Welcome to episode #31 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. In this episode I got to speak with Todd Palmer, the CEO of Extraordinary Advisors. He’s also a baseball fan and has a huge memorabilia collection.
Top Talking Points
- Learning to change yourself in order to change your business.
- Utilizing a “Stop Doing List” to discover the things that are bad for you.
- Replacing the word happy with satisfying.
Resources & Links
Share Link for this episode
Connect With Todd at Extraordinaryadvisors.com
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Hey guys, it’s Ryan real quick. So my mission with the morning upgrade blog and podcast is to raise the awareness of morning routines and personal development. And I now have two products that are also helped me with this mission. The first product helps you start a 20 minute morning routine. And the second product is a book that outlines how to use personal development to upgrade your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morning upgrade.com. Thanks for letting me share and now on to the show.
Welcome to the Morning upgrade podcast with Ryan cote where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.
Hey, everyone, this is Ryan Cote with the morning upgrade podcast today I’m super excited to be speaking with Tom Palmer. Hey, Todd. Hey, Ryan, how are you? Doing? Good. I’m really looking forward to the conversation. We’ve had a great conversation up to this point before recording. So looking forward to what’s next? And why don’t we start by you telling everyone what you do and what your interests are?
Sure. So my name is Todd Palmer, and I am the CEO of extraordinary advisors, where I help leaders get unstuck around the areas of cash strategy, people, and execution. The teachings that I do are inside out leadership of having been a retired CEO now for three years and a CEO before that for 25 years, I realized the only way I could grow my business was to grow myself. And that required me to take a look in the mirror and be able to deal with my itty bitty shitty committee deal with my imposter syndrome. Deal with how I showed up how I didn’t hold my team to a status of accountability that got the company into a pretty bad spot. And I’ve been able to pivot by taking a look at myself growing that company divesting out of that company now helping CEOs and leaders around the world do some of those very similar things, especially during the tough times of COVID where a lot of people are wrapped up in chaos, fear, self-doubt, and crisis. And what are your interests, one of my interests, outside of being a coach and CEO is I’m a big fan of baseball. We were talking earlier when I was in the video, and I’ve got a pretty large memorabilia collection. And I love the parallels of baseball in business baseball in life. Baseball is the only sport I know of where if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter going three for 10 You’re still a 300 hitter. And you’re seen as a success in the sport, business and life are very much similar parallel paths to that where there’s a lot of failing forward in business, a lot of failing forward in life, and a lot of failing forward in baseball. Baseball is a sport you’re never going to master just like life is a sport, you’re never going to master. Interesting. So you have a very unique story with how you use personal development. Your business was in a rough spot. I think you said 2006 and personal development played a very big role in you recovering from that. What is your approach to personal development growth? And how did you use it to turn your business around? That’s a great, great question. It was a recovery, I did struggle with a lot of imposter syndrome. I thought as the CEO of the company, it was my responsibility to have all the answers to all the problems for all the employees all of the time. And that didn’t work well. 10 years into my company, I started my company in 97 by 2006. Because I had control issues because I didn’t delegate appropriately. And when I did delegate it and hold people accountable. I advocated that delegated the company got $600,000 in debt-based upon as I look in the mirror decisions, I made choices I made employees I hired. And it got to the point where the bank was going to call the line of credit, they were going to take my house, I was a single parent at the time, my son was not very receptive to being homeless. And I had a lot of toxic culture within the organization to exist because I was doing massive avoidance. I was not having critical conversations, I was not leaning into those uncomfortable moments. So I hired a coach and the coach said, the first thing I needed to do was I needed to show up differently, I needed to go inside out, I did change myself to change my business. And he helped me deal with my itty bitty shitty committee my imposter syndrome. And we could create a program where I did five positive things every morning, from working out eating right to how I managed my company, to the point of where I realized the company was so dysfunctional, that in September of 2006, I fired the entire company. And I started over and I held myself 100% accountable because I allowed it to get to that point. Flash forward. 10 years later, we got out of the debt. And we made the Inc 5000 is one of the fastest-growing companies in America. Not one time, not two times, but six times because we found that inflection point because I grew myself I was able to grow the business, get out of debt, and put it on a track record of incredible success. What did it feel like? And when you were in the thick of it, I just wake up every day like how did you go to work with all that debt? All that pressure? Like how did you think straight to get through it? I know you hired a coach but what was that like? Yeah, well before I hired the coach, I didn’t go to work. I avoid it. So how I dealt with it is I didn’t deal with it, which a lot of people would do. And a lot of CEOs Believe it or not a good I called the avoid dance, they avoid things. And I would if I just if I pretended it wasn’t happening, I could avoid it, and I could avoid it and it just started to mount. So the way I handled it before getting the coach before getting before raising my hand, getting outside help to put my pride and ego aside, until I did those things until I dealt with me, I couldn’t get anywhere.
On the flip side, what did it feel like at the moment? I’m sure there was a moment or two where you were like, man, I’ve got this, this is turning around. I’ve got a new company, I’ve got a clear path to recovering from this. What is that? What did that moment feel like?
It’s a great question in regards to I’ve never, I’m not sure we ever had that moment. Let me explain. To get out of the depression I was in, I had to create a process and use a process of appreciative inquiry, the act of learning cycles, so I had to approach things with a growth mindset because I’d had a fixed mindset for so many years. And so going back to the debt, my mindset was, I’ve got to find a way to get out of debt. I don’t know how it’s gonna look. So I’m gonna create, my second step was to create an intention, not have an expectation that I knew how to get out of that debt. So we were trying and we were iterating, a bunch of different sales processes and a bunch of different models in the staffing space. We had a recruiting company in Metro Detroit, in the freedom by the intentional mindset, not the fixed mindset, a lot of to try different things. So every week, we try different strategies, keep what worked, got rid of what didn’t work. And throughout many, many attempts, many, many tries, many, many failures, many, many successes, we were able to move the thing forward. I guess when I think of the real-time when I thought okay, we finally got it right was the day I paid off the final vendor eight years later for the money we owed by getting $600,000 in debt that was kind of like, okay, we finally got this thing, right, we’re now we can start making some real money and to take care of shareholder equity and stockholder equity, but also be able to reward the employees who helped take that journey with me, man when a story or an adventure, so let’s fast forward to today, what is your event, what is your morning routine look like? My morning routine is pretty simple, I get up, I do something positive first thing in the morning, and I either will do something I’ll express gratitude. I’m a big, big fan of the work of Shawn Achor and his gratitude practices. So I’ll express gratitude, I’ll do that by either sending a text message or an email or a Facebook message to somebody important to me, letting them know I’m thinking of them. A lot of my mornings are wrapped up by going to the gym, exercising, because, for me to give to others, I have to take care of myself, I see self-care, not selfishness. So I’ll give it like this morning, I got up at 530 in the morning, and I hit the gym for two hours so that I could be fresh for my clients, my first client call was at 830, I have to be at my best because I see my energy as a resource. And if I feed that energy, I take care of myself, I’ve got more to give. The only time I find that when I reach that point of being down or low is when the demands of myself, from my clients, for my family, for my friends, for my business, exceed my resources. So my strategy becomes from continually building my resources by going to the gym, listening to a podcast, getting an audiobook, and watching a lot of YouTube videos on the bikes at the gym. I’m feeding my brain positive things, positive messages, hearing positive stories, my reservoir of energy rises, which allows me to be of greater service to my clients. Consuming positive content. It’s okay if you want to just destroy your life. Just watch the nighttime news every day. The truth? Oh my gosh, you’ll be a paranoid mess in like a few weeks. For sure. Yes, but I have my clients do a thing called a stop doing list. Because it’s really good to do. Anybody can do a to-do list. But the growth takes place when I had to make a stop doing list. You’d be surprised especially the last year how many people put on their stop doing list. Stop watching CNN stop watching MSNBC stop watching the local news.
Yeah, yeah. I don’t watch. I don’t watch any news I did during the election just because I was interested. But beyond that, I stay away from it might get the news that I need from a morning daily newsletter that I get that’s just like, you know, the top stories. Let’s talk about your coaching business. I like to gear this show towards its personal development, but also entrepreneurship. And I’m always curious how my guests have had success in terms of growing their business. So with your coaching business, how do you grow it? or what have you had the most success with?
Great, great, great question, because if you had asked me this question a year ago, you would have gotten an answer. There are almost 360 degrees different than what I’m going to tell you now. So a year ago, my strategy was to get on stages, talk in front of audiences do podcast appearances, and I was in front of a lot of groups throughout the year on the road a lot, being of service to the audience by telling the kind of stories we’re telling right now. Well, COVID hits in March, I lost six stages in two weeks. And I had plenty of time. And I had
nothing to do with it. So I double down on what I really why I do this. So 12 years ago, I worked with a guy named Simon Sinek. He has a real popular process called Find Your Why. And he helped me find my wife took me two years to find the two words that encapsulate mine why, which is improved lives. So I thought how can I improve lives from Detroit, Michigan when I can’t travel? How can I be of service to people in chaos and crisis, just like I was in 2006 when I was so far in debt, so I started putting messages out on social media, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, Instagram, volunteering my time, volunteering to speak to an audience that would have me that their members were in chaos and crisis around COVID decisions for the business, volunteering, to speak to any entrepreneur, whether it was solopreneur, or the CEO of a multimillion-dollar company for 30 minutes for free, help them clear their head to clear the mechanism, I talk a lot about the athletes I work with clear the mechanism. You know, if you’re a pitcher and you walk a hitter, you got to clear that out because you’ve got another batter in the batter’s box, if you’re a golfer, you just hit a bad shot, you have the next shot in front of you. So you can’t worry about the shot you hit, you can only do the shot, you’re going to hit not even the future shot you’re going to hit. So doing this model over and over and over. And over and over again. I spoke to over 35 groups from around the globe as far as Malaysia, India, and United States and Canada and Mexico, and Europe. And then I spoke with about 67 CEOs over 42 days, helping them get unstuck around all these things. So that’s during these COVID times I’ve doubled my coaching practice, as well as the free time I had as I just wrapped up my second book, which is titled From suck to success, a guide to extraordinary entrepreneurship is coming out in q1 of 2021. So to grow my business to grow my coaching practice, I volunteered the heck out of things. So you weren’t charging for these, these, these sessions. I was not charging for the sessions, because I realized it was for me, this is a personal decision. And I still use a coach, by the way. So I called my coach and we had a long conversation about it. He says, What’s your intention behind it, I said, my intention is to be of service to others. I don’t feel right now this is during, say March of 2020, to about August of 2020. I feel my job should be to tell stories and to hear stories that help people get unstuck around COVID around chaos and crisis, the itty bitty shitty committee these CEOs are having between the six inches in their ears. And so I decided for me what most resonated was to volunteer, volunteer, volunteer be a servant leader. I didn’t feel it was the time to be marketing, I felt there was a time to be serving the blessing. And all of that is people would hear the stories people would hear me speak, I would volunteer to coach people, they say, Hey, I want to work with you can’t afford your regular fee. Here’s what I can’t afford, can we do something and we just do some one-off programs? Well, what has been created for me is now I’ve got speeches that want to heartbeat groups that want to hire me, they’re hiring me virtually, which is awesome because they saw me and they’ve seen me in other groups. I’ve got people who you know, just the launch of a new client next week, who was so freaked out by everything. They were a little bit paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. Now they’ve reached out to me, I spoke with him in March. He’s launching with me in December because his business is back on track. So I found that giving to these entrepreneurial CEO communities is not coming back to me.
Yeah, it makes sense. We did something semi-similar at Ballantine, now, we’re a marketing agency. And in COVID there was a lot of turmoil and clients were uncertain, and they want to pause or cancel and, you know, just a lot of uncertainty. And so I, you know, we just tried to pour into our clients as much as we can even doing free work in some cases, just to make sure that they knew that we know we have their back, and we’ll try to help get through this. And you know, unfortunately, it all worked out. You know, we’re on a much better spot now. But it sounds like you just were it sounds like you were doing the right thing and you’re trying to provide as much value as possible.
Well, it was going back to being intentional. It was what wasn’t working for me my mindset going into it was I can only grow my business by being on stage, I can only grow my business by being on podcasts. Well, one one of those is wiped out through no one’s fault. I have to pivot back into why do I do all this, and what I do to improve lives. So if I have that intentional mindset, I can improve lives. From a non-stage perspective from the comfort of my baseball office, why should I do it? And I didn’t go into it thinking I’m going to get clients I didn’t go into it thinking I’m going to get something from it. And I find that people pick up on that energy people pick up on people like you and me who give our time and give our skills and talents to the greater service of others and naturally people want to gravitate and be in there. Our space because they see the value we provide.
Makes total sense. I’ve got one more question for you, Todd. I’m the curious answer to this question. Just based on the stories you share today your experience, you know, what’s your definition and approach to happiness?
Wow, that’s a great question. Because it’s the same question. I asked my coach about six years ago. Because I was frustrated because I wasn’t happy. And here’s where we’ve arrived at. And he was really smart. So my coaches are getting Daniel Freeman. He’s out of San Diego, California. He has a company called super-smart health, and he’s a brain surgeon by training. He’s a medical doctor. So we’re talking through this and he goes, happiness is nothing more than intermittent spikes of dopamine. And that’s why we do chocolate. That’s why we do make other choices in our diets and other parts of our lives. He said to me, Todd, I challenge you to replace the word happy with the word satisfied. How do you live a satisfying life? If you think about a satisfying dream business or in relationship with parenting, there’s gonna be spikes. There’s gonna be highs and there’s going to be lows, but if you can look back on it, how can we have a satisfying life? So that’s what I teach in my program of life by design, to have a satisfying life. I want people to have moments of happiness. I love that. But you’re also gonna have moments of frustration, disappointment in the chaos that comes with that. Let’s get you out of those pieces. So I think happy is awesome. If I want to be happy I have a piece of chocolate. I want to be happy. I’ll watch something on TV that makes me laugh. What are we watching right now? We’re watching Schitt’s Creek right now. So we’ll watch that. But if I want to have a sustainable sense of satisfaction, I have to approach it to realize that that happiness is just one piece of the process. I love that thinking that being satisfied versus being happy. It’s sort of like a mindset shift. I like that a lot. Yeah, I had to learn that it was a real big challenge for me because as a child, I was told, you know, by my parents, hey, I want you to go to school, I want you to get married, start a family and just be happy. So for me, that was the recipe. So I shared that with my coaches like okay, well that explains the flaw. Because that recipe is you’re never going to be 100% Happy 100% of the time, but you can be on a satisfying journey most of the time.
Yep. Yep, exactly. Well, this was a great time to time flew. I enjoyed the conversation. If people want to learn more about you or connect with you. What’s the best way they could do that?
Oh, Ryan had a great time. Thanks so much for having me. Other you got me fired up for my week. Because you asked about the whole what I do for the business and what I do to grow the business? I think it’s I feel compelled to offer to your audience. 30 minutes of free coaching, no cost, no hidden agenda, so they can reach me at Todd@extraordinaryadvisors.com They can go to my website extraordinarybuy.extraordinaryadvisors.com and book some time with me to help them no again, this is my chance to honor my why I get a so much out of these rich conversations. So I’d like to offer that to your audience today.
Super generous. We’ll link that up in the show notes. And thanks again, Todd, and thanks to everyone for listening.
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