#58 – Ken Coleman is known as America’s Career Coach, and for good reason. As the host of The Ken Coleman show, a nationally broadcast radio show on SiriusXM radio, he spends an hour each day talking to people about their career struggles and how to overcome them.
The reason Ken is so effective at helping people navigate their career crossroads is that he’s been there himself. After years working in politics, Ken realized that was not the future he wanted for himself so he had some soul searching to do. In his 30’s with a wife and children he was starting from scratch and Ken knew he had a lot of work to do. When he decided that broadcasting was the path he wanted to pursue, Ken went after that goal with everything he had, including buying his own airtime on a local radio station to get experience. His hard work and talent were noticed and one job opportunity led to another until Ken landed a role working with Dave Ramsey at Ramsey Solutions. It was there that Ken was offered the chance to host his own show and reached the peak he had been working towards.
Standing on top of his Everest, Ken knew that he could do more to help people struggling with their careers the way he had. That thought led Ken to write his newest book, From Paycheck to Purpose, where he gives the reader a clear path to doing the work they love. Broken into seven stages that you will experience on your path to the dream job, Ken’s easy-to-follow advice will get you where you want to be, as long as you are willing to put in the work required.
Listen to his interview to hear more about the path that led Ken to where he is today and what inspired him to write From Paycheck to Purpose.
You can purchase From Paycheck to Purposeand Ken’s other guides and resources at kencoleman.com and follow Ken on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube.
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The below transcript is A.I generated with light editing and may not be 100% accurate.
Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, you're listening to career crossroads. And if you're new here, welcome. And if you're not new welcome back. I'm Jonathan Collaton. And this is the podcast where I talk to people about all the pivots, changes and life events that led them to their current career path. This week, I'm talking to Ken Coleman, and we're going to talk about his journey from paycheck to purpose, which is the name of his new book, but I think also describes the path that he has taken in his career. Ken is America's career coach, and you may have heard him on his nationally syndicated daily radio show the ken Coleman show. His show is live on Sirius XM as part of the Ramsey network right before Dave Ramsey show. And Ken talks to callers about all the career challenges that they're facing. Now, I've had a few people reach out over the last year or so and asked if I was interested in reading their new book and interviewing them. But I've never said just because they just weren't always a good fit. They didn't have the career pivots, that I'm really interested in. And then way back in August, the PR team of Ken Coleman reached out and asked if I wanted to read his new book that was coming out in November and interview him. And knowing what I know about Ken Coleman and his pivot from politics into broadcasting. I knew that would be a fantastic interview. And I mean, come on, how could I not get excited about interviewing America's career coach? I thought, of course, this will be a wonderfully beneficial interview for both of us, although probably more so for me. And I happily said yes. And we set up the interview. With all that said, let's get to the interview. And then afterwards, we're going to talk about what we can learn from Ken's career path. I'm joined today by Ken Coleman, Ken, thank you for being with me today.Ken Coleman:
Happy to be with you. Thanks for having me.Jonathan Collaton:
Yeah, I'm excited to be here and talk about not only your career, but your new book, and we are absolutely going to get to the book. But first, we've got to talk about how you got to the point of writing this book. So I want to talk about your career path. Can we go back in time and tell me what your upbringing was like, wherever you raised, what things were influencing you, when you were a teenager,Ken Coleman:
I grew up in the Commonwealth of Virginia. And I was raised in a house where there was a great appreciation for history, and a great focus on politics, and then a great focus on people. Because what my dad did is a pastor he loved and serve people, my mom as well. And so that was the environment that I grew up in. And there was a...because of that folk, that kind of a three part focus. That was prevalent, it was it was very clear to me and my brother that there was a purpose and a role that we were supposed to fill that just was part of the normal conversation in my house. And so that shaped somebody you know, and so you know, you're kind of forced with either you embrace that, that mindset and that view of the world, or you reject it, and I embraced it big time.Jonathan Collaton:
Did you have a specific thing that you thought was your purpose, or just this general feeling of I have a purpose. And at some point, as I move through life, I will figure out what that purpose is?Ken Coleman:
not at 16 I, at 16, I very much felt like I was I was supposed to, to serve people in politics and drive and create lead policy that would make people's lives better. That was absolutely a very clear dream for me starting at 16. And I pursued that, you know, and at 22, I wind up, you know, as a special assistant to the governor of Virginia, and I'd worked on through four campaigns by that time.Jonathan Collaton:
And so you know, I got it pretty early and had some success and was on that path and stepped out of it to get into the private sector to build a a non political business leadership resume that was all part of the plan. And as you know, you know, in the book I unveil, you know, at the very beginning, very first chapter 2am In the morning, laying awake at night, another sleepless night, watching awful infomercials about knives that can cut through tires, just trying to fall asleep. As I write in the book, I was sleepless in suckville. And because I was I was in a point where I knew one politics anymore. What had happened was as I was pursuing that path and leaning into it looking towards the future, it became clear to me I had no passion for it anymore. And I don't need to get into all the reasons why but the route was that there was a very discouraging time a time of disillusionment. Because I'd been so purposeful, so on target for it. And but but realizing that wasn't it, but what is it? What's that pivot? did I waste a lot of my life? What's wrong with me? Am I delusional? I mean, there's a whole cocktail of voices, that will really mess with you. So as you know, you know, that's, that's where the book opens. And so it was in the season of wrestling through that, that, you know, I began to see how it's broadcasting. But that's terrifying, because I don't have any training, I don't have any experience. Not even sure if I have any skill.Jonathan Collaton:
And so you know, that's, that's what happened for me is realizing this early dream I had is no longer the dream, and then learning how to process and move through that. All right, so let's break down some of these choices and sort of the practical steps that you took. Because I think helping people understand that there are ways that you can pivot and that you just need to take a step back sometimes and think about what decision to make. That's one of the things I try to do on this podcast. So when politics was still in your, your mind's eye, when it's what you thought you wanted to do graduating high school, was there a practical step in your mind? That was? I'm going to go to further education and get a degree and that is the appropriate path for me? Or was it volunteering, working on different political campaigns? What was the thing that you thought would get you to that first goal that you had?Ken Coleman:
Yeah, I like this question. Because, you know, I was always the guy who just felt like, yeah, you know, I was in college. But I took a semester off when offered the opportunity to work on my first congressional race. So the summer of my, I was a rising junior, so sophomore year. And then I come home that summer, and through a series of relationships, get wind of a guy that my dad knew who was going to run for Congress, and so I had my dad call him and, hey, he'll do anything for you. And he said, Yeah, I'll hire you to be my driver. And I jumped in, and, you know, got in so well and impressed him got his ear that they asked me to stay on, and start doing grassroots campaign work. And so I took a semester off of college to do that. And I was always the guy who just felt like that I needed to just get in and get connected and show people that I could do it. I just was always that way. And let me learn. Let me let me observe. I don't want to sit in a classroom and study Maxwellian theory, I want to get out there and friggin do it. Right. Yeah, I was just who I was who I am. I've always been a learner by observation. So I kind of had that going for me. And it kind of led me into this, which I now you know, I wrote a book on this called the proximity principle. And it's, I came up with the proximity principle, just looking back on my life, like, how did I do it? And it wasn't some genius. It wasn't that I knew better than anybody else. It's just, I was conditioned that way. That's the way I learned. And so it helps me.Jonathan Collaton:
Mm hmm. So obviously, higher ed, there was value in it. But as you're saying, the idea of really just getting out there and getting that that hands on practical experience, being in the room talking to people, that was the thing that you thought was going to be more beneficial to you, at least at that point in time. Did you think that you were definitely going to go back to your higher ed program right after that, that term that you would take an offer? Did you think maybe it would be you know, maybe you'll go back, maybe you won't, depending on how this goes?Ken Coleman:
I love that you asked that question, because when the campaign ended in November, you know, it was pretty much expected by my parents, and thus I kind of fell into that, like, I'm going to go back the next semester. So I was a semester behind. And I did go back, but I will tell you, when I went back, I was rotting away. My soul was out in the field. yeah, it's literally the equivalent we'veJonathan Collaton:
Yeah. ever seen any of these movies, or somebody seen this movie or the scene or something where a warrior if you will, it's been injured or whatever, they get desk duty, you know, or you know, or policeman, it's like, I want to get out there and the fight. I don't want to be stuck in a desk. I've tasted battle and I don't want to sit in the office. That's what was going on. And so I left I lasted I think maybe three more semesters I honestly can't remember because I'm just going to tell you this when it comes to politics I just I don't think there's much value in higher education as relates to politics, not the true definition of it. That's gonna freak some people out. I understand it.Ken Coleman:
If you get offended, get over it. I'm not bashing higher education. I'm saying there's certain fields, where there's just not a whole lot of value in anything you're going to learn in the classroom. And and Yeah, and so I left, and I never got my degree, I'm never gonna get it.Jonathan Collaton:
Yeah, I actually went initially to university for a history politics double major and I switched out of that politics major in my second year when it it just felt to me like it wasn't the thing that would help me if I did want to go into that field at some point. It seemed like, yeah, practical hands on experience was the way to go in that regard. And, and I've turned away from that. And I know that you did as well. So tell me, I know, you might not want to get into too much. But with politics, your goal you mentioned before was helping people through policy. So as you got through your 20s, did you feel like you were making real strides in that career and that you were very much headed towards the ultimate goal that you had? Or when was it that these sort of doubts started creeping in, and you thought I maybe need to look at something else?Ken Coleman:
Well, the first, the first crack of doubt, would have been I was working for the governor of Virginia at this point, I'm 23. And I begin to just see a, I just began to see a lot of hypocrisy, I began to see a lot of lip service and no action. And I began to see what I felt was this is not this machine. This this thing is not is not as efficient as I thought it was. It's not as helpful as I thought it was. This is a game. There's a lot of nonsense going on here. And I'm keeping this super high level because nobody tuned in to hear me wax on about problems with our political system and political leaders. But it really at a soul level. It was almost it's like the kid who's got the romantic notion of something, and then they live enough life. And they go, Oh, no, I mean, oh, yeah. And that was that. So the doubts kind of came in there early. And then I went into the business career, I had two great business opportunities. And I was doing all that. And I was still going all right. And I was in Atlanta working for John Maxwell leadership Guru, I even picked a neighborhood that was in a district that I thought, well, if I run for state senate or something like that, like I still kind of walking through it Trying to determine when's the right time for me to step out all. and run. But I now look back on it. And I realized I was delaying it, delaying it, because I just it wasn't in the belly. And, and I get to that point, when I'm in my early 30s, probably 31-32 I'm now really starting to go this isn't it. I'm kidding myself. I'm, I'm, I'm kicking the can down the road here. And I need to frickin get get to this, like, what's going on here? Why don't Why am I dragging my feet? And so that began the process of really examine it. And then I got super clear that it wasn't politics. The problem was there wasn't anything else on the other side. You know what I mean? There was no substitute in the moment. Yeah, and that's very real. And, and that's, you know, it's not always a simple clean, oh, I'm gonna move this out. And this is the absolute substitute. That wasn't the case for me.Jonathan Collaton:
Yeah, not having something then very specific that you wanted to move into? How did you identify what your next steps might be? Because politics can give you a wide variety of skills, but I guess it very much depends on what you're doing. And so I've spoken to a couple other people actually, who worked in one very oddly similar, who was in politics and was a driver at one point for someone. And he's actually now a priest. And I've talked to somebody else who's pivoted from policy to working in lobbying. And for you, what were you able to look at the skills you would develop through politics and identify those as something that you thought okay, what can I then do with the skills I have? And if that was the case, were you doing that only because you just need to do something while you're still trying to get clarity on what the ultimate new goal should be.Ken Coleman:
I think it's more of the first part of the question, which is i i began to go okay, what am I really really good at. So I think that's it again, as you know, in the book, get, get clear the first stage, you begin to identify talent, passion mission is the ultimate methodology for people to go okay, how do I really figure out who I am my my awareness, my awareness comes down to looking into who I am the elements and that's talent, passion, mission, talent, what you do best passion work, you love to do. Mission results that matter. Now, understand, I didn't have that construct back then. Yeah. So I've developed that as I go back and look into it. But I love your question, because what I did know was what I was good at. Okay, and so I began Look at that. So I began to go, what am I really good at? And I am not good at many things and I sought false humility. I'm really not. I'm a bit of a disaster of ADHD. I'm really only quite good at, at, at communication skills. I you know, I'm good at communicating publicly communicating one on one, I'm good at listening. I've got some discernment skills. And in the moment, I can discern, I can read some things. These are some people skills that I have, and I've always had that, you know, I can make people laugh. You know, I've I was always that kid. I was always the lead in the play, always doing impersonations, always the class clown, you know, always raising my hand to lead a chapel service. I enjoyed. And I was good at being in front of people. And so in those moments, I was like, I'm good at this. Everybody's always told me that you're quick on your feet. All my teachers. Oh, you're so quick on your feet, her demo. Hola. Oh, you're so quick on your feet. I don't even know what it meant. Okay, so I began to kind of do an assessment of what what, what do I know? Where's my commas because I was shaken. And so this is really huge. So we start with talent, because talent becomes the thing that we can get some confidence on. The people have always told me, You're good at this. You're natural at this. And by the way, everybody's got some answers to that. So I really focused on that. And, and then I then I said, Well, you know what, I really love it. I've always loved having people look at me, and I don't mean like a model. Okay? I'm talking like, I love the pressure. I've always loved the pressure, you know, look at me or make you laugh, or make you pay attention, right? That's what I knew. I had a little bit of a body of work there to go. I really love this kind of stuff. Because I would go What did you love about politics? You know, so I looked at that, you know, what did I love about? Well, there are two main things that stuck out. Number one, I love the stump speech. Right? I loved you know, I was the kid I was the I was the Batman is what they call it politics. So a lot of my early jobs, I was the guy that was always on the hip of the candidate, had his briefcase campaign stickers notebook to write a number down, you know, like, I was the guy watching the room going, Hey, there's a big donor over there. You need to go say hi to me, that was like, it was it. That's what I did. And so I was always offstage, watching these candidates do these stump speeches. And I'm saying they're going, I'd love to do that. And so you got to you got to dig into that stuff. What do you love about it? And then I love the one on one retail politics to people telling these politicians, their struggles and their challenges. Will you help me here? That's what I craved. So those were clues. Okay. So then you start to go from there you go. Okay. Well, what do I know from this? And so what I realized was, is that it wasn't politics, but I absolutely knew it was going to be a forward facing public role. Because I know that I love communicating publicly. And I love helping people, I have a real heart for people. So that's all I knew. And I'll tell you the story. We didn't have kids at the time. And I'm going through this and I'm wrestling and my wife is out of town, with some girls on a girl trip. And I lived a very, very glamorous life. And most nights I would in the night by watching Larry King Live, a lot of young people even know who he is with legendary interviewer is my favorite show on CNN. And it was just elbow to elbow conversations. I just love that stuff. So I was watching an interview on I was doing it with Oprah. And I'm sitting on the couch by myself. And he asked her, Oprah, would you ever run for Senate from you Illinois? Or would you ever run for president? This is at the height of her popularity? And she's bigger than anything else on the planet? And she quickly dismissed it said absolutely not. And he asked the right follow up question, why are you so like, cut and dry on that essentially. And by the way, we share the story in the book. And she says, I, Larry have more influence everyday through my television show, my own magazine, my live event tour, I have more influence through those things than I ever would in politics. And the minute that I would run or become an elected official, I would lose so much of that influence. And it was like God Himself reached down and put a tuning fork in my chest and flicked it. And I had been wrestling with what is what does all this mean? And what I enjoy doing what I'm good at doing. And it was in that moment that for the first time I gave broadcasting a real look. I was like, Huh. Now the challenge of that is I didn't know which way to go. You know. And so I began to you know, kind of a several month exploration into is it hard news and reading from a teleprompter and talking about some guy getting shot in the leg on the 101st block or he has like I don't you know, is it sports? Because I kind of went that direction, because I do love sports. So that was, and we write about this in the book. So anyway, that's the, that's the moment where early on, I didn't have the construct that I teach now, which is I'm on purpose, when I use what I do best to do work, I love to produce results that matter to me, I didn't have that sense. You know, I didn't have all the fill in the blanks. Okay, but I knew where to start looking. And so that's the beginning of the process.Jonathan Collaton:
I love that you mentioned Larry King, because that was something that stuck out to me. And I was trying to figure out where in this conversation, I could throw in an unpack that or tell me more, because I'm old enough to remember my parents watching Larry King anyway, but I'm gonna have to go back and watch some old interviews, it was something I was thinking about after reading what you had said about him in there. Alright, so broadcasting then becomes this very strong interest, and you have to navigate what areas of broadcasting fit for you. And you mentioned and I know you're talking about in the book, you get into sports for a while. And the path through broadcasting was something that it's not an immediate level of success, right? It takes time to sort of build yourself up in that area. So what were some of the things that you had to do to sort of pivot from one job to the next I know, you talked about connecting with people who, who you knew people who were, you know, not quite great friends, but contacts, people you were connected with that might know someone in that industry, and you were able to leverage that. So tell me a little bit more about that. Because that is something I found really useful in the book as well.Ken Coleman:
Yeah. Well, I'm glad you asked this question, because early on when I first began to go, Okay, I think this is something I really enjoy. You know, my first thought was, I don't know anybody in broadcasting, and I don't have any training and experience. So this feels delusional. Right, this is, this feels like this is nuts. But what's interesting is I, as I began to wrestle through that, I did realize that I actually knew some people, you know, I knew people who knew some people, right, yeah. And so you know, this is really fun, because I talked about this all the time on the ken Coleman show talking about this in the book. One of the great excuses people use for not striking out on the path that they longed to walk is they don't, I don't know anybody. It's total garbage. total garbage. We know everybody we need to know, to get started. We know everybody we need to know to do the thing that we're created to do. Now, you got to work that. Alright, you got to work it. So you know, some examples, I realized, you know, oh, my wife's cousin is an NBC sports reporter. I know him don't know him very well. But I but I've got a great connection there. Right? How I know this guy who's the the broadcasting voice, TV voice of the Atlanta Braves. I know him, because I met him on a John Maxwell of it. I got his email, you know. So I begin to go, Oh, I know some people. And I began to reach out and get their advice. And then then I knew some other people who knew a producer who went to the same church as me, and so had lunch with that TV producer. And so and so I had all these connections that were two or maybe three degrees away. But I had the relationships and so you just have to kind of look and turn over some rocks a little bit. You got to ask for people to help you. So the most underrated question in the world? Will you help me?Jonathan Collaton:
Yeah, something you said about that was like, What's the worst thing that can happen? You can be rejected, I forget the exact wording you use. But, you know, I, I've resonated with that. Because at the end of the day, if you ask somebody for a coffee to sit down and talk about what their career has been like, and the steps they took, and they say, No, two weeks from now, they're never going to, they're going to forget about it. And so the embarrassment is all what you're feeling about your concern of rejection. But you will never know if that opportunity could become something unless you ask the question. So obviously, that's something from your own experience, you did this. And that has become a basis and I can see it as we're talking here. All these things that happened to you in your life to get you to where you are today. While you're saying, you know, I didn't have the framework for this back then. Well, that was you sort of inventing the framework for yourself. And it seems to me, like the experience you had directly is what led to every different stage that you've you've identified in this book.Ken Coleman:
Yeah, you know, I the encouragement that I want the reader to get or just the list or if they don't even buy the book, I want you to get that. There is unbelievable power. There's unbelievable opportunity in just moving forward. I mean, you know, I again, I you know, the thing that frustrates me in this personal growth and you know, we see stuff on social media and YouTube and we weave Follow these influencers and, and and what we don't realize is many of them paid for the amount of followers they have. It's a total total Sham. And they made a bunch of money in another business now of a sudden they're out there telling you the secrets of success. And they're standing by a private jet, or whatever it is they're doing. And it's all a bunch of, it's all a bunch of, you know, lofty cotton candy. The reality is, is that you will be successful. If you are fulfilling your unique role, and your greatness is in your uniqueness. Mm hmm. Greatness isn't about status, or dollar signs in your bank account. Greatness is when you fulfill your unique role. Whether that is a teacher, or a lab technician, an educator, an engineer, a pastor, a professor, a mechanic, you know, CEO, a janitor, a programmer, it doesn't matter. But what matters is, is that you keep moving forward, and opportunities will come your way, you will get better, but you're gonna have to stay active. And it's not about leaps and bounds. It's not about short circuiting success, like Instagram, influencers will tell you, it is about showing up every day, and you show up again, and you keep showing up. You show up when you're tired. You show up when you're hurt. You show up when you have honestly, no belief. But you just show up. Yeah, that's what I'm preaching.Jonathan Collaton:
Yeah, there's that saying that a lot of people I've heard from friends who work in personal fitness that a 10 minute workout is still better than no workout. So even on those days, when you're tired, just do something and just what you're saying, like just keep moving forward, take those small steps. So I love hearing that in a career context, as it's often something I hear about more in a fitness context. So tell me about how you got to the point in broadcast men of having the ken Coleman show and doing what you're doing now, from the early beginnings of that discovery, and then reaching out to all these people that you knew that might be able to help you break into that industry. You talk about in a book that you knew it was going to be a long process, and you know, it would take time. And so what were the major pivoting points for you along that journey that where you realized like, this is a major milestone for me, which milestone should be celebrated. That was one of my favorite things you wrote in the book. What were those major milestones for you the things that lead you directly, you can look back and say this, and this and this are what got me from an interest in broadcasting to what I'm doing now.Ken Coleman:
I'm one milestone was starting a leadership podcast with a leadership company in Atlanta called Catalyst, talking to my buddies into this, as I remember seeing an article on Fast Company, magazine about podcasting. And this is, by the way, way back, this is my date myself here. This is when like we literally had iPods. Yeah. And it was amazing. You could listen to YouTube on this little white thing that had a circular navigating system on it. And it was called an iPod. And we listen to music on it. And then all of a sudden, people got outside of music. And Apple said, Well, you could record audio. And you can put audio out on this. And it's called a pod cast. And people are like, what? I read an article on it. And I was like, wow, this is interesting. And so I go talk to my buddies about it. They were running this, this leadership organization. I said, Hey, I want to get more broadcasting experience. This is podcasting. But I want to get really good at interviewing, that's something I'm going to have to get good at. And I love interview shows and bla bla bla bla bla bla bla very curious. And I said, I'll host it, I think I do a good job, I'll host it for you for free. If you let me be those. And because I had a good sized platform. And so we started that thing. And it became one of the, you know, biggest leadership podcasts in that particular space at the time, and so this was before everybody was doing podcast. Okay, so we're talking like 2004 2005. So, I mean, when I say that I was one of the early people in that thing I really was. So that was a milestone, because that's how I got good at doing interviews. And that's that's really what was my calling card early on was that I kind of kind of shaped this reputation as being a really good interviewer. So that was a milestone another milestone was getting on local talk radio. I paid my way on you know, I got a meeting with the with the owner of the station, and I said, Hey, I'll pay my way on what are you gonna charge you for an hour? Oh, he just laid the cards out. And he said 250 bucks an hour I get done. And you know I went out and found my own sponsors for it. But it took several months I just paid I paid 1000 bucks a month to do radio. That was a milestone to get on and learn how to do it. And another milestone is when you know I got some national exposure through one of my guests on the show, and it put me all over the map for about four days the little Ken Coleman show Saturday radio show on WD UN and the owner was so impressed with how I handled the media on it, you guys hey, I want you to be my I want you to do two hours every day drive time five to 7pm un I was like a Yeah. And so had to figure out what kind of shows that gonna be I was a milestone to, to create a show by myself, no staff to do it every day for two hours live on the radio, that was a milestone. You know, Dave Ramsey, you know, two years after that, call me say hey, I want you to come here and take over all the hosting stuff. Ramsey solutions, I want you to take over the entree leadership podcast, one of the top leadership podcasts in the world still is that was a milestone. Two years after the three years after that, you know, him telling me hey, Sirius XM is going to do a Ramsey solutions channel. And you're going to be the other live show. You're the only guy that that wants to do live radio. We're gonna do it you ready? And I wasn't. And he's like, you'd have an hour before me lead into my show every day. You know what? So those that's a milestone, you know, I mean, I could go on and on. Yeah, and those are, those are mile markers. But what I will tell you is you're hearing some of the fun breakthrough. But some of the mile markers that matter most are just showing up and quit. Some of the mile markers that matter most are, I have no idea how this is going to play out. I have no clue. But I'm going to show up and take a broadcasting class with a bunch of 20 Somethings at the age of 33. Completing that class was a mile marker. Nobody knows about it's not impressive. But that's a mile marker. Because those breakthrough miles, right mile six mile 23 mile 347. Those don't exist without all those little miles that have no Sass, they're not sexy, there's nothing exciting about them. You just kept going. That's what I want people to catch.Jonathan Collaton:
Mm hmm. So all these milestones lead you to your full time job now, which is a variety of different things. You've got the ken Coleman show, you've written numerous books, including your newest book from paycheck to purpose, which is available now at the time of this interview. So if you're listening to this show, links will be in the show notes to go and grab this book. Tell me about when the idea for this particular book first came to be what was the first sort of kernel where you thought, hey, maybe there's something here, let me let me jot this down and see what I've got.Ken Coleman:
Well, in any area of life, if you are trying to bring transformation to people, so whether this is a business or a person, and you are trying to provide transformation that could be in someone's health. So nutrition or exercise, in their money, of course, Ramsey solutions, we help people get out of debt and save and invest. Married life, parenting, and you know, in the work that I do, you know, meaningful work and purpose experiencing purpose. So, if you get people that are in a place where they're not where they want to be, and they've got an idea of where they want to be, so there's a gap. In order to help anybody in any of those areas I just listed, you're going to have to give them a clear path. Okay, that's just reality, or else, it's too intimidating. Right? Think about it. It's like, it's like looking at a mountain going, I'd like to get to the top of that mountain, but I have zero idea how in the world I'd ever get there. So what's that person going to do? They're not going to climb that mountain. So you've got to give people a clear path. Dave Ramsey models that the baby step seven baby steps have helped millions and millions of people. So I knew that to be as effective as I wanted to be, that I was going to have to come up with a clear path to like when you talk about purpose, I gotta tell you, I'm fighting an uphill battle on this. Because when you say purpose, it's daunting to people. Right? It's super, super intimidating. And I'm trying to take the intimidation factor away. So you gotta have a clear path. So for a couple of years, I've tried to come up with I came up with an acronym Dr. EA, nobody's even seen it. It was like three people in all Ramsey solutions that ever saw it. It just wasn't right. I knew one right. But I was trying to come up with this. What's this thing where people can go, Oh, you're telling me that I can actually discover my purpose and do it really well. And you and I can get how that would happen. And I couldn't come up with it and I was frustrated. And so I was on vacation with my family. I like to get up before everybody else on vacation, and just have quiet. And certainly at the beach, my favorite thing to do is go down to the beach before the family and just sit there under the umbrella, feet in the sand, and the waves in the wind and just sit there, just soak. Okay. And and so that particular day, I took down my moleskin and a pencil my two favorite things when I want to think. And I sat there that day with a cup of coffee, and I asked myself very frustrated. And I said, Coleman, stop thinking, I want you to feel this. How would you describe the path of purpose was 17 year old kid? And that's when I started writing. And it just flowed that day. And that's what I wrote, get clear, you got to get clear first, what's what is, who are you? What is that thing you want? What's your mountain that you want to scale. And then it was like, Okay, once you know that you got to get qualified to climb the mountain. So I will get qualified. And it just came out of me get connected, why you're getting qualified, you better get connected, I started looking back at my journey. And I was like, while I was getting qualified, I was connecting like crazy. Okay, because that's where opportunities come is from connections, nobody sitting around thinking about how they can help you, you got to get in front of them. And then it was like, boom, once the opportunity comes, guess what you get started. And now you embrace the suck. Right now. It's like learning to ride a bike, and I'm starting out and all that stuff. And then at some point, I'm going to get promoted. And then as I spend time in that get promoted stays. It's like climbing a ladder, I'm gonna spend most of my professional time in a process of getting promoted. If I'm on purpose, and events, lemon step into the dream job where I am doing what I'm best at - talent, I am performing work that I absolutely love, passion. And I am producing results that I connect to deeply mission. And that's the dream job. Now what? Because I initially stopped there. But it was later, with some input from some people that I trust. They said, I think there's one more stage. And that is give yourself away. And that's where we've reached the income that we desire incomes great. It's their impact is there too. But now it's all about why would I keep working? Like what am I dreaming about? Now, I'll watch this. As I'm climbing. Stage one through six, a, my view is naturally up. I'm looking up. When I get to the top, my view changes. Now I'm looking out. And I write about this at the very end of the book, the last chapter, Sir Edmund, Hillary with the greatest explorer, I think the world's ever known, you get out him up, I was gonna he gets to the top of the mountain. And after his Sherpa, Chhavi partner, and he puts a momentos down at the peak, you know, and they take some pictures, they begin to truly take in this view that no one's ever seen before. And they're seeing the world from the top. And then he sees another router. He says we're gonna climb that one next. And that's what happened. So we're in the dream job. And now we expand the dream. And then we can repeat those seven stages. Right? Get clear on what that next, you know, what's the next iteration of the I'm in my sweet when I'm on purpose that moves with me. And so that's how I came about the process. I look back on my own life and my journey. And I just simplified it as best as I possibly could. And that became the seven stages that I began to teach and use with collers on air and sat with it. Does it work? Is it right? And this is key. I didn't just write a book, I didn't come back from that beach trip and go, Hey, I got a book in me. We tested it, we tried it, we sat with it, we lived with it. And then we felt this is a book.Jonathan Collaton:
I love that you point out that stage seven was initially not there and that you had a lot of these ideas. But so much of what you talk about early on about get clarity is talking to other people. And you did that with this book. You talked through the stages. And that's when you get the the hint from somebody else that maybe there's more to it. So I'm glad you point that out. Because I think a lot of people assume that or, or maybe it's people like me who just don't know any better that when you've got an idea for a book, it's all your idea, but that's not always the case. And this book too is it's very much a guidebook, which I enjoyed about it and something that I found interesting that I wanted to ask about was so I blew through it. I read it in like 48 hours and then when I finished it I thought to myself, I think I read this too fast because I was breezing through stage one through I think somewhere about for clarity to get started. And this is partly because I think that's the things that I have already done in my own plan of making a career pivot. And then I got to stage five, about getting promoted. And all of a sudden, I sort of hit this wall. And I felt like I had to push through that stage in particular to get to the next stage. And afterwards, it occurred to me it's, it's not that the content of it doesn't isn't useful or anything like that, of course it is, it's that the stages are very much aligned with where you are in your life, I think. And for me, because I'm only so far, I can really only get that far where the content is useful for me today. And it makes me think that a year from now, or five years from now, or 10 years from now, there's going to be a lot of value in people going back and reading. You don't even have to start at the beginning again, but start at the stage that you're in now and start with those steps. Because, for me, maybe a year from now, I'll start to get promoted again. And and maybe that's going to click More, because I'm finally ready for that it's it's hard to read, when when career pivots are such a daunting task, I think it can be hard to think so far ahead. Because what you're doing now can seem so difficult. I wanted to get your take on that. If that was kind of a totally out their opinion. Or if that's something that you would agree with? Do you think that it is something where people can come back later and started a particular stage? Because that's where they're at at that point in time?Ken Coleman:
Yeah, sure. I mean, that's the hope. I mean, I have, I have no illusions that you can just walk through those seven stages in a short amount of time. There's just no way. So yeah, I think that that's the whole hope of the book is that they go, Oh, I read it. And I see now this is the path. This is the path. So what stage Am I in? So now I need to double down? And how do I get to the next stage? So my question for you is, is are you are in stage five, you you aren't where you want to be, and you want to promote yourself, right? It's not, because if you're entrepreneurial, the stage five is still relevant to you, too, because customers will promote you, the audience will promote you, right? So are you feeling that that's where you are now, or you're still in the Get Started stage?Jonathan Collaton:
I'm probably in the get promoted stage. Actually, in fact, your interview on this podcast is the first sponsored episode I have I'm finally making money doing this now. So I guess that would be the get promoted phase. Because there's aKen Coleman:
Why did you Why'd you hit a wall there? What were you hitting a wall with?Jonathan Collaton:
Maybe it's fear of the amount of work that you have to do at that point in time. I picked out a quote earlier on in the book, everybody's all in for the dream as long as it happens on their timeline. And I may have created this artificial timeline for myself, when it comes to getting to the next sort of pivot in my career, purely because of the logistics of my my day job that I've actually moved down to working 80% full time because I needed more time to work on this as a side project. And I think I've I've put this time limitation on myself. That is not realistic. I mean, you talk about it, it took 10 years to go through your career in broadcasting and get where you really wanted to get. So that's probably why I felt like I hit a wall at that stage.Ken Coleman:
Yeah, I think that's interesting. Everybody's got different psychology around that stuff. I would tell you that I think for you specifically because you're the goal is is to turn this thing into the full time gig, right?Jonathan Collaton:
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think that related Yes. Yeah.Ken Coleman:
Yeah, I think the first chapter and get promoted for us, you need to go revisit it, and you need to translate it very, very specifically, know your role accepted role, maximize your role. And that's your mantra right now, your role right now is I'm an entrepreneur as a side hustle, building this thing and you need to be grateful that you can do it. Alright, she very clear that you're a young podcast are growing podcast, you got an audience and it's gonna take time, you know, it's that kind of thing you need to apply it specifically to you and then maximizing doing your absolute best getting better. So know your role, accept your role maximize your role right now, you're in those early stages that your role is to deliver value to the audience. And so the real takeaway is, as you know, in that chapter is you need to stay focused on the now and when the now the next will take care of itself. And that's a very difficult thing for people who have a very clear purpose and passion and you do so yeah, I mean, you shouldn't you shouldn't be hitting a wall there. You should be going alright. Why am I hitting the wall? Let me own my junk here on this. What am I intimidated by? What's discouraging what and just own it so that you know, okay, I know what I need to face. And then you will continue to promote yourself, your audience will promote you.Jonathan Collaton:
This is this is great, Ken because what I told people when I started this podcast in my introductory episode was this show is like therapy for me. And you just get to listen along as I hear about how other people got from where they were to where they wanted to be. And this is exactly the kind of advice that I was hoping would come out of it. And, and more particularly, because this is sort of your more in the realm of what I want to be doing, then some of the other people I've talked to, and I'm very hopeful my day jobs actually at a university, I work in student affairs with students. And my hope is that students who are in some of the careers that some of my guests were in to start will hear these things and think, Okay, if this ends up not being the thing I want to get into, here's a path out, here's an example of someone else who was able to take that skill set and move it somewhere else. And It's not every interview where I find something that will actually be useful to me. But definitely, this book has been a useful tool for me in the short amount of time that I've had it. And like I said, I think I'm gonna have to go back and maybe sooner rather than later, as you said, maybe go back right now, because I'm actually in Stage Five, I'm going to have to go back and revisit some of the the ideas and help break through and take that next step myself. So the book, are you celebrating the milestone? You're at the top of the mountain right now and you're looking around? Are you just celebrating? Or are you already looking ahead at what the next peak is for you?Ken Coleman:
Oh, yeah, I've got about five other peaks, right, that we're actively working on, you know, the book is just one of those things. In some ways, that's the practical answer, the philosophical answer is, yeah, we certainly are going to celebrate, we're going to my wife and I are planning something fun with the team that's worked very, very closely on this. And, you know, just off camera, to my right is a guy named Kurt, he's been here a long time, he's an absolute freakin Pro. So there are people that have worked very closely and tirelessly still are on this book. So we'll celebrate the launch of it celebrate the future impact and the current impact of the book. But the book is just, you know, when we talk about the dream job, and we say, Okay, what do you do when you get to the dream job? What's it like? are we sitting back in a hammock and drinking some tea? Or are we expanding the vision and so the vision is that this book, no matter how many copies it sells, it's not about the book by itself. The book is one part of a strategy to get this philosophy and methodology out to people that, hey, you do a have a purpose and be it's possible to get there. It's actually possible. And, and so now it's got to current into curriculum, then we're going to launch a coaching program, right? Where I can get more people this message and help them when when I'm not directly involved, right? How do we continue to grow and expand the show? What are the new platforms for the show? Right? What does curriculum look like? Not just for college kids, but high school kids? Right? You know, what does a training program for people look like? Who don't need a college degree to do the kind of work they want to do? How can we are Ramsey solutions? Meet them there? How do I take this assessment to get clear career assessment, which is built to help people in the stage one, it's a great companion to the book, people can get it at Ken Coleman calm, but how do we turn that into an engagement tool for companies? You know, so it's, it's, it's expanding the vision based on the mission.Jonathan Collaton:
Yeah, many other peaks, you clearly know what they are. And I would say I wish you success in getting to all of those peaks. But the book is still so new, I wish you success in getting the book out there and getting into the hands of other people who can benefit from it. They can find it I imagine anywhere books are sold as well as on your website. Would that be correct?Ken Coleman:
Yeah, that's right. Ken Coleman comm if they want, there's a great bundle there for 40 bucks, they can get the get clear career assessment, and the book, which it's kind of like a supercharged Columbus through the assessment, and then the book, obviously validates all of it and and then begins to lead you up the mountain. So that's, that's a great opportunity. I love that you're among college students, I, I want to figure out how to get cases and cases of these books on campuses, because this stuff is not taught. And it should be taught. So excited about that.Jonathan Collaton:
Yeah, you know, I think because it's not taught that's why I feel like I need to do what I'm doing, which is explained to people that if you end up in something that isn't what you want, here is proof that you can move on to something else because I work at the number one academically ranked institution in Canada. And so a lot of these students go in very specifically with one particular goal in mind. I often use the example of doctors I've written a number of med school application references or med school references I should say for students. And the first five did not get in. And I worried about what they thought they would do next, because it was their one ultimate goal. And when they didn't get in, and one of them didn't get in three times in a row, how do you pivot to something else. And I wanted to try and show them that you have this educational background, and you have this skill set. And here is what you can do with it. If not being a doctor, and something like this book and help them in a much more in depth way to do that. I'm trying to take the fear out of it. And you're providing very practical steps to figure out how to move on to the next thing and find that dream job and, and do everything you need to do to get into it. So hopefully, many people who are listening to this will go pick up a copy. They can also follow you on social media, watch the ken Coleman show, I'll put all the links to those things in the show notes. So check those at a career crossroads podcast calm. Ken, thank you so much for your time today. This has been a wonderful conversation.Ken Coleman:
Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. You're doing great work, keep it up.Jonathan Collaton:
All right, that is Ken's career path up until now. After all that hard work finding his way in broadcasting and working his way to the top, Ken is now standing on top of Everest, looking around at all the other peaks that he now wants to climb. Before we get to the lessons of this episode, I have a couple other things I want to say. Firstly, if you are listening to this in November 2021, when it first comes out, you're probably noticing the lack of a sponsored ad, which I actually talked about in the interview how I did have a sponsor starting in this episode. And that is a very long story. And I'll probably share more about that during my next update episode. But I just wanted to mention that so that the mention of a sponsor to Ken didn't seem out of place, or like I was lying or anything like that there is a bit of a story behind that. But if you're listening to this sometime in the future, maybe there is an ad, I have no idea. So maybe ignore this part. More importantly, did you enjoy my therapy session as much as I did? Not only did we get to hear about Ken's journey, but I got some advice from the guy who is known for giving career advice. So that's a pretty cool day for me. And I guess that's just one of the bonuses of having a podcast like this exciting times here at career crossroads. Alright, time to talk about the lessons of the day. For lesson number one, let's talk about time, you heard the quote that I picked out of Ken's book, everybody is all in for the dream as long as it happens on their timeline. The most impactful thing I learned from Ken, both in the book and in the interview is that things take time, you're going to have to spend time getting clear, you're going to have to spend time getting qualified, you're going to have to spend time getting connected, getting started and getting promoted. But if you do all of those things, eventually you will end up in your dream job. And once you do, the world will look a lot different. But all of that will take time. And this is absolutely one of those lessons that will be very applicable to me. You heard me talk about this timeline that I've put on myself most definitely an unrealistic timeline. So I know that I need to go back and look at my roadmap and change my expectations and focus more on the long term rather than short term success. As for you, if you're out there and things aren't happening as fast as you want them to. Yeah, welcome to The Club. take solace in the fact that you are not alone. It took time for Ken and it's going to take time for me. And it's going to take time for a whole lot of other people to figure out how to make that pivot in their career and do all the steps required to get to that dream job. Tied to that though, is the lesson that you need to celebrate the milestones. Yes, the dream job is the ultimate goal. But the hard work that you do along the way is what build the stepping stones that will get you to your dream job. Those stepping stones have merit, so celebrate them. When you get a new job. Celebrate. When you get a raise that you wanted, celebrate. When you connect with a new mentor that will help you navigate the path you're on. Celebrate. Yes, you have an end goal, but celebrate the journey that got you there. Well, those are two of the things that I learned from Ken today. But if you learned something else, I would love to hear about it. So send me a message through the Contact page of career crossroads podcast.com And tell me about what you learned. I think I'm going to spend some time now listening to some Larry King interviews to practice my technique, but I'm also going to go listen to the Ken Coleman show more. And I'm going to take Ken's advice and go back and read stage five of from paycheck to purpose, and figure out what I need to do to move on to the next step. If anything from this interview resonated with you, I would certainly recommend the book, it was an interesting and beneficial read for me, and the link to buy that book is in the shownotes. You can also find the links to follow Ken on all his social media accounts. And that is the same place where you can find the links to my social media as well. And links to places where you can support this podcast if you've enjoyed this episode. If you know someone who'd be interested in Ken's career path, please share this episode with them. And if you want to hear more interviews like this, go to career crossroads podcast.com or subscribe to the podcast in whatever podcast player you're listening to this on right now. That will help you get notified when we have a new episode every Wednesday.
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