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Life goes by faster than you expect it to. If you don’t live intentionally, you’ll regret all the things you missed out on. 

A life plan helps you avoid regret. Better still, your life plan also helps you create the business you’ve always wanted.

In this episode, award-winning remodeler Steve Barkhouse joins us and we discuss how your eulogy may be the key to the life of your dreams, the importance of company culture, and how to ensure you meet all your goals in life and business. 

Show highlights include:

  • The busy contractor’s secret to finding time to enjoy life when you run an all-consuming business (5:13)
  • What writing your own eulogy teaches you about your life (even if you’re still alive) (6:53)
  • A simple way to attract employees that will help you build your business legacy (9:41)
  • Why misunderstanding priorities harms your life and business (11:40)
  • The surprising reason a life plan is better than a business plan to achieve professional success (17:28)
  • How to find the peers and mentors who will push you to levels of success you could never reach alone (23:08)
  • A radical way to stop your cell phone from controlling your life (31:51)

To get the most out of this podcast, head over to buildernuggets.com and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.

Read Full Transcript

“You're putting yourself first so that you can be the person you need to be for other people.”

Welcome to another episode of Builder Nuggets, the show where builders and remodelers discover how to build thriving businesses while working less. I'm Duane Johns and together with Dave Young, we share the elements of success that have helped hundreds of contractors like you build better lives. [00:21]

Duane: Our guest today started his design build company with his best friend in 1989. Today he leads a team of over 40 people and has been recognized as Ottawa's top renovator, a record eight times. He's also been awarded The Order of Ottawa; he's led multiple industry talks and shaped the lives of many builders through his involvement with the Home Builders’ Association and Remodelers Advantage. When asked what he was most proud of as a builder, he cited the impact he's had on others. [00:47]

Dave: Too many builders dedicate their lives to building projects, instead of building their ideal life through their business. Our expert today is an inspirational exception to this. Years ago, he recognized that his business was running him, he made a shift with purpose and intention, he mapped out his end game and got to work on the elements that would lead to his ideal life. It wasn't easy and he's not totally there yet, but he learned some valuable lessons that he's willing to share.

Duane: So today we welcome Steve Barkhouse, Co-founder of Amsted Design-Build in Ottawa, Canada. For the last year Dave and Steve have shared their experiences with each other as they look toward the future of their businesses and discuss ideas on big picture topics. [01:28]

Dave: One thing that will impress you guys about Steve is his ability to mix fun and passion with serious intent. And Duane I've had the good fortune of having a copy of Steve's bucket list in front of me here, and I have to say a lot of it has already crossed off. So Steve, you must be doing something right here.

Steve: I'm trying hard buddy.

Dave: Okay, I promise we won't get into all the personal stuff, but Duane, I think our audience would enjoy hearing a few things that made the a we'll call it the Barkhouse bucket list. Are you okay with that, Steve?

Steve: Yeah, sure. [02:06]

Dave: Okay. Fly a helicopter, pay off my mortgage. I love that this one is checked off. Climb a volcano, zip line in Costa Rica, learn to sail. Already I'm sure half our audience wants to hang out with you. Go whale watching, visit Ireland with my Gramps. I loved reading that one too. Build a skating rink in the backyard. And I think you did this for years, so good Canadian here. Bag of 12-point buck, race snowmobiles. Like there's a ton of cool stuff here, and those are the ones that are done already. So what, from your bucket list, when you think of your greatest fun experience from your life plan so far, what comes to mind for you, Steve?

Steve: Oh, gosh, I guess the one I checked off just recently, which honestly was my greatest accomplishment is my youngest child; my son graduated high school on the Dean's honor list. I have two children; my goal was that they'd both be on the honor list, which is a lofty goal, especially when it's for someone else. But put in place what I had to do to support them, to get there. So, he made it and yeah, obviously he's closer to my wife's side of the family, than mine. [03:21]

Dave: We know where it gets it from. Right? Okay.

Steve: Yeah. That was a big one, for sure. I've met some wonderful opportunities to spend time with family and friends and travel and do all of that. So yeah, I had some great times.

Dave: Well, congrats on that. And there's still some, I'm going to go through a few of my favorites from your list still to come here, drive a race car.

Steve: Hmm.

Dave: Bike through Europe, go on Safari in Africa. And when I was reading through the places you've already been, it sounded like a Conde Nast travel magazine list. But my favorite on the list, and I want to hear a little bit more about this, is wear a fedora at 60. Where does that come from? Steve?

Steve: Oh, you weren't going to get personal there Dave.

Dave: Yeah. [04:07]

Steve: You know what, this was a large portion of his list was made 25, 30 years ago. And 25 or so years ago, I thought that it would be super cool that I would wear a fedora, but I couldn't imagine doing so until I was 60. And it likely is related to my grandfather who always wore a fedora from the time I could really remember. And so I'm sure that's where it comes from. And I think that that's, he was always so cool, right, with his fedora. So I think, I thought if I had a fedora it might look cool.

Duane: That's pretty cool. Just connecting that is very cool.

Steve: I'm doing the race car, this in a better way, if it wasn't for COVID in about a month. The track opened up, I heard a couple of weeks ago and I'm going up with both of my kids who are now old enough to drive and my dad, we're going to race, driver race cars.

Dave: Are you doing it a Calabogie?

Steve: Yeah.

Dave: Okay. We'll talk more about that after. One of the things that's probably going through everybody's mind right now is where did you find the time to do all of this stuff? [05:08]

Steve: It's like anything in life. It doesn't really happen unless you plan it. And that's really what I'm hoping to share is the importance of planning it, of writing it down and making it a solid plan. We're reaching out to business owners around North America and you know, they're all planners. They all know what it is to run a business and how important planning is. But it's just to take it to that next step and bringing it into your personal life.

Dave: In your plan, you have 16 weeks of vacation per year. That's pretty spectacular.

Steve: You make it sound like a bad thing, Dave.

Dave: Nah, no it’s, it’s.

Steve: You know what, it doesn't come without planning as you can probably imagine as a business owner, you know, I can't have a business plan that has, you know, doing $500,000 in revenue and having two staff members. I've got to have a team that supports me that provides me that opportunity to take 16 weeks off. And it wasn't always 16 weeks now and I've been doing this for 30 years. So we worked up to that. [06:09]

Dave: So 29 years of no vacation and all of it in that last year.

Steve: Yeah, is that. Yeah, of course. I got a bad rap from a lot of friends and fellow business people for never being at work. Of So I agreed to.

Dave: That's amazing. And I'm sure people will want to hear just how you get started. They may be surprised to hear how you got started was, and this is the absolute truth. You started your plan by writing your eulogy.

Steve: Yeah.

Dave: Tell us about that.

Steve: Yeah. So I'm fortunate to have a great business partner, not a very handsome man and not terribly bright either, but I hope he's listening to this, but yeah, he's, he's great. And the two of us realized, you know, we gotta write this stuff down. And so that was a good idea. We come up with great ideas all the time, putting them into action is always more of a challenge. [07:06]

So we're like, okay, we're going to do this life plan and that's going to be great and we're going to follow it and okay, how do we get started? And we did tons of reading and the internet searches and all of that. And we just couldn't find the just that starting point. And it was a friend of ours, we were telling him about our trials and tribulations of getting going. And then he said, well, it's like any plan, isn't it? That you start with the end and work your way to that end goal, to that end solution where they come, okay, well, how can the life plan have an end, but really, it's what you want said about you at your funeral.

Dave: When you came up with this, let's probably, I think you said it's like 30 years ago now or something like that.

Steve: Right.

Dave: What did your business look like then? [07:50]

Steve: Well it was my partner Kirk and I, probably two or three carpenters that was 65 hours a week on a good week. Might've been a week's holiday at Christmas. We're working long and hard and fast and furious. And yeah, that's what it would have started looking like. And we were just, you know, a little overwhelmed and just looking for something better. I'm not so sure that you don't have to work like that when you start a business and maybe that's what it takes to get started, but that's not something we wanted for the rest of our lives. And just in having those conversations over a beer after work, how long the week was and what went well and what didn't, but just, you know, what do we want for our future? And that's where it started. And we realized it's what we want, that will drive what we want from the business. And that doesn't mean that we're being selfish and the business is just about us. But a lot of the things you'll see in my life plan are about, helping other people. Those are our staff, those are our clients, building careers with our staff, helping in the community. A lot of that is driven by our success or failure in our business. [08:53]

Dave: It's interesting. Because this life plan becomes not just your life plan, but a life plan for your team. You're focusing on them, their success. That's gotta be attractive to people coming to your team, feeling that from you guys and having that sort of intention where this is. Amsted is a company with a leadership group that is working on our lives, not just their lives, not just the business that you appreciate their lives and where they're going in their dreams and goals and everything like that. And it sounds like that this is sort of become part of your company culture as well.

Steve: Yeah, it absolutely is part of the culture. I think it's a draw for the right kind of people or the people that have similar values that we have. I think that they feel comfortable and they feel that that culture is a good fit for them. So it draws those people in which is great for us because those are the people that we want in the company that, that see the value in having balanced to see the value in doing their job well so that I can achieve my goals and vice versa. [09:59]

Dave: Yeah. Your plan has five steps. Why don't you just, you know, I think everybody is going to want to hear, Hey, how did, how did you put your plan together? What's your advice around this? And I think we should just turn it over to you and tell us the steps that you went through or what you've got in the plan. And after the show on our website and in some of our channels, we'll share some of this stuff and some of your concepts that how to create the ideal life plan. [10:26]

Steve: I think any, any plan needs motivation. And for me, I had one of those cats in the cradle moments where I think a lot of people have them as a parent and sort of watching painfully as, as I let a precious moments live by with my family and just vowed that, that wasn't going to happen again. And that I realized that it happens because something else took a priority and I need to make a plan to put those important moments as the priority, booked them into the calendar and have it nonnegotiable that I attend or participate. And that's allowed me to do a lot in my life plans to be a hockey coach, to be a baseball coach, to participate at the kid's school, whatever it might be, it's important to me or be in the community. And again, everyone's plan is going to be different. This is what I want to do. So I don't want people to feel, Oh, geez. You know, I don't want to drive race car, therefore the plan is not for me. We want to make sure that they realize that, you know when you're making it up for you.

Dave: Yeah. [11:25]

Steve: So yeah, if you can find that motivation, I think that's super important. And then I realized that if I didn't balance my life, that the people that I love the most, weren't going to have a balance in their life either. Well, as a role model, but also if I'm unbalanced, I'm impacting their lives and they're not going to have balance. And so that again, you oftentimes do things for other people that you wouldn't do for yourself. So those were my motivations, I believe strongly in what gets measured gets done. And if it's not written down, it doesn't get measured. So that's what drove my partner and I to write down our plans. Like I said, we started with the life plan. Some people call it a personal plan, I think that's a critical first step. I've shared mine with you. So you can see

Dave: I'm looking at it right now. And this is the interesting part. It starts with your, your eulogy. This is what you want to be known for. And it's pretty amazing. I'm not going to read it out right now. Then you've got, you know, in your version, you've got 11 goals that were important to you, a vision, a mission, core values, and then you get to your bucket list. So I think it's interesting that you put actual structure into this, and it's probably something that helps you to implement it by having this structure there. It's not just something that you look at once in a while, right? [12:49]

Steve: No absolutely not once in a while. It's scheduled into the calendar three times a year. I've got my business partner that we scheduled it in, he holds me accountable. Two times a year we kind of review the life plan and just sort of look and see where we're at with different things. And then one time a year, we take a retreat for the business, but also for the life plan, of course, and we review it in depth and we identify those items that we can achieve in that next calendar year. And it really put a focus on that, use smart goals to achieve those. So, with timelines, accountability, to get to the goal itself. So we're not trying to do everything at once. We're biting off pieces that we can chew. And again, we learned that the hard way we bit off, more than we could chew a few years and sales. And when you come back and look at it and say, damn, I didn't get there. Then, you know, you find a different way of doing it a better way of doing it. [13:43]

For us that's what it took. It took us to sit down, identify what we could do in the here that made sense. Have the other guy push you because you find reasons not to do it and then write down the motivation. Why are you doing it and how the steps that it's going to take to get you there. And some of them are easier than others, right? Driving a race car. It's a matter of identifying who's going with your book and the date and not missing it. But a lot of those goals are well having my kids graduate on the honors list that took a little bit of extra effort. But you know, early on in grade nine, what is that? That's your goal. And so you're working them toward that and helping them achieve it and making sure it's a goal that they want. For me, starting with the eulogy, that's the end. So that's the end of where I want to get to in the plan. I'm not there. This is a work in progress. It says right on the top work in progress. [14:37]

Wouldn't it be? You said it's a great eulogy. I think it's great duty, but it tells you if I get run over by a bus tomorrow, that's not, what's going to be said about, I got some work to do yet. So that's why it's there. And then to take it from that eulogy and see, okay, what goals do I have to put in place to achieve that eulogy? Where am I today? And that's being honest with yourself, and then what steps do I need to take to get me to my eulogy? And I've got 11 goals there that are kind of general day to day, kind of who I need to be and what I need to be thinking about. And that's why you got to review the plan to remind yourself. And then I took a step back from that and looked at what my vision and mission would have to be one of my core values, but what do they need to be to achieve those goals? And then after that, it was kind of the fun part, the bucket list that people talk about, that the milestones or the things that you want to achieve. Now, my bucket list actually starts with sort of the business side of things, what's it going to take financially for me to achieve my life goals and what will it take corporately business wise for me to achieve those life goals? What organizational structure do I have to have to get 16 weeks off? [15:52]

So that's Step One. And I always use the analogy, ‘if you don't think about the future, you don't have a future.’ And that's what the plan is all about. And the analogy I like to use is, ‘you don't get into a car and decide you're going to drive across the country and go to Las Vegas without a map or a GPS’, right? You know, you want to go to Vegas, you could get in the car and start driving and you'd probably get there eventually, but you're not going to get there very quickly. You're not going to get there efficiently and people aren't going to help me because they don't really know what you're trying to achieve. So you'd always have a map. And that's, to me, what a life plan is to have that map on where you want to go, how you want to get there. And then you just break it down step by step. People that I've talked to about life planning, it's overwhelming. And they don't know where to start. I'm saying, just grab a pencil and a napkin and just write some bucket list things down. Because you get some ideas of what you're wanting to achieve then you can expand on that, but just start somewhere and then put it away and put it in the calendar that you're going to look at it again in a month and then poke away at again in a month. What I have today, isn't what I started with 25, 30 years ago. It's evolved and I'm proud of where it is right now, but it started on a napkin. And it started just like you said, we're thinking about where I want it to be when, when I did get hit by a bus. [17:16]

Dave: Well, it's cool that you started with the personal plan because the real goal was your life. I mean, that's quite personal. And then you move into what the business needs to look like. Step Three, we touched on a little bit, which is sticking to the plan. I want to get into that a bit more. Take us through Step Two, the business plan.

Steve: Yes, our business plan. At the top of the business plan the very first thing, when you open it up, now this isn't the copy I send to the bank, by the way. The true business plan, it starts with the title of ‘Personal Goals.’ And it says to maintain consistent earnings sufficient to meet my life plan while also maintaining exceptional life balance. And then it goes on to address a lot of the things that are important to me in my personal plan, my life plan in the business. So I want to be able to be involved in the community. Well, I want to do that personally, but I also want the company to be corporately involved in the community. [18:15]

So we address that in the business plan, that's a big part of it. And I think a lot of us in the business that we're in our personality is very much a part of our business. Having a personal plan written down, you know, you're able to put that personality stamp or the things that are important to you on your business intentionally. And that's the big difference as opposed to accidentally you plan it out, it's intentional and it's in there. So again, our business plan has all the same things that everybody else has, organizational charts, you know, marketing and all of those normal categories. But the one that's different is that it talks about what we want to achieve personally, and how the business is going to support us in achieving that.

Dave: What's the hardest part? [19:05]

Steve: No, I'm probably preaching to the choir here because anybody that's in our industry is pretty disciplined. It's a tough industry, so they know what it takes to be successful. And it's just that I think I don't want to speak for anybody else, but I know for me, I can be pretty disciplined at work. And my personal life is where I've maybe taken off a little bit. Maybe I don't stick to the diet and maybe I don't stick to the exercise regime the way that I should. And I think we make excuses for our personal life that we don't make in business that we'd never allow any of our staff to, you know, to take shortcuts on. So, it's just having that ruthless discipline and putting yourself first. But you're not putting yourself first, you're putting yourself first so that you can be the person you need to be for other people. And if you look at it that way, sometimes it makes it a little bit easier. We do hard things and it just, you get it done. If you set your mind to it, you do the smart goals, you have some milestones, you make sure that you celebrate the victories when you're crossing things off. [20:11]

But yeah, it's not easy. I think the hardest part for me probably is each phase that you're in. Writing the personal plan was absolutely the hardest thing when I started. Actually writing the business plan wasn't that hard once I had the personal plan done, but staying disciplined to it over 30 years, it was probably, yeah, the hardest thing. And you don't want your fall off, but as long as it's written down and you get back on the horse, and again when you have those successes, you can look back, if you're looking at your personal plan and look back and say, yeah, you know what? I was successful doing this. And I achieved this achieved that I just got to stick with this plan. It's a good plan. [20:53]

Dave: Being immersed and being part of peer groups and entrepreneur groups and whether it's a business group or remodelers’ advantage of builder 20, the power of those and have you, have you found that to be true as well?

Steve: Absolutely. Someone told me years ago that if you're trying to accomplish it and say, you want to lose some weight, that you don't hide the fact and go on a diet. You tell everybody that you're trying to lose weight, everybody that you're on a diet. Anybody around you, you tell them you're trying to lose weight because they'll support you in getting there. And the peer groups absolutely do that. It also draws you to people that are like minded. So you're going to hear all of these stories when you're on a diet, but people that were on a diet and how it was successful and what works and what didn’t and they'll support you through that. And the peer groups are super strong in getting you there. Because again, those are likeminded people trying to achieve similar goals.

Dave: Very good segue. Who are the likeminded people? How do you find them? Where do you go for that? [21:50]

Steve: You don't sit back and wait for them to come to you. You go out and find them. It's not that hard. If you're a fairly open about who you are and what you want to achieve. If you look around for likeminded, people that are achieving similar goals, ideally someone at a higher level, because they'll pull you up. Whether that's a mentor, coach, a good friend, whatever that might look like, but you're just looking for those people that have similar values and goals as yourself. I always go back to my kids, most important job. I have. We often talk among my friend group about teaching and we really hope our kids get a good friend group. Like you want them hanging out with the right group of kids, right? And it’s because it pulls them up as opposed to push them down. And we see that in society, whatever group you're in likely, we emulate. And that's where we'll end up whether good or bad. And you can take someone that's in a bad group and put them with a good group, but they rise up and vice versa. [22:47]

So how to find them? I think it will be different in every situation, but it's, I'm shy, believe it or not. And for me to get out and in a social network is challenging, but you got to step outside your comfort zone. You've got to share with other people what you're looking for. And then just identifying those people in your community that have similar goals to yourself and hanging out with them. I have never, ever spoken to anyone, sent an email to a total stranger and said, Hey, look, I see what you did with a charity organization, would you want to grab a coffee with me? I've never had anyone turn me down. And I mean, at super high levels, I am absolutely shocked at how successful people openly share their success with anyone that's willing to listen. [23:31]

A quick reminder that the best way to get the most out of this podcast is to engage with the Builder Nuggets community, visit our website at BuilderNuggets.com and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

Dave: I think there's some powerful laws of attraction at play here, too. Duane and I and our business coaching, we talk about what you exude and how your own persona becomes a magnet and what you're doing through your business. The mission that you're on shines through clearly in step number 11 on your goals was constantly exude sunshine. You constantly exude it, but you're also constantly looking for it and you're building a life that's going to bask in that to a great extent is what I'm hearing. Duane, do you have any other questions around likeminded people? [24:17]

Duane: No. I think the one thing really that it took away from that was, as you said, find them they're there all over there's entrepreneur groups, there's industry groups, there's local national, they're all over the place. And it is remarkable. Once you get in there, you'll be put in uncomfortable positions situations, but the minute you start to have conversations and discussions with likeminded people that starts to become a nonissue. Everybody kind of shows their vulnerability, everybody's there to promote each other. It is one of the most important things for people that are listening out there, if you're not doing it is to immerse yourself with likeminded people you know the benefits are just endless. [24:57]

Steve: They're going to share with you their best practices. They're also going to share with you their failures. And what that allows you to do is avoid those failures yourself. And just skip ahead on that path to success. You don't have to fall on those potholes. When someone says, Hey, you know, I did this and it went for a real crap. You can avoid that yourself. My marketing coordinator is someone that sort of has bought into this life plan thing. It took me two years to get her onto it, but she finally buy into it maybe a year or two ago. And she came in to our weekly meeting and about halfway through our agenda, she handed me her updated goals sheet for the year. Now I'd forgotten that she had accepted my challenge for me to hold her accountable for the achieving those goals. And so I quickly remembered that she had put down a whole bunch of goals for the year and she was feeling kind of down that she felt she wasn't achieving her goals. [25:52]

She's been down for a couple of weeks. Just didn't feel like she was achieving anything at work, it didn't as much as she should it wasn't achieving as much as she showed at home. I was totally satisfied with her performance at work, but it just was the feeling that she had. So we, we looked at the goal sheet and we're going through, it was the third quarter. And she had knocked off a huge chunk of the goals that she had set for the year. And she still had a quarter left. And just going through that exercise gave her sort of a realization that I'm really getting where I want to get to and I am doing well and it really empowered her. One of the things that her checklists to run the army marathon, which is a local run that we run here in Ottawa. She hadn't done the training that she had planned to do for their army run. And it was only the week before, so she had planned long training program and she, she hadn't done it for a whole bunch of different reasons. And it'd been a week before her friends started dropping out that we're going to run with her on the run. And the day of the run, it was ringing and miserable. And she was like, that's it. I'm not going to do it. No one else is doing it. I'm not going to do it. [26:58]

And then she thought shit, I gotta go and see Steve next week. And that's my quarterly thing, I got to tell him, I didn't do the army run. And I don't really have a good excuse. She went out and did the army run. She ran a great time. And she came and showed it to me. She said, the only reason I ran the army run, was because I didn't want to come in and tell you I didn't do it. And I'm like Steff, there's no punishment if you come to me and say, I didn't do the army run. She says yes it is, she said, I’d disappoint someone that I respect. And that's that whole getting with likeminded people, right? Is, she wasn't, there was no punishment other than a disappointment? And she didn't want to disappoint me because she knew, I would be and I'm holding her accountable and that empowered her to do something that she absolutely thought that she could not do. [27:52]

And I'm telling you when I have my life plan, I'm meeting my business partner and best friend next week, I'm going through that puppy. And I'm saying, Oh crap, I got to get this done. I got it. I got to move that forward. Right. I better give a really good excuse for why I didn't.

Dave: Ahhhh.

Steve: But you know, it's not like you get beaten or anything. Finding those people that hold you accountable is super important.

Dave: It's amazing how easy it is for us to let ourselves down and we really don't like letting others.

Steve: Exactly.

Dave: Nobody is perfect. But your support group, the people that are surrounding are probably there to help cheer you on and get you through those. Like, you know, you have their support. [28:31]

Steve: Yeah. The gym membership is a good one for me. My business partner sort of had it with me. And quite frankly, he was doing the same thing, failing and joining the gym. And so we go away just in December to plan for the next year. We said, okay, that's it. We're we're going to join the gym. And he said, okay, well, let's take a break. And he walked out of the room; he came back in about 10 minutes later. He said, okay, I just charged your credit card for a thousand dollars. You've just joined Movati gym for the next year and so on. And he joined me up to a gym and because it was a thousand bucks and because every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, he called me and said, I'll see you at the gym we made ourselves go. Now, thankfully COVID came along so I got to quit, but we got to go back now.

Dave: The fifth step on your list is be a student. How do you do this? And what's your advice. We talked about collaboration and being around like minded people. You're probably, and you talked about learning a lot from them, but what are the things that you're doing to actively up your game? [29:39]

Steve: A lot of us in this industry may not have a formal education as high as some, but we're all students for sure. We learn our craft, our business and our market, our target market, all of that. So again, preaching to the choir, what I do is I find it easy for me to learn. So really find a way that you learn the best. Some people learn best from podcasts of seminars, some learn best from reading for me, it's from others. So, peer groups getting involved in those types of peer groups work well for me and just local, national, international, there's some wonderful, wonderful groups out there. But really doing research with the web that we have now, it's incredible the information you can gather in an hour, sitting in front of your computer screen on any item. I get to work with wonderful people that think I'm Superman for how I've transformed their house, they love what I do. [30:40]

It's, you know, an adrenaline rush every day at work solving problems and it can be really addictive. And bringing that home or bringing it outside of work, you know, with your phone on your hip and the calls coming in at soccer games and stuff, it just wasn't where I wanted to be. But it was hard for me to get rid of that. So it was a combination of having people that supported me, but really researching on strategies on how to stay away from electronics and ultimately learning how to say no, you've got to learn how to say no and say it often. I've never had anybody offended when I said no, which shocked me before I started saying no, because I was absolutely a Yes man. I said to my wife, which if that doesn't go well, I don't recommend that at all, but anyone else accepts it well. and yeah, experiment, try things out. [31:31]

Ultimately, I had to just shut the phone off. I come home when I get home four or five, I set the phone aside. It's turned off. I put it back on in the morning when I go to work. I turn it off to the weekends, drives my friends crazy because they all use their cell phones for everything. I only text with my immediate family. I don't look at texts otherwise. And really that's what works for me. I can't use Facebook and Insta-picture things and whatever they're called, I don't do any of that. And my marketing person hates me for it, but that's her job. So, yeah. And that's, those are just sort of life decisions that you have to make. And again, when you have your life plan that says you're going to be in the moment. And maybe I'll just say that really quickly, being in the moment is so helpful. [32:25]

If I'm at the soccer game with my kids and the phone's going off and I'm not paying attention and you don't see my kids scoring the goal, one goal if they score all year, then what's the sense of being there. But if I can be in the moment, cheering them on, they can hear me supporting them, talking to other parents and their coach and helping out, cutting the watermelon or giving them water, whatever it takes for that hour, I have accomplished a huge thing. I want to leave the soccer field and maybe I have to go do a little bit of work I do so peacefully because I know that I've achieved that part of my life plan. And I can go on to the next part guilt-free and achieve it. And when we're trying to juggle too many balls and multitask, I don't believe in multitasking by the way, but trying to do that to me, doesn't work. And maybe it's just me, but to be in the moment to focus on what you're doing in that moment, make it fun, celebrate it, and then move on to the next thing and knocking off the list, I think is huge. [33:29]

Dave: You ensure that everybody gets the best part of you at all times. And that's pretty powerful, especially when there are people important to you that you are seeking to influence and to support you back. And if you're getting their best moments as well, because you're focused on each other, that's going to be powerful. Duane was smiling during this. When you talked about saying no, he is run sessions on the power of no, and is going to totally agree with you on all that. He's also far more disciplined than I am and exceptionally good at carving out time and focusing. And it sounds like that's something that you were not great at the beginning. I know you're a charismatic fly by the seat of your pants have a good time guy, but you have found a way. And I don't, I don't want to use the word balance, but you found the way to be able to channel those best qualities of yourself into a focused way that you are loving right now. [34:36]

Steve: Yeah. Duane’s gonna, going to agree with me. You know, that's a compliment to Duane, but he's not probably gonna tell you it's easy. It's discipline. I love having fun to a fault and I have to stay a bit focused and disciplined on achieving what I need to achieve when I set the time to achieve it so that I can have fun. Because I can tell you I've been to lots of fun places but not been having fun because I was worried about something else that I hadn't gotten done, or hadn't got been able to go to something fun because I was getting something finished up. There was a, I saw a video somewhere about getting things done, or, you know, staying focused. They took a hundred staff and they videotaped them during the workday and they brought them in at the end and said, listen, we've videotaped you and you only really worked. [35:35]

You're only productive 50 of the time. They're like no way, we're way more productive than that and they showed them the video. And in fact, they were only productive 50% of the time and they wouldn't have believed it had they not seen it. And it's because you do the water cooler talk, you get caught in a rabbit hole on the internet. You get distracted, you work on things that aren't important and it's just, it is discipline and setting a plan for your day. And just back to that car analogy and getting a map, you've got a map where you're plugging into the GPS. You jumped in the car and going for a five-hour drive or 10-hour drive. You're doing so stress free. You're not worried about where you're going. And if you don't have a map, you're worried. You're worried you're going to miss a turn. You're worried about it all the time. You're driving stress-free, you're enjoying the countryside. You know, you're not going to miss a turn. You're not gonna run into anybody because you're not distracted or in the moment doing it and you're having fun. And most importantly, you're enjoying the ride. [36:39]

And I think that's sort of the thing for me. I didn't want to work my ass off until I was 60 and have put my fedora on and start having fun. I want to have fun all the way along and just the fedoras, the next step.

Duane: You can have fun if you're stressed about everything all the time and juggling everything, and nobody is getting the right amount of attention from you. So it's, it's great to hear how you've gone about it and, and found the right mix for you. And I'm sure people will want to hear more.

Dave: You know, the fact that you've done a life plan and the amount of planning that you have done, it's taking the whirlwind and the chaos out of all of it. Certainly, limiting it, there’s always going to be those unexpected we all know that. But if you can't get yourself to a point where you can detach, it does become extremely stressful. [37:31]

Steve: Once a year, I take a two-week period and I write down, we've got the little categories, that start to checkoff. What do I do every day, all day at work? So I sort of track where I spend my time. And every year I look at that at the end and I add up the totals in the columns. I'm always shocked. And I find another way to be more efficient because I, I'm not efficient when I look at it and I challenged my team to do it and they just hate you for it. So, what I start with usually is, okay, write down instead, take half an hour, write down everything that you want to do in the next two weeks. What do you want to achieve? And then put down how long it's going to take beside it and be honest. So, they'll make the list to put down the time, I add it up and it's like, you know, 300 hours’ worth of work in two weeks. And I'm like, okay, so that can happen. That doesn't work and just focusing them on, okay, what can we do? What's most important? What can wait? What if we achieve this? This week can get us closer to our goal and just moving that ball forward. And that's the same, what's your life plan. [38:39]

If it's written down, you're not able to achieve it in a year, right? It's taken me 30 years and I still got lots of boxes to check, but it's just moving that rock every day, every week, every month. And at the end of the year, you look back at the end of 30 years, I can tell you, you look back and go, Holy shit, we're getting there.

Dave: How about all the stuff that you checked off the list and didn't save all the fun stuff that you got done or goals that you accomplished? That was one of your pieces of advices -- don't just strike it.

Steve: Yeah. I used to do that.

Dave: Leave it, leave it, leave it on the list, check it off and make sure that you can see that. And take some pride in the fact that these are things that you got done and they become positive memories of accomplishment. [39:28]

Steve: Yeah, really very motivating. And again, that's, there's the value of sharing with the peer group. I shared what I was doing and someone came back to me and showed me, they'll look, I got one of my goals done. And they showed it to me, crossed off. I am like, it was like an epiphany, like, Oh my gosh, I'm so stupid. I've been deleting them off my list on the computer. So yeah, cross them off. It's much more powerful.

Dave: Do you feel like builders have a hard time, truly openly collaborating with each other? [40:01]

Steve: I don't know if it's just builders. I don't want to segregate us. We're a unique bunch, there's no question about that. We're kind of a funny bunch. I think that we do have a hard time, but the crazy thing is you lock us in an elevator that stuck between floors for an hour we come out of there and we're best friends. And I can't explain that, but I see that over and over and over again in peer groups. We come in as strangers and if we're forced to share and forced, not even forced, but provided the facilitated, the opportunity to share openly is a very, very short time before we realize holy smack, we have a lot in common and we can help each other and we all want to help each other. Then you've got another group of friends that are helping you achieve your goals. [40:52]

Dave: Duane, let's start wrapping up here and maybe recap some of the takeaways or go through some of the things that you've written down.

Duane: First thing I wrote down was any plan needs Motivation. How do you motivate for that?

Steve: Yeah, that's a, that's a tough question because of course everyone's going to be different. My motivation was my family and that, like I said, the cats in the cradle situation where I missed an opportunity that in hindsight, very shortly thereafter, I realized that's a once in a lifetime opportunity and it's gone and I missed it. So that was very motivational for me. So painfully failure, how often motivates us the most. And so I would challenge people to draw on that. We sometimes push those failures under the carpet and tell you, you'll learn more from failing than you do from succeeding. So, don't do that. [41:48]

Take advantage of that, they're hard-fought and costly mistakes or failures, make sure you're getting something out of them, but really what's important to you. Is it family? Is it friends? Is it money? Is it, you know, whatever drives you, is it exercise? Is it community? There could be so many, and those are all pieces in your life. But I think that if you find what's important to you and goals that you want to achieve, then it's easy to have that motivation. I've got a couple of things; I'm looking at my computer screen here now. And I've got a couple of sayings on the top of my computer screen that motivate me. One of them is noble profession. I honestly believe that I am in a noble profession and there are times when we deal with clients that might see me as a noble professional. But I fear, you know what? It was good enough for Jesus and his dad, it's good enough for me. [42:45]

And then I've got another one that says embrace the inevitable challenge. And that's sort of multifaceted isn’t it? I would tend to shy away from challenges. And this tells me, you know what? I've got to embrace it if I'm going to be the person I want to be because they are inevitable and there are going to be challenges every single day. And if I can go in with that mindset that, Hey, it's seven o'clock in the morning, I arrived at the office I'm wondering what my challenges is going to be today. But when I get it, I'm going to embrace it because that's what tells me I'm moving forward. And again, those are the things that motivate me, whatever it is, hanging out there and tell everybody share so that they hold you accountable. Hopefully those things will motivate. [43:33]

Duane: Well Steve, as we wrap this up, are there any final words you want to leave us with today?

Steve: Gosh, a good chat boys. So I appreciate the opportunity. Yeah, if anyone has any questions, I hope they reach out to me and yeah, I hope there's some value in this somewhere that someone gets a little nugget to take away and that it helps.

Dave: What are you going to shoot today on the golf course?

Steve: You know what? I don't care, Dave, as long as there’s one better than my son.

Dave: Ha ha ha.

Steve: And I'll do whatever it takes to beat him. Cause he's 17 and he hits the ball four miles, but it's harder when your dad is heckling you on your backswing.

Dave: Make sure you use some Bushwood rules when you're out there.

Steve: Oh, for sure buddy, for sure. There's always a couple of extra balls in my pocket too, so.

Dave: Hey, thanks man. I really appreciate it. People are gonna learn a lot from you. [44:21]

Duane: Well, that was some gold there, that was good stuff. Mr. Barkhouse has definitely got his stuff together.

Dave: He has built himself an amazing life. He has not done it in a super fancy, spectacular mind blowing way. He's done it in smart little pieces and small nuggets or elements that he's been putting into his business.

Duane: Just a couple of the key nuggets, any plan needs motivation. His life plan or anyone, your life plan it's a work in progress. It's never complete. Start by writing down some bucket list items. Just do it. Get yourself going. Stop hesitating. Find a group of likeminded people. And then you must have discipline in order to control your destiny.

Dave: He also said, share your goal, share your intentions. And those people that are on the mission with you will help you to achieve yours and likely along the way you're helping them to achieve theirs. [45:19]

Do you have what it takes to transform your business? It's time to take action. Join the Builder Nuggets community to experience the life changing breakthroughs that the most successful builders and remodelers have already discovered.

Subscribe to the podcast now and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. Got elements of success to share with other builders, let us know a BuilderNuggets.com so we can amplify your story. [45:44]

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