Brian Holmes is the Founder and President of The Strategic Living Institute. He is an author, speaker, and Executive Coach, and is the Host of the Strategic Living Podcast. He travels extensively every year training and equipping leaders in all fields to become all they were created to be.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Brian shares his innermost fears and doubts, as well as why it’s so important we UNCOVER these before it’s too late!
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- LOVE this from Brian: ‘…because I was seeking knowledge’. You will attract what you seek, Fire Nation!
Small Business Resource
- Grasshopper: A virtual phone system can help your business stay organized with many calls coming in. Sound professional and stay connected.
Best Business Book
- Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud
- Brian’s site
- The Strategic Living Institute – (Sorry! This link was active when this episode was first published in 2014. This resource is no longer available.)
- The Strategic Living Podcast
Brian Holmes: Let’s fire it up, my friend.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. Brian is the founder and president of the Strategic Living Institute. He’s an author, speaker, and executive coach and is host of the Strategic Living podcast. He travels extensively every year, treating and equipping leaders in all fields to be all they were created to be. Brian, take a minute, fill in some gaps from the intro and give us a little glimpse into your personal life.
Brian Holmes: I want to meet this guy. He sounds really interesting. Man, I just love people. And that may sound crazy. But a little trade secret here, I have spent 27 years in the field of vocational ministry. And I have worked in churches and travelled in various religious settings. And I just have a heart to see people become more of what they can be. I love pouring into people’s lives, challenging them to grow, motivate them to become and be distilled into a greater expression of what they can be and really what they can contribute to the world.
So everything we do, as you’ve mentioned, is built around this concept of strategic living. Our podcast, our training programs, books that we’ve written, seminars, our speaking engagements, all of it geared around transforming minds and developing leaders and activating people into their full destiny. And we’ve kind of identified sort of a four cornerstone message around that. And we spend most of our time dealing with personal healing, personal discovery, personal development, and personal deployment.
And I really believe for entrepreneurs, for business leaders, for people in the political sphere, for educators, wherever you are, I believe it’s those four areas that are paramount to our success. And we just spend our work and our life helping people to work through those.
John Lee Dumas: Brian, I love what you embody. You really get the power of connection and relationship and masterminds. And during our little pre-interview chat you mentioned you’ve been masterminding with Dan Miller, with Ray Edwards, with Cliff Ravenscraft, with Aaron Walker. These are all past guests of EOFire. Aaron Walker, actually, has been on twice which is very rare. These are amazing people. Can you speak a little bit to your experience in masterminds over the years and just how you were able to connect with such amazing and high-achieving people?
Brian Holmes: I tell you, in all honesty, and I’m not sure where most of your audience comes from but I do believe in a higher power. I believe that there are destiny moments where we get to meet somebody who opens a door to meet somebody else who opens a door to meet somebody else. And that’s kind of how it was with me. In 2012, I met Dan Miller at a speakers’ meeting I went to in Atlanta, Georgia. And I had never heard names like Michael Hyatt, Ray Edwards, Cliff Ravenscraft.
At that particular two-day event, I heard those names and because I was seeking knowledge and wanted to grow myself, I started looking into who are these guys, what are they about. Began to resonate with their messages and said, my gosh, man. The message I have in me, I can see clearly that these guys are forging a path towards building platforms that are so much more influential than what I’m doing in my current context.
And so I kind of became a student of those guys and just through various opportunities that we had, we met them, built relationships with them, began to do life with them on a very deep level, very personal level. And, my gosh, there is nothing more important than those kinds of relationships in your life.
John Lee Dumas: Your quote “because I was seeking knowledge.” It’s so powerful, Fire Nation. I really want you to make sure you get that because will attract what you seek. So what is it that you want to seek, Fire Nation? And like Brian said, he doesn’t know really where you’re coming from, who’s listening right now. I can tell you, Brian, that they’re coming from all over the world. I mean, this show is listened to in over 145 countries so there’s just an incredible amount of diversity within our listenership.
But whatever that is, Fire Nation, that you are seeking, you’re gonna attract it if you seek that out. So just keep that in mind. And, Brian, we are entrepreneurs at our core. And entrepreneurs need to create viable businesses. Dan Miller, Ray Edwards, Cliff Ravenscraft, Aaron Walker, they’ve all been able to do so. You’ve been able to do so. Specifically, break it down for us, for our listeners, how are you currently generated revenue?
Brian Holmes: In my particular case, I’m doing so by doing online courses. I do a lot of speaking. You mentioned all the nations that your listeners are plugged into around the world. I’ve had the privilege of being in 18 nations. I plan on traveling to a lot more so I have a tremendous heart for the nations of the world. So I speak, I’ve written books, I do a lot of entrepreneurial and leadership coaching and consulting.
So that’s where our revenue is generated from and we’re presently trying to – no, let me back up. We’re not trying to. We are building a really unique model for a business that is all about pouring into lives of people and equipping them in their particular journey as unique as it may be.
John Lee Dumas: Brian, this is an assumption but I am assuming that you understand the power of story and how we as listeners connect with stories. And that’s really what EOFire was built off of was stories. And that’s kind of what I want to move into is a story from your journey as an entrepreneur. But not just any story. Your worst entrepreneurial moment. And, Brian, really take us to that moment and tell us that story.
Brian Holmes: Well, I have to go back to my early childhood and then I’ll come to the entrepreneurial moment that was just a difficult place. It was a crossroads. But I had a very tragic thing happen to me when I was very young, around 11 years old. And it was deeply wounding and it inflicted a lot of confusion and struggle in my own life. And I carried a lot of that brokenness, and if I can coin a new word here on your program, messedupness into my adult life. A lot of internal conflict. A lot of self-hatred. A lot of just disillusionment about a lot of things.
All the while, being very entrepreneurial in spirit, I had little businesses, little side businesses, a lawn business and this business. But I could never quite seem to penetrate this invisible barrier. And I didn’t know why. As I came into my adult life, got married, brought all the garbage into my marriage with me and that was creating its own issues. And then 22 years after the event which was at 11 years old, I came to a crisis place. And this is kind of where I met this crossroad.
And I realized that if I did not go back and in some way deal with the deep, deep emotional issue that was present because I never really wanted to address it or reconcile it, didn’t know how, that I was going to be limited in my performance. And I might never come into my full potential. And I reached a place where I was performing at a decent level, had some great opportunities, doing some cool things, doing a little bit of traveling but in my heart of hearts, I knew there was more.
I knew there was more impact I could make, there was more money I could make, there was more platforms, larger platforms I could stand on and impact more people at one time. I knew all of these things but I was broken. There was something missing and I had to deal with it. And so in ’99, my dad passed away very abruptly and unexpectedly. That was a crisis place for me. It was a tipping point really because I had not reconciled some things with him.
But in 2000, we went to a program that was actually created by Dr. Phil, the Dr. Phil McGraw, and his father, Dr. Joe McGraw. And it was being hosted here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Interestingly enough, me being a Christian guy and from a fairly significant religious background, I went to a secular program and I found more help at the secular program than I had in all my years as a Christian.
And I’m not being critical of faith. In fact, faith is a very important part of my life. But that program was utilized in such a powerful way to bring me through the mess so that I could come into a greater awareness of who I really was and what I had to offer. And so I realized that I needed help. And that was the crisis. My most difficult entrepreneurial moment was coming to a brick wall and not being able to go through because I had too much internal mess that hadn’t been reconciled yet.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, we all have a history. We all have a journey. And unfortunately a lot of us keep that, the more difficult parts of our journey in our subconscious. We kind of bury it. We don’t like to think about it. Don’t like to pull it out. But the reality is it will always be a part of us. So, Brian, kind of break this down for us. What do you really want to make sure our listeners get throughout the story that you’re sharing right now?
Brian Holmes: I just believe that as a man thinketh – we’ve heard this, we’ve read the books; we’ve seen that quote everywhere. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. What we believe to be true about ourselves, about our self-worth, about our value, about our ability or our capacity to create, to build a business, to hire employees, to grow revenue, and all these things. What we believe to be possible is directly tied to our deepest emotional beliefs.
And if there is something that has been fractured or broken or in some way connected to a past even or a relationship that we’ve not yet dealt with, that connection will actually hinder us from coming into our fullness, our potential. And it effects every entrepreneur, every leader, every politician, every business person, pastor official, athlete, you name it. Boy, we could just name all kinds of examples of people who are incredibly talented but at some point the emotional issue catches up with the talent and everything comes to a screeching halt and falls apart.
I mean, we can name examples. And I hate to pick on Tiger Woods but Tiger Woods, the beginning of the end for him in the recent past was when he came to a place where his emotional needs had not been addressed. And because those things weren’t being dealt with, then things began to kind of unravel. And I believe business owners can take a business to a certain level and can perform great but at some point, we’re gonna reach a threshold that cannot be penetrated if we don’t deal with the deeper issues.
John Lee Dumas: You know I hear you. I followed Tiger Woods. I’ve followed other professional sports athletes that have gone through this. And I’ve just talked to a lot of people in general, coming from the military and having served as an officer for eight years. My soldiers dealt with a lot of baggage like this and I was the person that they came to. So, Fire Nation, these words. We can’t hide from these. These are important things about who we are as people and if we want to go forward in the most impactful way, we need to address all these things.
So, Brian, us moving forward into your journey, tell us about an epiphany that you’ve had, an “aha” moment, one that you know our listeners, Fire Nation, is gonna resonate with, and tell us that story.
Brian Holmes: You bet. I think the turning point for me and one of the greatest “aha” moments – and, by the way, there’s been many of these over the course of the last 15 years. But in 2000 when both my wife and I attended this conference and training program, through the process that we were able to walk through there, I recognized that a lot of the things that I believed about me were simply not true. They were sort of truths or untruths that were handed to me via a circumstance that was outside of my control.
Whether it’s a personal failure or abandonment by someone or a business failure or whatever the case may be, whatever it is, we take on beliefs based on circumstances and events. And this process for me shifted everything because I began to see my character, my worth, my value, my potential, even some of the dreams and visions that I had sort of stuffed away and given up on. Those things began to resurface because I began to see possibilities, not impossibilities.
And for me, the greatest “aha” moment was simply recognizing that whatever it was that I was created to do, that had not been taken from me. I simply had to shift my thinking, change my beliefs, and receive some personal healing and get to a place where I could actually execute on my potential. That was a big deal for me in 2000. And since that time, it’s just been a progressive walking out of that process.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you’ve heard me say this a few times before but you’re not gonna score a touchdown, you’re not gonna make a basket, you’re not gonna do any of those things, score a goal, unless you’re in the game. Brian put himself in the game. He was there at the conferences. He was taking the training. He was learning. And these moments, these ideas, they come from that, from taking that action, from seeking that knowledge. So that’s my big takeaway, Brian. And in just one sentence, what do you want to really make sure that our listeners get from that epiphany that you’ve had?
Brian Holmes: We talk about personal healing, personal discovery, personal development, and personal deployment. Those are the four cornerstones that I just love to train and teach and help people with. But if I could leave your audience with one thing it would be this. Don’t skip the personal healing part. To me, it’s the foundation. It’s the entry point into a process that catapults us into a place of great prosperity, great success, incredible creativity, and it really ties us and allows us to move into a lot more functionality than what we have previously understood we could operate in.
And so don’t skip the personal healing part. Look at your heart. Give yourself permission just to go there. Yes, it’s painful. Yes, maybe it’s disappointing. Maybe you’ve got to go back and grapple with some things and forgive somebody or whatever the case may be. Whatever it is, just do it. Get it done so that you can realize what lies beyond the getting it done part. It’s just powerful.
John Lee Dumas: Brian, what’s your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Brian Holmes: Well, my greatest strength is passion and ability to see. But my greatest weakness, by far, is I’ve struggled with delegation and letting things go. And I’m a very high I, high D personality style if you’re familiar with DiSC personality profiles. And for me it’s been about control. But in the last six, eight months, I’ve just been intentional and accountable with my mastermind group about delegating tasks, bringing strong people around me, releasing them to do what they can do best so I can do what I do best.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the one thing above everything else you have going on that you’re most fired up about today?
Brian Holmes: Wow, the list is long. Let me pull one here. There’s a particular seminar and training program we’ve been doing all over the world for the last maybe eight or ten years and we’ve just – well, I say we just. We are in the process now, by the time this goes out to your audience we will have launched the online version of that training which I’ve been dreaming about that for years.
And so that’s just a big deal. I’m so pumped about it, I can’t hardly sleep at night. It’s really incredible. And in conjunction with that, we’re also in the process here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of launching a new systematic model of developing people through this process of the four cornerstones.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you’re not gonna want to go anywhere. As you can tell, Brian has got some knowledge bombs to drop coming up in the lightning round. But before we get there, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors. Brian, are you prepared for the lightning round?
Brian Holmes: You bet ya.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Brian Holmes: Limited thinking and probably limiting context. By that I simply mean I had assumed that the context within which I was doing what I was doing, which happened to be vocational ministry, was the only place that I could execute my mission and my calling. So, limited thinking and context.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Brian Holmes: Oh my gosh. These questions. Where did you come up with these questions? I think the one that I would want to share is this. I heard an incredible mentor years ago, his name was Randy Clark, he lives in the Houston area. Houston, Texas. He made a statement in a group that just floored me. He said, “You only need two things in life to be really successful. You need relationships and you need resources.” But he went on to say that if you have to choose between the two, always choose relationships because right relationships will always lead you to the resources.
John Lee Dumas: Man, that is great. And you know, Fire Nation, I am all about the relationships, the connections. They can lead to some amazing things. And what’s a personal habit that contributes to your success, Brian?
Brian Holmes: Well, there’s a couple that I thought about. But one of them is just I’ve been diligent to take a regular Sabbath. And by that I mean one day a week where I just shut it all down and I’m just present with myself, with my family, with my wife, with my kids and doing the deal.
But a bigger one, I think, for me has been regular engagement with my mastermind group. I cannot stress enough the relevance and the importance of having solid, meaningful relationships around you that you can bounce things off of, collaborate with together on projects, and frankly be accountable on a very high level. This mastermind thing has really shifted my life in a big way.
John Lee Dumas: Do you have an internet resource, like Evernote, that you can share with our listeners?
Brian Holmes: Grasshopper. Grasshopper is the bomb diggity, man. It is the entrepreneur’s phone system and I have no affiliate relationship with them. But I came across this about a year ago and it’s just shifted everything for us. We are using it exclusively for all of our phone systems and contacts. You can forward to mobile phones. You can do multiple channels and voicemails. And it’s just awesome. Grasshopper.com, it’s awesome.
John Lee Dumas: If you could recommend just one book, Brian, what would it be and why?
Brian Holmes: I think Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud. He’s the same author that wrote the book Boundaries a number of years ago. But that book really made an impact on me. And about maybe six, eight months ago when I was going through some transition and he talks about changes in your business, life transitions, transitions in relationships, and just how sometimes you have to allow something to die so something new can be born. That book, Necessary Endings, was really powerful to me.
John Lee Dumas: Well, Fire Nation, I know that you love audio. So I teamed up with Audible and if you haven’t already, you can get an amazing audiobook for free at eofirebook.com. Brian, this is the last question of the lightning round but it’s a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Brian Holmes: Wow, I heard this question was coming. You know, No. 1, I think I would capture my story either by video or by audio on my computer. And I would take that and I would repurpose it in a way where I could put it on a blog website, create a website. I would begin to engage with people and build relationships with them both online and in my community, wherever it was I was hanging out. Even though I didn’t know anyone, I want to build relationships.
And I would identify one or two of the immediate felt needs both in my physical and virtual communities and I would create some solutions. I would come up with some solutions to help people get what they want out of life. And I really believe that in doing that, the rest would sort of take care of itself.
John Lee Dumas: I love how this goes back, Fire Nation, to relationships, to connections, to the people that you’re surrounding yourself with. And let’s end on fire, Brian, with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, then we’ll say goodbye.
Brian Holmes: Awesome, man. I guess to sum it all up, I would say build and live a strategic life. Don’t just hang out to hang out. Think strategically, be strategic, build on the four cornerstones. Go through the process of personal healing. Go through the process of personal discovery, personal development, personal deployment. And live your very best life.
Someone in the world needs you and what you have. And you should go for it. Folks can find out more about me and our work at brianholmes.com. Simple enough. And, by the way, if it’s okay with you, I really wanted to bring something to the table as a benefit to your audience. Is it okay if I do that?
John Lee Dumas: I would love that.
Brian Holmes: Let me tell you what. I put together a course that we sell. We actually market this and sell it. It’s worth at least probably $97.00 or so. But I put together a five-part video series on the four cornerstones. I’ve mentioned those several times today. But I want to give that to this incredible Fire Nation as a gift and as a resource just to maybe prime the pump and help you to move your life and your business down the road in a great way.
John Lee Dumas: Well, where can we find that?
Brian Holmes: Brianholmes.com/fire.
John Lee Dumas: Fire! Fire Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with Brian and JLD today so keep up the heat. Head over to eofire.com. Type “Brian” in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve talked about today, his recommended book resource. Of course, the incredible gift that he has at brianholmes.com/fire. You can visit his website directly at brianholmes.com.
Of course, don’t forget to check out his podcast, Strategic Living podcast. And he is the president of the Strategic Living Institute and we’ll have links to that as well at eofire.com/brianholmes. So, Brian, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, brother, we salute you. And we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Brian Holmes: Thank you so much, man. You all have a great one.
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