Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Ken Coleman. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. For ways to connect with Ken, the notes, and for links to everything discussed, check out our show notes.
Ken Coleman: 00:00 The reason I’m talking about the insane amount of patience because there were many times, Doug, where I just felt like I was wasting my time and that it was never going to happen and that I was essentially toiling away in anonymity. You know, I’m chopping woods out chopping wood in the wilderness and nobody sees what I’m doing.
Doug Smith: 00:17 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 181. What’s up, everyone? Welcome to another episode of the L3 Leadership podcast. My Name’s Doug Smith and I am the founder of L3 Leadership. In this episode, you’re going to get to hear part one of my interview with Ken Coleman. Ken is the host of the Ken Coleman Show and the top-rated Entreleadership podcast, and he’s also the author of the book, One Question can help people grow their businesses, pursue their passions, and move toward a fulfilled purpose. Ken’s also the first two time guests of the L3 Leadership podcast. I had the privilege of interviewing him four years ago in a hotel lobby here in Pittsburgh. And if you want to go back and listen to that, you can. In episode number 50 and today’s interview, you’ll hear Ken talk about why he believes that every leader needs to give up to go up and what that actually looks like in their lives.
Doug Smith: 01:04 You’ll hear Ken talk about what qualities and characteristics he continually seasoned the leaders that he gets to spend time with, and he literally gets to spend time with the best leaders on the planet. And you also hear him talk about what he’s learning while helping people discover their calling through his new show, the Ken Coleman Show. But before we dive into the conversation with Kansas, a few announcements. First, I want to encourage you to become a member of L3 Leadership. Why? Because I believe every leader needs a community of leaders around them that will encourage them, challenge them, and hold them accountable. And that’s exactly what we provide here at L3 Leadership. When you become a member, you’ll have the ability to join or launch one of our mastermind groups. You’ll have access to our community of over 100 leaders and you all have access to the tools and resources you need to take your life and leadership to the next level.
Doug Smith: 01:49 To learn more about membership, go to L3leadership.org/membership I also want to thank our sponsor, Alex Tulandin, who is a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty. If you’re looking to buy or sell a house in the Pittsburgh market, Alex is your guy as a member and a supporter of L3 Leadership. He would love the opportunity to connect with you. You can find out more about Alex and connect with him at Pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com with that being said, enjoy the conversation with Ken Coleman and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements. Ken, thank you so much for your time today and why don’t we just start off with you just telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Ken Coleman: 02:23 Well I’m the host of the Ken Coleman show on Sirius XM Channel 132, lead into the Dave Ramsey show, Monday through Friday at around two eastern. We have a podcast of that show. The show is dedicated to helping people discover what it is they were created to do. And then once you get that part figured out, how do you create a plan that will allow you to see that dream become a reality. It’s caller driven show and we’re having a big time doing it. I also host the Entreeadership program, which is a part of the Ramsey Solutions family as well. I guest host the Dave Ramsey show from time to time. I guess my official title is was one of the Ramsey personalities is Dave is so generously, handing us the baton slowly over time and allowing us to share our message of hope and the spaces that we represent. I’m specifically helping people obviously in the career space and through Entreleadership get to add value to leaders as well. So that’s a, I also offered to the book of one question husband to Stacey for almost 20 years and three kiddos.
Doug Smith: 03:30 Awesome stuff. So I’ve been following you for years and years and years and it’s been a fascinating journey to watch from the outside. I’m just curious people see everything that you’re doing now and really everything you’ve done over the past 10 years. I’m just curious, what do you wish people knew about your journey and your life, your calling and what you’re doing now that they may not know?
Ken Coleman: 03:49 I really enjoy that question. I wish that people knew how insane the amount of patience I have had to have. I think that’s what, I think that’s what most people miss when they, study stories of success. And so the way you couch that question, I think that’s it. I would want everybody to know that it, it many times takes an insane amount of, patience because it feels like you’ve lost your mind and that’s huge man. You gotta hang on.
Doug Smith: 04:24 Can you dive a little bit deeper and maybe provide an example or two? Cause again, I was watching earlier in the Catalyst days and, again, I don’t know the whole journey, but I know you tried to at one point launch your own radio show and I don’t know fully what happened but seemed like didn’t work. And now all of a sudden you are where you are today. I just think that’s been awesome. But yeah, can you dive deep into that?
Ken Coleman: 04:41 Well, yeah, my radio show did work. I left that radio show to come join Dave Ramsey. So it was one of those deals where I’m going to leave the Ken Coleman show that I started on my own locally to go, you know, work with Dave Ramsey and be a part of his media platform. So it was giving up to go up. And so that’s what happened there. So it was working and doing well. But what’s crazy about it, Doug is I give up the Ken Coleman Show to come join Dave and be on a much bigger platform, not knowing where it’s going to end up, but knowing this is where I needed to be and that it was going to propel me forward. And it certainly was on the path. And Lo and behold to Ken Coleman, Show comes back and it’s just crazy. I would have never told you three and a half years ago when I started here that I would ever be doing the Ken Coleman Show again.
Ken Coleman: 05:33 So it’s, it’s been really, really neat to see that come back. You know the gist of the question is, you know, what did I do? How did I get here? Kind of a thing. And, the reality is, that, I knew that I was supposed to be in broadcasting and, I knew it was going to take a long time because I hadn’t gone to school for, I didn’t have relationships there. So I had a mindset. I remember telling my wife in the early days that I thought it was going to take five to seven years and this is over a dinner one night when I said, you know, I’m all in on this and I want to make sure you’re all in going to stay self-employed because that’s going to give you the most freedom to be able to pursue this.
Ken Coleman: 06:17 And I don’t have a degree in it, so I’m going to have to literally start from scratch. And she said, yeah, I’m all in. And it’s really strange, you know, I’m not a spooky kind of guy and believe in self-fulfilling prophecies per se, but I really felt like I was being realistic, that it might take five to seven years to catch a big break. And it was about six and a half years in, you know, catching the big break. And you know, it’s one of those things where, the reason I’m talking about the insane amount of patience because there were many times, Doug, where I just felt like I was wasting my time and that it was never going to happen. And that I was essentially toiling away in anonymity. You know, I’m chopping woods out chopping wood out in the wilderness and nobody sees what I’m doing.
Ken Coleman: 07:04 And I remember being on the Catalyst stage at times where I got a lot of attention, whether I was doing a high profile interview or something else. And then I feel I felt invisible at other times. You know, like, Hey, I’m, I should be getting more opportunity and you start, you know, woe is me and why isn’t anybody paying attention to me and all those things. And so that’s what I mean by that insane amount of patience because there are times where you question your sanity. Am I being smart? Should I just hang this up and just focus more on my company and live a good life and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And, and it’s just, it’s worth it. It’s worth it to wait.
Doug Smith: 07:46 That’s good. And I’m just curious, can you dive a little bit deeper into the give up to go up and the courage that it took, because again, you moved your family to Nashville, right? To start working for Dave, not knowing where it ended up. Can you talk to people who are maybe right at that point where they have stuff to give up? It’s going to require sacrifice. Yeah, I’m sure it’s scary. What were you feeling and how did you overcome that?
Ken Coleman: 08:05 Yeah, I love that followup. Giving up to go up is an absolute requirement on the path to success. It just is. If you’re going to be continually moving up, you must give up something. So this kid, I mean, I can answer this question for an hour because you could go through so many different intricate steps where you are choosing to continue to move forward and go up the ladder. And as a result, you’re going to have to drop something. This could be friends, this could be family members who aren’t on board and they’re just divisive or, there are boundary issues. Are there times you have to give up relationships, and that’s the hard truth. There are times where you’re going to have to give up money, financial prosperity, and maybe just cut way, way, way back. We did that, you know, we, we gave up, we sacrifice financially to be able to get here.
Ken Coleman: 08:57 You’re going to have to give up, things that you find to be comfort, you know, in your life, whether that be routines or, living in a certain place. Like we moved back to Nashville, we’d lived here before. But you’re going to have to give things up now. A specific answer here as to what happened when Dave asked me to come here, I did have to give up to Ken Coleman Show, no question about it. And it wasn’t a part of the deal. I knew I was going to be further in my broadcast career and, growing my personal brand by coming here, but at the sacrifice of the Ken Coleman Show which was working and I had started it from scratch and doing it on Saturday mornings and then seeing it get national exposure and all that. Yeah. Giving up lifelong relationships in a sense, because we had some deep, deep relationships in Atlanta that we left, given up a great house, you know, giving up, you know, this idea of I think we might be in Atlanta for a very long, long time, whatever it is.
Ken Coleman: 09:58 So, however, you know, seeing the opportunity and knowing that it’s absolutely the right move, there’s no questioning that it’s the right move. But if you focus on all those things you have to give up, then you know, you essentially won’t go up. You’ll find a way to talk yourself out of the move. And for me, it was so clear. So honestly I didn’t look back and I remember my wife being way more emotional about then me. And somebody said, you know, you, you miss this, you miss that, you missed this, you missed that. And I was honest, I wasn’t trying to be, you know, a bravado about it. I didn’t miss it and I miss it at all. How can you miss something that you’re never thinking about? And that sounds crass, but it’s not like if you’re forward-thinking and forward focused and forward active, you don’t spend a lot of time looking over your shoulder. Now, do I reminisce from time to time? And in moments of reminiscing, I can say, oh, I miss this person and I miss this restaurant. I miss our house and I missed this. But that’s a happiness, not a, oh, I miss it, you know, kind of a thing. So that’s just my mindset.
Doug Smith: 11:11 Oh, that’s so good. I love that. And so you’ve been with Ramsey now for four years?
Ken Coleman: Coming on four years.
Doug Smith: So you’ve been in the leadership space forever, it seems like. And I’m just curious, what have you learned about leadership and business working the last four years and one of the best companies probably in the country?
Ken Coleman: 11:29 Yeah, that’s a really broad question. So despair your listeners, you know, an hour-long answer. I would, I would say two things pop in my mind. One of the vital importance of clarity and consistency of communication. Dave does that as well as any organization I’ve ever worked with or for. And I’ve worked with some great people and been around some great leaders. We just really clearly communicate as a company and we do it consistently. So clarity and consistency of communication. That’s been a huge leadership lesson I’ve learned since being here. And then I would also say, the importance of an intentional culture. You know, everybody, the culture is kind of this buzzword now, like leadership was 20 years ago, but a lot of people can’t really define it effectively. The reality is, is culture is, in my mind, the shared behaviors of the organization.
Ken Coleman: 12:26 That’s the super simple, break it down. That’s it. And every company has a culture. And I can walk into any company in America, any company, and in less than five minutes, give you a pretty accurate reading of their culture. And so could you, if you don’t have to look for, but if you’re looking for shared behaviors, you’re looking for things that you know are valued there. How do people act? And so, um, I think that intentional culture, so everybody’s got a culture, but when you’re intentional is shape something and shape it around your values. So the behaviors are shaped around the values, not the other way around. Put a lot of organizations unintentionally shape their values around their behavior. And that’s nonsense, you know? So imagine parenting that way. Oh, well, you know, unfortunately, a lot of people do, but this isn’t a parenting podcast, so we’ll move on. But I think those are the two things that stick out in my mind of what I’ve learned and I’ve been valuable, valuable for me in terms of leadership here at Ramsey Solutions.
Doug Smith: 13:33 That’s good. A question I’ve been asking lately is, I heard a pastor say once, if you see someone that’s been used significantly by God, just always ask yourself and ask God, what is it about them that allows them to be used in such a way? And you’ve been around some of the greatest leaders on the planet. Are there one or two traits that you just see over and over and over again that allows people to be used in the way that they are?
Ken Coleman: 13:53 Yeah, it’s an insatiable curiosity. The wildly successful people I’ve been able to interview, they all share that trait. They’re always learning. So it’s not just curiosity for the sake of curiosity, you know, looking around the room and bugging everybody with how was that fan made? Where was it made, where was it shipped from? It’s kind of a nonsensical curiosity. I’m talking about a, a really pinpointed laser focus, desire to keep learning. And it’s certainly in the areas of where they work in their field, their audience or their target market, things of that nature. They’re just always learning new things. And that’s absolutely a key trade across the board of high achievers. Second thing is, I would say courage and, again, you know, courage can mean somewhat many different things in so many different people. It doesn’t mean that they’ve got to have this John Wayne swagger and they’re just always risking everything. I think of Richard Branson, they like guys like, and I love Branson and I’m reading his biography right now, but obviously, he has tremendous courage, but it doesn’t always have to be this risk-taking courage. It’s just courage of conviction to stand your ground, to not cave in when, when market pressures happen, but you believe you’re doing what’s right, holding, you know, standing, not quitting. It’s not just risk-taking, but those are kind of three major categories of courage. But I would say curiosity and courage.
Doug Smith: 15:24 I love that. I want to talk a little bit about career and calling. So you now radio show, helping people, finding their calling in life and helping them with their career path. And I’m just curious since the radio show started, what patterns are you seeing emerge when it comes to people needing help with their career and calling?
Ken Coleman: 15:39 Yeah, a lot of people feeling like, and as a result, believing when they call it on the show that they don’t have a passion and this is equal parts, sad and shocking for me. Because something has happened in their life to where they haven’t felt something in so long or they haven’t allowed themselves to imagine and to dream about what could be and what should be. By the way, none of us is to be taught how to do that. We do that from early on in our life. And so that, that’s one big pattern is people just not sensing what it is that would make them come alive. The other one is, is equally as bad. It’s on the other side of the main framework of what I work with people on, which is top talent and top passion. Then I think some people can’t identify what they’re good at.
Ken Coleman: 16:32 I can’t tell you how many times someone will tell me on the phone, well, I’m hardworking. That’s not a skill. That’s a character trait. Yeah. So it’s really, really interesting. We, you know, in America, and that’s not their fault. We live in this western culture that doesn’t, we don’t have these conversations with each other because it’s not happening in schools. So you’ll go k through 12 maybe even college, and never have a significant conversation about what your top talents are, which to me is mind-blowing because here’s the deal. Once I start to break them down on the phone and ask them a couple of followup questions and take the pressure off of them and I asked questions like, well, what would your closest friends tell me your top strengths are? And then we get a little bit of breakthrough. So those, that’s a couple of interesting patterns.
Ken Coleman: 17:20 I would also say limiting beliefs, which again, this is psychology 101 stuff, but people, two key questions that every human being asked. This is all psychology stuff is out there for anybody to look up. Number one, am I loved and number two, am I good enough or do I have what it takes? These are the core questions that every human being is asking. And on a regular basis, we don’t stop asking these things. That’s what’s crazy. So I see a lot of limiting beliefs where someone has had someone in their life say something, do something to them. And it has created this false narrative in their mind and it’s been hanging around so long that it has become the voice. It wasn’t even their statement, it wasn’t even their voice, but it’s become their voice. William James is known as the father of modern psychology and he wants said, this is crazy true, and you just think about this in context of, of all of society and your listeners right now, if you’re struggling with a limiting belief, you need to hear this.
Ken Coleman: 18:25 William James said that no matter how absurd something is, if it is repeated often enough, people will believe it. Now, just soak on that for a second. I’m going to say it again. It’s so ridiculously profound. No matter how absurd something is, if it is repeated, often enough, people will believe it. So here’s what that means in your head, folks. Right now. If for years you’ve been telling yourself or even believing somebody voice in your life that said, you don’t have what it takes, or you’re not good enough, or you’re not pretty, or you’re fat, or whatever it is
Ken Coleman: 19:05 that’s been bouncing around your head so long that his now seed from your brain down into your heart and you, you have taken on that identity and it’s not true. So we deal with limiting beliefs so much. Last pattern, people wanting to make the safe decision versus the smart decision. This is what I’m super passionate about, beginning to see this develop on the show. I had a guy call me in today, actually dug a little earlier today when the show was on. A guy calls in, he’s got, he’s got two career choices in front of them. And by the way, this involves this limiting belief. I just shared, this is really great at illustration and he says, I’m in radio and I love my job. I just got the promotion and I love it. It’s exactly what I want to do. But, I got this chance to take a government job in defense contracting and it’s a little bit more money, but it’s really stable. They got good retirement and a lot of good government benefits. What do you think I should do? And I like I said, wait a second, you’re telling me this promotion, you just got it, the radio station is, is the work that you love to do? That’s what you would do if you didn’t have to work. He goes, absolutely. I said, well,
Ken Coleman: 20:20 what’s going on? There’s something else I don’t know about why. He goes, well, I’m not sure it’s a grown-up job. I got a grownup job. Where did you hear that? Wow. A woman that he dated seven years ago asked him one time in the middle of a fight if he was going to ever go get a real career at grown-up job or just play around and radio and that guy for seven years has allowed that thing to bounce around in his head. And so we break it down for him and I said, well, which job do you really, really want to do? He says with Allah Delta Radio, I go within this car. What this phone call’s done. Hmm. Why in the world?
Doug Smith: 20:55 Yeah.
Ken Coleman: 20:55 Would you go take that defense job? And so here he is. He’s thinking safe versus smart. So, so let me delineate that. Safe decisions in life. And by the way, this is for leaders to saFe leadership decisions in my mind, will eventually lead to regret.
Doug Smith: 21:13 Hmm.
Ken Coleman: 21:15 When you’re on your deathbed and everybody’s gathered around the room, let’s just say it’s romantic like that. That’s how I hope it is for me. Everybody’s gathered around that are my close friends and family and we’re reminiscing the whole time. I’m laughing, crying, but it’s reminiscing because I, I made the smart risk. I took what information I had and I trusted my heart and my brain and I went for it. And did I fail? Yes, but did I learn from my failures? Yes. Did the decision that I’ve failed on still propel me forward? Yes. And so my life is, I’m not thinking about my failures in those last moments. I’m reminiscing on all the good things that came of me being purposeful and making smart decisions. If you make safe decisions, you’re going to be sitting in that room and you’re going to be regretting things that you never did. So I’m really on this crusade right now to stop making safe decisions and start making smart decisions.
Doug Smith: 22:09 Wow that really spoke to me too. So thank you so much for that.
Ken Coleman: Cool.
Doug Smith: If someone is listening to this and saying wow, I want to connect with Ken. How can they, again, get connected with your show and hear this on a daily basis?
Ken Coleman: 22:18 Yeah. Kencolemanshow.com is a website, great place to connect because all my social stuff is there on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, all of those connections right there and easy to find. Would love to connect there. I would tell you this, I interact with the audience there. I’m doing my own stuff. So you send me a comment on any of those formats. I’m gonna Reply, I’m going to like it. That’s me. I like to be accessible. Um, and then I would say, again, just listen to the show on Sirius XM 132 eastern Monday through Friday. If you don’t have Sirius XM, you can get it as a podcast comes out daily and so, of course, iTunes, Google play, wherever you can pull a podcast that’s reaching it to Ken Coleman show and as well Entreleadership for leaders Entreladership program, very passionate about that tribe as well.
Doug Smith: 23:07 That’s awesome. I’ll include links to all of that in the show notes.
Doug Smith: 23:09 Hey everyone, thank you so much for listening to part one of our interview with Ken Coleman. You can find ways to connect with Ken and links to everything
Doug Smith: 23:19 we discussed in the show notes at L3lleadership.org/181 you can also listen to part two of our interview in episode 182 so I’d encourage all of you to go over there now and listen to that. And closing, I want to thank our sponsor, Henne Jewelers. They’re a jeweler owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne, my wife Laura and I got our engagement and wedding rings through Henny jewelers and we just think they are awesome. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. They give every engaged couple of book to help them prepare for their marriage, which I love. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com as always, if this podcast adds value to your life, it would mean the world to me. If you would subscribe and leave a rating and review or share on social media, I really just help us grow our audience.
Doug Smith: 24:02 So thank you for that. And if you want to stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at l three leadership, you can simply sign up for our email list L3lleadership.org as always, I like to end with a quote and I’ll quote John Maxwell today. He said this, he said, “The best investment in tomorrow is to develop your influence today.” I love that “The best investment in tomorrow is to develop your influence today.” Thanks for listening and being a part of l three leadership. Laura, and I appreciate you so much and we’ll talk to you next episode.