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This business episode explains why you must get a mentor.

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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • There are approximately 47 million Americans on food stamps -Washington Post, 2013

[MUSIC PLAYING] lynda.com for overcoming adversity, lynda.com alternative

-My name is Caleb Taylor and I'm one of the hosts here at T hrive15.com, one of the lynda.com alternative . Today Clay Clark, our pale visioneer, will be sitting down with Arthur Greeno, the Chick-fil-A franchise owner and world-record holder. Clay will be talking with Arthur about overcoming adversity.

I believe after watching this episode it's going to eliminate any excuses you think you have that's keeping you from achieving success. Because Arthur's been through a lot and he's reached an incredible level of success, and he's excited to share with you his story and encourage you that you can do the same.

Now you've probably heard us say, knowledge without application is meaningless. That's because we believe it's true. And it's your job to apply what you learn here to your life and your business. If you aren't taking time throughout this episode to ask yourself how to do that, then this episode could be more meaningless than a solid white Rubik's Cube.


-All right, well, Super Arthur, thank you for coming in today.

-It's my pleasure. I'm really glad to be here.

-Well, today we're going to talk a little bit about purpose. And I think in order to help somebody get from where they are to where they want to be, they're going to learn a lot from you,


-But I want to talk a little bit about your past here. So I'm going to ask you this, going back to your past, talk to me about how you grew up.

-Well, the environment that I was in, just like any child, you think that it's a normal environment. But the environment I grew up in was we had moved at an early age. My dad lost his job and my mom turned to alcohol to solve the problems.

It was rough, it was rough as I was growing up. I thought when the police would show up at your house it was really cool for the first couple of times it happened. And then when I went to school the next day and they were like, why were the police there? I was like, oh, that's not a good thing.

CLAY CLARK: They actually showed up at your house?

-Yeah, they would show up to break my parents up because they would get in such volatile arguments they'd end up out in the lawn some reason. And they would stop by and make sure that everyone's safe.

-So what happened with your mom and dad ultimately? I mean, as you got older, what were they doing?

-Well, they eventually ended up kind of-- I say kind of-- getting a divorce. They ended up splitting up. We moved to Chicago. We lived in Hawaii at the time. And we moved to Chicago and my dad stayed in Hawaii. We had a choice and I moved with my mom. And when that happened, they finally got divorced years and years later, but they were separated till I was 18.

-How did you grow up financially? I know as a kid, some people will say as a kid they didn't know they were poor, some people were very aware of it. How did you grew up financially? What was your financial situation?

-It was a very unique financial situation because when we moved to Hawaii, the purpose of the first house we got was a fixer upper. My parents bought it to fix it up. They had money to invest in it. But then the alcoholism just-- because my mom kept losing her job and everything, over time the money just dissipated.

And so by the time we finally moved out, we knew we were poor. But it was interesting as a child, you're always looking for that optimistic view. So when I would get the coins at school, which is government aid to get lunches, I thought you were special.

-You got coins? You got coins then?

-Yeah, they would give you little tokens, which kind of looked like little aluminum tokens.


And so we would turn those in for lunches. And I thought, man, you're the special kid if you get to turn the tokens in. But of course, that wasn't the case.

-Well, I want to ask you this here. You obviously-- a lot of people obviously don't know you as well as I do. Life's a little bit different for you now. Can you contrast how your life's different now than when you were a kid going through having tokens and mom's an alcoholic. Now today, you have the six kids, you have a wonderful wife. How's your life different now, versus how it was?


-I don't know if you can get as different as they were. I mean, they mentality that we had back then was more of one of survival. It was literally, will we eat tonight? Will we eat something different than rice, rice and eggs? Nowadays, it's a whole lot different.

My kids don't have to worry about where the next meal is going to come from or not being able to sign up for soccer because they don't have the money.


-It probably couldn't get any farther away than it is.

-Why are you then today-- because you have a nice house, you just bought yourself-- what's the specs on this Mustang?

-It's a 1969 Shelby Mustang.

-But it's got the newer--

-It's called a retro built. It's basically, the outside is an old 1969 Mustang, and the inside is a 2012 with all of the gadgets and fun features.

-So you have a beautiful house, you have six kids that you're feeding, and then you also have the new car. You've got a lot of things going on. So why do you care and why are you so passionate about mentoring entrepreneurs? Why not just go buy yourself another car or buy yourself a new gadget? Why do you take the time out of your schedule to mentor entrepreneurs? Why do you care?

-Because I was in that position that I needed someone to mentor me and there was no one there. And it was very frustrating. I mean, to the point where even when I first got involved with Chick-fil-A, I remember just crying going, I need to learn these things and I didn't know where to turn. I actually thought talk radio was entrepreneur radio until I realized what it was about. I just I had no concept about business.

-So you feel like that there wasn't mentorship for you when you needed it desperately, and so now you're trying to be the mentor for others?

-Correct. For me, the situation was I had to go out and ask for that mentorship. I would go out and seek people out and say, would you do this for me? Can you help me or give me advice on


Are you looking for a lynda.com alternative?

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Recommended Reading: "Dress for Success" by John T. Molloy

-There's one guy on our camera crew today who, he actually would call entrepreneurs, if I'm correct, and would say, hey, I'll offer to pay $100 for an hour of your time, or $500 or whatever, for an hour of your time. And a lot of people wouldn't return the call. And I know it's not because people didn't care. It's because they're busy, or they got a busy schedule, they have other obligations. So I want to ask you this. As an entrepreneur-- say I'm watching this and I'm a 40-year-old guy who owns a business. Maybe I'm a 20-year-old who's never started one. Maybe I'm in my 50s and I haven't started one yet. Why do you feel like there's so much excited about the Thrive15 experience?

-Oh, well, I think one of the biggest issues that entrepreneurs deal with is their pride. They're scared that if they show someone they don't know something, that the person's going to judge them. And one of the beautiful things about Thrive is, you could be that guy and really have no clue what you're doing. And guess what, most of us don't. And so you get to watch Thrive and no one's going to know anything different.

CLAY CLARK: Here's something that blew my mind. The other day, we were interviewing Lee Cockerell. He's the guy, Lee used to run Disney World Resorts. And I know a lot about management. I have had some success, and as I'm interviewing him, I am learning so much. Like I'm just standing there almost like naked in my lack of knowledge on management. And I'm going, oh, my gosh. These are questions that I wish I would have asked or knew to ask. And so I'm excited about that, but I want to ask you this. If Thrive15 was available when you were starting out in business, how do you think that would have changed. If it was available to you when you were 16 or 17 or 18, how do you think it would have changed things for you?

ARTHUR GREENO: It would have changed things immensely. Because you don't know what you don't know. And even looking through the Thrive list on the different topics, you can go, oh yeah, maybe I should know something about that. Because I didn't know what I should be asking. When I started with Chick-fil-A, I was having some learning challenges with Chick-fil-A. And I went to this guy who I really respected and said, hey, how come they don't take me seriously. And he had enough class to say, it's because of the way you dress. And I was thinking, I'm wearing a shirt. I'm wearing a tie.

CLAY CLARK: I have a shirt on. I'm not naked.

ARTHUR GREENO: That's right. That's right. Not this time. But he had enough class, and he said, you know what, there's a book called Dressing for Success. And my father-in-law had a copy that was like from 1972. And I started reading it, and I learned. That's when I really started realizing, books have so much knowledge for us. But that's when I also realized that going and asking someone for the answers, I can get them and they're not to judge me.

-Now let me ask you this here. Because you learned to ask and you learned ask those questions. So if somebody's on Thrive, in your mind, how could an entrepreneur use Thrive on a daily basis to maybe get the questions to those answers?

-Well, I think for one, is that, again, those questions you're too embarrassed to ask are going to be on there. Because all the entrepreneurs are thinking it. They're just not sharing it. I think that's one key.

-What if I'm an experienced entrepreneur, do you think there's going to be stuff up there for me-- up here for me?

ARTHUR GREENO: Absolutely. In fact, I can tell you right now, when we're sitting down going over some our discussions on the topics we're going to go over, and we're talking about how we're going do it, I was sitting there in this room full of all the gurus. And I'm taking notes, and I look over and everyone else is taking notes too. So we're supposed to be the gurus. We're supposed to be the guys who know all things.

CLAY CLARK: Last week, I find myself in a plane with the Dr. Robert Zoellner, who everyone on Thrive will get to meet, and Sean Copeland, Clifton Taulbert, bestselling author, guy who started a bank when he was 34 years old with Sean Copeland. And we're going to go meet David Robinson. And I'm like, is this real? Is this really what we do? And I'm so excited, and I think that Thrivers are going to love it.

-Will the cubs win a World Series during your lifetime?

-I couldn't answer that. I'm not a sports guy.

CLAY CLARK: OK, OK. We'll come back to a question. But now, I know today you have a beautiful wife. You have the six kids. You have a big house. Did you have money as a kid? Were you just born into it? Did you just have a bunch of cash?

ARTHUR GREENO: We had no cash-- negative cash. It was bad.

-Talk to me about what that looks like on a daily basis, I mean, as far as how you grew up. Let's go to maybe third grade, fourth grade. How are you living at that point?

-Third or fourth grade, we were basically-- we were getting the government cheese and the tokens to give to the school lunch lady so we could take care of things.

CLAY CLARK: I smile not to mock. But I smile because I can relate. Did you ever have all yellow boxes?


CLAY CLARK: Like the-- what is it-- the off-brand, where it's like Always Fresh, or Best Value brand.



ARTHUR GREENO: Yep. And that cheese, I actually still have a block of it. I keep it as a memento.

CLAY CLARK: Now were you-- really? You do?


-OK. I was going to say, that's awesome. Now, knowing you, that's very possible.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Lesson Nugget: Know that even successful people still sometimes have a rough childhood. Your past does not determine your future!
  • Recommended Reading: "Dysfunctional Inspiration" by Arthur Greeno


-Now, in Forest-- growing up there, what kind of living situation did you grow up in? Was it an apartment? Was it a house? Was in thatched-roof hut?

-You'd think, in Hawaii, it was a thatched-roof but, but it wasn't. Actually we started in a house and we eventually ended up moving to an apartment because of-- because we moved about nine times in my elementary school's time because mom kept losing her job.

-Why did your mom lose her job?

-Mom would lose your job because, because she was an alcoholic. And she was a functioning alcoholic, so during the day she would go to work. And then, at night, she would drink.

And so, it was really bad on the weekends. She would basically be drunk all weekend long and then she would not get up on Monday mornings to go to work. So it was-- that was the environment I grew up in.

-Now, growing up with that-- talk to me about the elementary years. What's that like, having a mom that's drunk every night?

-Well, it's embarrassing, you know? You never-- you never want to bring people over to the house.

But when I was 10 years old, they took me to the emergency room because I had ulcers in my stomach because the fighting was just always going on. It always happened late at night.

And it was just-- it was an environment that I would never, never wish on my kids.

-So, you know, you grow up. There's a lot of fighting going. On you also had-- or have-- scoliosis. Pretty severe scoliosis. So can we talk a little bit about what you've dealt with there?

-Sure. The scoliosis-- we knew in sixth grade that I had scoliosis.

-What is scoliosis?

-Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. It can be kind of a C shape. But mine was more of an S shape. And it was significant.

And so-- but nowadays, I've used to use that to my advantage. I never have to hang a picture, you know? I don't have to straighten chairs because it's always straight to me but it's never straight to anyone else.

-All right, so you've used that as your way of getting out of home decoration?

-Absolutely! Absolutely. So-- but I wouldn't recommend it. So--

-I also have scoliosis.

-There you go.

So-- so what school looked like to me was in sixth grade we start noticing it. But my parents couldn't afford to do anything with it. So when I got into high school, when I got into 10th grade it was so severe we had to take steps on it.

And they put me into what they called a Milwaukee brace that went from my chin to my pelvis. And it was basically one solid piece. And it was not a chick's magnet.


-Chin. Straight down.

-All the way down to--

-My pelvis.

-I could see where that-- chicks would like that.

-Yeah. Yeah, I had a great posture. And, literally, I would, like, fall out of chairs. It was really bad. I'd make all this clanking noise. And--

-I have to ask you this because-- I hate to interrupt what you were saying to ask it. Did people make fun of you?

-Yeah. I got made fun of a lot. It-- the teenage years are so impactful in a child's life. And so I'm at school. I'm already having self-esteem issues because of how I grew up with an alcoholic. And I've been moved from place to place to place all my life.

And then, I'm in a new school with a back brace.

-Do you remember some the mean things people said to you?

-Yeah. I mean, I was called robot boy and metal head. And, let's see. Just-- I-- they--

-Really advanced in terms of-- in the forms of insults, but insults none the least.

-It was. It was. And there's-- and you know what? It's just-- there's nothing you can do.

-I grew up as a kid where I stuttered. I couldn't talk. And I know that people would-- just thought it'd be hysterical to, like, mimic me and that sort of thing.


-I know that it messes with you a little bit.

-It does.

-But when I read your book, "Dysfunctional Inspiration"-- shameless plug, "Dysfunctional Inspiration"-- and I read that your mom was an alcoholic. You know, I read about your back. I read about-- I had no idea.

I just knew you Arthur Greeno, successful entrepreneur. I didn't know you as Arthur-- but then I found out that your dad actually abandoned you. Or what--what happened there with your dad?

-Well, when my-- when we were in Hawaii, we had to make a choice. And my grandparents stepped in, said "We're gonna, we're gonna move you back to the United States." And-- even though Hawaii is technically the United States, to the States.

-Move you back to mainland, continental.

-My grandparents stepped in, said they would move us back to the mainland, to Chicago area. But, but my dad chose to stay there to settle some affairs.

And so I had a choice to make. And we chose to go with my mom. Of course, I was 13 years old. You know, I wasn't thinking straight. And, and so I didn't see him till I was 18 years old, at that point.

-Wow. So it wasn't necessarily-- would you consider it to be abandoned? Or do you consider-- what would you-- I mean, it's--

-No. He was kind of taking care of family obligations. But, you know, it was one of those-- I don't know. As a 13, 14, 15, 16-- it sure would've been nice to have that father that was there to--

-Did you cry a lot over this situation? Did you miss him?

-Well, yeah!

-I'm just asking!

-Yeah, I did.

-It is kind of easy for us to talk about now. We're adults. We've kind of got older, got over some things.

But for people who are watching this who are 13 or they're still dealing with that, it was tough.

-It was really tough. My, my grandparents didn't like him. And so I moved into an environment where they basically-- they hated him. They, you know-- and, and I don't know if it's because, you know, we moved out to Hawaii and got stuck or what the deal is.

But it was-- it would put me in a very awkward position. And so, that's-- that's kind of where we were.

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