Over the weekend in Nashville, I hosted an informal but invite-only gathering of bloggers and podcasters.
I’ve hosted a number of these kinds of meals with business folks in the offline space, but this one was special in that most of the participants were less than two degrees of separation from each other.
If you didn’t know someone but saw their name on the attendee list, it was easy to acclimate yourself to them: everyone attending had an online platform.
Some traveled long distance to attend; Ray Edwards flew cross-country from Washington, and Kary Oberbrunner drove from Ohio to Nashville to participate. Good friends are a treasure, and this breakfast was full of them. It was epic, indeed.
(By the way, if you plan on doing something like this yourself: pay for the meal. The gesture of generosity goes a long way in removing one more barrier to people coming.)
The One-Conversation Rule:
So, what do we do at a breakfast with 18 high achievers? We have one conversation. To facilitate, I asked each person to answer the following questions:
- Your name, where you’re from, your main gig right now, and the last book you read … and add “With A Chainsaw” at the end of it. (This was hilarious.)
- What is giving you the most energy right now in your business or personal life?
- What is one habit or practice that has improved your quality of life?
When you get a room full of high-caliber people, you’re bound to have incredible responses. Here are just 6 that deeply impacted me, but these aren’t business tactics. Tactics are fine, but the real value in conversations like this is to see how successful people think.
1. Being Intentional with Love, Jevonnah Ellison
Jevonnah shared a story about passing a gentleman in a truck who looked very downtrodden. Instead of moving on, she circled back and shared a few kind words with him, only to find that he had intended to commit suicide that day. Had it not been for her encouragement, he would have ended his own life.
I’m not doing the story justice (Jevonnah is an amazing storyteller) but the key takeaway for me: You never know how being intentional with love and kindness can change a person’s life. Beautiful.
2. The Power of Morning Affirmations, Brian Dixon
Brian shared a powerful practice: recording affirming words about himself and listening to the recordings each morning before starting his work day. The inspiration was the movie The War Room, which Brian said convicted him of not being a praying husband. I haven’t seen the movie, but the premise is that the “war room” is really a place of prayer, affirmation, and mediation.
Brian set up his own war room in his house where he started this practice. My takeaway: Consistently strengthen yourself — even using your own words — to set the trajectory of your day.
3. The Most Unreasonable Boss I’ve Ever Had Is Me, Ray Edwards
When Ray left his 20 year career in radio to launch his own business, he quickly found out that he was the most unreasonable boss he ever worked for! He never unplugged and always overworked, so much to the point that if he had a boss that treated him the way he treated himself, he’d probably sue for workplace abuse!
It was a brilliant insight, and one that got a lot of reaction from the folks at the table. My takeaway was pretty obvious: Beware of my own expectations and be realistic with my boundaries, especially because I’m my own boss.
4. Moving From Isolation to Engagement, Ken Davis
Ken is a hugely successful speaker and is in front of thousands of people each year, but shared that he wants to be more intentional about staying engaged — particularly with local friends. When you run a personal brand business, it’s easy to stay isolated. I’m the same way: I go to a conference, spend a ton of time with people, then go home and completely unplug from the world. It’s very easy to end up in a situation where the only people you see are the ones you perform in front of.
My takeaway: Be more intentional about fostering relationships with friends in my local community: neighbors, church members, even my former colleagues.
5. Synergy, Michael Hyatt
Michael shared that one major source of energy and passion is building a team around him. It’s an interesting paradox: so many of us launch our own personal business to leave the bureaucracy and management of corporate America. I certainly did.
But we quickly forget that our best energy comes from synergy; there’s simply no other way to replicate that feeling outside of actually working with others. The catch? Having others on your team means you have to give them something to do!
I admit I really struggle with this, especially with things I’m good at. Michael shared that he enjoys marketing, but his team now handles all of that so he can focus on what only he can do. Essentially, he traded one type of energy (doing the marketing himself) for another type of energy: synergy. I’ve never looked at delegation that way, but it was deeply impactful to me.
6. The Most Dangerous Thing For Children To Grow Up Around Is An Unfulfilled Parent, Kary Oberbrunner
Wow, this was a heavy one. On the surface, Kary helps would-be authors write their books and share their message, but it’s more than that. The real transformation is helping formerly disengaged and unfulfilled people re-ignite the passion and dreams they’ve had inside them. This, of course, spills over into every relationship in their lives, including their kids. It also sets them up to be tremendous role models.
Kary shared a great story of how he helped one of his young kids post a school book report on Amazon. Kary then asked a few friends to download it, and by virtue of the system his son became a #1 Amazon best-selling author in that category, and they took a screenshot of it. My takeaway was that sometimes the best thing you can do for others is to be the best you.
You Should Connect with These Folks:
There were so many other great takeaways from our Epic Breakfast Club, but a lot of the stories and insights shared were personal and I don’t want to recite them here.
What you SHOULD do is put these folks on your radar; I’ve sorted them by first name. You can learn so much from them.
- Andy Traub, Take Permission
- Brian Dixon, The Dixon Agency
- Cliff Ravenscraft, Podcast Answer Man
- Dan Miller, 48 Days
- David Hooper, The Marketing Podcast for Influencers
- David Molnar, celebrity photographer
- Grant Baldwin, speaker and top-rated podcast The Speaker Lab
- Jeff Brown, Read to Lead Podcast
- Jeff Sanders, author of the 5AM Miracle
- Jessica Turner, The Mom Creative
- Jevonnah Ellison, speaker and coach
- Jody Maberry, Creating Disney Magic Podcast
- John Meese, JohnMeese.me
- Kary Oberbrunner, Auther Academy Elite
- Kelly Hancock, Faithful Provisions
- Ken Davis, SCORRE Conference
- Michael Hyatt, author of Living Forward
- Ray Edwards, author of How To Write Copy That Sells
Liked This Post? Grab The Brand You Blueprint, Free.
What’s one thing that all the folks mentioned in this article have in common? A profitable personal brand. It’s what allowed me to get to know, like, and trust them.
To give you a big picture view, I’ve put together a simple framework I call The Brand You Blueprint: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Personal Brand. If you’re just starting out, this will help you get an overview of what has made these folks so successful.