About Our Guest- Derek Coburn, Scott Thompson, and Joe Mechlinski – Maintaining health as an entrepreneur
Derek Coburn, Joe Mechlinski, and Scott Thompson join Dr. Diva Nagula to discuss tools, habits, and tactics they use to maintain their health, wealth, and happiness while running their business.
Joe Mechlinski is a NY Times bestselling author, speaker, podcaster, and social entrepreneur who believes that an engaged workforce is the key to unlocking human potential. While earning his degree from Johns Hopkins, Joe founded 4 ventures to pay his way through college. At 23, Joe founded SHIFT, a collective of businesses spanning consulting, executive membership, and venture capital united by their common mission to revolutionize workforce engagement and transform the world. SHIFT has offices in Baltimore, DC, and Boston. In 2014, Joe was invited to sit on the White House Small Business Council.
Derek Coburn began his career as a financial advisor in 1998 and built a successful wealth management practice by outworking everyone else. Derek started an “un-networking” community in Washington, D.C. five years ago called cadre, which currently supports over 100 CEOs and business leaders.
Scott Thompson is a serial entrepreneur who has sold an employee leasing firm, and an employee benefits company. He also founded Lifematters in 2005, now, one of the largest private pay home care companies in the US, and acquired Care Management Associates, a patient consulting firm in 2010. He enjoys scuba diving, motorcycles (any kind), martial arts, great wines, cigars, and plenty of world travel.
Full Podcast Transcription
Derek Coburn 00:00
So that’s how I think about it a lot which is you don’t need to know all of the steps you just need to know the next right move, which also happens to be me ripping off… Something Derek should see at some point. Let it go, man!
Diva Nagula 00:22
Thank you for joining us for another podcast episode From Doctor to Patient. Today, I am pleased to have three individuals who are phenomenal entrepreneurs, and they’re very good friends of mine, Derek Coburn, Joe Mechlinski, and Scott Thompson. Derek Coburn began his career as a financial advisor in 1998 and built successful wealth management practice by outworking everybody else in the economy took a turn for the worst in 2009. He had to start devoting even more time to his existing clients. This led to using non traditional networking strategies, which included creating informal networking groups, and assisting his best clients and their top advisors which led the tripling of his revenue and improving the quality of his business and life. The insight combined with his passion for connecting remarkable professionals led Derek to start an unmet working community in Washington DC five years ago, called Qadri which currently supports over 100 CEOs and business leaders. Derek thanks for joining us today. Next is Joe Mechlinski. Joe Mechlinski is a New York Times bestselling author speaker podcaster social entrepreneur who believes that an engaged workforce is the keys to unlocking human potential. While earning his degree from the Johns Hopkins, Joe founded four ventures to pay his way through college at 23. Joe founded Shift, a collective of business spanning consulting, executive membership, and venture capital united by their common mission to revolutionize workforce engagement and transform the world. Shift has offices in Baltimore, DC and Boston, Joe and Shift had been featured on Bloomberg radio, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and the Wall Street Journal online. In 2014, Joe was invited to sit on the White House Small Business Council, a decade after Shift’s conception, Joe compiled the lessons he learned from early life experiences, and his work with more than 600 organizations across the country. His New York Times bestseller is called Grow Regardless. Lastly, we have Scott Thompson. And Scott, I’m gonna have you introduce yourself and talk about your business and the things that you’ve done as an entrepreneur.
Scott Thompson 02:56
All right. Interesting. So I went from the music business, into finance, where I got my series seven license, and I got involved with a large financial planning practice. But I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So I left that way back in 1996, I’m dating myself. And I went to work I wanted to learn how to do outside sales got involved with ADP because I heard they were just terrific training sales, because I knew how to do like intangibles. When I was working there, I tried to sell like payroll services, and I went out and tried to sell the services. And it was like 1/20 the price that I was offering in the field, and like this company that I was trying to sell to, they just wouldn’t change. And I’m like, how’s that possible? So I learned about something called employee leasing. Back then, there today, it’s called professional employer organizations. peos, where you go in and do joint employment of staff. Basically, in short, we went out and hired employees from different companies, no matter what industry you’re in, and we would pull them all together. And we would act as your off site, HR department, and manage everything for small employers, people that might have had five employees to 100 employees started that 96 with two other guys co founded that launched over $5,000. We won Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998. All kinds of awards, I think six years into it we got into about 132 million in revenue, sold that took a couple years off traveled and I came back and said okay, what do I do now? And I knew I wanted to do do well by doing good, do something really socially relevant. And then I started this company called Life Matters, which is basically this concierge homecare company, where we go out we hire nurses that take care of people that have ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, that kind of thing. And over the past, I’ve actually had that business. It’s amazing. It’s kind of scary. 15 years, which is well anyway, long story, but we became top five companies in the United States and it might be 10,000 companies like ours, in a fairly short period of time. So that’s kind of my quick intro.
Diva Nagula 05:03
So thank you, Scott, I appreciate that. All of you guys are just extremely successful entrepreneurs. Two have you, Derek and Joe, are husbands and fathers, and you guys run social organizations, and you guys still find time to exercise and workout? I mean, how do you guys have time to manage all of this? and make it look so easy?
Joe Mechlinski 05:26
I follow Derek! Is that a good answer?
Derek Coburn 05:31
For me, if I’m being honest, it’s more like a lot of us we have, you know, devices that we use, and we get testing done. So I have my Oura ring, the tracks my sleep and my readiness and my testing that I’ve done to see which you know, which supplements I need to take based on my genetics and my gut bacteria. And so I’m always in a mindset where I’m evaluating if something’s working, if it’s not working, and I’m at a point in my life now where, just pretty clearly the days that I work out, and my workouts now are three days a week lifting, and three days a week doing yoga, they’re just much, much better days, my mood, the way I show up at work, the way I show up for my kids, the way I show for my wife, it’s just so much better when I do that. But even if I have less time doing those things, I’m so much more productive and happy and useful when I do work out. So that’s why I make it a real firm non negotiable for me. Whereas back in the day, it was more about vanity, it was more about looking good appearance. So it’s no longer as much about vanity anymore. Now it’s more about sanity, which my which my wife likes to say a lot.
Diva Nagula 06:37
Now, it’s awesome. And it’s very inspiring to see that. The role that you run and how successful that you are with everything that you do, and still have time for all this is amazing. And the next question I really want to like ask and ask you guys is like, Derek mentioned some tools and hacks that he kind of utilizes, but specifically, I mean, what kinds of resources and things of that nature Do you utilize to help manage your lives better.
Joe Mechlinski 07:05
Routine is probably my number one Savior, I use it all the time as it relates to kind of the way I start the day and the way that I end the day. So there’s been a lot written on this, I think, Hal Elrod just published a book on the Miracle Morning, where, again, I haven’t read the book. But my my general take on this is, waking up the same way every day, and having time for myself to just sort of sit and think, not looking at my phone. And then I spend the next hour or two not thinking about work, but really thinking about the family. And so getting everybody out of the bed and launched the right way, it’s actually in my calendar is like “launch the family” and like, my first job is to, you know, in my mind, I want to start with a win. Because I live my life very differently before a lot of this, when the kids were younger, one-two years old, I did the same thing. But it was a check the box exercise as opposed to like, really was the first real win of the day. So getting everybody healthy food and talking and engaged and excited about the day. And I mean, this is in large part what my one of my businesses does. And I feel like if I can turn it on the family in a positive, constructive way. And then once the kids get dropped off the bus, which is a whole nother routine in and of itself, like each day is a different day for me to ask questions of the family. And so it’s like a weird sort of thing that I do. And then, and then I spend the next hour with Erica at the gym. And then it’s eight o’clock. And I would say about 80 to 90% of almost every work week, that is the schedule, we rock. By the time nine o’clock rolls around, I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do for the things that are most important to me related to home. So that then anything else that happens in that day is almost like child’s play. Candidly, the part I have the hardest part with is the nighttime routine, which is turning things off and down because not everything stops at five o’clock for me and you know, just laying in the plan here. Once the kids are down at about 730. And we’ve done a nice job of no technology, Derek and I’ve spent the last 100 days or so really focused on us ending the night with a few hours of talking not TV and just trying to be present for each other. But it’s been hard because I got a lot going on and use that with my work time to kind of catch up on the day. And so there’s still a bit of a struggle there. But in all sincerity, Derek is a huge inspiration to me on this type of front and because I’ve very seldomly see people do it better than he does with family and kids and so there’s a bit of a nod to being kept dipping here at the Mr. Coburn.
Diva Nagula 09:39
I have to agree it’s very it’s very amazing to see that and what’s actually more amazing is how you can compartmentalize this I mean, like you have so many things that are going on but you yet you seem to be present in whatever activity that you’re doing. And I don’t know what your secret is. But that is an amazing feat to accomplish. And I if there are specific things that you feel that are like helpful for our listeners or just a panel in general, like how you can compartmentalize and separate one activity at work, and then go into another activity with family and then coaching your son’s like soccer.
Derek Coburn 10:13
I think I skew more towards family than work than most people that we run with. I feel like I should probably and could probably be working more. I know, I’ll look back 10 or 20 years from now and feel like I’m doing it the right way, the routine that I’ve been on lately, I will say one thing that’s kind of relevant to like what Joe was talking about routines. And I noticed a couple of years ago, when the boundaries really were not there. And I was working a lot over the weekends, I would find myself, like on a Tuesday, feeling like I hadn’t spent enough time with my kids or my wife that I had neglected my family. And it felt to me like I was playing catch up. But I got a good couple of days of work in and then I was playing catch up with my family. So I wanted to make a commitment to stop working on the weekends. And one of the ways that I did that was I made sure I spent about 30 minutes every Friday planning the following week. And I shifted, I changed the way the calendar showed up for me on my computer in my planner, and I shifted from saying Monday was the first day of the week to Saturday was the first day of the week. And that shift for me was big, because then I felt like like what Joe said earlier about checking the box, then I felt like okay, the first two days of my week are spent fully engaged with my family, with my kids with my wife. And then by the time Tuesday comes around at three o’clock, I’m in the office, I’m not feeling guilty, I feel like I can be extra focused on my work being productive doing what I have to there, because I started my week with the people and the things that were most important to me. And I was rounding out the week with work. And so I tried to manipulate my thinking in ways like that from time to time, which has been helpful for me. That’s awesome. Scott, you have anything to add to that?
Scott Thompson 10:35
Yeah, I mean, first of all, I want to say this too. It’s an honor to be on this panel with these two guys. Both Derek and Joe have helped me tremendously both personally and professionally. So thanks for having me. Yeah, I have a few things I can share things that make me more effective. I guess in terms of time management, one, I’m a really big fan of the 80/20 rule, you might have 100 things on your to do list, probably four or five of those are really going to matter in my capacity as a founder or CEO most of the time, right? That’s huge. For me just really being clear on what activities I should be focused on. Second, really clear goals, both from a process standpoint and what my outcomes are, both for myself and for my team. And having those OKRs those objectives and key results aligned and communicated. I learned some of that from Joe as well. Having the right people is really everything ultimately in terms of execution. So if you have the right people around you, you can actually get your ideas and visions in place. I’m definitely more of the visionary, less so the integrator or the person that gets the execution done. And I think something from Dan Sullivan, that really helped me in the past couple years was this idea of having a focus day, having a buffer day and having a free day. So like these guys, I’m actually not very balanced. I’m either all in or I’m not, I’m either exercising, I’m fully committed, or I’m not doing a damn thing. So for me, I found out if I take like I started taking Mondays and Fridays off completely, to be my days, whatever I wanted to do, that’s very freeing, because if I would go into work, I get captured into something and last. So knowing that I only work Tuesday, Wednesday Thursdays, from a virtual or physical perspective and letting my staff know that that’s been really helpful. Those are just a few parameters. That helped me a lot.
Diva Nagula 13:58
Yeah, there’s some good guidelines for people to follow. The other thing is thatobviously if you don’t have this balance, you can become this workaholic. And as a group entrepreneurs are likely to have experienced mental health issues than the general population. I read a study that said that depression is twice more likely seen in entrepreneurs as others that are in the general population. And then because of the chronic stress that we endure, we’re at risk for health issues like high blood pressure, heart problems, and even cancer. So in my case, when I was busting my tail as a physician started my own practice, I didn’t have any outlets and I know now that was the problem like I literally grinded all day every day. 24/7, no social outlets, no outlets to exercise and coupled with just eating bad. I was just a it was a perfect storm for me to get cancer. And I experienced a lot of burnout, you know, and I was not only burned out physically but emotionally and mentally. So the question is, is like how do you cope with the stresses from day to day? And what can you guys recommend to avoid burnout for a budding entrepreneur?
Joe Mechlinski 15:10
Well, I would say, maybe there’s a, something another way to think about the question because I feel like in some cases, every one of us has stories. Diva you in particular, having this conversation and holding space for us around hardship and challenge and struggle. And you know, how funny it is that most of us have stories that went from like, woe and wound to win, that on the other side of that struggle, we’d look at ourselves as better, faster, stronger. And so as we were going through the struggle, how many times were we wishing to not be in the struggle, and desiring to avoid it or to move around it? To me, I think that framing for anyone who’s about to go down a path that’s big and scary and dark in some big adventure, and looking over the into the abyss where you just, there’s so much uncertainty, you don’t know. I think surrendering to that. And a lot of us work with a guy who, you know, has given us a bunch of different sort of things to think about. But you know, Dr. Doug says love the plateau that you’re on. And I think there’s something about that just sitting in the muck, the mire, and being okay with it, as opposed to wanting to get out of it is something that I think about a lot, which is like when you’re in the middle of the zone, and it feels like there’s no way out, you’re all these double binds, and you’re not sure what the what the next rate move is, you kind of know what the next right move is. The problem is, you don’t know what the move is, after that you stress about that. So that’s how I think about it a lot, which is you don’t need to know all of the steps. You just need to know the next right move, which also happens to be me ripping off frozen… something Derek should see at some point.
Derek Coburn 16:49 Let it go, man.
Diva Nagula 16:54
Derek and Scott, you want to add anything to that?
Scott Thompson 16:56
I mean, for me number one thing, I think with entrepreneurs is they’re isolated. And the best thing that I ever did was get involved with community. Okay. So that’s why I mentioned earlier here in the podcast with regard to Derek and Joe, getting involved with Qadri was just a transformative monumental experience for me because you can be vulnerable with other CEOs and I got involved with Shift I got along with Mavericks, I got involved with MMY. That’s critical. Because if you’re alone out there, you don’t have a key advisory board. At the very least, you’re going to have some issues, I would imagine, right? Because it’s hard to talk to your staff about some of the internal fears you might have as a CEO. Right. And so having the right community, to me is key. And the other thing is, I’m paraphrasing, but somebody said to me, Scott, if you want to be world class, and I know that you do, then you got to be world class with regard to self care. I don’t always uphold that. Right? But that’s the key. That’s what I’m always striving for. How can I work on my emotions? How do I deal with that. But again, that comes back to being able to have a group that you can confide in, that are going through the same struggles, at least for me.
Diva Nagula 18:06
I agree. 100%. And, yeah, we’ll get to one of those topics at the top. You mentioned self care.
So I want to talk about that a little later, after I give Derek an opportunity to answer here.
Derek Coburn 18:14
Yeah, I would say in terms of burnout. For me a couple of things. I’ve gotten better recently, when it comes to sort of just paying attention to what’s going on in my body. So a couple Monday’s ago, I was having sort of anxious, I had a couple of big things coming up that I had to focus on. And I just left in the middle of the day, I did an extra meditation session, I went and did yoga, at lunch, when I normally do it in the evening time, and just kind of hit the reset button on my day, which allowed me to be a lot more productive. Revisiting what I had to get done and I would have been had I tried to just plow through it and charge stored at the time. And I would say the other thing for me is whenever I feel like I’m in a rut, me just going out of my way more I would normally do to, to try to find ways to be helpful to my friends to people like you to just focus on my network, finding ways I can help them finding ways I can support them, taking my own spotlight off of myself for a little bit and putting on other people has been a great way for me to sort of break up the monotony of sort of feeling stuck or anxious or whatever the case may be.
Joe Mechlinski 20:22
Derek just triggered something for me. I think it’s something that I’ve heard Scott say, too, that kind of inspired this one little hack that I do, and we do it as a company now. But on Fridays, from three to 5pm. If you work in a corporate environment, or even a just a, you know, kind of a high growth company, normally, Fridays, and specifically Fridays, from three to five are dead time, nobody’s doing anything. And so instead of like riding out those last two hours, and not do the things that are maybe the most productive, we give the time back, and we call it better you time. So this idea of like transitioning from the week of all of the things that have happened in your life to spend the last two hours and just do something for yourself, before you go home and be super dad and super mom. So you know whether it’s read a book, write a poem, get a massage, go to yoga, do a workout, that has been a game changer for me personally. And then for our organization. Now we’ve got, 30 folks split between a bunch of different places, but we all do this. And it doesn’t happen all the time, I’m sure. But in my head, the idea that everybody goes home and has one little investment in themselves so that they can go home and be whatever they need to be for their friends and their family. It’s been a game changer. And it was really inspired by Scott’s no Monday, no Friday work. So there you go, Scott.
Derek Coburn 21:37
Thank you. I think I’m thinking about just giving myself off Monday through Sunday. I feel like
that would allow me to really get everything. Think about anything going on in my life.
Diva Nagula 21:51
I think Scott loves that comment.
Scott Thompson 21:53 I do, it makes me proud.
Diva Nagula 21:58
Honestly, it’s important for us to talk about what we do to get our minds off of work. And it leads me to the question of like self care rituals. I think it’s important to have a self care ritual. I mean, we need to be especially when we’re in stressful environments with work and whatever else we’re engaged in. So love that get an idea of what you guys do for self care, Derek, want to start with that?
Derek Coburn 22:21
Sure. So I have this… I’m not very good at with transitions. For example, we just had checked out last Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I had family in town Wednesday through Sunday, just going non-stop hanging out with family hanging out with friends, we got together with Joe and Eric and their kids had a great time. Watch my Ravens win on Sunday. And it’s like time to work on Monday again, and I have a hard time sort of going from one to the other. Like my transition management, let’s call it, is sort of helpful for me in that regard. And so I, for me, we already touched on working out, it’s lifting weights, it’s yoga, it’s meditation. And for a lot of these things, it’s trying to help me sort of move from one phase of my life one event one season to the next in a healthy way where, like, I’ll give you an example a couple weeks ago, it hit me hard that my oldest kid that was turning 10. And he wasn’t my little kid anymore, I was flipping through some pictures of him from his party, and I just broke down and started crying in my office, I’ve cried like less than 10 times as an adult. I’m getting better at it though. And essentially, I was like, wow, like he’s not my little kid anymore. And that’s okay, because he still needs me what he needs from me now, it’s gonna be different than what he needed me from you before. So this idea of like mourning, moving on from one season or from one instance and bringing proper closure to that has been a really helpful self care, hack or whatever you want to call it. For me, that is allowing me to show up to the next thing in a much more present way in a much better place than I would have been if I just sort of like didn’t take the time to pause and acknowledge and appreciate what has happened up until that point, right.
Diva Nagula 24:11
Other things that you know, I’ve been able to implement for myself that has been very helpful is improving my sleep habits. I also try you know, like Derek, as you were saying that you would exercise when, especially in the middle of the day if you felt like you couldn’t leave work and just get your mind off and change it up a little bit. For me, what I’ve noticed is that me doing some meditation has helped me get through the day a little bit better. I’ve been recently getting into some breathing exercises called pranayama. And that’s been really helping me just kind of like sit back and really lower my heart rate. And when I do that for 15-20 minutes, it allows me to refocus and almost it’s almost like a reset for me to get through the rest of the day. And then the other thing is just being more organized. I learned this from Dr. Doug he says you need to get a whiteboard You know, and I was like, Yeah, that’s a good idea. And the reason why he recommended that because I was stressing about all these things that had to go on this whole week. And it was just all in my head. And he’s like, you need to take a few days of the week and do a brain dump. And what that means is basically just go to your board, and just write everything down on the board, and then do that a couple times. And that allows you to just get rid of everything out of your brain, and it’s on paper or on a board. And you can just be free of all that, like useless stress. So that’s a great tool that I think that people should follow as a hack. I think that expectation management is big, too, so a couple years ago, and what I would always do is at the end of the day, I would say what do I have to do the next day, and I would think about things that I had to do. And then the reality was, I had five client meetings and three errands to run. And it was never going to be possible for me to do any of that stuff the following day. And I would still, but I set out that expectation, and then I would feel defeated at the end of the day. So last night, as I’m planning my day out for today, I realized I have four client meetings and three phone calls, including this podcast, I’m not going to get shit done today. So I’m not even going to like write down the things I’m going to do. Instead, I’m going to say, what are what am I going to do Thursday? What am I going to do Friday. And now I’m not going to feel disappointed for not doing the things that I realistically was not gonna have a shot of doing in the first place. All right. I love that. Joe?
Joe Mechlinski 26:33
Yeah, I think just to try to be additive fasting has been something that really kind of helps my
Diva Nagula 26:44
How so Joe? What does that do for you?
Joe Mechlinski 26:47
So I’ll do 14-16 hours most days throughout the week. And then like today, I’m going to do a probably close to a 20 or 22 hour fast. I have always felt like this, which is food weighs me down. Like if I have a big talk, like have a huge meeting tomorrow with one of our biggest clients. And you know, I’ve got 100 people flying in from all over the country. And it’s like a really, really important moment, I will eat so light today purposely. And then Tonight, I’ll have some really just very, like clean, healthy food. And tomorrow, I won’t eat.
Diva Nagula 27:20 Do you drink coffee?
Joe Mechlinski 27:22
Yeah, I’ll drink some coffee in the morning. And then I will pound water most of the day. And then by the time the evening rolls around again I don’t feel hungry. And what I feel is my energy will be a little low at the end of the day. But if I eat and interrupt that, I feel as though my chances of being more in kind of a micro flow state will will diminish. And so I do think you know, self care. For me, my biggest Achilles heel is without a doubt food at times. And just lack of a plan. It’s not that I have a sweet tooth, if I’m around, I’ll eat stuff, unless I’m being really thoughtful about meal planning. And just trying to make good decisions around food for myself in the family.
Diva Nagula 28:04
I think that’s awesome. Just to define it a little bit more for the listeners is like, the idea of being an intermittent fasting or fasting and of itself allows your body to break down fats into ketones, and those ketones actually had been proven to reduce inflammation in the body and improve cognition. So being in a fasted state is actually very good for what you’re trying to accomplish. Joe as you were mentioning, however, in order for you to achieve the benefits, it’s not like you just start tomorrow and go on to fast, you really need to work your way up and have your body become fat adapted to where it burns off the ketones as energy. And then over time, you can see the benefits. For me specifically, it’s like I’ve learned this over the last year, I’ll fast, I’ll try and do intermittent fasting 16 hours where I don’t eat and then eight hours where I reduce my feeding window. And then if I have a bad meal, or if I cheat a little bit, I’ll try and dedicate a day where I’ll do a 24 hour fast and that kind of resets my body into that ketosis state. That’s me. And I think that’s in my previous podcast, we had a person who came on to talk about ketosis and the ketogenic diet. So that kind of goes in line with what we’re talking about and how to hack your body to optimize function.
Derek Coburn 29:19
Do you do any multi day fasts?
Diva Nagula 29:22
I’ve only done a 48 hour fast, but it wasn’t for the purpose of improving my cognitive state. The second day, I had a hard to do. The person whom I interviewed three days ago on my panel, I’m sorry, on my podcast. She was at the end of a 72 hour fast. I was like, oh my god, and she exercises in the morning, while she’s fasting to like burn off any stored carbohydrates that are glycogen stores in her body. So it’s a phenomenal hack. You just have to build your way up to it. Scott, did you have any other tips for self care?
Scott Thompson 30:02
I can tell you what works for me. I mean, early in my career, I was blocking everything down in the 15 to 30 minute increments. And I was like, quote, unquote productive. But, you know, it can be very stressful at times when you live like that, at this stage of life, I’m really happy with having huge blocks of time to focus on whatever I want. So without question, for me, time is the most valuable resource, personally, that’s the way I view it. And the number one… there’s a few things that I do every day I’m reading, that’s like religion, I’m either listening to or reading something that’s going to improve my life, I almost never miss, it just puts me in the right state of mind. Second thing like you, if I’m looping with these thoughts, I’ll journal those down, it gets it gets it out of my head. And on paper, it frees me emotionally to focus on something else, I would say, having the time again, the most valuable thing in my life is my family and my friends and having the time to spend with them, call them up, talk to them, that does wonders for just making me happy. Even if it’s just a quick phone call, I would say having the time, having a coaches, counselors in my life, when I have to, it could be a therapist, whatever. It could be any number of advisors, the other thing is having the time to travel. That’s big for me, it allows me to kind of step out of my life my day to day life and say, okay, I’m doing five international trips next year. That’s really fun and exciting. And I’m learning and I’m growing, it’s total immersion. That’s just, it does wonders for me personally. And I also get a ton of business ideas. And the latest thing that I’m working on right now is, as you guys know, is basically this, this whole concept of really being clear about my self talk, what’s going on inside of me in terms of my thoughts and my emotions, and trying to come up with hacks for that. And so like recently, I’ll just give you one that works for me. If I’m out of alignment, or I’m feeling off emotionally. I have what I call three G’s. One is I asked myself, am I being grateful D
right now? Or am I thinking from a point of view of scarcity? That’s one it’s a check. I could be thinking, thinking about things from a scarcity perspective. Why am I doing that? And you find out, I’m really, really grateful. Why am I focused on that, and you shift and it makes you feel better instantly. Second thing, this is a new one. For me. It’s kind of an interesting one. Am I being hard on myself right now for messing up or not getting what I wanted, not achieving what I wanted, whatever it may be. Am I being gentle with myself? New word, new word for me, but really helpful. Even in the context of like meditation. A lot of people want to do meditation, but they don’t stick with it. Because they’re like, Oh, I’m not doing it. Great. And I was reading a book from Tara Brock. And it basically said, Hey, every time you catch yourself wandering off that’s an awareness thing. That’s an actual rep in the gym. Don’t be upset by that. That’s a wrap when you’re starting out meditating, and just frees you to be gentle on yourself. The bottom line is you’re on the path. And then the third thing is. Am I giving love to myself and others? Or am I in a fear based emotion? And so those are just checks throughout today, it’s a quick hack three G’s. And so it puts me right back into feeling better.
Diva Nagula 33:14
I feel that one Scott that was really awesome. You mentioned some in terms of reading. I know all three of you are veracious readers, and you try to get as much information as you can, whether it’s a podcasts or with real books. Who are your favorite authors, or podcasters? And like, what has been the biggest take home that’s really helped change your life?
Derek Coburn 33:34
In terms of podcasts. I’m a huge fan of Sam Harris, who has a podcast called Making Sense. I love the where he takes the conversations. And there’s another guy by the name of Eric Weinstein, who has one called the portal and Sean Carroll who has one called MindScape. It’s more about like quantum physics and a lot of quantum theory. And so what I love about those conversations, just like being a lawyer and listening to two really smart people talk about stuff. It’s like, to me a really cool invention that we’ve created as the human species to like, allow us to listen to all of these cool conversations that are happening everywhere are a couple recently, a book that I’ve been digging that I know a lot of us are familiar with. And to give him a bit of a tipping our cap to him is Doug Brockman wrote a book called Driven who I, you know, had come across many years ago, but didn’t read the book until this year. And probably one of the best books I’ve read to help me think about who I am and why I’m not an alien, and there’s others like me, and then I would toss up their Mapping Cloud Nine, which I’ve sent out to a couple of my friends here to check out Steven Kotler his last book about high performance and spirituality and it’s just thought was a really good kind of compilation of good research and then I’ll let pass the baton to these guys, but I love books. I feel like we should have a huge reading list here. Maybe there’s a way for us to stop, you gotta read three and just tell me what the summary!
Diva Nagula 35:10 Scott?
Scott Thompson 35:11
I cosign on Driven, I’m almost done with that. And I think if you are somebody that has ADD tendencies you’re really driven to, you always think that, that something can be better, you’re never satisfied either in a healthy way or an unhealthy way. If that speaks to you that it’s a it’s really an excellent book. I’m sort of also on the spirituality kick myself right now read Untethered Soul earlier this year. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I think you guys all read it, as well, Conversations with God is another one that just does an audio book, it seemed like it was 85 hours long, but it never felt boring or too long. And my favorite, one of my favorite podcasts is the Robcast, which is from a guy named Rob Bell. He’s one of my favorite spiritual thinkers, he actually formed the fastest growing church in the history of the United States. One day I had doubts. It was a Christian nondenominational Christian church one day I had doubts about whether, if you really had to literally believe Jesus rose from the dead in order to get into heaven. He had these thoughts while he was driving in to his church on Easter Sunday morning to get four sermons in a row and realized “I probably shouldn’t be doing this.” So he still identifies I think, as Christian, but he casts like a wider spirituality net, he opened up for Oprah on her tour about four years ago, which put them on the map. And I just love his, his, the way he thinks, the way he breaks down spiritual texts, the insights that he offers, and one of my routines every single Monday morning on my way into the office that’s the podcast I listen to.
Diva Nagula 36:56
That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing with us.
Scott Thompson 36:58 Thank you.
Joe Mechlinski 36:59
Tim Ferriss podcast, I listened to a lot, we just covered so much ground I am actually working with the Sam Harris waking up app, which has been really, really helpful with regard to meditation. Fantastic, by the way, unbelievable resource. In terms of books, that’s always the hardest question for me, because I’m reading constantly, I read 6-8 books at the same time, I can just tell you like some of the books that I i’ve been reading currently, Integral Psychology is won by Ken Wilber. And it’s a very cerebral book. But what’s interesting is he kind of likes to look at, tries to map out how we grow from a psychological perspective and spiritual perspective and lines of development and puts together a map for that. Really quite an interesting read, very cerebral, but it very good focus in terms of developing as a human being. The World’s Religions. It’s a fascinating book by Houston Smith, he’s considered one of the top people on earth in terms of comparative religions. And it takes out the dogma of religions and says, Hey, what’s the essence underlying religion? Because at that time, it was all about philosophy, and how should we live to have an amazing life right at the core, an extraordinary book, and I took that course, World Religion’s course in college, and I wasn’t interested in religion at that time at all, but I felt God was the best class ever took. Now what’s happened is every three, four years, I reread this book. And you know it’s a great book when you’re reading it again. And now you’re looking at it from a different perspective, when you answer the questions. It’s an amazing book, the Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer, he wrote early, early on, this is a book that says, it really talks about letting go of negative emotions, guilt, shame, you know, where your foots on the brake in life, and it’s holding you back, and talks about how to live in the present and touches on self actualization. So, stuff like that I love.
Diva Nagula 38:49
So a lot of listeners that are going to be tuning into the podcasts are entrepreneurs, obviously a lot of people who are suffering from cancer, this panel that I put together was really wanted to discuss, you know, the perils of entrepreneurship, ins and out of entrepreneurs life, I ran across a stat that said that nine out of 10 startups fail within the first two years. That’s really interesting, because that’s heartbreaking for a person to go through because you’re really living and dying by the success of your business. All three of you have engaged in your own startups have probably invested in startups, you know, what kind of advice would you give to people who are just about to venture into a startup? And is it the right thing to do at this time? Or, you know, what kind of guidelines can you offer?
Joe Mechlinski 39:37
Well, I can take a quick stab, I would say that stat is a little misleading. From my perspective. It’s not that the failure rates not super high. There are a ton of corporations that basically get filed and nothing happens with them, meaning they were set up as a shell or they were set up as a thought experiment before actually starting a business. So to me that point for actually going out and starting your own thing is when you hit the reality of, you know, the double bind, you know, needing to raise money, find money and get revenue and cover the expenses it takes to make business work anything before that, to me is just a cool little mini adventure. And I think from a business standpoint, anybody who’s listening to this who, is certainly sick or just coming from a perspective that they don’t they don’t understand this, I would just say, you know, being an entrepreneur, in my mind is largely dealing with uncertainty. And so your capacity to deal with uncertainty through just being curious and asking questions and not being attached to the outcome and trying to just surrender to giving yourself permission not to know the answers, but to really just kind of enter into inquiry. Is it kind of the best way? From my perspective? Is it just a little mini map. And in terms of like, you know, should you get involved in startups, there was a guy who has a large influence on me. He has a saying that he says all the time, which is that understanding precedes action. And so there’s an action bias that is starting to kind of become a thing, which is the fact that most entrepreneurs are given a trophy to leap first and ask questions second. I think what we’ll find is a little bit of a correction here, over the next maybe 10 years, which is people are going to want to ask a lot more questions before they just leap. Being an entrepreneur is not about being a superhero, it’s about really helping solve problems on a daily basis, and maybe building a team, if that’s your thing or serving your customers or, you know, using your business to fully express who you are, is I would think about it.
Diva Nagula 41:35
Well, so thank you, Joe. Scott, Eric?
Derek Coburn 41:39
Well, I think Scott probably can chime in more on on this than I can. But what I will say is that, for me, one of the ancillary benefits of starting Qadri, while I was also maintaining my wealth management business was having two businesses running side by side at the same time has really given me the courage and the confidence to stick to my guns in terms of who is an ideal client, who is the person that I want to work with. And I would like to think that I would still sort of stick to my guns, if you will, like, this person is not a good fit, this person is a good fit, but you have one thing going on. And that thing is what’s paying your mortgage six months from now, and what’s funding your kids college education fund. We’re going to make exceptions. And so I think that there’s real value for obviously, if you’re right out of school, or you have nothing else going on, then go all in and whatever you’re doing, but if you have a corporate job now, or you have a business that you don’t love, rather than just jumping ship and starting something new, maybe you can carve out some space on weekends or during the evenings, just in the short term, to try to get this business, this new gig going getting that off on the right foot where you don’t have the pressure to have to take on clients that are not a good fit, or to work with people that don’t get you or that you don’t like. And it just allows you to sort of test it out. This sort of also reminds me of Adam Grant tells a story in his book originals, where he was approached by the founders of Warby Parker to invest in their in glass company. And when they first came to him, they were all in graduate school, I think, and he just said, I’m not investing my money in your company, you guys are all in school, you’re working hard to graduate, I’m gonna invest my money somewhere, I want to know that you’re all in. And I came to and I think a couple years later, and one of them was going to do it full time. But the other ones were going off and had another corporate job. I think the other one was getting another MBA. And he said the same thing. And of course, that was obviously a huge financial mistake on his part sort of to make a long story longer when he was figuring out like what he could have done differently, why they were successful, it was having that secure income on the side is actually great for entrepreneurs that a lot of people view entrepreneurs as risk takers, great risk takers, but we’re really great risk mitigators. And if I have a steady flow of income coming in from another job, I can take risks and go after this new startup this new gig in a way that might not make a lot of sense if I didn’t have the security of the paycheck coming in from this other place.
Diva Nagula 44:11
Thanks, Derek. Appreciate that. You know, one thing I wanted to add, before we get to Scott is like, I think it’s important to, if you’re going to engage in a startup, you really want to go in with the right mindset. Two businesses that I launched the first one, my medical practice that I launched back in 2005. I went in in that with a totally different mindset. I had no business experience. When I started this, it was just a whim and it was purely vindictive, that drove me to this. I was wronged about my first employer. After I finished my residency. We got into an argument and he had opened up a satellite office. And he was only there once a week and my MO at that time was that I wanted to start up my location in that area and drive him out of business in that location. And within a year it happened. I drove him out. But that was the sole, like emotion that drove me to entrepreneurship is my first entrance to entrepreneurship and was successful. But I don’t think that the mindset that I had was proper. And then the last business that I launched was the hydration business that I launched two years ago. And when I came into DC, I didn’t know anybody. I joined Qadri. And I got to know people, what was missing was that all these awesome entrepreneurs and all these awesome people, I didn’t have anything to relate with people with a talk about because I didn’t have a business anymore. So it drove me to launch a business. And rather than dealing with my own personal shit, which I needed to do, because I just gotten over cancer and gotten over divorce, I just wanted to distract myself and get into a business where I could feel like I was being part of everybody else. So I think it’s important this talk about, you have to be in the right mindset. And I think if you’re passionate about something specifically about the business that you want to venture off and start off, everything comes with ease. I mean, you just don’t have that sense where, oh, man, I gotta do this this morning. Oh, man this fucking sucks. It’s all it’s just everything is just easy in your life, is easy in your relationships with family and friends is easier. So I don’t know if that’s just my take home message. And from my experience, Scotty?
Scott Thompson 46:21
A couple points I can make here. When I talk to people that want to start a company. When I was younger, I was like, go do it. Yeah, great. Do it right now I realized, let’s talk for a while before we jump in. First things first, why do you want to get into the business? It’s really a critical question. And what will that business look like? What do you envision it looking like? Is there going to be a growth business? Is it going to be a lifestyle business? Do you want 10 employees, 100 employees, zero employees? I mean, these are really vital questions in terms of how you structure the company, etc. Where do you want to live, you want to be mobile, a lot of time has to be spent on that. This life. This is a short game, we don’t have much time we have over here, we don’t know that you’re going to be successful, in spite of all your talent, a lot in business has to do with timing. Right? It really does. Did you get into the right industry at the right time, and so on so forth, ride that wave? And so that’s the first thing. Second thing I’d say is what you just mentioned. What are you passionate about? What could What are you great at or what could you be great at? And third would be, is there pent up demand for this particular product or service? Or could there be pent up demand for it? And the intersection of all three of those, that to me is it’s an area to really be looking at before you jump in. I would say third, and I’m biased here because I’m talking about – I’ve only run companies that were in service businesses that have had a lot of employees. I’ve also always came in with the objective. I’ve never sold my time I’ve never consulted. That’s me personally, my objective was always to build a system and work as little as possible right? Period. I wanted to build a clock that ran itself. And as Jim Collins points out, I never really wanted to be that time teller with 1000 hours. That’s just me. So knowing what you want is really critical. In my case, it’s always about building systems. And building right team and I bring in the right people at the right time to assist. Years ago, we outgrew our processes, we worked with a lot of our core values and leadership and issues like that I brought Joe and he helped our team, right. So it’s constantly growing and learning. But if you don’t have the ability to build a team, you’re probably going to have problems. It’s an unbelievably complicated world out there. That’s for sure. Right? Every department has its own complexities, IT, marketing and so on. It’s it’s super complicated. And I would say the last area is everybody talks about the great aspects of being an entrepreneur and I’ve loved the game. However, I would be lying to you if I didn’t say there were times I’m thinking to myself, why the hell did I get into business? Okay, I think that we could do an entire podcast on these are the landmines that you need to avoid before you get into business. And while you’re in business, literally. So having a great defense in business is vitally important. There’s just so many ways to get into trouble. It could be a department of labor dispute, because you didn’t pay employees properly, just for example, right. And so there’s so much complexity out there, especially in America, we have 50 states and different regulations and different licensing and so on. So I can go on and on and on about this. But at the end, I talk about team, being employees team being independent contractors, our team being advisors, people that are smarter than you in that particular area. You’ve got to have a vision that inspires them to want to come on and if you can do that, you can do really good work in the world. Just my biased opinion.
Diva Nagula 49:41
Well, thank you. That’s awesome. I think all of our listeners would love those comments that you guys just talked about. We’re running out of time, and but I wanted to just take an opportunity for each of you if you want to have some closing comments for our listeners with 30 seconds or whatever. Discuss Anything that you might want to convey that might be useful for the budding entrepreneur. For a person who is looking to find some resources to help with their stress levels and mental health threats that they’re facing during the entrepreneurship.
Joe Mechlinski 50:14
I can go first, Mr. Diva, thank you for doing this for bringing us together. And it really is kind of an amazing book that you’ve written. And this whole conversation that you’ve started for people, and the courage it takes to share your story is a big freakin deal. So I know we are you know, you and we love you, man. But it just goes without saying that this is a really honor to be on this podcast with these guys, and certainly with you. So. And that’s really my closing thought, which is, you are who you surround yourself with. I’ve been using this line since you know, I got into college. And I believe that my dad gave me the line of the was the first sentence of my college essay, which I didn’t write, which is a whole nother story for another day. But it was to be successful in life, you have to surround yourself with people who want to be successful too
Diva Nagula 50:58 Love that!
Joe Mechlinski 50:58
And so, you know, I would just say it’s always about being in the right room. So whether it’s, you know, at a Qadri event, or, you know, just hanging with you guys, in all of the fun adventures, we get a chance to do. As an entrepreneur, it’s, it’s lonely only if you want it to be. And you know, if you look at yourself as your first customer, which will sound hard to do for all of us who like to be martyrs, like myself, it really is true, your business is just an expression of who you are. And that’s a lesson that we all kind of need quite a bit.
Diva Nagula 51:32
Thanks, Joe. I really appreciate you and thanks for being on this podcast with us. And Derek and Scott, any closing remarks?
Derek Coburn 51:38
Yeah, I mean, I was gonna say, just find your tribe, you know, to piggyback on what Joe said, he mentioned, if you want to be successful, be around other people that want to be successful. And to add on to that. It’s like, What is your definition of success? And what is the definition of success for these other people? And, look, I don’t think it’s any accident that we’re all as close as we are, that we’re all sort of focused and interested on the same things. Right now, we’re all on our own journeys, but we’re sort of trending in the right direction. And I know that my my life is certainly better, because the three of you are in it. And just being able to call you brothers being able to call you, friends, being able to literally call you on the phone at any point and know you guys are going to pick up and we’re gonna be able to talk about whatever’s on our minds, the relationships that we have with each other and with others in our community. There are a lot of people out there that don’t have those kinds of relationships with even like one or two other people, and we work at it, and we deserve it. Right. But I think it’s all about relationships. At the end of the day, we’re going to look back, and we’re going to reflect on the quality of our relationships, the quality, the experiences that we had with our people. And so I’m grateful for you guys. I’m grateful for everyone that’s in my tribe, everyone that’s in my community and grateful for you for having us on this this podcast today. And having started these conversations and congrats on your book, I’m really enjoying it. And thank you, I know you have some some big things in store for the for the world to the benefit of a lot of humans out there.
Diva Nagula 53:11 Thanks! Scotty?
Scott Thompson 53:13
My computer’s ready to die. Of course, I don’t have it plugged in. So I’m gonna go real fast. This is amazing. It’s hard for me to say it any better than these two guys just did. For me the real success in my life has to do with the people around me period, end of story. Tribe has been everything. So in life and in business, determine clearly what it is you want. Learn how to recruit people in your life. If you have a great marriage, you’re gonna have a great life, your terrible marriage, it’s not so fun. Same with business partnerships, same with employees, right? If it’s great, it’s great. If it isn’t good, it’s miserable. So get that right, spend a lot of time learning how to recruit he’s bring into your life and get comfortable being uncomfortable. And you know that getting outside your comfort zone is the big one. And that’s a little tricky, but that’s why you need to try before you jump off and do a bungee. I bungee jumped in South Africa, there wasn’t a chance in hell, I would have bungee without my crazy tribe next to me, I would have said the hell with this. But they did it. So of course, I had to step up my game, right, but it made me grow. So that’s my short, sweet synopsis
Diva Nagula 54:17
You got it in 30 seconds. There you go, Scott. Gentlemen, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. This is my favorite podcast that I’ve done so far. So you three have been such an inspiration to me. And I believe it’d be gonna be an inspiration to anyone who listens to this. So thank you so much. And I enjoyed this and we will see each other very soon.
Joe Mechlinski 54:36 Love you guys.
Diva Nagula 54:37 Love you guys too.