Join us today for the Saturday Night Special with Nick Kennedy author of The Good Entrepreneur...
In this episode Nick Kennedy and I talk with you about becoming a Good Entrepreneur...
In tonight’s Saturday Night Special I interview Nick Kennedy. Nick talks with you about his journey from founder of a private airline to focusing on becoming a “Good Entrepreneur.” Nick and I talk with you about his book and why he defines entrepreneurship differently from most. Nick also shares with you how his faith journey also intersected with his entrepreneurial journey.
Join in on the Chat below.
SNS 154: Saturday Night Special â€“ Interview with Nick Kennedy Author of the Good Entrepreneur
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Welcome to tonight's Saturday night, special episode 154.
[00:00:05] Nick Kennedy: I'm Nick Kennedy. And I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to become a good entrepreneur is key.
[00:00:21] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this. The inspired stewardship podcast with my friends, Scott made.
[00:00:28] You can do a lot of things really well, but if you don't have the courage to star art, you don't have a dream it's O it's over. And that's the first step. And I think there are one of the, one of the principles is tell the truth or at least don't lie, right? Like always seek and tell the truth.
[00:00:42] What does that mean? Seeking and tell me the truth is one of the scariest things in the world to go do, because if I acknowledge that I have blind spots, And you tell me the truth about my blind spots. Welcome.
[00:00:52] Scott Maderer: And thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God [00:01:00] wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true call in the inspired stewardship podcast, who will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence.
[00:01:14] So that. Can impact the world.
[00:01:17] In tonight's Saturday night special. I interview Nick Kennedy. Nick talks with you about his journey from the founder of a private airline to focusing on becoming a good entrepreneur. Nick and I talk with you about his book, good entrepreneur, and why he defines entrepreneurship differently from most.
[00:01:36] And Nick also shares with you how his faith journey intersected with his entrepreneurial. One area that a lot of folks need some help with is around the area of productivity. Getting not just more things done, but actually getting the right things done can be really tough. I've got [00:02:00] a course called productivity for your passion.
[00:02:02] That's designed to help you do this and then to hold you accountable and walk with you so that you can tailor productivity, not just to be getting more done, but actually getting the right things done. What's more, we take the approach of looking at your personality and how you actually look at things in the world and tailor the productivity system to your personality.
[00:02:28] Because the truth is a lot of the systems that are out there are written really well for somebody with a particular personality type. But if you have a different approach to things, they just don't work, but there's tools and techniques and approaches that you can take that will work for anyone. And we help you do that and productivity for your passion.
[00:02:48] Check it out firstname.lastname@example.org slash launch. Nick Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur and an executive life coach with over 20 years of [00:03:00] experience, building successful ventures after accumulating over 2 million airline miles, traveling for work while losing hours of productivity and family time.
[00:03:10] Nick founded rise in 2014. A private airline rise created a two-sided marketplace that connected busy business executives with private plane operators to redefine travel in order to regain control of wasted time by its acquisition by surf air. In 2017 rise had served thousands of travelers with private flying services.
[00:03:33] Prior to rise. Dick began his career as a business development manager for EDS. He then went on to build multiple healthcare centered business. Now he serves as a coach with over 4,000 hours of experience for how powered executives. He helps stuck executives become fully integrated spouses, parents, and business people.
[00:03:54] Nick splits his time between Texas and Colorado, along with his wife, Angela and his kids. [00:04:00] Will Sam and Jane, welcome to the show, Nick.
[00:04:04] Nick Kennedy: Hey, thanks Scott. Fred on. I'm excited to be here. Absolutely.
[00:04:07] Scott Maderer: So we talked a little bit about in the intro about, you've done a lot of different things in your lifetime in your career.
[00:04:15] One of which is you've founded a private. Airplane, private airline as well. How did your life change through all of those moments of being an entrepreneur to what's brought you to where you are today,
[00:04:30] Nick Kennedy: man? All of those moments. So I talk about in my book and I talk about. The idea that entrepreneurship is the actual title and definition of entrepreneurship.
[00:04:40] It's a French word. It means the bearer of risk, anybody who bears a risk as entrepreneur. And so in all these ventures that I was part of I we were bearing risk. We were taking risk on to try to go create something that hadn't been created before. And I think probably the airline was the the CRE Lara, if you will with regards to the biggest amount of risk you could take [00:05:00] it's a, it.
[00:05:00] Notoriously hard industry to break into. It's notoriously hard industry to run business in. And I think we'll get into this later, but there was this deep belonging in my heart and my soul to be seen as someone who was important and to be seen as someone who was welcomed and invited, I had this kind of. Burden around my neck, if you will. The shame mechanism that I wanted to get rid of, and the reality is I was a, I'm a good entrepreneur in the sense I'm a successful entrepreneur in the sense that very few people are gonna be able to stop me to doing what I want to go do.
[00:05:35] And that makes you for a good entrepreneur. It makes you for a really bad husband and a really bad dad and a really bad friend the thing I've learned about entrepre. Is that it is the quickest way to move from the life that you were given to the life that you want. It's hard, you're most likely going to fail.
[00:05:51] You have to be a little masochistic to go do it. , but if you're successful in it, it's the quickest most efficient way to fundamentally change your life and [00:06:00] probably your next couple generations life for for the future. And so I've learned if you have a big enough idea, and if you can go execute.
[00:06:10] You can really make material changes in your life. And for that is why I'm addicted to entrepreneurship and to entrepreneurs who are on this path to go do this kinda work.
[00:06:20] Scott Maderer: So you mentioned the definition of entrepreneur from back in the French. What, why do you, or how do you think you view entrepreneur?
[00:06:29] And is it in a way that's different than how we use that word a lot? From time to.
[00:06:35] Nick Kennedy: Yeah. I think we've really reserved the word entrepreneur for historically. We've reserved it for people who are running startup companies, people who are part of accelerators, this niche group of people.
[00:06:46] And what I learned in quite frankly, I saw myself in that group of people. But what I learned through my research of writing this book was that actually it's a much larger group. The tent should be much larger and we should invite a lot of other people into it. And the reason we should is [00:07:00] because it's a Treacher.
[00:07:01] Walk, it's a treacherous journey to go on and we need each other to, to go through this journey. And I espoused in the book. I just say, look, this is, I think entrepreneurship is the third main invention of humankind behind fire and stone tools. And we have history from 80,000 years ago on the shores of Morocco.
[00:07:18] Some tribe found these snails. They put holes in them and they painted them and they started trading them with other tribes, hundreds of miles in. And it's the first evidence we have in human nature in which we shared risk by going to someone who didn't look like us and probably didn't speak like us and probably didn't eat the same food and saying, you have something I need, I have something you need let's trade and come off better because of it.
[00:07:42] And at the time homo, sapiens and Neals roam the earth together. It was not given that homo sapiens would become us and the Athal would die. In fact Athal should be, they were stronger. They had bigger brains. There's all sorts of reasons. They should have been the dominant species, but they didn't.
[00:07:58] And I think they didn't because they figured [00:08:00] they, they couldn't figure out how to share resources with one another. And that's what entrepreneurs do. So this is a long history going back thousands of years. And so when you're an entrepreneur today reason I wrote the good entrepreneur is to. Not try to get what's yours to the detriment of anybody else or just because you can, but recognizing you're standing on the shoulders of hundreds and hundreds of years and thousands of years of work and your job is to make it a little bit better for the next generation, not just get what's yours and then run off and don't worry about anything.
[00:08:31] Scott Maderer: That kind of brings us to circling back. You mentioned you were a good entrepreneur, at least by the modern definition that word and you were good at getting yours, so to speak, but you weren't. Yeah. Doing too good as a. As a husband, as a friend, as a father and Ola, those sorts of roles what was going on in your life?
[00:08:50] Where do you think that came from? What brought that out in you?
[00:08:55] Nick Kennedy: So I grew up upper middle class white [00:09:00] kid in America and had a lot of things going for me. And around when I was 16, my dad was en ended up, was sentenced to 16, excuse me, 20 years in prison, served 16 years of.
[00:09:09] Excuse me, sir. 17 years when I was 16 years old and I went from this upper middle class life to having to help my mom pay rent. And I've an older brother, who's got some mental deficiencies and so helping with the family and I had to learn a whole new way of operating no longer was the privilege that I had previously, my privilege.
[00:09:26] And. And I took this shame on, I remember specifically getting into a fight in the locker room when I was 16 years old after football practice. And we were joshing around and I said something and the other kid said something. We went back and forth a few times and I thought I'd ended the argument. And he said to me Nick, at least when I go home, my dad will be there.
[00:09:47] Your dad won't be there for 20 years. And what was interesting was everybody had played nice around me in the back of my head. When I went to sleep at night, I thought, what are people saying behind my back? And here it was right. Push somebody far enough. [00:10:00] And they're gonna actually tell you what they're saying behind your back.
[00:10:02] And I don't blame that kid at all. I said some mean things to him, and I probably deserved him to say that. But what I didn't realize at that time is that I ingested those words. I replaced my identity as a child of God for a child of a prison. And what that does to you is you always feel like you've gotta wake up an hour earlier and hustle a little bit harder and become a little bit greater so that you never get to this core piece of who you really are inside.
[00:10:28] And that makes you a really good entrepreneur, right? Cause you're gonna work harder and be more audacious and take more risks and make sure you manipulate your way to the. And you can go do that. But the fundamental question we have as man is not that not what can we do, but what should we do, right?
[00:10:43] I This is Francis Shafer, right? How then should we now live? This is the core of what humanity is what, how do we go take the talents that God's given us and then use those to glorify him through whatever our chosen pathway is. And in my case, it's entrepreneurship, my [00:11:00] vocation is entrepreneurship.
[00:11:00] Scott Maderer: How do you think how did that affect your faith journey? How did that affect, did you go through that period? A lot of people talk about when something like that happens, a trauma, whatever it may be being angry with God and those sorts of feelings. How did that play itself out in your faith journey?
[00:11:18] Nick Kennedy: Yeah. So I had been part of building and selling several businesses. The last one was this airline. I was in the New York times. There was wall street journal. I was being feted at all. I was, I invited all the parties. I had arrived. I had my. Multimillion dollar home. I had everything I could possibly want.
[00:11:35] And I just remember, once the transaction was done being completely empty inside and the truth was, my marriage was in shambles and I was drinking too much. My kids didn't know who I was ironically. My know, my big hole in my heart for my dad, not being in my life. And my kids didn't know me.
[00:11:49] wasn't in prison, but I had created my own prison by needing to build businesses like an. And by the grace of God and [00:12:00] through the act of the holy spirit, I was given the opportunity to go through a program in my church called celebrate recovery, which is a for those of you who don't know it's a 12 step program.
[00:12:10] That's not specifically for alcohol or drugs like NA or AA is, but it's a 12 step program where you actually walk through the steps and I say it's a 12 step program for what your favorite sin is. My favorite sin at that time and still is today is pride. And I went through the 12 step program and my sponsor was a guy named Richard Hoffman who has since passed away.
[00:12:29] And he was one of these guys that was incredibly successful in life, but he really didn't care what you thought about him. And about three months after I met him, he was diagnosed with stage four, pancreatic cancer. He already didn't care and he really didn't care cuz he knew he was gonna be around for a period of time.
[00:12:45] And he punched me in the mouth, metaphorically speaking in a way that I needed me. I'm a bit of a bull in a China shop at times. And and I'm pretty imposing. It also makes you a good
[00:12:55] Scott Maderer: entrepreneur
[00:12:56] Nick Kennedy: which makes you a good entrepreneur, but it also doesn't make [00:13:00] you available for people to give you feedback.
[00:13:01] And so Richard was this guy that I fully believe. Put in my life and Richard's story and it's his story. And I'll it's not mine to tell but roughly speaking, 20 years previously, Richard had made a mistake that made a decision that had led to a downfall of his family and another family.
[00:13:18] And. He was at church at the time. And he looked around and he didn't know who to go to, cuz everybody who he looked to had perfect lives. Like he didn't feel comfortable acknowledging the decision he'd made that had led to these consequences. And so once he'd processed this is again, two decades ago, he decided he was gonna make himself available and tell his story freely so that anybody who found themselves in the same situation would he would, they would make him his first.
[00:13:45] And of course,
[00:13:46] Scott Maderer: truthfully, none of those people that he was looking at had perfect lives, but that was his perception,
[00:13:51] Nick Kennedy: right. That was his perception. And what he taught me is that when you actually tell somebody your story and you do it vulnerably, you're inviting them back [00:14:00] into that same relationship.
[00:14:00] This is the very lesson of Jesus, right? Jesus. I was on. Podcast. I was on a podcast just last night with these it's it was three black men and they talk about talking about life from black men's perspective. They had me on there and I was like, what am I gonna what am I gonna say about this?
[00:14:15] And what they were talking about was an immersion, right? Jesus immersed himself. He didn't just show up and preach and walk on. He lived there for months with these people and got to know them. And Richard was living his life with people and he ended up living his life with me and he shared with me things.
[00:14:28] That were ugly and true. And he encouraged me to do the same. And so here I am like, everybody's looking at my outside world going, man. He's just hit the lottery and inside man, I'm just broken. He's so
[00:14:42] Scott Maderer: rich and yeah.
[00:14:43] Nick Kennedy: Yeah. And man, I started to tell my story, like I, as this came true and ventured out and I thought, who are my safest people?
[00:14:50] And I would tell them, and their response would be. Thank you so much for telling me. And then I would venture out to some people who were less safe and their response would be thank you so much for telling me. And eventually [00:15:00] the refrain was, if you only knew meaning if you only knew how much the headlines in my life do not match what's going on inside of me.
[00:15:10] And I after meeting with Richard, I got to meet a guy and spent a lot of time with a guy named John Townsend who wrote the boundaries book, who really encouraged me to understand what's going on emotionally and psychologically in our world when we do this. And he's a leadership guru.
[00:15:26] And he taught me a lot of things around leadership, which is where I'm my vocation now, which is spending time with leaders in these times. And. I think the when you, in, in the middle of the journey, you can't possibly understand what's going on, but to look back, I can clearly see the hand of God throughout my whole life.
[00:15:43] Saying I'm here. I'm putting people in your life. I didn't have the, my, I didn't have my earthly father there that I wanted but there were several men that came into my life, Richard being one of them and another six or seven men that came into my life some for a day or two, some for decades.
[00:15:57] Who said, Hey, I'm gonna, I'm gonna be in [00:16:00] your life and help you in a way that a father should help a son.
[00:16:02] Scott Maderer: Yeah. And do you feel cuz you've mentioned several times you still are a bull, you still are this how are you reconciling those traits today? If that makes sense.
[00:16:16] Nick Kennedy: Here's the one thing I've learned. You don't fix yourself like this isn't a finish line to cross. This is an this is what John taught me. Which is, this is an ongoing journey. And that's hard because in business we've got KPIs. We have balance sheets, we have cash flow pro we have black and white things that say you're successful or not successful.
[00:16:33] And there's this, it's this obscure abstract view of what you're doing. So number one, recognizing that truth has been key to me. And number two, the how I deal with that is I have a daily mantra. wake up and I respond and I write down, or I say to myself, I am a child of.
[00:16:49] Period like hard stop. And that means I have all the rights and privileges of that, which means I don't have to hustle, which means I don't have to create my own kingdom, which means I, I have a heavenly father that's looking out for [00:17:00] me. That means I have all the rights and privileges around that and responsibilities.
[00:17:03] And so on this day, and this day alone, I'm choosing to remember that and I'll deal tomorrow, and I'll deal with yesterday. But for today, I'm going to choose to believe that truth. And when I do that and I don't do it all the time, But when I do that, things go better. Why? Because I'm regurgitating a truth that we've seen.
[00:17:24] We see in history, we see in the Bible we see in lives, we see over and over this truth, that's coming in and saying there is a SLU shall be, there is a God, there is a holy spirit. There is a Jesus that is there as a helpmate. When I choose to let them do what they're designed to do, guess what? My life's a whole lot easier.
[00:17:41] And so with regards to being a bull or not a bull I sometimes I wake up and decide I wanna be a bull. And the greatest thing God did is make us in his image. And the worst thing he did is make us in his image. Cuz we all run around thinking we're mini gods.
[00:17:51] Scott Maderer: That's best day of my life is when I realized there was a God second best day is when I realized it wasn't me.
[00:17:56] not him. Yes.
[00:17:57] Nick Kennedy: It turns out I make a really crappy God [00:18:00] and I've tried, I've given all my efforts to making a God and I make a really poor one. And so that's how I deal with it. I recognize a, this isn't something I'm ever gonna arrive at on this earth. But I also recognize that I can take ownership of by creating a right mindset in the morning to win the day so that the rest of the day, that becomes my rudder for the rest of the day.
[00:18:21] And that guides my all the words that leave my lips, all the thoughts that are in my heart, all the things that I do as I move forward.
[00:18:29] Scott Maderer: And you recognize that some days. That works better than others too. Cuz there's days that it don't go so well.
[00:18:36] Nick Kennedy: I'm sure there, there are a ton of days.
[00:18:38] I'm embarrassed right? When I get into I had a situ. Recently where, so just I'll get really, I'll get really vulnerable with you here. So my wife this last year was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's now cancer free praise God, but she had two major surgeries and it was this shock to our system.
[00:18:57] We've had this ongoing fight in our [00:19:00] marriage about Family of origin stuff. Right? We bring our family of origin, our food into our relationships. And I had believed because my dad was gone, that I was gonna always be abandoned. And I couldn't trust anybody about myself. That's a lie that I believe, I can't trust God. I can't trust anybody else. I can't trust him. My wife is she's not a Saint, but if there she's close to being a Saint 24 years, she's an amazing woman. We were in this fight. Prior to her diagnosis, she gets diagnosed and I, so I go, my, my go to is I isolate, right?
[00:19:34] Fine. If you, if I can't trust you and you're gonna abandon me in my own mind, I'm gonna isolate you. I'm gonna freeze you. I'll abandon
[00:19:40] Scott Maderer: you first in that way.
[00:19:42] Nick Kennedy: Yeah. Yes. Yeah. That's the pro that's the hustler in me. It's protection. It's my protection side. So we get into this fight. I go into my isolation mode.
[00:19:52] We're in this for a couple days, and then she gets her diagnosis. Here's how like deeply ingrained in my DNA. This is. And [00:20:00] it pains me to say this I'm embarrassed to say this, but even after her diagnosis, I still stayed in that. I can't trust you mode. Like you would think after two decades of marriage, as someone, you would just, you would drop that and get into, I'm gonna take care of you.
[00:20:12] And I'm embarrassed to say this, cuz this has happened in this last year. But she wrote me a seven page letter and I read it the first time and I was ticked off and I read it the second time and I was a little bit less ticked off and I read it the third time and I was like there's some truths in here.
[00:20:24] And by the time I read it, the 12th time, I was like, man, 80% of this is true. And I had to recognize that I had fallen back in that pattern and the lie I believed, which is no one is able, I'm not able to trust anybody on this earth and I'm gonna be abandoned. That's my mode. And this is an extreme situation.
[00:20:42] Cancer is the thing, everybody dreads. And here I am, literally my wife being diagnosed with cancer and I'm still choosing to protect my own kingdom. So that is a embarrassing aspect of my life. But that's an example of, yeah, some days are better than others and some weeks are better than [00:21:00] others.
[00:21:00] But when I get into that pattern, it's a dangerous pattern. And I need strong people in my life to punch me in my mouth. Metaphorically speaking to, to wake me up. Like my wife did that letter was a punch in my mouth to say, dude, this isn't okay. I'm not okay with this. Now she went through her own journey and 10 years ago, she would've never written me that letter.
[00:21:19] And we would've spiraled out. That's what we've done. That's our pattern. But we've evolved. The people that everybody who gets married two or three or four times in their life. And if you're lucky, it's the same person. And the person I married 24 years ago is not the same person today.
[00:21:35] Thank God. Because absolutely. She gives me that. So anyway, so that's an example of some days better than others. And
[00:21:42] Scott Maderer: I, and thank you for sharing that. And again, I. Folks to hear it too, because I think so often we look at people who are on a journey. We think they've arrived.
[00:21:56] And that's not really and again, it's back to the, [00:22:00] I looked around in church and everybody here had a perfect life. It's no, they didn't. They were all broken too, but they just weren't visibly broken. You didn't see it on the outside.
[00:22:10] Nick Kennedy: That's why, it's why alcoholics say alcoholics will say they, they don't say, Hey, I used to be an alcoholic.
[00:22:15] They just say, I'm an alcoholic. I'm an alcoholic. Cause they're, acknowledg. This is an ongoing journey you're on. And I think it, it's a, I go back and forth on this, but man, there's some it there's some blessing to the fact that their sins are out in the open in the sense that, or that their, I shouldn't say their sins, their struggles are out there in the open.
[00:22:34] Scott Maderer: and it's recognizable people understand it's
[00:22:37] Nick Kennedy: recognizable. Yeah. Yeah. Can you imagine just showing up no, I'm not having a drink. I'm an alcoholic. Like in some respects that would feel really weird and awkward, but in some respects, if I walked up and said no, I'm not gonna take part in that.
[00:22:46] Cause I, my I'm addicted to. Like I could just I'm out on this one. I don't have to part. And yet I keep it down inside. It's a fascinating idea to think about
[00:22:56] Scott Maderer: that way. And as a child of an alcoholic who [00:23:00] okay. Started down the road of being an alcoholic, and I will tell you though, there is still a social awkwardness to that.
[00:23:06] So I would go to a company party where everyone was drinking and I learned just cuz it was easier. That I could go to the bartender and ask for a Coke, but ask him to put a swizzle stick. Everyone assumed I had a run and Coke. Yep. I just didn't have to explain it, okay. Yeah. And it wasn't that I was ashamed of it.
[00:23:25] It. It's easier to not have it's easier to people, yeah. Yeah. And but again, it was that moment of and I never actually quote, became an alcoholic air quotes around that. And yet I still describe myself as someone who struggled as an alcoholic because yeah. And I don't touch alcohol to this day.
[00:23:44] The last drink I had was in 1999, so wow. And that, and yet even there where it is more so I would agree it's more socially accepted than a sin of pride or a sin of arrogance or any of these other [00:24:00] bazillion sense that we all carry around.
[00:24:03] Nick Kennedy: well, I think the Scarlet letter was a really bad idea, but imagine there is something to be like, what if you just, what if you just had a tattooed, we walked in and were like, oh yeah, I deal with that too.
[00:24:11] There'd just be like, with this camaraderie or you walk into a restaurant. Oh that's my favorite sin too. I don't know. I think we'd feel it more comfortable.
[00:24:18] Scott Maderer: There's a quote about it, the, my, what was it? My journey, some I'm paraphrasing, cuz this is not exactly right.
[00:24:26] And I'll have to go look it up and put it in the show notes. But the something along the lines of my walk got a lot better when I realized that everyone walking around was what the walking wounded and when I began to treat others as if they were wounded deeply inside, It got easier.
[00:24:44] Nick Kennedy: It did. And this is one of the fundamental things Scott, I think to that I think is fascinating about Christianity in 2022. I live in Dallas. I live in Dallas and steam up Springs, Colorado, but in Dallas, like it's almost it's almost more of a, you're [00:25:00] almost more of a pariah if you don't go to church grew up in Southern California and that was the exact opposite.
[00:25:04] But here it's like this. Almost like Sunday country club mentality. And that's not to take away from any of the preachers and all the ministers who are doing their work to try to enga engage. But it is this oh, you go to that church there's this thing about where you go to church that says something about you, which again goes back to that whole identity.
[00:25:23] And I forget who it was. I think it was Tozer said like what we think about God is the most important thing about us. And if it's man, I go to this church, cuz that's where. Entrepreneurs go or that's where successful people go or whatever. Or I go to this church because they're not fancy. And I wanna make sure everybody sees, I have torn clothes.
[00:25:40] It's a sin everywhere, right? It's like this idea that anything between us and God is that's capturing is causing us. That separation, which is sin.
[00:25:49] Scott Maderer: And that, yeah. And that's what the term sin even means is missing the mark. So let's talk a little bit about the book as well, and just so the book is the good entrepreneur and you [00:26:00] mentioned earlier why you wrote it, but let's unpack that a little bit more.
[00:26:04] What, who's the book for? What is it about how would you sum up. Who should go pick up this book and take a look at it?
[00:26:12] Nick Kennedy: Yeah. So who should pick up this book is anybody who fancies themselves as an entrepreneur in the sense that they're a risk taker, right? So it is a how to it's called the good entrepreneur.
[00:26:21] The subtitle is an insider's guide to building a principled business and a powerful, personal legacy. It is this idea that there are way, there are certain ways to build businesses and there are certain ways to build out your kingdoms if you will. And there's right ways and there's wrong ways.
[00:26:38] And business is never not about profits. If you're not making money, you're dead. It's oxygen for your business. So profits is the bottom line, but I think particularly in America, profits are the end game and I'm putting forward this thought that it's never less than profits, but it's so much more than profit.
[00:26:56] If you are a leader, [00:27:00] you have more power. If you're a business owner, leader, CEOs, executive, you most likely have more power over the lives of the people who work for you than anybody else in their life. In the sense of this, we spend more time at work these days, awake time at work than we do anywhere else in our life.
[00:27:17] For the most part. So if you can create a culture that is welcoming, that is thoughtful, that is trying to figure out who people are and making sure that their skill sets, their talents are being used appropriately, that you're stretching them, that you're growing them, that you're investing in them.
[00:27:33] Versus I'm using somebody and I'm gonna throw 'em out once they don't have any value to me, I'm using somebody on my cosmic chess board to get what I need to go get to. And a, and I'm gonna shortcut my vendors and I'm gonna shortcut my community and I'm just gonna get what's mine to move on and move on.
[00:27:50] Then you actually. Get into this conversation of like actual reformation actual redemption. And I think that's what we're called to do as Christians is this redeeming component to it. [00:28:00] And I think if you can turn the hearts of leaders towards this idea that they're actually shepherds, they're actually disciples in some respects, not from a Christian perspective, it doesn't have to be a Christian business, or you don't have to like have Bible studies all the time.
[00:28:12] But if you have these principles that we know are good principles, And you put them in your business. Then you can change that business and change those lives. And then you can change your community and by changing your community, you can change your co your county and your state and your country and your world, ultimately, because you are choosing to invest in a way.
[00:28:32] That is gonna change the lives of other people. So my hope is people read this and go, Hey, look, I need to continue doing what I'm doing. Cause I'm doing a really good job of it. Or I need to adjust what I'm doing, or I have never thought about it this way. Cuz when I was taught in business school, is who cares anything, any some of these private equity shops, like at the end of the day, who cares what you do as long as you're , as long as you're making money.
[00:28:53] And I just say buoy, who cares? We don't need more widgets. We have a lot of widgets. We are addicted to con [00:29:00] consumption all of our tombstones in America. The majority of our tombstones should read he or she was a great consumer and we consume things. We don't want to impress people.
[00:29:09] We don't like for reasons we don't even understand. And we don't even know what our basic emotions are. The good entrepreneur is a call for leaders to say, yeah, be really successful. And I'll teach you how to go do it. But let's also once we're successful, recognize what comes after that and the responsibility.
[00:29:24] And that's why I wrote the book. And and so it's a lot of my story journeys. It's stories on private planes, a story in prison cells, stories with NFL stars, it's stories with it's all the stories. And it's a fun read. It's built for people who are leaders in organizations that wanna figure out how to go do it a little bit better.
[00:29:41] Scott Maderer: And I love the idea too, of the good entrepreneur. So just because that's almost a play on words of at first glance, that's how most of us mean it. The good entrepreneur means they made a lot of money. Yeah. But is that all it,
[00:29:55] Nick Kennedy: it mean it means virtuous, right? I think about it's a play a little bit on [00:30:00] CS Lewis and his abolition of man has this essay where he talks about the man without chests.
[00:30:04] He talks about how the head is the intellect, the spiritual kind of component. And the stomach is the visceral animalistic side of man. But the chest is what is the directional force of how to use the intellect in, in, in the emotions. It's where courage and honesty comes from. And so if you have, and what he says is like, Hey, why are we surprised that we find traders in our midst?
[00:30:26] We be why are we surprised? We remove this chest from our from men and women. And we just say, go out, let your animalistic, let your intellectual side go forth and do whatever it finds. And guess what? It's gonna find a lot of different things. So why are we surprised when we find traders?
[00:30:42] I think this is fascinating. I just did this little video on this because of president Lins we are watching a legacy being written in real time. And I presuppose in this video that I think the reason he's doing this, cause we're witnessing a man with a chest. Who's saying directionally, I understand it's going to cost me, but this is the right thing to go do.[00:31:00]
[00:31:00] And that's on a national scale or that's not on an international scale where we're witnessing that, but that's happening every day in our lives. That's Hey, I got an extra dollar back at the donut shop. Do I tell. That's Hey, I I'm gonna let somebody into my lane on the freeway or not, or cut them off that.
[00:31:14] I There's all these little things that we're doing that add up. Tom HAX with James clear, right? This is 1% better tomorrow. And you have to changed life a year from now, right? All of these things add up and that's the good entrepreneur side of it, which is a virtuous. Another way to say it.
[00:31:27] I it's not a Christian book. I have a couple Bible verses in there,
[00:31:31] Scott Maderer: but
[00:31:32] Nick Kennedy: It's you could call it the virtuous entrepreneur. I just thought that was a little too little too high brow for what I really wanted to communicate, but yes, you could call it that.
[00:31:41] Scott Maderer: And again, like to your point it's not an explicitly Christian book and that's not the intent behind it.
[00:31:47] And yet, like you said, it doesn't matter if the business has a fish on the door. To be able to be what you're talking about. They don't have to have a fish on the door. And in fact, sometimes they have a fish on the door and they're not doing it. [00:32:00] Yeah, man, listen, if
[00:32:01] Nick Kennedy: my toilet's clogged up, I don't care if you have an clue on your card, like just come unclog my toilet.
[00:32:05] And, but here's the thing I know to be true. All truth is God's truth. So if you write towards truth and if you speak towards truth and you consume truth, and if you share truth, that's worshiping God and the highest. In my opinion. And so this isn't, this is a worshiping of God for me, which is this is true.
[00:32:22] As I know to be true in my own life and I've witnessed it in other entrepreneurs' lives. So it's a history of that. So let's acknowledge that and let's go forth and hold ourselves to higher standard and create a legacy. That's gonna live well beyond. The time we spent on this earth.
[00:32:39] Scott Maderer: So in the book, I know you talk about 12 separate principles within the book.
[00:32:44] And with this idea of becoming a good entrepreneur, I, we don't have time to unpack all 12 for somebody that's hearing this and it's going, yeah, I'm struggling with this. I'm. Doing what I really feel, what is right. [00:33:00] What are some of the, whether it's most important or first steps, what beyond picking up the book and taking a read of it, which I know is part of it, but what would they need to do first?
[00:33:11] Nick Kennedy: Yeah. So the first step is courage. Principle number one is the good entrepreneur chooses courage over fear. And what's interesting is courage is not an op or courage is not the opposite of fear. It's not the removal of fear. Courage is what you get to when you pass fear. So the way God made us is we have this amygdala in our brain and it's the fight, fleece freeze part of our brain.
[00:33:30] And it's constantly aware it's the guard dog. And it's great, cuz it's provided us survival over thousands of years to get to where we are today. But when we don't take an account of what truth is, we let that rule our lives. When we stay in our homes and we don't go out and we don't go do what God's called us to do.
[00:33:45] It's the parable of the talents. And so the first step is you gotta have courage to start the journey. You can do a lot of things really well, but if you don't have the courage to start, you don't have a journey it's O it's over. And that's the first step. And I think there are one of the, [00:34:00] one of the principles is tell the truth or at least don't lie, right?
[00:34:02] Like always seek and tell the truth. What does that mean? Seeking and tell me the truth is one of the scariest things in the world to go do, because if I acknowledge that I have blind spots, And you tell me the truth about my blind spots. And I become aware of that. That's a giant Pandora's box, cuz I believe something to be true.
[00:34:18] That wasn't true. And you brought me to that. You brought that to my attention. Richard Hoffman brought that to my attention. My pride, my wife brought that to my attention. My counselor brought that to my attention, man, that really sent me on a spiral. Cause I thought of what I knew to be true is not true.
[00:34:32] Now what else? Isn't. And I think this is the yin yang symbol, right? We've got in the, you've got one side, which is black, that represents chaos. And you've got one side, which is white, which represents order. And when we were cast outta the garden, I think we've constantly been fighting to get back to order.
[00:34:46] We had order in the garden and we moved into chaos and we're fighting to redeem ourselves back in the garden. But in chaos, there's a white dot, which symbolizes that even in the midst of chaos, we can have a redemption [00:35:00] story. We can do what we need to do to redeem it. And in the white side, we have a black spot, which means man, chaos can get in and corrupt a snake in the garden, a drop of sewer in a Magnum of champagne, and those two coexist. And I think the proper stance is not completely in. The proper stance is one foot in order knowing truth, knowing what you, who you are and what your identity is. And one foot in chaos, because that's where growth comes from. One of the things I just wanna encourage people to do is like we aren't called to live a comfortable life.
[00:35:30] We put in enough money away, retire properly, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And then just go do your thing. No, that's not what we're called to do. Retirement didn't exist before world war. This is a brand new concept that we put enough money away so that we can be old in the day and drink my ties by the beach.
[00:35:46] We're called to have one foot in chaos. Why? Because we're constantly growing. We're constantly redeeming. That's what we're called to go do. Whether you're a business leader or an employee or a spouse or a friend that's where we're called to spend time [00:36:00] and then come back to order and refresh and renew and go through this process.
[00:36:05] But also don't be afraid to go out to the dark night because that's where we need to go be salt and light.
[00:36:10] Scott Maderer: And you can't. Yeah, you can't live fully in chaos. Any more than you can live fully in order and be, but it's that's in a way go back to Paul. I'm, I find comfort when I had everything and I found comfort when I had nothing that being content.
[00:36:30] Because I'm content, not because of the external nature of the world. Yeah.
[00:36:36] Nick Kennedy: If I if what I say to my morning in the morning is true, that I'm a child of God hard stop period. Then I can have 10 billion in the bank and be completely content, or I can be on the street and completely content.
[00:36:48] And I can tell you having spent hundreds of hours in a private plane, that you can be in a private plane and completely in prison. And having spent hundreds of hours in a prison visiting room, which you couldn't find too farther places apart on this. That you can [00:37:00] be completely free in prison, right? The plane is a symbol of power, but it is in power.
[00:37:04] And I think that's this juxtaposition. We have these beliefs that if I get this job, I get this raise. I get this car, I get this house. My kids get into this right school. My wife stops doing the annoying thing that she does, whatever that is, my life will be. Okay. And the reality is that's just a big fat lie until we come comfortable with this idea that I'm a child to God, peace hard, stop.
[00:37:23] I'm done. Whatever happens, cuz I've got a heavenly father. That's looking out for me. Man we're gonna be on this journey of hustling and that is exhausting. And we're gonna be really sad when it all comes to the end, cause we've wasted so much time.
[00:37:36] Scott Maderer: That's great. Before I, I move to a few questions that I like to ask all of the guests Anything else from the book that you think is a really important things for people to have as a takeaway,
[00:37:47] Nick Kennedy: So at the end of each chapter I give I'm a real, so I do some leadership training now with executives tip of the spirit executives, own business owners or C level executives at the end of our time together, I always give them homework [00:38:00] and at the, and so I do the same thing in the chapter. So for every principal there's a homework.
[00:38:05] And they are they, some of 'em are really simple and some of 'em are really complex, but every one of 'em is tied back to it. So if you're looking for something to go, not just read and put it up, but I wanna think about what I'm doing, my goal when you work in publish a book, the publisher you, so you set goals out and they and they said, what's your goal to sell in the first week and the the first month or whenever.
[00:38:27] And I said to 'em look, I don't really care. What I care about is that a. This book will be selling 10 years from now and 20 years from now and 50 years from now, I have a rule I stole from CS Lewis that if for every book I read, if someone who's alive, I read two books. Someone who's dead because if someone's dead and a book is still being published, that means it's like past the standard.
[00:38:45] So I hope to be dead in this book will still be being, read by people. And so beware, don't read the book. If you don't wanna be changed, if you're comfortable with where you are, don't read the book, but if you're uncomfortable and you have that nagging feeling and you don't know who to talk to, and you don't know where to go and you look at for some [00:39:00] direction, that's where to go in the book.
[00:39:02] Cuz not only will you read the stories, but you'll also get this like feedback of okay, so now that we've gone through this, any early stories, here's what your job is to do on yourself. Yeah. I actually love books that have action items for us to do, because otherwise I think oftentimes a book will become shelf help as opposed to self-help
[00:39:22] oh, I like that.
[00:39:23] You gotta use that. Can I steal that
[00:39:24] Scott Maderer: from you? Yeah, it's okay. I sold it from somebody else, so I don't even remember who I saw it from anymore. It's been so long, but. So one of the questions I like to ask all my guests is my brand has inspired stewardship and I run things through that lens of stewardship when I think about the world.
[00:39:40] So what does the word stewardship mean to you and what has the impact of that meaning been on your life?
[00:39:47] Nick Kennedy: So I had a mentor in my life. One of these men who was my surrogate father, his name was Calvin Howell. And he taught me a lesson. He used to come through Dallas and every time he'd come through Dallas, twice a year, he lived in Nashville [00:40:00] and he had he'd come through Dallas and we'd have breakfast.
[00:40:03] And at the end of our breakfast, he'd say, Hey, you wanna come out and see my map? We'd go out to his car and he'd pull out this map of the United States and on he'd pull us out and pull on his trunk of his car and on the map for dozens and dozens of little color dots, all over the country. And twice a year, Calvin, how was this little man?
[00:40:21] He was five, six balded when he smiled his eyes disappeared. Just this, like he was like a human emoji. He was be, he was a beautiful man. And every single one of those dots represented something that him and his wife had invested in an organization. He had invested in and twice a year, he'd get in his car and he wouldn't call him and say I'm coming to visit put on the, put up, put out the parade for me, he'd just show up and say, Hey, what are you doing with what I've given you?
[00:40:45] And I asked him how he got to this point in his life. He was in his sixties when he was telling me this. He said my wife and I years ago decided that once we hit a certain level and it was. Little. He had multiple homes. He was incredibly wealthy, man. [00:41:00] We decided we were gonna give it. We were gonna adjust it for inflation every year and we were gonna give away everything else.
[00:41:05] And that freedom that's given us has given us so much joy. And he told me this when I was in college, he said, Hey Nick. So I encourage you to pick a number, make it big, make it audacious. And the number we picked was Ida. It still is audacious, but it's not the number I would've picked right now.
[00:41:19] It's what I picked when I was in my twenties. But the fact that we had that number has given my wife and I so much freedom. We live what we call right now. It's my next, book's coming out called micro retirement. And it's this idea. We do two weeks of revenue generation. She's an ER, she's a physician.
[00:41:34] And I do some coaching, and then we do two weeks of non-revenue generation. And it's this idea that we never wanna retire. We always wanna be doing something. And instead of waiting until we're old and we can't do anything else and retiring, we're gonna do a little bit of that now. And. Calvin from a stewardship perspective, said basically look, do what you need to do.
[00:41:54] But after that acknowledge, what's not yours. And then just give it all away. And that's freedom. So when I think about [00:42:00] stewardship, it's this question of what are the resources I have and how can I use those to glorify God and what I'm doing and spend that. And that's my thought on stewardship and how you manage resources.
[00:42:12] And I feel incredibly free by doing.
[00:42:14] Scott Maderer: So one of the last principles in the book is that of leaving a legacy. And my favorite question that I ask all the guests is if I invented this magic machine and I could pluck you out of the chair where you sit today and transport you into the future a hundred to 150 years, and you were able to look back on your life and see all the impacts and all of the ripples and all of.
[00:42:40] The little connections that have been left behind. What do you hope the impact is that you've left behind on the world? This is gonna sound a little sacri, but I think at the I'm always struck by, at the end of, I forget which CS Lewis book it is one of the, which foot N book it is Lucy's looking out at Thelin down on the beach and he says, She says [00:43:00] is he safe?
[00:43:01] Nick Kennedy: And the response is, oh no, he is not safe, but he is good. And I don't wanna ever be thought of as safe. I do in some respects, but I want to be thought of is. No, but he lived a good life and I want people to speak about me in the way they spoke about Richard Hoffman. He right before he passed away, Jim Beckett here in Dallas, held a dinner for about 20 of his.
[00:43:24] And we all went around and did a living Memorial for Richard. He was skin and bones, but we went around and said how he impacted our lives. And every man had a story. And at the end, someone said, Hey, Richard I'm gonna tell you my story. But before I do, I when the heck did you work, man?
[00:43:39] Because he was really successful. But he said Nick said, he met with you at 9:00 AM on Thursday. And John said, he met with you at 2:00 AM on or 2:00 PM on Friday. And we all had these stories of when we met. And Richard said, when I threw my life away 20 years, And I didn't have anybody to turn to.
[00:43:51] I decided I was gonna be the man that people could turn to. And I simply have no greater joy than being, getting that call in the middle of the night [00:44:00] to help somebody out. You can't find a better place on this earth. So I hope that at some point I walked away from that thinking.
[00:44:06] That's part of what I hope my legacy will be with regards to that.
[00:44:11] Scott Maderer: What's coming next. What's what's on the roadmap. You mentioned second books in the works, but what, what else is in the pipeline?
[00:44:19] Nick Kennedy: I'm just really focused right now on as I mentioned, I do some coaching, so I do two things. I meet one on one with leaders a small group of leaders.
[00:44:28] And then I lead a group cohort through a 12 month program called advanced leadership. And it's intense and it's intentional and it leads to life change. And I think they're incredibly sacred moments. And so I am really focused on being the best I can be at those moments because people trust me with their stories.
[00:44:46] And I wanna make sure I'm present and I wanna make sure I'm able to listen professionally, listen intently and be able to give them that, that feedback. And so quite frankly I have no desire to scale. Everybody's are you gonna scale? Are you gonna hire people? Are you, no, I'm not gonna hire anybody.
[00:44:59] I'm not gonna try [00:45:00] to scale. It's a completely inefficient business. Like the entrepreneur in me is screaming a little bit, cuz there's no way to scale this if I'm not working, there's it doesn't happen. But man, when I get to get engaged, I'm transformed by that. And I'm incredibly thankful for that.
[00:45:15] And so I'm, I wanna be great at that. And then I love reading and I love writing, and my goal is to write eight or 10 more books. So I wanna become a really good writer and I'm gonna spend my time loving on people and writing books that hopefully have an impact.
[00:45:30] Scott Maderer: You can find out more about Nick over on Instagram as Nick Kennedy, underscore IG or on Twitter as Nick Kennedy, underscore T w he's also on LinkedIn, under Nick Kennedy coaching, or find out more about the book or Nick's coaching or other things that are coming down the pipeline on his website at Nick Kennedy, coaching.com.
[00:45:52] Nick, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listen?
[00:45:55] Nick Kennedy: Go do big things, create a debt in the universe and become good [00:46:00] entrepreneurs.
[00:46:00] 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 episode please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate.
[00:46:29] 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. Until next time, invest your time, your talent and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.
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You can do a lot of things really well but if you don’t have the courage to start you don’t have a journey. – Nick Kennedy
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