Join us today for the Interview with Kendall Layman, author of The Gooder Life...
This is the interview I had with leader, coach, and author Kendall Layman.
In today’s podcast episode I interview Kendall Layman. I ask Kendall about how his journey and faith led him to discover “the Gooder Life”. I ask Kendall what it really means for you to focus on living a Gooder Life. I also ask Kendall to share the building blocks that lead to that life.
Join in on the Chat below.
Episode 1348: Interview with Kendall Layman about The Gooder Life
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1,348 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.
[00:00:08] Kendall Layman: I'm Kendall Layman, and I just challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence, and, and just impact the world by using your time and your talents, your treasures, and to live out your calling, you know, having the ability to live.
[00:00:26] What's your good or life. It's just key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this. The Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend Scott Maderer. To
[00:00:44] be able to look at our situation and understand that really worrying about tomorrow is useless. Tomorrow may never come. Worrying about the past is kind of useless. I can't go back and change anything. Just being in the moment, being where our [00:01:00] feet are right now, and understanding that I'm alive, and I'm breathing.
[00:01:05] 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 calling. 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.
[00:01:40] In today's podcast episode, I interview Kendall Lehman. I ask Kendall about how his journey and faith led him to discover the gooder life. I ask Kendall what it really means for you to focus on living a gooder life. And I also ask Kendall to share with you the building blocks that lead to that life.
[00:01:58] I've got a new book [00:02:00] coming out called Inspired Living. Assembling the puzzle of your call by mastering your time, your talent, and your treasures. You can find out more about it and sign up for getting more information over at InspiredStewardship. com Inspired Living. That's InspiredStewardship. com Inspired Living.
[00:02:21] Kendall Lehman is an executive leader who continually looks for ways to turn the complexities of business and life into simpler solutions for success. His service in the United States Air Force and years of experience as a professional working in small businesses to Fortune 500 companies is combined with his love of storytelling in his book The Gooder Life, where he reveals how certain attitudes and principles will set you apart from the crowd.
[00:02:47] Welcome to the show, Kendall!
[00:02:49] Kendall Layman: Thank you. Appreciate it. Thanks for having me on.
[00:02:52] Scott Maderer: Absolutely. It's good to have you today. And, you know, I, I mentioned a little bit in the intro about this [00:03:00] book, this message that you're putting out around the, the gooder life. And would you talk a little bit and expand a little bit on the journey and the story that made you put out?
[00:03:11] The book, the good or life. And you know, where did that name come from? Why, why this, why is this the message you're putting out in the world?
[00:03:18] Kendall Layman: Yeah, that's a great question. Um, you know, my mom's side of the family is a large side of the family. She had, uh, quite a few brothers and sisters. And, and, um, when we all get together for holidays or advance.
[00:03:34] We usually go to this one uncle's house. Um, he is the guy that has all of this. He's local to where I live. And, and, uh, I was a young man one day and I went in there to his house and he said, Kendall, how are you doing? And I said, I'm okay. And he looked at me and he said, no, there's only two kinds of days.
[00:03:51] Good. Or good or and that story stuck with me from that time until now, I've shared it multiple times. [00:04:00] I have a thought about it in depthly since that time. And while I understand exactly what he was telling me about making a choice between good or good or each day, I've kind of expanded the thought on good or.
[00:04:16] Understanding that there are days in our lives where making a choice between good or good or is probably not in the options. Um, but I think what it does is it gives us a compass. It's an attitude that we have when we approach life. It's basically trying to be better today than we were yesterday. It's making a decision that today I'm going to try to be better than I was yesterday.
[00:04:44] Um, Good or today for some people, maybe who are going through hard times in their lives, maybe getting up and getting dressed. Good or for somebody else who's having a great time in their life. Maybe that they go out and speak to a large crowd and influence a lot of people. [00:05:00] It's going to be different for everyone.
[00:05:02] But the call to action of the good or life is just try to be better than you were yesterday.
[00:05:09] Scott Maderer: You know, my, uh, I'll share quick family story from my end, just cause it, it kind of fits. My, my stepfather was well known that when you asked him, you know, how are you doing Herman? He would say terrific. It didn't matter what was going on.
[00:05:23] He had, he had cancer, was literally feeding from a tube that he, you know, wore a backpack. And that's the only way he could eat is you basically, you know, poured a milkshake into the backpack for all practical purposes. And that's what he was, you know, bad stuff going on. How are you doing? Terrific. You know, it didn't matter what was going on in his life.
[00:05:43] And I can't, I remember walking in and he's, he's in the nursing home, you know, on his last days laying in bed. We didn't even think he was awake, you know, didn't seem to be conscious. My mom's sitting there and I walked in and I said, how's he doing? And [00:06:00] from the bed, he goes, terrific. It was so ingrained in him that that that's still where he was at literally moments before and it was within a day or two that that he had passed so kind of that same person as you're talking about it as your uncle, you know, that's just that's how he looked at the world.
[00:06:18] It's always terrific.
[00:06:19] Kendall Layman: It was and you know that's really powerful though because, um, to be able to look at our situation and understand that really worrying about tomorrow is useless. Tomorrow may never come. Worrying about the past is kind of useless. I can't go back and change anything. Just being in the moment, being where our feet are right now and understanding that I'm alive.
[00:06:43] And I'm breathing and I've got people around me that I love and that that should make us all say it's terrific, honestly, if we think about that. So that's, that's very powerful.
[00:06:53] Scott Maderer: But as you said, sometimes I think for, you know, there's somebody out there right now. That's, and I've been there and you've been there [00:07:00] where your, your, your life is not going well.
[00:07:03] Yeah. What would you say to that person that that's hearing this idea of the good or life and it's like, you know, right now for me, getting out of bed is barely all I can do. What, what, uh, what would you say to them?
[00:07:14] Kendall Layman: Yeah, you know, I think I would kind of go back on what I said earlier. But, um, fortunately and unfortunately, I've had the opportunity to be around a lot of people who are in those positions, things that have happened in their lives that none of us would ever want to happen in our lives.
[00:07:30] And, um, you know, I think one of the biggest things about having empathy with people is just understanding that not all people are at the same position. And that sometimes. We have to look at that person and not say you should be doing this, but instead say, I understand you're going through a hard time, appreciate what you're doing, um, and, and just keep pushing forward.
[00:07:57] Um, whatever that is, [00:08:00] uh, push, as we said earlier, pushing forward, maybe, uh, to some, a big step. It may be the others, uh, simple step, but, but, you know, I think it's just having having the respect of people and understanding that people are different positions and not making a judgment about that. Being okay with that.
[00:08:18] Um, and letting people know that, that we are okay with where you're at.
[00:08:23] Scott Maderer: So would you talk a little bit and expand a little bit on how your faith and your faith journey intersected with the life and the message that you share
[00:08:33] Kendall Layman: this book? Yeah, I, um, you know, go back to when I was a kid growing up in northwest Arkansas, small town of about 2500 people grew up in a, in a Baptist church and, and, uh, was there every time the doors were open.
[00:08:48] In fact, as I got to be a teenager, I kind of thought, you know, I may grow up and be a pastor someday. And, and, uh, it was a very big part of my life. Um, it was me and my sister and my mom [00:09:00] and dad. My mom was a teller in the local bank. My dad was just a printer at a print shop. And we were a simple family. I would say lower middle class, but in, in my mind, we were the perfect family.
[00:09:12] Everything was perfect. We did everything right. We were at church. We, we loved each other. We were a family that got along together. Um, fast forward a little bit. I'm, I'm in my young twenties. My sister's 27 years old. I'm gone into the air force. I'm married. My wife and I are on our way to Tucson, Arizona, where I'm going to be stationed in the Air Force and my sister is pregnant and, uh, gosh, we were so excited.
[00:09:37] It was going to be the 1st grandchild for my mom and dad, my 1st nephew and, um. So we stopped to see my sister on the way out to Tucson, Arizona. They lived in Tulsa and, and a few days later we got a call and she had had a baby boy and, uh, we were all excited. And, and I say in the book, how, how then I wished we had [00:10:00] FaceTime, gosh, it would have been great, but you know, we didn't, we had a phone and she explained everything to me, um, through a series of events and, and everything.
[00:10:09] Uh, she had a very hard childbirth experience. And 10 days later, after having that beautiful baby boy. who is a great young man right now. She passed away. And at that moment, my world changed. I had that thought in my mind that everything was great. We were the perfect family. Everything had been done correctly.
[00:10:33] And now all of a sudden this happened. And I can tell you those first few hours after that happened, I asked the question, why in the world would this happen? We did everything right. I mean, you have all of the questions, but at that moment, Life, my faith, the way I lived life all came together, crashing together.
[00:10:54] And, um, it was through that, you know, I say this [00:11:00] because it wasn't at that moment where everything changed and I came up with the good or life and, and everything, but what that moment did was made me begin to think differently. And, um, you talk about faith and immediately people think about church and growing up in a, in a, in a Christian family and.
[00:11:19] And all of that, you know, I think a lot of times what I found was, is that there are a lot of people who go through the motions and I probably was going through a lot of the motions myself too, as a young man and me and my wife as a young family and, um, when something like that happens in your life.
[00:11:38] It's like the world gets extremely real and and we get down to where all of that surface noise is gone because you have now touched life and death. It has been right at your doorstep and you've watched it happen and I think that's what happened to me. I just made a decision at that point that I didn't want to go through the motions anymore.
[00:11:59] I wanted to be [00:12:00] more real. I wanted to be more authentic. I wanted to more. To speak in deeper levels than I ever had before, and I wanted to know why I said things when I said him and why I did things when I did him. It just made me want to get through the layers of the surface. And I think that probably.
[00:12:19] was the big catapult that I needed to help me begin to start form in my mind this good or life concept and how we could affect others in the world and be real with everyone.
[00:12:33] Scott Maderer: And that, you know, part of what you said there, you know, one reason I deliberately ask. And use the word faith as opposed to religion or church or that kind of thing is because I think that picture of faith is bigger than just, do you go to church on Sunday?
[00:12:48] Absolutely it is. I think you can go to church every Sunday and not have faith and I think you can not go to church every Sunday and have a deep faith. Absolutely. I see value in church, but that's [00:13:00] not the, that's not the same. Great point, great point. So let's dive into the book a little bit. What are some of the, the building blocks or the principles, uh, you know, if you kind of had to give us a, an overview of.
[00:13:15] The good or life. What are some of those building blocks that you share in the book that you feel are important to helping us actually live that life? Yeah.
[00:13:23] Kendall Layman: So what I tell people is that first of all, the book is a short read. It's something you can read in a couple of hours that was done on purpose. Um, but it's also concepts and principles that you've heard before.
[00:13:37] Um, I'm not bringing anything new to the table. I'm just saying it as we talked about earlier in layman's terms, uh, which in my mind is more of a storytelling concept of hopefully, um, pictures in your mind and stories that I tell that help you understand these things better. Um, so I, the, the [00:14:00] main. Premise of the book is I have three essential attitudes that I call the foundation.
[00:14:06] Uh, if you can have these three, you're, you're starting off great. If you can take these three as your foundation and add to them six building blocks that I just expound on very quickly in the book, then, then you're off to a great start. I'll talk to you about the three essential attitudes because those are the foundation and it's thankful, being humble, And being respectful.
[00:14:30] And those are in order for purpose. Um, I am a huge person of of believing that a thankful heart and a thankful attitude can get us through a lot of hard times. Um, I've had it happen in my own life. I've watched other people do it. I'm a huge fan of Andy Andrews, who is an author, and he wrote a book called The Noticer.
[00:14:55] And he put in that book a quote that says, After all, the [00:15:00] seeds of depression cannot take root in a grateful heart. And, um, It's a very powerful statement. And while maybe that's not an absolute statement, um, I think it does make us think, you know, what I found one time going through a hard time was when we go through those hard times, we, we as humans, um, have a tendency to look inward to ourselves and focus on the problems we're having at that time.
[00:15:28] And it kind of consumes us. If you can take time every day, maybe in the morning and the evening, do it both times if you can, and maybe just write down three things you're thankful for. It forces our perspective and our gaze to turn away from ourselves and to look outward for just a little bit of time.
[00:15:47] And for that brief moment, we're not focusing on our own problems. And so it helps our perspective begin to change after thankfulness. I say humble. Um, because [00:16:00] humble is simply recognizing that we are not on this earth to see how important we can be, uh, but maybe to see how much difference we can have in the lives of others.
[00:16:13] And, um, I learned that as I went through life, well, I guess what I learned was, as I got older, um, I learned that I didn't know near as much as I thought I did when I was younger and, uh, one of the big things I've learned is that you don't have to be heard. Um, Always your words are not always right. Uh, and as as a humble person, you can be content to just listen.
[00:16:39] And, um, You know, I think that just comes along with being more mature and and as we do go through life with more experiences, gaining wisdom and being able to be that. And then lastly, respectful. You know, we've always heard the thing, especially in corporate worlds. You'll hear, you know, let's treat the janitor the same way you [00:17:00] treat the president and and and treat people the way you want to be treated.
[00:17:05] Um, you know, in the end, uh, what, what is the quote? I remember for dust, you are and dust, you shall return. We all are that, um, we may have all of these possessions around us or some may not have any possessions, but we're all human beings and we should at least respect each other because of that. So, if we could put those three things in action in our lives, thankful, humble, respectful, I look at that as a fantastic foundation to build upon, uh, with the building blocks that I talk about in the book.
[00:17:39] And somebody can read about those and they're just purpose. Listening, being a thinker, being aware and making good choices. And then finally finishing the job you start.
[00:17:51] Scott Maderer: So if you had to put a bow on it, you know, for the Lister out there, if you had to sum up what you share in the good or life and, [00:18:00] and the rest of the title, by the way, the subtitle for those that, that, uh, haven't read the.
[00:18:05] Uh, I don't remember from the intro is the gooder life in layman's terms, but I'm a little slow. It took me a little while to notice that that was also your last name. So there's a great pun in the title. So apparently, apparently I was hung over when I read the title and I don't drink, so I don't know how to have it.
[00:18:24] But anyway, tired that day. But if you had to sum it up for the lister in one sentence, what, what does the book
[00:18:30] Kendall Layman: actually mean? Um, gosh, one sentence. I would be glad I didn't tell you one word. I know that would have been even harder. You know, probably, um, the thing that if you remember this, it will help you in all of life, whether you're a leader, whether you're a friend, a brother, a listener, um, a coworker is that it's not about you.
[00:18:57] You know, um, [00:19:00] I read a book called the lost art of listening. And, um, in that book, it talks about that when you're a good listener. You have to understand that it's not about you as humans. We, we want to, um, someone calls you and says, Hey, I need to talk. We want to interject and say, yes, I know what you're talking about.
[00:19:18] I remember one time when this happened to me and all, and you have to stop and say, you know what, this is not about me telling my stories. It's about letting them tell their stories. And so to sum it up, it's not about you.
[00:19:34] Scott Maderer: So I've got a few questions that I like to ask everybody. But, uh, before I go there, is there anything else about your book or, or the message that you're putting out that you'd like to
[00:19:44] Kendall Layman: share with the listener? Um, you know, I, I tell people that, um, it, uh, when I first started this and put the book out, it's, it's very daunting, um, because you were opening yourself up to the [00:20:00] world basically, and, uh, with that comes.
[00:20:04] Uh, people who say, man, I really like the book, but it also comes with people who say that's terrible and, uh, and, and that's just what's going to come with the territory. Um, you know, I, I think probably like, like, I just told you, it's not about you. It's. It's just simple teachings. That help us understand that we have other people around us.
[00:20:32] And we have the opportunity to invest in other people around us every day. You don't have to be in a leadership position to influence other people. And, and I think, you know, if people can take that, take the book and read it and, and put those actions in, or those principles and, and, uh, attitudes into action and, um, value [00:21:00] relationships, value the people around you, value the experiences you've had and share those with other people.
[00:21:06] Um, I think it would help us get back to a place in this world that would be much better than we are right now.
[00:21:15] Scott Maderer: Well, and you, you've used the term simple a couple of times, and I, I just want to Call out and let you let you add to it as well that, you know, we often talk about simple principles, but simple doesn't mean easy.
[00:21:29] Kendall Layman: That's right. That's exactly right.
[00:21:32] Scott Maderer: You know, listening is not an easy thing to do. It is.
[00:21:36] Kendall Layman: It is absolutely not. And it's something you have to really learn to do.
[00:21:41] Scott Maderer: Yes. So all of these, though, though they're simple principles, they aren't things that just come naturally and we don't have to work at, I
[00:21:48] Kendall Layman: think is a great point.
[00:21:51] Scott Maderer: So, you know, my brand is inspired stewardship and I kind of run things through that lens of stewardship and yet. That's one of those words that I've discovered, like [00:22:00] leadership and a lot of other words we use it or you hear it, but we don't necessarily always mean the same thing by it. So when you hear the word stewardship, what does that word mean to you?
[00:22:11] And what is the impact of that word had on your
[00:22:14] Kendall Layman: life? Yeah. You know, um, growing up in church, you hear stewardship a lot. Um, and yet as a, as a young person, I didn't even know what it meant, you know, and
[00:22:26] Scott Maderer: It usually means grab your wallet. We're starting a building campaign.
[00:22:29] Kendall Layman: That's it. There you go. And, uh, you're exactly right.
[00:22:32] You know, I, what I learned was basically, uh, when you have something entrusted to you, uh, take care of it and, and treat it in the right way. So I thought about that, you know, you and I met a few, a few weeks ago or a couple of months ago. And I've thought about the title of your podcast since then. Um, something that we maybe don't think about is that throughout our lives, I talked about my sister earlier, [00:23:00] and we have experiences happen to us.
[00:23:03] Those are our experiences. We own those. Those are ours. And so I began to think about that, and I thought, you know, it is our responsibility to be good stewards of those experiences in our lives. And we have a choice to make. Do we use those experiences to help others or do we use them to be bitter? You know, uh, I heard the story one time a mom said she wanted for her kids to either be bitter or better.
[00:23:35] And so do we be bitter or better based on the experiences? And so to be a good steward of those experiences, I look at that as taking what's happened to us in our lives. And using that to share with other people who are maybe going through some of the same things that we've gone through. Now, I can't tell them how they should react or what they should do when they're going through those things.
[00:23:56] All I can tell them is. I've been through it too. [00:24:00] Here's what I did. And maybe that gives them some comfort knowing that somebody has gone through this also. And so I think just, uh, just cherishing the, the events in our lives, um, taking care of those. And making sure that we share those with other people in a positive way.
[00:24:19] Scott Maderer: So this is my favorite question that I like to ask everybody. Um, imagine for a minute that I invented this magic machine and with the power of that machine, I could pluck you from where you are today and transport you into the future, maybe 150, 250 years. But through the magic of this machine, you were able to look back and see your entire life.
[00:24:40] and see all of the connections, all of the ripples, all of the impacts you've left behind. What impact do you hope you've left in the world? Yeah.
[00:24:49] Kendall Layman: Um, I was in a store the other day and I was talking to a man I had not seen in many, many years. He was, he was a few years older than me and [00:25:00] my father passed away in 2004.
[00:25:02] And as I said earlier in the podcast, he was, uh, I call him a simple man and I don't mean that in a bad way, but he, um, he, he was very smart in his field. He was a printer. Um, and in the local print shop in our town of 2, 500 people. And, uh, as I was walking out of the store, this man looked at me and he said, Hey, just wanted you to know, man, I really, I miss your dad every day.
[00:25:29] And I said, I do too. Um, but I thought about that as I was driving home from the store, there's a man I haven't seen in years, um, out of the blue tells me that he misses my dad. My dad has been gone for almost 20 years. So what was it that my dad did? That that man who was a young man or a teenager at the time remembers enough to say that 20 years later.
[00:25:56] And I even asked my wife about that. You know, what was it my dad did? [00:26:00] I think he was just a nice guy. So I would say to you, there's lots of things that I would love for people to remember about me. But, but I think most importantly, I think when it gets to that, I narrow it down to family, if my family can just remember me in a way that they say, man, I really miss him every day.
[00:26:20] Just being here, talking to him, the words he said, the things that he did. That's what I would love to be remembered by. Maybe someday my son will be in a store. And he'll be talking to somebody. And as he leaves, that person will look at him and say, man, I miss your dad every day, and he'll be able to say the same things I'm saying right now.
[00:26:42] I hope I, I hope that that's how I'm
[00:26:44] Scott Maderer: remembering. So what's coming next. What's on the roadmap as you finish out the rest of this year and, you know, continue to have the book out there and spread the message.
[00:26:54] Kendall Layman: Yeah, I've got quite a few more podcasts lined up. I've been able to [00:27:00] speak at a few gatherings.
[00:27:03] That's my, that's my passion is, is being able to talk with you and talk with other people. You know, writing is a powerful tool. I heard John Rich say on an interview from, he was part of the country duo, Big and Rich and, but I heard him say the most powerful thing a person can have is a pencil in one hand and a blank piece of paper in the other.
[00:27:29] No one can tell you what has to go on that piece of paper. It is completely up to you. And so writing has been a, a great opportunity and has been just, it's, it was, it was hard, but it was fun. Um, But really the speaking is what I like the most. And so that's what I'm looking forward to is, is I'm lining up more speaking engagements, having more podcasts and just being able to spread the message of the good or life.[00:28:00]
[00:28:02] Scott Maderer: You can find out more about Kendall over on his website at the gooder life group. com. Of course, I'll have links to that over in the show notes and that's where you could reach out to him if you want to have him come speak to your group as well. Kendall, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener?
[00:28:20] Kendall Layman: Um, you know, I think if, if, um,
[00:28:27] I took a business law class one time and the teacher started off the first day and said, If we would do unto others how we wanted them to do to us, the golden rule, we wouldn't be having this business law class. So I think I would just encourage people to read The Gooder Life, put everything into action, and just treat people the way you want to be treated.
[00:28:58] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired [00:29:00] 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 episode, please, please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.
[00:29:21] com slash. iTunes rate, all one word, iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating 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 your feed. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures, develop your influence, and impact the world.
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To be able to look at our situation and understand that worrying about tomorrow is useless tomorrow may never come. Worrying about the past is kind of useless we can’t go back and change anything. Just being in the moment being where our feet are right now and understanding that I’m alive and I’m breathing. – Kendall Layman
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