Eric Dunavant Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Eric Dunavant
Eric Dunavant joins us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business podcast
Growing up, Eric’s own family faced an unexpected tragedy that transpired in the loss of the family business and wealth.
This loss fuelled Eric’s passion for empowering families and businesses live a better story by being more intentional.
It was during this time that Eric discovered that money doesn’t cause problems; it simply magnifies and exposes the smallest issues we ignore today.
Since 2007, Mr. Dunavant’s leadership of Paradiem has guided multiple families and businesses to create Intentional Transformation by discovering the Greatness, Growth, Governance and Generosity in their story that can impact today, tomorrow and eternity.
How The Dots Joined Up For Eric
Paradiem’s experience is that most families do not realize that the pursuit of ROI (Return on Investment) is not in alignment with their true ROI (Return on Intention) and often creates unintended consequences.
Most good tax and estate plans fuel poor family outcomes.
As he says ““You’re living a good story. What if living a better story allowed you to pay less taxes and be more generous without changing your lifestyle?”
Well there is a lot to uncover in todays episode, so what actually is “living a good story” and being more intentional?
And where does the business find its biggest growth with so many people now living in a state of stasis against good story creating?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Eric Dunavant.
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with Eric Dunavant such as:
Eric shares openly the dawning realisation of how he came to realise the questions that he should be asking his clients. This changed his business forever
We talk about the moment when Eric was asked “why do you hate your family” and the steps he took to be there for them more and more.
The discussion focused on the “dip” that all businesses go through and how persistence will find a way out of the valley.
Why the hardest part of being a visionary is getting others to truly see and buy into what you have in your mind. Sometimes its better to forget the vision and just focus on the next step.
How To Connect With Eric
Return To The Top Of Eric Dunavant
If you enjoyed this episode with Eric Dunavant then why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Ron Stelle, Ted Yoder, Sean Swarner or the amazing Brain Health
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Full TranscriptionOf Eric Dunavant Interview
Life shouldn’t be hard life should be a fun filled adventure every day. So now start joining up dots tap into your talents, your skills, your God given gifts and tell your boss, you don’t deserve me. I’m out of here. It’s time for you to smash that alarm clock and start getting the dream business and life you will of course, are dreaming golf. Let’s join your host, David Ralph from the back of his garden in the UK, or wherever he might be today with another jam packed episode of the number one hit podcast. Join Up Dots.
David Ralph [0:38]
Yes, hello there. Good morning here. Good morning and welcome to yester number one hit podcast. It’s Join Up Dots. It’s the Join Up Dots business podcast. Today’s guest Yes, it’s interview show. I haven’t done a lot of bees recently. So I’m pleased to be doing this one. Today’s guest growing up his own family faced an unexpected tragedy that transpired in the loss of the family business and the wealth. And this loss fueled his passion for empowering families and businesses to live a better story by being more intentional. Yeah, I don’t really understand what that means, but we will find out. It was during this time, he discovered that money doesn’t cause problems. It simply magnifies his and magnifies his magnifies and exposes the smallest issues we ignore today. Now since 2007, these leadership programme, our paradigm has guided multiple families and businesses to create intentional transformation by discovering the greatness growth, governance and generosity in their story that can impact today, tomorrow, and in eternity now most good tax and estate plans for your poor family outcomes he believes and as he says, You’re living a good story. What if living a better story allowed you to pay less taxes and be more generous without changing your lifestyle? Well, there’s a lot to uncover in today’s episode. So what actually is living a good story and being more intentional? And where does the business find its biggest growth with so many people now suppose living in a state of spaces against good story creating? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Eric Dunavant.
Eric Dunavant [2:25]
Good morning, David. I am fantastic and excited to be here.
David Ralph [2:29]
Fantastic. I can tell it in your voice. Do you do you do? I don’t normally say this to a man. But do you jump out the bed excited?
Eric Dunavant [2:37]
You know, it depends on the morning. I think my wife programmed that into me. But after a couple of cup cups of coffee, I’m ready to go.
David Ralph [2:42]
And what I’m always kind of ready to go time because I’ve realised recently that my ready to go time is exactly the same time doesn’t matter if I’m on vacation, whatever, is always the same time. So do you have a kind of your body just wakes up and you’re ready to go?
Eric Dunavant [2:57]
You know what it’s I’m not one of those guys. So if I’m on vacation, I will sleep in on the weekends, I’ll sleep until about six or seven. most mornings I start at 430. And maybe that’s why. Because when you start at 430, it’s hard to keep that as a I find that hard to keep as a consistent go time.
David Ralph [3:16]
What boy do you do? Because I’m going to really get into this because I used to do this in the old days thinking to myself, yes, seize the day, get in there early. And then I kind of realised that I was just spreading the work out in the day. I wasn’t actually getting anything better by getting up early, other than being able to tell everybody I’m getting up early. So why do you do that?
Eric Dunavant [3:39]
Well, primarily, it’s because when my favourite yoga class is the yoga class, my favourite yoga class starts at 5am. If we want to just really disclose why I want to go do that. And then it really what it comes down to David for me is it’s the way that I’ve structured my day to kind of live my own better story from some messes that I’ve been in. But at 6am. My wife and I are planning and talking about what the day what’s going to be for the day, I am in the kitchen cooking breakfast for my kids by about 630. And then we’re sitting around the breakfast table. We have breakfast together most every morning from about 630 to seven and then I’ll take my daughter to school and the days that I’m getting up at 430. So I can get my exercise programme done before that starts. It’s the sixth it’s the six o’clock start time that kind of judges where my day is going to go because if I can then drop my daughter off and I have enough space to go work out afterwards then I can sleep till 6am If not, then I’m starting my day at 430. And a lot of times most of what that is is that’s when my favourite yoga class takes place.
David Ralph [4:38]
Is it okay for me to say I wish I was married to your wife, Eric because if at six o’clock in the morning, my wife, I can’t even touch the curtains. She doesn’t want anything to record. There’s no conversation. It’s basically, you know, death or leave me alone.
Eric Dunavant [4:56]
You know my wife was kicking me out of the bed early on at 6am So she I used to be a later night person, she’s more in the one who kind of shifted me to more than we’ve been married almost 25 years now. So it’s been a while, but she’s the one who kind of made me into a morning person through our marriage.
David Ralph [5:11]
Now, let’s talk about your business. Because I must admit, I liked it, because I didn’t really understand it. And you get so many people asked to come on to Join Up Dots, and they’re all a business coach with this new platform to shatter, um, limiting beliefs in four hours, you know, all that kind of stuff. You kind of think, yeah, okay, I’ve seen this 1000 times before. But yours, I thought, I don’t really understand this. So what is it? What is the good story you’re talking about?
Eric Dunavant [5:41]
Well, so there’s a longer journey on how I ended up here. But the ultimate thing that I discovered, I grew up kind of in the financial services, business kind of investment and financial planning type business and things like that. But through a series of events, I began to discover that everything that was happening inside of that business was basically focused on some sort of strategy, some sort of tactic, some sort of tool, some sort of thing that tries to solve a problem pretty quickly. But what I began to realise and begin to discover was, it was solving a problem, but maybe only temporarily, it might be a problem that solved for maybe three years or five years. But what we began to discover is so many times, if all you ever talk to anybody about was a strategy, tactic or tool, it created unintended consequences, and sometimes those unintended consequences showed up in three years, sometimes it wasn’t as long as 10 years. Sometimes it was one or two generations later, that there were these financial issues that began to show up. And I began to ask questions around that I began to kind of discover and take this journey to say, Okay, so what if things look differently? And what we, what I ended up creating? And what I ended up discovering was, what if we flip this on its head? What if we switch the situation and began by having conversations about what you want and intend for you and your family to do together? Five years, 10 years, one generation two generations from now. And when we really began to build a process for asking these types of questions around, what do you really want to happen? What do you really want to have happen for your family? And what are the intended consequences that you want to see happen, what we began to find is that the strategies and tools they were using didn’t match up with what they were trying to do. So we reverse engineer tonight, what I call it is that we’re trying to do things at the intersection of family and finance. And instead of chasing return on investment, what we’re looking for is what is your return on intention. And then that’s what we discovered is when we started helping people look at return on intention, they actually ended up getting better return on investment, because it was creating the outcomes that they wanted.
David Ralph [7:42]
So what you’re saying is, instead of joining up the dots by looking backwards, you kind of joined up the dots by looking forwards and thought, okay, if this situation occurs, how’s the ripples go into effect? That one? And that one, and that one moving forward? And how do we make different ripples right at the very start?
Eric Dunavant [8:00]
Absolutely, absolutely. Because what we were discovering from, you know, kind of thinking about this joining up dots is people were putting together things that were joining that were creating future outcomes that they never even realised were going to happen.
David Ralph [8:12]
now. I’ll be honest with you, Eric, I’ll be honest with you, I agree with everything. You’re saying. I don’t care about two generations down. I’ve my family, I think they can sort out their own issues. We’ve we’ve, we’ve sorted our own now. But we Eric, did do people do people look that power head?
Eric Dunavant [8:29]
Well, so it depends, right? I mean, it depends on if there’s abundance or lacks. So would you care askew? David, I mean, would you care if your grandchildren ended up being drug addicts?
David Ralph [8:39]
No. No. Okay, that was a bit harsh. That was a bit harsh. Yes, I would. I would, of course, I basically wanted to say no to everything that you gave me. But you gave you gave me something that touched my heart and is now made me look like a bad individual.
Eric Dunavant [8:56]
That was not my intention. So again, I had an unintended consequence here. No, but I mean, it’s so especially here’s one of the phrases that’s kind of been birthed out of my life that I like to use, which is money doesn’t cause problems. What money does is money reveals and magnifies the issues that we’ve been ignoring. And so in my own life, I discovered that a lack of money that’s what happened early on, when my you know, my overall experience was my mom passed away. Early on, it led to my dad’s bankruptcy and the loss of the family business. From that standpoint, the lack of money revealed and magnified a lot of personal, relational and other problems that we were happening. And then in my own business, what I’ve discovered is that abundance of money also reveals and magnifies problems that most people aren’t paying attention to. So so many times that abundance of money can lead to addictions can lead to miscommunication can lead the lack of trust can lead the lack of motivation. And those are the things when you’re thinking out one to two generations. If if you’re running a standard middle class lifestyle, and you leave kind of just a middle of the road inheritance that doesn’t have a plan that it’s not going to ruin anyone. In the future, then you know that maybe it’s not that much of a concern. And yes, you want people to figure out how to do it on their own. But what we kept running into was opportunities where lack or abundance were causing more issues. And so how could we have conversations about what we were really intending to happen and what we wanted the outcome to be, and then how we might make decisions around that.
David Ralph [10:20]
Now there was an English guy, and he’s a kind of Chinese philosopher called Alan Watts. And he basically talks about the backwards law. And effectively, the more you focus in on something, but less that you get off it, you know, it just works the opposite way. So if you want to have more money, and you spend all your time thinking, I want to have more money, actually, what happens is you kind of amplify your poorness. And think to yourself, I want Paul and Paul and Paul, so you get further and further away from what you actually want. What you’re better off doing is looking at the next dot. And that’s really what you’ve tapped into here, isn’t it? Making people except that it’s not what they want? It’s what they can do that makes a difference?
Eric Dunavant [11:06]
Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, one of the things that we’ve even really discovered is, you know, most people come in initially they come in, it’s like, I’ve got a financial problem, I’ve got a business problem, I’ve got something I need to tie, it’s like, that’s not where your problem is. The problem is probably, it probably has to do either with your health, your relationships, or your spiritual connection. One of those three is probably is every time is a bigger issue than your financial issue. And when you figure out and solve the other three issues, the financial stuff, take takes care of itself.
David Ralph [11:38]
Oh, I’ll tell you why. This is why I invited you on the show. I knew there was a reason why. Because this is my thing. At the moment, my whole thing is the realisation over the last, I don’t know, three or four months, that the better. I feel personally, health wise, the better my business is doing. And it’s kind of it’s, it’s a Ying and Yang, but it’s an equal balance. And I couldn’t see that for years, I would exhaust myself by working harder and harder and harder. But now I sort of separate myself from the business and I come back, you’ve got more clarity, you can see things better, you can see what needs to be done, you get things done quicker, because you feel healthier. And then you can walk away from it and come back and reap the rewards. It’s a really is a ying and yang thing. But genuinely people don’t see it out there because they have this badge of hustle, hustle, hustle. I work 29 hours a day, I have an added vacation for six years. I don’t even know my wife and family anymore. Like we’re all supposed to praise them and say, Good on you. Good on you for doing that.
Eric Dunavant [12:44]
Right? No, I mean, we’ve got it totally backwards, you’re at a what you’ve tapped into is exactly what we discovered. And what we created inside a paradigm was everyone out there is trying to solve financial problems for people were like, Nope, it’s a fame. It’s probably family or something else. And that’s it. We’re just that’s why we’re joining up the dots going forward. I had it. As you discovered about four or five years ago, I had an exact very similar experience myself. I was running this business and doing things. And I had a good friend of mine who pulled me aside and he said, he said, I just want to know why you hate your family. And I said, I don’t understand what you’re saying. He goes, Well, look, you’re on the road all the time. you’re travelling. You’re not I was coming off of a period, it was February and I had spent 20 days out of 28 on the right. And so that would that was the timing that this was happening. And he said, Look, here’s what I want you to do. He said, You think you’re growing your business the right way, because I want you to go home. And I want you to not go into the office until 930 in the morning. And and this is where I started cooking breakfast more and started doing more kind of the rhythm I was telling you about. He’s like, I want you to focus on your fitness it first thing in the morning, I want you to connect with your family. And I want you to create a spiritual connection in the morning and then go into the office at 930. And the minute I started doing that, I thought it was crazy. First, and then as we as we kept going through it, I’m like, he’s like, Just trust me. It’s gonna work. And I’m like, I just don’t know. He’s like, nope, trust me. So I did it. And then two months later, it was like night and day difference. But you’re right. I mean, we’re constantly we’re told this badge of honour we have to wear for how many hours we work every day, and if but the less I focus on that, and the more I get everything else align, the more productive I am. When I look at my life,
David Ralph [14:25]
there’s many things that I’ve done wrong, Eric totally. And I look at my younger kids who are now adults producing children themselves, dirty, dirty little people they are. And I look at that, and I didn’t really see them that much when they were growing up other than being at home when they was in bed, maybe kissing the top of their head, you know, because I was obviously the breadwinner, and I was doing what Knights had to do and I had to bring in the bacon and I looked at it and when I had my last two I I just made a decision, but that was never going to happen again. So my last two who are now 19 and 16, I said, No, I’m out the opposite four o’clock. And it wasn’t even open to question. And this is one of the things that I realise. It’s not us having the belief that people are going to look at as badly is actually at a training the office to accept our actions. And what I mean by that is, when I started leaving the office at four o’clock, people used to say, oh, half days, a half day, I would be nice to be you as you’re walking out. And I used to say, your thank me for this. And then after a period of time, people would come up to me and go, David, can I have a chat with you out? Now? Don’t worry, it’s almost four o’clock, you leave at four. I do it tomorrow. And so you can’t you kind of actually trained other people to accept what you was doing was normal. And that’s the problem. When people go into an office, when people are surrounded by the Hustle, Hustle, Hustle people, they’ve set their normal at that level. And to be able to break away from that and say, there’s a different way of doing it. It’s quite difficult.
Eric Dunavant [16:06]
Oh, it is. And David, I don’t know if your experience was this. But what my experience was is like the people on my teams when I you left at four, I didn’t I didn’t go in until 930. Just a little bit of a flip on that. But the, my team started stepping up, like they started doing more, there were things that like I just started delegating, and like, I don’t, I can’t get this done. And like I started to figure out that I had leaders, I was unintentionally holding back. Yeah. Because they because I was in the office doing the things that I then passed off to them. So I didn’t have to come in until 930.
David Ralph [16:39]
So you running your business now. And I was freaking up and down your website, and you’ve got quite a lot of stuff. And with most people, they will have the idea that they’d be laying in the bath, or they’re be on there in a special underpants. And I suddenly think, ah, this is an idea this, this might be worth going and buy he will normally work on it as a kind of side hustle when it becomes something but little by little it brings profit into to bear life. Ben, there’s a bit when they have to spring, there’s too much work here. I need to hire out and get the right people. How did you cross that bridge? Or maybe that wasn’t your journey you went on? Maybe it operated in a totally different way? How did you get the business actually up from your mind to being a real thing with employees?
Eric Dunavant [17:26]
Well, so I opened up the business in oh seven with right in the heat and teeth of right before the recession happened. I’ve got impeccable timing. For starting the business. I’d been in the financial business before that. And so I had some people that I knew and things like that, that were trusting me enough when I opened the doors. But I had, I really had a lot of success pretty early on. And a lot of people who had confidence in what I was doing and what I was building and can see the vision and the difference in the way that we were offering service. So within, I want to say three months, I hired my first employee, and it just came down to the fact of I cannot do all of this, I can’t. And then probably within another year or two, we hired one other employee. But here’s where it gets to be really interesting, because I’m going to say we stagnated at just three of us for about five to seven years. And it was during that time that I kept getting exposed on how to be a better manager, I had a couple of people who quit my management style didn’t fit them. Fortunately, the person who came on with me in three or four months, she’s pretty resilient and stubborn, kind of like I am and could put up with my learning and, and continue to see the vision. But I mean, I made mistakes on how I treated some people. I made some mistakes on expectations of people and how to lead and manage them. And then I had a mentor who came along and began to help me to see different possibilities and some different things that can happen. This was so I’ve been in business almost 14 years. So this was maybe about five or six years ago. And then I bought his business because he got ready to retire. And with that I bought i three employees came with it. And as we just again kept growing and we’re picking up more and more employees, what I had to begin to learn and transition was going from being you know, on day one, I was the expert I was the one who felt like he had to have his hands at everything and be willing to let go and delegate and transition to a point of saying, Have I trained my people well enough if I taught them well enough, and do I trust them to take care of everything and then learning how to step back and a they’re gonna make mistakes. It’s the only way we learn is by making mistakes. So can I trust them to make mistakes and then kind of flowing into my management style. And then I like to read and follow other leaders and learn from them and then to kind of over time What I’ve developed into the best example I’ve come up with, I don’t know that I like his personal style. But from a business style, Henry Ford was all about hiring really, really smart people and getting out of their way. And that’s really to the point that I am right now is your use of you were looking at the staff, we’ve had two people start in the last week, we’ve got another job offer out and maybe two job offers out, depending on how an interview goes later this week. And I am slowly but surely moving more into the CEO role and less and less in the weeds every day. But it was, it was a journey of 14 years. And beginning to see it. Here’s the number one thing I learned David, the number one thing in the weight of my growth most often is me.
David Ralph [20:44]
That’s that’s that’s the case for everyone, isn’t it? You know, I’ve, I’ve realised recently, I’ve been on a big transformation personally and professionally. And one of the things that I realise is that I’m a visionary. And if I’ve gotten anything that is a super power, but also becomes my Achilles heel, it’s the fact that other people can’t see the vision as clearly. And so I’m kind of openly critical of their work, where I feel like I’m supporting them and wanting them to get better, but they can’t see the I can’t see the top of the mountain, they’re just seeing the foothills. And I find that quite difficult as you develop a business to explain, you know, where you’re heading in five or 10 years, because most people, you know, they like to know what they’re doing before lunch, and then go off to lunch. And then that’s it.
Eric Dunavant [21:41]
Well, I I’m laughing, because you’re describing something that I talk about with a lot of business owners is this idea of the visionary, versus the faith of the people around them. And that the hardest part for a visionary is exactly what you just said, It is so clear in our own heads. And I’m a visionary to David. So this is I totally relate to this, what we’re what we’re doing and where we are going is so clear in our own heads, and we’re doing a terrible job of communicating it. And then the other thing is, we’re what we’re very guilty of is we like to ready, we’d like to go ready fire aim. Or sometimes it’s fire ready aim. And it drives the people around us crazy, I
David Ralph [22:22]
just got fire. More often than not, I don’t think I owe anything I just got buying.
Eric Dunavant [22:30]
And one of the things that I’ve learned over time is, and there’s a lot of different ways that this happens. But the number one thing you have to do when you’re a visionary is create certainty in the people around you. So you may have a five or 10 year vision. But if the vision is so broad and so big, that people are concerned, they may not have a job next week, then how do you create the certainty around them? They’re not they can’t think five to 10 years down the road, they want to know their certainty this Job’s still gonna be here next week.
David Ralph [22:55]
Let’s hear from Oprah.
Oprah Winfrey [22:57]
The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move, not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. What is the next right move. And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [23:28]
Now, I’ve been playing that speech for many years, because I think it’s fantastic. And it blends very well with what we’re doing on Join Up Dots. But I’ll be honest, I don’t think I only lived it myself, until recently. And when the pandemic hit, and we all became quieter and reflective for a period of time, I started to realise that I didn’t really become quiet, I didn’t really just look at the next.on the journey I was always five or 10 years ahead. And that, once again, has been something that has fundamentally shifted the earning potential and the success of my business. Because I’m now trying to walk at the same speed as everybody else, you know, the people that are working on Join Up Dots. If they’re two steps ahead, that’s fine, because I can shout at them and tell them turn left, turn left or turn right. But when I’m sort of at the top of the mountain shouting down through the fog, they just couldn’t see it. It’s it’s interesting when we have all this advice around us, we have all these motivational comments. But until the time is right for us, they’re just words. They’re just words that just seemed nice to hear.
Eric Dunavant [24:40]
Yeah, David, I think the one thing that comes out of that, and especially when you think about the pandemic, the biggest thing that I learned through the pandemic was, I think sometimes we’re crazy to plan for five or 10 years. I mean, look at how fast the world is moving and how everything is going look at how the pandemic has accelerated some areas and slowed some areas down the most valuable lesson. And I learned during this time, especially for me, and for my people, we’ll just have a general idea of where we think we’re going in the next five to 10 years, but make one year plans. And then with that one year plan back down to if that’s where we want to be in a year. And I, you know, we it’s kind of this, I call it the unattainable goal, because it’s, I want to make that one year goal so crazy that it looks like it’s impossible to get there. But then break myself down quarter by quarter to just say, How do I move closer to that? And all that I’m doing and setting for my teams is where do we need to go the next quarter, to get closer to where we’d like to be at the end of the year in the most beautiful. If you can have grace for yourself, I would tell anyone the most beautiful thing is a lot of people get frustrated, like I set this crazy goal, and I didn’t hit it. But it’s like, well, but if you were 70% there, how much closer now are you than you would have been if you hadn’t been that ambitious.
David Ralph [25:52]
And that’s that’s the key thing, though, isn’t it? Because I teach a lot of people how to start online businesses, and we go through and the majority of people, they do well on them. And there’s some people that don’t. And the people that don’t are always the people that actually and this this comes back to what we were talking about at the beginning, fundamentally don’t believe in themselves. And you can see it so when the first obstacle comes by think of quitting, where I just think to myself, okay, it’s an obstacle, just be quiet and just sort of get rounded. There’s always a way of getting around it. I remember Join Up Dots, you know, for for mumps nearly a year, I wasn’t earning any money from it. But I was just working at it. And in my head. I was just thinking, Okay, I’m building something that’s become more valuable as we moved on. It wasn’t a game changer. I don’t think it’s any game changes. I’m going to throw that question over to you, Eric. Do you think there’s actually any game changes in a business? But you sit there and you say to all your colleagues and your work, folk, this? Is it? This? Is it? Nothing’s gonna help us get past this?
Eric Dunavant [27:03]
No, no, you’re talking about a negative game changer. Not a positive game changer. Am I hearing that correctly?
David Ralph [27:09]
I’m thinking of is anything so when we go with the negative Game Changer? The one when you’re norther, your staff member? I don’t know what your staff members are called. But she looks over at you. And she says, Eric, we’ve got no more money. We can’t pay the wages. We can’t pay the light. We can’t even have Starbucks three times a day. We are absolutely skins. Now I would go okay. It’s not a good situation to be. But there’s a way around this. What do you think? Absolutely.
Eric Dunavant [27:41]
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I think that’s what the visionaries are so gifted. That is, I just need to figure out how to get in sometimes. This is gonna, this will make sense to visionaries. I don’t know that anyone else this will make sense to. But so many times, I think our problem is we’re trying to figure out how to get over around the mountain. And the real answer is you just need to go through it.
David Ralph [28:03]
Yeah, like water, like water naturally will just drill its way through the hardest rock and it doesn’t change direction, unless it finds an easier way round. That’s it this this is award winning stuff. But anybody out there, but is struggling to build a business, you’d listen back to this because it is it you’re much better off. If you’ve got an obstacle and something that comes up that is of the negative situation to go, Oh, I won’t even think about it for three days. You know, and I know that’s hard because we go in and go, Oh, my God, oh, my God, it’s happened and what should I do, and we lay there in the bed tossing and turning? You know, I’m not I’m not as Zen as I like to make out. But ultimately, that’s not going to get you anywhere, but the ability to just go and walk through the woods and allow it to, you know, just come to you the answer come to you and it will do that there will be an answer.
Eric Dunavant [28:58]
Absolutely, absolutely. I think the one thing too is, in so many times we curse our obstacles or curse our setbacks like it, especially in the moment, like I cannot believe I did this as opposed to going I’m so thankful that happened because what is my opportunity to learn from this? What is my opportunity to shift? What is my opportunity to take this lesson and become better and smarter and more equipped I yesterday I was on the phone with the client has been with me from the very beginning. And we were talking through this and we were we were reflecting on some of the you know, decisions that I helped them make along the way that at the time it was like why were we doing that. But everything we learned in that has brought them and me and us and the entire company to a place today that we never could have imagined then but we needed to go through that valley to get to here so never cursed the valley.
David Ralph [29:58]
Never cursed the valley. What a phrase, I’m gonna have that on on the on the front of my car on a sticker. You know, like, like, shit happens and all that kind of stuff. Never curse the valley. Yeah. Um, now, let’s talk about the valley, because that’s interesting as well, because I was talking to one of my business clients the other day, and he started a business and he’s doing very well. And I said to him, You do realise, but and this is to you, Tom, you’re you’re gonna prick your ears up if you’re listening to this. And I said, Tim, You do realise, but all of us, basically start a business and tap into a pool of customers that are just waiting for us. It’s when we drive at Paul out, then we start looking around, and thinking, Oh, my God, maybe I need to learn a bit more about marketing, or SEO, or whatever. And I imagine you will have found that yourself. When you started it for a while it was, you know, a walk in the park, but then suddenly, even all sticky times, Seth Godin calls it the dip. How did you get through that dip? Or the valley? You see how I connected it? Eric, you say this, this is why I’m a professional podcaster?
Eric Dunavant [31:07]
Well, persistence, because we did, that’s exactly the story that we’ve walked, I think every business walks the story. It’s why it’s so common, but I mean, who started out things were going well, we even survived 2008 2009 better than I expected to, it was right after I bought out my mentor. And he, you know, it looked like extending and expanding our business through buying him out was gonna make a lot of sense. And it was during that you were talking about the period of, hey, we’ve got no more money. And I laugh a little bit, because we hit that point a couple of times. And it was okay, so how do we keep the lights on? And how do we keep things going? And how do we, how do we pay every single bill that still has to be paid? And who can we negotiate with? And but I think it was, it was the longer term desire that I knew I had a higher purpose and a higher calling to what I was doing. I knew exactly why I was doing this. I knew that there were people out there waiting for me to show up, because I knew that it was I say this, you know, it’s in the quote of what we do is how do we change your story for today, for tomorrow, and for eternity, there are families that we’re going to make a difference in. And the only thing that you can do during that season is just keep experimenting, and keep finding out. And what I’ve found, you know, David unfortunate, unfortunately, or fortunately, is, what you do is you find out a whole lot of things that don’t work until you find the thing that does work. Yeah, yeah. But it’s the persistence of going, Okay, well, that didn’t work. And it’s also the grace for yourself, and the ability to forgive yourself enough to go, it’s okay that that didn’t work. What do I learn here? And am I strong enough to keep going? Or are you the person who goes, Well, that didn’t work, I’m gonna fold up shop, and I’m going to work for somebody else. So I’m gonna close this down. And that’s the difference between the successes and the failures is the willingness that when it’s the darkest, to keep going forward anyway, because, you know, they’re the valley eventually slants upward but there’s eventually a way out of this, if I keep searching. And I think the difference between the successes and the failures are those who just keep going.
David Ralph [33:10]
Because every film and every TV programme that I see where it’s based in an office, or some kind of working environment, I now look at it and think, Oh, my God, I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t. And I did. I did it for like 30 years or 25 years or whatever. I worked in offices. That’s what I did. I did 10 years in banking, 10 years insurance, a bit of advertising recruitment. I was the office guy. And now I look at it and I think, imagine spending your life building somebody else’s wealth. You know, I just I just could not do it. And even if everything that I’m doing now, when absolutely dry, and nothing ever happened. I think I would stop mowing lawns or get a paper round or or do anything. I don’t think I could work in an office ever again.
Eric Dunavant [33:57]
No, I totally agree. I totally agree. And my my worst day, being a business owner myself is better than my best day working for someone else.
David Ralph [34:07]
Yeah, and your worst day being working for yourself is still better than working for somebody else. You know?
Eric Dunavant [34:13]
Yeah, no, that’s if I didn’t say that. That’s
David Ralph [34:14]
what I was trying. Yeah, yeah, you had to best spam and I thought well, he’s a very positive individual has benefits in this regard. And we’re talking to Eric and we’ll be back with him after these words.
Unknown Speaker [34:26]
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David Ralph [35:01]
Now we’re talking to Eric from peridinium. And one of the things I’m interested in Eric, we’ve been talking now for 35 minutes, and I totally understand your business. But when I came across your website, I didn’t understand it at all. But it piqued my interest because there was something in in it. Now, how do you get people to actually understand because one of the things about businesses that struggle is a lack of clarity and direction. And when you’ve got something as unusual, I suppose, and insightful and emotional, because when you get it, you really get it. You can’t really get it on a website or a business card, how do you actually get people to understand about what you do is different?
Eric Dunavant [35:48]
Well, it’s a lot of conversations like this. I will also say we have some incredible clients who, fortunately, I have an incredible staff. And so they’ve had a wonderful experience. And like a lot of businesses, we operate a lot off of referral, you know, when you can build up a really good clientele who becomes your own champion, that’s the cheapest marketing and advertising you will ever do. And keep the people you know, the the easiest customer to keep is the one that you already have. And so making sure number one that we take care of the people that are already experiencing the transformation, we’re trying to help them experience. But the other thing, David, I mean, you catch me at an interesting time, I will tell you, we are actively working on redoing our website in the next two to three months, we’re already working with someone to kind of build out some of the communication because as you were talking about, you know, you were talking about the Valley of advertising in the valley of people not understanding you’re catching me at a time, where for four or five years, it really I would try to explain what we did and no one understood. And I would keep going back and my team really laughs at me because I mean, there are four or five iterations of our marketing message that I’ve gone through that we just hoped this was finally it. And it was the moment that I finally said, the intersection of family and finance, that I finally had someone go Oh, okay, that I understand, David, that that intersection of family and finance happened last October.
Yeah. Right. So we’ve been doing the same thing. But from a communication standpoint, I’ve been going through that valley of its owner, as a person who really understands and knows our business banging my head against the wall. But like, why don’t you understand what I’m saying? Why don’t you get what I’m saying. But it’s really about finding the language that makes sense to the person that you’re looking for.
David Ralph [37:37]
I spend so much time thinking about finger licking good. And I do, because I think that is just perfect. You know, it tastes good. You’re going to use your fingers. And it tastes so good. You’re actually going to lick heaping because afterwards, you know, it’s got so many different levels of finger licking good. And it’s just a free words. And not only that, it’s free words that everybody knows what a applies to, like apples, they think differently, you know, just this, these these, these prizes, these two words, you know, I’ve always had on my site, online business success, easy way, because that’s basically what I look for, I look for trying to change it. But I’ve recently just changed it to life and business success the easy way, because I just think that that ties in but it’s still not precise enough. And it’s it’s marketing strapline, which is one of the hardest thing when you can read something in pre words and you know, finger licking good beer sounds good. I’m going to buy this, you know, that is when all your branding or your marketing or your strategy comes together. And that’s why the real heavy hitters, the ones that we all know across the world have got maybe three words, three words, but just just tie up. So your thing about the intersection between family and financial life, was it in the intersection of family and Finance? Okay.
That is as good as I could make it. But I feel like it’s it’s close. Do you know what I mean? It’s coming to Yeah, I do. I know what you’re saying. But there’s still something in there that goes out. That’s it. Yeah, that’s it. And you can look at this time and time again, can’t you with the strapline that sells the whole business in one go?
Eric Dunavant [39:26]
Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, again, it’s been this journey. It’s the closest we’ve gotten so far. But I mean, like most visionaries, we’re going to keep going, we’re gonna keep pushing. You know, we want the next version, the next iteration to be better.
David Ralph [39:41]
There’s an interesting thing that most business owners have, and there’s an offer that’s just bought a book out and I stumbled across one line, and it was all about the business blind spot, the inability for us to actually see what’s right in front of our nose because we’re living it and where we’re working on it. That’s why business coaches and mentors all look like insight for yoders. But they come in, and they say, this is what’s wrong with your business. And you think, Oh my god, they’re a genius, but he’s so bloody obvious, you just can’t see it is right in front of run right in front of our eyes. So how do you get past your blind spot when actually, the thing that you need to see is never going to be visible to you?
Eric Dunavant [40:26]
Well, so there’s a couple of places that I do that. So inside of the business, and this is a little careful, but I mean, I have a leadership team of four people that I have specifically given instruction to them, that their job is to be a voice to me, even if they don’t get a vote, that I want them to tell me everything that they’re thinking, feeling seeing inside of the business. So that’s internally, I’ve created the safe space, you can’t hurt my feelings, you can’t, you’re not gonna make me angry, you’re not I’m gonna listen to you and hear what you have to say, again, you may not get a vote, but I want to hear your voice. I want to know from where we’re growing, and how we’re doing that, how you’re perceiving this, and how even the other employees are perceiving this. So that’s internally. And then externally, I am a constant in search of peers and coaches, and have really kind of landed on two, I’ve got one group of CEOs that I actually I live in the Louisiana New Orleans area, once a month, I fly to Dallas to be a part of a group of CEOs that meet monthly. But then also within the last year, there’s a collection of 20 other men that we meet twice a week is going to sound crazy twice a week for two for four hours. And two of those hours are specifically focused on hearing each other’s business problems, and then not necessarily trying to solve them, but trying to help ask better questions around those problems, to then get to help get greater insight on how we need to be thinking about it. And between those two, it’s been a powerful shift for me and a powerful shift for my business to the point of when you talk about acceleration. Like how could you spend four hours? Well, that four hours of investment a week has given me so much return inside of the business? It’s almost minimal? Yeah.
David Ralph [42:08]
Because I think my whole ethos to everything is, if I don’t understand it, it’s wrong. If it’s too complicated, it’s wrong. And that’s why things like Click Funnels and all these things that with this being a whiz that valve and stuff. You don’t know when it’s not working. And a lot of business owners, you know, I will say to him, I signed up for that I didn’t get it. Oh, oh, let me go and check back on know what day was happening on their business? Because it’s too complicated in the back end. And if it’s complicated, it’s prone to breaking, isn’t it? Hmm,
Eric Dunavant [42:44]
it is it is. I mean, that’s why I will say this of the 20. guys that are in my group, only three of them work in any type of financial business, others are in construction and things like that, I think that’s the other value is to have people around you who are coming from a completely different worldview perspective of business, who can look at it and not see it with the same blinders that you see it.
David Ralph [43:04]
But let’s bring on somebody you had absolute vision when it comes to what was wrong with a business, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [43:11]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [43:46]
Now that was 12 seconds to what we’ve taken 45 minutes to say, you know that and that is when it becomes precise and clear.
Eric Dunavant [43:58]
David Ralph [43:59]
When when you hear those words, Eric, because I’m always interested about bass because I play those almost every day. And people think that I’m a huge Steve Jobs fanboy. And I am not I don’t have I’ve never bought an Apple product in my life. But I’m always fascinated with the man. And one of the things that I’m fascinated in is that he said so much in so few words, which is basically what the business model is. How can you strip it back, strip it back to be so simple and beautiful that people just love you?
Eric Dunavant [44:35]
Yeah, I mean, what I heard in there was exactly what we started talking about just a few moments ago, which was this idea that so many times we think we need to plan for three, five or 10 years. And how could anyone at Apple imagine what the iPhone or even the air pods or the Apple TV effect and everything like that that far out. Whereas having a vision for one year, and then being willing to look backwards and see what Have you What have I learned from what has shaped me what is created the opportunities? I mean, I think of things that I’ve created and done in the past that I thought were gonna be the thing. And what they just became, were echoes of the thing, they just became paths to the next thing. So looking backwards, I can see how that happened. But if I had tried to project those forms, I would have taken them in the wrong direction.
David Ralph [45:21]
And a lot of them are kind of they’re waiting for you. This is what I’ve discovered. I’ve tried loads of different things. And they didn’t really hit home. But it doesn’t mean they weren’t right. They were just coming to half done skeletons of stuff. And now I look back on it. And I think I know what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna do, I think I’ve got that already. I’ve got that somewhere. And I can just sort of reach back into it. It’s kind of waiting there for you.
Eric Dunavant [45:49]
Oh, absolutely. Things that. Yeah, I can’t tell you how many times I think it’s like, I’m going to talk about this. It’s like, wait a minute, I’ve already I’ve already talked about this, not this way, and not in this context. But I’ve already done this. You’re absolutely right. And something that could even be obscure. You’re like, why did I ever even go down that Avenue, and all of a sudden that comes back, it becomes an important piece? Those are the surprises.
David Ralph [46:09]
Now going back to your website. Again, one of the things that interested me and I know is going through a redesign was there wasn’t any instant funnel, there wasn’t anything instantly but lured me into a to a communication with you. Was that a strategy that just didn’t become clear to you? Or is that something bad is going to change before what because I think the trust funnel, as I call it, not the sales funnel, it’s all about how to think about your avatar, think about the issues and the problems, and basically show them that you’re losing the font of the knowledge and you can help them. I think that is key to actually building a successful business.
Eric Dunavant [46:48]
I absolutely agree with you. It Again, you catch me in the middle of a journey, which is so we’ve been working on a quote unquote, funnel for a couple of years. We are nearing the finish line, it takes
David Ralph [46:58]
so long that two years one, you could get one up and going in a day, why two years?
Eric Dunavant [47:05]
Oh, first off, I didn’t know what I was doing to begin with. And be what I also started realising was I was the wrong person to do it. And I spent a year and a half trying to be the person to do it.
David Ralph [47:16]
Yeah. But that now and that’s interesting, isn’t it, knowing that, and knowing that, actually, you shouldn’t even be touching it. It’s like, you know, you don’t touch somebody else’s wife. But in your own business, you feel like you can touch anything and get away with
Eric Dunavant [47:32]
let’s it. That’s it. And again, coming back to learning what I should delegate and what I shouldn’t. And the minute I found the person that I should delegate it to, I mean, we’re going to be done here. There’s a longer story, there’s some specific changes in the US regulation. At this point, our business is not not allowed to use testimonials in the next few months, we should be able to. And so if you really want to know what the delay is, is we’re waiting on some regulation to change
David Ralph [47:56]
bring Brock Trump, that’s what we’re saying.
Eric Dunavant [48:00]
Not at all. But we are just trying, we are very much on that path. And I understand that a lot more but it come back to data. So we’re connecting. We’re joining up the dots as we look backwards here. But is this whole thing of I wouldn’t trade the last year and a half because I learned so much in making all the mistakes is like, Well, why don’t you have your funnel right now? Because it wasn’t time. That’s okay. You know, what, if it’s another three months until the funnel comes out? That’s okay, too. Should I have one? Yes. But I want to be able, there’s the learning that happens along the way. And it is again, it’s that it’s that I’ve set it over to it’s that grace is that forgiveness for myself of going you know what I learned so much in not accomplishing what I wanted. That when I do accomplish what I want, I’m going to be there I’m going to it’s going to be so successful. I think if we were to talk in three months, this would be a completely different conversation, a different experience, but we are where we are today. And I wouldn’t change a moment of it.
David Ralph [48:53]
I remember just before we bring the show to an end, I remember hearing a podcast guest talking about his business. And he was saying that basically everything he does at the front end, makes only the the funnel burst into life. And I thought, Oh, this is interesting. So it’s not all the sexy stuff at the front that really makes a difference. It’s the thing behind the scenes. And when he said something to me and why he didn’t say it to me. He said, Yeah, I’ve got 10 funnels working for 1010. Well, I have what’s the point in having 10? How can you have 10? What’s the clarity? And that’s stuck with me over time. For years I was thinking, why the hell did he have time? Why did he have 10 ben you realise a cause because each person has got a different communication that needs to be shared with them. But you haven’t all got the same problems. I haven’t got the same issues. And once I grasp that, it’s like it’s like a wonderful sort of underground or a subway map in your head where you think, okay, the person gets on at this station, and then they’re gonna go through here, they’re gonna get off at this station. But how do I get them back on to get them there. And not is really when business and online business really ramps up when you can actually understand the customer’s journey in a kind of visual. And we’re back to vision again, but it’s sort of visualisation that is clear to you. But it’s bloody hard to explain it to someone else.
Eric Dunavant [50:21]
What is and you I’m reflecting back on, I was the wrong person to do it. I remember back in December, I was having a communication with one gentleman, and he was like, you’re just making it too complicated. And that’s what I had been doing for a year and a half. It’s the other reason that I needed to bring someone else in who could help me see it because I was over complicating what I needed to do.
David Ralph [50:38]
Well, I’m not going to make it complicated, because I’ve been building up to this part of the show since we started. And this is the part of the show called a sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send you back to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Eric, what age would you speak to him? What advice would you like to give him? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music. And when it fades, it’s your time to talk. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [51:09]
We go with the best bit of the show, sir man on the mind, man.
Eric Dunavant [51:28]
Eric, it’s 2007. And you’ve just launched this business, you have no idea what is ahead. But let me tell you a couple of things that you need to know there’s going to be bumps in the road, there’s going to be sleepless nights, there’s going to be times that you’re going to wonder if it’s all worth it. But you need to know that it is and that the number one thing you need to do is just keep going. But your kids are still young. And this is the time you need to realise that the number one thing in your life is your family. The number one thing in your life is taking care of your health. And what you think you need to do is get up early every morning to get into the office and get things done. And that’s not your best use. That’s not your best focus. And it’s going to sound so backwards and so crazy. Take care of yourself, love on those kids, it will not be long until the oldest will be off at college. And the next two will quickly follow after that. Take care of that beautiful wife of viewers and enjoy every single moment. And the business, the business will come the business will take care of itself. And my greatest advice is just enjoy the ride.
David Ralph [52:47]
Great advice. Great advice for everyone. So Eric, for the people out there listening today, what’s the number one best way that they can connect with you?
Eric Dunavant [52:54]
Yeah, so the best way to get in touch with me is to send me an email Eric at para de m.org pa ra diem.org. And then I’ll make one other thing just available for those that are out there, which is this. So we’ve talked a lot about family and the importance of family and taking care of all of that. And so because we talk to people at the intersection of family and finance, what I find is most people they understand what they need to do financially, what they’re missing is, what’s the path forward? How do I get more engaged with my family? How do I do that. So we have a tool and a resource we call a family impact kit, it is a day worth of exercises, they don’t have to be all done in one day. But it’s a day worth of ideas and exercises and this particular kit is built, you could have young kids, you could have kids that are adults, it doesn’t matter. And all you have to do is send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org put family impact kit in the title and we’ll send you a link to the download. Everyone who has taken it has said that it’s just been a great, you know, benefit to them to really understand that this is the way to focus on the things that are going to matter and are going to make a difference in the day to day life and to reconnect to me in ways maybe that I’ve forgotten
David Ralph [54:04]
great stuff, great stuff. So hopefully you all send out for that one. And of course, we have all the information on the show notes at Join Up dots.com to make it as easy as possible. So Eric, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our pasts is always the best way to build our futures. Eric, thank you so much,
Eric Dunavant [54:29]
David. Thank you. It’s been a joy.
David Ralph [54:32]
Mr. Eric Donovan from paladium. So yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it because your decisions do bring about the situations that you make, but most of us especially in financial situations, just deal with our What’s our issue, and we’ve got too much money every not got enough money, but actually what’s led us to that path what how has the dots joined up to get there and if we can make big sexy decisions about our more intentional, where not only does it affect what we’re doing, but it affects future generations. Interesting stuff. Hopefully you enjoyed that episode of Join Up Dots. Because we got a lot more coming to you. We’re trying to find different guests with different passions and different businesses to give you the blueprint to follow. Because for every single person out there, you have got the life of your dreams just at your fingertips. And that’s what we’re trying to deliver to you on a daily basis. Until next time, my friends you look after yourself, and I’ll see you again, cheers, bye bye.
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