“Just because you’re growing doesn’t mean you’re living.” – Alex Judd In this episode, we welcome entrepreneur and athlete, Alex Judd to the show. We discuss his company, how his faith defines his life, what healthy growth looks like, how to connect the mundane to the meaningful, what real self-improvement is, and much more. See below for a complete list of topics covered in this episode and tune in to hear more!
Key Topics Covered in This Episode:
Alex’s background and credentials
How he got a job as a podcast host with Dave Ramsey
His own company, Path for Growth, and how it started
What it means to “practice healthy growth”
Connecting the mundane to the meaningful
Keeping your expectations in check
Serving through strength
Alex asks Allison & Sandy how do teachers keep up such a heavy output as they pour into their students
The difference between self-improvement and “selfish improvement”
Ideas for how we can help develop leadership in our youth
How consistency compounds
Good manners and why they matter
Talking about what you are FOR, instead of what you are against
How to see the world accurately but also hopefully
How Alex fills himself up and where he finds his motivation
Connect with Alex: Alex’s Instagram Connect with the hosts: Learning Reimagined Podcast Instagram Allison’s Instagram Sandy’s Instagram AdvantagesDLS Instagram
[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Learning Reimagined. I’m Allison. And with me is Sandy. Hey Sandy.
Hi. , this is gonna be fabulous. I love, love, love that we do these podcasts, Allison, it just fuels me. It gives me so much happiness just to know the next person and the next person.
But this next guest we have coming up just has, ah, I’m just in awe and I’m so excited. So yeah, Sandy and I. Kind of do a little fan girl over our guests today. I, I hope we keep it together. as we talk. Anybody in the leadership world will have heard of entree leadership, Dave Ramsey’s program and that that is how we met this next guest.
His name is Alex Judd. And Alex has started his own company called Path for Growth, and I’m very excited to talk to him about that. It’s been not quite two years that he started this company, [00:01:00] but when Sandy and I met him, it was like fire, electricity. I, I don’t even know the right words. Yeah. There’s just something about this man.
He’s just so dynamic. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There’s an energy that is. That’s like his, like that’s him. He’s energy. That is, that’s truly what he is. And he’s, he’s a leader. He’s a servant. He is, he’s an Ironman triathlete. I mean, he’s just, he’s fascinating and he’s encouraging. He’s just somebody that we all can take something.
Hello and welcome to Learning Reimagined. Sandy and I are so excited to welcome Alex Judd to our podcast. Welcome Alex.
Y’all. Thank you so much. I’m so stoked about this. Just talking before the, the conversation started, y’all’s energy is just contagious. This is just gonna be, I’m just gonna try and keep up with y’all cause [00:02:00] y’all are as passionate as anyone I’ve ever met.
Well, that is hilarious. In our intro of you, we talked about how you just emanate energy. So I think the three of us together, it’s diabolical, . Yeah. So, Here a little bit about Alex. He is a graduate from the University of Texas with high honors. Yeah, there you go. He has a BS in corporate communications from Moody College of Communication Business Foundations and McCombs School of Business.
He is a passionate learner, communicator, and self starter. This is amazing to me. He’s an Ironman triathlete, a seven time marathon finisher. Oh, this is cool. Alex, he was the former drum major at the University of Texas, the Longhorn Band, so fantastic. He’s currently training for a 50 miler, is that correct?
That’s correct. He’s, he’s a man who just does it all and he does it all with a smile on his face and he just, We’re just so honored to have your Alex, so welcome. I’m, I’m grateful to be [00:03:00] here. Thank, Thank you. I, I dunno where you got that bio from. I, apparently I need to update something cuz I’m now at 23 marathons, which you should pray for me because it’s a little bit insane.
But we’re past seven now, . Wow. That was your LinkedIn bio. I did one and that, that 26.2 were like, Oh my God, you’ve done so many, Alex. That’s incredible. Thanks for highlighting the fact that I need to update my LinkedIn. Apparently. Get
LinkedIn. It didn’t. I don’t, It mentioned for which is the company that Alex started about a year and a half. Yeah, so I worked for Ramsey Solutions shortly after college for about five years, and then started Path for Growth in June. It will be two years. And and that that’s has just been an absolute blast.
Tell us a little bit about, Oh, sorry. Sandy and I are gonna talk over each other all day because we are both so [00:04:00] excited to have athletes. I’ll try. You go ahead. Is that what took you to, Is that what took the Texas Boy to Nashville? Was it opportunity? Yeah. Yeah, so I, I listened to the Entree Leadership podcast, which I know y’all are familiar with.
Entree leadership. That was Dave’s playbook for Business and Leadership. And that’s actually how I coincided with Dave Ramsey. So many people come in through the financial lens, but I came in through entree leadership because in college someone recommended it to me and I would just start listening to their podcast every Monday on my run.
And I, I remember where I was, I remember the street corner. I was. Whenever I was listening to the podcast, just as a consumer, just as a listener, I’ve always been interested in leadership and communication, and I was listening to it and I stopped at this street corner on my run and I thought, Man, that would be a cool place to work one day.
And I always tell people 14 job interviews later, I got in the door and and I mean, what’s so crazy and just, it was such a dream gig. I, I worked there for. Three and a half years. And [00:05:00] then after three and a half years became the host of the Entree Leadership Podcast. And that was just such a gift and such a blessing.
But yeah, that is why I moved to Nashville. But, but I, when Sandy and I went to that first entree leadership conference, we both said what a cool place to work. If we didn’t have our own company, that would be somewhere I would be knocking on the door. Absolutely. Yes. That’s fun. So tell us a little bit about path for.
Yeah. One of the things that I realized whenever I was the host of that podcast was that I had spent my entire career at that point working with and around entrepreneurs, and I kind of realized, man, If I didn’t actually step out and try it, I could spend my entire life wondering what would’ve happened if I would’ve been one.
And you know, so people always ask, Why would you leave reigns of solutions? I honestly feel like I wasn’t running away from anything. That place is amazing. Like truly, I mean, best place to work in America. It wasn’t me running away from anything. It was me running towards something. And what I was running [00:06:00] towards is now what we describe as our mission statement is we exist to help impact driven leaders step into who they were created to be, so that others benefit and God is glorified.
And so truly what we focus on is we work with the impact driven leader, Which number one these are people who are in leader. Positions or view themselves as leaders. And, and the reason why they lead is to make an impact, right? The reason why they own their business is because they view their business as a vehicle for making an impact on the world around them.
It’s, that’s who we work with every single day. And we’ve got a team of nine people now that do that through coaching and teaching and training as well for teams. That’s fantastic. That’s, that’s so fun. And it, when you started it, I remember getting the initial email and just saying, Wow. That’s like a sweet spot right there.
That is such a good place for you to be and and leaders need that. Companies need someone like you and your company to help them along the way. I think it’s brilliant. [00:07:00] Well, thank you. I really appreciate that. One of the things that we’ve learned kind of since we started two years ago was really the niche of.
What we help people do and what kind of distinctively we believe sets us apart in the marketplace. In terms of the training we provide, we say that we help impact driven leaders practice healthy growth, and that phrase, practice healthy growth has become really, really important to me because it’s something that I need for myself.
And, and one of the things in realizing what I needed for myself, man, those are the things that I’m most often equipped to teach on in a really compelling way. Because there’s this whole line, and maybe y’all have heard this before. The marketplace today that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Right? If you’re not growing, you’re dying.
Mm-hmm. , and I would assume that’s true in the education world too. And it’s certainly the message that high school students and college students get all the, all the time is like, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And what I’ve learned in my life and in the life of the leaders that I work with is just because you’re growing doesn’t mean you’re living.
And I know some people and some [00:08:00] businesses and and some organizations that are growing like crazy, but are just as dead as the ones that aren’t. And so it. Possible to grow in a way that’s healthy. It’s just not guaranteed. And so what we’re constantly challenging people at every stage and every level, whether they’re leading their home or whether they’re leading their business, is, man, you gotta invest in growth because growth is important, but equally important to growth is health.
I love that. That just was an aha moment for me actually, . Cause I listen to you. You’re absolutely right. We take for granted that there are specific ways to grow and implementing that. Sometimes we get to. Stagnant and we get excited and we focus on one area of our business, but there’s so much more that we have to do all at the same time.
So managing and juggling that effectively is so key. And your, your core is to, to your path for growth. You really encompass [00:09:00] everything, even, even down to like the faith piece of it, which. I, I take to heart tr you know, tremendously because that, that is just, I feel like it’s the glue to, to really moving forward though.
I, I just, I really, that resonates with me for sure. Well, thank you. I always think of that illustration. Of you got four brick masons, right? And each of ’em are doing what appears to be the same job. And, and you go up to the first brick mason and he’s just huffing and puffing and pretty gruff, and, and you ask him, What are you doing?
He’s just saying, I’m just laying these bricks. I’m just laying these. Stupid bricks, just every single day. Lane bricks. And okay, then you go to the second guy and the second guy maybe is, has a little bit more energy to what he’s doing, right? And he’s got a little bit of a smile on his face and clearly is moving at a, a little bit of a faster pace.
And you ask him what are you doing? And, and he says, I’m building a [00:10:00] wall. And, and, and then you go, Laying these stupid bricks to building a wall. And then you go to the third guy and, and the third guy is like, not even just viewing it as a chore. It’s like he’s happy about it and he’s like, he’s like into the work and he’s got a smile on his face and he’s moving so much faster and so much more vitality and countenance and energy about him.
And you walk up to him and you say, Okay, so what? So what are you doing? And. And he says, I’m building a cathedral, laying bricks, building a wall, building a cathedral. And then you go up to the fourth brick mason and it’s almost incomprehensible that the fourth guy is doing the same job because the way that he’s doing it is so different.
The guy is joy personified in such a way that it’s. Overflowing out of him and impacting the people around him. And it’s almost like you could marvel the way that he’s laying these bricks because his attention to detail and his energy and his craftsmanship and his care is so far above and beyond what the other three guys were doing.
And you ask him, Hey, what are you doing? And he says, Oh, I’m [00:11:00] glorifying God. And what I think about there is like, man, we’ve gotta all find ways, especially right now for all of us. And, and I think this applies especially to y’all’s field that y’all working with education. The best teachers I’ve ever met in my entire life have the ability to connect the mundane to the meaningful mm-hmm.
and. I, and I just think that that’s so, so, so important is if you, if you are a leader, which I believe if someone depends on you, you are a leader by the way. So whether you’re a, a, stay at home mom, whether you’re a teacher, whether you’re an owner of a business, I really, really absolutely believe you are a leader.
And if you are a leader, one of your primary responsibilities, but also opportunities is connecting the mundane to the meaningful. Mm-hmm. , I like that. I wrote that down. Connect the mundane to the meaningful that. . That’s great. And that is that that is the difference maker. That really is the difference maker there.
Mm-hmm. , I love it that that’s the thing about [00:12:00] Alex. If all of our listeners out there, I really suggest you get on his Worth it Wednesday email last you have usually like a two to three minute video in which you just talk to us and share with us some of your just brilliant mind. What there’s, there’s what are your three things that you always cover?
Yeah, we, we, I, I hate so secret about me. I hate email, right? And my team knows I hate email. So we said that it, okay, if we’re gonna send a weekly email, it better be worth it. So we try to send a principle worth learning question worth answering. And then a recommendation worth taking is what we send everything.
Yes. And they are great. So I watch them and I take notes and I share them with my kids. I actually just shared one today with with somebody in my office. Here it, it, it’s so great. And. It is applicable to every part of our lives, and it’s unspoken expectations are fronted resentment, and that one just resounded with, with me in, in all parts of my life, with my [00:13:00] children, with my husband, with my company, with coworkers, with everything.
If you’re not clear about what you’re expecting, you have promoed resentment, and it’s just, I, I’ve just never heard it that way, and it was just a very impactful statement. Hmm. Yeah, that was actually a quote that I heard years ago, and I can’t even remember who said it, but it was so powerful to me because I think it highlights a principle that people often experience dissonance when their reality is different than their expectations.
Mm-hmm. , you know, I, I had a, I have one of my dearest friends, her and her husband went. For four months to Europe and they just traveled around Europe for four months. They saved up for years to be able to do this. They sold everything they own. They went to Europe and traveled for four months and the end of that four months was gonna be kind of this capstone trip that specifically she was really, really looking forward to.
And it was, they were gonna go to Rome and she had [00:14:00] these incredible expectations. Rome that were all informed by one thing, watching the Lizzie McGuire movie as a child. Right. . And so she, she had this picture of Rome that was entirely informed by that. Mm-hmm. and, and so she had just built up this places somewhere that she was gonna go with her, her husband.
They were newly married and they had spent all this time traveling in Europe the whole time. She was expecting Rome just to. Beautiful and to be gorgeous and for everyone to be outrageously friendly, for it just to be the most absolutely idyllic place, literally heaven on earth right now. She wasn’t necessarily saying these expectations, but mentally she had these expectations and then they showed up to Rome, and Rome was pretty commercialized and Rome was.
Kind of a tourists trap. And Rome had a lot of trash on the streets, and Rome looked nothing like the Lizzie McGuire movie. Oh, and, and I, I say that because it captures, I mean, imagine what she felt at that moment. She [00:15:00] probably felt depressed, distressed, I mean, just outrageous anxiety because her expectations differed from her reality.
Mm-hmm. . Now, how does this apply to us? Well, we need to make sure that we. Regularly and routinely aligning our expectations, what it with what is actually realistic. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be hopeful, and I think you should be hopeful, but at the same time, you need to make sure that you’re not setting yourself or others up for disappointment.
I think we saw this a lot. For businesses and for leaders and for people in general with Covid just two years ago. Right. I mean, going into, going into 2020, I, I can’t even count the number of megachurches that I saw doing a, doing a message series in January of 2020, called 2020 Vision. Right? Clear, clear eyes for the future.
Right. And it’s just like all of your dreams are gonna come true in 2020. And then that was our expectations. And then March hit and everything went out the window, and the people that were crushed were the people that thought [00:16:00] 2020 was just gonna be up into the right. Mm-hmm. . And so bringing that to present day.
Thank, Thank God we’re nearly to the other side of that pandemic, it seems like and and praise God for that. That’s a good thing. The people that I’m really worried about right now are the people that are anticipating 2023 through 2025 to all be up into the right. There’s, there’s gonna be another crisis, there’s gonna be other issues.
It’s not always gonna be up into the right, because that’s not reality. Right. So what would be a more healthy and helpful view of the future? Well man, hopefully there’s gonna be some good things that happen and hopefully we’ve learned some stuff on the other side of this pandemic, but there’s also gonna be some hard things that happen and we can’t really anticipate what they’re going to be.
But they’re gonna be something we know we’ve got an election coming up next November and one coming up in two years, and we’ve seen how those have gone for the past 10 years. Right. Very good point. And so we should probably expect that there’s gonna be some [00:17:00] turmoils so that when we reach the turmoil, it’s not gonna blindside us.
And in doing so, we will be able to operate. From a posture of strength, and, and that’s one of our core values at Path for Growth, is that strength is for service, right? You, you don’t serve people very well from a posture of unprepared weakness. Mm. You serve people. Whenever you get your act together, make yourself strong.
Align your expectations with reality so that for the explicit stated purpose, Of you being able to serve others really, really well. I mean, this is why I just have so much admiration for teachers, right? The teacher that has their act together is so much more radically equipped to overflow into the lives of students, which could change the trajectory of their life.
That’s happened to me. Mm-hmm. . And so I just think that, that, that principal is so important. My strength is not for me. Your strength is not for you. You have a responsibility to be strong for service. [00:18:00] That’s, that, that’s, yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. I just take, I get a little bit passionate about this stuff. I just get, so I go on like a monologue about all this stuff.
Right? No, I appreciate it so much. But it, that is so relatable to parents out there. We in the midst of, of, of Covid in the pandemic, you have your kids at home, you’re stressed, you have all this going. But you have to be strong for those that you’re leading your children. And that, that, that is like as servants, you do have to have that strength for those, for the people that are looking to you for strength.
Can I ask you, I’m gonna turn the tables a little bit on y’all. Sure. Can I ask you all a question about that real quick? Sure. . Yeah, I I heard a principal once, it was with a, a guy that we interviewed on our podcast that you’re just a brilliant communicator named Rob Wall, and, and he said something that has stuck with me ever since I talked to him.
It was about a year ago now. He said that if your output exceeds your input, then your upkeep will [00:19:00] be your down. Ooh, so, so if your output, if, if you constantly pouring out towards others, right? Whether it’s teaching, whether it’s just the commitments that you’ve made, whether it’s the meetings that you’re attending, if your output exceeds your input, what you’re taking in and how you’re filling yourself, then your upkeep, your ability.
Keep, I mean, just keep the lights on internally will be your downfall. You won’t be able to, you won’t be able to keep up with the pace that you set. Mm-hmm. . So I’m always so intrigued by educators specifically because educators are people whose livelihood is based on output, right? Mm-hmm. , I’m constantly pouring into the lies of others, raising each raising others up in, in some ways, teaching others to be responsible.
And, and you’re, I mean, your entire life, my. Was an educator. My grandma was an educator, My great grandpa was a teacher. Like I come from a long line of teachers and I’ve just seen it is a, it is one of the ultimate servant minded occupations. Mm-hmm. , I truly [00:20:00] believe that. And so the educators that are able to do it over the long haul, what is their input?
Like, how are they able to sustain such heavy output for such an extended period of time? Do y’all have thoughts on that? It’s funny that you ask that, Alex, because that’s how we wrap up our podcast normally when, Oh, good. . I’m not ready to wrap this up though. , we always, Cause you’re exactly right. How do you fill your cup?
How you’re giving so much mm-hmm. from such a passionate space in you that how do you fill yourself back up? Mm-hmm. . Cause that’s such a, a critical component. And I think we’ve truly seen that over the last two years and now our teachers and, and just. Folks that are, are helping our young kids grow. It’s, it’s really hard as they’re processing, coming back to face, face, classroom settings and things.
It is, and it, it also [00:21:00] goes along with, with parenting, and that is something I myself have struggled with and I know I’m not alone. You pour so much into your family, to your raising of your kids, to your, your job, whatever it is. As a mom, we always get, we always put ourselves back and so it, it’s, we don’t fill our cup enough and I found that I would be short with my kids.
I wasn’t doing, I didn’t feel like I was doing a good job at my job, at my home, anywhere. Because I wasn’t taking care of me and I don’t, I thought taking care of me is selfish, but it’s really not. Cuz you have to, you can’t pour out of an empty cup. You know? You, you really need to keep filling that cup.
And you have to find ways to do that. And that’s one of the things I said, said, we have a teacher panel that we interview the same teachers every couple. Just to get a pulse on what’s going on, on the grounding education. And that’s one thing that we always, you know, what are you doing to take care of you?[00:22:00]
Especially right now when so much is being asked of parents and teachers over the past couple years, it’s so easy to be depleted and, and, you know, you, you can’t light others ca others’ candles if your candle is out. So, you know, you really, you really need to focus on some of that yourself too. That’s right.
One of the things that That I’ve learned in coaching business leaders for a long time now, and that it’s still one of the tools that I, I most like to use both for myself and for the people that I get to coach in one-on-one conversations is, you can see so often that the way we treat ourselves is in no way equitable to the way we would treat others, right?
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. and what we. Expect for others in the way we would. Right. You know, you wanna look at the worst boss you’ve ever had, just look in the mirror. Right. Because that guy talks to you in ways you would never let anyone else talk to someone. Right. And, and so, but with that, one of the [00:23:00] tactics and tools that I’ve, I’ve learned is if you can reflect back.
To someone, what they’re going through, man, you are getting towards the end of a really long and hard school year and there’s been so much unpredictability and you’ve had so much on your shoulders and there’s things going on at home that you’re responsible for. If you can reflect back to them the things that they’re even telling you are true about themselves, because people typically canno acknowledge what’s true, but then say, Let’s fast forward into the future.
If your son or daughter ever came to you with this list of things that they were carrying, what advice would you give them? And so often the person says something like, Man, I think you need to take a vacation and like actually turns stuff off. Or I think you need to get a counselor because it’s good to go seek help or I need you, or I think it would be wise for you to ask the people that you work with to help you fill in the gaps.
Because I think for [00:24:00] ourselves, we have to, like, we perceive this notion that we have to appear as though we have it all together. . But if it was our son or daughter, we’d be like, Man, I love you too much to, to make you feel like you have to have this all together. It’s okay to ask for help. Mm-hmm. . And so often when you reflect someone’s circumstances back to them and say, if it was your son asking this question, what would your advice be for them?
They can a lot of times be more able to accept it. That I think I can absolutely relate to what you’re saying, Alex, cuz when you asked us the question a couple minutes ago, I’m a single mom and raising these two kids that are now freshman and sophomore in college, it’s. I was really trying to be mindful this past decade on I’m spinning, I’m trying to get everything done, trying to look as calm as possible, but I’m not calm , I know I’m not calm and how do I fill my cup during those, you know, six hours where I’m trying to rest?
And it was just, I was trying to be a good role [00:25:00] model cuz I didn’t, I wanted to show them that. It’s important to take care of yourself as well, but I don’t know if I ever did a good job at that . So, but trying to be, I, I was mindful to say, Okay, cuz they’re watching me and I don’t want them to think that that’s the way they need to live life.
You know, that not, And so it was just, it was, it was a very outer body experience trying to raise them and trying to still maintain sanity. The last mm-hmm. , and again, I think going to the entree leader, Seminar and learning how other leaders manage. I think that was very helpful to you. I and Alex Sandy is an amazing mom, and her kids are fabulous young adults, amazing people.
But, but it’s, it’s true. Sandy tries to do everything. And when we started the company, having that kind of a mindset where we have to be everything to everyone. It’s not healthy for any of us. And so at, you know, all three of us are [00:26:00] moms who started this company together, Educators. It it, it was a difficult balance to figure out how to take care of yourself in the process.
And I think so many parents out there, so many teachers out there, They just feel guilty for taking care of themselves and, you know, if I’m not doing this for the kids, you know, I, I should be spending my time doing that, not, you know, looking introspectively and taking care of yourself. And you have to understand out there that if you are taking care of yourself, that’s actually helping take care of everybody.
You know, you, you just, you need to find that balance. And it is, it’s a difficult thing, but I’m very excited about the whole awareness now that’s coming out about self care and it’s becoming more normalized to take that time for yourself. You know, people are talking more about your mental health and your mental wellbeing and, and just taking that time for self.
And I know that I’m trying very hard to incorporate [00:27:00] that, and I’m making myself a priority in my own life, which I hadn’t done before. And I’m such a better person. I’m a better mom, I’m a better friend, I’m a better wife. I’m, you know, it just, I’m feeling myself so I can give to others. And it’s just right there.
Don’t, You just said it, you just said, So two of the most powerful words in the English language are so that, so that, because, so that conveys motive, right? And this is what I had to learn is, There’s a difference between self improvement and selfish improvement, and ooh, and selfish improvement is everywhere right now.
Right? You can find it in the books on Amazon. You can find it on Instagram. You can turn on the TV and see it on TV. Every, not every, but there’s a lot of people who call themselves influencers that they’re professional. Selfish improvement is right. Mm-hmm. , because what is selfish improvement? It’s me getting better for the sake of me getting better, and then [00:28:00] making sure all of you.
It. Right. Total crap. I just had that so much. Right. Drives me crazy. Right. But then I had to look in the mirror and say like, Okay, but you like personal development, growth, self improvement. Mm-hmm. like, Okay, so, So what’s the difference? Selfish improvement? Self improvement. Self improvement is you maxing out on the person, the man, the woman, the leader, the Christ follower that you are called to be.
So that. Others benefit. Your explicit stated purpose is, I’m doing this because I don’t serve people well from a posture of weakness. I serve people well from a posture of strength, and I need to make sure that I’m operating from a posture of strength so that I can serve others. And what, what I’ve experienced is that when I realize that paradigm of, so that.
It ripped away so much of the guilt and shame associated mm-hmm. with spending time doing things that you knew made yourself better and more of who you were called to [00:29:00] be. And so I, I would just tell people, you know, examine your motive because selfish improvement actually isn’t fulfilling or care at all.
Mm-hmm. . But self-improvement is absolutely necessary for being a leader that can sustainably make an. So that I, yeah. Again, another tidbit from Alex that I’m writing down . That’s great. So Alex, in, in this world with, well, you know, coming out of the pandemic, everything that we’ve had to go through, what, what are some suggestions or ideas that you have about helping develop, helping to develop leadership in.
Hmm. I really appreciate that question so much. It’s something that I’m actually starting to think about more and more just, just because truly, you know, one of our core values is strength is for service. And we’re saying, Man, how could we take this thing that we’ve been blessed [00:30:00] with, which is a thriving business that has access to a lot of influe.
People. Mm-hmm. . And how could we take that strength and use it to serve others? And I’m starting to get an inkling that the answer to that might be the next generation. Mm-hmm. . And so we wanna find ways to teach fundamental leadership principles to the next generation. So it’s something that I’m spending a lot of time thinking about right now.
What, what I would highlight first is we as a country, I believe, have a responsibility to show people that leadership is within them, right? Mm-hmm. leadership is not something you’re born with. Right. It it, right. It’s, you know, you don’t go to the hospital and they say, Oh my gosh, it’s a boy, it’s a girl, it’s a leader.
Right. That we don’t say that . Right. And, you know, so, so leadership is a skill and I believe it’s a skill that’s within everyone and, and so, Within that, what do we have to do? Well, we have to make the decision that we’re going to express that skill, and that means that we’re gonna have the decision to take on responsibility.
Because if someone depends on you, then you are a leader. [00:31:00] But I have seen over and over again, I’ve seen this for CEOs of. Thousand person companies all the way down to middle school and high school students. Cuz that’s what I did right after college was I taught leadership development to middle school and high school students and I learned if you can keep that, Wow, that’s awesome.
If you can keep that crowd engaged, you can keep any crowd engaged. And, and what I’ve learned is that oftentimes the greatest limiting factor to a person’s leadership is their inability to see themselves as a leader. And, and so I would agree with you on that. Absolutely. This is not, this is not through through self-esteem.
This is us equipping young men and women with the realization. You’ve got some responsibility, like people are depending on you and, and it’s this incredible, but also like outrageously daunting message of you are not what you could be like that is bad news. You are not what you could be, but it’s also outrageously good news.
You are not what you could be. And we wanna be like, as an [00:32:00] educator, I view myself as an educator. As an educator, I wanna be the type of person that presents you are not what you could be in such a positive and challenging and encouraging and engaging life that it’s like, there’s so much in, in youth today that, and this is my age group as well, right?
That is nihilistic that just says what’s the point of any of it? It, it lacks meaning, Right? Well, how do you give kids, meaning give ’em respons. Give them things that they are responsible for. Give them ownership, give them actions that they can take and give them the opportunity to recognize, man, you reap what you harvest.
And so we better start planting some seeds right now because the, the ramifications for you are huge. The ramifications for the people you love are even huge. And, and so what I would say is help, help. Young men and women start to view themselves as a leader through the lens of responsibility, because responsibility is always inextricable, [00:33:00] inextricably linked to meaning.
Mm-hmm. . And if you can help them see the things that they are uniquely responsible for, you’re going to help unlock. Meaning in their lives, which is something that will impact them. I mean, impact them, impact their children, and impact their children’s children. Mm-hmm. , that’s J, that’s the opportunity that we have.
And so we just need to remember that. I think.
Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s great. My I, I was in high school when I was in high school. I was a, in the student government and all of that. I went to a camp in the summer. It was California Association of Student Councils. And I had to go, like it was forced upon me and I just kind of dragging it. I had to go to, I got to go to a soccer camp the following week, and so I was really looking forward to the soccer camp.
Not so much this leadership camp. This leadership camp changed my life. It is. I had the same fire inside [00:34:00] me during that, that I got when I went to entree leadership. It like reignited and so. It’s so disappointing that, that those opportunities aren’t everywhere for our kids anymore. Cuz back then I didn’t really, I wasn’t the captain of my soccer team.
I didn’t think of myself as a leader. You know, I was like the secretary for my class or whatever it happens to be in the center government. But I never felt confident enough to be president or vice president or any, you know, that type of a leader until I started going, getting involved with this leadership camp that was forced upon me as the class secretary.
And they, they, they, they instilled that in me. Like, You can do all of those things. You can be the leader. People will listen. And I wasn’t terribly outgoing at that point in my life. I’ve changed a little bit. I’m very talkative now, but back then I was, I was a little quieter and I just, you know, I didn’t seek out that role.
And just having that little bit of belief that you can be a leader really gave me the confide. To move forward and, [00:35:00] and, and I began to believe in myself as a leader, and I try to instill that with my own, my own kids. Neither one of them went into student government. Neither one of them was, you know, sought those roles.
But little by little, they, they have a quiet leadership about them. And my daughter became captain of our soccer team. She wasn’t the one out there cheering everybody on and getting them all, you know, sturdy up for, you know, the, the attorney. But she had a quiet leadership about her in that she was doing the right thing, She was following the direction, She was motivating one on one and that sort of thing.
So I think there are different types of leaders out there. You don’t have to be. The, in your face, loud person in the front of the room, you can be more of a, a coach, a silent coach. You talked about that in one of your worth. It Wednesdays co coaching versus captain, and I think both of those are two vital leadership roles that.
Our, the young people today can take, you know, you, you have an image of what a leader should [00:36:00] be, but there’s many different forms of leadership. And I think that’s another thing that kids, you know, they see that student body president, Oh, that’s not me. I can’t stand in front of the whole student body and talk.
But you can be leaders in so many other ways. And I think that’s an important topic for the, for kids to understand. And in your coach versus captain, I think that really kind of hits. Yeah. And I love that you use that word coach as well, because I think this applies to the topic of vision. Mm-hmm. Leadership is taking people from here to there that can take many contexts, right?
And, and what is there, There is a vision of a future that doesn’t currently exist. So we have this incredible capacity as human beings to envision a, a future that doesn’t currently exist. We should never take that for granted cuz that is insane right there. I mean like that, like the fact that I can envision a version of me, a version of an organization, a building, a classroom, I can literally conjure a picture of it in my [00:37:00] head of something I want to be true six months from now.
That’s not true today should blow our freaking minds cuz that is crazy and that’s what you get the opportunity to do for people. Leaders is give them vision. But I think so often we focus so much on vision casting that we miss. Potentially more important role of vision coaching. Mm-hmm. and the most impactful leadership development conversations I’ve ever had, especially as a young person where when someone that I deeply respected took the time to sit down.
One on one with me and said, Man, I see so much possible for you. Yeah. And said, Man, there, there’s qualities, there’s strengths, there’s gifts, there’s talents that are in you that, man, there’s so much there that, that we could do something with. And, and it wasn’t this massive from a stage vision teaching, which is kind of crazy that I’m saying this cuz that’s what I do.
Right? Like I, I, I mean, [00:38:00] But I mean the life change that we see in the lives of the CEOs that we work with, the most consistent, dependable source of life change is not my vision casting. It’s the coaching that the one on people, one on one, people on our team do every single day with leaders around the, around the country, because this is a principle.
Consistency compounds. Something, one off is important and I, and we’ve already highlighted this today. It’s what you experienced whenever you went to the leadership event in California, A as a teenager. It’s also what y’all experienced whenever you went to entree leadership. There is absolute value to what I would describe as a jolt where you go to a different space and a different place.
And move at a different pace. And I would tell all of us that there are times where you need that. You need to get into a different head space. You need to go to a different geographic place, and you need to completely renew your pace. Right? And we all need that. That is absolutely [00:39:00] necessary for all of us.
But recognize that the jolt. Is not your lifestyle. The jolt is a moment in time. The thing that will create consistent transformation for you, and then by extension overflow in the lives of others is those consistent daily deposits. And man, your, your sense of opportunity just opens to the world around you when you realize, what if I was the source of consistent daily deposits in the life of the people that I influence?
What if I was just that person that always had the right word at the right time, once a week, or that was dependable enough? Look them in the eye and tell them what I saw they could be doing or what they are, or the strengths that they currently possess. And, and you could just be that source that changes someone’s life, right?
I mean, and it’s just crazy to think about the opportunity, right? I mean, if, if like if you don’t realize. As a teenager at a California student council camp that you didn’t want to go to if you didn’t realize that you could be a leader at that moment. I mean, [00:40:00] who’s to say learning Reimagined exists, right?
Who’s to say this podcast exists? Who’s to say, y’all? Are I impacting 50 countries now? Who’s to say y’all are? Pulling teachers around the country and around the world. Now, who’s to say any of that happens? Right? Because if you don’t see yourself as a leader in, my bet is that none of that happens. And, and so something happened there that we have to open our eyes to like, Oh, I, I could be the catalyst for that type of thing happening in other people’s lives.
Oh my gosh, right? Just crazy . Its pumps, it gives me, gives pumps the impact that we can have. On our youth, on our fellow neighbor, on the people around us, the people we work with, it’s, it’s extremely impactful and I think oftentimes we take that for granted. So I agree. And conversely, I think it’s very important to remember how easily it is to empty someone’s bucket.
You know, I always, when I was running a teacher education program, [00:41:00] we, we talk about how your kids. Your students, not your your children, but your students. You, they come to you for the day and, and all day long you, you give them little pointers or, or compliments or encouragement and you’re fill their bucket.
You’re fill their bucket. They fill the bucket and then they go to the school bus and the bus driver glares at ’em and yells at ’em for talking while they’re in line or something. Their bucket. Ties, you know, so it’s, it’s very hard to fill a bucket. It’s so quick and easy to empty a bucket. And I think that’s something that we all have to be mindful, those small little comments, especially as a woman, I can think back to a little comment my mom made just snide when I was 12 years old, gave me a complex for the rest of my life.
You know, those little things happen. So I just think it’s so important for us to be mindful of the emptying of buckets and how. Our, our our looks, our com, you know, our just little comments, how easy it is to, to empty buckets and when we really need to be focusing on filling them. Mm. David Brooks has a line where [00:42:00] he says, manners are the prerequisite to every other virtue.
Love that. I love that man. I don’t know that David Brooks has ever gotten that good of a reaction before from anything, so that’s good. It’s so true though, like, man, and so it’s like we wanna, we wanna do all these big picture things. We wanna change the world, right? And, and, and. Change people’s lives and all of that.
Well, maybe we should start by saying, please and thank you. Maybe we should start by making our default face a smile. Maybe we should start by opening the door for people. Maybe we should start by looking people in the eye and putting away our phone, because manners are the prerequisite to all those other things.
And if you can’t say please and thank you, I’m not putting my money on your ability to change the world. Right. I love it. Yes. Like the small things make a really big difference, and especially if you compound those small things over an extended period of time, it just, man, never underestimate the impact of that.
The other thing that I would say to this though is like, okay, so what we’re [00:43:00] saying is the stakes are incredibly high. You can, you are an elevator, you are taking people up, or you are taking people down, but you are taking people somewhere. Does that mean we should be walking around? Paranoid about our effect on other people.
No, because paranoid is the spirit of fear, right? Mm-hmm. , maybe you shouldn’t be fearful. Maybe you should be courageous. Maybe you should say, Man, the stakes are really high, and that’s why I’m in a wade right into this with everything I’ve got and, and I mean, I just feel like everything we’re talking about today, Just adds a level of zest to life that most people don’t get to experience right now.
And it just makes everything an adventure because you’re aware of like the potential pitfalls of doing things wrong, but the potential absolute triumph for yourself and others are doing things right and you’re on this adventure to constantly get better every single day and are doing so making yourself more equipped to serve others.
Like what do you mean you can’t get out of bed? Like I’m getting outta bed early this morning. Like, let’s go. We got words [00:44:00] to go, Let’s. Yeah, absolutely. I think it, it, it comes down to awareness. I, I don’t want people to live in fear. Like, Oh, I can’t look at my kid funny. Just be aware of the impact. Cause there are times that my kids upset me and I will be able to say what you’re doing is not okay.
That’s not emptying their bucket. It’s helping them become a better person. So there’s awareness that matters. So, yeah, I, I agree with you. I don’t want people living in fear of how they look or, you know, but just be aware. Just be aware, especially now that the masks are off and you can appreciate smiles and looks in the eye and, you know, there’s just so much that we have to be appreciative of.
And I, I think that’s what we just really need to focus on. Hmm. Yeah. I, I I once read that the greatest transformational movements in the world were created by a leader talking about what they’re for and not what they’re against. Right? It’s, it’s what Martin Luther King did. It’s what Nelson Mandela did.
It’s what Michael Theresa did. It’s what Jesus did, right? . John F. Kennedy didn’t say, we [00:45:00] choose not to stay on earth. He said, We choose to go to the moon. Right. He gave people a vision of what they were for and man. Mm-hmm. the country rallied around that. And in a world today that is so obsessively talking about what it’s against.
Mm-hmm. let us be the type of people that are known for talking about what we’re for in people and in the world. Mm-hmm. . I hope people remember that as we go forward with, you know, the politics and moving forward, just all of that. Like, what, what inspires us? What, what are you looking for in leaders? You know, not, not what you hate, but what, what are you looking for?
And I think that’s, that focus on positivity makes such a difference. My husband turns on the news every morning, you know, the, the political pendants. And I just, I look and like, I can’t start my day this way, you know, this is cause they. Snipy and negative, and it just, to me it’s just noise. It’s just, it’s noise.
So let’s just, I would much rather start my day with music and just, you know, have a positivity about the thing [00:46:00] and it that that’s what, you know, just keep things more positive. I know there is enough negative in the world. We just really need to focus on, on the things that we, you know, can, that are positive and, and the changes that we can make.
That’s right. And, and it’s not delusional positivity. It’s that, that’s the other part. Yeah. It’s not the Pollyanna positivity, which I can get That’s right. Opposed to . Yeah. That’s And you and me both, Right. We’re drinking the same Kool-Aid there. Yeah. Cheers. . Yeah. But I mean, like, what would it look like for you to see the world accurately, but also hopefully mm-hmm.
man, I like, I it. I mean, in some sense it’s like, what other way do you want to live? Mm-hmm. , like what? I mean, what’s the alternative? And are you really gonna pursue that? I don’t think so. Right. So let’s be intentional about seeing the world accurately, but also hopefully, because then maybe you could actually be part of the force that makes those [00:47:00] hopeful things occur.
Mm-hmm. . But if you’re unwilling to seed that they’re possible, you won’t ever be able to be a part of. Right, Right. You’re absolutely right. I, in high school, I remember I received an award. You know how they do the senior awards, whatnot. I got the Eternal Optimist Award, love it. Proud. That’s how I’ve always lived my life.
I’ve always been. I, I, I’m not a, I’m not a what if person. I, I don’t. Well, what if this happens? I don’t think that way. I really, I don’t, I don’t like to be a what if I’m much more of a So what? Yeah,
do so much and you do so much for other people and. You really live the life of a servant, what, where do you find your motivation and, and what, what fills you? Hmm. I think on my best days, I live the life of a servant. I, I don’t think it’s like, I, let’s [00:48:00] give no delusions of grand juror. Like I’m, I’m just a 30 year old single guy that’s trying my best to make a difference in people’s lives.
And some days, I get on base and some days, believe me, I strike out. Okay, so Alex is not perfect. He is human. Yeah. , that’s gonna, You should trouble me tonight, Alex, but okay. If you’re struggling with thinking that I’m perfect, then just wait, just wait in me with line in a line for more than two minutes and then you’ll learn real quick that I’m not perfect.
Yeah. . Mm. What keeps me going and what, what is the inspiration for me? For me, it’s the, it’s the, the personhood, but also the divinity of Jesus Christ. And I, like we always tell people we work with people of all faiths and religions. I’m about to go do a week long session with an orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York, and they’re just some of my favorite people on the planet.
And so that’s awesome. You, you absolutely do not have to [00:49:00] believe what I believe. And, and I believe that we can still connect on the model that the person that was Jesus gave us. Because most academics and historians say that with intellectual honesty, you can’t deny that he’s a guide that existed, right?
That would be the equivalent of saying Julius Caesar didn’t exist, right? So most people agree that this guy named Jesus existed. And if that’s the case, whether he was a guy or the savior of the world, he’s probably worth paying attention to because I mean, billions of people still refer to him. They’re, they’re guiding model, right?
And so within that we just see the example of a guy. That had outrageous, incredible influence. And how did he use that influence? He used it to get on his knees and wash people’s feet. He used it to spend time with the marginalized and the disenfranchised. He used it to do things that were completely countercultural and completely outside the norms of what society thought were.
And in doing [00:50:00] so, he expressed absolute truth. He never deviated from the truth, the truth, but he also abounded and overflowed in grace. And man, when I think about that as a model for what we can try and emulate and follow, life just becomes such an adventure. And, and you just start to realize like, what, what else would I rather be doing?
You know? And, and you start to realize that what, what I am doing. Is really important, but what I am doing is not really that important. And it gives you a clearheaded perspective to engage courageously with the world around you because it’s not all about you. Mm-hmm. . And that is just such a joy to be a part of.
And I want that so bad for other people. I want people to experience life that is truly life that is [00:51:00] rooted in truth but also abounding in grace. And so, That’s my motivation and that’s my. Oh, I love it. I love it. Alex has been such an amazing hour. I just, I’m so appreciative, and thank you for allowing us to, to have this time.
This is amazing. Gosh, this hour felt like five minutes. Y’all are just such a joy to talk to. I’m serious. And, and so are you , you’re, I mean, seriously, you’re, you. Energy and your passion for the work you do is inspiring and it’s world changing, right? I believe so much in education because that has been the one proven method that can change people’s lives sustainably over time.
And the fact that y’all are so deeply invested in changing people’s lives through that vehicle, it’s just, man, I’m rooting for y’all. Y’all have a fan of me. Just know that. Oh, that’s fantastic. Well, you have definitely many more [00:52:00] fans today because of your time with us. Sandy and I have. Enjoyed you so much over the past few years and now we get to share you with our audience and I’m so grateful for your time today, Alex.
Thank you and everybody look up path for growth and start following worth it. Wednesday you’ll get this great email every Wednesday that pops up and it’s a short little video that just really brightens your day and you get a little bit of Alex in your life again, so it’s wonderful . Awesome. I appreciate y’all.
Thanks for your. Thanks so much, Alex. Thank you so much for listening to Learning Reimagined. If you are enjoying this podcast, please help us spread the word by clicking the subscribe button or share your favorite episodes with families and friends, and leave us a five star review wherever you get your podcast.