Learn Before You Lead


When you notice that your money starts running out before the month ends, there are two usual suspects.

You may need to change your spending habits, especially if you have trouble paying off debt.

And if you can’t cut down your expenses, the only way to fix this is by increasing your income.

Most people think that they may have to work longer hours or find a new job.

But, there is one skill that employers in every field look for desperately, and you can start developing it as soon as today.

What’s this skill?

It’s your ability to solve problems.

In today’s episode, you’ll discover which attributes every leader has, the four basic leadership skills you can develop starting today, and effective ways you can convince people of your ideas.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • How offering people advice may confuse them into inaction (and how to turn that around) ([2:06])
  • The dwindling, yet most sought-after skill in business (and how to acquire it) ([2:57])
  • Why emulating successful people can only hurt you (and how to stay with yourself) ([7:59])
  • The fastline to success most people avoid out of fear (even if there is no alternative) ([10:24])
  • The healthy type of “arrogance” that convinces people to trust you ([11:38])


Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? Welcome to “Retire in Texas”, where you will discover how to enjoy your faith, your family, and your freedom in the State of Texas—and, now, here’s your host, financial advisor, author, and all-around good Texan, Darryl Lyons.

Darryl: Hey, this is Darryl Lyons, CEO and co-founder of PAX Financial Group, and you’re listening to Retire in Texas. I appreciate you tuning in today. I always want to remind you, as always, that this information is general in nature only. It’s not intended to provide tax or legal advice, or investment advice. Be sure to visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information.

Then, as always, you can text the word “TEXAS” to the number 74868. You can speak to a financial advisor with the heart of a teacher, and it’s just a really no-pressure way to engage in our community, so I hope you do that. Hope you at least consider it. [01:05].8]

This program, I need to talk about something that’s financially related, but more peripheral in nature, and what happens sometimes when you’re speaking to some people about their money, they don’t have a spending problem or they don’t have a debt problem. They have a shovel problem.

They may have a hole of life that they’re trying to get out of and it’s not about they can’t really get out of it, and what I mean by that is their kids need braces and their kids need to go to summer camp, and they’re just trying to figure out a way to make all this stuff work. And it’s not about the math is the math. You have x number of income coming in and x going out, and the x going out is exceeding x coming in. It’s a shovel problem. You need a bigger shovel. You need to earn more money. So, sometimes we just have to talk to people about it. “Look, you’ve just got to earn more money.”

Now, if you are transitioning into retirement, this could be helpful for you. If you decide to seek some other employment, I think this is helpful to you. Now, this will be especially helpful to your kids, so you might want to pass this along to your kids. [02:02].7]

The other thing I want to say is that it’s my conviction that you want to digest this and, to a certain degree, own it before you give it. I kind of have the opinion, and this is based on my personality type that I like to digest and implement ideas and thoughts personally before I advise other people, and that’s most of the time true. It doesn’t work all the time. I mean, a brain surgeon doesn’t say, “Oh, I’m going to go cut my brain out before I do it on other people,” so there’s times where it doesn’t quite work.

But I had one person who once wanted to teach somebody about humility, so he gave this person a book on humility. I was like, You should probably read that book before you give it out, and so I just want to say that if you’re going to pass this along to your kids or your friends or family, you may just say, “You know, I believe that to be true and I’m going to implement some of the ideas that Darryl presented today.” I think that’s the best way to deliver content to other people rather than just passing it along blindly, so I guess that’s my precursor to what I’m about to say. [02:57].1]

So, I want to talk about how we get a bigger shovel. How do we get a bigger shovel? How do we make more money? How do we make more money? Anybody who listened to the artificial intelligence podcast, you heard me talk about this next iteration of our economy. You have to be able to use empathy and judgment, to bring value. You have to be able to use empathy and judgment, and part of that judgment piece is being able to solve problems and to critically think. To solve problems and critically think.

So, I tell my kids this all the time, “Really, did you solve a problem today? Did you solve a problem today?” In fact, a lot of times before they go to school, I tell them, or even after school, I say, “Hey, make sure you fail today,” and then they know what I mean, and what I mean, what I’m trying to tell them is “I want you to fail and learn, because you’ve got to be able to solve problems,” and that’s a challenge today.

A lot of people are struggling with “How do I solve problems?” and if you are able to solve problems, identify a situation that you don’t have all the information. It’s not black and white and you’ve got to make a judgment call, and you’ve been able to develop that muscle because over the years you failed and you’ve developed a muscle of “How do I make good judgment calls?” Those are the people that are going to get paid the most. The others will likely be outsourced through artificial intelligence. [04:17].7]

So, the way we look at this is we can look at it through the lens of leadership, because leadership, one of the byproducts of leadership, and one of the not byproducts, but one of the attributes of leadership are those people who can use good judgment and have a degree of empathy for other people, which are people skills, so there’s a lot of different ways we can slice this. I typically use those two words, judgment, empathy, to describe what is needed in the next iteration of the marketplace, and I’m going to talk about the leadership skills that we’re seeing because I think there’s some good research and leadership.

Here we’re going to talk about leadership from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Listen to this real quick: 80% of employers said they were looking for evidence of leadership skills. So, 80% of employers are looking for evidence of leadership skills. But wait a minute, our institutions, our institutions are not really able or willing, it’s probably both, to teach this. [05:18].4]

The College of employers said they’re looking for evidence of leadership skills, but the College of Employers said they’re also looking for evidence of computer navigation and technical expertise. But computer navigation and technical expertise, they were way less important than leadership skills. So, we’re training for technical expertise, we’re training for computer skills, but the College of Employers, the National Association of Colleges and Employers said that we are looking for leadership skills, 80%. We’re looking for leadership skills. Only 55% said they’re looking for computer skills, and 59% looking for technical expertise. [06:00].1]

Leadership skills, which I’m going to define and I keep reiterating, are people who can make, know how to make good judgments and can empathize. Judgment and empathy. Now, here’s the disconnect that occurs, because according to the Addison Group, which is a staffing service, they said 40% of millennials expect a promotion every one or two years.

Okay, so leadership skills, it’s hard. It’s not impossible, but it’s generally hard to determine if somebody has leadership skills over one or two years. Sometimes I can see it right away. We hire a lot of people. Sometimes you can see right away, this person has those leadership skills. But sometimes it takes time. Employers want leaders. Employers will pay more for leaders. But it takes time for employers to evaluate the leadership. [07:01].7]

So, if you’re an employee and you want more money, you have to be patient. You have to be patient. Now, again, I keep repeating myself, judgment and empathy are the key attributes of leadership, judgment, being able to solve problems critically, and empathy, being able to relate to people.

I was told once, I’ve done a lot of self-evaluations over the years and I was told once that one of the skills that I need to develop is that I often communicate with people who think like me. I talk to people the way that I would want to be heard, and so I had to adjust my leadership skills. I had to figure out a way. How do I communicate to people the way they hear things? And so, that’s when I started studying a lot of the DiSC profiles and, specifically, I got into the Enneagram, and Myers–Briggs, too, but the reason I enjoy the Enneagram was because it was just fun. [07:58].8]

But I have to tell you that if you want to develop your leadership skills, Larry Bossidy did a good job, he was the CEO of Honeywell. He did a good job outlining how to become a leader. It was kind of like the basics of leadership. So, he said that there’s four key areas of leadership and these are something that you just need to always think about, and one is self-awareness. Self-awareness.

Early in my career, I used to watch Boiler Room a lot, and if any of you have seen this, there’s a lot of interesting lines in Boiler Room, like “Lunch is for wimps,” or “What do you mean, you’re gonna pass? Alan, the only people making money passing are NFL quarterbacks and I don’t see a number on your back.” Right? There’s just a bunch of little . . . . If you’ve seen it, it’s funny. It’s pretty crude, but because of my lack of self-awareness, I tended to be a chameleon to that movie, and I think, over time, God started to reveal to me that’s not who I am. And I think that self-awareness, try not to be somebody else trying to be who you are, let me say it this way—a tree glorifies God by being a tree, and when I realized that I glorify God by just being me and that self-awareness, that was a relief, and for some people, that’s easy. [09:13].5]

But let me tell you the second thing that may be a little bit more challenging that Larry Bossidy speaks about, authenticity, not trying to be somebody else. I just really had a hard time for a long time. When I was early in my career, I was having a lot of success at a big Fortune 100 company and I drove a BMW convertible. I was told by my mentor that you’re going to be a lot more successful when you get married and drive a Lexus.

I mean, none of that stuff felt right to me, because that’s not who I was and I’m not a “show me” kind of guy. I know there’s a degree of gamesmanship, and especially in the financial space, where you have to kind of look apart. But it really wasn’t me, so I really had to work on that and I just don’t believe that when you get to heaven, God is going to say, “Hey, let me compare you to Mother Teresa.” I think He’s going to say, “I want you to be more like you. I’m proud that you were exactly who and how I made you.” [10:06].7]

Scripturally, I’m not going to digest that too much, although I would love to sometime, maybe in another podcast, but I think just being who you are and being authentic is good. But you can’t be authentic if you’re not self-aware. Again, if you want to dive into that a little bit more, the Enneagram tool, to me, is one of my favorite tools to unpack that.

What’s the third thing that Larry Bossidy says? Larry Bossidy says self-mastery. Okay, so then we find our blind spots, and to get our blind spots, we’ve got to ask other people, “Hey, where am I messing up? Where could I do better,” and sometimes you’ve got to say, “Okay, that’s just something that I’m not good at or that’s something I really need to work on, and part of me was Toastmasters.

I mean, guys, I could not speak in front of the public. I mean, I just froze all the time. And for me to do this podcast right now is just a complete miracle, because I just wasn’t good at it, but I knew for me to have any success in the career that I was passionate about, I had to get better, at least to level, a minimum level of competency. [11:02].6]

So, I joined Toastmasters and I was in Toastmasters for years. In fact, I went into a speaking competition and I actually competed, and I know I came in last place, they never really announced the last-place winners, but the fact that there was only four in the competition and there was first, second and third, I can imply I was the last place because I didn’t win first, second, or third.

But here’s the thing. I was so proud of myself, because I was not afraid to fight and to get better in this, and if I hadn’t done some of those things years ago, I wouldn’t be here today, speaking to you guys, self-mastering, constant improvement in that space.

Here’s the final one, the fourth one that Larry Bossidy talks about and that’s humility. I have been told that I have had degrees of arrogance and I have been told that I’m humble, and I really can’t do much about what other people say about me, but I do my best to make people feel comfortable. [12:00].8]

I sincerely find humility to be a very important attribute, but humility goes away, for me, when I’m disengaged with my Creator, and so that’s why my rhythm of reading the Bible, staying engaged in my Creator, that’s worship. That’s constant prayer. That keeps me totally grounded, because I think the more success that you have in life, the harder it is to stay humble.

They say something about when you climb the mountain of success, the altitude starts to mess with your senses, and I’ve seen that over the years with successful people that I’ve walked life with and I’ve seen very successful business people over the years lose their humility and, subsequently, lose people they love. So, Larry Bossidy nails that with humility. It’s so important.

I think it’s funny that the irony is the Latin word for humility is “humus” and humus also describes those decayed leaves and the vegetable matter that feeds roots and plants. I think just as humus is vital to the health of a vegetable, I think humility, humility is vital to that of a leader. [13:12].4]

When we think about leadership, how do we become a leader? Let’s follow Larry Bossidy’s formula. Let’s look at self-awareness. Let’s ask other people, read books, hang around other people that are successful. You know you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with? So, you need some self-awareness, who you are and who you’re not, authenticity. Live out exactly who you are, and the way God made you? Self-mastery, shore up those blind spots. Try to get better, don’t be afraid, and humility. Along the way, humility. Along the way. I’ve seen very unsuccessful people that are full of pride.

Going back to our original references, the employers, if you’re working for somebody, you’re struggling because you’re not getting a raise, I think you take inventory of Larry Bossidy’s formula and then you have to know that the end goal for you to become a leader in your organization is you’ve got to be good at solving problems, using good judgment, and having empathy, being able to relate to other people. [14:17].7]

So, I hope that helps you. That’s a framework. If you can follow this framework, I have a high degree of confidence, you’re going to have a bigger shovel, you’re going to get a pay raise, or you’re going to find an employer that’s going to pay you for your value, and you’re going to be able to accomplish your financial goals.

So, I hope that helps you today. I hope that encourages you today. But some of this financial stuff is not about debt. This is a math problem. You don’t have enough income and you need that bigger shovel and the way you get the bigger shovel, if you’re not a business owner, right, or if you’re not a salesperson, the way you get a bigger shovel is you bring more value to the organization by being the leader and, God knows, we need more leaders in this country, so I hope that encourages you.

Thank you again for tuning in today to Retire in Texas, and I want to remind you, as always, you think differently when you think long-term. Have a great day. [15:06].1]

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