Published DateAuthorDan Sullivan and Shannon Waller
Every entrepreneur experiences rewards as a result of the choices they’ve made for themselves, and it’s natural that every entrepreneurial parent wants their children to experience those same, positive rewards. In this episode, Dan Sullivan and Shannon Waller talk about the best ways to engage with your children about entrepreneurism.
Here's some of what you'll learn in this episode:
The reason entrepreneurs run into obstacles in their businesses.
How Strategic Coach® teaches you to take time away from work.
What Dan says is the biggest influence you can have on your children.
How working fewer days leads to having greater revenue.
Why there’s no longer a single approach to having a great future.
You can tell your children that your entrepreneurial Freedom of Time is what allows you to have a lot of time for them.
Nothing tells someone they’re important more than the amount of time you give them.
Most entrepreneurs have no idea how to achieve Freedom of Time.
Part of having Freedom of Money means having enough money that you never have to talk about it.
You can explain both the benefits of going to college, and the benefits of going on a different path.
Starting in about 2009, most college degrees have no longer guaranteed you anything in the future.
Children today were born into an age where they have more freedom to create a business.
The more knowledge and skill that young people acquire in their childhood and adolescence, the better off they'll be when they get into their 20s and 30s.
Shannon Waller: Hi, Shannon Waller here, and welcome to Inside Strategic Coach with Dan Sullivan. Dan, you got a really fabulous compliment from one of our amazing clients, Steve Krein, who talked about how valuable being in Coach, in Strategic Coach Program has been as he’s raising his three daughters. As a parent, I find that I can guess what he means because I feel the same way. The fact that I know about Unique Ability, when raising my kids, has been such an incredible gift. If nothing else, and there’s a lot, if nothing else, I feel very appreciative of that. Because he said that the lessons in Coach were parlayed perfectly into parenthood, and it’s not just about business success. So, let’s dive into that because people think Strategic Coach is a program for entrepreneurs, for business owners, and people think, “Okay, I’m going to get my business life sorted.” But in fact, it goes far, far, far beyond that.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah, first of all, Coach is based on expanding four personal freedoms; Freedom of Time, so you can explain to your children that one of your skills you’ve really got to develop is how to use your time in a creative, productive, and profitable way. And you can give them examples from your own entrepreneurial history of how you’ve grown in your great use of time—including the fact that you have a lot of time for them, where most people who work for corporations or work in government don’t have time for their children. So, right off the bat, the biggest thing I notice is that, when entrepreneurs are running into obstacles in their business, it’s almost never for business reasons. It has to do with the fact that they’re not handling their personal life in a way that really tells the people in their personal life that they’re important.
I have to tell you, nothing tells someone else that you’re important than the amount of time and attention that you give to them. That’s what really tells you. And Steve, right from the beginning, with Rebecca, his great, great partner in life, established that, when they had children, the children were going to have a lot of time and attention by both of their parents. So, right off the bat—the Four Freedoms—Coach shows you how to have a lot of personal time away from work. And as a matter of fact, you can’t become more productive unless you start taking more time away from work.
Shannon Waller: That’s really interesting, Dan, because most people think that the stereotype of entrepreneurs is they start super early in the morning, and they end super late at night. And at least with their first family, their kids never saw them, and then they move on to a second family because that’s not very tolerable. And then, finally, two or three families in, they finally figure out how to get Freedom of Time. But you actually help to dramatically disrupt that and make sure that people have Freedom of Time for their families from the get go, and that’s a freedom that most entrepreneurs have no idea how to actually get.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah, and we really instill that in our own company culture because, right from the earliest days, Babs and I had a set number of Free Days, every year, and it’s 155. So, it takes in some weekends. It takes in vacations and everything. And we don’t work on weekends, so there’s 104 days, right there. And then we take our free days, so it adds up to 155. And that goes right into the schedule at the beginning of the year. Then, 155, if you subtract it from 365, there’s 210 days that are available for work. And every year, the goal is, with the 210 work days, the revenues are bigger, the profits are better, the growth of the Program, the growth of the team is better, but you only have 210 days to do that. And of the 210, the biggest portion of them, you want devoted actually to activities that directly bring in money and directly expand the awareness of Coach, through marketing and sales, out into the world.
So, 155 is off the schedule on January 1st. You can’t use those 155 days. And we’re building this into the new book that Ben Hardy is writing for us, but we’re serving as sources of information for him, as he writes the book. And it was so striking that that’s the first thing that goes into the schedule, every year, and it’s been that way for 30 years, so for the last 30 years. But the amount of time our team gets, if they take advantage… We don’t ask our team to work on weekends. If they have to work on a weekend day, they get a workday for compensation that they can have as a Free Day, so they get that. I would say the total number, if you count public holidays, weekends, and the amount of actual Free Days that they get, plus we give three community days, is 146 days. Okay. So, Babs and I take nine more Free Days per year than everybody else in the company, but everybody else in the company, if they’re smart about it, they get 146 days.
Shannon Waller: Yeah.
Dan Sullivan: And the reason is, we’re not doing that as payment, we’re not doing that as compensation. It’s just that we want them to be fresh and to not be tired out or fatigued by their work. And if they have that amount of Free Days, they get out and live their whole life, and they get to come back, and they’re excited to come back to work. They’re excited to see each other. We expect them, at 5:00 in the afternoon, that they can go home for the evening. Or we have to look at the work that they’re not doing it as fast as it can be done, or there’s more work than can be done by one person, so we have to expand it and bring other people in.
But everybody should be able to work from 9:00 to 5:00 and have their weekends free and then get all their holidays and get everything else and not be thinking about work, when they’re with their families, and they should be out enjoying themselves. So, I think that that lesson of time is really the biggest influence that you can have on your children. And most of our clients, COVID, no COVID, there was nothing different as far as their families’ experience of the entrepreneur. Their entrepreneurial parent, male or female, was always around. Everybody said, “Wow, finally kids got to spend time with their parents.” If you’re in Coach, the first year goal when you’re in Coach, is to start taking Free Days. That, I think, is a fundamental lesson. You have Madison and Charlotte, and I’m sure they’ve had total availability to both of you ever since they were born.
Shannon Waller: A lot of it. And I really enjoyed taking them on trips with me and traveling all over the place. “Have children, will travel” was a bit my motto. And Dan, I hadn’t actually compared them to yours, which is funny, but there’s 104 days of weekends, 52 weeks times two days per weekend, plus 10 statutory holidays in Canada, at least, plus six weeks. So, six times five is 30. That’s immediately 144 days, plus the two to three, what we call, Silver Bullet Days for charitable. So yeah, it can actually-
Dan Sullivan: So, it’s 147.
Shannon Waller: Actually 147, which is a lot of time. So, it’s expected that, when you’re free, you’re free. I read all this stuff all the time, like how important it is to take time away, and there’s actually a new law in Ontario, if not Canada, about what you expect for people out of working hours. And I look at it and go, “What’s the problem?” Because that’s our mindset, and that’s our culture is we want people to have great lives and to be rejuvenated and creative and productive, when they are working, so that those two things are not in competition with one another, which was how most people experience. So, that whole idea about setting yourself up to be creative and productive—and ambitious is another part of it—is very exciting. Is that the biggest benefit, Dan, of The Four Freedoms, in terms of the lessons that Steve was talking about, that work so well for parenting?
Dan Sullivan: No, because I think that the other three freedoms… You can’t have Freedom of Time if you’re not expanding the other three freedoms; and the second one is money, making money. And on average, we did a survey that got roughly 80% of the client base. It was voluntary. It was anonymous, so we didn’t have names, we just had numbers. And it turns out that, when we did the survey, it was about 2,600 business owners.
Shannon Waller: Wow.
Dan Sullivan: And on average, they made $2,000,000 of personal money, take home, a year. It was 2,000,000. Okay. Some of them were in the tens of millions and some of them were... But all of them made more than 200,000 because you can’t even get into the Program unless you’re making 200,000 personal income. And that whole point that money is not fixed by someone else telling you how much money you’re going to receive—the whole notion of a salary or anything. If you’re the child of a Strategic Coach entrepreneur, the money just keeps getting bigger.
As a matter of fact, money is not even talked about because there’s always more than enough. And I notice that because I’m the only entrepreneur in my actual birth family. I had six siblings, and none of them were entrepreneurs. So, it’s interesting because little gossips have dropped through the cracks into my life, about how “Dan just works all the time.” Actually, I work less than they do when they were working. Now, they’re all retired. And “all Dan cares about is money,” but actually, Dan never talks about money. I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with anyone about money, as it related to me or related to Babs.
And my goal is to always have enough money so that you don’t have to talk about it. That’s my goal for money. They say, “What’s your goal for money? How much do you want to make?” I says, “I just want to have enough that I never have to talk about it.” And the other thing is that anything I want to do in my life, money is never a consideration. The money’s there to do it.
And I think that really has a huge impact on children. But what I notice about our entrepreneurs, the ones who are really plugged in, and it’s becoming more and more of a trend, is that the money is not free. So, most of them don’t give allowances. Most of them don’t give allowances to their kids. And they say, “So, there’s a lot of things to be done around the home, here, and we’re going to pay somebody.”
And the other thing is that we encourage our entrepreneurs, in their personal life, to pay other people to do a lot of… Things you really like doing, if you like woodworking, by all means create a great shop for yourself and make things and everything else. And if you like cleaning up and you tidying up, by all means, do it. But if you don’t like it, pay somebody else to do it.
And I think they get the idea that the Unique Ability concept, and this is really the center of it, and it has a lot to do with the emphasis that you put on your children about grades in school. And they have to do this, and they have to do this, and they have to do this. And I find that, as entrepreneurs in their Program go along, they say, “The school’s going to require certain things of you, and if you have any plans for going to college, then there’s certain marks that you’re going to have to get. There’s going to be certain tests that you have to get, and your choice, if you want to do it.”
And there’s some benefits to going to college, but there’s also benefits, especially in the world that we’re living in right now... An 18-year-old who goes to a six-week welding course and becomes an apprentice welder at the end of the first year will be making $60,000 right now, while a kid who goes to college isn’t making anything. And by the time the kid that goes to college has put four years into it, the welder is making over $100,000 a year, and the student hasn’t made anything during the four years. Maybe they’ve made money to pay for their living expenses and everything, but they don’t have anything saved up.
Shannon Waller: And they’ve incurred a lot of debt, most likely.
Dan Sullivan: In some cases.
Shannon Waller: Yeah.
Dan Sullivan: In some cases, that’s true. So, we’re at that great divide, and I think this is one of the things that’s creating a lot of anxiety in the world. It was more or less taken for granted, I would say, up until the 2008, 2009 economic downturn—the economic downturn, which was worldwide, caused basically by the dodgy real estate market that was true in the United States—it was just guaranteed you could spend any amount of money and go into any amount of debt for a college education because the earnings that you made afterwards would... It was like a mortgage. It was like a mortgage because the value of the house would always go up; and your college education was like a mortgage, an asset that would continue to go way beyond the scope of whatever you had paid or whatever you borrowed to get into college. And it worked out.
And that stopped being true in around 2009. All of a sudden, there was a disconnect between education and the life after education. There was a disconnect. Your college degree didn’t guarantee you anything in the future. There’s some things, certain colleges and universities—they go into investment banking. But they’re the exceptions to the rule that most people who get a college degree, its value is that, that blank space on your wall, you can frame it, and you can put it on that blank space. And you don’t have that blank space anymore. But out in the world, there’s no guarantee that it has any value whatsoever. We’re noticing big corporations like Google, who require a lot of brain power, they don’t require a college degree.
Shannon Waller: No. And I really like their approach because they’ve got, essentially, Google University, where you can take all the courses and credits that you want, so you can customize it. There really is, and you talked about this even in our last podcast, in terms of how education is shaping people, it’s becoming the old structure. Education, knowledge, and learning is still absolutely, vitally important. But how it happens in the old education system is morphing and needs to change in order to be relevant for current needs. And now, large companies like Google, who need super smart people, are actually putting forth the very specific things that they need, and then people can basically accredit themselves and then be super useful and get great jobs.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. I think that there is no single approach, and there was a single approach before 2008. And that single approach, it depends upon the corporation, it depends upon the skill area. And I think we’re back into the world of the more knowledge and skill that young people acquire in their childhood and their adolescence, the better off they’re going to be when they get into their 20s and 30s. And some of it may have to do with the educational system—but less and less what we normally considered going to college—and that there’s a scarcity of people with real, hands-on skills that, right off the bat, they get rewarded way beyond skilled trades used to get. So, the biggest jump in value in the marketplace is the young person who has skilled trades in something: electricians, plumbers, everything.
Shannon Waller: Mechanics.
Dan Sullivan: But they actually can make things. They’re actually part of making things because we’re going back to a manufacturing stage in North America—that would be Canada, United States, and Mexico—where the making of things is where the money is.
Shannon Waller: I love this transition, Dan. There are a couple of trends that I see too. So, one is being able to physically use your hands and make things. And we saw this during lockdown. You actually pointed it out, that some of the most useful people to us were not people in some bureaucratic office somewhere.
Dan Sullivan: Truckers.
Shannon Waller: It was truckers. Yeah, it was people who got us the stuff and who made the stuff and who shipped the stuff, and that’s what we found so useful. And then, you’ve got the whole, digital economy, where people who are creative and can do design and imagery and education online-
Dan Sullivan: And have creative ideas for shows and everything like that.
Shannon Waller: Yeah, it’s not where it used to be, which is, I think, fun and fascinating. But for those of us who are parents-
Dan Sullivan: But that’s a skilled trade. That’s a skilled trade. Programming is a skilled trade. All the things related to digital marketing are skilled trades, knowing how to do Zoom presentations. Dean Jackson really highlights a person who’s now maybe about 25, who is from North Carolina—I forget what his actual name is, but he goes by the name of Mr. Beast. And Mr. Beast has figured out how to create a very, very huge YouTube audience with just doing interesting activities. And then, it went to a subscription, and he has part of it that’s just free YouTube, and part of it is special presentations.
And then, he started creating his favorite hamburger restaurant menu and put it out to, I think it’s up to about 2,500 restaurants now that he’s created a complete menu. “And we’ll give you this menu, but first of all, you have to show us that your restaurant meets these standards. You have to show us pictures of your restaurant. There’s certain equipment you have to have. And then we have to see your financials, to see that you’re actually profitable just the way you’re doing it. Then we’ll add on this menu. And what you get for signing onto our deal is that, in your neighborhood, there are 50,000 people that, if we said so, they’d come to your restaurant. You have to have delivery service and everything else.”
And he created, I think, on the first day, 300 new restaurants, and he’s up to a couple thousand, right now. He was making nothing at 16, and he’s making hundreds of millions of dollars at 25.
Shannon Waller: His name is Jimmy Donaldson, and he was born in 1998.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. So, in 1998, so he’s 24…
Shannon Waller: 24.
Dan Sullivan: ...24 years old, yeah. North Carolina.
Shannon Waller: Amazing.
Dan Sullivan: So, what’s happening is there’s a portion of the young population under 10, in the teens, in the twenties, who have developed really useful skills and capabilities that the world values, and they’re out being an entrepreneur. And they’re just bypassing all the kids who are studying to pass their SATs and their ACTs, to go to university and learn something that has no predictable value when they graduate.
Shannon Waller: I like that comment, Dan, “no predictable value.” So, it used to be predictable.
Dan Sullivan: And certainly, no guaranteed value.
Shannon Waller: Right. And parents, who may have had that guarantee, as they were growing up, although they’re probably not entrepreneurs… And this is great, and you actually talked about this before, is that taking what could be an obstacle and turning it into an advantage. And the more people are alert to the changes, and they can be, “Okay, it used to be this. Now, it’s that. How can I personally take advantage of that, as opposed to feeling like a victim?” Then there’s enormous power there, and that really is an Entrepreneurial Mindset, to my way of thinking.
Dan Sullivan: And just a couple of Strategic Coach clients, as far as the education of children go, Gino Wickman, who’s a 25-year Strategic Coach client, and he created a wonderful worldwide system called the Entrepreneurial Operating System, which our leadership team, we use the EOS system, a wonderful system. And we have a collaboration, which, as far as I’m concerned, goes decades into the future, where they recommend that their entrepreneurs who are in their system and the coaches that they have, that they come to Strategic Coach for their entrepreneurial owner training, of being an owner in the thing, and we recommend to all of our entrepreneurial owners in the Program that they adopt the EOS system. Gino built this system, and he sold a lot of it, but he keeps a share in it.
Then, he went after young people and has created, one of them is called Entrepreneurial Leap, a great book. We highly recommend it. Gino Wickman, we recommend his book. And it’s just that children can take a test for themselves, to understand whether they really have the instinct, they have the mindsets, and they have the ambitions to actually be an entrepreneur. And they can take this when they’re 15, 16 years old. I think it’s a wonderful book. And this is his real passion—this is Gino’s real passion, so we totally support it.
And then, two other of our entrepreneurs, Scott Donaldson and Chad Willardson, have created this amazing online program, which is called Gravy Stack, and it teaches, in game form, 100 economic—at least 100, I think to start with, are going to have 100 economic strategies that children in their teens can learn about how the economic world works and how they can already start making money when they’re teenagers. And so, we highly recommend this. I know it’s just about to be launched, but we will certainly…
You and I should have Gino on as an Inside Strategic Coach guest, where he can explain his vision, and then we should have Scott and Chad on, and we take them through. And they’re just bypassing the entire educational system. They’re just saying, “We’ll just educate them on how money works, how the economy works, how they can, right now, start becoming knowledgeable and skillful in economic matters, as soon as you can do the games on Gravy Stack.”
Shannon Waller: Yeah. And Chad also wrote a wonderful book for parents, about kids, called Smart, Not Spoiled, and we’ve had him on to talk about that in Inside Strategic Coach. And just the amount of wisdom that the two of them bring to… It’s bringing everything together. It’s education. It’s entrepreneurship. It’s gamification. It’s money. It’s financial literacy. It’s all the things.
The cool byproduct of this, Dan, that I see is that parents are going to get educated because one of the insights is that, sometimes, parents don’t actually know how all of this stuff works. Entrepreneurs do, but in the Gravy Stacks, hopefully much bigger than that. But it’s amazing how many assumptions people have about parents, and truthfully, most of us have gaps where we could get better. And I think Gravy Stacks can have a great impact on the kids, but also on the families because of just the increase in capability out of that.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. So, I think what’s happened, where the educational system was the great filter that you had to go through to be successful on the other side of it, it’s faulty, and in some instances it’s totally counterproductive. Children will not develop the right attitudes about the world. They’ll develop the wrong attitudes about the world. They’ll develop wrong behavior about what it takes. Because when have teachers ever been out in the world? You take a teacher who’s 50 years old, they’ve been in school since they were five years old. They’ve never been anywhere except in school, and they know zero about the world.
So, my feeling is that the whole place of the educational system, which I think was geared for an age where your life after schooling was totally predictable, for the rest of your life. There’s no predictability anymore. And they can neither make predictions nor can they give any guarantees that the money spent on a children’s education is going to have any value after they’re 25 years old.
Shannon Waller: I like this, Dan, because then the question comes to mind, which is probably the subject for another podcast, is what does an education system look like for an unpredictable future, as opposed to a predictable one? So, the last one, and we’ve both studied people who’ve said, basically, the goal was to provide people to work in factories. That’s what the school system did. And your educators taught you that, and they were correct. But now, it’s a much more entrepreneurial world, and what’s the education system look like for that?
And I like it because the parents in Strategic Coach, as we’ve talked about with Steve, understand the Freedom of Time, understand the Freedom of Money, and the fact that you need Freedom of Time actually to make more money, which is a very cool, somewhat paradoxical thought. And then, the last two freedoms are Freedom of Relationship and Freedom of Purpose. So let’s talk a little bit more about those in terms of how that impacts parenting.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. The big thing is, so much of the direction of your life, so much of the successful outcomes of your life has to do with who you hang out with, who you hang out with in life. I think that what entrepreneurial parents have is a much better developed sense of what constitutes healthy, productive relationships, and they do that in terms of the kind of people that they have as clients and customers, in terms of the people who are members of their teams. We don’t call them employees; we call them team members.
The other thing is who socially you hang out with. I have to say, after 48 years of coaching entrepreneurs, people say, “This is how people in the non-entrepreneurial world look at things.” And I said, “I have to confess here, I’m completely ignorant of how people who are not in the entrepreneurial world think because it’s a rare occasion when I meet anyone who’s not in the entrepreneurial world. They’re either the entrepreneur, or they’re family members of the entrepreneur, they’re children of the entrepreneur. But I live in a total entrepreneurial world, and you’ve got to have get up and go. You have to have gas in your tank.”
“What about EVs?” No, you have to have gas to make the electricity that’s in your tank. I’m so struck, sometimes, when I hear someone say, “How can you just take time when you want to? I only get three weeks a year in my job.” And I said, “Job? Job, job, job? Isn’t there a character in the Old Testament called Job? Job? What’s a job?” And I noticed that the greatest of our team members inside Strategic Coach almost never use the word job about what they’re doing. They have a role, they have collaboration, they have cooperation. They have the team that they’re on. They have the projects they’re working on. I never hear them talking about their job.
And I would say that’s a really good thing for children to learn, that if you’re thinking that what you’re doing now in adult life is a job, you didn’t learn the right skills. You didn’t learn the right attitudes. “Job? Job, job, job; I don’t know a job.” And then, that you’re with people who are excited about their work. They’re excited about their work. They’re excited about the life they’re living and everything else. And that’s the Freedom of Relationship.
Steve Krein, who I talk to a lot out of friendship, but also, he’s in a lot of my workshops, and we have a podcast, The Free Zone Frontier, which is one of my many podcasts. And with Steve, he noticed, right around 13 or 14, which is a very vulnerable stage for teenagers. They have family rules that they put together, the family rules, and they almost always have dinner. They almost have dinner every night. And they’re off to college now, so he’s got one off to college, and the second one will be off to college next year. And he said that, starting around 13 or 14, their daughters would come back to them and say, “We’re so happy that we get to meet and talk about things as a family, because my schoolmates, they’re really screwed up. They’re really screwed up.”
And he said that they developed that consciousness that school didn’t teach you really great things and ways to think about the world. And a lot of their classmates, they just had the wrong mindsets and wrong attitudes. And that’s a way that being an entrepreneur and then being an entrepreneur in Strategic Coach, I think you’re really creating a very, very positive and very, very hopeful and very, very creative environment in which people, when they’re going through their teenage years, you probably got more sheer complexity in your life between ages, let’s say, 12 and 18 than any other six-year period of your life.
Shannon Waller: Yes. 100%, having two girls.
Dan Sullivan: And quite frankly, I think girls have it worse than boys.
Shannon Waller: From what I’ve seen, yes, that would be 100% true.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah, I think teenage girls are tougher on each other than teenage boys.
Shannon Waller: Yeah. I would agree. I would agree.
Dan Sullivan: Teenage boys, it’s bullies. But they last a year, or they last two years. The bullies in girls’ lives last a lifetime.
Shannon Waller: I actually told both of my girls, “Hey, make friends with boys.” Friends, I wasn’t totally interested in boyfriends, at that moment. “Because they’re simpler. They’re more straightforward. They’ll give you the straight goods.” And so, both of my girls have strong, male friends because, having been a girl, having been in that and been subject to that, women become fabulous later on, but in those ages, not so much, very competitive, very status oriented.
Dan Sullivan: Not only that, you have fights. I had a lot of fights when I was going through school. I was a farm kid, and probably by 20, I’d been in 25 fights. But the one thing about fights with boys is they’re over. You have the fight, and it’s over. And the truth is, it wasn’t that you won or lost. You showed up.
Shannon Waller: I like that. Yeah.
Dan Sullivan: Even if you got your clock cleaned, you showed up. You weren’t friends with them afterwards, but there was this kind of respect that you had enough guts to show up and everything else. And I’ve been to high school class reunions, 25 years after graduating from high school, where the men were all chummy with each other, and the cliques and the pecking orders among the women was still there, 25 years later. In the female world, the fights are never over.
Shannon Waller: True story.
Dan Sullivan: So, just an observation, not being one myself. There’s a finality about… Hopefully, there’s not knives and guns involved in everything. But I have to tell you, social media is the most lethal weapon that teenagers can acquire.
Shannon Waller: Yeah. And it can be used for good or for ill. Dan, the last freedom, just to touch on before we wrap up, is Freedom of Purpose. And we’ve touched on Unique Ability, and I think truly, as a parent, as I mentioned at the beginning, this is almost the greatest gift—along with time and money and great relationships—is just being aware that there is something unique about each person and to expand that and make that as your contribution to the world. Touch on Freedom of Purpose because, again, for me, this is almost the most meaningful one.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. And this is really interesting, and I can only use my own relationship with my parents as a basis here because I’ve not had children. I didn’t have children from my first marriage, and Babs and I don’t have children. But we both grew up in big families, both of us, and we’re late children. So, we had a lot of elders. We had older siblings. I had four, and Babs had three. But the one thing is that, right from the beginning, my mother and my father took me everywhere with them, and they talked to me a lot, not about what I was doing, but what they were doing and what they had done when they were my age. This was the 1910s, so they were born in 1910s, so they were growing up in the 10s and 20s. And the thing that I found really, really interesting about that was their whole attitude about school.
My mother told me at six, when I really hated school, I just hated being cooped up in a desk, in a room, and she said, “The biggest reason you’re going to school is so you can learn how to read because, when you know how to read, you can go anywhere you want with your mind. And you have to go to school. You have to go to school.” Okay. I got good grades, but there was no emphasis on grades. First of all, grades didn’t really matter, as far as going to college. I graduated in 1962, and you couldn’t have failed in high school. You couldn’t have Cs and Ds and Fs. You had to have fairly good grades, but there was no tests. There was no SAT. There was no ACT test. And the way you went to college is you wrote the college a check. There was nothing to it.
But I remember once, very seldom I’d get a C on anything, and I brought a report card home, and I don’t know what it was on, but it was a C. And my mother’s response was to it, “I guess you’re not interested in that.” And I said, “Yeah, that’s true. I’m not interested.” “So what?” She says, “You get As in the things that you’re interested in, so who cares.” And everything like that.
And I think that the lighter the touch that parents have, regarding other systems grading their children, they should say, “You have to go through processes, and you get grades and everything else, but it really doesn’t matter that much. What really matters is what you really love doing and that you learn the skills for what you really love doing, that can make money for you, and so then you can become independent in pursuing what you really love doing.
“And there’s all sorts of tests we have now that show what you like, these are not from your school system, like Kolbe and StrengthsFinder and Print, and we’ll just talk about it a lot, about what you really like doing, why you like this, why you like that. You’re lucky because you’re born into an age where you have more freedom to actually create a business. That’s what your father’s done. That’s what we’ve done.
“And you can build a business where people will pay you a lot of money so that you can do what you love doing, and this is a unique age that we’re living in. You can only do that if you’re an entrepreneur. You can’t do that if you go work for a corporation or for the government or any other, big bureaucracy.”
And just to have that discussion with them very, very early, that there’s a fork in the road, and most kids are going to take the other road, but they can take a unique road. And we’re the examples. The parents are the examples of what you can do when you take your own road.
Shannon Waller: The other thing, just to wrap up, Dan, I love about this is that, when you are personally taking advantage of The Four Freedoms, you set the bar for entrepreneurship to be a really good thing. If you’re an entrepreneur who is working all the time, never sees their family, always feel short in terms of money, doesn’t have great relationships, you’re not going to be a great model as an entrepreneur. So, an entrepreneur taking advantage and making great use of The Four Freedoms, as you talk about it, as we 100% focus on in Strategic Coach, then your kids are going to see you in a whole new light. Your line about being independent, financially independent, to pursue what it is that you love to do, what you love doing, what a phenomenal gift to give your child. That’s coaching that I love, and I know that Steve did too. So, Dan, thank you for expounding on how all of this affects our personal lives, particularly our parenting, in addition to our awesome professional lives. Thanks very much.
Dan Sullivan: It was a cartoon or something, or might have been Mark Twain or somebody. And he was asked, “What’s the best way to impact the world, to change the world?” And he says, “I only got one formula for that, make a lot of money and look like you’re having a good time doing it.” He says, “That influences people around you more than anything else.”
Shannon Waller:Make a lot of money and look like you’re having a good time doing it. Truer words, Dan. I love that.
Dan Sullivan: Thank you, Shannon.
Shannon Waller: What a great place to end. Thank you.