Waldo Waldman is a Hall of Fame speaker, peak performance coach, and the author of the National bestseller Never Fly Solo. He is a combat decorated fighter pilot and an expert in helping leaders accelerate performance in changing environments. His clients include Marriott, The Denver Broncos and Verizon.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:02] – Waldo has a twin and he lives in Atlanta
- [01:12] – He has spent 23 years in the air force and went to grad school
- [01:31] – Waldo is now a keynote speaker and coach
- [02:04] – Life as an entrepreneur is about breaking barriers and stepping out of your comfort zone
- [03:22] – Waldo’s expertise is in helping people break their performance barriers
- [05:03] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: “As you grow your business, you have to say yes more than you say no”
- [06:57] – Focus on your target
- [07:47] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: In 2005, Waldo had a speaking engagement but he was just not in the zone. He wasn’t able to connect with the audience.
- [09:25] – Waldo realized that he will never again step onto a platform unprepared
- [10:13] – How you do something is how you do everything
- [11:07] – Commitment is 24/7
- [12:16] – You’re the average of the 5 pieces of content you’re reading
- [12:44] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Waldo is a member of “Think and Grow Rich” mastermind group. Two months ago, Waldo was in a meeting with his mastermind group and he realized it was time to move on.
- [16:23] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? Waldo is fired up about his new book, Wing Man
- [18:07] – The book, Wing Man will be released on Veteran’s Day in 2017
- [18:39] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “I’ve been relatively successful my whole life…my fear was really security and being average”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Get a coach”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I always, everyday, try to connect people”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – eSpeakers
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The One Thing –“it talks about your habits and your patterns”
- [23:20] – Be willing to ask for help
- [23:57] – Connect with Waldo on his website, twitter and facebook
- [24:04] – Get a FREE download of Waldo’s book, Never Fly Solo here! Put the code wingman to get a FREE audiobook!
Waldo Waldman: 100 percent, brother.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. Waldo is a hall of fame speaker, peak performance coach, and the author of the national best seller, “Never Fly Solo.” He is a combat decorate fighter pilot and a expert in helping leaders accelerate performance in changing environments. His clients include Marriot, the Denver Broncos, and Verizon. Waldo, take a minute. Fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Waldo Waldman: Awesome. Thanks a bunch. Well, I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I have an identical twin so no better wing man in your life than to have a twin. So I spent around 23 total years in the air force. Fighter pilot combat, decorated like I mentioned but also went to graduate school. Went into the real world in sales, technology sales, mergers and acquisitions, commission only and then weaned my way into the world of being an entrepreneur. And now, I’m a executive coach, keynote speaker, national sales conference. I was just in Saudi Arabia actually speaking for the third largest chemical company in the world. Kinda crazy.
And so I travel around and try to get people to break barriers. I overcame massive claustrophobia as a fighter pilot and so when it comes to executing a game plan and dealing with change, I would consider myself, based on my experience and not my philosophy, an expert in that area because in life, in particular, as an entrepreneur, it’s about breaking barriers. It’s about risking and stepping outside of your comfort zone.
John Lee Dumas: So Waldo, what I wanna move into now is your area of expertise. So kinda break that down for us. What specifically do you excel in? Give us a couple sentences about that.
Waldo Waldman: So I basically mentioned it a little bit before about helping people break their performance barriers. Life is about action. Success is about risk and stepping outside of your comfort zone. So as a fighter pilot and as an entrepreneur, as a speaker, based on my experiences, going to combat, being shot at, dealing with my fears like I said, claustrophobia, I was also afraid of heights, I help people take actions. That’s where life is. That’s where leaders hang out.
And part of that has to do with the wingman philosophy that I talk about in my book, “Never Fly Solo,” and in my programs because many times, the way you overcome fear and turn it into action and courage is through relationships, through partnerships, through creating relationships with people where you feel comfortable going to them for help.
So I think as entrepreneurs, what we need to do is nurture those relationships, be the type of person as well that others can come to for help and by building that wingman culture of collaboration and support, that is a way you can grow your business, grow your life and nurture relationships that truly mean something in the world.
John Lee Dumas: I love those two words, “take action.” Fire Nation, that next step is never going to be revealed until you take that first step. So take that step, take that action, see how the cloud parts. Now, Waldo, within that area of expertise, give us something that we as entrepreneurs probably don’t know but should know. What’s something unique as far as a tip or tool or tactic that we just really need in our arsenal?
Waldo Waldman: When you look at successful people, Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, some of the higher echelon of entrepreneurs and leaders in the world today who are kicking butt, many of the folks, and you can relate, John, say, “Hey, know when to say no. Say no. Monitor your calendar. Be very restrictive. Make sure you take control of your day.”
There’s a lot to be said about that but I believe in particular as you’re growing your business, expanding your relationships and crafting a brand, you have to say yes more than you say no. Say yes. If you’re inconvenienced, too bad. Volunteer. Be the resource that others can come to and put in the time. Let others know that you’re the guy or gal that others can come to for help. And earn the right to say no.
So I see all these folks philosophizing about saying no and it just really irks me. You have to earn the right to say no. Say yes more than you say no. Put in the time. Be that resource and I guarantee you’ll build that reputational capital that will de-commoditize you in your industry, whatever that may be.
John Lee Dumas: I love that, Fire Nation. You just have to earn it. You have to earn it and that’s why you go through seasons in life. When I was going through the first season of my business with EOFire, guess what? I said yes to everything because I wanted to get that momentum going and it’s so hard to get that momentum going but opportunities will arise when you just say yes and then as that momentum gets going, you build up and you’re becoming more quote on quote in demand, then you start getting more specific about what you say yes to and what you say no to until potentially, you get to the point where Richard Branson says no to I’m sure 99 percent of his opportunities but guess what? He gets a lot of opportunities.
Waldo Waldman: And it has to be focused ultimately on that target. What are you trying to do? What’s your plan daily, monthly, yearly so that you have that future focus necessary? And if something’s taken you off track, if something’s gonna detract you from that goal then definitely say no but really, like you said, say yes and that’s part of the taking action concept. Hey, man. Every day should be stretched and full of sweat and brand building and excellence.
John Lee Dumas: Love it. Military speak right here. Well, Waldo, what I wanna talk about now is you don’t strike me as the kinda guy that you let something keep you down for long. So I’m sure this is not gonna be a protracted story of drama but talk to us about what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moments to date. Take us to that day. Take us to that story. Share that with us.
Waldo Waldman: As a professional speaker, you make or break your career on the platform. Right? You have a great website, you can sound good even on this interview but at the end of the day, my product is delivering excellence on that platform and that workshop engaging people. So 2005 or so, in the beginning of my speaking career, I’ve been speaking around 13, 14 years, I spoke for federated department store in Ohio.
Long story short, I just was not in the zone. I didn’t sleep that well the night before. I just wasn’t able to connect with the audience. I remember sitting there watching these people look at me, not engaged, not giving me the love, and my energy level went down. I had that little mini pity party like, “Man, this freaking sucks. What am I doing in this career?” It was literally the worst speaking experience of my life. And the more I was focused on how I was feeling, the fact that they weren’t giving me the love and really connecting with me, the worst my performance got.
And the client was moderately happy because we’re our own worse critic but what I realized then was that that was on me that if I wanna be a professional, if I wanna be best in class, then the audience doesn’t give a hoot if I didn’t sleep the night before, if my dog died. The only thing that I have to do is earn something very special that that client did for me that day. They wrote me a check and said, “We want you to deliver excellence to these people,” and I screwed up. And I realized at that moment that I was never gonna enter the platform ever unprepared, in my head too much, that I would be 100 percent focused on the mission.
And if you let a failure or an experience detract you from your goal, your mission of providing value from delivering what the client expected you to deliver, then you have no right to be in that seat called being an entrepreneur or being a speaker or whatever it is. So I had to eat my own dog food, John, and it was a valuable lesson to me and I prepare relentlessly. I’ve been inducted in the speaker hall of fame, got a great reputation. That’s because I never forget that day that I have to earn my wings on that platform and as a professional every single day.
John Lee Dumas: There’s a quote, Fire Nation, that really resonates with me on this topic and that’s how you do something is how you do everything and if you really approach life like that, if you really look at life and say, “How I do this is gonna be a reflection of how I do everything,” it’s gonna be meaningful.
And to give myself just a tiny little pat on the back, I respect Waldo a lot and we jumped on this call here today and the first thing he said was, “John, wow. Your prep for this interview, what you sent to me for email reminders to make sure that my notifications were shut off and the tutorials, all this, it was amazing. I just feel like you’ve really nailed it,” And I had to be honest and say, “Waldo, you’re episode 1540 and that came over time but I was always working towards that.”
So what are you working towards, Fire Nation, so that people see a reflection of your every day actions as everything that you do? So that’s my big takeaway, Waldo, from what you just shared. What do you wanna make sure Fire Nation really gets from your story?
Waldo Waldman: So it’s really about commitment that it is 24/7, that commitment excellence applies in your profession but also in your personal life. What are doing to prep for the mission? Before we flew combat missions, we studied the threat. We prepared. We got the rest. We were ready. We had the relationships and partnerships necessary to execute. So as you start thinking about how you’re preparing to engage your customer, what are you doing on the weekends? What books are you reading? Where is excellence showing up or not showing up in your life?
Because if you look at your habits, if you look at your schedule, to look at what you do to prepare for your mission like this call, that’s where the key is. And everything, everything counts. How you show up, how you prepare, your mindset isn’t just when you’re wearing the uniform or in the cockpit. It’s when you’re hanging out with your buddies on the weekend and what you’re doing at night, what books you’re reading, and what distractions or opportunities you’re taking advantage of.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you’ll hear me say at the end of this interview, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’re the average of the pieces of content you spend the most time with. What are you reading? What newsletter are you subscribed to? What videos are you watching? Are they Ted talks or are they reruns of reality TV like Real Housewives? So really focused on that. Now, Waldo, you just told us a great story about your worst moment. Take us to one of your greatest ideas you’ve had to date. Tell us that story.
Waldo Waldman: Who you hang out with. Right? I call it the wingman or wingnuts, people to lift you up or people who drag you down. And that’s why I talk about that, that formation in our lives, the coaches, the mentors, the peers who emulate excellence every day, whose DNA bleeds over into what you do and how you think, so I’m part of a mastermind group obviously thinking well rich.
If you haven’t read it and you’re listening to this podcast, just that should be the first book you read as far I’m concerned, “Napoleon Hill.” And he talks about the power of a mastermind group, which are likeminded folks who may not necessarily have your expertise in your particular niche but have your core values, have your work ethic, have the necessary attributes but in a different area of expertise that can augment your weakness.
So basically, I’ve been part of a mastermind group. I’ve been part of two. Love it. We get together a couple times a year. We connect. We always are a resource. We’re brutally honest with each other but here is the aha moment, John. I’ve been with one of my groups for eight years and I sat in this meeting in Chicago just a month and a half, two months ago and I realized it was time to move on. That sometimes, your wingman, your team who may have been a valuable resource to you in the past with context, with perspective and insights on success may not be what’s best for you now.
And we spent two days together and at the end of it, I said, “Look folks, I love you. We spent great years together. You’re my friends but it’s time for me to move on. We’re not asking the right questions. We’re not thinking about the things that are important in my life because I’m trying to push up my throttle and take it to the next level.” So I quit that mastermind group and now, it’s created a whole new level of opportunity. I hired another coach.
I don't know if you know who Dan Sullivan is in Canada. Spent $25,000.00 bucks and invested in being around other people who can provide a different paradigm of success and I think sometimes, you gotta quit your group as well as find out new wingman who to nurture and build trusting partnerships and mastermind with.
John Lee Dumas: And Fire Nation, this goes back to something we were chatting about earlier. There’s going to be seasons in your life. There’s going to be seasons in your business and you need to just accept that. Again, going back to my first couple seasons, the people who are in my masterminds and who I was surrounding myself with during season one and season two of EOFire aren’t the same people and the same business that are gonna take me to the next level in seasons three and now what I consider my current season, which is season four.
We need to be continuously upgrading our game and if those people who you started off with aren’t doing the same thing, aren’t on that same trajectory, you need to pull yourself out because you are that average of the five people you spend the most time with so always be cognizant of that.
Waldo Waldman: If you’re showing up too, John, and you’re not putting in the work, if you’re going up to the mastermind group and everybody else is doing better than you or working harder on themselves than they do – if you’re not working harder on yourself than you do on the job to quote Jim Roane, then you may be a detriment or dragging down that team. So, most important wingman in your life, the person staring back at you in the mirror. Make sure you’re working on that person first and foremost and delivering to your team because you don’t wanna be showing up as the slacker in the group. You wanna emulate excellence every single day and then that’ll attract those folks to you as well.
John Lee Dumas: Here at the end of 2016, what are you most fired up about right now?
Waldo Waldman: So I’m working on a new book called wingman. It’s about a young man in his 30s, who’s killing it in the sales. He’s a sales rep for a big technology company, actually mid size technology company and basically, he’s asked to step up and lead a team and he meets quote on quote me. By the way, I’m 48. I live in Atlanta but this is the older version of me, the version of me that I aspire to be. Right? And we’re always growing. We’re always evolving. We’re avoiding complacency.
So he meets me and I coach him through this tough decision in his life and I coach him in finding what I call meaning in his mission. What is he fighting for everyday? Why does he wanna win? Why does he wanna succeed? And kinda create a paradigm in his life of what it means to serve other people and to really kick buck.
And so this book is about mentorship. It’s about making tough decisions in life and taking the road less traveled and it’s also about having the courage to do something that you may be afraid of that will not only impact you or your team of coworkers or clients but also the people who mean something to you in your life, your family, and other people who aspire to be greater than who they were yesterday. So it’s just something I’m just tremendously excited about and it’s more from the heart. My book, “Never Fly Solo,” is more about the head and tactics on success and business and entrepreneurship. This ones about the heart, the blood, as opposed to the muscle.
John Lee Dumas: And when is this book gonna be available to the public?
Waldo Waldman: Part of putting things out there is having goals and making sure you’re particular about those goals and putting them down. So my plan is to be Veteran’s Day, around Veteran’s Day next year. Right around this time because I wanna contribute a lot of the profits to veterans of our country.
John Lee Dumas: Alright. Fire Nation. Well, pull out your Google calendar and around November 11th, whenever Veteran’s Day is next year just put a little marker and say, “Hey, let’s check out if ‘Wingman’ is live,” because that’s gonna be a valuable resource for you. Now, speaking of valuable resource, we have valuable resources, a galore coming up in the lightning round so don’t you go anywhere but first, let’s thank our sponsors. Waldo, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Waldo Waldman: I am, sir.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Waldo Waldman: I’d been relatively successful my whole life. I’ve worked hard. I grew up in a blue collar family. I decided to go to the academy, air force academy and become a fighter pilot and all that stuff. So my fear after leaving my full time sales job where I was doing pretty well was really I guess it was security. It was about being average. I think most people, when you decide to become an entrepreneur, feel pretty confident in themselves.
The thing that held me back, like I said, was will I not just quote on quote succeed, “Will I make a living, but will I truly kick butt?” I do not do anything unless I can be top of class, world class, best of the best. That’s what I strive to be. It’s what I’ve tried to do in my speaking career and everything. So when I commit to something, I know I’ve gotta go all in. So my fear was, “Will I just be another speaker out there. Will I just be another coach or will I truly have excellence?”
And I know that may not be what folks are – or maybe that may not be the answer folks are looking for. It wasn’t necessarily fear of failure because I knew I would kill it. I just didn’t wanna be average. I just didn’t wanna be mediocre and be looked at as just another speaker so that’s what I constantly try to do. What’s out there for me is creating a unique brand, mint chocolate chip in a vanilla chocolate world as I always like to say. And what that means is guess what, man? You’re gonna have to sweat. You’re gonna have to sacrifice. You’re gonna have to put in the hard work and if you don’t love that journey, guess what? Being an entrepreneur isn’t for you. So that’s kinda my short story on that.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Waldo Waldman: Get a coach. Invest. Somebody’s always smarter, provides a different perspective than you. Hire a coach in your industry who emulates excellence who you can go to for help. Invest in it. Pay for it. It’ll be worth it.
John Lee Dumas: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Waldo Waldman: I always, every day, try to connect other people with folks who can lift them up and encourage them and create future successes for them. I love doing it. It’s part of being a wingman. I call it being a wing giver. I don’t believe in networking. I believe in wingworking. So when I’m on LinkedIn, when I met people at events all across the world, when I connect with folks at home, I try to put like minded individuals together, help their businesses out, refer them, get them jobs. It’s something that I do everyday and it just builds my reputation capital as somebody who emulates my philosophy of wingman, not just because I wrote about it or speak about it. I do it everyday.
John Lee Dumas: Can you share an internet resource like EverNotes with Fire Nation?
Waldo Waldman: So what I have is something pretty unique for me. It’s called eSpeakers. It’s basically a calendar management system. Not outlook. Not iCal but a special calendar management system and it’s a pseudo CRM system. That’s what I use. I don’t use EverNote. I probably should. I’m kind of old school but I don’t use too many internet resources other than that and some other tools to my speaking business. If you don’t have a calendar management system or a CRM, invest in it. Technology is an important wingman. It’ll save your butt and avoid the missiles from being shot at you.
John Lee Dumas: If you could recommend one book, Waldo, to join, “Never Fly Solo,” on our bookshelves and soon, that’s November 17th, Fire Nation, “Wingman,” what would that book be and why?
Waldo Waldman: I love the book, “The One Thing,” by Gary Keller.
John Lee Dumas: And Jay Papasan. I always have to say his name because I met J, the coauthor. Great dude.
Waldo Waldman: Yep. I was interviewed by their group a couple –
John Lee Dumas: Oh, cool.
Waldo Waldman: Maybe eight months ago, a year ago and I just think it’s great and it talks about your habits, your patterns, that one thing that you do everyday that’s gonna be that leverage point that will help augment and catapult your success, which often means avoiding the distractions, disguises, opportunities. “The One Thing,” Gary Keller, read it.
John Lee Dumas: Jay Papasan. Gary Keller. Waldo, let’s end it today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Waldo Waldman: I think the most important thing you can do everyday is to be willing to ask for help and I know that most of us have egos. We wouldn’t be entrepreneurs if we weren’t ambitious and had egos but be willing to look yourself in the mirror and say, “You know what? I have a weakness in this area or I need help in certain area.” Take the mask off, be vulnerable, ask for help and take with honor. Take when folks are offering it to you. Be willing to ask but then pay it forward.
And when I say take with honor, it means you’re paying it forward to somebody else. You’re lifting others up while you’re allowing others to lift you up. Really, really important. So for me, my website’s YourWingman.com. If you Google Waldo Waldman, you’ll find me all over the place, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, et cetera. I’d love to offer free download for my book, “Never Fly Solo” if that’s cool.
So a free download. It’s a New York Times, Wall Street Journal bestseller called “Never Fly Solo.” If you go to YourWingman.com/nfs IE Never Fly Solo, Nancy Foxtrot Sierra, YourWingman.com/nfs and put the password, “wingman,” in there, all lowercase, you’ll get a free audiobook. It’s 19.95 I think on Audible but this one’s to you for free and then you can connect with me from there and hopefully we’ll get a chance to fly together in the future.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with dub dubs, that’s WW and JLD today so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Waldo in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today, best show notes in the biz, timestamps, links galore. And of course, check out that free gift over at YourWingman.com/ November Foxtrot Sierra. That’s NFS, November Foxtrot Sierra. And Waldo, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Waldo Waldman: God bless you, John.
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