After achieving financial success at 27, Aaron Walker had to relearn the hard way that money can’t buy significance when he was blindsided by a tragic accident, and now he helps others prioritize relationships over success to achieve true fulfillment.
“We need to be working for the right reason, the right purpose, whatever it is that you’re doing. But treat money as a tool to live your life, not just to aspire, to accumulate more of it for a sense of security, because it’s a false security anyway. Relationships matter most – you can be hugely successful financially at the expense of your family, but you will have a lot of money but you’ve got no relationships any longer.”
The Power of Accountability to Live a Significant Life
You may have attended a one-time mastermind group, or a workshop, where you worked with strangers to craft some goals, or a vision, or brainstorm new ideas. Those serve a purpose at the moment to generate ideas for a better future beyond the rut. What happens when it is time to open up, be vulnerable, and get real about the first struggle you encounter? Chances are you are not likely to do that with strangers.
That’s where accountability groups or accountability partner comes in.
Accountability groups are a powerful tool for achieving personal and professional goals. Built on rapport and trust, they provide a supportive environment where members can share their progress, challenges, and successes, and hold each other accountable for meeting their goals.
The accountability and encouragement provided by the group can help individuals stay motivated and on track, and the sharing of ideas and resources can also lead to new insights and opportunities. The power of accountability groups lies in the combination of peer support and accountability, which can lead to greater success in achieving individual goals.
Aaron Walker discusses in this podcast episode how the power of accountability shows up when you have a trusted group like Iron Sharpens Iron which takes the idea of the mastermind to a deeper, long-term level.
Aaron Walker is a successful entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker from Nashville, Tennessee. He is the founder of View From the Top, a movement to help people live a life of success and significance.
Aaron Walker had achieved great success financially but discovered there was no significance in his life. After a devastating car accident, he was determined to create a significant life for himself. He learned the importance of relationships and not allowing money to be the sole goal of his life. He found purpose in edifying, encouraging, and challenging others to recognize their unique gifts. Aaron now works harder than ever, but with a focus on making an impact on the world, rather than just making money.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. How to balance financial success with significance in life
2. The dangers of working for a false sense of security
3. The importance of prioritizing relationships over financial success.
Jerry describes his upcoming book, Beyond the Rut: Create a Life Worth Living in Your Faith, Family, and Career
You’ve got to have a purpose and meaning behind what you’re doing.
Aaron Walker: Seven out of ten men have lowered their expectations for themselves. There’s a lot of satisfaction as a result of being able to do some of the things that I wanted to do.
The goal in life isn’t to get to your grave as safely as possible. It’s to live that life that you’ve got.
Treat money as a tool to live your life, not just to aspire. Pay attention to the areas of your giftedness. What we’re really striving for is that life of significance.
Don’t do success at the expense of your family. Your actions really dictate what’s important to you, not your words. When the kids want to play, be sure and give them that time because you can’t get it back.
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Other episodes you’ll enjoy:
Achieving Your Goals: Setting The Line In The Sand And Finding Accountability
The Surprising Truth About a Famous Goals Research Study
How and Why You Should Have an Accountability Partner – BtR 050
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Aaron Walker 00:00:00
And what I discovered through that was that I’d had great success financially, but there was no significance in my life. I said nobody cared, that I had done pretty good, and if I had been the person killed that day at 40 years old rather than the gentleman that was my legacy, would have been, poor kid from Nashville, Tennessee, makes enough money to retire at age 27, and nobody cares.
Jerry Dugan 00:01:27
All right. Hey, Aaron, thanks for calling in. How are things going where you are, Jerry?
Aaron Walker 00:01:32
Things are good, buddy. In Nashville, Tennessee. The weather is incredible. This is my time of the year.
Jerry Dugan 00:01:37
Nice. I do love fall weather. Now, of course, folks listening in, it might be winter, might be spring, might be summer, because that’s the power of podcasting. It’s all year round after we record. But, yeah, I do love autumn because the air changes. It’s like sweltering hot, and all of a sudden it’s crisp.
Aaron Walker 00:01:54
It’s clear humidity. Go outside and take a walk and just enjoy the breeze. It’s really good. How have you been? You doing good?
Jerry Dugan 00:02:03
Doing well. I guess since we last saw each other, I had told my boss I was going to go ahead and step down from my position and take a sabbatical and decide from there, well, I’m going to publish a book too, so I already decided that part. But, yeah, I guess by the time people hear this, I will have decided, do I plug back into the corporate matrix and do one more corporate job, or do I go ahead and launch the business I’ve been dreaming about launching for? I lost track of how many years.
Aaron Walker 00:02:34
But it’s been, my man, you got to launch the business. You’re done with that other stuff. Just go do your thing. Tell me about the book.
Jerry Dugan 00:02:40
The book is well, it started as the manifesto for beyond the Rut. So why did the show get started in the first place? And what’s the journey our typical listener has probably experienced where you wake up one morning and you realize, I’ve got all the things I was told I needed to have to be successful. So I’ve got the wife, the kids, the house, maybe the picket fence, the cars. I got the job, the job title, the office, maybe the paycheck. It’s six figures. It’s good. Maybe it’s really close to six figures. Whatever it is, trajectory is where I was told to check all the boxes, but deep down inside, I feel like I’m stuck and I’m trapped. Those golden handcuffs. And so the book takes you through that journey, that realization that you’re recognizing you’re in the rut and then understanding what that rut is. Where is it coming from? What is it that you really wanted? It to do with your life, where you feel called to go with your life and then inventory where you are right now, and then start to create that game plan of where is it? I’m really wanting to go and create and have an impact in the world so that’s understanding the rut and then taking action to not just get out of your rut, but to live beyond it. And so that’s what the whole show has been about, and I’ve wanted to write that down into a message that could be given away or sold as a book. So while I was at Podcast Movement, I hired a self publishing school, paid my money to get coached by them and have them take care of some services for me. And then it was kind of like burning the ships behind you, because my wife said, now that you spent the money, I need you to earn that money back.
Aaron Walker 00:04:18
Yeah, they’re a good company. He’s a friend of mine. That’s a great company. Yeah. We’re working with them, and I’m going to be highly disappointed if I don’t get an autographed copy of that.
Jerry Dugan 00:04:28
Oh, you definitely will, my friend. Yes.
Aaron Walker 00:04:30
All right, cool. You’ve got some important stuff going on. I want the world to know. Awesome.
Jerry Dugan 00:04:37
Thank you. And the neat thing, like we were just talking about, the book is about people who recognize they’ve kind of checked all the boxes that somebody else has told them about. And before coming on here together, you shared a YouTube video with me where you’re in I forget the park already, but you’re going down some sort of greenway, and you’re talking with your viewers about how you were getting recommendations for sites to go see. And the reason given is that’s where everybody goes, and you kind of get there, and it’s just like, well, is this all there is? It seems like it’s the same old thing, and I just love the messaging behind that. The ultimate thing is how many of us are really doing something because we’re told that’s what everybody else is doing.
Aaron Walker 00:05:26
Not that we want to do it. It’s just we’re like cattle. They’re hurting us. Right?
Jerry Dugan 00:05:31
Aaron Walker 00:05:32
And, man, you get to the other side of that, and you’re unfulfilled. There’s no gratification. There’s no meaning behind it. We got to be careful doing that.
Jerry Dugan 00:05:40
Oh, yeah. You might be good at a thing, but it may not be the thing you’re truly called to go do. How many people become accountants because the money is good? Dad was an accountant. Granddad was an accountant.
Aaron Walker 00:05:54
Yeah. And then five or six years later, you’re like, dreading Monday, and you can’t wait for Friday, right? And I’m like, Man, I don’t want to do that. I’m dreading Friday and can’t wait for Monday. It’s like, man, get up. Let’s go. Let’s change some lives. And you’ve got to have that purpose and meaning behind what you’re doing. Otherwise, you need to pray through doing something else.
Jerry Dugan 00:06:15
Yeah. And yeah, you’re probably in the same boat. Like, I don’t know if you know Cliff Ravenscraft.
Aaron Walker 00:06:21
I know Cliff real well.
Jerry Dugan 00:06:22
Good friends, kentucky, Tennessee, kind of a neighborhood.
Aaron Walker 00:06:25
Jerry Dugan 00:06:27
He was with insurance sales and realized he didn’t want to do that. He had a passion to help.
Aaron Walker 00:06:32
Family was big into that.
Jerry Dugan 00:06:33
Yeah. And then another guy, Lou Mongello, I ran into him at podcast movie Lose.
Aaron Walker 00:06:38
A good guy.
Jerry Dugan 00:06:38
Yeah. Lawyer who realized, I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore. I want to help people enjoy themselves at Walt Disney World and found his.
Aaron Walker 00:06:46
Passion podcast Around Disney, which is cool.
Jerry Dugan 00:06:51
Yes. I planned three trips off of that show.
Aaron Walker 00:06:54
Yeah, Lose cost you a lot of money.
Jerry Dugan 00:06:57
Well, my wife yes, there you go.
Aaron Walker 00:07:00
Jerry Dugan 00:07:02
But yeah, my wife will tell you she’ll wrap me out. I want to go back to Disney as much as she does, if not more. And, yeah, you learn something from his show, and you just hear it in his voice that he loves it. He never gets tired of it. There’s always something new to discover. And he’s lived there in the Orlando area for about a decade. But, I mean, how much of that do you run into in the work that you do with View From the Top, where you just run into men who are trapped doing the thing that other people tell them they need to do?
Aaron Walker 00:07:32
About seven out of ten. Yeah, it’s really sad that they do that, because they have lowered their expectations for themselves. They’ve hit a glass ceiling. They’ve got these upper limit challenges. Someone has told them at some point, they’re not smart enough, they’re not good enough. Don’t think outside the box. Stay in the lines, color inside the page. And you’re like, Man, I don’t want to do that. And the reason I get so excited about living is, this is not a trial run. This is our life right now. We’re living it today. And I don’t want to be miserable. I’ve had the privilege of owning 14 companies over a 44 year period. And people say, man, that’s a lot of headache. Yes, it is. But there’s also a lot of satisfaction as a result of being able to do some of the things that I wanted to do. I wanted to control my calendar as much as control the outcome for my future. And so today, right now, if I wanted to after this, I could go hook my boat up and go to the lake, because I love going to the lake. Right. And I’m living the life that I want to live proactively, not living a life reactively. And I want to encourage your listeners today to think through what they’re doing. And does this resonate with you? And a lot of people are afraid. They’re afraid to switch gears. They’re like, oh, it’s safe here. Right? And I know exactly what’s expected of me. And I punch the clock. I go in, I do my thing, I get off, I go home. And that’s good if that’s what you want to do. But if it’s not what you want to do. I want you to kind of morph into that thing that God is calling you to do, right? The thing that gives you energy, the thing that you just lay in bed at night and think about, man, I would love to be able to do this. But, Jerry, the thing that’s holding people back is they’re afraid to fail. And I hear that every single day. They’re like, man, I don’t know that it would work. And I’m like, well, first of all, I don’t believe in failure. I believe that failure is in not trying, not succeeding. And so failure would be, to me, laying there thinking, would it have worked? Right? And I say fear missing an opportunity more than you fear failure. And I want you to develop an attitude of like, I can’t live my life to its fullest if I don’t go accomplish this thing, whatever that is for you. And you’ve got to do a personal assessment of yourself and figure out what it is that you’re qualified to do, what it is you enjoy, what is it that gives you energy? What mark could you leave on the world that it’s going to be a better and different place as a result of you having interacted in that spot? And that’s the path that we’ve got to go down first. Nobody knows. No, some people know. A lot of people don’t know what they want. And I wrote a document years ago. It’s one of the most downloaded documents that I’ve written, and it’s titled just that what Do I Want? And there’s about 25 or 30 questions on this document that you really have to be honest with yourself, and you have to answer what it is that you truly want. Like, nobody’s going to be looking, nobody’s going to be questioning you, but you just answer for yourself and happy to give that out. Also, you can put it in the show notes, and if people want to copy that, I’m happy to give it to you just to do kind of a personal assessment.
Jerry Dugan 00:10:45
Nice. That would be awesome. Yes. It’s so true, though. We almost go through life playing it safe. And I think I heard somebody say that the goal in life isn’t to get to your grave as safely as possible. It’s to live that life that you’ve got. And some of the most intense folks I’ve run into, not intense in terms of aggressive intensity, but in terms of intentionality, have been folks who had a near death experience where one of my past guests on the show, Aaron Walker the second, had experience what they call the widowmaker of heart attacks. And the majority of those folks don’t survive that attack. And he was one of the few who lived. And then his doctor gives them the good news, like, hey, by the way, of the survivors, half of you are going to be dead in the next three to six months, and half of the guys who are still around are going to be dead by the end of the year. And then everybody else, within five years, you’re gone. And I was talking to this guy in year number six. The guy just was living with, and he still is living with the sense of borrowed time. He had already gotten a prognosis from an expert, and he’s like, Great, I’m going to live this to the fullest. He wrote a book. He wanted to be an author. He wrote a book. He wanted to be a motivational speaker. He just converted what he was doing for public speaking, started doing that. He wanted to be in a movie that was a little bit harder, he said. But he landed, like, a little bit part where he got to speak two lines in an animated film that went straight to TV and his name is in the credits. He’s not an IDB. I’ve been looking for it. He didn’t tell me what the name of the show was, but he’s like, hey, check the box. I was in a credited role.
Aaron Walker 00:12:30
He did it. Yeah. You have to admire that. People that have great aspirations and they seek out in order to accomplish it. What I don’t want your listeners to do is some of the challenges, some of the landmines that I’ve had to go through, and the reason I’m doing interviews now, is to help people to dodge some of those land mines. And for those that are unfamiliar with my story, some 22 years ago now, I was headed to the office at the pinnacle of my career, working three days a week, making more money than I’ve ever made, vacation home, beautiful house, great wife, beautiful daughters. And I ran over and killed a pedestrian on my way to the office. And it was a staggering moment. It was a point in time in my life where I was literally blindsided. And I took five years off after that. I sold the business and just had to reflect. And what I discovered through that was that I had great success financially, but there was no significance in my life. I said, Nobody cared that I had done pretty good. And if I had been the person killed that day at 40 years old rather than the gentleman that was my legacy, would have been, poor kid from Nashville, Tennessee, makes enough money to retire at age 27 and nobody cares.
Jerry Dugan 00:13:49
Aaron Walker 00:13:50
And I was like, man, that is not what I want. And I started thinking through it, and I said, I want to make a difference, right? I want to be able to look back one day ago because I did this thing like Jerry Dugan’s life was better as a result of me being involved with it and because of our interaction and my willingness to edify and encourage and challenge and have this interview. It’s like there was a little wisdom, maybe learned as a result of it, or you felt a sense of encouragement. We need to be looking outward, not inward. We need to be givers, not takers. And what I learned through that horrific automobile accident was that I needed to live not only successful, but significant. And when I wrote View from the Top, living a life of success and significance, most people miss the significance piece, and they get to the end of their life. Now they’re tired. Now they’re too old, and they’re like, man, I made a little bit of money, but I didn’t make an impact. And so I just want us to, again, kind of take that evaluation personally and think, what is it that I’m doing today that’s significant? The likes of others.
Jerry Dugan 00:15:02
Yeah. And that’s huge. That’s the one thing that I think folks who are stuck in a rut are feeling. It’s like, yeah, I may get this paycheck, or I may have this title, but what’s the real impact I’m making? I’ve seen retirement parties at where I work, other places where I’ve worked, and the one thing that always was noticeable to me. So whoever’s around is celebrating the career of this person and how this person has been at the company for 20 years, 30 years, and it’s like, what do you have to show for it in terms of impact or significance? It’s like you got some strangers who are using you as an excuse to eat some cake. There’s a PowerPoint that is done to some music. But the pictures, you could tell they were kind of slapped together at the last minute. And the messages are from people you hardly know. They’re like the new person that said, hey, you’re such a nice guy. Glad to get to know you. Sorry that you’re leaving so soon. But you look at the person’s face, the person retiring. And for me, it’s always been the same sad, where is everybody? Look on their face. You know, where’s the guy that was here when I started my career 30 years ago? Where’s the manager who really lifted me up in my career? Like, all those faces are missing from this person, and they’re just clocking in and out every single day waiting for that retirement day to show up, and then they go off into obscurity. There’s no carryover from all these folks who are saying, oh, it’s so great to work with you. It’s like, no, Jerry, let’s dive into.
Aaron Walker 00:16:34
That a little deeper. I’ve had the privilege of retiring three times, okay? Once at 27, once at 40, once at 50. And today my wife said, I’m working harder than I’ve ever worked in my career plan.
Jerry Dugan 00:16:48
Aaron Walker 00:16:49
Yeah. Here’s what happened was we were really broke when we first got married. Like, I got married two weeks out of high school. I graduated a year before Robin. I waited on her to graduate. Two weeks later, we got married. She’s barely 18 years old, and I said, we’re going to make something of ourselves financially. We’re going to do this thing. And we did. And when I was 27, we sold to a Fortune 500, and I had been working every day to retire, and then I was able to do it. And 90 days later, I was catching myself getting in the bed. Not on the bed, in the bed in the middle of the day. I was bored out of my mind.
Jerry Dugan 00:17:32
Aaron Walker 00:17:32
I fished every day. I played golf every day, but all my buddies were working, right? And I was, like, playing golf with 60 year old man. They were beating me on top of that. And I was like, oh, my gosh. And so, 18 months later, I’d gain £50. And I was absolutely depressed. And Robin came to me one day, and she said, hey, you got to do something. So I went back and bought another company and kind of started over again. Retirement can be good, but if you’re not careful, most people that retire die shortly thereafter, right? They don’t have a reason to go. Living a life of leisure every single day is of no interest to me. I thought it would have been, and I’ve tried it three times. Once at 27, once at 40, once at 50. Every single time. After a certain point, you get up and you go, Is this all there is left? I mean, is this it? This is all I’m going to do. Watch Andy Griffith and go to a grocery store and go play pickle ball and come home and sit on the porch and eat dinner and get up tomorrow and go do it again. I was like, that is not interesting to me. Now, I do want to pause here for a second, Jerry, and say this. I don’t want to minimize people’s aspirations of making a lot of money. Making money is a good thing. Money gives you options. It gives you the ability to buy nice things. It gives you the ability to educate your children to travel. I hate it when people with money go, It’s not important. You’re a liar. Important money is really a needed tool. But that’s what it is. It’s a tool, right? If it’s the reason you’re only working, you got to be careful with that, right? We need to be working for the right reason, the right purpose, whatever it is that you’re doing. But treat money as a tool to live your life, not just to aspire, to accumulate more of it for a sense of security, because it’s a false security anyway. I mean, look, we just went through a pandemic. Nobody could have forecasted that. And it put many, many people out of business, right? They had no contingency plan for a pandemic, right? And so there’s a false sense of security in tangible possessions. And so just be really careful what it is that you’re working for, and how you treat and look at money. Daniel Lapin. Rabbi Daniel Lapin wrote a really good book called Thou Shalt Prosper. And if you’ve not read it and you’re listening to me now, I highly recommend it. It gives you a really new perspective on how to look at money.
Jerry Dugan 00:20:10
I love that. And you tie that in with like, money is an important tool, but what we’re really striving for is that life of significance. And how can folks start to identify what significance means for them? How do I know that I’m pursuing the right pursuit for me?
Aaron Walker 00:20:26
Well, I’m a Christian by faith, and so for me, it’s simply praying, meditating, reading scripture, getting the consensus of the multitudes, surrounding myself with community of people that know me intimately. They know exactly who I am as an individual. They know my superpowers, my Achilles heel, they know my kryptonite, they know my blind spots, they know my family. And then they can help me make good decisions. So many people go to these 48 Hours Masterminds and spill their guts to people standing across a bonfire with a name tag on and they take their advice and go do it. And that person doesn’t even know them. They have no concept of their history. They know no data whatsoever. They don’t know their financial position. They don’t know what their giftedness is. There’s no way you should be taking advice from people that you don’t know intimately. Now, there’s generic advice that’s applicable to most people, but we need specific advice that’s applicable to our situation. And so what you need to do is really pay attention to the areas of your giftedness. My personal giftedness is encouragement, and I encourage a lot of people around the world to get out of them what they can’t see in themselves. And so you’ve got to really be in touch with where your skills and your giftedness is, what your passion is, what gives you energy, what motivates you, what is it that you think about a lot that you would do anyway, with or without pay? It’s just something that you’re uniquely gifted with. And when you’re able to do that, you can apply the significance to the lives of other people based on the gifts and the talents that you’ve been blessed with. And so you’ve got to first do that personal evaluation and take a gifts assessment and see where it is that you can be used so that you can be significant.
Jerry Dugan 00:22:23
Yeah, I think that’s huge because also from a Christian background, we’re all wired a certain way with special gifts and talents. And with that there is a purpose. And Aaron, your purpose is going to be different than mine, and mine is going to be different from that guy Eric somewhere out there or the one that we knew at Podcast Movement.
Aaron Walker 00:22:45
But wouldn’t it be a crime to get to the end of your life and have regrets that you didn’t use your giftedness to the significance and the betterment of other people, wouldn’t that be a crime?
Jerry Dugan 00:22:54
Aaron Walker 00:22:54
And see it’s too late. Then you’re laying there and you’re physically unable any longer. You don’t have the stamina, you don’t have the ambition, the motivation, the aspiration to really go for it. And a lot of people say, hey, I’ll get to that later. Like I’m trying to raise my family right now. I’m just trying to provide a living. You haven’t prioritized your priorities purposefully, if that is the case because you can do these simultaneously.
Jerry Dugan 00:23:19
Yes, and it’s true. I had a hospice chaplain on here and he had shared that one of the things that the folks at the bedside, or he was at the bedside, the folks that were on their deathbed, they never wished I could check one more email or I’d love to have had one more meeting with that finance officer. It’s always I wish I had done this project to help these people in this way or I wish I could have been there more for my children or for my grandchildren. But yeah, I wish I had gotten that one more feather in my cap or published one more article at work or created a better PowerPoint.
Aaron Walker 00:23:57
The reason Jerry, is that relationships matter most. And we forget that oftentimes we’re in this pursuit for safety and security and it’s a false sense of safety and security and we forget what the cost is associated with success. Buddy of mine joined our mastermind group Iron, Sharpens Iron, recently and he’s wanting to double his business and he’s got a very successful business now. And I said, Why do you want to double it? He said, Well, I’m very aspirational. And I said, well, that’s good. Do you know what it’s going to cost you relationally to double your business? And he said, no, I’ve not even thought about it. I said, well obviously you got to work more and you’re going to have to increase some of the personal time that you’re going to have to put in for a period of time and are you willing to cash in those relationshipal chips in order to do that? And he’s got to rethink that. He said, I never really considered what it was going to cost me relationally. And here’s the thing I want your audience to hear today. The business has no memory, but your family does. And you can be hugely successful financially at the expense of your family. And then you’re going to come home one day and you’re going to tell your kids, okay, now I got time to pitch ball. Now I got time to carry you to Girl Scouts or cheerleading your football practice. They’re going to say, dad got somebody else that’ll do that. I’ve already got another relationship and you’ll have a lot of money but you’ve got no relationships any longer. And that’s going to go with you through eternity. And so the kids are going to go away, they’re going to go to college, and then you haven’t forged the relationship during that impressionable time when they were younger and they’ve built relationships with other people. Just don’t do success at the expense of your family.
Jerry Dugan 00:25:37
Yeah, excuse me. From personal experience, my parents split up when I was eleven years old. And I’ll tell you all getting the birds and bees talk from my mother when I was 21 years old, way more awkward than if she had done it when I was like twelve. She was trying to make up for lost time. And here she is trying to give me the birds and bees talk when I’m a grown adult and a science major at that, a college kid at that. I was like, mom, trust me, I.
Aaron Walker 00:26:04
Know how that works, I got this.
Jerry Dugan 00:26:06
Yeah, but yeah, it’s just that attempt to make up for lost time by the time they’re adults, you’ve missed it by the time they’re teenagers, even.
Aaron Walker 00:26:19
Here’s what you got to do when you come home. Roy Vaden wrote another great book called Procrastinate on Purpose. And in the book he really highlights us not aspiring to work life balance because there’s really not a such thing. What we’ve got to do is determine what’s important in our life, and we’ve got to spend an inordinate amount of time in those top areas. And then you build, guardrails, you have boundaries, you have accountability, you have people in your life that hold you accountable. One of the things I did do right, I did a lot of things wrong, maybe more wrong than right, but one of the things I did do is I always made myself available to my family. If Robin, Brooker, Holly called me, I was available and they said, thank you for doing that. Because it made an impression that we were a priority in your life, we were important in your life. But a lot of guys today, a lot of women today, they’ll come home from the office, the little boy wants to pitch baseball, the little girl wants to fly Frisbee or whatever, play Barbie dolls in the floor. And you’re like, I’d like to, but I got another proposal to put together. I’ve got an email I’ve got to send, I’ve got a phone call I’ve got to make. I want to encourage you not to do that. I want to encourage you to build the boundaries, build the life that you can financially within those boundaries. Because the kids will accept that for a period of time and they’ll understand for a period of time, but it’ll come to a point to where they won’t understand. And what you’re telling them is the work is more important than the relationship. Now, you may not say that and you may not mean that intentionally, but you can say, audibly, my family is the most important thing to me. But if you’re not allowing them. The time that they deserve. The work is more important. Your actions really dictate what’s important to you, not your words. So just be mindful of that. When the kids want to play, be sure and give them that time because you can’t get it back.
Jerry Dugan 00:28:11
Yeah. And the window is short. I used to roll my eyes whenever some I’m doing air quotes. Old person would tell me when we had our younger kids, hey, appreciate it now because it’s going to fly by before you know it. I’m like, oh, yeah, whatever. Everybody says that. And then our kids hit middle school, and that’s when the transition happened. It’s like, now it’s less cool to hang out with mom and dad. I want to hang out with my friends. And so by the time they got to high school, they were still under our roof for four more years. But they were already growing up, and they were already branching out and flying. And I was thinking, man, so those elementary years really did fly by, and I’m glad I spent as much time as I was able to. And then you got to shift gears. I’ve seen a lot of parents try to hold on tightly to their kids when they’re teenagers, and you got to do the opposite. You let them go a little bit further out, but be ready to catch them when they do hit that roadblock. Or they have that fall, that stumble. And just be there to listen. Let them talk through it and learn from their mistakes. Don’t judge them. Don’t put up punishments because somebody bullied them at school. There’s just so many opportunities there as well. So we’ve been talking about what matters most and what’s most significant in terms of our pursuits in life and what matters most. But you’ve mentioned a number of times here, we’ve kind of touched around it. Like we’ve said phrases like Iron sharpens iron. We’ve talked about accountability, getting input from people who know you intimately. So tell us a bit more about Iron Sharpens Iron because you have a Mastermind that you run, and I got a feeling it’s a little different than your typical, like, weekend type of venue. So tell us about that and how it builds men up.
Aaron Walker 00:29:56
Yeah. I was exposed to Masterminds 25 years ago. I was invited by a local personality here in Nashville to join his Mastermind. And I did. Spent ten or twelve years meeting every Wednesday in his conference room. And then when I retired at 50, they encouraged me to coach and train and teach. And I did. Started doing interviews. People started coming, and I was like, man, I can’t coach this many people. So I started Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind, where we meet virtually every week, same day, same time, and we have ten people in a group. Well, as a result of that, I kept doing interviews, kept speaking, wrote a book. And today we have 150 members 15 different groups. God’s really put on my heart to grow this to 300 men and 30 groups. And it’s because of the transformational experience that’s going on in their lives, personally, professionally and spiritually. And the reason that we do it in its totality is because I came home with a pocket full of money to a house full of strangers when I was about 35 years old. I was building a business and I was so consumed with it that Robin walked up to me one day and said, hey, I don’t want to live a single parent’s life when I’m married. And we got to change some things up. And it really got my attention. And I’m grateful that she had the courage to come up and say that. And so I said when I started Iron Sharpens Iron, that we were going to deal with the whole person, because I can teach you to make money or I can teach you to grow personally, or I can teach you spiritually, but if any leg of that stool is off, there’s going to be an imbalance. We have to be solid in every area of our life. And so we deal with everything related to personal, professional or spiritual. A lot of people are Christian in faith. Some people are other faith, some people are no faith. It’s not a requirement that you’re a person of faith, but we do deal with faith to some level. Usually it’s about 60% professional, about 30% personal, and about 10% spiritual. It’s kind of how it’s broken down. But we are absolutely taking people to heights. They’ve never been there’s. People doubling and tripling their business. Their marriages are getting put back together. They’re developing rapport and relationships with their children like they’ve never experienced before. And quite honestly, Jerry, we’ve built a brotherhood. I mean, this is a community. It’s become more of a movement than anything. And people’s lives are just excelling in many, many areas that they never thought possible and so constant accountability. We develop programs to help you accomplish your goals and dreams in five key areas of your life. We get together twice a year in person, so usually in March or April, and then usually either in September or October. Historically, it’s been here in Nashville. We do go to different locations, but these people are accomplishing so much because they’re so focused every single week with huge accountability, and it helps you overcome many obstacles. There’s a lot of people that had substance abuse. There were people that were highly addicted to pornography. There were people that weren’t involved at all spiritually. There were people that were highly motivated professionally, but their relationship with their spouse was falling off the tracks. And so we just meet you where you’re at and we figure out how we can help you. And it’s radically transforming lives.
Jerry Dugan 00:33:29
Nice. So when the groups form, are they just like the first ten people to sign up? Are a group or there’s no real.
Aaron Walker 00:33:35
Rhyme or reason as to how to pair people together. We do an extensive interview with each applicant, and we make sure they’re in alignment with our core values. And our core values, our relationships matter most, make it amazing, no excuses. Everything is figureoutable and truth before opinion. And so we walk people through those core values, and then we say, hey, if Mondays work better for you, tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursday, whatever day it is that works best for you, if there’s an opening in that mastermind, we can put you in because you can be a mentor or a mentee, regardless of where you’re at. And so we’ve only had to move people once or twice, and it’s worked out fabulously. And we’ve had people meeting three to eight years consistently in the same group, and people say, Why would I want to be in a group like that? Well, my question is, why would you want to leave a group like that if you were growing exponentially in every area of your life? And so it becomes your board of directors. They’re your trusted advisors. They’re the people that walk with you and help you make your decisions every single day.
Jerry Dugan 00:34:40
I love that. I love that just to get into the program is more than just, you’ve got a pulse and the jet clear.
Aaron Walker 00:34:49
We want people that are serious. We don’t want people to just be talking about the biggest fish they caught or the basketball game. Those things are fun. But we’re looking for people that really want to move the needle. We’re looking for people that really want to level up, people that really aspire to growing, being all they were created to be.
Jerry Dugan 00:35:07
Yeah. As far as tenure goes, you mentioned there are some people who’ve been there for three years, some as many as eight years. So there’s not like are they signing up for like, a year at a time or?
Aaron Walker 00:35:19
No, we ask you to make at least a six month commitment because we can’t get to know you less than six months. And so people are like, man, when they get in, they’re like, Ma’am, where was this at ten years ago? It changes everything when you have trusted non biased advisors and then you have people that can help you make decisions related to everything that you’re dealing with. Isolation is the enemy to excellence. And if you want your life to go further, you go with a tribe. You can go faster alone, but you’re going to make concrete decisions when you’re going with a tribe, and it just really takes your life to a new level.
Jerry Dugan 00:35:58
Yeah. I would even say, in the long run, having a tribe actually is the shortcut, because you’re making, again, those sound decisions over time, build that momentum. And yeah, so initially, it might take a little bit longer than you wanted, but you fast forward a few years, and all of a sudden you’re able to look at any situation and based on past conversations, say, I do remember this conversation. This, okay, here are my options. Bounce off your team real quick. And they’re like, do that and it works. Yeah.
Aaron Walker 00:36:30
Jerry Dugan 00:36:30
So if somebody wants to sign up and say yes, I need that kind of accountability, great. I’m ready to level up my life. Where do they go?
Aaron Walker 00:36:37
Yeah. Thank you. Viewfromthetop.com that’s spelled with a V, like Victor viewfromthetop.com. There’s an application that will pop up, and I want to encourage you to do something. Go to our site, check it out, go to View from Theftop.com and fill out the application. You’re not committing. You’re not paying anything when you fill out the application and let’s have a conversation, you’ll meet with me for 40 minutes and we’ll go over your situation. We’ll figure out where you’re at, what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, see if we’re in alignment. It’s a two way evaluation. I’m evaluating you. You’re evaluating me. We have hundreds and hundreds of men that you can call for testimonials and references. We’ve been around a long, long time. We’ve had a lot of people go through our program, have a lot of people currently in our program. We’ve got a lot of people that can vouch for us that we’re the real deal. And we’re going to help you accomplish what it is that you’re trying to do.
Jerry Dugan 00:37:34
Nice. And Aaron, before we go, any final words of wisdom you want to share?
Aaron Walker 00:37:38
I think Jerry just saying this. When I was a kid, my mom had a little saying, and it was can’t couldn’t do it, but could did it all. And I didn’t like that when she would say that because she would never allow us to say the word can’t. She would make us try. And it forged in me sense of determination and grit and perseverance. And I want to encourage your listeners today to change their mindset. You can do anything you want if you’re willing to put your mind to it. I said earlier that a lot of people are afraid of failing, but if you’ll adopt the mindset of can’t, couldn’t do it, but could did it all, and I’m going to be more fearful of missing an opportunity than I am fearful of failure, I think you’ll have a very successful and significant life.
Jerry Dugan 00:38:30
Yes, I agree. Aaron, it was great to have you on here again. And, I mean, it’s always a treat to chat with you, so thank you for being on here, Jerry.
Aaron Walker 00:38:40
Thank you, buddy. Have a good one. We’ll see you.