Business Coach : We All Have A Choice
-My name is Caleb Taylor, and I’m a business coach at Thrive15.com. Today, Clay Clark is sitting next to Clifton Taulbert, who he calls “his Yoda” and also a Thrive business coach here. Clifton is going to be talking to us about how all of us are faced with a choice. Clifton has an incredible background and story that you will hear. And I believe that it will inspire you to move from where you are to where you need to be. Here at Thrive15.com, we all walk around in circles chanting, knowledge without application is meaningless.
That’s because as a business coach believe it’s true. And it’s up to you to apply what you learn here. If you aren’t constantly asking yourself, how do I apply these lessons to my life and my business, then this episode could be more meaningless than a relationship with Taylor Swift. Unless, of course, your goal is just have a song written after you.
-Clifton Taulbert, how are you, sir?
-I’m good. What about yourself? I am doing well. I have been on a diet where I’m eating basically a vegetarian sushi every day. And I’m feeling good. So I don’t know if it’s helping at all, but I’m feeling good.
-Feeling good is good.
-Yeah. Well, hey, today we have an opportunity to learn about the concept of having a choice, that we all have a choice. And for people who maybe– if you’re watching this and you have no idea who this man is, one, is you’re a man like everybody else. You’ve come from somewhere. You grew up amidst poverty to get to where you are today. But some of the achievements you’ve had along the way is you wrote a bestselling book, you had a Pulitzer Prize nominated book– you’re a Pulitzer prize nominated author, I should say.
You helped start a bank. You helped launch the Stairmaster into a national phenomenon product. You’ve had your life made into a movie. We could go on and on and on. But it all started here.
-All started here. This is the physical evidence of the world I left behind, the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta.
-What is this/
-That’s the weight. And this is the scale. And this process created the scales that would weigh the cotton, that would go into the trailers, that will eventually get to the gin, that will eventually become that nice white shirt you’re wearing.
-So you hang this up like this, and then you basically– and you see how much–
-Yeah. And you put your cotton on here. And then this weight there. And that tells you whether you–
-So you got 20 pounds.
-Go up or down. Yeah.
-Makes sense. Yeah. So this is where you came from. I’m going to ask you some personal questions during this segment, and if at any point you say, that’s too personal, just walk off the set and I’ll start to figure it out.
-I’ll figure out how to do that.
-Now, your mother and your father lived nearby, but they weren’t really a part of your life growing up? Or they were a part of your life?
-It’s sort of complicated. And it’s probably more complicated that does not deserve a full conversation. But what I will say, I lived with my great aunt. I never lived with my mom. Always lived with my great grandparents, and my great grandmother passed away, I went to live with my great aunt. But part of the reason for that was that my great aunt lived alone. And after I left, another sister came to live with her. And when she graduated from high school, then another cousin came to live with her.
That was part of the culture, to some extent, of the south. That if you had a great aunt or someone like that living alone, you always had a young person living with them.
-And I’ve heard you say you got up at maybe 4:00 in the morning to start picking cotton. And you lived in house– how big was the house you lived in? Was it a big house? How big was the house you lived in?
-It’s really interesting. I grew up in a world with no money. But the house we lived in compared to the shotgun houses, which were fairly typical, was pretty big. You actually had rooms, where a lot of my friends were not so fortunate. But we did have rooms.
-Did you have air conditioning?
-Did you have air conditioning?
-You’re kidding with that one, aren’t you?
-Well, you grew up in Mississippi. I get a little testy if the weather here starts to heat up and the AC’s not right at 70.
-No, we had fans.
-So you grew up in the heat of Mississippi. You work from about 4:00 in the morning till sundown.
-Yeah, if you look at me, you get up. If that’s the start of the process, yeah.
-So maybe 12, 14 hours a day you’re on your feet working.
-On your feet, getting ready to work or working, and leaving from the fields coming back home.
-And the poverty is around you to the point where you don’t maybe even notice it?
-Well, I call it sameness. That culture was not designed to create monumental moments of exhilaration. Everything was the same. Cotton never changed. You knew what you had to do. The seasons where there. And they very rarely ever changed. So there was poverty. There’s no doubt about that, especially those of my kin and friends that lived on the plantations that surrounded the small community where I lived.
But it was the poverty of not having the opportunity to express yourself, and to apply yourself, and to see who you could become. A business coach couldn’t even help at that point.
-So if I’m watching this right now and I am growing up in poverty, if I’m growing up without air conditioning, if I’m growing up without the direct mentor-ship or guidance of my mother and father, a lot of people get hung up on these things. Is success a choice? If my mom and dad aren’t directly raising me, and if I grew up with poverty? Is success still a choice?
-I think that ability to use your own mind to determine where you want to go and what you want to accomplish is still there.
-Even if I have poverty, even if my mom and dad aren’t maybe present in the nuclear family system.
-However, there is an awakening process. And that awakening process comes about when you find your path being crossed by someone else who all of a sudden awakens something in you. You see something that’s a little different from that sameness. And that catches your attention. It grabs you. And you tell yourself, I don’t have to pick cotton. Why? I just saw this one guy. He came to town, and he was doing something entirely different. You don’t have to do the same thing. A business coach can help you do something different.