Leadership, Self-Assessment, and Habits for Success | Jimmy Williams

EP151 Jimmy Williams square

How can self-assessment and good habits lead to leadership success?

In this podcast episode, I interviewed Jimmy Williams, a speaker known for helping business professionals overcome complacency. We discuss leadership, self-assessment, and success habits. Williams emphasizes the importance of integrity in leadership, self-assessment, and developing positive habits. He shares his personal habits for success, including waking up early, setting daily goals, and reading challenging material. The conversation also covers financial management, the impact of inflation on savings, and the benefits of employee benefits packages. Williams concludes by discussing goal setting, the importance of rewarding oneself, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and continuous improvement. He encourages listeners to start each day with a fresh mindset.

Here is what we covered in this podcast:

  • Leadership and the importance of integrity and selflessness
  • Self-assessment process and maintaining integrity
  • Developing good habits for success
  • Importance of reading and expanding vocabulary for personal growth
  • Financial management and living within one’s means
  • Prioritizing savings and investing wisely
  • Effective communication of employee benefits packages
  • Integrity and character development
  • Setting goals and having a clear direction in life
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and continuous improvement

Whether you’re stepping into a leadership role or striving for personal growth, this episode is a must-listen for those seeking to navigate success through self-assessment and positive habits.


As a podcaster, I have the privilege of engaging in enlightening conversations with some of the most inspiring individuals. In one of my recent episodes, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmy Williams, a highly regarded speaker known for helping growth-minded business professionals overcome complacency and live life by design.

Defining Leadership with Jimmy Williams

Jimmy’s definition of leadership is rooted in integrity and selflessness. He believes that a true leader must earn the trust of their team, give credit where it’s due, and take responsibility for any failures. This resonated with me, as integrity is the first component of my coaching methodology, SHINE.

The Importance of Self-Assessment and Positive Habits

Jimmy shared his self-assessment process, which involves a weekly review every Sunday. He evaluates his performance, goals, and how he has spread kindness – a crucial attribute in his business. This practice of self-assessment is something I encourage all leaders to incorporate into their routines.

We also discussed the importance of developing good habits. Our mutual coach, Dan Sullivan, believes that focusing on positive habits can replace negative ones. Jimmy shared his linchpin habits for success, which include waking up early for clarity of mind, writing down daily goals, and reading challenging material.

Developing Healthy Habits and Expanding Vocabulary

Jimmy is also working on improving his diet by eating more vegetables and reducing sugar and fat intake. He’s also expanding his vocabulary using the Merriam-Webster dictionary app to learn a new word every day. I couldn’t agree more with the importance of reading and having a strong vocabulary for effective communication.

The Power of Reading and Financial Management

Jimmy’s love for reading started at a young age, and he believes that reading books by inspirational authors is essential for personal growth. We also discussed financial management, with Jimmy emphasizing the importance of living within one’s means and treating savings as a mortgage to one’s future.

Inflation, Savings, and Employee Benefits

We touched on the topic of inflation and its impact on savings. Jimmy advised listeners to prioritize their savings rate to build confidence in achieving their future goals. He also emphasized the importance of starting early and investing wisely.

We discussed the often overlooked aspect of employee benefits packages, such as 401(k) plans. I believe that if employees understand the connection between their personal success and the company’s success, they will be more engaged and motivated to work harder.

Integrity, Character Development, and Setting Goals

Our conversation then shifted to the topic of integrity and character development. Jimmy believes that ambition, coupled with integrity, is a powerful force. He also emphasized the importance of honesty, accountability, and taking responsibility for mistakes.

Jimmy shared his perspective on setting goals and the importance of having a clear direction in life. He believes that goals serve as a compass, guiding individuals towards their desired destination. He encourages people to set goals daily, weekly, and quarterly, focusing on a few key goals at a time.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle and Continuous Improvement

Jimmy emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having energy. He recommends daily exercise and improving our lives by 1% each day. He advises finding balance in life by incorporating prayer, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, and sharing positive energy with others.

As we concluded our conversation, Jimmy encouraged listeners to start each day with a fresh mindset, leaving behind any past disappointments or setbacks. He believes that the world expects us to show up as better versions of ourselves every day, making a positive impact and contributing to a better world.

Final Thoughts

My conversation with Jimmy Williams was a treasure trove of wisdom and insights. His perspectives on leadership, self-assessment, habits for success, financial management, and continuous improvement are invaluable. I encourage everyone to check out his podcast, “Live a Life by Design,” for more motivation and inspiration.

Mentioned in this episode:


Jimmy Williams: I want you to start a fresh day, a new slate, a new page on the pad, a new chapter in the book, whatever analogy you want to use. But I want you to know that the world expects you to show up being bigger, better, and bolder than you were yesterday to make the world a better place.

Voice Over: This is the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast, your source for the strategies, systems, and insights you need to turn your dreams into your destiny. Every week we dive into dynamic conversations as our host, Nicole Greer, interviews leadership and business experts. They’re here to shed light on practical solutions to the challenges of personal and professional development. Now, here’s your host, a professional speaker, coach, and consultant, Nicole Greer.

Nicole:  Welcome everybody to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. My name is Nicole Greer and they call me The Vibrant Coach. Today I have a wonderful guest with me. His name is Jimmy Williams. Let me read his bio to you. Jimmy Williams is a widely regarded speaker, helping growth minded business professionals overcome the complacency of coasting through life by default to experience transformation and developing a strategic and financial plan for living life by design. I’m so happy to have you here. Thank you for coming, Jimmy.

Jimmy:  Hey, good morning, Nicole. It’s truly my pleasure. 

Nicole: So, so, so excited to see you! Jimmy and I have the pleasure of meeting up once a quarter and we hang out with people who are living a life by design. So we’re going to talk about that today. But, Jimmy, the first question I am collecting is definitions of leadership. What’s your definition?

Jimmy:  Oh goodness. My definition of leadership is a very simple, but powerful one too. I believe leaders must first have integrity to gain the trust of those they wish to lead. So, to me, integrity has got to be the number one ingredient. You got to walk your talk, as I say. And, I do believe too, that the next ingredient has to be selflessness. Now, a lot of people say, well, I’m a leader because I want to be. I want to be the one that gets the credit for everything. No, no, no, no, no. Great leaders give the credit to their team, but even greater leaders take the blame when the team does not reach the desired goal. Does that make sense? 

Nicole: Total sense.

Jimmy: To me, integrity is critical, and the reason I say that is, just to be honest with you, how can you lead anyone without integrity? We see a failed system in our nation, sometimes from leaders that so called by title don’t really lead. And so, to me, there’s no title involved. There are some great books out there. I love one of them called, The Leader with No Title by Robin Sharma. I got to tell you, the book is spot on. There is no title needed to be a leader. There’s only integrity, there’s only selflessness, and there’s ambition.

Nicole: Mm. That’s fantastic. All right. So, I agree wholeheartedly. And, as all my listeners know, I have a coaching methodology called S.H.I.N.E. The “I” in S.H.I.N.E. is integrity. But, before we get to integrity, I want to talk about the “S” and the “H” with you. One of the things I know about you is you are one disciplined guy. You do a lot of work in terms of, like, you go and meet up with a coach, right? So, everybody should have a coach, everybody. So, even the two folks on here who do coaching have a coach themselves. But, tell me a little bit about what you do to self-assess. How do you take a good look at Jimmy Williams in the mirror? What do you do to make sure you’re a man of integrity?

Jimmy: I do a weekly review basically of myself and I do it every Sunday. I go to church Sunday morning. I like to have that spiritual side of me that needs to be fed and refreshed. And, to me, to be very honest with you, that’s the foundation of my leadership and what I do in this world. And so, I’ve got that grounding done with that evening. I sit down and do a weekly review. How did I measure up in my performance with my anticipated goals for the week? Why were those goals so important? They were my big three. I try to have three just what I call b hags. You know those big hairy, audacious goals each week? Now, Nicole, I may have some smaller ones that may feed that, or I might have something that’s incremental to those. But man, I gotta hit those big three, right? And then, I look to see what I do to spread some kindness to those around me. One of our corporate attributes here at Compass Capital Management is kindness. And that along with our other one, integrity, is how we really grow this business and how we’ve grown anywhere from 28% to 35% per year, even during times of Covid, which we had our biggest year. So, to me, you’ve got to assess where your performance is on a frequent basis and, I like to say, anticipated recurrence. So say, hey, you know, on Thursday this week and then maybe Tuesday the next. You need to set a system in place. You know as a coach, you know our strategic coach, we have certain days and I live by those days. They’re free focus and buffer days. Sunday to me is a free day. All I want to do is sit down and let my mind go freely, flowing to what I did well, what I could have done better, but maybe still had some positive outcomes. And, what did I really excel at for this last week? And so, at the end of the day, that’s what I do every Sunday afternoon or evening. And I just basically spend time with myself for about an hour.

Nicole: Yeah. That’s fantastic. And, you know, the research says over and over again that reflection is right. Self assessment is one of the number one leadership tools you know for a leader. And, so, I love that. So, everybody writes that down in a weekly review of how they’ve done. Maybe I have two or three things. You’re taking a look at even personal key productivity indicators KPIs. Right. And then maybe take a look at a couple of character traits. Jimmy Williams says, take a look. How kind was I this week? Right. And, then, was a man of integrity. So, I love that. And asking yourself this powerful question, how did I measure up? So, those are some great questions, right? And, I love the fact that you start out your day, you know, your week out with a foundational belief system, right? That helps you kind of navigate. So, don’t miss that everybody. Sunday morning gets a belief system in place. All right. So, we’ve got a self assessment. So, sitting down to actually take a look at things. Right now what are you doing in terms of habit work? You know I find that leaders who are conscious of the habits that they have in place do better. And, we have, again, a coach in common. Dan Sullivan is a strategic coach. He says, you know, if you put some good habits in place, the bad ones will go out the back door. And, so, don’t worry about the bad habits. Just work on some good ones. So Jimmy Williams, you’ve been so successful in your career and in your life and help so many people. What are some linchpin habits that you do or that you encourage your clients to do?

Jimmy: I’m going to give you, Nicole, a couple of habits that I just think are foundational to my success. And, then, I’m going to give you a couple of habits I’m working on currently. Is that okay?

Nicole: Yeah.

Jimmy: So, one of my habits for success has been, as I rise earlier than anyone, I get up at 5/5:30am in the morning without an alarm clock. I have for – I’m 58 years of age. I’ve done this since I was, I guess, in college, because I took those early courses because I had to work my way through college. I didn’t have the luxury of having it all paid for. Right? So, I basically am an early riser. The reason I do that, to me, is those early morning times are where I have the greatest clarity of mind. The day hasn’t started. I don’t look at email first thing, I don’t look at my phone first thing. I have that moment of solitude where you’re going to laugh. I pull out my journal and I write down what I want to accomplish today. And, who do I want to impress upon the value they bring to the world? Not what I bring to the world, but what they bring. And, so, that could be one of my team. It could be one of our clients. It could be a friend of mine we just happened to run into each other on the street while I’m at lunch. I always ask myself that question because, to me, I’ve got 24 hours to code literally now, not to get too deep, no one’s promised more than that. The second habit I think that’s most empowering to me is I am a voracious reader now. I don’t read romance novels, and for those of you that do, that’s great, but I think you could spend your time helping your brain develop greater abilities to be creative, innovative, and so forth. If you read something that really challenged us, right, not just on an emotional level. And, so, I do a lot of reading biographies of great people. Don’t laugh. I’m reading a humongous one right now. It’s about four inches thick, and it’s the letters written between John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Abigail Adams, which was John’s wife, the two men that were one of our second and third presidents of this great country, and the letters between France and England, because Thomas Jefferson, as you knew, was the ambassador of France at that time in our new country. And John Adams was in England. And to read the letters and concerns that these men had for this fledgling country, that’s just trying to get off the ground. That is so inspirational to me. I can barely contain myself to get in the shower, get shaved, and get on to work. I mean, I am excited to see that men of those backgrounds brought forth the greatest country on the planet. Now, am I saying we have concerns in this country? Yes, but I would live nowhere else, Nicole. But let me give you the two most important habits I’m working on that I’m a little embarrassed about, but, you know, I’m here. I’m just sitting here. And, if you folks can see me as you can on this audio, I’ve got no, no sheer. This is just pure Jimmy. I’m working on eating better with my vegetables. Now, you’re going to laugh, but I put that on my big three every day these last two weeks to eat more vegetables. So, I don’t know why, Nicole. I’m just not a big fan of brussel sprouts. Okay? I’m not a big fan of some of these things that come out of the dirt. I like some, but I don’t like a lot of the green ones. I need to eat more, so I’m working on that as my next habit. And, you’re going to laugh as a habit. Keep in mind you can eat all the vegetables you want, Nicole, and not have really any sugars or fats in them. Right? So, that’s the goal. The second thing I’m working on, too, is the development of my vocabulary. Every day for the last three weeks, I’ve picked up a new word that I get from. Don’t laugh. It’s a small app. I get it out and it’s the Merriam-Webster dictionary app on my phone. It’s free. Why wouldn’t you do something if it’s free? Right? And I look and I get a word, and I use that word as much as I can in that day to develop the habit, and I use it every day consistently after that for about a three week period until it’s ingrained. Those are my two new habits.

Nicole: Oh, I love it, I love it, I love it. And, one of the things I just want to highlight, I’ve said this a lot on the podcast, but here’s the absolute truth about leaders and leaders that build a vibrant culture is that they read, leaders read. So, you know, two things he’s telling you right here. One is that you’ve got to read so that you can get ideas, get inspired, learn, but then also increase your vocabulary. And, I will tell you, somebody who has a great vocabulary is impressive and is more direct and more succinct in what they have to say. And, I love that you’re saying that because every day I get up and I read as well, and the word I had today because I’ll read, you know, again, I’m 58 years old too. I didn’t know we were twinning on that.

Jimmy: I don’t know what you’re eating or drinking, but you look like 28 to me, so that.

Nicole: Well, could be the red wine, I’m not sure, but.

Jimmy: Nothing wrong with that.

Nicole: That’s right, that’s right. But, this morning, I was reading an article about the Shepherds Hotel that used to be in Cairo, and it was like the hotel in the early part of the 20th century, and that all sorts of great people stayed there. And the word in there I had I’ve heard it a lot of times in my life, but I never saw it spelled out, but it was hoi polloi, you know, the hoi polloi and what it means is like the masses, the many. And, I just was like, oh my gosh, I’ve never seen that spelled out before. Just really cool. So, people, you need to read and I’d like to put a little plug in for Jimmy’s website. If you go to livealife.design, you’ll see that Jimmy has a reading list in there that he suggests to folks. So, I looked at your reading list and I wrote down some I haven’t read, but I have read most of the books that are on there. So, there’s like a group of books that everybody needs to read. So, I think Jimmy’s list would be a great thing. So. How did you get drawn to reading in the first place? I’m just curious. Where you like that as a little guy?

Jimmy: Boy, you’re getting some history now. Yeah. So, I was raised in a very small community, maybe about 600 people total. Small town, southeastern Oklahoma, mainly agriculture based, not too far from Fort Smith, Arkansas, about 22 miles from Fort Smith, Arkansas. And, don’t laugh. We had this thing back in the day in the early 70s called the bookmobile. Now they’re starting to bring those back, but they quit doing them through the 70s/80s. Do you remember this? The bookmobile. And, so, I’m the youngest of six children, and so, I just developed this habit. I’ve always been scholarly in my thinking, and I thought I just developed this habit. I love to read. I don’t know what it is. It’s inquisitive. I just have curiosity of how things function and work in our world. And that reading started in that bookmobile at the age of six. My sister started giving me books to read when I was three and four years old. She caught me reading an encyclopedia at the age of five, she says. And, she said, you weren’t just looking at the pictures you were reading. Now, some of the words you didn’t get right. But I’m the youngest of six. I said, my oldest sister is a schoolteacher. And, so, I guess back then, even that day, she had this kind of tutoring mentality. Right? And so all I did is I just love to read. So, I love athletics, but then I turned around and I love to read. And, I think that the solitude time of reading really engrossed me and makes the fact that I need to learn more every day. If we work, don’t laugh, for only 10 to 15 minutes a day reading good books, not not trashy novels, but good books written by great people that are inspirational and foundational to your belief system, man, you cannot help but grow. if you apply it.

Nicole: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And, so, I just had the most wonderful flashback to the bookmobile. So, I absolutely adored the bookmobile. Yeah. All right. Good deal. All right. So, really important to eat your veggies, to get up early is what he said, and then also to definitely read every day. And here’s what I’ll say about veggies: I have to give you a pass, because, isn’t Oklahoma, like, don’t we raise a lot of cattle? Straighten me out. Isn’t this like a meat potato kind of state?

Jimmy: Yeah. Now, listen, I’m not denouncing. I love a good steak. It’s just, Nicole, I have a little less of it than I used to. So, I eat about 6 to 8 oz of red meat a week. And I do eat a lot of good fish, particularly things like salmon and so forth. I do like a good fish, but I’m by no means denouncing cattle. But, in fact, I was raised on a ranch. I can’t turn down my childhood here, but you know, at the end of the day, my point is, as we age, our body has different needs, right? To keep that optimal performance level. I call it the OPL in our office. So, I say, hey, what’s your OPL this week? And the team will go, well, I’m going to CrossFit or I’m going to yoga. So, we all have these activity goals. And, so, my optimum performance level, I think, would be enhanced as I age by getting more of these vegetables and things in my diet than what I’ve been.

Nicole: I love it. Okay. So, everybody adopts that idea too. Another good habit around the office is to have a weekly chat about your optimum performance level. I love that, that’s fantastic.

Jimmy: Now. don’t laugh. I may be a little geek on here, but let me tell you what we do. We don’t hold that meeting sitting down. We hold that meeting either walking if the day is pretty, or at least standing in the office if the weather is inclement and not able to go outside, that’s fantastic.

Nicole: Well, you know, we’re talking about habits, but one of the things that you have expertise in is financial management. Do I have my story right? And so, yeah, I’d like to hear, you know, people who have their finances under control, I think are better employees. I’m just going to say that being an HR person for many, many years, people who are not working at their optimum often have two things going on in their personal life. One is they have financial issues that are eating them alive, literally. Or, number two, they have health problems. And, so, you’ve already touched on health, like we’ve got to, you know, reduce our steak intake to six ounces and eat more veggies. But, then, there’s this thing of having your finances under control. And I think this is one of the areas that a lot of our leaders inside of our organizations could help employees. One thing I tell people all the time, Jimmy, is my daddy used to say this saying, and it’s got a word in it that ladies don’t usually say, but I’m going to say it because this is what daddy would say. He would tell me all the time, we don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. Okay, so that’s just something daddys say. Okay?

Jimmy: I’ve heard that all my life. Yes, ma’am.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. And so, you know, I just thought that’s how we lived. I didn’t know it could be different until I met my husband who’s like, oh no, we’re going to save money and pay off credit cards and do all these things. I was like, oh, we can do that? You know, because I’ve been told that we’re not good at doing money. So, tell us a little bit about the habits of somebody who has their money under control. And, it’s not that complicated.

Jimmy: No, it’s really not. I want to give you something very profound here, and I hope the listeners of this are taking some notes, too, because they make the act of saving for the future so complicated that it’s going to be so disruptive. And, I’m going to truly share with you what we call our life plan solution. It’s on our website. You’ll see the life plan solution. It’s a five step process to keep you after sustaining that habit of saving, to keep you in that mode, as well as keep you facing that direction you wish to go with that and to not be in any way distracted by the world. You know, things happen, right? So, the first thing we want to tell you is. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, we cannot change yesterday. We are very, very good at helping you form your future. But we cannot change yesterday. So, let’s just put that in the book, close that chapter, go start a new one and don’t sit there and judge yourself saying, well, I’ve just ruined my life. Because I got news for you. There is a time to start and that is today. I don’t care if you’re 18. I don’t care if you’re 58. If you think you need a bigger, better future, it is time to start. The other thing we start on is this.  I have to go back to that assessment that I do every Sunday. I look at the assessment. I also look at our finances every week, make sure we’re on track/on budget, doing what we need to do and I will tell you that I have never failed to meet an obligation in my life, never accept during college. And, don’t laugh. During college, I had far more money than money some months because I was working my way through college and I sometimes had one creditor. You’re going to laugh. It’s happened to me. It was the cable TV company in the small town where I was going to the university. And, don’t laugh, the cable bill was like 28 bucks back then. This is the early 80s and, so I thought, you know, 28 bucks, man, there’s a lot of money to me. And, so, the cable company literally called my house, right, and said, Mr. Williams said, you’re late by ten days on your bill for this month. And, I said, sir, let me tell you what I do. I’m a student working my way through college. And, I said, I’ve got no help from anyone and don’t ask for any help. I do ask for a little grace, though, if you would grant me that to get this paid and I said, what I do is I get my check every month from where I work, and I put all the bills in a hat, and I draw the bills out until I’ve run out of money for the bills. Now, sir, please don’t make me upset because I may not even put you in the hat next month. Anyway, that’s what I said. And he started laughing. He said, I think I could work with you on this. But, anyway, my point is this. I live within my means. You know, some of the greatest, most wealthy people on the planet have been people like Warren Buffett. I got a great deal of respect for him who is now alive obviously, and is still going and doing well worth billions with a B. Then there’s people like Sam Walton. Sam Walton drove a Ford pickup when he was worth billions of dollars. You know, I’m not discounting Ford for being a valued car/truck. I’m just saying he drove a Ford. He didn’t drive a Mercedes. He didn’t drive a Lamborghini, you know, and he lived in the same house that he and his lovely wife designed to live in. That was their home. My wife and I live in the same house we built in 1996. We’ve live there. We plan on living there till the good Lord calls us home. We believe in living within our means. Now, here’s what our “means” actually means. If I may play on that word we set as a mortgage to our future. I catch this terminology: we place on our budget a mortgage to our future, and we pay that mortgage literally every pay period. What do I mean by that? So, if my goal is saving and I’m just picking a number, if my goal is saving $500 a month, I need to put that on my budget as a mortgage for my future. If I don’t save that, then whoa, my future is not going to be as good as I want it to be which may mean I work longer or I live a less robust lifestyle than I plan, I travel less, I do whatever less that I enjoy. You must have that mortgage for your future in that budget. The other thing I want you to think about is, we’re facing unprecedented inflation in this country. We hadn’t had this type of inflation in 40 plus years, right? President Carter oh, and happy birthday. Shout out to President Carter. He just turned 99. Great guy. 

Nicole: Did not know that. 

Jimmy: Yeah, great man. But I’ll get into some of that here in a minute about my learning. I go to presidential libraries. I’m part of that, that geekdom. I love that stuff. But, my point is, what he did is he had some policies that just weren’t really good for the economy. We’ve come into that again last year. We’re at 9.1% inflation, 9.1% last July of 2022. Coffee, eggs, gasoline, clothing, anything you needed as a human on this planet, particularly a US person, was much higher than it ever has been. So what I tell people is your savings rate will help you build confidence to reach the goals of your future. If you treat that future as a mortgage now and a 30 year mortgage isn’t bad if you’re looking for a good future.

Nicole: Mm. That’s fantastic. Yeah. And, so, here’s what he’s talking about right now to start today. So, if you’ve not had a history and you had a blind spot or you were trained, told like I was, that money is a very difficult thing to manage, you can start to manage it today. Number one, live within your means, which means figure out how much the bills are and how much you make. And, if you don’t have enough to pay what your bills are, then you need to get something taken off the bill list, right? And, number three, pay a mortgage to your future. I love that. Yeah. And, you know, I have a financial planner and her name is Missy. And, one of the things that she did with my daughter when my daughter was coming up is my daughter was making a ton of money babysitting, like she was making major bank babysitting as, like a 15 year old person, you know? Everybody loved having Katie babysit, you know? And, she said, listen, Katie, if you give me $25 to $50 every time you have a babysitting weekend, let me show you what’ll happen to it in the next 30 years if you just let me have it and invest it for you. And it was like $407,000 or whatever by the time she was 50 or something Katie’s eyes were like, whoa. And, so, to this day, she’s sending money to Missy Carlson. So, you’re going to laugh.

Jimmy: I actually have this plan that we helped our daughter with. Now, I’m going to admit something here. As you know, I’m giving you the unvarnished truth here.  I’m not holding anything back. So, this is what happened. My daughter, at age 26, came to me with her 401K statement. We’d paid for her education. We’d saved since she was six months of age. We were one of those kinds of people. I didn’t buy a Mercedes when I could have. I invested in my kid. She got her master’s degree with honors and her bachelor’s degree with honors in journalism and broadcast media and professional writing. And, she came to me at age 26, and she showed me her 401K statement and she said, dad, look how much money I’ve got and I’ve only been working for three years. I said, yeah, hey, that’s great. What do you think? And, she goes, I still don’t understand how that little $150 a month is adding up to this. I said, well, your employer’s matching 5%. So, if you put in five, you’re actually getting a total return of 100%, no matter what the market does. She goes, well, wow, dad said that compound interest thing is pretty powerful. I said, yeah, and then I had to say something to her, and I did this with all sincerity. Nicole, I looked her in the eye and I said, I want to tell you something there about your father. I said, things look good, you know, we have a big house, you drive nice cars, and you girls went to great colleges. But, that’s just the blessing of God giving us a good mind and your dad’s ambition to go out and work and make good decisions. But, I said, at 26 years of age, you’re now at a higher net worth than your parents were at age 26. And, she said, well, dad, that only makes sense, right? I do, what do you mean? She goes, you paid for my house. You paid for my car, my education. She goes, I don’t know a dime to anyone. I said, if you’ll keep that mindset that you have your finances under control, where you pay your savings first, then you pay your living expenses second, life will be so much better for you.

Nicole: That’s fantastic. And, so, I want to talk about 401Ks for just a minute, because whenever I speak to leaders, I talk to them about the six energies which we’re going to get later. But, one of them is financial. And, I think that there I say to these leaders, that we do a terrible job of explaining to them the benefits that we provide them, you know, as a gal with all this HR experience, I have sat down with so many people that had no idea how their 401K works. Now, here’s the thing about employee engagement. By talking about employee engagement, you got to get your employees engaged. Well, I’ll tell you what. If I understood that the success of the company was related to my ambition, which you keep talking about in vision, so we can talk about that too, and that, you know, how the company does is a reflection of how I do as an employee and then it’s 5% to 5%. That 5% can be a bigger number, right? 

Jimmy: Absolutely.

Nicole: We could have people working harder and more engaged because they would be like, I’m getting I can make my own paycheck go up.

Jimmy: Now you’re going to laugh, Nicole. We have a pretty robust employee benefits package here at Compass Capital Management. My wife and I sat down when we were starting our company and said, I worked for some of the international firms, I worked for some of the biggest in the country and was blessed to do that. We made some great relationships. But, it’s such a big ship. It’s like trying to turn the Titanic with a boat oar, as we use that analogy a lot of times, we wanted a more nimble company. We wanted one that’s more responsive to its team members. We don’t call them employees. I hate that term. We our team members. And, then, we also wanted something that gave flexibility in life because, you know, things happen. Nicole, I got to tell you, you’re saying you’re 58. You look 28 to me. But you’ve experienced some things in life that happened that you don’t wish for. And, so, what we did is we started instituting here, now you’re going to laugh, small, non-taxable benefits for our employees such as: basically we have their cars detailed. We have a guy come here every quarter in our parking lot, in our garage and detail everybody’s car. I’m talking inside and out. Do the whole thing. And, you wouldn’t believe the loyalty. You wouldn’t believe the energy that gives these, you know, team members. You wouldn’t believe that it gives him such a perk in life that they’re just like, man, what can I do to get things done? It really affects the bottom line.

Nicole: Yeah. Oh, love that. And, I think that, you know, you should reach out to Jimmy to see what else he’s doing with his team. I love that. What’s better than getting in a clean car? Nothing. All right. Fantastic. So, we’ve talked about habits and finances. Thanks for highlighting those things. So, let’s go to integrity which, you know, which I believe is all about developing character. There’s a book out there, I don’t know if you’ve read this one. We’re exchanging books back and forth with Jimmy and I, but it’s called Return on Character and it’s by Fred Keel. He says in his book and through his research, it’s not just an idea. He actually did the research around it – that organizations that emphasize character development, like literally go to they’re human beings, their team members, and say, you know, let’s work on the quality of our character. And, people say, okay, I’ve got room for improvement. I’m not perfect. They increased their return on assets by 5%. And, so, if you just thought about the assets that your company has, pull out your balance sheet and take a look, this would be a huge 5%. So, tell us a little bit about how you work on character. But I love this trait. You keep bringing up ambition because sometimes I think people think ambition is not a pretty thing. I think it’s beautiful. So, will you talk a little bit about ambition and character and how you develop that in your teams?

Jimmy:  Sure. So, first of all, let me say this ambition gets a bad rap, I think, from people. Oh, my gosh, if you’re ambitious, you just totally step on the small people and you’re stepping over whoever you got to to get the top, that is unbridled ambition without any restraint. That’s not what I’m referring to. What I’m talking about ambition is the power, the privilege, to get up every day and go do something you love to do. This is what I do. I’m the first one in the office. I love to get in here in those quiet moments and just sit and think for a few moments before the day gets started. Don’t laugh. You can call it meditation. I call it prayer. I start my day off in my office with a little prayer, hey Lord, let me be an instrument to you today to help somebody be a bigger instrument to whomever they meet. You know, it all starts with that domino effect. So, ambition to me is not a negative, but a very positive and profound feeling and energy. Now, let’s talk about integrity, though. So, integrity linked with ambition is ideal. And here’s why I say that. I get honesty with my integrity. I get that great character with my integrity. I get accountability. Now, how many people in this world do you know right now use that big “A” word? Nobody. They all deflect blame like it’s something terrible. You know, we are not perfect people. None of us. There was one man that was perfect. He’s not. He’s not the one I’m talking about today. I’m talking about Jimmy. But Jimmy’s not perfect. I still make mistakes, Nicole, and I make mistakes for my team. Let me tell you what I did just about two weeks ago. I made a mistake and misspoke on something and didn’t realize I did and I had caused one of my team members to do a little extra work they shouldn’t have. I went straight to that person and I said, I want you to know, I apologize. I really messed up. That was on me. My fault. I take full responsibility for it. And she looked at me and she’s one of our newer team members. She said, are you serious? I said, yes, yes, I’m very serious. It’s important to me that you have trust in your leadership, and that’s me to do the right thing when it’s not so easy to do. And she just almost got this teary look in her eyes, started glazing over a little bit, and I said, did I say something wrong? And she said, no. She said, but you’re the first – and she said this – I don’t like the term – she said, you’re the first boss I’ve ever had in my life that showed me any respect. I’m like, wow. There’s the problem of engagement. If you don’t respect the people on your team, you won’t get engagement. You’re going to get basically I’m here from 8 to 5 or whatever the hours are, and I’m just going to put up with it. It’s just a tolerance. It’s not an engagement. And, at the end of the day, I just got to tell you, her output/production has been far more than it was before the incident. I’m just telling you, I don’t know why it works psychologically, but I just know being honest, being candid, having integrity, showing great character, showing up every day your best self to add to your team’s total equation of service to that public you wish to market can be reached in an optimum level if everyone has those same characteristics.

Voice Over:  Are you ready to build your vibrant culture? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference, or organization to help them with their strategies, systems, and smarts to increase clarity, accountability, energy, and results. Your organization will get lit from within. Email her at nicole@vibrantculture.com and be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at vibrantculture.com

Nicole: I couldn’t agree more. And, what you’re really talking about is this idea of repairing. So, when I coach leaders, one of the things that they’ll do is they’ll say to me, you know, gosh, I messed up, I did this, I said this, whatever, you know, because, again, we’re all flawed and we’re going to miss the mark. And, I’ll say, well, what did you do to repair it? What do you mean? I’m like, well, you have to go face to face with that human and tell them, I am sorry. It was a boo boo. And, so, it won’t happen again. And, the minute that you do that, I agree, the integrity level goes up in their eyes for you because, you know, none of us are going to be perfect, but we can all repair, we can all apologize. We can all go back and claim that we want to do better. So, I love it.

Jimmy: I want to add one item if I’m asked real quickly. So, if you think about what happened in this country just a few years ago on January the 6th, I’m not going to get into the details of what happened, I want to talk about why. I’ve analyzed what happened that day. I don’t agree with anything that transpired physically, I do not. This is a country that we need to debate robustly and we need to protest without violence. But, here’s my point. What happened that day was truly because the leadership in our country has lost its respect because of its inability to admit when it’s wrong and to have good character. Not saying they’re that way, I’m just saying this country as a whole has not been keeping up its character as in the days it did when Thomas Jefferson walked on the planet, or Abraham Lincoln, who literally is my favorite historic president. I’ve been to his home in Springfield, Illinois. I’ve been to his law building, but now it’s something else. But, I went to that building, and I went to his library and museum. And this man who had very limited means, far less than I did. I had a nice home to grow up in. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I grew up and I never missed a meal. I had good clothing. I went to a nice school. But this man lived in a literal log cabin and had limited education. Barely. His mother’s stepmother taught him to read by a fireplace, no electricity, and he became a lawyer. Then he became one of the greatest figures in our country’s history to sustain this union. And my point is, he did it because of unwavering character, his internal belief in himself. So, let’s visit that. I’ve got to know what really is Jimmy’s honest candor to Jimmy, because I got to shave every morning. I looked in that mirror and I got to know who that person is and like that person so I can come out and project that to the world.

Nicole: That’s fantastic. And just guess where I was this past weekend, Jimmy? I was out in Wyoming and the highway out there was dedicated to Lincoln and there is a huge bust of Lincoln and it was put together, I can’t tell you the name of the artist right off the top of my head, but put together in Mexico City, then drove all the way up near Laramie, Wyoming, put together and it was just amazing. So, I couldn’t agree more. Lots of people who love Lincoln. That’s fantastic.  All right. So, the next thing and the coaching methodology is the next right steps. And, so, you’ve already alluded to the fact that, you know, you are thinking out to the future. You’re encouraging people to start their future today. So, what is your plan personally for goal setting? How do you go about it? And, then, maybe what do you do with your clients to help them set their goals? I think a lot of people, you know, with the uncertainty you mentioned, the inflation, COVID, people are like, why set goals? We have no idea what the heck’s going to unfold. But I’m a huge believer in goal setting. What are your thoughts on next right steps?

Jimmy: So, you’re going to laugh, my wife and I just took our entire team to some training in Orlando, Florida, and, while we were there my wife said, hey, you know, while we’re there, let’s go a couple of days earlier, we’re going to fly anyway. So, let’s get a couple of extra nights in the resort and take the entire team to Disney World. And I said, hey, great. I got some ideas and I wrote down three goals. She goes, there you go again. I just want to take them to Disney World. You’re wanting to get a goal accomplished during this. I said, well, but wait a minute, honey, it can be both. And, so, I’m trying to teach my wife just because I have goals, it can still be a fun time. So, you’re going to laugh? In my journal, I actually put goals for my vacations, I do, I have goals for my vacations now. They’re not meet 18 clients that are worth millions of dollars and converting them to business, right? But they’re goals, like, I want to see this particular exhibit or I want to go visit this particular library, or I want to do whatever it is, or I want to snorkel in this ocean, whatever it is. But, I have goals. And here’s the importance of goals to me. It goes back to living life by design. So, Nicole, if you don’t have a goal, you have no compass in your mind of where you’re going. You’re literally setting your sail up with no rudder on your ship and letting it blow you wherever the world’s winds will blow. Now, I love Jim Rohn. He’s one of my mentors. If you go to our podcast you’ll hear him a lot from me. You’ll see him in my books, on my website. I got to tell you, though, at the end of the day, he’s very spot on with the fact that if you choose to be a human, you must set the sail to send you in the direction you wish to go. And, so, I have three goals every day. I got three big goals for the day and I’ve got three big hairy, audacious goals for the week. Well, wouldn’t it make sense that if I have three for the week and three for the day, wouldn’t you think I probably have at least three big hairy, audacious goals for the quarter? So, I give myself twelve big goals for the year.  And you can only work, as scientists say, and they’ve proven this, you can only work on those three biggest goals really as you know. So, I know some people go, hey, I’ve got 100 goals for the year. And, I go, great, what’s your top ten? You know, the ones that really move the needle, make you a better person, create a sustainable life for you that’s better than what you had. How about improving your community in ways that’s never seen before? How about the health of your community? What can you do for school kids that are unfortunate that don’t have a family that’s supportive? What can you do if they don’t have a place to live that’s safe? You know, these are big goals to me and I set those goals. Some are achievement goals and some are habit goals. And, so, I try to mix those in and I’ll have maybe 4 or 5 that are simply habit goals. And the rest will be achievement goals for the year. The point I’m making is, you have to have something that pulls you, not drags you, pulls you to that point of knowing, hey, I’ve reached that goal, that’s success. And then reward yourself. You’re going to laugh. I do a couple of things that I’m very grateful and thankful for. I have a clothier that makes my suits and sport coats and stuff for me, and every time I hit one of my big goals and he’s called me, his name is Jared. And Jared will call me and he’ll say, I’ve noticed you always order something after the close of my quarter. May I ask why you wait until the close of my quarter? So, he’s on the calendar quarters, Nicole. So he’ll get a call from me and go, hey, can you come down? I want to bring you some swatches. Let me see what I can look at, you know, in terms of some new jackets or something. And he’ll go, you always call me, like after March, after June. Why is it? And I explained to him, he goes, well, I thought something was up. You never call me in the middle of a quarter. I go, well, I want to make a reward for what I’ve done. And, so, my point here is, is that habit, that goal becomes, then the habit, then that goal then becomes a bigger goal. And it all feeds in three a day, three a week, three for the quarter. Right? It’s a simple plan and we make it so complex. And they go, well, I don’t even know how to set goals. I said, let me ask you this. Take a blank sheet of paper, Nicole, and I want you to write it down. Just brainstorm. Just give yourself a few minutes to brain dump, if you will. Just write down what it is you want to do no matter what the resource is, no matter the time required, you just write down what you want to do. You want to travel. You’re great. Write it down. You want to take a cruise? Write it down. You want to climb? I don’t know, the Himalayas, write it down. And, they’re like, well, that’s just sitting down. A wish list said, no, no, no, I’m not going to make a wish list. Because once you tell me what that is, then we’re going to set those smaller goals that help build and build and build till we get to the big one. Right? No one wakes up today and goes, mm. I think I want to climb Kilimanjaro. Nobody wakes up and says that they work 3 to 7 years training, learning the higher elevation, breathing, hacking techniques of safety. You go as a team. Nobody wakes up one day and says, hey, I want to go do something earth shattering. We have to work on it daily to build to that point, which may take years to get that big, hairy, audacious goal accomplished.

Nicole: I love it, so I’m going to call it the three by three by three. Three goals a day, three goals a week, and then three goals a quarter. Right? And, so, they all feed into each other. Right? So, it is very much about building a foundation. And, you know, Jimmy, that’s really why I call it the next right step. So, if I have this big, hairy audacious goal to go up to the top of the Himalayas, then you know what is my next right step? Well, I’m going to take a walk and build on my cardio, you know, those next steps.

Jimmy: Those next steps have to be small steps that build into big things. Here’s the thing. Remember, there’s a chain, right? Just like you see a chain if you’re pulling a car or you’ve seen a chain tied to a tree or something to hold something up, that link does its job when it goes one link at a time to hold that massive weight, whatever it may be. And, you’re absolutely right. The next step is not a big, big, big one. It is just what’s the next step, you know?

Nicole: Yep. That’s right. You could even check on, you know, flights, you know, or whatever that needs to be. But there’s all these little things that you can do. Instead of worrying about how big, hairy, and audacious it is. Although I think we should definitely have some bags. All right. Well, the last thing I want to talk to you about is energy. And, if any of all of you are listening, I know that you’re like, well, Jimmy, Jimmy does not lack energy. And, so, one of the things that I teach whenever I teach Jimmy is that there are six energies if we choose to be human. I love that and also, everybody, I do want to go back to Jim Rohn. Please go to YouTube and just watch five minutes and you’ll be hooked. All right? So, everybody go listen to Jim Rohn. He’s popped off the planet now. But he was an amazing, amazing, amazing human. All right. So, six energies inside the human body. There’s intellectual energy. We’ve already kind of talked about that today. You need to put good information into your brain. You need to work on your vocabulary as Jimmy has told us. Then, the second energy is emotional energy. Right? And, so, it’s like our emotional intelligence. It’s how we stay positive. Then there’s spiritual energy. You’ve kind of heard Jimmy allude to the fact that on Sunday mornings he starts out his week getting fed some spiritual energy, and then he tries to carry that out and make it foundational. Then the next energy is physical. Gotta eat your veggies, Jimmy told you. Then there is social energy and then the energy of money. So, there are six energies that a human has to keep up with. So, Jimmy, rattled through those pretty quickly. You’ve touched on some of them, but how do you keep yourself stoked, or get yourself as I like to call, vibrant? What do you do to keep your energy up?

Jimmy: First and foremost, I say this to a lot of people. I made this phrase up and they all asked me, do you just wake up in the morning and act like this? I said, well, I got to be honest with you, this is neither caffeine nor drug induced. It’s just pure Jimmy and I said, don’t you feel sorry for Mrs. Williams? So, let me tell you what keeps me motivated is, as I mentioned, just the previous question, is my goals pull me to that next level of success, that next level of heightened understanding. Whatever you want to be working toward, always have something to live for and to work for. And everybody looks at me and goes, well, don’t you just have downtime? Yeah, man. I have vacationed in France. I’ve been on the beaches of the Caribbean. I’ve been all over this world, and I do unplug. But, I never forget that my battery only lasts so long. I get back into good reading and don’t laugh while I’m on the beach. Sometimes I don’t read anything about business. I read about great people. That again just gets into my motivation. And, the other thing about being the person that’s got to have energy, you keep in mind until you dispel or until you utilize some energy, nothing else can happen. Your body has to have energy for your heart and your lungs. You know the autonomic system to work. It’s just got to have energy. And that’s why it’s so important for us to exercise daily. I don’t care if you’re just walking 15 minute miles. Walk four of them, if you would, go ahead and get an hour in. But the scientists tell us, you just need 30 minutes. Just get 30 minutes of your heart rate up in a target rate area and you’re good. I like to play pickleball. I’m very competitive. I like to play golf. I’m very competitive. I enjoy these things, but I don’t get mad at who I’m playing. I judged how Jimmy performed against the previous day’s Jimmy. You see my point? That’s how I get energy.  If I’m not better today than I was yesterday, then I missed the mark. Now you’re going to laugh.  I tell people, can you improve your life 1% better each day? And I go, yes, easy. What’s 1%? And then I go, do you realize though, if you just do 1% a day, at the end of a year you’re 365% different, or in a different location, than you were? And I say to them, listen, small incremental, consistent changes in life reap big results. I mean gargantuan results. And when I’m coaching people about life, I go, quit making life so hard every day. Have some balance, I think. Yes, in prayer and meditation, I think you eat well, I think you exercise well, and I think you discharge your energy to those around you to create your value in the marketplace in the best manner you can. It’s just a balance. You know, we don’t have to hit tens on everything, but this is a wheel. Your six energies to me are a wheel. If I’m devoting all my time to making money but I have a flat tire, if I’m devoting all my time to intellectuality, I’m not going to the office and creating value for other people. And no money’s going to come in that way. But I do have to have the intellectuality, and I do have to have the ambition and the money to make the wheel work in a smooth manner. Does that make sense?

Nicole: Total sense. And I love it. And so this 1% that you’re talking about, that’s one of the books on Jimmy’s reading list on his website, which let me tell it to you again, it’s Live a Life by Design. So, the 1% difference, I just absolutely love that book. All right. So, here’s what I’m going to say folks, you’ve got to have something to live for and something to work for. Those are some great words from Mr. Jimmy Williams. Jimmy, it has been such a great time having you on the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast, and I know people are like, wait, wait, give us one more nugget. There might be one more nugget that you might leave my listeners with that they could put in their ears and they can absorb it in their brain and live a more vibrant life.

Jimmy: Yeah, I’ll tell you. Here’s my last nugget I want to share. And this is nothing really profound. This is just Jimmy’s way of thinking. I want you to go out today after you listen to this podcast. I want you to forget about yesterday. Forget about last year. Maybe it wasn’t your best year. You know, we had all this inflation. Maybe things didn’t go as planned even in the last hour. I want you to start a fresh day, a new slate, a new page on the pad, a new chapter in the book, whatever analogy you want to use. But I want you to know that the world expects YOU to show up being bigger, better, and bolder than you were yesterday to make the world a better place.

Nicole: Bigger, better, and bolder friends. That’s what I call being vibrant. I’m so grateful for you being on the show, Jimmy. And you also have a podcast where you tell us a little bit about your podcast and where we can find you.

Jimmy: Absolutely. So, we’re anywhere you want to listen to a podcast, anywhere from Apple Podcast to on iTunes. You can listen to us on any of them. Amazon, wherever. It’s anywhere you listen to podcasts. It’s called Live a Life by Design, similar to the same website. And it’s all about those Monday morning moments of motivation. We give you just a few moments to get your week started on the right foot so you can be bigger, better, and bolder for those around you in your world that you love and wish to help.

Nicole: All right. Fantastic. And everybody, you can find Jimmy on LinkedIn and it’s Jimmy J. Williams. And so you can pick him out there. Look for the guy that is from Oklahoma. All right. It’s been so good to have you! Everybody, would you do me and Jimmy both a favor? Would you go down and press that like button and leave us a review and a comment? We would really appreciate that. And here’s to you all out there for listening. I appreciate you so much. Let’s build a vibrant culture. 

Voice Over: Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. If you found value in today’s episode, please take a moment to leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback helps us improve and reach more like minded listeners. Remember, the journey to building a vibrant culture never stops. Stay inspired. Keep nurturing your vibrant culture and we can’t wait to reconnect with you on the next exciting episode of Build a Vibrant Culture podcast.

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