Want the secret formula for success in business so you can enjoy a stress-free life?
We're Making Conversations about building a business success formula Count!Episode 73 - Brandon C White
Did you know there’s a secret formula for success in business? Yep, there is. And we’re making conversations about it count, with Brandon C White!
Big take-away quote from this conversation about getting the secret formula for success in business:
“The number one page that people who visit LinkedIn, visit, is their own page. How many times have you seen your own data? It’s just one of those things.
So, you’ve got to get out of the mindset and take yourself out…..”
Brandon C White, Making Conversations Count – (March 2022)
(Hard of hearing? Transcript here).
Strapped for data? You can hear a lower-bandwidth version of the episode here.)
Business advice. With a difference…
We’ve had a lot of people on this podcast offering business advice.
On various different aspects of running a business.
This is the first time we’ve addressed business planning. As in, putting in place the structure and first page of your business story.
That’s where this week’s guest comes in.
And to do so, he used a success formula.
This is why this episode is so exciting.
Brandon is going to share with us his secret formula for success in business.
The formula for success in business is like any principle, the same as the law of gravity: you can’t break it without consequences.
But what are these principles?
Brandon White will share his formula with us in this latest episode of “Making Conversations Count“!
What do you think will be revealed?
Will there be some sort of formula that makes you say “Aha!”?
Brandon C White has had two successful exits backing up his reputation for building successful businesses. He’s worked with some of the biggest brands and he’s been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Success Magazine and others.
He’s also worked with some entrepreneurial heavyweights like Grant Cardone.
And wouldn’t you know, it’s yet another episode that highlights how conversations can have a huge role in your business and life.
It’s almost like we know what we’re doing, over here!
Talking of knowing what we’re doing…
Wendy‘s currently running a 12 week blueprint programme which outlines her ‘four R formula’.
Want to overcome that fear of rejection or guide your teams towards having better conversations?
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Goal setting is one of the most important aspects of business.
Without goals, you have no way to measure your progress or know if you are succeeding.
And if you don’t know whether you are succeeding or not, it’s difficult to stay motivated.
But goal setting is more than just writing down a list of things you want to achieve. It’s important to set the right kind of goals, and to make sure they are realistic and achievable. Otherwise, you will quickly lose motivation and give up.
Having applied this mindset to two successful businesses that he’s exited in the past, Brandon lives and breathes this rule.
Listen as he shares the importance of that above statement.
He also offers suggestions for how you might overcome that goal setting quandary.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. But failing to prepare for failure is… well you get the idea!
Most businesses fail because they don’t have the formula for success.
It’s not a formula you learn in school or from reading books, but one that is based on years of experience and trial and error.
The formula for success can be found by following three key principles: setting the right goals, making sure those goals are achievable, and using conversations to generate leads.
But it’s also found in the negative, weirdly.
In this episode, Brandon shares how he leverages the very real possibility of failing at business as a method for succeeding in it.
Watch the episode promo!
Managed to catch the previous episode yet? Click play on the player below to listen!
“What in the universe has made the conversation happen?”
The universe is always trying to send us signals. These signals can help us in our business endeavors, but we have to be willing to listen and look for them.
If we allow the universe to help us, it can guide us on our path to success. However, if we’re too busy or wrapped up in our own world, we might not see the signs that are right in front of us.
In order to make the most of these signals from the universe, we need to be open-minded and mindful of what’s going on around us. Only then can we truly take advantage of the opportunities that come our way.
During the episode, Brandon recommends a book.
It’s this one from James Redfield – The Celestine Prophecy.
Apparently it left quite an impact on him.
Here he is talking about it.
“One of the top business books that I recommend to people when they ask me, ‘What’s the most important business book you ever read, Brandon, or what’s the top book?’ one of them is The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield, and The Celestine Prophecy, whether you’re religious or not, it’s more of a spiritual book, maybe a self-help book.
I guess maybe that’s where it is in the category which I used to read a lot of; and it basically says what you just explained, which is in order to have conversations and to be able to move yourself forward, you need to be able to recognise a situation.
That situation could be a person.”
And then he dives into how everyday circumstances can massively shift your life path, if you learn to recognise those moments, and use them.
(Full transcript here)
Time to address the obvious real reason Brandon is on the podcast. He truly believes in the power of conversations!
I mean, it’s a no-brainer that we were always going to like Brandon.
Not only has he shared a secret formula for success in business with us, but he’s also a huge believer in the benefits of having conversations!
What’s not to like here?
But in all seriousness, Brandon loves conversations, and podcasts.
“Some podcasts are produced and they have an intent. And in the longer conversations, the first 15 minutes of a conversation with someone are interesting, but everybody’s on their game, maybe even the first 30 minutes.
But after that, you start to get tired and let down some things and you’re like, “I’ve discovered something new about this person that I didn’t know…”
Talking of podcasts, Brandon’s is here for you to check out.
But not before you’ve listened to this one!!!
During this episode you’ll learn:
- How to reach a goal the easiest way (without burn out)
- How to prepare yourself for potential failure
- The importance of conversations for being successful
- How to recognise when the universe has gifted you with a purposeful conversation
- Why Brandon values podcasts just like this one
- Brandon’s conversation that counts, and how you can learn from it
Find out more about Brandon here:
Reach out to him via email – B@BrandonCWhite.com
Brandon’s podcast, “Edge”.
So, Wendy’s takeaway from the conversation in this episode about having the secret formula for success in business with Brandon C White?
“Brandon offers a lot of food for thought in this episode.
About being curious, asking the right questions, and setting realistic goals that are easy to celebrate more quickly and more frequently.
Let’s hope that next time the universe presents you with an opportunity for a conversation, you recognise it quickly enough that you can fully captialise!”
So, the key question is, will you now start applying some of that secret success formula in your own business?
Do let us know.
Wil you now consider supporting your friends and loved ones with these kinds of activities?
Please do let us know your take-aways from this episode by leaving a comment at https://makingconversationscount.studio/Review-Brandon-C-White
New to this site? Learn more about Making Conversations Count podcast:
“Making Conversations Count” is a podcast from WAG Associates founder and telemarketing trainer Wendy Harris.
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Full Episode Transcript - Conversation about using the secret formula for success in business - "Making Conversations Count"
|Title:||Making Conversations about Building a Business Success Formula Count|
|Guest:||Brandon C White, Entrepreneur|
00:03:03: Making an initial approach to businesses
00:05:16: Set realistic and achievable goals
00:08:49: Celebrate the little successes
00:10:59: The importance of conversations
00:14:37: The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
00:19:14: Radio enhances conversation
00:21:59: Take care of yourself, but also your significant other
00:31:59: Brandon’s pivotal conversation
00:42:42: Final thoughts
Wendy Harris: Starting a business is not just about having a good idea, as we’ve explored in previous episodes with guests that have expertise in certain fields. We’ve looked at accountancy, we’ve looked at sales, marketing, processes; but as yet, we’ve never really covered business planning and the strategy that needs to go into you starting a business and forecasting cashflow and sales so that you can have a solid proposition.
Today, we’re going to change all of that, and we’re going to get into alignment with why you’re in business and how that makes you feel, and what your goals are for the future. So, let’s get down to Making Conversations about Building a Business Success Formula Count with Brandon C White.
What’s new, Wendy Woo? I’ve completed a big project working with a dozen or more call centre agents, and the biggest feedback that I could ever hope to get from them at the end of that process was comments like, “I can personalise the script”, “I can allow myself to be human and explain things”, “Being able to go off-script and give a reason for the call” or, “That’s another feather to my bow, understanding that I can actually have a conversation”. There’s a common theme there with all of those feedback comments from the team: people buy from people, and it was such a pleasure to be able to help guide them. I’m now looking to do some more. Get in touch if you’ve got a team.
Next week’s guest has very kindly sent through a pre-launch offer. We’re joined by Dawn Bates next week, and she is offering a seven-week book launch course. There’s loads more details going to be going onto our newsletter, so please go and subscribe to that; have a look in the show notes, we’re going to be putting links. It’s a time-limited offer, so we’re just going to sew the seed of that today, and next week you’ll get to know Dawn better and we’ll give you much more information about that launch. Writing a book is more than just the words on the page.
In bringing the happiness and the health and the richness to businesses, how do you start those conversations with people, Brandon, I’m intrigued?
Brandon C White: How do I approach people with businesses? That’s a really good question, Wendy. I don’t really approach people. I think most of the time, I try to share what I’ve learned from selling 2 companies, trying about 20 that I would call projects that we tried to turn into a company but never made it, and I think I just try, when we do talk to fellow business owners out there, or creators or whatever, solopreneurs, whatever they are, anybody leading a team really, it’s a little bit of what we talked about before here, is hire people smarter than you.
Also realise that, I think business owners are inspired by other successful business stories, and I think those stories are longer and have more chapters than the chapter that they read, so to speak, and believe that success was overnight. I think that sets unrealistic expectations for people, and expectations in life are generally why we’re disappointed. And those expectations then not only lead to disappointment, but lead to people quitting.
Any large company out there, with a few exceptions, have all taken a decade to create, they did not happen overnight. Some of them grew very fast, there have been a few that have grown fast enough and sold within five years, or something like that; but for the most part, companies just take a really long time to build and I think people who are leading companies, or even teams within larger companies, believe that you’re just going to get that success, and you’re not.
If you don’t have that mindset to start out, then anything else, or advice that you or me or anyone could give them is just not going to happen, because they’re never going to get to the advice, they’re never going to get to the lesson, because they’re going to keep thinking to themselves that they should have done something faster, and that’s just not true.
Wendy Harris: Would you say that having a goal can actually just be broken down into lots of little steps to get there?
Brandon C White: I was listening to a podcast this weekend and I looked up the study, and it turns out you do — goalsetting is really important, and more importantly is breaking it down into an action plan, some people could call it a workplan, whatever that is, but without the details. An interesting thing I learned, Wendy, is that psychology, when I studied psychology, and is sometimes broadcast across the internet these days, is you set a goal and then you visualise yourself accomplishing that goal.
As it turns out, recent science with studies shows that you do need to set a goal, you need to set a moderate goal. If the goal is too high initially, then it defeats the purpose. So, I’m going to use money right now, because people out there, if somebody says, “I want to build my business to $100 million”. If you’re at zero today, that’s a lofty goal. A more moderate goal would be able to say, “I want to get to $1 million of revenue in 24 months”, and then use a stepping-stone process for setting those goals. But what the science says is that you set a moderate goal, and then you remind yourself more often of the effect of failure. This seems counterintuitive, but the science says that if you do that, you are more likely to achieve your goal.
I was reflecting on this on a bike ride yesterday, and it turns out that one of my philosophies, Wendy, is when people say, “Don’t you love winning, Brandon? Everybody loves winning”. I hate losing more than I like winning. And as I reflected on this philosophy that I’ve had, mainly because I just hate losing, the pain of losing or not achieving your goal, far outweighs the success for me. Some listeners of your show could say, “Well, that’s sort of sad”, but it’s not really sad. I, in many ways, expect to achieve my goals that I set, because what else would you do if you set a goal? You would obviously expect that you’re going to hit that goal. And if you didn’t, then you need to reassess that belief.
But reminding yourself is what I have had the ability to do. I did a 35-mile ride yesterday, I guess kilometres, what is that? 50 or 60 kilometres. And I was thinking to myself that’s really been my whole life, and maybe that’s why I’ve been lucky enough to hit the goals that I’ve done, because I didn’t know this science, this is relatively recent studies have shown this; I’ve always been able to say, “Okay, here’s what I want to do, and what happens if it doesn’t work out and how painful is that going to be?” And I think that’s helped me in decisions I’ve made in my personal life, in my business life, and as it relates to achieving goals.
So, that was a really long answer to your question.
Wendy Harris: Yes!
Brandon C White: Yes, you’ve got to break them down, but you also need to do some other steps.
Wendy Harris: I think you’re right, that there’s that little competitive nature in most people, I would say most people, that once you hit a goal and you’re successful, you very quickly forget, or even take the time to acknowledge that success, because human nature is to go, “What’s next, because I’ve gotten to here; what can I imagine is going to happen now? What do I want this to turn into bigger, better, bolder?” and I think that’s human nature if you really truly believe that we are boundless in what we can create.
Brandon C White: I think you’re right. I do think it’s important, to your point, to make sure, and I’ve deliberately done this along the way, that you do celebrate when you achieve a goal. I’ve had a tendency to do exactly what you’ve just said. I use bike-riding as an analogy a lot, or even business. I wanted to eventually sell my first business that I created, and it was actually a little bumpier road than it turns out that I had planned, whatever planning meant; but I think you’ve got to really celebrate those, because that creates a behaviour to remember what success also feels like.
Whatever that is, whether that’s a party, or treating yourself to something, or you could treat yourself to a physical thing, product, or you could go have an experience with your friends, family and/or teammates, I think that’s just as important to acknowledge along the way, because it’s really easy to stay and find yourself in a negative mindset, “Well, we didn’t do this, we didn’t do that”. That seems to be a prevailing narrative that happens instead of saying, “It’s the silver lining in these things”.
Wendy Harris: A self-fulfilling prophecy?
Brandon C White: Yeah. I mean, I think you just do have to celebrate along the way.
Wendy Harris: When it comes to making conversations count, how important are conversations to you in affecting the influence that you want when you’re working with your customers?
Brandon C White: I think they’re the most important. I’d have to think about it, but I’ve said it before, I think conversations, which is really interacting with other humans, is probably the most important thing and skill that you will ever learn to be successful in business. And it’s really communicate, because that could be the written word, that could be a sales letter, that could be something else.
I listened to your episode, I think it was your introduction episode, or your story episode, and you changed some things that I’m going to do with telesales, because your conversation was actually a pivotal conversation that you had, I think, that someone said something to you and said, “Hi, Wendy, I’m calling because I have something that’s ancillary”, I forget the exact word, “to a product you bought”, and that opened the door to you and maybe where you are today.
But that’s just an example of, if you can’t communicate, which means that you — communicating is as much listening, I think, to a fellow person or a group of people than I really — you could probably make a good living, you can do something behind the scenes, but if you can’t interact with people and communicate, I think you’re just going to really have a — it’s not going to be good for you. I think the key to having good conversations is being able to listen and take genuine interest in another person. I think that can be hard for some people, because for the most part, everybody is thinking and wants to talk about themselves.
When people go to the gym, they’re always worried that people are looking at them. I’m like, “Nobody’s looking at you, they’re looking at themselves in the mirror. They might glance at you, they’re not staring at you, they’re staring at themselves”. It’s the same thing on LinkedIn. The number one page, I saw this statistic a while ago, that people who visit LinkedIn visit is their own page. How many times have you seen your own data? It’s just one of those things. So, you’ve got to get out of the mindset and take yourself out.
I think one of the keys for me in life is that I just have curiosity. I mean, I ask a million questions, I generally want to know what. My wife cuts me off at questions around 11.00am in the morning, because she’s just worn out from all the questions! You have to have a curious mindset, I think, Wendy.
Wendy Harris: I think you’re right, Brandon. My dad certainly taught me to ask questions until I ran out of questions, and then usually you go away and you’re searching for some more questions, aren’t you, really? But it’s that satisfaction that you’ve understood, and sometimes certainly in business, our intellect can get in the way of the emotion and the sort of gut feeling that we have for things. We don’t always tune into the opportunities that are presented to themselves, and a lot of that can be through a lack of listening to what’s going on around you, to spot those opportunities. Do you find the same?
Brandon C White: I absolutely do. One of the top business books that I recommend to people when they ask me, “What’s the most important business book you ever read, Brandon, or what’s the top book?” one of them is The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield, and The Celestine Prophecy, whether you’re religious or not, it’s more of a spiritual book, maybe a self-help book, I guess maybe that’s where it is in the category which I used to read a lot of; and it basically says what you just explained, which is in order to have conversations and to be able to move yourself forward, you need to be able to recognise a situation. That situation could be a person.
The question that I always have is, “Why am I talking with this person?” not judging it, but what in the universe has made this conversation happen and what can I get out of it? I used to train myself to do that when I was flying a lot, and I flew every week. And one of those things that I’m sure you and your listeners can relate to, is when you have a middle seat in between and the plane is almost filled up, and you’ve still got that middle seat. Then you see this one last person, everyone’s already sat down and you see this one last person coming through the aisle and they sit in your seat. That’s exactly how I felt.
I had to change that mindset, because my flights were generally long. And then I started asking myself, “Why did this person sit next to me, and what’s the lesson going to come out of it?” and I think that just opens the world, and that’s what that Celestine Prophecy book, for me, was to take away. There’s probably 100 other messages in it that you could take away.
But I was making notes, because I’ve kept tracks of all my pivotal moments, as you call them, which I’ve called them for a long time as well, and I think that’s a pivotal moment, because that little thing of just being curious changes the mindset of, “Oh, I’ve got to talk to this person and I don’t know them. This person runs their mouth all the time and here I go again”, whereas if you can say, “Why am I talking to this person today?” it just changes everything. So now, you’re sitting there actually paying attention, instead of having a dialogue in your head, which is your own conversation, which means you’re not paying attention to anyone else.
Wendy Harris: You’re having your own story, aren’t you? You’re creating the story around something that hasn’t even really happened yet. And I agree with you there, Brandon, that it’s got to be, for me, there is always going to be an intention behind everything. It’s like, “Why do we podcast, Brandon?” We podcast, because our intention is to try and share something, because somebody somewhere needs to hear that particular piece of advice, or the story behind it.
Brandon C White: I think that’s true. When you said that, it got me thinking, “Why do I podcast and why do I share information?” I think it’s, if I’m being totally honest with myself, the ability for me to be in podcasting is to talk with smart people like you where I can learn regularly and be smarter and learn how things happen, and it gives me a forum to do that and share with other people that can benefit from dropping in on that conversation.
Wendy Harris: I can’t actually put into words just how full up I feel from the numerous guests that I have had the privilege of spending time with. It’s really opened some incredible doors, and for conversations that I bore my family silly with sometimes, and every now and again it’s, “Such-and-such that this on the show about that”, and it’s like, “Who are you talking about now?” But these are impressions, these are dents that are left in my mind. And if I enjoy the dents, I’m making the assumption that other people enjoy those dents too.
Brandon C White: Of course, they listen, and it just makes the world a better place. I think that podcasting, I don’t know, I grew up with radio. I’m an X Gen, so I remember what it was like to not have a computer, and I know what it’s like to have a computer. But back then, my house in the early days, when I was a kid, had a black-and-white TV, which is a little crazy to think about. But radio was a big part of my life growing up, and I think some of that was because we lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere, and we couldn’t get many channels with the TV antenna; I think we got like five channels on the TV.
But the radio is a really intimate way in discussions to drop in on a conversation. Now, there’s different podcasts. Some podcasts are produced and they have an intent. And in the longer conversations, the first 15 minutes of a conversation with someone are interesting, but everybody’s on their game, maybe even the first 30 minutes. But after that, you start to get tired and let down some things and you’re like, “I’ve discovered something new about this person that I didn’t know”, or that’s insightful or could be helpful. Also, people are more willing to reveal their stories, which everybody’s got a story and everybody’s had good and bad things happen in their life that have shaped who they are, and if you can understand those things, I think it creates a more accepting situation where you can say, “Oh well, at least I understand this person”.
You don’t have to like everyone, Wendy. I think that a lot of people in life long to be liked, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I put my best foot forward, I’m not evil, but I also accept that there’s 7 billion-plus people on Earth, and they will not all like me, and I will not like them, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t work together or do something together, and it doesn’t mean that they or me or us or them are any better or worse.
Wendy Harris: I like how you put that, Brandon. That’s something that we could all be doing more to live by, certainly. When it comes to being a start-up and a business owner, what would be the one thing that you would recommend as a thing to do, a how-to?
Brandon C White: Well, I’m sure that the listeners would like me to give some traditional business advice, but my best advice is to take care of your health. I can’t emphasise enough, I find it crazy that I went to a top business school and I never had a class on taking care of yourself in the journey. If you do not eat right, if you do not exercise, your mind is going to be clouded and you’re not going to make it. There’s the old saying that everyone says, “It’s a marathon, not a race”. Everybody says it, but nobody, to your point earlier as it relates to a goal, puts any specifics behind it, “Well, Wendy, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so take your time”. What does that mean?
Translated, it means you can’t eat crap, you’ve got to exercise, you’ve got to move, you can’t sit in this chair all day long. If you do not do those things — and look, I know that there are people out there who have pushed through it and made it, meaning they’ve let their health go to hell, but they’ve still been successful in business and they’ve grown their revenue, whether that’s $10 million or $100 million, billion dollars. But I think if you ask them, “Hey, are you having the best experience?” the problem is that even with all that money, you can’t buy your health, in general.
So, that’s my advice: you’ve got to take care of yourself.
Wendy Harris: Well, the thing is that even for me, the marathon runners are the Mo Farah’s of the world, and you go to the goals, “I’m going to run the marathon”, needs that plan to get there, and of course even to run a marathon, you’ve got to be doing something every day towards that goal and you’re never going to win the race of a marathon, or be the best, fastest time the first time you run it, which also links back to the overnight success.
When we watch the Olympics and we go, “These are incredible athletes”, a lot of them have done that since they were knee-high to a grasshopper, weekend in, after school, before school, and it’s those sorts of sacrifices that are kind of glossed over, and we kind of paper over the cracks, that there was an awful lot more that goes into just standing there for their moment getting a medal, or even participating with the best in their field.
Brandon C White: I agree with you. The other thing, before I forget, which may be as important, if not more important, but I don’t want to rate all these things in general, but you’ve got to take care of your most important team members. And your most important team members actually aren’t always the people who work in your business or for you or with you, it’s actually your significant other.
I think that’s often lost, and I can’t imagine, well I guess I can imagine, but it’s hard to think about living with an entrepreneur, as putting yourself in the position of someone else who may not be an entrepreneur, because it’s crazy. You work long, people are putting, or appear to be putting a business in front of their personal relationships, which isn’t always the case, it’s just how it happens; and I think sometimes you’ve just got to take time to realise that.
What I’ve learned as one of my behaviours is, I’ll just continue to work. The truth is, you can do all the planning, you can take productivity training and all of that, and you can definitely improve a lot of things. But if you are trying to build something, it is very likely that you will not accomplish everything that needs to get done in the time you want, much less a working day. And what I’ve learned to do is, no matter what I’m doing, I could be in the middle of an “important email”, there’s always an important email, and my wife will come downstairs or come into my office here and, “Hey, what’s up?”
That’s a trigger for me. I will just get up and go and go spend time. You have to snap, it’s like snapping yourself out of it. You have got to snap yourself out of it and if you do not do that, this is really also part of taking care of yourself, you will run yourself into the ground, you won’t get good sleep and your relationship will fall apart. Then, that will add another stressor on top of just general stress of building something. And before you know it, you’re just crushing yourself.
So, you’ve got to learn, and people have said, “But Brandon, I’ve got to get this thing done”. There’s like a million things, I’ve been doing this for two-and-a-half decades; there’s always something that needs to get done, there’s always an important phone call, there’s always one more sale you can make that day. And I’m not saying, “Don’t make the extra effort”; that’s not what I’m saying here. I’m saying there’s a line where you need to understand that you have a team that’s living with you in your house that’s effected by all this for the good, if you make a bunch of money. But you could make a bunch of money and have a crappy relationship and what is the money going to do.
So, I just offer that. I didn’t want to forget that, Wendy, because I think it’s important and it’s not talked about, in my opinion, enough.
Wendy Harris: I think it is a serious oversight in business in general, when you start to talk about entrepreneurs or small business owners or owner-managed businesses, whatever phrase you want to call it. And you’ve said it already, Brandon, that the pain of losing, and we don’t want to have to imagine losing that relationship that we have with our partner or our family, because let’s face it, they usually are our biggest cheerleaders. What would be the point of carrying on in the business when you haven’t got your raving fan stoking your fire?
Brandon C White: I agree, and I’m not saying it’s easy, I want to be very clear on that. I think it’s really hard. It’s easy to say with you and I talking about it, from lessons learned, but it’s hard. So, if anybody’s thinking to themselves right now, “Well, that’s really easy, Wendy and Brandon are just talking about, it’s easy to say”; no, it’s really hard. It’s really hard, but you have to make a real effort if you’ve decided that that’s also important to you.
If you’ve decided that it’s not, then I would say you probably should have a real conversation with your partner, so the partner could move on if that’s going to happen, because that’s not fair to the other person. So, that’s what I would offer to people out there. I don’t think it’s that grim, I think you can adjust and I can tell you that when you do adjust, they will appreciate it, because they very likely will understand how important building something is to you. So, they’ll recognise that. But don’t do it just for that, do it because it’s good for both of you.
Wendy Harris: There’s always a way you can involve a partner in some way or another, even if it is that that partner has to take responsibility to help you stay healthy, by eating well together, by going out and exercising and doing a pastime together, because then you’re actually spending time with one another and it makes you happier, because you’ve got an accountability partner to keep you on track in your relationship as well as in business. I think that’s my own advice.
Brandon C White: Yeah, and I think it’s important to get a baseline on your relationship. You and I could probably do a five-hour episode on relationships!
Wendy Harris: I think we’ve quite naturally come to the part of the show that I enjoy the most, and that is that I get to ask you about that pivotal conversation that you can share with us, and what happened next.
Brandon C White: Well, I gave a lot of thought to this, Wendy, because I had a feeling that you might ask me for one. And, I think the thing that changed my entire trajectory, I’d had some pivotal moments before this happened that led to this pivotal moment. But it was probably the first conversation I had with my now wife, 25 years later, and the reason is this.
I grew up on the East Coast of the United States, which I call, and is, really the original 13 colonies. And it’s older than most of the United States. It has a different culture, it is obviously heavily influenced by Britain, naturally so, whereas the middle states, and specifically the West Coast of the United States is a much different place. It doesn’t have that, I don’t want to call it tradition, but it doesn’t have that deep history.
As a kid growing up on the East Coast, it’s very conservative, and California was always a place where you would hear about the surfers and the crazy writers, and it was not seen as the Wild West, but it was seen as a place where there weren’t as many rules, there’s no traditions that bind you into anything if you wanted to try something. And as a kid growing up on the East Coast, California’s a really long way away. When they talk about going to a good school, they don’t talk about Stanford or Berkeley, in general, they’re talking about Harvard, Yale or any big East Coast school, whether that’s a big university like UNC Chapel Hill, or University of Maryland, or something like that.
So, when I met my wife, my wife had gone to a boarding school on the East Coast. She’s originally from California, and she went there for many reasons, but to ride. It was a riding school in Virginia, a high school that had a riding programme, so horses and stables and things like that. And when I met her, I actually couldn’t believe that this woman, then young lady, had moved away from home at 13. 3,000 miles is a long way away, big decision; maybe she was 14, I can’t remember, and it offered me a glimpse into another coast that I had always, as a tech person, wanted to be part of.
Silicon Valley is still — there’s a lot of other places in the world and in the United States that are becoming tech opportunities, places where you can build —
Wendy Harris: The land of the chip?
Brandon C White: Yes, the land of the chip. So, Silicon Valley is the land of the chip. It has all the financers, it has seed rounds, it has A, B, C, D, E rounds, it has the big companies that can buy you, it has smart people. And there’s other places on Earth that has these components, but not like this. And it was just a really long way away for me, and she just opened my eyes why I thought it was really brave to move away that far from home to a place that she didn’t know, because people in California think the East Coast is another country as well; and that opened a whole world when I first came to LA.
I live in Northern California; we managed to get a house in Silicon Valley when we sold our first company, but it just opened this world, Wendy, for me that I don’t think, I mean I can’t say, I don’t know, but it changed the trajectory of my entire life. I mean, I’m here in Half Moon Bay, California, because I think that relationship and her independence and exposure to another world, it just changed everything that I did.
When I met her, I didn’t really know what I was going to be. I was getting my Masters in psychology and I thought worst case, I don’t mean worst case to psychologists out there; for me, worst case, I can go and charge people and do counselling, because I do enjoy conversations and people and all that stuff. But I started my first company with her on her LC 475 Apple computer, and I think that opened a door that showed — I mean, I was very driven. I was top of my class and all these sorts of things, but there was still this gate that as an East Coast person, you’re not exposed to.
When that opened, it just opened a whole new world for me, Wendy. She’s extremely independent, she knows who she is, she doesn’t worry about the Jones’s, I don’t know if you have that expression?
Wendy Harris: Yes!
Brandon C White: She just doesn’t and I don’t understand the gene. Sometimes I thinking to myself, I’ll say to her, “Why didn’t you ask them that question?” She’s like, “I don’t care”; not that she doesn’t care in a bad way, it just doesn’t affect her.
Wendy Harris: It doesn’t make a difference to her.
Brandon C White: No, she’s indifferent. There were 100 other, not 100, probably maybe not a dozen, maybe seven more pivotal moments in my life that I can remember changed the trajectory of things. But as I was preparing for your podcast, I was going back and saying, “Well, where did it really start? Where did this, ‘Hey, you’re going to go build businesses and you’re going to be an entrepreneur outside of selling lemonade at a lemonade stand’ really start?”
The other thing that’s been really great is, she’s never asked, in 25 years, “Where’s the mortgage payment coming from?” She was always, “Hey, if that’s what you want to do, let’s try and do it”. That’s not a real common thing in a lot of people, because I think she embraced, and has been good for us, in that our relationship is in addition to our already existing lives, and accepting people. And it just really did, as I look back, Wendy.
I mean, I can give some business examples where I was sitting on a couch and our company was about to go out of business because of the dotcom crash, and I was meeting with one of the investors, who is now my best friend outside any family member, and he said to me, “Brandon, are you crazy? You’re talking about trying to buy back the company that’s going out of business, the market’s crashing, have you literally lost your mind?”
I can remember, I was sitting on a black leather couch in his office, which was in his house in Washington DC in Georgetown, and that changed the trajectory, because what I said was, “Yeah, I’m probably a little crazy”, and accepted it. And I went and bought the company back, built it again and nine years ago we sold it, and now that sale led to having the office that I’m coming to you from today, having a house on the ocean in Half Moon Bay.
So, what do you think defines, I don’t know what defines — these pivotal moments just burn into my memory and I can go back and remember them; is that what you define as a pivotal moment?
Wendy Harris: Yeah, I mean you had me at, “She was 13 or 14 and was into horses”, and the first thing that popped into my head was, “Well, there’s a free spirit, if ever I’ve heard of one”, before you then unveiled lots more about what your wife is like. And it’s that freedom of thinking and feeling and trust that, “Well, nothing’s going to go wrong, because that’s not how I see it happening”. And you’re right, we all have the ability to do that, and I think we touched on it earlier in the conversation as well. So, that’s kind of opened your mind to, “Well, I trust you, so I’ll come along for the ride and I’ll try it too”.
When it comes to pivotal conversations, some guests have said to me, “I don’t really know if I’ve got any”, and then they’ve come back and gone, “Do you know what, when I really sat and thought about it, I have had way more than just one”, because there are always junctures. And it’s like the choice, isn’t it, do I go left or do I go right; do I sink or do I swim? Those are those pivotal moments, as to how you deal with that opportunity. It might feel bad at the time, but actually it’s for your own good as well.
I think these are the lessons that we have in life, and just sharing how that affects us on an individual basis just helps others in their life, I think.
Brandon C White: And it is a left or right. I mean, you look back and you reflect on those moments and you say, “If I had have gone this way, not better or worse, but definitely different”, that can define you.
Wendy Harris: Yeah, those outcomes, you’ve got to have those outcomes in mind. So, a moderate goal with the steps to take you there; that curiosity that we’ve talked about to have; ask those questions, ask for help, support, through the people that you love and that care about you; that’s the meaning of life, isn’t it, Brandon?
Brandon C White: I think so. I’m still on the journey, but so far that’s what’s been working for me.
Wendy Harris: Brandon, it’s been an absolute pleasure to speak to you. Thank you so much for joining me from by the sea in California. I always encourage listeners to carry on the conversation. Where is the best place for them to find you, and we’ll make sure it all goes in the show notes too.
Brandon C White: Sure. Well, I’ll give my email address, because I don’t mind anybody emailing me, which is just firstname.lastname@example.org, which you’ll put in show notes. Or, you can just go to brandoncwhite.com, it has all the information. I have a few other links for some of the things that I do, which I’ll send to you and you can include, but you can email me, or check out the website, brandoncwhite.com. That’s my real email address and I’m happy to connect with your listeners, if they have questions or comments or feedback.
Wendy Harris: That’s perfect. I so appreciate your time and your insights into Making Conversations Count today, Brandon, thank you.
Brandon C White: Thank you, Wendy.
Wendy Harris: Well, I hope you’re feeling all calm and relaxed about the idea of having a business process plan in place. And the one comment that Brandon states through that whole conversation that really resonated with me was, “The pain of losing outweighs the feeling of success”. Goodness, I don’t really want to feel pain in my business anymore, and I’m sure you don’t either.
Head over to the website, we’ve got links to Brandon’s book, and he also recommends The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. So, take a leaf out of these experts’ experience and see what you bring. Get in touch with the show, let us know what resonated most with you in this conversation. We love to hear from you, we love to read out those reviews that you leave over on Apple and Spotify and Google and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Don’t forget to join us on the next episode, where we’re going to be Making Conversations about Activism by Pen Being Well Thought Out Count, with Dawn Bates and that very special offer that she has for you, the listeners.
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Sometimes this means I change something I do, or something I would say, and other times it’s a real opportunity for reflection.
Thanks for sharing your guests with us Wendy, the podcasts are brilliant.
We all have pivotal moments and Wendy manages to find the right parts, showcasing the reasons why someone is who they are.
It’s those details that we connect to and come to more understanding of why people do what they do.
Wendy is a natural host and makes people feel at ease to share their stories.