After many years earning 22 times the national average income, Jayson Gaignard realized that he wasn’t 22 times happier, so he decided to walk away. He felt stuck on the entrepreneurial hamster wheel, building a business he hated to buy things he didn’t need, to impress people he didn’t necessarily like. While he looked highly successful on the outside, he was completely bankrupt on the inside.
Fast forward to today, and Jayson’s life is virtually unrecognizable from what it was only a few short years ago…
Praised by Forbes as a “Networker to Watch” in 2015 and Founder of one of the top events in the world for entrepreneurs — MastermindTalks — which has featured world-renowned entrepreneurs such as Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, James Altucher, Guy Kawasaki, and hundreds more.
Today, Jayson joins the podcast to share stories about recovering from his personal rock bottom, along with his strategies for building a community that makes a meaningful impact.
You’ll also learn why the right combination of ignorance, confidence, and hard work can help you achieve your biggest goals!
- How Jayson built a massively successful business—and the moment he knew he needed to leave.
- Why Jayson almost canceled one of his first events 2 hours before it started—and why he’s glad he didn’t, despite his fears.
- The dangers of complacency, the power of eustress, and why we have to choose courage over comfort in order to grow.
- How to tell if you’re working in service of others—or in service of your own ego.
- And so much more…
[Tweet ““There’s no such thing as self-made. Nobody does it alone.” – Jayson Gaignard”]
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Jon: The Miracle Morning Community, it’s me. Hey, I want to offer a thought, a check-in, a shout out. I don’t always do this, and I think it’s a great reminder just to not ever take anything for granted but our good buddy, Hal, as many of you know in the last year has been fighting for his health and as many of you know, the great news is his prognosis after a year of rigorous chemo is he is on the positive end of things and there is no cancer in his body at the moment. All that being said, he actually happens to be like significantly under the weather right now and because of what he’s been through and all the things that come with that, I’m just putting it out there to ask you to send whatever positive vibes or energy you can Hal’s way. That’s my simple ask before we go into our conversation here.
So, that being said, welcome Achieve Your Goals Podcast listeners. If you’re watching on the live stream that means you’re watching. That means if we have any props, you get the benefit of seeing the props visually. If you’re listening, drive safely, run fast, breathe deeply, whatever it is that you’re doing listening. I’m glad to have you here. I’m totally pumped to get to have a chat today with Jayson Gaignard.
Jon: Jayson, super great to have you, buddy.
Jayson: Thank you for having me.
Jon: So, Jayson, I first heard about you and the work you were doing a few years ago. We’ve got a handful of mutual friends, Hal obviously being a big connection between us, and I heard about this event that you put on. And if I remember, I also want to like not give something away if this is meant to be a secret. So, okay, how do I tell this without actually telling it? I’ll put it this way. What I heard, and I heard this from Hal. I heard it I’m sure from John Ruhlin. I heard it from probably Brad Weimert. I don’t know who else I heard it from but that when they showed up to one of your events known as Mastermind Talks that the caliber and the quality of the people that were there, the way that you put on this event and the level of attention to detail that you went to, to create a wow experience, I’ll just say this was at a level that they have never seen. And a couple of years went by before you and I had then got connected.
So, it’s been really cool to hear through others about this community that you’ve curated. I would love to have you share all about that and what’s it all about and what are the lessons you’ve learned. And I thought to get to that, I’d love to go back a little bit in time because my understanding and just correct me if I’m wrong here but before it was this globally known mastermind community, you were hosting dinners. And so, I’d love to invite you, Jayson, to just you start wherever you want, go wherever you want, and what was the kind of the origin of this thing that is now become known as Mastermind Talks?
Jayson: So, just to set the tone, I’m an open book, so there are no secrets so feel free to throw whatever you want at me. But as far as how I ended up in, I guess, the field of work that I do, basically, by most entrepreneurs I was told to pick a business based on opportunity and proximity, how can I make the most amount of money as quickly as possible given the skill set that I had. I started a service-based business. I was just running errands for people. We had a personal concierge business and our slogan was, “If it was legal, moral, it would save you time, we take care of it.” So, I did everything from picking people’s grandparents up from the airport and buying their groceries and breaking up with people’s girlfriends. I literally show up to somebody’s house and be like, “John, no longer wants to date you, unfortunately,” and walk away. I do pretty much anything for $60 an hour. And then back then when people thought we’re a concierge, they thought of a hotel concierge and when they thought a hotel concierge, they often thought of concert tickets.
So, people start to come to us for concert tickets and we were sourcing these tickets out through these big brokers who charge these huge, huge fees and we didn’t feel too comfortable about it because, again, they were just charging these exorbitant fees. So, we started stocking our own little inventory to save our clients’ money. And ultimately, people kept on coming back and coming back and we decided eventually to pivot into that business instead where after three years, we built the second largest ticket wholesale company in Canada and it was a good run. I mean, I was living, I guess, before [inaudible – 5:06] I should say. I was traveling the world making a ton of money but with all that money and all that free time, I started asking myself questions like why am I here? Will I be remembered? How many people will show up to my funeral? And I was not happy with the answers I was giving myself and also around my time I realized I was earning 22 times the national average income. And in most business settings that will be celebrated but it was bothersome to me because I knew I was not 22 times happier than the average male. I was not 22 times healthier. Three years prior at the age of 23, I had kidney complications because of stress.
So, I realized that money and happiness scale very differently. And after seven years of being an entrepreneur, I discovered that I built the business I hated to enable me to buy things that I need to impress people I didn’t like, and I felt like I was stuck on that hamster wheel. And ultimately, the one thing about me is once I have a certain level of awareness around something or I know the truth, I can’t stay on that path. I have to make a decision right away and most of my peers at the time were telling me to stay in the business and sell it which would’ve required me to stay in that business for another year, a year-and-a-half in order to position it for sale. I just couldn’t do it to myself. It was just so crushing. So, ultimately, I decided to scale that business down to zero with the goal of having a little bit of money left in the bank account to start something new. Unfortunately, I would say it was the death of a thousand paper cuts. There’s a lot of factors why it kind of crashed and burn. One of them was as soon as I made that decision, I need to cash myself on the business and I had B players in the business who had C players under them so it kind of cannibalized from the inside out.
Ultimately, while scaling down, two things happened that were beyond my control that landed me quarter million dollars in debt in August of 2012. And that was “my rock bottom” financially, emotionally, spiritually. From a health perspective, I was just bankrupt on every level. And I didn’t know what I was going to do next. There’s a saying that when one door closes, another one opens but it sucks to be stuck in the hallway. It was a very dark hallway for me at the time and a friend of mine posted on Facebook that they had a ticket to go see Seth Godin in New York. And I’ve always been a big fan of Seth’s work but never had an opportunity to see him live in person, in a workshop setting. So, I decided to take advantage of it. And I went to the workshop, didn’t know what it was about, turned out the theme of it was The Connection Economy and how there’s huge value connecting like-minded individuals.
And at the time, I felt very isolated as an entrepreneur, so I decided to start doing something called mastermind dinners where I invite eight entrepreneurs out for dinner with a core focus of connecting with them. And the first one I did I almost canceled two hours prior because I’m like, “Nobody’s going to see value in this. They’re going to think it’s a complete waste of their time.” But thankfully the dinner turned out to be a big success. I mean, conversation just flowed for four-and-a-half hours and it became clear to me that connecting people, being around that energy was something I wanted to do to some capacity for the rest of my life and not as a business because I’ve actually wasn’t monetizing these dinners. I was paying them from out-of-pocket and people thought and rightly so that that was crazy because I didn’t know how I was going to make rent the following month, but I was pretty sure I was going to have to declare bankruptcy. And my reasoning that was that the bank could take my car, they could take whatever measly assets I have left but they couldn’t take my relationships. Investing relationships, to me, was the safest investments I can make and to this day I still believe this is the best investment I can make.
And continued on with these dinners, then had an opportunity to do an event with Tim Ferriss that fell on my lap. Relatively, he was coming out of the book called The 4-Hour Chef and that was his third book and I booked two, three weeks prior to the launch of that said book. He discovered that he was going to be banned from all retail distribution. The reason for that is because he was the first being named author to publish through Amazon. And Barnes & Noble and the traditional kind of retail behemoths want to make an example out of him because Amazon was becoming too big of a player in the publishing space. So, what he did being one of the best marketers I know, he created this book bundles that if you buy five books, you get additional resources. If you bought 20 books maybe he’d do a webinar with you. He had this Hail Mary package that if you bought 4,000 books, he did two speaking engagements. And at the time, I thought of a friend of mine named Scott who does these big events in Canada and I sent him an email. I said, “Dude, this is a great opportunity for you because you can easily move books and Tim’s never spoken in Canada.” The minute I click send on that email, I say, “You know, there’s a great opportunity for anybody,” so I ended up reaching out to Tim directly and I told him I’d take the books.
Jayson: It was problematic in the sense that I had to come up with $84,000 in 72 hours. The books need to be purchased that week. I had never raised money before in my life. I had built my businesses in the past on credit cards. I was raised with the limiting or the belief system that you never ask anything from anyone which I had to overcome really quickly. And that morning I called three friends. The first friend I called said, “Sounds really interesting. Come back to me with numbers.” And I’m like, “I’ll loop back with you,” but in my head, I’m like, “There’s no way I’ll loop back with you the numbers.” I don’t understand how this industry works plus I’m not really a numbers thinker. As an entrepreneur, I have like a strong gut feeling around things, but I don’t think in numbers. But I was like, “Let me loop back with you.” The second person said, “Sounds awesome. Let’s start a business together 50-50.” I’m like, “That sounds amazing. I have one more person to call.” The third person I called said, “Come pick up a check tomorrow morning,” and didn’t ask about really the business idea, didn’t really talk about repayment terms, any of that kind of stuff. I didn’t keep him on the phone for too long. I didn’t want him to change his mind. The following morning, I picked up that check. I sent the $84,000 to Tim and I knew I had to plan some kind of event in the next six months.
Ignorance, confidence, and hard work can go a long way when you’re an entrepreneur sometimes and because of that, the event was very unconventional. It’s actually much more similar to like a wedding than it was a conference and it’s only because I didn’t know the traditional ways of to do an event. I didn’t know the rules. So, I didn’t break those rules out of being a renegade. I broke them out of just ignorance. But that turned out to be one of the reasons it was so successful and a few months after the event, I reached back out actually to that friend who lent me the $84,000 and I said, “On paper, that’s the worst investment you could make.” I mean, I’m 27 years old at the time, quarter million dollars in debt, don’t know how I’m going to make rent. This is a business idea that’s only a few hours old in an industry I don’t know at all. And he said something I’ll never forget. He says, “I wasn’t investing in the business. I was investing in you.” And at that point in time, two things became very clear. One is you never know the value of your peer group until you really need it and the second thing is, is when you hit rock bottom in life and we all hit rock bottom at some point in time, you’re left with two things. One is your word and the integrity of your word and the second thing is your relationships. So, never tarnish your word and always invest in your relationships.
So, that was 2013 and we weren’t planning to do more than one event. For me it was just while I was kind of spiraling out of control, I’m like, “Well, maybe I’ll take on this project for the next six months. It’ll keep me focused and moving me forward until I find my next business.” But because the first event turned out to be a success, we decided to do a second one to prove that the first one wasn’t a fluke and the second one turned out to be a success. And so, we just wrapped up our fifth one in Carmel a few months ago and have MMT Park City in September of 2018.
Jon: Wow. Folks, that’s a wrap for this episode. Because there’s so much wisdom for me that I got to enjoy just hearing that story, Jayson. What an incredible story and I love something you said really early on is just when you know something to be true for you, you can’t help but to follow it immediately. That reminds me, Hal and I, I think the episode we just released last week, that he and I recorded last week, one of the things we were talking about is the whole idea of when you figure out what you value, how do you quickly align what you’re doing with what you value? And to me, that’s an example of that. And so, I loved hearing you say that that’s there’s a combination that I’m sensing of there’s got to be some sort of entrepreneurial logic and intuition and that’s really cool to hear. I would love to know just going back to these dinners because I’ve heard that what you did at these dinners and even through the story you just told that it was these dinners and the investment into relationships that was so central to your ability to dig yourself out of a tough place. Tell us a little bit about the idea behind these dinners. Maybe even like the first one and how that goes or any other interesting stories from these?
Jayson: Yeah. So, I mean, I think it’s important to note like Forbes has called me one of the top networkers to watch and I have all these accolades when it comes to business relationships and networking, and being a super connector and all those kinds of stuff. I got married in 2013, September 2013. A month or two prior, I had a bachelor party and I had two people show up. I had my brother and my brother-in-law. I knew nobody at the time so all the relationships in my life have all been in the last few short years. So, when I started these dinners, I didn’t know anybody to invite really. Everybody who ended up coming were people I’ve dealt. First time I met them was at the dinner itself so basically what I did to kind of start from scratch was in Canada we have something called Profit Magazine which is very similar to Inc Magazine where they list out like the top 500 businesses or 5,000 businesses and again we do top 500.
There’s not enough for a top 5,000 but I ended up finding all these kinds of big entrepreneurs locally, reached out to them cold and said, “Hey, I’m doing a dinner for other profit magazine alumni. It’s on XYZ date. If you’d like to join us, please let me know.” I probably got a 5% response rate at best, so it required me to knock on a lot of doors but ultimately, I got down to eight people I guess for the dinner. And, again, the first one I did I almost canceled two hours prior because I was like all those the fear that comes from doing something new were kind of bubbling up but from an integrity perspective I couldn’t cancel because I knew people were already on their way.
And, yeah, we did the first dinner. I had people from various different industries there from everything from like technology and wearable technology to some guy who owned a movie company. And I was terrified throughout the dinner. I played most of the dinner as a facilitator ensuring that everybody was involved in conversation, nobody was left out, all that kind of stuff. And conversation just flowed. I mean, one of the principles I have is that if you curate these dinners, the heavy lifting happens in advance. If you knew the right prep work and you put the right people together, I mean its hands off. You just really start the dinner and it just goes. And one thing I realized is like the stronger the uncommon commonality amongst people, the stronger the bond. So, in this case, it was eight entrepreneurs at a dinner table. So, I realized that no matter what industry you’re in, we all face similar pains and similar obstacles as entrepreneurs and oftentimes have similar goals.
So, let’s say statistically I know like if you and I were walking down the street in Columbus, Ohio, statistically, 3% of people that you meet on the street would be entrepreneurs. So, if you meet 1,000 people, 30 of them will be entrepreneurs. So, if you put those people together for a dinner, that’s a really unique opportunity, unique experience and there’s a very good chance that they’re really going to hit it off. However, if you have a seven-figure business let’s say, that represents 4% of that 3%. So, if you do a dinner just for seven-figure entrepreneurs, they’re most likely going to go deeper in that setting than they would in a more kind of broad setting so to speak because then again, they have the same fears, same desires, oftentimes same goals, same pain points, same obstacles.
And so, that philosophy around uncommon commonalities goes outside of business. I mean, it could be that you have a group of people that formerly served in the military or female entrepreneurs or mom entrepreneurs or single moms or whatever the case may be. So, the stronger the uncommon commonality, the stronger the bond, and I kind of realize that around the first dinner and that’s been one of the, I guess, things I’ve leveraged ever since. I mean, to date at least we hosted thousands of entrepreneurs at these dinners including Mastermind Talks. I mean, I’m doing a dinner next week where I’m buying out a restaurant. We have 90 entrepreneurs for that one. So, yeah, I still continue to do the dinners to this day.
Jon: Yeah. That’s cool. And I got a couple of questions that I want to ask about the idea of being a connector and some of the lessons you’ve learned about that. Before I get to my questions, I do want to honor someone who just threw out on the live chat. Paul George just asked, “Did you ever record any of the conversations at any of those dinners or capture anything that went on there in any way?”
Jayson: No. The only reason is because I want to create an environment where people feel safe and comfortable and where they could feel. I mean, really the deeper people are willing to go from the vulnerability perspective, the deeper those set of relationships will be, and I know you understand this and know this very well probably much better than I do. So, because of that, we try to create environments where this confidentiality like once we get there, I set confidentiality. I say like, “Whatever is said in this room, stays in this room and that’s really, really important.” So, with that said, we don’t record any conversations. There is actually somebody I know I think in Seattle that does dinners and records them and like they’ll actually have like a video crew type thing and they’ll share. I forgot what the name of the dinners are, and they do it in that setting but for me, all I care about really at that point in time is just the eight people in the room. I could care less about anybody outside of that room. I’m there to be a service to them.
Jon: That makes sense. Yeah. And thank you, Paul, for posting a question in the chat. So, Jayson, a couple of things that I was thinking about as you have been sharing about these stories is for anyone who is listening at any stage as an entrepreneur, I’m wondering what you’ve learned about the value of just being a connector. I remember the time for me when this concept of being a connector became most vivid. I think it was Malcolm Gladwell. I think in his book, The Tipping Point, he talked about how connectors have this incredible value that they create in society. So that’s part one of my question and the second part, and you don’t even have to answer both. You pick either one if you want. So, one is like what is the potential, the value for anybody just to become a connector alone as a value creation and what have you learned about that? And I guess really the other question I’m getting to is what are just some of the tactical lessons you have learned about connecting with people? If someone’s listening and they already buy in or they see a vision for why being a connector in their community or in their ecosystem make sense, there are some practical things you’ve learned about how you actually get somebody to see the value in coming to a dinner if that’s what it is or a meeting if that’s what it is. So, any way you want to approach either of those questions.
Jayson: Yeah. So, I mean, the thing is so for example for Mastermind Talks, it’s a premium event and I hate positioning it as an event because we definitely have evolved much more into a community. Two years ago, we sold out that event four months in advance without announcing any speakers or any agenda and that’s one that really clicked to me that like the reason people are coming are really because of relationships, if nothing else. They could care less about the speakers. They’re coming for the relationships. That said though like our philosophy is that for those who are the right fit, no explanation is necessary. And for those who are not the right fit, no explanation will do. So, there’s a lot of people who don’t see value in relationships and I’m not there to convert them because it’s an uphill battle. There’s a lot of people who do see the value of relationships and I want to support those people, invest in those people. To me, it’s one of those things oftentimes people don’t invest on relationships because they can’t peg an ROI to them oftentimes.
As Steve Jobs says, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You just need to trust that those somehow connect,” and having invested in relationships pretty extensively for the last couple of years, I can now look back on my trajectory and connect the dots looking backward. And because of that, that’s why I can confidently be in a position where you can take my house, you can take my bank accounts, you can take everything as long as I have relationships, I’m good. I am set. So, that’s why relationships are so kind of important to me. So, definitely from the bandwidth perspective, I don’t try to convert people who don’t believe in the importance of relationships because I’m sure they’ll come across, they’ll understand the importance of it one day and when that happens then I’ll still be around. So, the other question, how to be a connector ultimately?
Jon: Yeah. I’m just thinking if somebody is listening, thinking, “I love the idea of being a connector,” any sort of practical skill sets, capabilities or even just habits, behaviors, things to do to be good at connecting others with each other? I’m just curious anything that comes to mind?
Jayson: Yeah. I mean, the biggest thing is the deep desire like a deep caring for others. If you don’t have a deep caring for others then, I mean, all the tools and tactics and strategies in the world won’t help you. The only reason, yeah, I’ve had any success in the relationship problem is because I deeply care about where people are, where they want to go, I’m going to remove those obstacles for them ultimately. So, because I know so many people in our community and outside of community, I try to really dig into it again where they are, where they want to go and try to figure out ways I can kind of support them, and then make connections based off that. So, one of the go-to questions I use which can be helpful to some people because sometimes when you meet people they’re like, “Oh, hey, what are some of your goals for the next year?” Or those kinds of things, and sometimes the quality of questions will determine the quality of your answers. So, I’ve really massaged this question and actually came to me through a good friend of mine, Clay Hebert, which is if we ever meet the year from today with a bottle of champagne, what are we celebrating? And like people love that question and oftentimes it’s just really great answers.
And once they’ll give me an answer like they’ll say I’m coming out with a book and I’ll be like, “What’s the desire behind the book? Or what’s the desired outcome?” Then they’ll say, “I want to hit let’s say New York Times.” And I’ll say, “In order for your book to hit New York Times, what is something that you need to solve or overcome?” And that’s a much better way, much more effective way in saying, “Hey, what are some challenges you’re facing right now?” Because nobody wants to admit the challenges and sometimes we have a hard time kind of pinpointing them. So, positioning it as such, I’m like, “What are some things that you’re going to overcome anyways but that maybe I can potentially help you with?” And at once you know where the goals are and what’s keeping them from achieving them or what are some obstacles along the way, then you can come in and support them. And make a connection and it’s crystal clear.
So, deep caring for others and those two questions I use to really get a good understanding of where they are, where they want to go, and how I can help them. And then once you have that and you have that with a couple of hundred people, and also the other thing I look for, so I’m always trying to know what people, again, where they’re going, what they’re struggling with, and also what they’re really good at because [crosstalk – 25:25] off from somebody else who has, “This is our pain point,” and that should be like, “Oh, by the way, I have somebody to connect you with.” So, I’m not only trying to solve their problems. I’m also trying to find what they’re great at, so they can solve other people’s problems.
Jon: Yeah. You know, it’s funny you bring that up. Next week I’m going to be at the GoBundance event in Steamboat Springs and that’s one of the ways that we have the guys connecting with each other in the first evening is they’re going to be sharing with each other stories or examples from their lives or their businesses when they were at their best, and the instruction is to pick a story that reveals two or three of their best strengths because the idea is in a mastermind, the greatest asset we have in the room is the potential configuration of all the unique strengths in the room. It can be easy to come in and think, “Well, I just want to tell people what my problem is.”
Jon: But if you think about the inverse, because you can do that and if we show up and we all say, “Well, here’s what we’re good at,” there’s an argument that configuring strengths is a really efficient – I think Peter Drucker said that the ultimate task of leadership is to align strengths of a system so much so that the weaknesses are irrelevant. So, you’ve given me my next question which is obvious which is a year from now if you and I were sitting down drinking a bottle of champagne and this is real like this could happen and if we were, what might we be celebrating?
Jayson: Honestly, I guess it’s two things. I mean there’s one thing that’s kind of my champagne moment every year which is to increase the quality, the experience at our next Mastermind Talks event. It is a constant kind of a hamster wheel of every time you raise the bar, it becomes just expected the following year so how does one raise that bar year-over-year? And I rack my brain and it keeps me up at night trying to figure out how I’m going to do that. Thankfully, every year the event has gone significant, not significantly better but incrementally better. Our event two years ago, the NPS score or approval rating was 9.73 out of 10. Our last event was 9.90 out of 10. So, you look at it from that perspective and you’re like, “Well, what are we going to do next year to raise the bar?” So, that is always my biggest challenge and definitely, if I’m able to succeed, the biggest thing I’ll be celebrating. And also, I’ve released a podcast a few months ago which for the first time I’m putting work out there that I’m actually really, I put a lot of effort into it and I’m really proud of the outcome and the feedback’s been fantastic.
Jon: Tell us about that. It’s called Community Made, right?
Jayson: Yeah. So, staying consistent with that would be like a champagne moment for me because it’s easy to put that on the back burner. It’s difficult work just like writing a book, you have imposter syndrome and you doubt the value and all that kind of stuff. So, if I’m able to stick on track with that for the next year, that’s a big win as well. But yes, so the podcast is called Community Made. It basically challenges the notion that there’s no such thing as self-made. Nobody does it alone and the podcast is broken up into seasons. So, season one is all about scale where I kind of share some of my thoughts on the topics, so I shared the importance of questioning, the notion of scale because not too many people do that, and I do that over a few solo episodes and then I bring on guests who have different points of view.
Because a lot of times in the expert space or the thought leadership space, people speak in absolutes like this is the way you should do this when there are 1,000 ways you can do it. There’s no right or wrong answer per se. So, I talk about my version of scale and then what I kind of look for and then I have Gary Vaynerchuk who’s completely different. He’s going from 600 employees to 1,000 by the end of the year so he’ll hire anybody with a heartbeat, so he has a very different perspective. And then I just bring on different guests like that. And season 2 is all about business relationships. So how to grow, how to nurture, and how to amplify your relationship so everything from kind of network and events to first impressions, building rapport, managing your network, what that looks like, how to let people go, all that kind of stuff. So, that’s what I’m working on right now in season 2.
Jon: That’s really cool. And we’ll make sure we link in the show notes and everyone listening to, everyone can go find all this. Jayson, so I’d love to know from your first season on scale, I’m just curious, what might be an example of either, A, one of your beliefs or perspectives around scale and/or anything interesting or surprising or alternative perspectives that emerged in that season around that topic of scale?
Jayson: Yeah. I mean the one thing I always try to do is I’m not afraid to expose my ignorance on some level. So, like for example, my viewpoint at the beginning of the season was kind of a play on Gandhi’s quote that there’s more to life than increasing its speed. And oftentimes in the business arena, people scale without ever questioning it. It’s all about more revenue, more employees, bigger offices, all this kind of stuff when they’re kind of unclear on what their desire or end goal is, and I’ve seen it time and time again where they build these businesses to be huge and their goal is to get this big exit. They get that big exit and they’re like, “Now what?” And they realized they had the wrong goal. They want to climb the mountain. They got to the top of that said mountain and they’re like, “Shoot, that was the wrong mountain.” So, basically, challenging the notion of challenging your goals, asking why, getting really deep, and having a strong sense to kind of self-awareness and just challenging the whole notion of scale.
But I brought on a guest actually towards the end of the season who had a different viewpoint. One of his first businesses he built it from 0 to $2 billion a year in annual sales from like the back of his car and he loves big business because to him, if his current business now there’s $400 million a year, if he increases profits by 1%, that’s $4 million. If he decreases expenses by 2%, that’s $8 million. So, those like it’s big numbers and for him the desire to build big business, he’s invested in over 150 companies. How he got on my radar was because he’s super subtle. The guy drives like a Toyota Prius. He eats lunch with his employees in like the factory, but the guy is very well off financially. And his goal or his focus is that the more money he makes, the more impact he can make.
And how I came across him was so there was an article done on him that he spent a million-and-a-half of his own money bringing or sponsoring those 50 Syrian refugee families so over 200 Syrian refugees bringing them to Canada, housing them, getting them all set up, hiring them for his like giving them like language training and all that kind of stuff. Spent a million-and-a-half dollars of his own money without telling anybody in his company and without even telling his wife. So, to me, like he uses scale, like scale for him is he could make that impact and that really kind of shifted my viewpoint a little bit. So, that was kind of some things from season one.
Jon: Wow. That’s cool. Thank you for sharing that. That’s awesome. I’m going to go back a couple of minutes. You shared that a year from now one of your other celebrations would be raising the bar for your event. I want to share a personal experience that I’ve had, and I’d love just your thoughts or your reaction to this. I have shared that I’ll call it a fear or a concern or a question which is when I go out and I deliver my best, whatever that means, how on earth is better going to show up? And one of the things that I’ve done personally to try and tackle that concern or question is to remember to have faith in the idea that whatever happens will ultimately be a reflection of me. And if I decide that the thing I can control is my own personal continuous evolution then that’s the best thing I can do to know with any certainty that the event will evolve. It’s, hey, if I’m going to put like I was talking to you before we push record, I get something a month that I realize I have to just decide that I’m going to grow so much between now and then that it will work. I’d be curious what your experience has been of how that need to keep growing what you’re delivering for your community has affected you.
Jayson: Yeah. I mean, I definitely agree with that. I mean that’s kind of one of the reasons we do only one event a year. I mean we have the demand to do an event every three months but I don’t feel like I can significantly raise the bar in three months. But to me, it’s something what you said like the event is a reflection of me. And oftentimes how the event has gone better is me evolving as an adult, as a father, as a husband, as a peer, and those kinds of things. And like one other thing, it keeps me up at night, but I guess it’s stressful but it’s almost like it’s eustress. It’s a useful stress. It kind of forces me to grow. It forces me to do things because the minute I get complacent, it’s easy to get be successful. It’s really hard to stay on top obviously, and that’s one of my biggest fears is that I become complacent. Because when you get successful, it’s easy to be arrogant. It’s easy to get kind of fat on some level and sit on your successes. And what keeps me up at night is that I’m worried that people say, “Oh, last year was better.” You know what I mean?
And the thing is like with me, I’m very blessed. We have 150 people in Mastermind Talks. I’d easily have 135 of those people to my wedding. I mean, these are my favorite people. These are not just clients. These are people I vacation with. These are people I spend the majority. I drove seven hours actually last on the weekend to Columbus, Ohio with my family to spend the weekend with another family who the guy comes to Mastermind Talks. He’s one of my favorite people. So, yeah, a lot of that pressure is internal, and I put it on myself, but it forces me to grow. It forces me to be the best I can be, so it plays. There’s a positive and negative to it somehow.
Jon: Tell us about that word that you just used, the eustress. Tell us about that.
Jayson: Yeah. So, I mean, stress is negative obviously and can kind of keep you down and those kinds of things. Eustress is basically like a positive stress. So, stress oftentimes you put on yourself that forces you to work outside your comfort zone and for me, anytime how I grew so quickly in my last business was I kept on throwing these “Hail Mary’s”. I throw these long shots that I knew if I, for example, just maybe this will paint a better picture. We were in the ticketing space. I put a quarter million dollars or half a million dollars a month on a credit card with zero dollars on my bank account and that credit card needs to be paid back in 30 days. And I knew that every time I did it, it was uncomfortable to send but I find a way to pay off that credit card and every month we just kept on doing that, kept on doing that. And I realize that when I was kind of spiraling out of control and didn’t know what I was going to do next, I stopped taking those chances. I stopped putting my back against the wall so to speak. And that’s ultimately what I did with the $84,000 worth of books. I didn’t know how I was going to come up with the money, but I knew once I committed to Tim, that I was going to come up with that money in the next 72 hours, I’d find a way.
So, that’s eustress ultimately. It’s basically like it’s you going to Facebook and saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds. Here’s a picture of me with my shirt off,” and it’s putting me out there to the world and being accountable so to speak. So, it’s a positive stress. It’s much easier to choose comfort over courage I guess you could say as Brené Brown would say but, yeah, eustress has been super impactful for me over the years.
Jon: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. Somebody first pointed that word out to me, eustress. It’s a real word and what I really admire about you, Jayson, and what you just shared in this example in the lesson is that what you’re pointing out to us is that it really is not about the risk or the circumstance but how you’re choosing to interpret it. There’s some sort of choice to interpret it in a way where it’s creating a positive energy. I had a good friend who said to me a long time ago I’m going to, as soon as I say that am I remember her quote, the only difference between fear and excitement is whether or not we’re breathing. And it reminds me that internally we can quickly shift how we receive or view or react or respond to what’s going on. So, I love that every one of your stories is revealing that quality within you that something that somebody could have interpreted in a way that said, “This is the end. This isn’t going to work. I’m going to choose to shut down or not knowing I’m choosing. I’m just going to shut down.” But you’re actually giving a meaning or making it a game or interpreting it in some way where you’re actually facing it productively. That’s what it sounds like to me. I don’t know. Does that make sense?
Jayson: Yeah. No, 100%. I mean, that’s something I remember even in like my darkest days and I had some really dark days when I kind of hit rock bottom. I remember like whenever something really, really bad happens to me, the first thing that would come out of my mouth is, “Watch.” Like, “Watch me bounce back,” like whatever power there is up there like watch. And I don’t know where that came from. I don’t know how kind of – I was programmed as a child because nobody else in my family is super driven, super A type, super entrepreneurial but for some reason, the few times where I was like people are like, “You must be crushed right now,” although I’ve had good days, I’ve had bad days, I’ve always kind of thought of just that one word and like all of a sudden, I was trying to show to myself or show the world or show to the higher power that I’ll be just fine.
Jon: That’s awesome. That’s really cool. So, Jayson, as we get towards a close here, I would love to know as you think about our audience and their endeavors to achieve their goals, we’re probably going to release this sometime sooner than later so we’re in the New Year’s resolution season. If you had any parting words or anything else you wanted to add, my final question would be, is there anything else?
Jayson: Not necessarily. I mean, I touched, I guess, on to me like the importance of questioning goals since we are on the topic of New Year’s resolution or around that time period. I think it’s really important to question goals. I’ll give you a reason why, a story as to why. So, all this stuff was happening to me. I don’t share the story often, but it really illustrates the point. When all of this stuff was happening to me, I realized I was making 22 times the national average income and I built the business I hated and all that kind of stuff. What really, really tipped the scale or the straw that broke the camel’s back was I was driving my car one day with no music going on the car. Nothing. I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular and I pulled up at a side and I was sitting there, and I remember looking at the rearview mirror and I kind of locked eyes with myself and I remember hearing a voice saying, “Your dad never said he was proud of you,” and I broke in tears. And I was like, “Where the hell is this coming from?” I don’t feel like I had a bad relationship with my dad at all or any of that kind of stuff.
And after sitting with it, I came to realize that what drove me so hard to be successful in business and to stand out and all that kind of stuff was the one day, the fact that he would maybe say he’s proud of me and also the ability for me to throw back in his face and say, “I told you so.” And it’s a story I share because a lot of people whether consciously or unconsciously are kind of driven by the same things, whether it’s the acceptance of certain individual or again they’re yearning for somebody’s love or their pride or those kinds of things. So, that’s why I really say question your goals because I’ve come to realize so many times to set a goal and the more I ask why, the more I sit with it, I do it for ego purposes or to prove somebody wrong or those kinds of things. Those are the goals that when you achieve them, you realize they’re not the right goals in the first place and you feel like you wasted a lot of time pursuing goals that weren’t necessarily yours.
Jon: Yeah. You know, when I hear that, what I hear is to also and this is just me reinterpreting is to question what is motivating me to achieve my goals. What are my motives, what are my underlying motivations? There’s a thread in one of our communities a couple of days ago where a number of folks had taken the Barrett Values Assessment. And the Barrett Values Assessment is a very revealing assessment tool and I think it might be free. Anyone can go take it right now where it helps you to see what kind of motivations are driving what it is that we’re doing. Is it more egocentric or is it actually more about service to humanity or others? And so, that’s part of what I hear is you discover that maybe what was motivating you, well, you became aware of that. All right. So, now that gives me my real last question.
So, this is my real last question. If you look way ahead, this is beyond next year’s bottle of champagne, this is like 20 years from now or 40 years from now or 150 years because we found some way to live forever through vegetables or something, tell me what images of the future whether it’s through some future iteration of your current business or some other business, what kind of images from the future if you look way ahead or what kind of thoughts or reflections when you look towards what would one day be the end of Jayson Gaignard would give you the greatest sense of pride and fulfillment and meaning if you are looking way back on your life? What kinds of things would give you the greatest sense of purpose?
Jayson: That I was able to hold the space or create a space where people truly felt like they can be themselves and that they can belong. Ultimately, that’s what I do and the work I do right now, but I would be naïve to say I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life. For me, like oftentimes you were like they’re trying to figure what they’re passionate about and it’s this big question. For me, it’s almost like an onion and you’re peeling off the layers of the onion. I’ve never been closer to the center of that onion but I’m 32 years old and I’d be ignorant to say like, “Oh, this is what I was put on the planet to do in this form.” So, with that said, I mean I will continue on this path of creating community and creating these vehicles for people again to ultimately be themselves and have the sense of belonging because social isolation is a huge problem in today’s society. It’s showing up in mental health studies. It’s showing up in physical health studies, longevity studies, the rise of suicide rates amongst teens and all this kind of stuff. So ultimately, my body of work will basically on some small sliver make an impact in that space.
Jon: That’s awesome. Jayson, thanks for sharing that, man. That’s super inspiring and on behalf of our listeners speaking for them, to hear that you’re out there doing what you’re doing and that that’s what’s driving you, that creates I think a sense of hope because if you inspire us to create space like that for others, that creates a really cool ripple. I love that, man. That’s really cool. Jayson, this has been awesome. For people to find you, to connect with you, where would you like them to find you?
Jayson: Yeah. So, I’m kind of like an old man on social media so I’m not on Snapchat or anything like that but I am on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook so @JaysonGaignard, and if you’re interested to hear I guess more about my thoughts on season 1 of the podcast on scale or season 2 about business relationships, that’s CommunityMade.com.
Jon: CommunityMade.com. Awesome. Jayson, thanks, buddy. We’ll see you again. Talk to you real soon.
Jayson: Thanks, brother.
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