Since I launched this blog almost a year ago I’ve focused on topics around finding inspiration and energy required to build a better person. Specifically a person who happens to be building a business: the entrepreneur.
Most of the nuggets and ideas I’ve shared aren’t original. They are things I’ve picked up from the amazing people I meet every day. So being a guy who is addicted to introducing people and making connections, I want to introduce you to some of these individuals directly.
In the coming weeks, I will be doing a series of short posts about successful entrepreneurs who have made a difference in my life. They won’t be long in-depth write-ups, but they will be answers to a list of questions that always carry interesting answers.
I’ll do the proper thing and lead off by example, with my own answers to these questions. So first up: Johnson Cook.
What do you do as an entrepreneur to balance your most important personal relationships (spouse, kids, family)?
My wife and I have a goal to schedule at least two 4+ day vacations per year with just each other (no kids, no friends). It’s important to schedule the next one as soon as we finish one – 6 months out. Otherwise the insanity of 3 young kids plus everything else keeps it from happening. I also have a morning routine with my oldest – to do breakfast together and take him to school. It limits my availability for breakfast meetings or being at the office early, but I make up for it by getting up around 5am each day to get in several hours of good deep work.
What is your exercise routine?
I don’t let two days go by without running. If I have extra time on a non-running day, I will go to the gym and swim. Peachtree City has amazing trails in the woods and lakes that make for great combination of tasks: running time is quiet time.
What gives you the most personal energy?
Reading in the morning and exercise. After exercise I feel unstoppable. If I miss a workout, I feel like crap.
What do you avoid because it drains your personal energy?
People who are always down on their luck. People who constantly complaining but who don’t take action. People who’re generally negative towards others.
Are you involved in a church or other religious organization? How do you think spirituality is important to your entrepreneurial success?
Part of what prompted the idea of this series of questions for other entrepreneurs is that I started noticing a trend that most “rockstar entrepreneurs” I know are either heavily involved in their church or are deeply spiritual in other ways. Yes, I’m active in our church, (Peachtree City United Methodist Church) and occasionally attend different churches. Our family is Methodist. I believe having a rhythm to slow down and be in a large group on a regular basis that is pondering issues bigger than our day-to-day is very healthy. (Side note: I also think that organized religion has done a lot to screw up the way people experience God. It’s a shame that churches in general have turned so many people away from an important personal necessity. But I won’t go there today.)
What are your most proud moments regarding your own legacy?
I work hard to teach my kids that they are in charge of their own lives. This especially focuses on entrepreneurship, but also on how they manage their decisions. I don’t think I had this realization until way too late in life and I think they can make a difference in the world if at least if they hear the right words over and over.
How do you find ways to help others and give back?
I love making introductions, because I love helping people exchange talents, ideas, and resources. I love, love it. I’m all about giving on an individual level more than an institutional level. Give to someone where you can see the direct impact that minute. It’s so rewarding and can go so far.
What hobbies are important to you and why do they give you energy?
Golf is great time to connect with friends. Flying airplanes is great mental challenge, although something that my schedule has kept me from doing as much as I’d like. I don’t count running as a hobby because it’s way more important. Hobbies can be ignored.
Do you have a personal mastermind group? Can you describe how they give you energy?
What competitive advantages do you have as an individual that has made / will make you more successful than the guy you are competing against in business?
I believe my morning routine is my competitive advantage. It’s setup nicely where I get all the fundamentals in first thing. I have established a rhythm of waking up very early, reading, writing, family time, and then workout. It’s the best way to start the day I can imagine.
I enjoyed answering these questions, and I hope you find a nugget that is useful.