mastermind that I'm in with Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller and some of those other guys, they encouraged me to coach. So I started coaching fell in love with that process. Today we have 20 masterminds, we're in nine different countries and we absolutely are having a blast. Helping people live a very successful life and significant life. And so I've got a journey a little bit along those lines that I can share a little later how the paradigm shift changed for me and how I went from really self focused to outward focus. 

Doug: Okay.

Aaron: It really changed my life.

Doug: Well, I've actually found that a lot of the most successful people and by successful, I don't just mean raking in tons of money, but the most successful people, as far as having, you know, having real whole, fulfilled lives really make that outward, outward focused shift. You know, in a, in the rotary, organization, that I'm a part of, you know, their, their motto is service above self, you know, which I think is, you know, it's a clever slogan, but at some point you really, you, you, you really get there on your own if you're going to live that fulfilled life, you know, because the thing is, if you're just chasing after dollars, there's always more dollars to chase after, and you'll just find yourself working harder and harder and harder. And, you know, but, but what ends up happening is after a certain point, nothing really gets that much better. The toys just get bigger and your health deteriorates.

Aaron: Yeah. I see that happening each and every day. There so right. You know, they say that once you reach about $70,000, that the change in your happiness is minuscule, you know. it does give you options and it is nice to make money. I don't want to minimize that. But we do need to have a level of significance in our lives.

Doug: Exactly. Precisely, precisely and well, because, and just on a little bit of a tangent, but that's okay. A small tangent here and there is fine. One of the things I've noticed is that, you know, I know a number of people who have been very, very, financially successful. But at some point, your health ends up your, your health ends up becoming a rail that the rest of your life has to work around because a lot of those these people will either develop stress disorders. They'll either develop like diabetes or some, or kidney problems or cholesterol problems. Like one of my good friends, you know, he's, you know, he's a very successful guy, but he has high cholesterol. So he's, you know, he loves eggs, but he could be, but he, he is very, very stringently restricted on his diet because you know, he's trying to manage his cholesterol. And so I think that's one of the, one of the things is that, you know, a lot of times you can turn yourself into a giant stress ball trying to  you know, try to reach the top of the mountain to grab the brass ring. Okay. So for any younger people in the audience, when I say grab the brass ring, there used to be an merry-go-round, so it'd be little rings. And if you could reach the brass ring at the top and showed it to the conductor, you'd get a free ride. 

Aaron: Right. 

Doug: You know, that's where the figure of speech comes from. Sorry, I like to, I don't like to assume that everybody understands all of my little sayings, so, but but yeah, I found that the, you know, there's really a you know, you know, success is a, it's a tricky thing because it's tempting to think about it just in terms of dollars, but at some point the, the dollars don't matter as much. And what you've had to sacrifice to get there is a, is a lot of your life that you just can't get back.

Aaron: You know, Doug. And that actually happened to me if I could share just for a moment when I was 18, I started my first business and Robin and I got married two weeks out of high school. So we just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.

Doug: Congratulations.

Aaron: Thank you. And along that journey, we did extremely well financially. When I was 27 years old, we sold out to a fortune 500, which really gave me some other opportunities. But what happened was is that I came home with a pocket full of money to a house full of strangers one day. And I said, Hey, I better turn this ship around because I want to know my little girls. And I want to know my wife better. About 10 years after that, unfortunately, I was headed to the office when I was 40 and ran over and killed a pedestrian that was crossing the street to catch a local bus. And it really got my attention. And recently, Mike it's called me and he wanted to interview me for his new book that he's writing. And he said, why is it that it takes these catastrophic events in our life to get our attention? And I don't really know the answer to that. I think that we're smart people and we should be able to say, Hey, I need to have a little bit more balanced in my life. I need to focus on the priorities in my life that I'm really supposed to be such as my faith or family and friends and, you know, these type things, but we get so distracted with trying to make more money, right? 

Doug: Yeah.

Aaron: We keep moving the ball? Right? And then we get it. And once we get it, we go, well that didn't scratch the itch like I thought it was going to scratch the itch, maybe just a little bit more, and then I'll feel better. And I'm just here to tell you today, it's never going to do it. It's good to make money and I want to make money and I want to make more of it, but I want it to be a tool.

Doug: Yeah.

Aaron: That I can live my life. I don't want it to be controlling my life. I don't want it to be the only reason that I'm pursuing sex.

Doug: Completely agree. Well. And, it was actually, you, you, you, you just reminded me of an interesting article. I saw, I forgot who wrote it, but basically what it did, what they, what they did was they surveyed people at a various number of income levels. And they said, okay, what is your, you know, what is your idea of what constitutes rich and in terms of income per year, and almost without fail, no matter where anybody was on the socio-demographic income spectrum, they defined rich as double where they were per year. So if they made 10,000, 20,000, 20,000, 40,000, 40,000, 80,000, 80, 160,160, 320, 326, it didn't matter. 

Aaron: Right.

Doug: It's basically double wherever they were at.

Aaron: Right.

Doug: And so that, you know, the, I think that the term for that is treadmill effects, which is that, you know which is that, you know, when you, you know, as you keep ascending in your lifestyle, you, you always notice, Hey, there's somebody who has say a bigger house or more property or more vacation homes, or a cooler boat, or a cooler car, or a better RV or something. And it's really easy to kind of get sucked into that vortex. 

Aaron: Yeah.

Doug: I mean, and I think that if anything, you know, one of the things that a mastermind type of group is really important about is to do is not just to figure out how do you start, keep putting more zeros in front of the dollar signs. I mean, that's great. That gives you more tools to work with, but how do you avoid sacrificing your life in order to do that?

Aaron: That's why you need unbiased, trusted advisors around you ongoing. And I've done that for 22 consecutive years. I've been in a mastermind group. Dave Ramsey started a group decades ago and invited me to join the group. We all live here in Nashville. And I was Dave second sponsor on his radio show. And so we sponsored him for 21 years and we developed a really good friendship out of that. And one day he invited me to join that mastermind and I've reluctantly went. I didn't want to, because I knew Dave was a hard charger and he was going to be all up in my face about stuff. And I was like, man, I don't know that I want to do that. But looking back now is the best decision I ever made because I had people that didn't have anything to gain or lose as a result of me subjecting myself to their scrutiny. And then they would tell me what they really think. If they, we all have super powers, Achilles heel, but we also have blind spots

Doug: Yeah. 

Aaron: You see, the blind spots is what will get you, right? We're too close to the bottle to read the label. And these other people that know you well, that you meet with on a weekly basis can go, Hey, timeout, you're spending too much time at work. You're not treating Robin good. You're not at home, Brooke and Holly, like you should be, uh, you're tired. You're exhausted all the time. And they'll throw the flag on you

Doug: Yeah. 

Aaron: And you're like, Hey, you're right. I need to be a little more kind, need to be home more for my kids, baseball games and cheerleading practice. And, I need to slow down just a little bit, but the, the flip side of that is, is that you can go in with an idea I'm a creator developer. So I've got new ideas every day. And for people to go, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Or now if we modify this and we change this, you may be on to something and then hold you accountable to fulfilling that responsibility. That the thing that you said you were going to do, and it also helps you negate the shiny object syndrome where they can say, Hey, two weeks ago, you said you were going to do this. Now, here you are with a new idea, like, which is it.

Doug: Yeah. 

Aaron: And so for me, I need that constant accountability.

Doug: And on the, on the idea evaluation, I really liked that second piece that you said, which is to say it, which is where somebody says, okay, Hey, I hear your idea. Have you thought about doing X, Y, and Z? Because I found there's a lot of people who will tell you why something won't work. There's very, very few people who can give you meaningful advice on, okay, this is how we can make either make it work or make it work better.

Aaron: Yeah. Say we don't know what we don't know. 

Doug: Yeah.

Aaron: And we only have one life experience. You were raised a certain way. You've only got a certain amount of education and there's so many opportunities to surrounding yourself with competent people. Like Jim Roan said, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So in order for you to excel and for you to go forward, you need to get into a room with people that have excelled and have gone forward,.

Doug: Yeah. Exactly.

Aaron: Or people that share the similar core values as you. And you're wanting to go forward in a strategy related personally, professionally, or even spiritually. And so we really have to get around people that are willing to help us do that.

Doug: Yeah, absolutely. I completely and totally agree. You know, and so, and you know, just share a few of your experiences about kind of you know, as you've gone through a number of these masterminds. So you mentioned Dave Ramsey's mastermind, but I know that you have been a member of a number and that you run a number of masterminds. Just tell us how how'd that transfer transformative process you know, kind of goes because it's, you know, for people who, for anybody who hasn't read think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill, stop listening to this podcast immediately go read, think, and grow rich by Napoleon Hill and then come back and keep listening. It is that important. But I think the you know, cause what the mastermind principle really does is it brings the, it brings the thought energy of a, you know, of a great number of greater number of people to bear on, you know, on an individual problem. But I think the place where most, where most masterminds fall down is there's, there's this requirement that's hidden that Napoleon Hill hides, which is a, a mastermind is a group of people working in perfect harmony and perfect harmony is a rather difficult thing to achieve. Most people don't appreciate how hard that is, because anytime that you get more than two people, you know, more than one person in a group, you, you know, you, you, you, you have as many opinions as you have people. And then usually three or four more that develop from side conversations. So keep up in perfect. Harmony is so.

Aaron: Yeah, I think what ideally he's trying to do there is to build some synergy.

Doug: Yeah.

Aaron:  To get us where the council of the multitudes is in unison on what you should be doing now in order to get there. And that's the reason we call our groups, iron sharpens, iron. There's a lot of sparks that fly as a result of it, you know, because we're in and we make a vow that we're going to tell people the truth, what we really think we want them to be there to show up,  to participate, to not miss the calls. You can't add value if you're not there.

Doug: Right.

Aaron:  And the other thing why happens so quickly today, you know, there's so many transitional situations that are going on in our loss, especially with the year 2020 that we just had, no one had ever experienced some of the difficulties that we had to deal with. And so I can't imagine being alone, making decisions, isolation is the enemy to excellence. 

Doug: Yap.

Aaron:  And if you really want to take your life forward, we were designed to be in community. We're not designed to be alone. Let's just hypothetically say that you could do it alone. And I, I contend that you can't, but let's just say you did. Who are you going to celebrate with? Right.

Doug: Exactly.

Aaron: It's pretty boring, right? To be successful at something. And then have no one to celebrate with. The other thing is a lot of people will say, my life is good right now. Well, it's not always going to be that way. It's cyclical. You know, there's things that are going to happen in your life. There's going to be ups and downs. There's going to be challenges that we could have never seen possible. There's going to be different family dynamics that we've not been exposed to yet. There's going to be sickness. There's going to be death. There's going to be breakup of relationships, financial travesties. And we're not equipped to handle those things alone now. And so when you're in a group and you constantly are doing life with someone, they understand your habits.

Doug: Yeah.

Aaron: They understand the things that you're most interested in, and then they can help you accomplish your goals and dreams. Just to give advice to somebody without having context is really useless because it's not applicable to each person. So, but when you have these trusted advisors, 8, 10, 12 people, and they see you operating on a regular basis weekly, they know what's important to you and they can help you.

Doug: Yeah, that's that, that is utterly and completely outstanding. Well, let's see. So, so yeah, I mean, if somebody is listening to this and they really want to take the next step, what would you recommend that they do?

Aaron: Well, one thing is, is you've got to really discern from within yourself. If you're willing to put yourself out there and be vulnerable and transparent and authentic, a lot of people are not willing to do that. And so therefore you wouldn't be a good fit in a mastermind. If you're unwilling also to tell people the truth, you wouldn't be a good fit in the mastermind. Some people just don't have it within them. If they're willing to expose themselves and show the areas that they're vulnerable and that they're weak, and you've gotta be willing to do that. And if you really want to get ahead. The other thing is, is with compassion and love. You want to share with people where they could be falling short. That's the first thing. So do kind of a self evaluation. The next thing is, is to check whether it's local or whether it's virtual. All...