What I Learned from Publishing 80 Podcast Episodes

Starting The FORT Podcast has been one of the highlights of my year. It has connected me with a lot of great people, both podcast guests and listeners. I said from the beginning, if no one listens, at least I will have archived content for my kids to listen to one day—to show them what their dad was like “way back when”. I have always felt like I have a lot of great business conversations that I wish others had the chance to be a part of, and now podcasting has made that possible.

Here are some key takeaways from my first 30 conversations:

1. The perfect time to start anything you want to do is NOW.
In essence, there is no perfect time, because it’s always the perfect time.

2. When you love something and are passionate about it, doors will open.
Several episodes are with people doing things for the first time. That doesn’t slow any of them down. In fact, it accelerates their desire to learn quickly. For those who are seasoned, they too, radiate a burning passion.

3. The goal isn’t to be perfect; the goal is to learn quickly—because failures are guaranteed along the way.
In most conversations, some of the biggest ‘breakthrough’ moments were after a failure, not after a success.

4. The tax rate, the stock market, and politics play ZERO influence on whether someone starts a business or pursues a passion.
While these are talked about highly in the media, I’ve found they have no influence on an entrepreneur’s desire to create something.

5. Small businesses aren’t all the same, but they do rhyme.
We ALL deal with the same issues in some form or fashion. Don’t be scared to admit something to someone—you’ll be surprised to learn that they have probably experienced it or are experiencing it themselves.

6. Surround yourself with the right people.
In every episode, there is an outpouring of gratitude from founders who have moved forward because of the advice, encouragement, sympathy, and kindness of those they surrounded themselves with. Don’t be scared to ask for advice or direction. It can help propel you forward faster than you can imagine.

Hosting a podcast has helped me understand how much larger the world is than we tend to think. I have learned more about not assuming everything I believe to be true and that asking the right questions can unlock a whole new world. Literally, one great question might change your life—it can help you overcome any bias you might have had that was holding you back. Morgan Housel has a great quote, “Your personal experiences makeup maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works.” Hosting The FORT has made that quote ever more true in my journey.

The FORT has also reminded me that success comes in all shapes and forms AND that we all have shit to overcome. There is no “perfect” destination—the journey is the destination.

7. Success in business is much more than profits.  

Consistently, I find that success, without regret, comes from how those around you feel – employees, family, friends, and faith.  Finding a balance is critical to living a fulfilled life.  Nobody regrets not staying at the office another hour, but often regret is held in not spending more time with the people you love.  This especially hits home for me, as it is very easy to get carried away with prioritizing business over everything.

8. All businesses are becoming “tech businesses”.

Virtually every episode has guests talking about the use of technology to improve their business and competitive advantage.  It is no longer a choice, it’s table stakes.

9. There is no “I” in TEAM.

All guests point to their team, network, spouse, family, and friends for their success.  The most successful people understand that their success is a little bit about them, but mostly about the people around them.  Building a great support system is the key to long-term success.

10. You’re an average of the 5 people you are closest with.

They are mindful of whom they keep closest and always strive to be with people that elevate them to be their best self.

11. Stay curious.

A consistent theme throughout is the curiosity our guests bring towards their businesses.  No matter how long they’ve been in their business, they treat each day as an opportunity to get better and learn.  To stop being curious is to stop learning – which is a fatal flaw.

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