Welcome to the win at home first podcast. I'm your host, Cory Carlson. This podcast is where we talk about how successful business leaders win, not only at work, but also at home. On this podcast, we will go behind the scenes with great leaders to hear stories of how they win. Thank you for listening and on to today's episode.
(00:25): Hey, the score today's episodes. Ron kitchens is awesome. You'll get an introduction of him and just a minute, but some of the items we talk about are how he had a breakdown 20 years ago, which caused him to take control of his schedule of his time, of his commitment. And he shares some habits that you and I can use. He talks about how he applies the Nehemiah verse directly to his life. And it was also informational. He's also working on another book, what it takes to stay great, and he gives some tips along the way. So just packed with all kinds of good bits of wisdom. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did on to today's episode.
(01:12): Hello, Scorre Carlston. You're listening. Went home first podcast today is a treat because I'm being joined by Ron kitchens. And it's one of my favorite books I've read in the last few years called uniquely you and we were introduced together cause we both use the same writing coach, Chad Allen for a book. And so I had a conversation with Ron shortly after reading the book and enjoyed it then, and looking forward to this podcast, he is the CEO of Birmingham business Alliance. He is just a, kind of a serial entrepreneur. He's done seven startups. He got to is always in the social space, as well as the business space. He's married as well as a, just a strong man's fate. So excited to hear from you. And so thank you very much, Ron, for being on the podcast.
(01:59): Oh, thanks. I I'm tickled to death then, you know, the fandom goes both ways. So both your, the vulnerability of your book, but also your commitment to make leaders better every day. And I'm so appreciative of that. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Great. Let's dive in Ron. What is that key trait to win at work and went at home?
(02:19): I think of understanding your own boundaries of what you're committed to do in every area. For me, I budget my time. Like I budget my financial resources. So I use an Excel spreadsheet and quarterly I'm auditing that Excel spreadsheet. I'm looking at my calendar saying I committed my time in this way. And my wife and I sit down and talk about it. My, you know, for us it's what are we going to do together? What are, how are we going to spend our resources, time, talent, treasure? And time's a big part of that. And so if I'm, I don't wait till the end of the year, you can get way off track if you wait too long. And a lot of cases, if I'm in a rough season, I'm feeling bad about where I'm at. If I'm don't, if I'm not excited to get up and go to work, or I'm not excited to go home.
(03:19): And I know a lot of men that I've coached mentally, who don't want to leave work, because there's nothing home that excites them as much as that hit of adrenaline, they're getting from work or that validation that I'm looking at that every 40 days, because I know something's off track and for me, 40 days is important are my own organization runs on a 40 day cycle. It's biblical, but it also makes sense. A monthly is too short. Sometimes two months too long, 40 days has a great read them about it. But if you're not managing your time, then that's where I see a lot of people. That's where I see a lot of moral failure. And that's where I see a lot of family failure is in that lack of time management,
(04:10): That's good in the Excel spreadsheet. What are the buckets of time that you're tracking? So I track it left to right. First thing I'm investing in is I'm the spirit side. So my morning prayer is the very first thing on that list. And I use a system, a friend of mine, Bob kind of created called two chairs. So I literally sit down with God and I have a conversation said there's an a chair across from me and I'm talking to my friend, really I'm sharing what cause sometimes I praying. And I only know my perspective, his perspective, men that I work with is sometimes it feels either hyper spiritual. Like we're trying to copy, you know, Billy Graham or somebody in our prayers, or you're sitting there trying to think of something to pray about. So you start praying for wealth or you start praying for, you know, something. But for me, I want to have a conversation with God. So I sit down every day and two chairs, which he's the one chair and I'm in the other.
(05:20): And I talk about my day and sometimes I have my calendar out and I'm sharing what I'm worried about or what I'm hoping to happen in that. So prayers really important. Second thing is committed. Family time. My commitment was we had dinner together as a family every night, unless I could not control it. If I was out of town on business or I had something really special, we had dinner every night and every school function went on my calendar and everybody on my team saw it. This spelling bee went on. My calendar. Every event went on, my calendar, those things got spent. First family vacations got committed to first. Then we started breaking down the commitments. I make it work in an Inn. And I still to this day do this is I, I have to block time in blocks to do things. So, you know, at 8 0 5 every morning, my team meets, you know, for a standup meeting and we have specific things we're dealing with each day on Tuesdays, Tuesdays are fully committed to my, to the team, to one-on-one meetings, to manage meetings.
(06:39): We're doing that Wednesdays and Thursdays are about resources and relationships. So we're blocking those out and we're doing it by hours, not just days when I'm blocking in hours and then Fridays about big ideas. So I'm working on that deep thought things. What are those things are going to bring back resources to the organization and putting in. And so I'm spending all of my time for the year and blocking that out. And then when I go back and review my calendar, I'm not just saying, how did I feel about it, but how did I meet the expectations that I had a commitment to my wife, to my daughter, to the people I work with to the people I work for all know what my commitment is. And now I know whether I met the obligations and if I didn't, why not? [inaudible]
(07:35): Thanks for the explanation of that. I love that. Do you have in there also for friends? I do. So there's absolutely time. You know, churches is in their thirties has been kind of weird during COVID. We do that. We've actually, as I go back and reflect have spent more time in a church service because frankly we're watching some really cool, amazing ministers that otherwise I would have not known existed, but now that we can watch stuff on zoom and get it recorded or spending more time in the word we did before, but there's also, you know, those family and friend obligations are there. And you know, those things that, you know, date night is on there and, you know, it's, we, I treated it just like I would treat my money. I'm probably actually, I'm more strict with my time than my money. I can replace my money, but when the time's gone, the time's gone. I can't do anything to fix it.
(08:40): You know, we talked about the five categories in the book where it goes spiritual and relational, then physical than intellectual, then financial in that order. And part of that physical capital, because it has more value than financial because it's really not replaceable. You can't get it back. You know, you can wait, you can get money back as far as it's a no going and making more money, but you can't go make more time. So man, that's great. Ron, was there a moment that you had to start managing your time because you were finding yourself spread too thin or not getting things done where you're like, oh my goodness, I got to fix this. I'm going to an Excel spreadsheet.
(09:15): So for me it was I had a rock bottom moment that I so I was standing on a beach in south Padre island, Florida. My mother-in-law had rented a, a house, which was, she wasn't a wealthy woman. This was a big, important thing for her, had her children and their children all there. And I'm standing on a beach on myself. I'm talking to my office all morning and working on a project that I knew was going to die. I wasn't going to work. And yet I let myself get drawn into that and flew home, left my family on the beach to go do this. Cause I felt more of an obligation to people who were putting pressure on me than I did to my own family and sitting in my house a day later all by myself while all of my family is on vacation.
(10:18): And and I couldn't quit crying. I just couldn't. I was just so sad and broken and I thought I'm never doing this again. I don't know what's important to me. So I let other people tell me what's important to me and I'm not going to do this again. My family comes first and and there was, this was nothing but laziness on my part and I'll never do this again. And so it for now 20 plus years that that's my driving memory. When my is out of whack, it actually says on my Excel spreadsheet up in the top right-hand corner just says Padre island, because I want to remember, I want to know that pain and know why I'm doing this, this isn't. So I make more money. This isn't. So I'm more famous. This isn't. So I sell more books. This is so I, at the end of the day, remember what's important to me and of all the gifts God's given me. And there I am overflowing with the abundance of grace by God. The only thing that somebody else won't replace me at someday is being Lynn's husband and Kelsey's dad. Those are the things that nobody ever replaced me. And, you know, July of this year, we'll be married 30 years and will good Lord willing we'll have another 30. And but there's, those are two things I'm not giving up and I'm not going to be, I'm not ever losing at again.
(11:55): And thanks for sharing that. And it's just a great example. Cause when you were at Southwest Michigan first, before that, you know, I'm sure given your all, but you're still doing the time Onyx that was within the last 20 year period. So you're still managing well, but that's a perfect example where you were, you know, the leader, things were going great. You've done some incredible stuff. You were leading a conference where you had all kinds of national known speakers come in, but yet you don't work there anymore. You are replaceable there and here you are down in Alabama at a neat job. That's a great example where you put, you know, a lot of effort to something and now you're not there.
(12:35): Yep. And there, and the, the world moves on and it's supposed to a great leader ensures that they're replaceable. I built a great team. They're doing wonderful areas of the business that are supposed to be growing and growing. And then I can feel really comfortable pivoting and doing new challenges and taking on new opportunities that before, you know, I just wouldn't have been able to.
(13:02): Yep, absolutely. And I like how you have the pottery island on the top of the spreadsheet, kinda like an Ebenezer moment. I mean, there's things I have in my office as reminders of the good that God has done in my life. Well, I've got a civil engineer by degree. And so I have the actual professional ear engineer's stamp on my back shelf right behind me, because I want to be reminded of God's provision to get me through it and looking behind you, no one can see us because it's on zoom, but you've got your Mandarin oranges, which is a significant story in your life. And I love that. And are you still for new employees buying Mandarin oranges on their first day and put it on their desk?
(13:44): Yup. My, I had a new, I have a new system that started yesterday and she had a can of Mandarin oranges on her desk when she started and she hasn't asked her why yet I know it'll come and then we can talk about those things. Right. Right. And so for you, that's also an example of God's provision.
(14:05): Absolutely. Yeah. So for me, you know, in the story of the Manor and orange is this, you know, I grew up in abject poverty. My mother's 15, year-olds older than I am. My dad's 16. My dad was killed when I was four, when he was 20 in an industrial accident because he couldn't read, the sign said, don't do this. And but if you can't read the sign, it doesn't matter what it says and it cost him his life. And so I grew up just about as poor as you can grow up in America. Teenage mom had no relationship with family, either side and Christmas, I must have been about six. You know, we get a box of food from a church. We didn't attend a men that we know drops off there. And you know, I can still smell when I tell a story, I can still smell the smell of burnt Pinto beans because my mom had been saving money.
(15:02): And so we were eating a lot of Pinto beans, a lot, you know, support people will do to save money. So there was a little Christmas under the tree. And when that showed up that Chiquita banana box, big wax thick box and had a Turkey in it, stove top stuffing, an instant mashed potatoes and some Ana, but it had a can of Mandarin oranges. And w truth is in the 1970s in the Ozark mountains, whether it was candor, fresh, tropical fruit was rare and special. And we probably didn't really know what to do with Mandarin oranges. So it became that symbol. Every time we'd get evicted from the house, every time we would move, you know, when you're poor, there's a hierarchy to what you move. You take the paperwork first. So you can get in school and get your government assistance. You take the food and then if there's some room, you take clothes, but there's never toys.
(16:02): There's never books. They would tear the trash bags that you're moving in. Or, you know, there's not room in the car where you're sleeping. So, you know, that can, Amanda and oranges became my security blanket. It was the thing that said, somebody loved me. Somebody cared on those darkest days for my brother and I, so the can, as all cans will do after a while it got bloated and my mom threw it away. I must've been probably nine at the time, maybe 10. And I remember being heartbroken about it and lamenting, how, how could she do this? Cause this can't every kitchen we had, even if it was just a shack of a house that can went there, that was special. And so money was a little better than it. Shabbat a can replace it. And I went to put it on the shelf. Don't do that.
(16:57): I want you to put it on your desk. Well, it wasn't much of a desk. It was really a TV tray, but it was what I had. So you put it on there and remember what the cost is of a lack of education. You wouldn't have to do that. If your dad could have read and there's been a can Amanda and oranges and every desk, every office I've ever had since that point. And so we give a can out to you've given my wife and I have bought tens of thousands of cans of Mandarin oranges and given them to food banks or supported food baskets around the country. But every new employee gets can Amanda and oranges. And we talk about what that story is and what it means. And when I started this job, two different employees knew the story and had cans of Mandarin oranges on my desk. All right. I made it now.
(17:53): Yeah. Good, good. And so when you tell the story, how does it apply to them? So, you know, it's their story. I mean your story and I love it. And I would like to hear from you, how are you sharing with them? How this applies to you. I mean, are you pulling God into it and God's provision? Or
(18:09): How do you share with them? We're talking about that. And there's a couple of things. One, it's a story that I was embarrassed about, you know, and I know you've got, you know, as you tell your story to your audiences and the vulnerability of it, you know, I have the same kind of experience that I was terrified that after I had made it was successful, people would find out how I grew up. They would find out that, you know, when you're poor, as I just said, you don't move with your clothes or if you do, it's very few. So I figured out that you could go to donation boxes for Goodwill and they used to be, they're all in parking lots, it's at shopping centers and you can crawl inside the donation box and shop. So I would see we would not have, we wouldn't have clothes.
(19:03): So I grabbed my little brother and we'd go rummaging around inside of these boxes and get toys and clothes. Cause we didn't have anything. I had no idea that was stealing, but that's how we got clothes. So I was terrified finding out about the stories, but I was asked to speak at a three-day men's retreat called the walk to a mass. And I was challenged to talk about a stories about God's provision. And so, you know, we think about that and I think they probably thought, here's this guy who's pretty successful. He's going to talk about all these great things. And I talked about how can a Mandarin oranges from a church, we didn't attend a men who we didn't know, change my life and talked about that Goodwill box. And all of a sudden it became everything I had done in the past almost became irrelevant because now in an authentic story, I was no longer Tara that will, if they find out who I really am, they won't like me or I'll lose it all or they'll find out on some kind of fraud.
(20:19): So it's about one being incredibly vulnerable to people and saying, you need to know this is who you see. Let me tell you how that got created. You're seeing the highlight reel, not how, where I came from. And on the other side of it, you know, you know, I was able to share this story at a United way board meeting where people didn't really that side of me and they were going to do away with Christmas boxes. Cause they're like, nobody needs a Christmas box. What are we doing that for? But, and I'm like, well clearly here, no one's ever gotten one instead they get Amazon boxes delivered.
(21:03): Let me tell you what this is like. And and they dramatically increased the funding of that and the impact they're having and understanding. It's not just food that you're giving people. It's hope that that box goes beyond just feeding someone, particularly if there's a message of God involved in it.
(21:27): And it's incredible. So you're just reminding that your employees have God's provision in their life and how they may be sitting there with a new job with the Birmingham business Alliance or, or scared.
(21:39): There's a story about poverty. You're scared. There's a story of a broken home or scared. There's a story of an addiction in their past are scared. And I'm like, there's nothing you can tell me that I'm going to judge you on. There's nothing in your past. That affects my respect for you. All it can do is shows me what you've overcome to get here. And those are the people that I want to be around. If you had an easy pass, you're probably not going to be as committed to our both business and social engagement as somebody who's had to slug it out. I don't want to be around people who understand that, you know that nothing, no one does anything alone. And even if there's, even if you can't see somebody walking next to you, there's somebody next to your side all the time. Yeah. That's so good. You were very strong in your faith. How do you lead with that at work? So
(22:41): It's interesting having relocated to Alabama for Michigan, it's much easier in Alabama. That is true. Yes. Rarely go to a public meeting that you don't pray over the meal. You know, I wear a and I have for 20 plus years, a bracelet called a fishers of men bracelet. So it comes from that lock to a mass and people ask about it. And I'll talk about my responsibility that I've worn this for 20 plus years. Cause it reminds me every day of my responsibility to serve and my faith. So I have lots of openings because of that. People who look me up know that I'm not inhibited by my faith, not perfect. I still cuss too much.
(23:35): But my faith to me at this point is about an opportunity to extend community. At point it was an opportunity to be in community. Now it's an opportunity to extend community at a time when people I actually had a someone we interviewed last week, I said, well, tell me about, you know, your friend group, what do you enjoy doing so well? And really have one friend here. All of my other friends are virtual and it really, oh, and this person was a professional, was career minded, seemingly and I oh, I need to talk about extending community to you. Cause I think you, don't great. If you have a hobby that, you know, there are only 25 people in the world who care about this one thing I get that, but you can't live your life where your friends are virtual and faith is just an important component about being able to live in community.
(24:43): You know that there's some churches out in the world that are doing such incredible work with small groups. You know, church of the Highlands here in Birmingham has more people in their small groups than they have members of their church. So they have people who are in small groups who don't consider themselves to be members in what other small groups here in Birmingham. We've had a spring with a lot of tornadoes and you turn on the TV and you see first responders cutting out trees, opening up roads, helping families get out of their house. And he realized the back of their vests say church of the Highlands on it. And so they have hundreds of trained, fully equipped members who their small group is serving in a tree response group for emergencies. I mean, trucks, it looks like a full professional corporate activity, but yet it's men and women who said, here's how we're going to serve. And I think that I frankly think that's the future of faith and I think that's the future of
(25:54): Our world. Yeah. And, but you also hit on something so prevalent to executives, men and women is the lack of friends. And I mean the lack of community, I mean, I fell in that trap. I was traveling every week and on the weekends trying to be super husband, super dad. And before I knew it, it kind of didn't have a lot of friends. I had a guy I could call and get a beer with, but I didn't have anyone else doing life with accountability. And that encouragement when I was right in the right, in the book, Ron and Chad and I had found this quote says there is you know, no one ever talks about Jesus' greatest miracle and it's that he had three close friends in his early thirties, you know? And it's just because it gets hard. And so I, I too went, you know, got aggressive, say, all right, I gotta fix this, put a small group.
(26:45): And our small group actually just went on a guys trip about a month ago, down to Florida. And that is now going to be an annual rhythm because it just filled all of our hearts up and lots of laughs and drinks and just good time and deep talks and really just seeing what's going on in everyone's life. And what's crazy. Even about that small group, Ron, we meet every other week. We went down there for a couple of uninterrupted days. We learned more about some of the stuff that people had going on in life than we did from the group. So it just goes to show you that there's still a masking that takes place amongst you know, executives. Thank you very much for listening to today's episode. I hope you are joined so far before we go back to the rest of this episode.
(27:30): I want to share with you my book when at home first, some of you have read it. So thank you very much for others of you. You have not. And I encourage if you're looking for a resource to help you with these times of your work is now in your home and your home is now in your work and what this looks like. This book is being helpful to many leaders like you whores magazine said it was one of seven books. Everyone on your team should read in the book is broken up into four different sections to help you versus about you. Understand who you are. The second is marriage in ideas and tips to help with your marriage. Third is parenting and the last is work. So these four different sections to help you recalibrate during this time and to help move forward. So if you are needing additional resource, I encourage you to check out my book went home first. It is available on Amazon as well as audible and so on to the rest of the episode. Thank you very much. You mentioned the bracelet you have on the pottery island all happened about 20 years ago. It was at a pivotal moment in your life, just holistically and all around.
(28:41): It was where I had first achieved real commercial success and lots of money in the bank, living on a golf course, swimming pool in the backyard, you know, serving on the right boards of directors. And then, and I had no glimpse into that world. Every day was a brand new day. I didn't have a father who had seen, I didn't have family that I knew what to do about. So everything's brand new and it was it's that kind of classic story. The more you achieve, the more you lose. And it was a point that I am and my whole life has been about men who have stepped into my life and open doors pulled me from the fire, said, you don't know the direction you're going in. I don't even know I'm telling you this, but here's the lesson you can learn. And that was one of those where a group of men who I'm still close with, said, we think you should come over here with us.
(29:50): When think you can learn from us. We want to be in faith with you. And and I don't, my life, I think would have turned out different. I don't think I'd still be married today. I don't think I would be as successful today. I know my faith journey would have been dramatically different if it hadn't been for people, you know, being in this kind of model of the priesthood of all believers, where you don't have to be anointed to be a minister, you don't have to have a title. You don't have, you just have the, have the ability and willingness to serve your fellow man. And if those guys hadn't stepped into my life, I don't know where I'd be today.
(30:33): I believe the book of acts is still active today. Yep. Yes it is. So for anyone listening to this podcast and maybe sitting in your shoes at that moment, what were those warning signs? What were those signals that your buddies were seeing that you were doing that like, oh, hold up, you know, you got to stop that come over here. What was some of that behavior mindset that they just kept seeing? And they thought you were at risk of going down a bad path?
(31:02): I think it was just this. I didn't have a plan. So it was like, it's a bad analogy, but it's a bit like an addict. So I was getting more and more addicted to the success to winning, but doing, you know, turning down. And one of the things I love more than anything is to go bird hunting. I love to quail and, and, and all of a sudden, I didn't have time for that. The reason I like it is because it's social. Cause you're talking while you're doing it, you're cutting up your, you know, it's predominantly guys who are, you have a good laugh it's short. And you know, you sit down and eat a brisket taco. And it's a pretty good day. And I was turning those things down because I was focused on work because I was focused on a crisis. Cause I had to do more and more and more.
(31:59): And I wouldn't ask anybody for help. Why would I need help? I know what I'm doing. This is all about me. I must have got here on my own. So I have to do it on my own. And I think a lot of us men fall into that trap and we forget about, you know creative returns, that one plus one equals three. And that's when you pair with the right people. That's what happens. But we feel like we it's all, all the weights on our shoulders. So we have to do it by ourselves. And I think that's what they saw. And I'm still in community with that. We're all kind of spread out around the country, but we make a point that we're getting the other multiple times a year. You know, we're torturing each other on birthdays and social media and texting all day long, lots of days. And as you said, you know, being in community is key and I think men are terrible at it. We just don't.
(33:03): Yeah, we are. Absolutely. And it goes a little bit back to what you just said. We think we can do it on our own and I'll be fine. I don't need any guy friends. I'll be all right. I can handle it. So you got burned, you got bird hunting on that Excel spreadsheet then don't ya. Great. That's awesome with your daughter and growing up in the house, how did you lead with faith? How did you lead the home spiritually? From the standpoint of, you know, like the attention I can have in my house is sometimes over swinging. I go too hard. It's like, guys, let's go, let's pray. Let's do devotion. Let's do this. And then I may over swing and not be super, you know, not pushing a lot because I don't want to scare them away from God. What, what did you find to be that kind of that winning balance for you as you lead Kelsey and through, through faith and just being a spiritual leader?
(33:53): Yeah, I think there were things that we made the decision to do that other families probably doesn't work for them, but because we only had one child and we were slightly older when we had the child, I was twice as old as my mom, which isn't saying much. Yeah. That's it. Yeah. Interesting.
(34:15): Yeah. But so we made a commitment that, you know, things that other, her friends, families might find weird. Like we pray in public dinner and restaurants and you know, for a couple of years she was like mortified. And we heard this when we pray, our family tradition is we hold hands. We are one body of our family. And at some point middle school-ish, she took over the prayer. And I don't know when it happened, but still to this day, if we're together as a family, if it's just my wife and I, I lead the prayer. But if it's the three of us, Kelsey leads the prayer. Wow. And I don't know how it happened, but we pray at home. We pray in restaurants, there's no weirdness or shame about it. Doesn't matter. You know, she was home a few weeks ago and we were in a bar that served burgers and all that's going on.
(35:16): We just stopped them at our heads and prayed. And three people came over and said, thank you. Thanks for exhibiting that. Thanks for doing that. And it was like one of those that maybe I was doing it for you. I don't, I don't know, but I'm glad it touched you. And so that was important surrounding ourselves on with other families who were on different faith journeys, but we're all people of faith and there being no judgment about it. You know, if you want to go with them on Sunday to church, rock on, you want to go to our church, rock on whatever that looks like. You know, whatever youth group feels great to you, that's where we want you to be. Because, you know, we believe God's in every house regardless of what the sign on the front of the building says. And so I think that was a part of it, I think, to the vulnerability because there's only one child, you know, we also involved Kelsey in our financial decisions.
(36:23): You know, we set up a budget every year for how we're going to give our money away. And so she, we, she participated in that and saw how not everything we give our money to is faith based, but how our faith informed where those dollars went. And then, and then she began to lead how part of that money is spent. And she still leads part of that, of how it's spent and contributes to it. So it's this ownership of our responsibility of not just personal, but our responsibility to give back. And then, you know, I think the other thing is because of my work and relationships, she's been able to meet an incredible number of people who are successful either in the faith world. So we have another number of friends who are, you know, famous Christian writers, speakers, ministers, and see them in their real life. So they're not mythical, they're not Sunday special. They're people who are living an incredible life. And so you see how that informs and incorporates into your own.
(37:41): Oh, that's fantastic. Ron, you mentioned a lot of cool God moments through your story. And you know, part of my story is I, you know, God saying Hanover, your small story for a greater story. And Ron, is there a moment you shared a few already, but is there just one that you think that really speaks to God's impact in your life that listeners need to hear about as they're processing their own life?
(38:06): Yeah. I think, you know, we talked about the Mandarin oranges and how special that was, but you know, the, sometimes I take no for an answer when the real answer is not now. And so it was a few years after my dad had died and we had bounced from house to house and not comes on the door of this rental house, ran on this farm outside of town, say art house. It was this kind of old farm rental house. And the guy knocking on the door is the landlord. And my mom goes to the door and, and he says, so listen, I noticed you don't go to church on Sunday. And I'd like to invite you to come to my church. Well, in my house at that point, you know, prayer was what you did at halftime of a football game. You know, their Easter, Easter was about chocolate bunnies.
(39:06): There just wasn't any God anywhere that she could see. And my mom, so my mom said, no, no, thank you. I'm not interested. And he said, how about your sons? And so I have a brother who's two years younger. And I think she, to her own credit said, Hey, if they go with her, I can sleep in on Sundays. And so she said, sure. So Francis countrymen, who was this old broken down farmer, bib overalls drove an old, the Connell line van drug, my brother and I to a church, even after we got evicted from the house that he had, he picked us up wherever we were at and drug us to the Mount Zion Baptist church for three or four years until they had a bus ministry that got us. And it was Francis Countryman who paid for the first brand new shirt.
(40:04): I can ever remember owning a white shirt that I was baptized in. And it was Francis countrymen that was there when I was baptized. And this wasn't a adopted urchin day church. This wasn't, he was lonely. He had five kids and lots of grandkids. This was somebody who fully bought into living his faith and living in community and understand that he had an obligation to be an extension of Christ. And I, I don't know where I would have ended up without Francis countrymen. He was the guy who paid for my brother and I to go to church camp through middle-school, you know, it was always kind of there made sure we understood our Sunday school lessons. And so it reminds me that when I'm extending a faith offering, whatever that looks or feels like it may be that the person doesn't have enough knowledge to say yes, like my mom, it doesn't mean that I shouldn't find an opportunity look for an opportunity to serve them or regardless of that comment.
(41:26): So if you hear no from the first time circle back, cause it may just mean not now, or they don't have the confidence to say yes, that's right. Yep. And don't know the value of what you're offering. What are you hearing from God right now, Ron Patients that's you know, we were in a turnaround here on the organization and, and it is, I'd say patience is really go deep and not wide. So, you know, I'm going back and reflecting on, you know, I my life versus Nehemiah six, three, and you know, the Nehemiah story can come down
(42:06): And that's the verse. And I'm really hearing, you got to stay on the wall, you got to keep building. It's not time for you to come down right now, keep building that wall and building it. And and then you can enjoy the fruits of the labor. Then you can, you know, then you can talk to people about the safety they now have and the opportunities because of that wall. But if you don't take care of core business right now, then you're never going to be successful, doing the really big things that we're going to get done. And that's hard for me cause I I've like I've done that. I've done that a hundred times. I that'll take care of itself. Let's go here where it's more fun and exciting and can do that. I got to stay up on the wall now.
(42:56): Yeah. That's good. So does playing that out a little bit because I can relate to, and I know clients and friends can relate to that, but you're on the wall building as a Nehemiah, but you want to come off, like, why do you want to come off? Is there's a thought that it's 80% done. That's good enough. I don't want to go over here.
(43:13): Yeah. Cause, cause I know where we're going and I want to get to where we're going because I can see how exciting and impactful and incredible that's going to be. But if we don't take care of the, the reason I have to do the turnaround, the organization is because the wall isn't fully built and because the organization doesn't have all of the tools it needs. And so you've got to do the first things first. And when you've done that a bunch of times as a leader, it's not very exciting or sexy or that, but it's what has to happen if we're going to get to the really cool, great things on the backside. So
(43:57): On the day to day, I myself had to figure out ways to elevate the mindset, stay in the game. And for you just circling back to that Nehemiah verse, is there anything else that you're needing to do to remind yourself, Hey, I got to stay in this lane for this.
(44:12): So, so I'm a metaphorical guy. I need real examples. So I have to move a ladder out of the way every morning to go to work. Every morning I set up a ladder in the garage so that when I go out, I have to move that ladder to get my, to remind me, stay on the ladder. Don't get drug into gossip. Don't get dragged off into problems that aren't yours. Don't get drug off into things that aren't important. And what important is brick by brick building that wall. And then once that's built, once the foundation, once the fortress is there, then you can do great things from that. But I have to remind myself every
(45:03): Day. So every day you're moving a, a real ladder, not a ladder, a ladder to move it. How long have you been doing this exercise of a real ladder? 90 days. 90 days. So I take my briefcase out just before I go to bed. I set up the ladder by my car, throw my briefcase in the car and my gym bag and then set the ladder up to remind me every eighth, stay with [inaudible].
(45:33): I know your wife loves you, but does she think you're crazy? Well good. And the only reason I ask is because my wife would be, you know, she loves me, but it'd be rolling your eyes or like, you don't need to do that. So I actually love to hear that it, to me, it's, you know, you have to build a process, you know, I'm fascinated and I'm working on a new book about what it takes to stay great. Because I see whether it's a leader that I respect that all of a sudden has this moral failure and they disappear and their family's destroyed and their company, their ministry whatever's destroyed. You see sports teams, you know, LSU wins the national championship and then the next year they're disappear. It happens all the time in sports. It happens in companies, but I'm fascinated. What are the best do to stay great. And you know, and some people that, you know, may not respect them or want to be them or aspire to be them. But you know, they put together systems that enable them to focus on what's important and they don't get caught up in the, the drama that comes with wealth or success of those things. And that's what I aspire to do. So I have to put those things in place that remind me what takes to stay great.
(47:02): Oh man, I can't wait for that book. How how's it coming? Are you, when do you think it'll be published? Where are you at in the manuscript? Good. The manuscript's about two thirds done and I am going to our good friend. Chad will tell me I'm wrong. So I'm not asking him the I, this will be my fourth book and this is the first one that I'm going to write completely through. Cause I don't care. It's not the money and the publisher. I want to write when I want to write, I want to tell the stories that I want to tell that are important and real to me. And I need an editor to make sure, cause I'm really an author, not a great writer, but I don't want influence from somebody who doesn't share my vision and passion and whose influence may be on what's marketable. And at this point in my life, I want what's authentic and what's impactful more than I care about. What's marketable because if it's up to God, it'll sell her. It won't sell based on a hundred things. I can't control. The one thing I can control is my relationship with God.
(48:11): Yeah. A phrase I've been using a lot since 2020 hit me. It was, I control the input. God controls the impact. It's just been helping me so much. Are you in a position to share one tip of what it takes to stay greater or you still keep that close to the vest with them?
(48:29): I think one of the things it takes to stay great is a willingness to challenge and change your best every day, every day, you've got to look at, you know, I have a great friend PJ Fleck, cause the head football coach at the university of Minnesota and PJ actually has a new book coming out when he co-wrote with John Gordon. And so about his faith journey. And so, you know, PJ and I talk a lot about greatness and about his job. And you know, one of the things that we've talked about is the hardest part about being a football coach is every play you've ever called is on videotape. So it used to be, you know, you'd have to call a friend or maybe you can get some, a few video films of that coach. Now, instantaneously, every play he has ever called is up for the click of a computer mouse.
(49:26): And so, you know, you look at somebody like Nick Saban, who has won all these times and you go, why does he keep winning and keep changing coaches? Why? Because everything that coaches ever done is on videotape. So he's going to change up how you play against him. He has to change up how he coaches against you. And so we've gotta be willing to do that because whatever our best is out there right now, our competition can copy it instantaneously. The cost of the barrier to entry is so low in today's world that anyone would just a little bit of resources, can know everything. You know about your business, about you, what you do about the tricks of the trade. So what is the strategic advantages, your willingness to change and your to take that change and adapt it to take the organization in different directions. It's incredible. I can't wait for the book of dashes. One of many pieces there's
(50:37): Yeah, but it, it kind of, it just seems to keep coming back to that. No matter. Yeah, you don't have to be the smartest. You have to be the one who's most willing to change. But when you do your book tour on podcasts, love me please. Oh, you can count on it, Ron. This is incredible. What's the best way for listeners to get ahold of you. They can go to email@example.com or I'm like Bob Goff. Who's a friend who convinced me to put your cell number out in the world so they can call me at (269) 217-9831. Texts me, right. I can't have too many friends. It's impossible, but you can always go to Ron kitchens.com hit me. That's awesome, Ron, thank you very much for the, for the friendship and for the, your wisdom today. Thanks. I really appreciate it. And God bless.
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