November 21

Episode 1266: Develop Your Influence – Interview with Founder of Cope Notes Johnny Crowder – Part 3

Develop Your Influence, Inspired Stewardship Podcast, Interview


Join us today for Part 3 of the Interview with Johnny Crowder founder of Cope Notes...

This is Part 3 of the interview I had with suicide and abuse survivor, speaker, musician, mental health and sobriety advocate and founder of Cope Notes.  

In today’s interview with Johnny Crowder, I ask Johnny about how he defines leadership.  Johnny shares also how to build your influence with others.  Johnny also talks with you about how influence can be used in a positive way.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1266: Develop Your Influence - Interview with Founder of Cope Notes Johnny Crowder - Part 3

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1,266 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:08] Johnny Crowder: Hey, I'm Johnny Crowder and I'm challenging you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasure to live out your calling. Having the ability to train your brain to combat anxiety is key, and just one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this The Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend Scott.

[00:00:45] I tried to think a lot over the last couple years about my sphere of influence and what I have control over and what I don't, what's my responsibility and what somebody else's, and having a. Truly clear delineation. I mean down to the task, down to [00:01:00] the decision, like making a spreadsheet about what, what do I own and what does my director of sales own, for example, and what?

[00:01:08] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true. In the Inspired Stewardship podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:39] In today's interview with Johnny Crowder, I asked Johnny about how he defines leadership. Johnny also shares how to build your influence with others, and Johnny shares with you about how influence can be used in a positive way. One reason I like to bring you great interviews like the one you're gonna hear today is because of the power [00:02:00] in learning from others.

[00:02:02] Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. But if you're like most people today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read. And that's why today's podcast is brought to you by Audible. Go to inspired to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial.

[00:02:22] There's over 180,000 titles to choose from, and instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest. Out there. That's inspired to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast. Johnny Crowder is a 29 year old suicide and abuse survivor.

[00:02:47] A 10 x speaker, a touring musician. Welcome to the show, mental Health and Sobriety Advocate. Thank you so much for having me. And the founder and CEO of Koch Notes, a tech-based mental health platform that provides daily support to users in nearly [00:03:00] 100 countries around the world. But in the years leading up to these incredible leaps and advocacy, every day was a battle against schizophrenic hallucinations and suicidal ideation after a lifetime of resisting professional care and shying away from sharing his.

[00:03:16] Johnny's curiosity flowered and the healing slowly began. Armed with 10 years of clinical treatment, a psychology degree from the University of Central Florida, and a decade of peer support and public advocacy through the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Johnny's youthful figure for mental health has impacted millions of lives across the globe since his first keynote in 2011.

[00:03:39] Johnny's refreshingly vulnerable and candid perspective has attracted praise from hundreds of outlets, including Upworthy, cnn. And Forbes, even when commanding a virtual stage or touring with his metal band prison. His infectious positivity and firsthand experience with multiple mental illnesses ranging from bipolar disorder and PTSD [00:04:00] to O C D and beyond uniquely equip him to provide realistic, yet hopeful insight into the pains of hardship with authenticity, levity, and unconventional wit.

[00:04:11] Welcome to the show, Johnny.

[00:04:12] Johnny Crowder: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:04:19] Scott Maderer: So one of the things that I like to do is kind of define terminology because I've, I've discovered over the years there's a lot of words that we use that everyone says them, and everyone thinks they mean the same thing. But a lot of times other people are hearing it and hearing something completely different.

[00:04:38] And one of those words that I like to to define when we talk about influence is leader. So how would you define the word leadership and you know, what does that word mean to you?

[00:04:53] Johnny Crowder: That's a stuper. . I feel like I'm gonna kind of wing it here cuz I don't know that I've [00:05:00] ever tried to like put it into words. Mm-hmm. . I, I like to read about leadership, and I think the best definition that I can come up with based on what I've read and what I've experienced is probably, and this might be clunky, it's probably executing while guiding and encouraging.

[00:05:29] alongside people who are executing with you.

[00:05:36] Scott Maderer: Mm-hmm. ,

[00:05:37] Johnny Crowder: maybe, I don't know. I, I genuinely, I kind of pulled that outta my pants pocket that I don't know that I've ever thought to put something like that into words, because I've always thought of it as like more of an intangible, like when I see leadership, I'm like, okay, that's, It is, but I've never had to like write a sentence about it, you know?

[00:05:59] Scott Maderer: Do you [00:06:00] consider yourself a leader?

[00:06:02] Johnny Crowder: I sure hope so. I do. I do my very best to be that. I feel that God has given me a desire to be a good leader. And I care a lot about it. It's, it's an interesting challenge to say, you know, put it into a sentence. It's like, holy crap, how do you even, it's kinda like saying, tell me about yourself.

[00:06:22] And it's like, what, where do I even start? What do

[00:06:25] Scott Maderer: you mean? I was born in a log cabin in Kentucky and, no, sorry, that was, that's a Abraham Lincoln, I apologize. Um, . But yeah, it, that's one of the reasons I like to ask the definition is because I think it's one of those words that we all use. We don't necessarily all mean the same thing when we use it.

[00:06:44] Yeah. I think

[00:06:45] Johnny Crowder: it's probably, when I think of leadership, I think of making difficult decisions, caring a ton about the success of other people and being super honest and vulnerable. [00:07:00] I think there's, there's a level of responsibility that I've had to stomach as COPE notes has grown, which is the fact that.

[00:07:09] you wind up caring so much about your employees and their success that you sometimes, like I remember during covid, um, money got really tight. and I was so concerned that if I wasn't able to pay my employees, that then their lives would be affected, like their kids would be affected, their spouses would be affected, their living situations would be affected.

[00:07:34] And that sense of gravity made me start taking leadership more seriously cuz I'm like, oh shoot, I've been responsible for these people and. Thought that I was doing a good job until money got tight, and I realized leadership isn't just making sure that their paychecks get paid. Like now that we're running low on money, I need to find other ways to [00:08:00] be a good leader besides just like checking a box and making sure that we did our morning meeting, you know, they need more.

[00:08:05] Mm-hmm. .

[00:08:06] Scott Maderer: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And yeah.

[00:08:13] Going deeper with that. You know, we, we talked a few weeks ago about that idea of, of sometimes fixing people or, or saving people. How do you balance that idea of leadership and, you know, taking responsibility for them and, and their lives and, you know, not also overtaking responsibility for the other folks when, when you're the leader of the organization?

[00:08:43] Johnny Crowder: Yeah, I've, I've tried to think a. Over the last couple years about my sphere of influence and what I have control over and what I don't, what's my responsibility and what somebody else's, and having a truly clear delineation, I mean, down to the task, down to the decision. [00:09:00] Like making a spreadsheet about what, what do I own and what does my director of sales own, for example?

[00:09:07] And. Uh, what tasks are shared, what decisions are shared, um, what tasks and decisions are a majority hers, but I still need to weigh in on and vice versa like these. That type of clarity I think is invaluable, but also dude having objective self KPIs. I am such a fan of this, of having. A, having an employee set their own KPIs.

[00:09:38] Obviously you approve them and you can like, you know, set them together. But basically having mutually agreed upon KPIs that were set by that employee, and then measuring against their own goals for themselves, because then at the end of a quarter you can sit down and quantify it and clearly see. As hard as I tried to be a good leader for this [00:10:00] person and as har as much as I made myself available, this person did not perform on their responsibilities that we clearly outlined.

[00:10:08] Without those clear outlines and definitions, I think it can create a really slippery slope where you, uh, you shirk delegation and say, well, I should handle it. I'll handle this. I'll probably handle that too cuz I'm good at this. And then you don't actually allow your employee to, to. . Absolutely. It's kind of like making your your son a sandwich for lunch and packing his lunch when he's like 35.

[00:10:37] He's like, dad, I got it. like, I, I mean, I appreciate it, but I should probably be making my own sandwich. And you're like, but I know the way you like them and I'm really good at making sandwiches. You like, Have to let go.

[00:10:50] Scott Maderer: Yeah. At some point you have to, you have to let other people take on ownership. But that's hard sometimes as a leader, especially when, like you said, it's something that you're good at or you know how to do.

[00:10:58] It's like, [00:11:00] oh, just let me do it. I, I know how to do it. Um, and what's more, I know how I want it done. Yeah. ,

[00:11:08] Johnny Crowder: that's why also, and my, my director of operations is getting me on this, getting on me about this lately. Um, SOPs, like having. Structured like this is how we do this thing. Documents like a building, a knowledge base and stuff.

[00:11:23] As your team grows, bro, if you have everybody hitting you up for how do we do this, how do we do that without like, you know, being able to just link them to this document that describes how the thing is done, you will be prisoner to your own business forever. You'll have to do everything. Or even worse, you'll have to be angry about how other people did things.

[00:11:45] I don't want that. It's a, I'm growing out of it. You, you

[00:11:48] Scott Maderer: gave me the spreadsheet and I wanted it in purple text, but you never told me you wanted it in purple text. So why are you mad ? Yeah. Yep. Um, but yeah, and yet, [00:12:00] and yet we do that. We, we get mad about it sometimes. Oh, yeah. Um, so, you know, you've delivered a TED Talk and, and or TEDx talk and we, we talked a little bit about, you know, using resources.

[00:12:11] Podcast and TED Talks and these sorts of things. As you're growing yourself, let's kind of turn it around. How do you think, speaking, doing things like a TEDx, a podcast, whatever it is, any form of speaking keynotes you mentioned as well, that you do, how do you think you can effectively build your influence using speaking?

[00:12:33] Johnny Crowder: I think so. I have a little bit of an unconventional. Approach, because I was speaking before I had a business mm-hmm. . So I, I actually got my start in public advocacy doing like mental health awareness. So, you know, I'm, I'm not approaching, um, I know some people approach speaking as kind of like a supplement slash awareness builder for their main business.

[00:12:58] Mm-hmm. . But [00:13:00] actually, um, my main business. Just kind of happened while I was doing speaking and then now they're interconnected. But it definitely wasn't by design. I didn't set out to be like, okay, now I'm gonna be a speaker. But I can say that, um, it not only helps raise awareness and establish thought lead leadership in a space, and I think that's invaluable.

[00:13:28] But also I think it does two really important things. Number one, it forces you to use different parts of your brain because no one wants to hear a keynote about your company. No one wants to hear an hour long demo about what you do and how it works. They actually want to hear ideas related to what you do.

[00:13:49] So it forces you to think beyond the walls of your company, which I think is. If you're a leader and you only think about your company, you're like working [00:14:00] in the company and not on the company. But once you step out and start thinking as a speaker and a thought leader in the space, and you start thinking about the industry and trends and how people are being affected by things, like if you can zoom out just a little bit more, um, I think speaking kind of forces you to do that and gives you a much more valuable perspective on your own company.

[00:14:22] But number two, I think it also, um, it, in a way it forces you to be, I mean, at least for me, it's forced me to be not that, um, shiny, squeaky, clean picture, perfect ceo. Like, there's a tendency to want to present yourself as this, like buttoned up you. Perfect version of yourself, but there's something about speaking that encourages me to be vulnerable and open and kind of build out loud and [00:15:00] share about my, not only my successes, but also my failures, my defeats, my disappointments.

[00:15:04] And that vulnerability, um, I think not only makes you a better leader, but also. Helps your team and you see that you're not some like mighty titan of industry. You're like a guy named Jeff, you know, . Mm-hmm that like human element is intangible.

[00:15:28] Scott Maderer: Well, and I think that, you know, again, getting back to kind of your first point too, people connect more with that vulnerability and those stories mm-hmm.

[00:15:35] than they do. Well, I won't say everyone connects for, cuz I'm sure there's someone out there that wants the picture. Perfect person. But yeah, I think more of us connect to more with, with the vulnerability and the, and the, you know, they're not necessarily perfect, but they're sharing the, the good and the bad.

[00:15:53] Yeah. So when you think about influence in general, what, what are some of the principles or [00:16:00] mindsets or, or tips that you would suggest that people kind of keep in mind when they're thinking? Influencing others. I

[00:16:12] Johnny Crowder: am a big fan of building out loud, so anyone who follows me on LinkedIn will see that I'm fairly vocal about the things that happen in the company.

[00:16:22] I'm not really like a hold the cards close to the chest kind of guy. I'm like, you know, I did one of, I did this post, um, about being rejected from Y Combin. And feeling like an idiot. I'm like, well, shoot. I put so much time in this application. It's my second year. I've applied, I made it to the final round of applications again, and then here I am basically twiddling my thumbs, waiting for a response for, for weeks until I finally hear back and they say, oh yeah, we've decided to go with another company.

[00:16:53] And I'm just like, how many times will I face this defeat? And then I talked about how it made me feel [00:17:00] like I wasn't a successful. Like facing that rejection. And, um, on one side, I think it's, it's helped me cope with the challenges of building a business and given me kind of like, I kind of like keep a public journal of what we face as a company.

[00:17:17] And, um, in, at least in my opinion, I know for some. People that are not comfortable with this, and for some industries it might not work. But because I work in the mental health field, I'm very open about my anxieties, my frustrations, my fears, my disappointments, and the things that I face. And I've found that not only has it helped, um, again, reinforce that kind of human factor on the influence side, but also.

[00:17:46] It has led to real lasting human relationships. Like I'm friends with venture capitalists who refused to invest in my company. So the business side didn't [00:18:00] work, but the friendship side did, and I mean friends as in. You know, we go play pool together and we go ride golf cart or uh, go-karts and we like, you know, go to each other's birthdays and stuff.

[00:18:11] Like these are real tangible friendships that I think if you are searching for professional influence and not considering. The possibility of real interpersonal social connection with people who you can be friends with for a long period of time and support each other through things that aren't related to business.

[00:18:31] You are missing one of the most valuable parts of building business in the first place, which is, or building influence in the first place, which is meeting people who you can learn from and live. So if you can build out loud and be honest about your humanity, um, you will be very pleasantly surprised at the caliber of human who reaches out to you and forms connections.

[00:18:53] Some of them might not benefit you in terms of your business, but in terms of your personal [00:19:00] growth as a human and the things that you learn, um, these connections are, are lifelong and invaluable.

[00:19:09] Scott Maderer: So how do you think COPE notes kind of fits into that sphere of, of influence? Um, for, for people that are utilizing it?

[00:19:20] How do you mean? I mean, in other words, if folks are, are in that place where, where COPE Notes is part of their own tool, uh, that they, they use, um, how do you. How do you think that actually influences them and how do you think it helps them in their relationship with others?

[00:19:44] Johnny Crowder: I mean, Koch Notes is a tool that is built to make you think differently. So if you're talking influence, there's, there's hardly a greater influence that you can have on somebody than to affect the way that they process information. So Knot's, entire design. [00:20:00] Built to change the way that your brain thinks, um, which then in turn changes your, um, interpersonal relationships, your finances, your physical health, like everything about you changes as a result of your mind changing.

[00:20:14] So, In my opinion, from where I'm sitting, a tool like Coke Notes stands to have greater positive influence over the daily life of an individual than almost any other measure that you could take. Because like we said last week, mental health is the thing that touches everything else. Mm-hmm. . If you change the way you think that changes your emotions, which then turn, change your behaviors, which then in turn change your outcomes, which then change your life.

[00:20:43] Mm-hmm. , your brain is the epicenter dude.

[00:20:52] Scott Maderer: You can follow Johnny on LinkedIn or Facebook as Johnny Crowder. He's also over on Instagram as Johnny Crowder loves you and [00:21:00] he has a If COPE notes was something that you want to check out, you can also find out more about COPE notes over on Of course, I'll have links to all of that in the show notes as well.

[00:21:12] Johnny, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener?

[00:21:17] Johnny Crowder: I just want to say, um, you know, I've, I've gotten in the habit of saying this recently. There. People who are listening to this right now, maybe you who think I'm not doing enough, or I'm too far away from where I want to be, especially when it comes to mental health.

[00:21:34] They think, oh, I can't be helped, or, I'm too far behind, or I'm too broken. I want to encourage you to say that if you just spent your time listening to a conversation like this, you are already past one of the hardest parts, which is gearing your brain up to. About this. So I encourage you, please, after this ends, listen to another podcast [00:22:00] about mental health.

[00:22:01] Google a question you have about mental health. Look on YouTube and watch a TED Talk about mental health. Does not have to be mine. Check out a book from your local library about mental health. Don't let this be the end of the conversation, and if it's any encouragement at all to you, at least in terms of from the perspective of my journey, you're past the hardest.

[00:22:25] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this, Please, please do us a favor. Go over to inspired

[00:22:52] Rate all one word, iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating [00:23:00] and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I ask Johnny about:

  • How he defines leadership...  
  • How to build your influence with others...
  • How influence can be used in a positive way...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

I make a commission for purchases made through the following link.

I tried to think a lot about my sphere of influence and what I have control over and what I don’t and having a clear delineation about what do I own. – Johnny Crowder

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About the author 


Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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