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The Development Exponent: A Leadership Perspective

Bruce Holoubek

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Strength Comes Through The Struggle with John Schneider

We all learn, in our own particular ways, that life is no walk in the park. Crisis, hardship, loss, and myriad other circumstances chip away at youthful optimism and threaten to undo us. But it’s our response to these things that largely determines whether we will be resilient and strong, or cowering and soft. As a top decision-maker in your organization, you know this. It’s one of the many things that has set you apart as a leader. My guest on this episode has a great deal to say about the subject. He’s experienced plenty of struggle in his life and he believes that the more struggle you have in life, the more opportunity you have for becoming strong. John Schneider has learned that failure is not something to be feared, it’s something to be learned from. His story illustrates how resilience, determination, and a desire to add value to the lives of others can create a kind of success that few of us even know is possible. As the leader of four companies, he passes those values on to his teams and works every day to infuse them into his growing family. Join us for this challenging and insightful conversation. The more struggle you have, the stronger you become John’s first steps into business ownership came through an opportunity to flip houses. He ran a lean operation and had no interest in simply slapping paint on a less-than-quality structure and flipping it for a profit. To him, there had to be tangible improvements to the property that resulted in value for the purchaser, which only then translated into value for him. In an effort to increase his margins, he started an ancillary business, then another, then another. And with each new business came new challenges and struggles. But there’s something in John’s entrepreneurial DNA that doesn’t allow him to shy away from those struggles. He has learned that’s a good thing. He says that the more struggle you have, the stronger you become — or at least you have a greater opportunity to become stronger. So he often coaches others to step into the struggles rather than running away from them. It’s in that step that you find more strength than you knew you had. How has this proven true in your leadership journey? Are there ways you can use the struggle to your advantage and that of your teams? Once you’ve eaten the onion, everything else is easier One of the colorful entrepreneurial endeavors in John’s past was a short season he was trying to promote concerts in his area. He convinced some partners to come alongside him to fund a music festival of sorts and he took care of booking the bands, securing the venue, and dealing with vendors. One of the things outside his control was the weather, and it didn’t cooperate with all his best-laid plans. The losses were catastrophic. John told me about the experience of making phone calls to the people who had invested in the event in various ways. Those were some of the hardest conversations he’s ever had to have, but he says they taught him lessons he didn’t know he needed at the time. One of those was that it’s always easier to do the things you dread or find difficult, first. Getting past your fears and experiencing the light at the end of that dark tunnel demonstrates that things are often not as bad as they seem and that you will get through it. In his words, once you’ve eaten your onion, everything else is easier. Failure is, by far, the best teacher you have John also explains that the fear of failure many of us live with is actually one of the most irrational fears we could have. The truth is that failure is one of the only ways we learn. It provides a very clear perspective on how we perform and the results of that performance. In failure, our weaknesses become evident, which provides a unique opportunity to identify them and make plans to overcome them. John believes that failure is, by f

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