Business Coach : Sharpen The Saw
-I want to give an example here. One of Thrives mentors and business coach– you can watch some of his training– his name is Braxton Fears. And Braxton and I, we teamed up to do, basically, real estate. I was brought on to do some marketing with him.
What Braxton did, which was fascinating, in middle age, in his thirties, he decided– I don’t like what I am doing. I don’t like the way it’s playing out. So I want to get into ministry on somewhat of a full-time basis. And he was able to navigate his way through real estate and earn a lot of money while dramatically decreasing his expenses– slashing his costs, finding a way to decrease his standard of living. He actually moved to a more rustic environment. He had a debt-free home– all these different things he did.
Now he has a beautiful home that’s off the map. He’s off the grid. His expenses are low. He’s in a ministry, which he wanted to be. And he was able to do things where and in his midthirties, he was able to basically be semi-retired. Braxton also did that in his early twenties. He was working in one of the big three accounting firms, and he just decided– you know what? I don’t want to do this.
A business coach would encourage you that ideally, we want to do it is as young as we can possibly can. But if you’re watching this and you’re in your thirties, you haven’t lost hope. You can absolutely make a change. You just have to be more methodical about it. You have to be more intentional. And it might take a while to transition into a different career. But you can do it. There’s countless examples of people that have, and I know you can, too.
Moving on to life lesson 7, success is the place where opportunities meet preparation. What are we talking about here?
-We don’t always know when the opportunity is going to show itself. What we do know is that we can prepare for when that is going to occur. Again, a great example is in the spring of 2007, when I had the conversation that led to our buying Regent Bank. I did not know that conversation was going to occur. It just came out of the blue one day. And, thankfully, my entire career had led up to being prepared to take advantage of that opportunity.
As I say– and it’s not an original thought– to be successful, you really have to have these two things collide. You have to be prepared. All these skills that we talked about earlier we’ve got to prepare for. And then we have to have that opportunity show itself. We can also increase the number of opportunities by networking, being out there, being involved. The more people that know us, the more opportunities come about. The better job we do, the more opportunities come about. But the two have to meet.
-I want to take just a second to brag on you with your career and how you’re able to actually prepare for where you are. Because I’ll never forget– when I first met you, you were the president of the Bixby Chamber of Commerce, I believe. I’ll never forget. Were you president of a bank at that point?
SEAN KOUPLEN: Yes.
-You didn’t have to do it. I know you did it for other people, but for some reason it mattered to me. I was, I think, 21 years old at the time. My wife and I had just built our first house. We were new to Bixby.
You wrote me a handwritten note, in blue pen, that said something like– thanks for coming out. It was a pleasure meeting you.
And I thought– that’s a blue pen. He actually wrote that.
How many thousands of thank-you notes have you written over the years?
-I don’t know how many. A lot.
-You do it. You go that extra mile. And then there’s this principle of there’s the tilling, then there’s the sowing, then there’s the watering, then there’s the harvesting. A business coach can teach you more about this concept. If we’re talking about planting crops, that’s how you do it. And I viewed a lot of what you were doing as tilling. You were shaking hands, mailing the handwritten notes– you were doing that.
But then you went the next step, and you actually sowed seeds. You actually came over to our house. And I’ll never forget that. You said, “What do we need to do to get you to bank with us?” I had said something like– I’m already banking at such-and-such. I’ve been banking there since ’99.
And you had said– we’ll pick up your deposits for you. We’ll just pick them up. You could save all the time. Why don’t we just do that?
You came over to my house. My wife and I thought– the banker has come to our house! He has sent us a note with a blue pen! He has come to our house!
Now, you could have decided to go– you know what? I’m a banker. I have that title. I don’t need to write things in blue pen and show up at people’s houses. And you did that.
And then the watering! You’d randomly call. Hey, what’s up? How are you doing? I wanted to introduce you to somebody. Hey, this person might need entertainment for their party. And then the final part was the harvest.
But there’s all these steps that you did. I would say there’s thousands of people you did that for for years. Was that something you’ve always been very intentional about– handwritten notes and following up? Is this something that you, every day, wake up and say– I need to tell that person thank-you for that dinner. Is this is what you do? This is what a business coach would recommend you do.
-Yes. Yes. It’s very natural for me, because I that’s what I enjoy. I enjoy relationships. It’s very personal to me. You’re a system guy. It’s very systematic for me.