The philosophies that successful people have greatly impact the decisions and the daily actions they take. Those actions add up to the successes they are able to achieve. Learn successful philosophies from Clifton Taulbert, a Pulitzer prize-nominated and bestselling author, who shares what top performers have and apply them to your own life and your success will be nearly guaranteed.Sign Up to Watch
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-This is not a spiritual show. This is not a show about spiritual health and that sort of thing. But everybody watching this probably has some type of religious view, whether you're an atheist, or you're a Christian, or you're a Hindu, or whatever you are. As a business mentor, d o you schedule time for spiritual development, devotions, prayer, or is it a constant conversation? What is your thought there?
-Well, I go back to Mississippi. Faith has always been a great part of my life. And I have come too far with it to leave it on the side of the road, as it were. It graduated from high school with me. It went to college with me. It went to the military with me. When I was speaking at the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court justice was standing there in front of me, trust me. I called on my faith, don't leave me here by myself. This, this.
But it's a real part of my life. But I think it's more pervasive than scheduled time per se. But what I do have, I have friends who are on the same plane of thought as I am, that I can give a call and we talk. And we reinforce each other. That has been very helpful for me.
-Now, on to the other area here of finances. We have one guy on the show the other day, Braxton Fears. He is a mid 30s guy who's kind of in this quasi retirement where he doesn't have a house payment, and he has a lot of money in the bank, and he's able to take a job working in commercial real estate, where it's a high octane, work hard, big pay job, and go work at a ministry because he's been able to save enough money to do that. In terms of finances, Braxton was saying he takes two nights a month, and they look at the financial situation. Do you take time to look at that? Is it a weekly thing, is a daily thing, is it-- what do you do?
-I have a good point, and I have a bad point. The bad point is, I should schedule that with my wife and with my son so that they can know what I know. The good point is, I review this almost constantly in my head. The bad point is, I'm not good at sharing it, and I'm trying to change that.
-Well I, right now, am feeling inspired, or I don't know what-- moved-- to be more open with my wife about my schedule. So thank you for that. Now what drives you to keep going and work hard? You obviously have sold a ton of Stairmasters. Your books, I don't know how many copies of your books in total have been bought and sold. That sort of thing. But you've sold tons of copies of your books. Your life's been made into a movie. You're on the board at a bank. You help started a bank. You have all this success. What keeps you motivated to keep going and work hard?
-I'm a Thriver. I have no desire to simply be a bystander to life. I want to be a participant. And there's no better way to be a participant than by participating. I always look for opportunities. We just started the coffee company two years ago. And I never imported anything in my life. Now we have a business that goes all the way back to the country of Rwanda. And I didn't know what a roasting plant was, but I had to learn all of that. And all of that is good, because I think it keeps your internal mind fired up. You're not left sitting on the side of the road thinking, this is the end of my day. No. Every day I wake up, this is the beginning of my day.
You said something, and I want to make sure I understand it properly. I hear a lot of people, and maybe you're watching this, and maybe this is you, but when someone asks you what you want to do? You'll say, I want to be successful so some day I can retire on a beach somewhere. Basically you're working five days a week at a job you can't stand waiting for two days a week you get off, so you can retire-- hopefully if you live long enough to live into your 70s, right?
And I remember hearing for the first time-- and it was a conversation I had with you. I don't remember exactly the words you said, but I remember leaving going, I don't ever want to retire. I expressed it wrongly. I told my wife I wanted to DJ till I'm 80-something years old, which was not a healthy choice. But the idea that you could enjoy your job, and enjoy it, and then you could never actually want to retire. So this whole idea of, I'm just going to save every dime I have, and neglect enjoyment for 5/7ths of every week so that I can retire someday, you've kind of rejected that whole thing. You're like, no, no, no, no. I'm an active participant. Talk to me about your thoughts on this whole wait to live until you retire idea.
-No. I like the idea of not wasting the wisdom that has come along, that comes with age, that comes with time. And to retire out all the mainstream is to take from the mainstream gifts that they might need. And I don't want to do that. The thing that I want to do, perhaps, is to be better positioned to do those things that I best do more frequently. Whereas now, I'm doing a lot of things.
-What do you best do?
-I think for me being able to travel back and forth from my days as a kid in the Mississippi Delta, where the opportunities were limited, where the possibilities were few. But at the same time, because of these incredible ordinary people who became extraordinary leaders in my life, I was able to have a vision. I was able to be a dreamer. I was able to be a Thriver, even though I didn't even know the word was there.
Because of that, and that to me, holding that conversation, to give other people hope, to give other people a reason to believe that their tomorrow can be as they dream. But also to help them understand that it's not going to happen in 15 minutes. You're going to have failures. You're going to have challenges. You're going to wrestle at midnight. You're going to have to work hard. And sometimes, you're going to even have to swim upstream.
-That's what you're passionate about is teaching other people that they can do it.
-It's the unselfishness. It's not just about me. We live in this world together, and if we can literally embrace that and understand the impact and the power of that, we have really set ourselves on an entirely different course of discovery.
-I know that we've all been guilty of this at some point. We are watching TV. We're watching Fox News, we're watching CNN, we're watching some television station. We're watching somebody else write the book-- somebody else make the movie-- somebody else achieve the fitness goal-- somebody else have the great family-- somebody else have success. And we're saying-- not for me. That's for somebody else. Maybe we don't say it out loud, but we think-- success is not for me. It's for somebody else.
Can you explain to me, if that's my mindset, in your mind, why are some people successful, Clifton, and why are some people not successful?
-Well, you define success. And let's say "not successful" refers to those people who have dreams, but they put their dreams on a Mason jar, and they screw a top on it and set it aside. That's what I call not being successful. Because I think we all have dreams and ideas and gifts to bring.
But the successful person is the person who looks at that dream, looks at that idea, looks at that great thought that runs through their mind and says-- wait a minute. I can start a DJ company.
No, you can't. There's already 20.
Or it's the person who says-- Clifton. there are 50,000 books coming out every year, maybe 100,000, and your name is not on one of them, and it never will be. Everybody wants to write a book. You're not going to write a book.
But that successful person is driven by that gift, that vision, that dream that they have. And they proceed to do the things that are necessary to make it real.
-A successful person has a big dream, but they're willing to do the work necessary to make it become real.
-Have you had any mentors in your life that have jumped into your life and have talked taught you these sorts of lessons? Any mentors you can think of?
-Without question. Again, it goes all way back to the fields in the Mississippi Delta. One story, real quickly. Bless this little baby. I had to pick 200 pounds of cotton. That was required of me by my great-aunt. You'd make $5 dollars a day if I picked 200 pounds of cotton.
CLAY CLARK: In today's money, that might be $50 a day?
-I have no idea. But it wasn't much then, and it's probably not much now. The problem was I didn't know how to get that. I had worked all my life, and I could get 175 pounds, 180 pounds, but there was a man in the fields, working with us, who could pick 600 pounds of cotton a day. That's almost a trailerful of cotton. So I realized that someone knew more about how to do this than I did.
So I went to him one day. We called him Mr. Cooter Man.
-Mr. What Man?
-Cooter. C-O-O-T. That's a pet name for a turtle. Mr. Turtle Man.
-Oh, really? Mr. Cooter Man. The Turtle Man. That might be my nickname. Turtle Man!
-So I said Mama [INAUDIBLE] is embarrassed-- because Miss [INAUDIBLE]-- that's the lady who's our neighbor, she kept saying this money ain't going to amount to nothing, because he can't pick 200 pounds of cotton. Every boy can pick 200 pounds of cotton.
So I go to this man, and I say-- I got to pick 200 pounds of cotton.
He said-- OK. The first thing I want you to do, I want you go to the fields with me.
CLAY CLARK: With me.
He said-- I go early, before anybody else, so I'll pick you up.
-So you're shadowing the Turtle Man.
-You got that. He said-- I want to get you your row right beside mine. I said-- well, why are we going so early? It's dark out here!
He said-- don't you realize that the cotton is wet when it's dark? It's heavy with dew. And it weighs three times as much. I didn't know that. Because by the time I got to the field, the sun was there and dried it out. But Mr. Cooter Man knew that if you got there before the sun came out, you'd get heavy cotton!
-Boom! He found the shortcut!
-Thank you. And he shared it. That, to me, was the essence of mentoring-- someone who was willing to share their secret and say-- come alongside of me.
-So a mentor is anybody who knows a little bit more than you do about that subject. If I'm a mom and I'm watching this and maybe I feel like I'm not that great of a mom, I could find somebody who's a great mom, or who I perceive to be, and that could be my mentor.
-If that person is willing to share.
-OK. If that person is willing to share.
-Because Mr. Cooter Man could easily have said-- I can pick 600. You just pick cotton. You figure it out your own way, how to do it. But instead he said-- I'll pick you up.
-What is step one to finding a mentor? Because I did this. When I started the DJ business and I was growing it, I got myself in numerous situations. My wife and I, we got ourselves audited. It was probably my fault. I got us audited, and my wife helped deal with the cleanup-- the wreckage, I guess. So we're getting audited.
Well, I'd never been audited before. I just know that the IRS is calling us to hang out with us. We had a wonderful, nice lady. She would come to our house and look through all the receipts and all that. I needed to reach out to somebody who had been through it. And luckily I was able to talk to a few people, and they said-- well, this is how it's going to go down. This is how you do it. This is how you comply. This is what you need to do.
If right now I find myself in a bad tax situation, I find myself needing money, I find myself wanting to start a company-- somehow I feel stuck-- what's step one to getting a mentor?
-You said it already. You have to look for someone who has been through it. Whether they have been through it or they have knowledge about it or they're on the journey the way you want to go or they've written something that you want to know about, that becomes the first step-- knowing what your need is and looking in that marketplace of opportunities. Who best can meet that need?
Now, you may run across five or six people, but five or six people are not necessarily going to volunteer to say-- I'll pick you up in the morning, and I'll put you beside me, and I'll share my secrets.
-When I first reached out to you, you were very busy. You're always very busy. You were speaking. I think it was Doug, maybe, I called. If it wasn't Doug, it was somebody else. I called. They say, "Building the Community Institute, this is Doug. How can I help you?"
I said, "Yes, I'd like to schedule time to meet with Mr. Taulbert about such and such." I remember they said something like-- "You'll need to set an appointment."
And at that point in my life, I wasn't a day timer guy. So I was like-- I'll just come on by tomorrow.
And I remember hearing-- well, you'll have to set an appointment.
And I thought-- oh, OK. And I thought I got rejected. I wasn't even prepared to have a teacher. They always say when the student's ready, the teacher appears. What would you say for the entrepreneur out there, somebody who wants to get a mentor who they perceive to be busy? If they call the mentor and the mentor is too busy, what do you do? Do you find another mentor? Do you keep calling? Do you just change your approach a little bit? Because I think a lot of good mentors are busy.
-I don't think there are any solid one-word answers for this. First of all, if you know what you need, I think you should scout out several people, first of all, who might have answers for you. I got an email from a young man who says, "I've got some problems." He may have sent out five emails, for all I know. I don't know that. But I answer. And the other four may answer. I don't know. You really want to somehow know what you need so I'll be clearly defined on what you're looking for. And have several people that might be able to help you.
-I always call it the rule of three, but I always try to have three options for anything. You can reach out to multiple ones. Now, when you get there, what's the proper way to thank the mentor for their time? You're sitting here preparing yourself to meet this mentor. What's the proper way to thank them for their time, maybe before the meeting and after the meeting? What do you suggest?
-First of all, when someone is sharing as valuable as time, this is how you thank them. It's not really verbally. May I borrow your pen?
CLAY CLARK: Yes, sir.
-Let's say this is a notebook. If you've taken somebody's time and they have been willing to do something for you, you make sure you bring something to write on.
-You take notes. Because that's a clear sign that you are not wasting their time. Take notes. That's one of the best thank-yous that you can give. Once you have finished and you've got your notes, what you really want to do is look at those notes that you've taken. Pick one thing out of that-- "Sir, could you just tell me just a little bit more about this one thing?" And that's going to further tell that person-- this guy is really into this. He's interested. This girl is really interested. This young lady is really interested in this.
-One person told me if you want to make a great first impression on a mentor, you want to have your questions imprinted on a piece of paper. I remember when I met with Chet Cadieux, who runs QuikTrip, the big convenience store. I was so excited to meet Chet. I had been forever trying to get an appointment with this guy.
When I met him, I came with two pages of questions. I don't remember his exact wording, but was something to the effect of-- wow! You're prepared! And I got there a little bit early, too. Do you suggest that? It that a good idea, to maybe have your questions written out?
-It's a good idea. It's a good idea, and then the idea becomes better when you take notes of what's going on, and it becomes even better when you circle something you've written and say, "Could you go back over that one more time for me, please?" And then the thank-you, the handshake, the thank-you, that becomes the icing on the cake.
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