Strength Comes Through The Struggle with John Schneider, Ep #73
Play • 1 hr 15 min

We all learn, in our own particular ways, that life is no walk in the park. Crisis, hardship, loss, and myriad other circumstances chip away at youthful optimism and threaten to undo us. But it’s our response to these things that largely determines whether we will be resilient and strong, or cowering and soft. As a top decision-maker in your organization, you know this. It’s one of the many things that has set you apart as a leader.

My guest on this episode has a great deal to say about the subject. He’s experienced plenty of struggle in his life and he believes that the more struggle you have in life, the more opportunity you have for becoming strong. John Schneider has learned that failure is not something to be feared, it’s something to be learned from. His story illustrates how resilience, determination, and a desire to add value to the lives of others can create a kind of success that few of us even know is possible. As the leader of four companies, he passes those values on to his teams and works every day to infuse them into his growing family. Join us for this challenging and insightful conversation.

The more struggle you have, the stronger you become

John’s first steps into business ownership came through an opportunity to flip houses. He ran a lean operation and had no interest in simply slapping paint on a less-than-quality structure and flipping it for a profit. To him, there had to be tangible improvements to the property that resulted in value for the purchaser, which only then translated into value for him. In an effort to increase his margins, he started an ancillary business, then another, then another. And with each new business came new challenges and struggles.

But there’s something in John’s entrepreneurial DNA that doesn’t allow him to shy away from those struggles. He has learned that’s a good thing. He says that the more struggle you have, the stronger you become — or at least you have a greater opportunity to become stronger. So he often coaches others to step into the struggles rather than running away from them. It’s in that step that you find more strength than you knew you had. How has this proven true in your leadership journey? Are there ways you can use the struggle to your advantage and that of your teams?

Once you’ve eaten the onion, everything else is easier

One of the colorful entrepreneurial endeavors in John’s past was a short season he was trying to promote concerts in his area. He convinced some partners to come alongside him to fund a music festival of sorts and he took care of booking the bands, securing the venue, and dealing with vendors. One of the things outside his control was the weather, and it didn’t cooperate with all his best-laid plans. The losses were catastrophic.

John told me about the experience of making phone calls to the people who had invested in the event in various ways. Those were some of the hardest conversations he’s ever had to have, but he says they taught him lessons he didn’t know he needed at the time. One of those was that it’s always easier to do the things you dread or find difficult, first. Getting past your fears and experiencing the light at the end of that dark tunnel demonstrates that things are often not as bad as they seem and that you will get through it. In his words, once you’ve eaten your onion, everything else is easier.

Failure is, by far, the best teacher you have

John also explains that the fear of failure many of us live with is actually one of the most irrational fears we could have. The truth is that failure is one of the only ways we learn. It provides a very clear perspective on how we perform and the results of that performance. In failure, our weaknesses become evident, which provides a unique opportunity to identify them and make plans to overcome them.

John believes that failure is, by far, is the best teacher you have — and I wonder, how have you, as a top decision-maker and leader, discovered this to be true? Or do you need to take the lessons from John’s experience as a reminder of that fact? Might I encourage you, don’t miss out on the lessons failure has to offer you by playing it safe. Expect failure, plan on it, and step into situations where it’s a possibility. Then pay close attention when it arrives. You’ll learn lessons during those times that are not available to you anyplace else.

3 pieces of advice for anyone considering the entrepreneurial life

Having started or led so many businesses, I thought it would be super helpful for John to provide his perspective to those who are considering an entrepreneurial path. He was not shy about sharing the three most important pieces of advice he’s learned. I’m sure you will resonate with these.

  1. Be willing to work as hard as you must to be successful
  2. Learn how to figure out obstacles and issues so you can constantly improve
  3. Know your numbers

I couldn’t agree with John’s insights on this point more strongly. You likely have insights about each of them as well. I encourage you to listen to his explanation of each so that you can understand how they fit together and provide a wise and stable launchpad for any entrepreneurial endeavor. You may find that his insights provide much-needed help on your journey as a leader.

Outline of This Episode
  • [0:57] Insight and vision describe this episode’s guest
  • [2:57] John’s beginning in house flipping that quickly morphed into other businesses
  • [11:45] How the idea of providing value drives John to step into opportunities
  • [15:10] The origin of “Property Revival”
  • [18:35] If you’re not struggling in any way, you atrophy
  • [21:23] John’s top 3 pieces of advice for those wanting to be an entrepreneur
  • [26:45] The back story behind John’s entrepreneurial journey (it includes a rock band)
  • [35:53] A real estate investment that turned sour but wound up being the best deal
  • [40:04] Living a fulfilled life and providing a fulfilled life for those around you
  • [45:40] How competition and music have taught John the power of being present
  • [53:10] Resilience is in our DNA, we just have to learn how to make the most of it
  • [1:00:03] Conquering your fears (and how John won’t be voted parent of the year)
Resources & People Mentioned

SPONSOR: First Business Bank - Take banking to the next level. Fuel business growth. Improve personal wealth gains. Elevate your banking expectations with a financial partner that delivers comprehensive business banking services - built on experience. Find out more at https://firstbusiness.bank/ 

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