Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Thom King
To subscribe to the podcast, please use the links below:
Introducing Thom King
Thom King is my guest today, on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business coaching podcast.
He is a man who classes himself as Part CEO, part personal development wonk and part bio-hacker info geek.
Built from his background of businessman, television producer, filmmaker and author he would also class himself as 100% self-confessed serial entrepreneur,,
He began his life journey in Colorado (via Wisconsin), where he studied marketing at the University of Colorado.
He then graduated from Chadwick University with a BA in environmental studies, then went on to attend graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied intellectual property law.
But it would seem to me that his life, at least where he was always heading started for earnest in 1999 when he started the food company Steviva.
Answering the need of food companies to manufacture products lower in sugar (and to adhere to new FDA disclosure guidelines), Steviva offers a wide range of industrial-size, high-quality clean-label sweetening systems for food manufacturers, plus smaller, pack-size sweetening options for health-conscious consumers.
Through Steviva, our guests goal is to eliminate metabolic disease, one meal at a time.
How The Dots Joined Up For Thom
As he says “I founded Steviva Ingredients as a result of my passion for health, community service and environmental advocacy.
My company was inspired by and follows the world renowned engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant Professor W. Edwards Deming’s principles of constant improvement in product and customer service.
My company ensures the highest possible standards for quality control and food safety.
This drives everything we do.”
And isn’t that how all success is made?
Constant improvement over a period of time, leading to something amazing, rewarding and valuable to ourselves and the world.
You start small, and work hard until the world starts to take notice.
So was the entrepreneurial vibe born in him or constructed piece by piece by everyday of his working life?
And living in a country that is known for its ample portions, sauces, relishes and other additions has it been easier to build his company, or more difficult because of the environment of food loving?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only, Mr Thom King.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Thom King such as:
How he came to the realisation that he loves the moments of pain in his life, as this is the area of greatest growth.
Thom shares an amazing story of how he came to find recognition from his father, something that he was so grateful for especially after his father passed away.
Why he feels that so many people have a ceiling attached to their mindset which they could just blast through, as long as they look around and see what others are doing.
Thom shares his childhood dreams of being in the entertainment industry, although he never truly felt it was possible. A mindset ceiling that he never truly managed to breakthrough.
How To Connect With Thom King
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription For Thom King Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes. Hello there. Good morning, everybody. Good morning. And thank you very, very much for coming across. To join up dots totally appreciate that. This is the last show that we are going to be recording for a while. We’re going on sabbatical. Yes, it’s good. When you start anything, most of the time, you’re just slogging away, getting it to a certain point. And the ability to walk away from it is the last thing you can possibly do. But we’re now at a point with join up dots but we’ve got so many sort of people coming to us, which is remarkable really, to spend time with this, this slightly idiotic UK podcaster that we can walk away for a few weeks and we’re going to be doing that. So if you see me walking around keeping that guy sounds like the guy in my ears. It’s probably me, it’s probably me. And if I look slightly drunk at the same time in a pair of shorts and sandals, it’s definitely me. Now today’s guest I’m sure that he’s not sitting there in a pair of sandals and shorts, getting drunk at this time in the morning, but maybe is about certainly he’s a man who classes himself as part CEO, part personal development wonk and part bio hacker info geek. built from his background, a businessman, television producer, filmmaker, an author, it would also close himself as 100% self confessed serial entrepreneur. He began his life journey in Colorado via Wisconsin, where he studied marketing at the University of Colorado. He Ben graduated from Chadwick University with a BA in environmental studies, then went on to attend graduate school at University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied intellectual property law, but it would seem to me that he’s live at least where he was always heading started but earnest in 1990. Tonight, when he started the food company still answering the need of food companies to manufacture products, lower in sugar and to adhere to new FDA disclosure guidelines. His company offers a wide range of industrial size, high quality, clean label sweetening systems for food manufacturers, plus smaller pack size sweetening options for health conscious consumers. Through his company, our guests goal is to eliminate a metabolic disease one meal at a time he says, I founded it as a result of my passion for health, community service, and environmental advocacy. My company was inspired by and follows the world renowned engineers dietitian, Professor, author, lecturer and management consultant, Professor W. Edwards Deming principles of constant improvement in product in customer service, my company ensures the highest possible standards for quality control and food safety. This drives everything we do. And isn’t that how all success is made constant improvement over a period of time leading to something amazing, rewarding and valuable to ourselves and the world. You start small and work hard until the world starts to take notice. So what’s the entrepreneurial vibe born in him or constructed piece by piece by every day of his working life and living in a country that is known for his ample portions, sauces, relishes, and other additions as it been easy to build his company or more difficult because of the environment of food loving? Well, let’s find out as we bring them to the show to start join up dots with the one and only Mr. Thom King.
Good morning, Thom. How are you?
Thom King [3:30]
I’m doing terrific, David. I I seriously have to save that intro and send it to everybody. I know. It was like, what that that’s me. That was is fantastic. Thank you for that
David Ralph [3:43]
is you. So your hard work put into one three minute block. And as I was saying at the beginning, it’s it’s not how I have to ask you first of all, did I mode have a name of the company as I was getting to it up? Oh, I’ve got no idea how you save it. And it sounded slightly Romanian as I was saying it. Viva Is that right? That is exactly correct. Oh, there you go. I’m a professional podcaster never make a mistake. So with your company Steve fever, let’s start there straight away is a labour of love. Is it the thing that you think is going to be your legacy work? Or is it part of the journey,
Thom King [4:18]
it’s part of the journey. I mean, I I basically lived through I mean, and conduct my business from a place of contribution. So if whatever I can give back to the world, you know, and help the world become a better place. That’s what I’m going to gravitate to. So this is one step on a journey. I mean, if I can be, you know, an important piece of, of eradicating metabolic gold disease on a global level, that gives me a great deal of satisfaction. But this is just, this is just one component of what I want to do with my music goals.
David Ralph [5:01]
And it’s not just a case of providing value, like monetary value, I’ll be totally honest, I received a parcel of food from you, which it could have made a family first past six months, it was a huge pile. Is this part of your sort of teaching people, I suppose that there’s a different way of doing instead of just going for the granulated sugar, but there are different products out there? Is it kind of a training that you’re doing?
Thom King [5:28]
Um, yeah, I mean, I our products do require, you know, some education and some re education. You know, because people have been taught for so many years, you know, that sugar and carbohydrates give you energy. When in reality, those are the things that make you fat. So, yeah, it’s an educational process, teaching, you know, teaching people how to re engineer their recipes, their lifestyle, you know, and basically, you know, just being very conscientious when they you know, when they’re putting food in their mouths.
David Ralph [6:04]
And are you conscientious? Did you enjoy your food? Or do you think, Oh, my God, What’s this doing to me? I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t stop myself. I,
Thom King [6:14]
I’m a human being. So there are a few things like I love, I love good red wine. I love pizza, or so five things. I love chocolate, I can go through a litany of food that, that I’m tempted by Well, I should say I could go through a litany of vices that I’m tempted by, but I I try to refrain from it and understand that if I do go off the rails that I can always get back on. And how often do you how often do that that’s the wife go out and you get a big bar chocolate, some pizza, red wine, you push it all together in your in your in food heaven? How often do you go off the rails? I have not gone off the rails in probably eight months now. So
David Ralph [7:00]
you’re not humans on you are not human? I think you’re some kind of weird alien, how have you managed to do that, especially when you live in a country that bombard you with adverts for food all the time.
Thom King [7:12]
You’re not the first person who’s referred to me as an alien. So, and not being human. So that’s, yeah, that’s pretty common. I think that the way I, I, it was almost, it was back in October of last year, I, I made a commitment to making an absolute life change. Because I honestly felt like I’d been a hypocrite for for almost a decade, because I own a company that is focused on and ending metabolic metabolic disease, you know, and we support, you know, people that, you know, that, that abide by the ketogenic diet, and I was anything but I was about 35 pounds overweight, drinking a bottle of wine every day. And I was on a, I was on a trade show trip. And in Las Vegas, and I woke up in the, you know, in the morning, and the room smelled like alcohol, not because of me. And it was just like a depressing state. And I said, I need to make a change. So I really went into sort of a meditative state. And I associated so much pain, to all the habits that I wanted to break that I feel like it, it sort of offset the pleasure that I was deriving from them. And so anytime that I am tempted by eating a pizza, or you know, eating, you know, mashed potatoes and gravy and fried chicken, what I do is I associate a level of pain with that, that offsets the pleasure.
David Ralph [8:48]
Sometimes pain is so close to pleasure. That’s what they say to me, Thom King, I don’t understand that statement. But that’s what they tell me.
Thom King [8:55]
There’s growth in pain. So I mean, one thing one thing about me and freaks people out is I, I really enjoy and respect and love suffering. Like I really love to suffer, because when I’m suffering, those are the times when I have my greatest opportunity to grow.
David Ralph [9:15]
I agree with that. I totally agree with that. And of all my growth. I think everybody’s growth comes through those pain, those dark dots as we talk about, but nobody actually enjoys them today. Nobody loves them. Surely maybe with hindsight, you say you love it, but at the time, surely you just lie on the bathroom floor screaming Why me? Why me? Why me, don’t you?
Thom King [9:38]
It doesn’t go quite that far. But what I do focus on is if I get into a moment of extreme suffering and extreme pain, which which I feel like sometimes I’m drawn to because if there’s ever a situation that I feel uncomfortable with, I’m drawn to it, because what the message to me is that, hey, here’s an opportunity crow. So I’ll intentionally throw myself into situations that cause pain and suffering. Because I realize on the other side of it, there’s pain, while I’m in it. It’s painful, I focus on the outcome.
David Ralph [10:14]
And I Have you always been like that, or were, you know, as an earlier child, or a man, whatever? Did you have run away from discomfort and gone to the comfort zone that so many people build their whole lives in?
Thom King [10:27]
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I was a complete slacker when I was, was when I was a teenager, like I really lazy couldn’t hold down a job, I’m, and there’s times when I’m surprised that I even made it through college. So there, there were times that I, you know, that I indulged that I you know that I gravitated towards, you know, unhealthy vices. And, you know, this, this has been a journey of decades to be able to, you know, focus on, on self discipline, and basically, you know, trying to mold and craft myself into the person that I want to be.
David Ralph [11:08]
So this takes you back, you’ve done so many jobs, did you know what you wanted to be was all these different jobs. And it’s so eclectic, as well. But I suppose there’s an element of creativity in them as well, that the majority of them, was that a big part of you? Are you somebody that likes to actually create either a product or a film or a TV show?
Thom King [11:32]
Well, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, I think it goes back five generations. So I mean, I have that I have that, like, tattooed into my, my DNA. You know, when I was a kid, I grew up on a on a ranch. And I was basically slave labor for my father. And, you know, I wasn’t really interested in ranching, or the construction business, you know, which my dad was also involved in. And so I mean, I was forced to, to be part of it. But at night, I would just, I would lay in bed with a portable radio, and I would listen to, I would listen to a radio station broadcast out of Denver, Colorado. And it was just became a dream. It was like, someday, someday I will, you know, I’ll be on the radio Someday, I’ll be involved in the entertainment industry someday. And so, you know, that was always that was always part of my dream when I was a child, but it always seemed unattainable to me, like, wow, you know, this is for other people.
David Ralph [12:33]
And things unattainable to you now, did you still have those? Or is it now everything’s possible? Have you got to a point where, like, I suppose Branson and Ilan musk and stuff have where they literally can just blast through that ceiling, that mindset ceiling that we set for ourselves? You know,
Thom King [12:53]
that’s a really good question. You know, because I was getting interviewed last week quite a bit about Jeff Bezos about Amazon, and, you know, buying out Whole Foods, which is, which is an amazing, you know, an amazing feat that I actually didn’t, didn’t see coming. And I mean, there was a huge lesson in that for me, because I felt a certain level of shame, because I thought, okay, you know, Amazon is going to pick up, you know, another, you know, a brick and mortar company, and I for sure, thought it was going to be sprouts, I thought they were going to make a play for for thrive. And then when he bought when Amazon bought Whole Foods, that was a painful, that was a painful experience for me, because it’s like, why didn’t I see that? And it’s like, why didn’t I see that because my, I have not, I haven’t stepped up my game big enough. And, you know, that was a real opportunity for me to take, take a look in the mirror, and look at people, you know, like Elon Musk, and, and Jeff Bezos and, and realize that those people come from a space of anything is anything is possible. And it’s you who who will make it profitable.
David Ralph [14:02]
But I have a mindset of anything is possible, but they also have a team around boom, and that that’s one of the stumbling blocks for all solo printers and entrepreneurs, when they’re getting going by have to go through that grind before they can start earning money in and start investing it into the team, that’s when the real sort of progress and the success comes rapidly to them. Your early days, was it grind? Did you surround yourself with a team? Were you more aware of how success is built?
Thom King [14:34]
Well, I can tell you that it’s still a grind. For me. I mean, every single day, it’s a grind, and it’s a hustle. And, you know, because we’re you know, we’re a medium sized company, we’re not a large company, and, and surrounding myself, by the right people has been a challenge. I mean, my belief is that you’re the sum of the five people closest to you. So it’s been an hour. And I would say that my biggest effort, you know, isn’t, isn’t in, in creating a path. So much for, for our systems within our business. But finding the right people to surround myself with that can actually help me level up my game. And it’s still it’s still a continual challenge and finding good people.
David Ralph [15:21]
So how do you do it then? Because I know that’s one of the stumbling blocks that people struggle with what what questions, what routes Do you take to make sure that you get the right person?
Thom King [15:31]
Well, I mean, we have a little bit of a different philosophy here. I mean, we’ve created an environment, you know, for where people work, like we have a yoga studio and garden, you know, that we actually harvest from on a daily basis, we’ve got chickens, archery range, boxing gym. So we’ve got a lot of a lot of these elements that I’m hoping that create sort of a sense of lightness in my, in my employees, where, whereby they, they wake up in the morning, and they say, you know, I get to go to work instead of I have to go to work. And I think creating that in that environment is is a is a big step forward. But I also think that hiring for hiring for attitude is critically important. Because aptitude can be can be taught. But an attitude is something that somebody comes to the table with.
David Ralph [16:27]
So you said you’re a big advocate on sort of mental health and well being as well as physical, creating an environment for your staff to feel comfortable with in and flourish. And I’m not sure if archery and chickens in the same place is a good idea about a couple of squawks, and a burst of feathers every now and again might have occurred. Are you aware that you’re putting it together? This is part of a big health strategy, where it’s not just about what you’re putting into your body babies, how you’re operating within your body as well.
Thom King [17:00]
Yeah, absolutely. I think that, you know, I think that, that life is a is all about balance. And I think that you need to feed your mind, body and spirit. So I think that, you know, creating it, creating an environment that really, you know, creates a sense of lightness, I think that really, you know, it helps sort of flesh out a balanced a balanced lifestyle for for all my my employees. So I think that if you’ve got that balance, you know, where they can come to work and, you know, feel rejuvenated and take a walk around the facility. You know, I think what happens is you start getting really, you get buy in from your employees, and you get a lot of people that bring passion, and then it’s not a job to him anymore. It’s a cause.
David Ralph [17:52]
But you do struggle with health, don’t you struggle with health to fit into your days life, everything’s happy, scary. And we all I guess the morning, I went through a walk through the country, me and my wife are doing this, a walk literally every day through the countryside, and we do about five miles. And I’m fortunate now that I’ve got structure in my life that allows us the mornings off. So we get the kids to school, and Bay, and we have our walk, and then I come up to the recording studio and I do what I need to do. So my whole working day now is about three to four hours really and the rest of its playtime. But the majority of people in life they get up and have to commute to get to work sit at their desk, ba ba ba ba boom, it’s difficult to get health in. So it should do to be they should be thinking about the food aspect before they get the gym memberships and all that kind of stuff.
Thom King [18:40]
Yeah, I mean, absolutely, I mean, it within my company, I mean, everybody, everybody within the company, you know, is leads a healthy, you know, healthy dietary lifestyle. And I think it’s just because, you know, they see they see what their fellow employees are doing. But if you want to, you know, look at this on a, on more of a macro basis, you know, like on a global basis where, you know, do people need to get their physical fitness, you know, down before, you know, they start integrating, you know, dietary lifestyle change. I think it all, it’s all encompassing, I think that you can’t just, you know, have a dietary change without having exercise. And I don’t think that you can have exercise without having something that grounds you like some sort of practice like meditation, or yoga. So I really think that you have to have all of it, and you have to focus on doing it all, in unison.
David Ralph [19:48]
Like, let’s take you back then away from the health aspect of your company, to the point where your health probably went out the window somewhere, and you was grinding out of our trying to getting going, how did you do that? How did you get to this idea of a business and actually construct it to the point where it is a company, Albert to provide global products?
Thom King [20:13]
Well, I mean, that just goes back. I mean, I started my first business when I was when I was 18 years old. So I, I have that real sort of strong entrepreneurial spirit. Plus the fact that, you know, I come from generations of entrepreneurs, but I was in I used to live in Arizona about 20 years ago, and I ran into a gentleman who, who had been tracking through South America and brought back, you know, a bunch of herbs and, and different sort of medicinal spices. And he actually introduced me to, to stevia, and he’s like, look at these ground up leads, I tried them, and I’m like, oh, man, these are sweet. It was like, 25 25 times sweeter than sugar in that natural leaf state. And at that point in time, it just made my, I’ve always been a creative person, but it just made my mind go, I’m like, wow, what if we are able to extract those sweet constituents out of, you know, out of those leaves, and we add a natural high intensity sweetener, you know, this could compete against aspartame, and, you know, and, and saccharin, which were the leading artificial sweeteners at the time. And so my mind just immediately went to that. And yeah, I started working with, with chemists and, and scientists on coming up with a, you know, with a natural extraction method that, you know, that could get those sweet constituents added leaves, and provide a clean, you know, clean flavor profile that people could, you know, use in, in manufacturing. And when I started the company, you know, I thought I want what I mean, my, my total vision was, I want to, I want to be the natural version of nutra-sweet. And my plan was, let’s build a consumer brand. Let’s build a consumer brand first, where we can get, you know, consumer brand equity, and then we can parlay that into an ingredient company. And for me, we, by the time we got into 2500, different stores, we had already gotten noticed by a major mood, food manufacturers and the you know, the ingredient side of our company, just it flourished. And now it’s 90% of our business. So I think it was at the process of focus hard work, endurance and, and persistence.
David Ralph [22:49]
And so be lucky break really, because some guy traipsing through South America giving you a bunch of leaves, he could have taken you to prison, he had no idea what you’re going to be dealing with.
Thom King [23:01]
That’s funny it it is and you know, the
some people come to me and they’re like, oh, man, you are, you know, you’re so smart. And, you know, my answer to that is I’m not, you know, I think that my intelligence levels, pretty average. And I think that I just got lucky, I think that sometimes, you know, you run into a situation, and it’s pure luck. I think that what a person does with luck. That’s what differentiates it. So I saw that idea. I got lucky because I I ran into it. But then I just would never give up. I was just persistent in it.
David Ralph [23:41]
But let’s play some words now. And let’s delve back into that that persistence. Because that is a key part that brings success Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey [23:48]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love
David Ralph [24:15]
it you love it in those words. Did you love it? Or did you just think this is an opportunity? Have you grown to love it? Or was it an instant? Yeah, this is good.
Thom King [24:25]
It was an instant. Yeah, this is good. When, I mean, I just saw the opportunity. And as. And plus, I was amazed because I’d never seen anything like that I’d never seen a leap that was like 25 times sweeter than sugar. So it was it was one of those moments that a light bulb went on. And I’m I know, it’s like I am in love with this. And I this is this is what I’ll do with my life.
David Ralph [24:53]
And that’s a key part, isn’t it? When you get that feeling that excitement? You know, I’ve recorded hundreds and hundreds of episodes of joining dogs. And literally, I love it every time and people say to me, do you get bored of it? Okay, oh, how can I get bored with it? I’m a famous podcast, I’m I can’t get bored of it. But away from that. It’s just the conversations. It’s the conversations that I love. It’s, it’s the deep dive into somebody’s life. And I think once you get that excitement, people really have to focus in on it, even if it seems a stupid idea, but people might laugh at your body knows somehow done it.
Thom King [25:25]
Absolutely. And I mean, the the the main theme behind, you know what you just said and what I what I was saying is, you know, if you love what you do, then it ceases to be a job and becomes a cause for you. And that’s I think that I mean people that don’t love what they do. I think that they’re robbing themselves of a lightness and the rich, beautiful experience that life can be and it doesn’t matter. Like you don’t need to be a billionaire. You don’t need to be a millionaire. But if it is, if you just love deeply love what you do, I think that that is the pathway to having an amazing, beautiful life experience.
David Ralph [26:11]
So he’s easy to save is once you’ve achieved it, and I’m very aware in join up dots that we have people on that have gone through the grind, and they can wax lyrical about everything. Because after a certain point, you kind of forget the pain, you know, even the most annoying girlfriends you look back on them and you think oh well I really that bad. And but at the time, it was just dreadful. Are you clinging to the pain, but you’ve had to grow this business, you say that you love the pain, but is it becoming a bit rose tinted glasses like it just happened magically?
Thom King [26:44]
No, this didn’t just happen. magically, it didn’t end when I look back at the at the pain that I’ve suffered, you know, in and the sacrifices that I’ve I’ve made to have this business because since I’ve started the business, you know, I’ve, I now have two ex wives so that they you know, you do make a certain level of sacrifice. When I first started the business, I almost lost my home, I had to borrow money from my dad. So they didn’t take my home, I have had to live on a cot in a warehouse because I couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. So it in I mean in getting up. I mean, I still get up every morning at 430, I tried to go to bed by nine, you know, and this didn’t magically, magically come to me and even leveling up my business from where it is now to say, a 10 X and in four or five years, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of pain, and there’s a lot of sacrifice involved in it, and it doesn’t come easy, you have to grind. And I recognize that and I embrace the grind.
David Ralph [28:01]
Now that must have been a very difficult conversation to go to your parents. Because there’s a certain point that obviously we go to our parents for everything, but then we want to prove ourselves, we want to come back as heroes, we want to say you fought I wasn’t gonna do anything but look at me. How was bad? What’s bad? As I can imagine a very difficult conversation to have?
Thom King [28:22]
Well, you you asked excellent questions. It was you know, because my dad, you know, being a rancher and a contractor, he was an extremely dominant figure in my life. And I think that his goal for me was to take over his take over his business, and I wasn’t very interested in it. So he, he didn’t have much interest in, in helping me out. And it was it was a very hard conversation. And it took me weeks to be able to muster up the competence to be able to, to ask him for help. And it took a lot of role playing of, you know, of how I was going to ask and what that conversation was going to was going to look look like, and it was a certain level of humiliation, you know, that, you know, I had to come to him and say, you know, this business idea that, you know, that’s not necessarily been supported, you know, I need some money to be able to survive on and take the end and take this business to the next level. And surprisingly, you know, my dad had a lot of compassion, he said, I’d been that he’d been in that same exact place himself, because my dad was a rancher and a contractor. And his father worked in the awning business making tents and, and, you know, covers for football and baseball fields. So he was he was compassionate in that in that end. And then my, my father recently passed away. And, you know, before he, he did he, he told me, you know, how much of a how much of an honor it was for him to be able to help me. And that he was really proud of me, you know, being able to, you know, being able to be a success, and I paid him back every penny and in it. Yeah, it was a very difficult but in the end, very satisfying, you know, that my father, you know, told me that he was very proud of me.
David Ralph [30:31]
Which doesn’t happen very often does it with parents, a majority of parents lobbies kind of understood, but it’s not said for example, my mom, I could tell that she loves me she’s what coming up at now. But if I ever say to her Oh, I love you, mom, she ago, what you after you know, or get away was in the post or or somebody there’s always some kind of like financial joke. I never get I love you back. And I don’t think I’ve ever had my parents ever say they’re proud of me at it’s really strange being at but even at the age, I am now 47 I’m still driven to get that sort of recognition from my parents somehow, even though you know, my lives have gone on, and I’ve got my own family and we’ve moved away and all that kind of stuff. There’s still a part of me, but I would love my mom and dad to go. Yeah, yeah, the only time my dad ever said it to me was he is a remarkable father. And he actually said to me, when I had younger kids, you’re a better dad than I ever was. And that was like a big choke moment in my throat. And I remember saying that, going back to my wife and going, you won’t believe what you just said to me. And she would remember that, because you’re not going to get many more after. But it is it is strange why we were driven to prove ourselves to our parents. Maybe that’s a good way. Thom, do you think that’s how life should be?
Thom King [31:46]
I don’t know. You know, I don’t know David I. I see both sides of it. Because, you know, I’ve had some had some very deep conversations well, as deep as my father was able to gage, you know, and and I, you know, I confronted him like, about 15 years ago. And, you know, and I said, Look, you know, you weren’t very supportive. And, you know, my dad told me that, you know, he was hard on me, because he knew that the world was a hard place. And he wanted to be able to instill a work ethic in me, and a drive to never, never quit. And it I’m not sure what the right answer is. I mean, I suppose that you can take whatever experiences that you have, and, and turn them into what lesson you want it to be. You know, I chose, I chose to, you know, take the message that I got from my dad and and turn it into, you know, him encouraging me Never, never, never give up. Is that what he meant? Is that, you know, was that the message? I don’t know, I think that I think that people, you know, I think that people need to craft the message that works best for them.
David Ralph [33:12]
Now, if we look at your life, where it is now, at the beginning of the show, you said this is part of the journey. But is it a bloody good journey? Are you really enjoying it, as you say, is still quite a small company, but you’re grinding d? It seems to me and I’ve experienced it myself. And I was talking about it in the last episode with a lady how we create stuff. And sometimes we just want to smash it up. We just want to get away from it. We just want to let somebody else deal with this. Are you in that sort of the love still? Or what’s what’s the feelings when you open your eyes first thing in the morning?
Thom King [33:53]
What I opened my eyes first thing in the morning, so I might clock my clock, I projects on the ceiling. So once my eyes are open, I know exactly what what time it is. And I throw myself I mean, 430 in the morning, it’s like it’s time to get up, do I want to stay in bed? Of course I do. But it I’m driven to get up and begin my day. And my day begins with journaling. Going for three and a half mile run. I do Bry weight workout I go cycling. So I spend those first two hours taking care of myself. And I think that that is what creates the balance for me, where, where my business and, you know, my entrepreneurial aspirations, don’t possess me, meaning I’ve, I have this, this balance, I have this, what I call my Hour of Power first thing in the morning, that gives me balance and and grounds me without it. Without it. I think that eventually, all of my ideas, all of my businesses, my main business, all of those would become such a grind that I would eventually burn out.
David Ralph [35:13]
And people do burn out Don’t leave a burnout in the corporate land by burnout. I you know, I’m really open with this. And I’ve been saying a lot recently, but I burnt out three times I burnt out twice in corporate land. And then I became an entrepreneur to build my own company so that I could just have pub lunches and, and Swan around and enjoy myself. And I burnt out again. And I look back on it. And I think I was so stupid. I could see it was happening. Other people could see it was happening. But I just thought I could kind of outwork the issues. And it’s always going to end up badly, isn’t it? Unless, as we say, right through this episode, you look after yourself first and foremost.
Thom King [35:52]
Absolutely. You know, I mean, the when you’re getting on a flight, you know, and they they walk you through, you know, sort of the emergency protocols, they always tell you to put your mask on first. And I think it’s critically important. I mean, absolutely important, no matter what you do, it is that you that you take time for yourself, and that you that you’re creating, that you’re creating balance in your life, and you’re taking care of yourself. Because if you’re not taking care of yourself and you’re not balanced, you know, you’re not going to be the best that you can possibly be with your colleagues, with your employees, with your co workers, whatever your case may be. If you aren’t taking care of yourself and making sure that you’re grounded and pacing yourself through this adventure. Yeah, I think that you you can you run the risk of becoming ineffective.
David Ralph [36:50]
Now let’s play the words that made the whole show possible. He said these back in 2005. And we hear them every single day Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs [36:59]
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 leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [37:34]
Have you created your own path? Are you on a similar path to everybody else around you, Thom?
Thom King [37:41]
i was i was very moved by that, by that piece by Steve Jobs. I mean, that’s, you know that he’s he’s definitely a hero. Yeah, I mean, connecting the dots. I use my my experiences from my past to guide where I’m going to go in the future. So, absolutely.
David Ralph [38:06]
And what would be your big moment in your life when you look back on everything leading you to where you are now? Not necessarily on this podcast, but living your life creating your business? Was there a moment of conversation that you thought yeah, this this is where it’s leading this, this is really pointing away?
Thom King [38:24]
Yeah, that I had that moment in 2000 in 2008. So I started my business in 1999. And,
and our main, the main sort of
sweetener that we use is based on the stevia leaf and prior to 2008. The stevia leaf was the stevia leaf extract was not allowed by the FDA to be used as a sweetener, it could only be used as a dietary supplement. And I had this massive huge wall in front of me called the FDA and trying to get the FDA to, to approve our stevia extract to be generally regarded as safe and to be used as a sweetener. And it was a wall that I kept hitting over and over and over again. And it was my barrier to being successful. Well, one of my biggest competitors, which is a multi billion dollar company, was able to lobby the FDA to be able to to give stevia a grass status generally regarded as safe. So it would pave the way to be used as a sweetener. Well, this company happened to use one of our formulas, and I was, you know, by I was enraged by it. And my attorney said don’t even bother, they’ll crush you. So in that moment, I felt like I lost my opportunity. But what happened is this company paved the way way for my company to move in and be able to be able to be a supplier. And when that happened, it was a complete shift, then then I saw my future and the future of my company unfold in front of me. And that that gave me that gave me like a fountain of youth or just a an abundance of energy and belief in what I was doing that’s taken taking me to where I am now.
David Ralph [40:33]
And is it absolutely right for you at the moment on? Is it the absolute moment in your life that you think everything I have worked towards is here?
Thom King [40:43]
No, no, not even close. Like this is this is a, this is a stepping stone and my sweet or company. I believe in it, I love it, I I absolutely embody the why we do it, you know, to make an impact on you know, on metabolic disease. But we, I I’ve achieved that and we are making an impact on metabolic disease, we are a successful company, which means I reached that goal. And now it means that I need to set my goals higher. So my moonshot, the goal that I really want to achieve. And what I’ve set my sights on in the next five years is to is to actually find a cure for cancer. That’s my moonshot goal.
David Ralph [41:40]
While we about you, Thom, that you’re never going to be satisfied, but you’re going to be on your deathbed, and you’re going to go, you know, instead of just going, Oh, that was a ride, and I finally enjoyed it, you’re going to feel like you just need that one more second that one more minute to achieve it.
Thom King [41:56]
I love that, of course. I mean, that’s, that’s my dream, you know, My dream is to is to be, you know, to be on my deathbed and to look back at the great VISTA that my life was and, and know that I was, you know, a fantastic son, and amazing Brother, you know, a supportive, supportive father. You know, a, an amazing colleague, that I spent time fly fishing that I spent time, you know, hanging out with my dog that I spent time, paddleboarding, and oh, yeah, I cure cancer.
David Ralph [42:33]
big goals, and I wish you all the best on them. I don’t know how you’re going to achieve them. But I’m sure if anyone’s going to achieve them. You will? Well this is the part of the show that we call the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send the current Thom back to have a conversation with his younger self. And if he could go back in time and speak to the young Thom King, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme. And when it fade you up, this is the sermon on Mick
Unknown Speaker [43:09]
with the best of the show.
Thom King [43:25]
I would like to, I would like to talk to my 14 year old self. And what I would say to my 14 year old self is I’d say get up, get out of bed, look in the mirror. And whatever other people are thinking about you or saying about you, or bullying you do not listen to it. Look directly into your eyes. And know this, believe in yourself. believe that anything is possible. And you You are the person that will make it profitable.
David Ralph [44:00]
So what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Thom King [44:05]
Um, I’m on all the socials. So I’m on Facebook at Thom King. I’m on Twitter at Thom King th ro m k AI n g. I am Instagram, all of the socials you can find me and I am I welcome people’s emails. And my email address is Thom with an h th ro m dot King k IMG at sta viva.com. And that’s s t bi ba.com. I’m really good about returning emails and I love mentoring people. Right Stuff.
David Ralph [44:52]
Thom King, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining those dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Thom King, thank you so much,
Thom King [45:07]
David, it was a pleasure and thank you so much for for having me on your podcast that your questions were phenomenal.
David Ralph [45:16]
Thom King. Wasn’t he a lovely man I he’s really open with the grind but that the passion you could see that it was grind passion and persistence. He found something he saw an opportunity and he went with it and it wasn’t easy. And he kept on chipping away and he’s grown into something is it is life work. No it it was growing his competence as much as anything he grew grew his business prowess. And now he wants to tackle cancer and if he does win, the world will applaud him and he’ll go down as a legend but it all comes with that personal inner belief of what’s possible. Once you break through that mindset. You can just do what you want and every single one of you out there can do whatever you want. Within reason you’re three feet tall, you’re not going to be a basketball player. But away from that you’re going to be cooking on gas. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of join up dots I’m going off on holiday now I’m having a break from it all. But of course I will still be there in your ears. Releasing episodes will see you again soon. Cheers. Bye bye
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.