Chad Johnson is an entrepreneur and CEO of a 3rd generation, family-owned and operated company, Ceramic Decorating Company. They screen print premium labels on glass: Wine Bottles, Kombucha, Specialty Food, Craft Beer, and Cosmetic glass packaging for people who understand that… “Only the Best Comes in Glass”.
He’s also been a client and a coach at Strategic Coach® for more than a decade.
Mindie Kniss: Today we have with us Chad Johnson, and here’s why I adore Chad. Chad has been my coach in Strategic Coach for the last four years and he has become a dear friend and we just think he’s awesome, so we can’t wait to hear his wisdom on wealth and happiness. Chad, welcome to the program.
Chad Johnson: Thank you so much Mindie, Sean. You guys, to be here today with you is a real treat for me and I’m excited.
Mindie Kniss: We’re excited too. So the point of this show, The Lucrative Society, is really talking about this intersection between wealth and happiness and it made me so excited when we were thinking about different guests and various people that we would want to talk to about that because Chad, you embody that. You continuously create that and develop more and more of that. So I can’t wait to jump into the conversation with you. My first question though on that wealth aspect is how would you personally define wealth?
Chad Johnson: Wow. You know, that may be one of the most important questions an entrepreneur can answer. And to be honest with you, it may be the first time I’ve been asked it straight out, you know, what is wealth? I like to use a term, and I often do in my life, that at the end of the day, at the end of my life I want to look back and see that I have lived relationship rich. And so one of the key metrics for me around wealth goes straight to relationship. Goes straight to am I rich in the people that are surrounding me, my wife, Jenise, in this case, my children, my friends, my peers, my colleagues. Because I see people who have what would be considered financial wealth that sometimes end up all alone and we know that dollars are important, but boy, if they are the only thing, they can bring some of the most sadness.
So to me, I think wealth is literally this richness of relationship. It’s a richness of soul. It’s a richness of abundance in our mindsets. It’s abundance in living. It’s a very holistic word that kind of encompasses every part of a person. And yes, at the end of the day, enough dollars to be able to do the things that you feel, in my case, God has put on my heart to do, to have dollars, to do those things, to experience those adventures, to create opportunities for others to give to the things that are most passionate, that are first in your heart. I mean, boy, all of that to me sums up this vision of, “Man, that’s wealth.” But it’s a big question. I don’t know if that was too long an answer.
Sean Stephenson: So Chad, if you thought that was a big question, here’s another one. What is happiness to you?
Chad Johnson: Wow, that’s so interesting. Had a conversation this morning at the breakfast table with my children about happiness. And so often in my life, happiness has been defined by a specific circumstance happening or a certain… Say a certain dollar figure, or a reward or an experience or a trip. And it’s weird because we were talking about that relationship between happiness and joy and joy being kind of this deep, subtle experience that regardless of your circumstances, you can have this joy in the moment. And so for me, I think the happiness that I aspire to, cause I love the word happy, you know, I mean, who doesn’t want to be happy? I mean the US constitution, hey, pursuit of happiness. There’s verses in scripture that I love that talk about blessings being poured out on you, which to me just sounds like pure happiness. So I think, and it almost is a version of what wealth is in a sense, that if I’m in a place of abundance of soul in a relationship and of all those things that I think are most important in my life, then boy, there’s this happiness. It’s related to that.
Mindie Kniss: I love that you can almost have the same answer for both.
Chad Johnson: It’s weird. I wasn’t going there, right? I wasn’t going there at first. I’m like, wait, I’m kind of describing a similar thing. Yeah.
Mindie Kniss: And that’s exactly our intention with this is that it is so interconnected and often very much the same thing. So because I know you pretty well, but I want to give our listeners a sense of who is Chad Johnson?
Chad Johnson: Are you sure you want to do that?
Mindie Kniss: I do because it’s going to be very interesting. So if you could give us the brushstrokes of your entrepreneurial journey and kind of talk about how you’ve ended up in what you’re doing today. And I would add, also tell people how many children you have, because, for you, that’s a whole distinct aspect.
Chad Johnson: It is a distinct aspect. And I’d be glad to do that. You know, I’m a guy who is just incredibly grateful. I’m an entrepreneur that was able to find my way eventually to a family business that was struggling and breathed major life into it over the last 17 years now. And create a lot of time freedom and a lot of revenue freedom and income through that business. The business is in the printing and packaging space. I’m dealing primarily in the craft beer market. We do specialty food, cosmetics. We’re now doing a lot of stuff in the CBD oil space. But to be able to create teams that are Unique Ability oriented and to do the things they love to do is one of my passions. And so I’ve been able to do that in the business world.
And then about five years ago, I got into the coaching space with Strategic Coach. And Mindie, that’s where I came across your path and Sean’s path. And absolutely love to be in a workshop environment, seeing brilliant people grow and to be able to be with you Mindie and see your trajectory and to see mindset shifts and the resulting abundance that comes out of that in business and in life is extremely fulfilling. On the personal side, I have been married 26 years on Thursday to Jenise. I’m super excited. We’re super stoked to… don’t tell her, but I’m gonna whip her away to a little concert in Portland. We’re going to fly up there overnight for a little getaway to hear The Piano Guys. She loves those guys. I hope she’s not listening to the podcast.
Anyways, so super excited. I love her and I’m so grateful for her in my life. I feel like, when I look at my unique abilities and gifts, they’re perfectly matched with her unique abilities and gifts and the synergy was made known. That’s right, not unlike you two. I think it’s the same. But that synergy has brought forth… I told you I loved her and I meant it and we have proof. We have 11 kids. The oldest is 24. They go all the way down to seven years old. I like to say they’re all boys except for eight of them. And so we have a lot of girls in our house and the two oldest are married and out. And in fact, our oldest Kathryn Joy just had our third grandchild.
Which, Mindie, I hadn’t updated you cause that little one, Lewis, was born in July. So I talk real briefly on my personal priorities and it’s weird cause this ties into wealth and happiness for me. I think knowing what your priorities is critical to determining what is wealth and what is happiness, and for me, you know, I’m a Christian guy, so my faith is foundational. That’s number one. It’s just rock solid. It colors… It kind of provides stability to me through all the storms of life. Next is my marriage. I go, you know what, if I’m good with God and I’m good with my wife, I’m good with almost everything else. You know, cause Jenise and I, when we’re right and we’re tight and it’s romantic, it’s rich, it’s fun. Then we can parent and we can pour into our kids and they’re my third priority.
I want to pour into them. I want to give them what I’ve been given and more, and so it’s just so fun to be intentional about discovering their unique abilities and helping them become who they were created to be because they’re so different. Man. Every one of them is so, so different, even though the same mom and daddy. Boy, you wouldn’t know it sometimes the way they think and act. And it’s so fun to find their uniqueness. And then fourth is health. We have all at one point or another struggled with health in some facet. And when I was 10, I almost died and it just changed my perspective forever. I said, Hey, take care of what I got and maintain that health because to lose it, you could spend all the money in the world and all the time in the world to try to get back what you had lost or didn’t maintain.
So that’s number four. And then fifth, for me, is really that entrepreneurial opportunity to work and create value in a marketplace and to be involved in people’s lives in a powerful way. And number five is where I earn my money. But I go, if all my five priorities are in line, man, everything just works beautifully. And if it gets out of whack for me, I know where to go to evaluate and check those priorities. Hey, is this in order? Okay, if it is, rock on. So that’s my world and I’m so grateful. We live in Bend, Oregon. Absolutely love living in that beautiful place and getting to do the things we get to do.
Mindie Kniss: Don’t you call that your big five or something?
Chad Johnson: Yeah, I call it my giant five. On Instagram, I’m @thegiant5guy cause I really do mean those priorities matter to me.
Sean Stephenson: Chad, take us back though. Was it always that way? Have you always had those priorities together and if you haven’t, what did that look like and how did you learn to make that a priority?
Chad Johnson: You know what, that’s such a good question. I was super observant as a teenage boy cause I think I was so questionable at school. Okay. I wasn’t the A student. I was kind of I felt like I didn’t fit into the program. And so I was really observant of people older than me who I saw their life and I wanted it and I saw the way they live, the way they decided things, the way they prioritize. And it’s so interesting you asked that, Sean, because literally Friday of last week there was a memorial service for one of my mentors who at 75 years old passed away. But I’ll tell you what, when I observed people like John Jasberry, that was his name, and I saw the order of which he ordered his world and how he made his decisions.
And I went and I took him out to lunch and I’m like, Hey, how does this show up for you? And I started formulating that in late teens and early twenties and it was really in my twenties that it started to really become critical because I was winging it up til that point. And I was suffering from a lack of priorities, I’m going to say, in that my priorities weren’t serving me. And I know during my twenties and even our first years, 10 years of marriage, Jenise and I, we were broke. We were broke. Now our relationship wasn’t broke, but financially we were broke. Some of my priorities and habits of the past weren’t serving me. And so I think these things have become more and more crystallized and more and more clear as I’ve gotten older. But it was probably, I’m going to say, Sean, 35 before it literally locked in like, Aw man, I’m firing and these things are working in a really good way. So it has been a bit of an evolution in that regard.
Mindie Kniss: Now, how did you almost die when you were 10?
Chad Johnson: You know, it was a bizarre deal. I had an early childhood disease and a just basically lumped a bunch of symptoms together that they called Anaphylactoid Purpura Nephritis. It was a kidney disease and it sounds impressive, huh? You’re like, dang. [Laughing] The name alone can kill you. You know, just trying to say it. As a kid I went from about 105 pounds down to 55 pounds, which as a 10-year-old, it literally looked like you’re just this starving child from another country is what it looked like to me. But I had a rash all over my body. I was urinating clots of blood and I couldn’t keep anything down. And so after multiple trips to ICU and different specialists all over, they literally sent me home, Mindie, to die.
I didn’t know it at the time, but they said, Hey, you know what? We’ve done what we know to do, which wasn’t much. I had a good friend who was a registered nurse, shows up at my house with a juicer, literally a bag full of organic vegetables and her name was Nancy Zizor, and to this day she’s an angel to me. She shows up and says, we’re going to start spoon-feeding this stuff down little Chad’s throat and we’re going to bring them back to health. And I thought at the time, I can’t keep anything down. Good luck with that. I was getting intervenous feedings, but you know what? She was right. Those organic vegetables would stay down and she started dropper full after dropper full. And it was literally within the next eight weeks that I started gaining strength and health. And it was a full year and a half recovery to where I was able to get up and go back to school. But I’ll tell you what, Nancy Zizor saved my life. So yeah, it makes you appreciate health and wellness.
Mindie Kniss: Yeah, that’s amazing to me to hear because I didn’t know that about you. For those listening that don’t know you, you’re like the picture of health. Like if I think of a healthy guy, you’re on that list for sure. And you’re very active and all this. So that’s an incredible story. But it leads me to another thing I want to ask you about, which is how you have combined some wealth and happiness in your life more recently because you have your company and all this stuff going on and then you decide, hmmm, we really have this passion about this one thing and maybe there’s a way we could do something with that as a family. Could you talk a little bit about these adventures?
Chad Johnson: Yes, Mindie, I love talking about it. You know, it’s so fun. As you know, the coaching we get to do together at Strategic Coach and the things we think about are really tied into what are you passionate about? How do you create value and how do you bring that to any marketplace? Thinking of yourself as a value creator or an entrepreneur really takes us outside of our business at times in a really fun way if we have the freedom to do so. And so you’re right, I said my children are getting older, I want to invest more time with them. And one of our key passions as a family is skiing. And it really dawned on me when I was approached on a ski resort chair lift, we were skiing as a family and for practical reasons, early on, the kids, we’d put them all in these crazy matching outfits so you can keep track of them. When you’re skiing with a group, it’s a nightmare when little kids, when they’re wearing all these different black and blue and green and yellow jackets and literally, it stresses you out trying to count them. And where is everybody? So we put everybody in these crazy DayGlo suits. Well, I’m riding the chairlift with a Lange rep, and Lange is a boot manufacturer in the ski industry. And he’s literally like, I want your family wearing our ski boots. I want them to all wearing Langes. And I’m like, dude, I want to wear Langes, but man, we go to ski swaps and we hand me down stuff and we’re just trying to make it work here, buddy. You know? And he goes, no, call me. Here’s my number. Well, it really got me thinking that hey, maybe there’s something that we can do for the ski industry. He says, Chad, your family loves to ski.
They’re energized. They’re bringing a lot of passion to the mountain. If you do this, eyes are following you and they’re going to ask about Lange. It put the thought in my head, well, let’s create a YouTube channel and Instagram, let’s call ourselves The Big Ski Family. Let’s help share a message of being outdoors as a family and share our passion of skiing to others and get others involved in the sport. And if we do that, maybe we can be valuable to ski resorts or equipment companies or maybe travel or lodging companies. And so last year was our first go at this. We launched the thing and within about three months, we were able to get about 12 different sponsors that said, Hey, we want to be a part of this. And it’s really validated the fact that there is something here for others to create value.
And we were able to ski 64 days as a family. The sponsors helped take a lot of the cost, which is really fun. It’s not cash-positive yet, but we’re going into season two with a winter that’s coming up. And my goal was by season three to be able to be paid well to ski around the world as a family and for a large family to ski is expensive. But what if we could get paid to do it? And right now I feel like we’re on track and who knows. Stay tuned, but it’s been more fun than I thought and I’ll be real frank with you, regardless of what happens, it’s a win for me because I’m living relationship rich, sharing experiences and memories with my family that I wouldn’t otherwise share. So it’s been a treat. It’s been wonderful.
Sean Stephenson: Chad, I have a tattoo on my right pectoral muscle. And I’ll tell you what it says in a second because I just get the feeling you’re in alignment with my tattoo and I want to know how you did it. So, my tattoo says Trust Yourself. I know you’re a man of faith, so you could probably also align it with the higher power, but in this lifetime you also have to trust the mortal flesh of yourself. Can you talk about what you’ve done to develop your self-trust?
Chad Johnson: You know what’s so interesting is I think time spent doing a lot of different things. Putting yourself in a lot of situations, saying yes to opportunities that come along, allow you to figure out who you are and who you’re not. As part of the Coach program, we’re so big on discovering what we call these unique abilities and like you said, God-given gifts. Who are you? The essence of who you are. And I think when you understand who you are and you start to really figure out, Hey, you know what, I can shine or I can help or I can be useful in this situation. You start paying attention to that. Sean, in the wrong environment and in so many situations I am so incapable. It’s unbelievable. I mean I am literally a disaster on steroids. I mean it’s just like, and it’s crazy because to be exceptional in something is, I think, to go back to that essence of hey, do I understand what I can do, who I am, where I show up, where I create value, where I am useful, where I’m in flow, where I’m in my zone, where I’m supposed to be? And if I can get in this space, I can be absolute confident in that place. And vice versa. If I say yes to too many things that are outside of that because of obligation or hey, I want to make everybody happy and I stop being true to that, that’s where I start opening a can of worms. I start over committing, I start failing, I start dropping the ball, I start undermining my confidence and my trust, and my judgment ability just go through the floor. And so to me, the ability to stay in that place of trusting is literally staying in Unique Ability, staying in the zone where I belong, and if I’m in that place, I can be very confident that I can be who I’m supposed to be for people.
Mindie Kniss: Yeah, I definitely can see the influence of being in Coach for so many years and just the way that you talk, not just the way you talk, but the way that you live is that stuff, Unique Ability. And just staying true to that because I imagine you, like me, probably had multiple sessions where you went to Coach and you were trying to do everything because we’re entrepreneurs and we have brilliant ideas and they constantly just bring your back to what you’re supposed to be doing.
Chad Johnson: That’s right. That’s right. Put the rails on, right? [Laughing] That’s right.
Mindie Kniss: It’s so helpful, but it does take time to get that. So one of the things that we absolutely are all crazy about right now and totally jazzed about is talking about curiosity and we’ve asked all of our guests to talk about the things that they are curious about. So we’ve had some of our clients list out 25 different curiosities. What’s lighting them up these days? What are they interested in and passionate about? So Chad, for you, could you list off maybe three to five? What are some of your top curiosities right now?
Chad Johnson: Wow, I love that question. You know, it’s so funny. But curiosity I think is one of the driving characteristics of an entrepreneur for sure. You know, I mean it’s just, you gotta be passionately curious. Right now I am super passionate about sleep. Okay. I don’t know why, but sleep… As I am coming up on 50 years old in May of next year, I’m 49 years old, and I want to live a high-performance life and I’m realizing that I have optimized in so many ways, diet. I’ve optimized exercise, I’ve optimized my mindset, I’ve optimized so many habits, I’ve optimized, you know, so many things. But the thing I have not personally optimized, in my opinion, is sleep. And I’m hearing so much research and data that supports that, Hey, you know what, boy, a third of your life should and can be cultivating this as a really much more powerful thing than it is.
And seeing it for what it is, it tends to be the one thing that in the past I’ve shortcutted because I’m like, man, I’m going to stay up late and get up early because I get more life and, and you know, I’m learning that that mindset may not serve me going forward. So sleep is one that I’m super curious about. Big time. Education is one I’m crazy curious about right now specifically cause I homeschool my children. I’m seeing them grow up at different ages and stages. And I’m really curious about the relationship between Unique Ability, mindsets, and education. Because I think that so much of my education was formulaic and was very much structured around a certain learning type and I believe every person is brilliant and it’s like how do we unwrap that? And so I’m intrigued with it.
I’m testing some things in my own children’s lives and I hope I don’t mess them all up. They’re guinea pigs because we’re learning, we’re testing. But in a sense, I feel like a real playfulness around it because I think there’s a freedom, especially if they’re driven by curiosity and I want to find out how do you grow that? How do you tap that? So education is one that I’m really, really interested in. Another curiosity I’m interested in is long-term effects of social media. I’m seeing the benefits for marketing. I’m seeing the benefits for platform building, for communicating a message, for building an audience, for finding loyal followers, and creating these senses of community. But it’s weird because I’m also seeing some concern around some of the self-absorption and some of the drawing in and some of the comparison models that I think are resulting in unhealthy mindsets, specifically for young people.
You know, and I see those that thrive in that environment, but I also see those that seem to suffer because of it and need to limit it. And so I’m curious about how that’s gonna play out cause it is so new and what’s it look like a decade from now? What role is that gonna play? And I know it’s here to stay. I know it’s shaping so many parts of our economic world and our social construct and everything else. And like I said, I think there’s huge benefits and value, but what are the other parts and what are they going to play? The other thing I’m massively curious about right now is, I mentioned education, but I’m really interested in the transition period from high school students to career and what does that look like with the age of AI? Automation?
So much work that’s going to be changing. And I’m intrigued with how do we create the wellbeing, successful marketplace, high-performer and how do I coach my kids and others in that way? Because I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. I think there’s certain habits and skillsets and mindsets that are going to make people more valuable quicker. And I’m intrigued with it and I really want to keep my young people in a place of confidence during that period when there’s a lot of uncertainty and doubt. And I think college is playing a more and more diminished role in certain areas of people’s journey. And yet I think it’s an incredible tool and I’m wondering how those play together and where they play off each other.
Anyways, I mean these are some of them. The other one I’m really curious about right now is I’m really curious about creating a common language for marriage and for relationship. As I’ve been more and more in tune with coaching and you look at different systems, different communities that form, there’s a culture, you know, the book, Tribal Leadership, references this. If you’re going to change a culture, you need to change or create a common language. And I feel like a lot of married couples, and I see this cause a lot of people I know are going through relationship challenges and I sit there and go, I’m intrigued with those challenges because I go, how does someone that really likes each other? I mean so much that you’re like, Hey, you’re it. I’m it. Let’s do this. And then it could be two years, five years, whatever, later they’re like, ah, whatever. See ya later. And I go, how do you keep that ever-growing? How do you keep that ever strong? How do you keep it ever vibrant and healthy? Because I think there can be some language that could be super helpful and tools that could be super helpful for that happening. And I’ve been doing about 12 years of work with newlywed couples and they’ve been in essence my guinea pigs. As we’re trying these things out and that language is developing. But I want to give even more thought over the next 25 years. You know, Dan talks in 25 years as I come up on 50, I really see from 50 to 75 this being a major curiosity and study of mine to take some of the best work out there that’s being done to kind of consolidate it and then make sure that the language starts to become super accessible to couples and common. There’s no common structure or common language. So anyways, those are a few of them and I could go on cause it’s just… What a fun thing. Right? And what a great question.
Sean Stephenson: So Chad, curiosities… I have a theory that I’m working on, and I’m actually going to possibly put some money into researching this. Curiosity is what pulls people out of depression. So I know that there could come a day that I reach out to you again to talk about this, but I have a side question. I didn’t even talk to Mindie about this, but in that you are in the Strategic Coach world and therefore you teach and I’m guessing align with a lot of Dan Sullivan’s life lessons…
Chad Johnson: Yes.
Sean Stephenson: I would like your take on something cause I can see a great debate and I don’t know if I need to pick a side or just hear out both sides. And that is Dan Sullivan versus Michael Jordan. And let me tell you what I mean. Dan Sullivan believes work on your strengths and let go of your weaknesses. Michael Jordan became the greatest player of all time. We grew up in Chicago so we are big Bulls fans. He said, I refuse to have weaknesses. And he took every single area of his game when he came into the league that was weak, whether it was defense, whether it was his 3-point shot, whatever. He worked on that and made sure there were no more weaknesses in his game. Dan Sullivan climbed to the top in the coaching world. Michael Jordan climbed to the top in the athletic world, who is right and what the heck should I do?
Chad Johnson: You know what? What a fun question. I think they’re both absolutely right and that may sound crazy because Dan’s theory is this, and you know it, but it’s basically, Hey, look at your skill sets in the world and in the marketplace. What are you great at? Go play that game and play it all out. Now here’s what’s interesting. Michael Jordan, you said something that I think is a key part of this in my mind. He knew he wanted to play basketball. He knew that he had a little talent. Okay, and then he says, I’m going to be the best at this game, right? I’m going to be the best I can be at this game. I think the difference is this, Michael Jordan didn’t say, I’m going to be the best at playing the game. I’m going to be the best at all of these other things.
He picked what he already knew he had Unique Ability and talent in and then he says, I’m going to continually get better at these things. I’ve decided I want to be a coach. Okay, I’ve decided I want to be an entrepreneur. So what is it that I’m going to be able to do to be the best entrepreneur that I can be? And I’ll give you an example right now, this week I came up against a challenge I have in my own mindset around accountability. As an entrepreneur, I like freedom. And the word accountability almost reminds me of school. Like, Hey, show up on Thursday and have your paper ready. And I didn’t like that world cause I just didn’t… I’d forget that I even was supposed to turn in in the paper. And so accountability became kind of a negative. What’s interesting is through my coaching this last week, I realized that Hey, I will be a better coach.
I will be a better entrepreneur if I create some accountabilities in my life. And I realized accountability is not something I’m good at, but I want to get better at. And I’m going to delegate that to someone on my team to help support me in being more accountable. So in a sense, it’s going to raise my game as an entrepreneur. It’s going to raise my game as a coach. And these are things I’m committed to. But what Dan is saying is stay in your area of Unique Ability. If you realize you have a weakness, get somebody to help you make that place strong. Okay. And I don’t think they’re diametrically opposed. I really don’t. But I don’t think Michael Jordan was saying, Hey, I’m going to be so good at basketball and I’m going to get good at every part of it.
I’m going to get good at selling tickets to the game. I’m going to get good at creating the T-shirts that we’re going to sell in the front lobby. I’m going to get good at doing concessions. I’m going to get good at marketing. I’m going to get good at training the guys who maintain the gym floor. He said, I’m going to be the best at this. And then inside of that space, he isolated every area he wanted to grow and he was dedicated to that growth. So I don’t think they’re diametrically opposed in that sense.
Sean Stephenson: Got it.
Mindie Kniss: Yeah. To that point, Chad, I like that because even Michael Jordan had tons of coaches. He had a mindset coach, defense coach, a shooting coach, all these different people. Similar to how you would delegate for Unique Ability help, he did the same thing.
Chad Johnson: That’s right.
Sean Stephenson: Chad, there’s a series of four questions that I’ve got for you here. We ask all of our guests this. I think if you liked the questions thus far, this one is going to make you float out of your chair. It’s something that we worked on that we’ve found that if you know somebody’s answer to these four questions, you can really model what they have in their life. It’s based on an acronym, HERB. And I’ll take you through each letter and ask you what is your HERB? So the H stands for habits. What are some of the habits that you have in your personal and professional life that really allow you to have the life that you have? And if you didn’t implement these habits, it would be chaos?
Chad Johnson: Such a powerful question. I love it. The first thing is, the first thought I have every single day is, thank you, Lord. When I wake up in the morning, my first thought is immediately I’ve trained my brain to be grateful. And I’m telling you what, it changed everything for me. I was a guy who used to wake up with some fear, some anxiety, some overwhelm of all that needed to be done. And instead, I go to this place of immediate gratitude, Lord and I get a fill in the blank. Every day it’s a little different, but I’ll tell you what, there’s a ton to be grateful for. And being a grateful person changes everything. And I found that I actually renewed, rewired my brain to become a grateful person. And this habit sustains me now throughout the day. Whenever I’m punched in the face with a challenge or a business situation gone wrong or you lose a big client, it doesn’t matter.
Stuff happens to us all. It’s what do I think immediately? And Dan reinforced that with this whole concept of the Gap and how to measure backwards and looking back and saying, well yeah, great. I lost an account. But guess what? I’m still living in the best country in the world. I have the best. I mean as far as for financial freedom, right? I have more opportunity than anybody around. I live in a place of abundance. I’m relationship rich. I just can affirm so much. So number one powerful habit is being able to control my thoughts at all times and to dictate what I’m thinking and think according to truth. Think according to gratitude. Think positive and grateful. So that’s number one. Second thing is I put on my running shoes. I put on my running shoes because I want to be fit and active my entire life.
I want to keep up with my children on the ski slope, on a trampoline, surfing. Doesn’t matter what it is, chasing them around. And so for me, to put on my running shoes as the first act of like it’s a brain dead act, I’ve immediately started thinking, right? And now I put on my shoes and I start acting right. And that is I start acting like a healthy person. And by the time I go out, and it doesn’t matter what I do, if I can run five miles or if I go work out with my kids, or if I run down and do a CrossFit workout, it doesn’t matter. I put on my running shoes and I’m already winning. I’m thinking right. And I’m moving right. And then it’s a habit of, my wife and I, a long time ago decided we could do a lot better with our health if we enjoyed our splurges, but did it in a structured way.
So going to one dessert a week or we’re doing the big sugar treats or a binge day where you’re just doing the big burger with the onion rings, but five days a week, eat fairly clean. It just makes all the difference in the world for me. People are always like, well man, you must struggle with keeping weight off and keeping lean and all this. I used to, but now these habits of simple, Hey, I’m going to eat clean all week and then I’m going to have splurges on the weekends. But it’s an 80/20 thing, right? Or more, maybe even 90/10, but all of a sudden that plays in so powerfully to maintaining health and wellness and fitness. I take supplements every single day. Whole food, organic, I mean the best supplements I can find. I take every single day and I take a bunch and a lot of people are like, what are you doing?
And I’m taking just concentrates of things that I know my body needs and that our food system isn’t putting in anymore. And I’ll tell you what, as a 10-year old that almost died, I had a second issue when I was early married, about three months into marriage, I got chronic fatigue, adrenal failure. I had pushed too hard. I had tried to do too much and all of a sudden I said, man, I’ve got to take care of this. Wow. Gotta take care of this machine. Right? So that’s another habit that just serves me every single day. Having a quiet time. To me, like I said, I’m a believer, I’m Christian. So just spending time in the Word, meditating, memorizing scripture, just keeping my mind in the right space. All of a sudden, if I do these basic things… These are so basic, right?
They’re so easy to do, but they’re so easy not to do. And I literally believe that life is such a compounding of the tiniest little things over the days, the years, the decades that all a sudden you show up, now at 50, and people are like, well, wait a minute. How did this work? Financially, spend less than you make. It sounds crazy, but that’s a habit. It’s literally a habit of saying, man, I’m going to spend less than I make. I want to make far more than I spend. I want to be able to give abundantly. These are habits. So putting those things in place and saying, how do I use my Unique Ability to earn massively, spend far less, live in this place of financial abundance? The habit of paying off the house and getting a house debt-free, it brings a lot of reduction in stress to your wife, to your family. These are things that again, they take time, they’re habits, they’re simple things, but they’re priorities. I could go back to my giant five priorities. These are mental constructs that if I’m habitually depositing, I don’t want to go a day without, how am I depositing in my relationship with Jenise? How am I loving her? How am I creatively letting her know? Does that mean we’re perfect? No, man. We have our moments. We go up and down, but I want to live in a place of a seven, eight, nine on a scale of 1 to 10. So one of the habits I have is I am constantly asking the question, where are we on a scale of 1 to 10 Jenise? I want to know and I’m okay with whatever she tells me. By the way, the worst I’ve ever gotten, on a scale of 1 to 10, guess what it is?
Sean Stephenson: 7.
Chad Johnson: Negative 200.
Sean Stephenson: What?!
Mindie Kniss: [Laughing]
Chad Johnson: Yes, ok? Yes, Sean, Mindie, negative 200!
Mindie Kniss: I was going to say 4.
Sean Stephenson: Chad, we need to have Jenise on the program because she needs to be able to vocalize what you did.
Mindie Kniss: [Laughing] We’ll call her next.
Chad Johnson: Here’s the important part. When she said that, I didn’t freak out. Like, Oh, we’re done. I knew she was communicating something to me in a very powerful way and she had my attention beyond all measures and I was ready to learn how to make it better. And that’s the power of that question. But that’s a habit. So again, at the end of the day, these are the little daily things that just over time bring the fruit that you want in your life. The habit of literally every day saying, is this my Unique Ability? Should I be doing this? It’s served me so much over the last 15 years because there’s so many times I can’t honestly answer “yes” and I have to face, okay, well then who should be? Or how can I? Who can I find? Those are some of the core.
Sean Stephenson: So Chad, if you’ve been a negative 200, I’ve been a negative 200,000 so you got nothing on me kid. From the H to the E and that stands for environment. The environment is how you keep your home, your vehicle, what you allow into your mind with media. So what do you do to make sure that your environment is strong and sound?
Mindie Kniss: In that he doesn’t have an office.
Chad Johnson: You know what, Sean? I had to delegate my environment. I wanted an environment that was clean and pristine, that was organized. That was structured. That was inspiring in every area. I wanted my work life to be that way. I wanted my home to be that way. I, like you said, I want my vehicles to be that way. My Kolbe, if you’re familiar with Coach language, I’m a 2 Follow Thru. So I’m not a systematic-by-nature guy. I’m not a hyper-organized structure guy. And yet, I want to live in that environment. And Dan gave me permission through coaching me to say, Hey, maybe you shouldn’t have an office. Maybe you should have someone who maintains those things for you. And so if you saw my world today, the habit of finding people who are great at helping me create those environments has been critical.
But I get to live in that clean, pristine, well-organized environment. I gave up my office, other people manage it. When I come into the office, I have the habit of saying where’s my file? And they literally hand me the file of things that need to be signed, decisions that need to be made, whatever. That’s the only file I have, I deal with it in an hour, two hours, whatever it needs to be done, I hand it back. So that’s a habit of staying out of things that I’m not good at. Other structures around environment are, Oh, I had a thought and it just blew my mind completely. I went so back to this no-office solution thing that has just been so powerful. But those are some of the structures that have literally made the difference for me, is literally having others shape those environments.
Sean Stephenson: So from the E to the R, which are the resources. And something tells me you’re going to geek out on this. Please do. Resources are books, courses, programs, movies, films, documentaries, websites, what resources have developed you into the man that you are and that you recommend?
Chad Johnson: I love this question and if I could real quick on the E, I realized what I was going to say and it just came to my mind. Environment, my mental environment, my mental diet, the place I want to stay has become so critical and valuable and important to me. It’s the most important piece of real estate on the planet for me is my mind. And I used to be a guy who would allow a lot of mental junk food. I used to process a lot of news, a lot of talk shows, a lot of political stuff. And I realized I didn’t have the ability to influence it. And so, therefore, I said, why am I letting it influence me if I can’t influence it? And so when I’m in my car, I am so intentional because I drive a fair amount coming, going, I’m on planes, I travel a lot.
I am so fanatical about the environment my mind gets to marinate in and in the car, I listen to a ton of classical music now, which sounds crazy, but there’s literally no words. It’s classical music. I’m convinced from research that classical music can actually make you smarter and I’m believing it. But I’ll tell you what, it has been so amazing. Or I’m listening intentionally, and this segues to your resource question. I’m listening incessantly to the right messages through podcasts like the one you’re doing right now. I mean, you’re creating value for people by asking important questions and letting people digest things that are going to serve them. But I’ll tell you what, I’m a huge fan of podcasts. I’m constantly listening. On the road, on the run, when I get up in the morning, in the car, on an airplane, you name it. And if I’m not listening to a podcast, if I can, I’m very much a physical book guy. I know a lot of people are using Kindles and eReaders and stuff. I lug my backpack around. It’s always with me. It’s right here beside me. Literally right now there’s multiple books in it.
Sean Stephenson: Can you tell us what books are in your backpack right now?
Mindie Kniss: Yeah, I want to know what’s in it.
Sean Stephenson: Oh, I was going to recommend that. I have that book.
Mindie Kniss: It’s literally right here.
Sean Stephenson: Right here. I was going to tell you about it. Chris Voss is a good friend of mine.
Chad Johnson: No way! Well, I’ll tell you what, he’s a brilliant man and that book, it’s already made such a difference in my thinking and in my communication period with people and I’m negotiating a very key thing and a partnership agreement I have right now. It’s mind-blowing how valuable… Just I think I’m halfway through, but I already am like, I’m applying this, I’m applying this. I’m applying this. I also have a book from a buddy of mine, Michael Hyatt, Free to Focus. I’m reading his most recent book, just finished a book by Derek Sivers called Anything You Want. Brilliant book for entrepreneurs. Heard about it on a Tim Ferriss podcast. And I guess it’s one book that Tim Ferriss is reading like every year or something for the last, I don’t know, five, seven years or something. He says it’s a must-read, a phenomenal read.
So I’m just constantly in good material that is challenging my thinking, that is testing and refining, reinforcing the messages that are going to serve me rather than the garbage that I used to just clutter. I can tell you, I used to listen to a bunch of country-western music. You know, I grew up in LA, but my brother’s a cowboy and I’m like, sorry, this stuff isn’t helping me, you know? So the resources are many. If you aren’t being coached by somebody, get coached by somebody. If you’re a high performer and not everybody’s a high performer, but if you consider yourself, and you want to play at the upper ends of any game and it doesn’t matter what it is, get the somebody that has a third, outside perspective.
We can’t read the label from inside the jar. And we’re just too close to the subject. And I know as bright as people are we think, Oh, I’ll figure it out. I’ll do it. And you will, you’ll get some linear gains. But if you want to exponentials, get coaching, get support, get accountability, structure, someone who’s going to meet up with you. And I mean physically, mentally, spiritually, in every area. Get that support. And there are some great programs out there. As you know, I’m a fan of Strategic Coach. If you’re an entrepreneur, EOS is a brilliant system that Gino Wickman’s come up with. It is a phenomenal resource. His books, Traction, Rocket Fuel, serve so many people and giving them internal structures and dialogues, books on culture, Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness. I mean, that book was transformational. Me thinking about my team in a different way.
Another book along the line, The Dream Manager, by one of our coaches, Mary Miller. It was her organization that that book was written around. I love to get inside the head and the hearts of my team members and say, Hey, what is going to light your fire? Because I want them to win for them. You know, at the end of the day, if they’re winning for them, we’re going to win together. They don’t come to work for me. They have their own dreams and tapping into that is vital. So I mean, I’ve been mentored by so many resources. I feel like every author is my coach and is my trainer. Sean, I’ve been blessed by you. I’ve heard you speak in different occasions and I’ve seen you drop the mic and an idea that punctuation and things that have changed my thinking, you know, and inspired me so much. And I’ve been challenged by you, Mindie, in the Coach workshop room. I’m always surrounded by brilliant people as well, who are challenging me, communities that are challenging me, but we live in a resource rich world. They’re very available. And if we’re going to be living in that place of true wealth, you know the richness of soul and all those areas, we’ve got to be constantly growing. I believe it with all my heart. It doesn’t stop.
Mindie Kniss: Totally. Have you read the book Sleep Smarter?
Chad Johnson: No. I’m going to.
Mindie Kniss: You should because if you’re curious about sleep. It’s by a man, not this guy, but named Shawn Stevenson. We know him also and it was very funny to meet him. He’s like “Hi, I’m Shawn Stevenson.” I’m like…
Sean Stephenson: No you’re not.
Chad Johnson: No you’re not. You can’t pull that on me.
Sean Stephenson: There is only one Sean Stephenson.
Chad Johnson: That’s right.
Mindie Kniss: So, anyway, check out that book. I think it is very much in alignment.
Chad Johnson: I will. Thank you. Sleep Smarter, Shawn Stevenson.
Sean Stephenson: Yeah, easy to remember. Spelled differently, but a side note on that, right now if you go to the grocery store or whatever, their new stand, Time magazine has a whole special magazine about creativity.
Chad Johnson: I just bought it.
Mindie Kniss: [Laughing] So did we.
Sean Stephenson: Okay, well in there there’s a whole article on sleep so make sure to read that.
Chad Johnson: Literally, Sean, two days ago. Read that. Read that exact article in Santa Monica. It was part of me buying that magazine cause I saw the section on sleep for that exact reason. Dude, you and I are riding the same wave, brother.
Sean Stephenson: Yes we are. This rounds the bend out of H E R and the last is B. And B stands for beliefs. Can you share with us some of the core beliefs, not like passing beliefs, but the core beliefs that you just have ingrained in your soul, it is ingrained in your behavior? What are beliefs that make up Chad that if I or Mindie adopted these beliefs, it would be easy for us to create what you have?
Chad Johnson: Wow, I love that question. Guys, this is such a fun one because at the essence of who I am and I think who all of us are, there are those driving core beliefs and my first one is, like I said, I’m a believer, so my first belief is God. I go and I see every human being as a masterpiece because I think he makes no mistakes. As crazy as that sounds, with all the hurt and all the trial, all the sorrow in the world. I see a God who makes masterpieces when he makes people and I see their capabilities and I think every person is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And I think one of my core beliefs is that it’s our duty as, as fellow humans to draw that out and to see it and define it and to mine it. One of my core beliefs is that we have the capability to totally reshape our brains and rebuild our thinking by what we believe repetitively.
And I’ve seen that in my own experience and it’s such a powerful way because I used to beat myself up a lot, far more than anybody ever should. And I know many people struggle with that, but I used to, my self-talk was very derogatory towards me. Chad, you’re a loser, Chad, you’re a this, you’re a that. I would affirm these patterns. What’s so funny now, as I say those now, it’s like “whatever,” that is so not true. But in the past, it resonated and it was real. But I realized that, there’s a verse in scripture, it says, don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewing your mind. My firm belief is that we can totally renew our minds through how we think. And so that shapes everything. When I hear people talk and I hear them speak, I either rejoice in the way that they’re speaking about life and themselves or whatever, or I cringe because I’m going, boy, you’re rewriting your brain that way and how sad that is.
So that’s a core belief. I believe that our bodies, as scripture says, are fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe people can become healthy by what they put in. It’s a core belief. I see people struggling with chronic diseases that are changeable by their inputs and them choosing lifestyle patterns that are actually tearing them down. My belief is, Hey, if you start paying crazy attention to every input, and that is water and sleep and diet and exercise and mindset and all that goes with it, that you can see massive physical transformation. And that’s beautiful to me. Financially, I believe that staying in your Unique Ability is the most financially sound thing you can do. That even up front, it may appear to be taking a step backwards, but to be who you were made to be as a value creator and to show up in that space and to be you.
I think it’s the smartest financial thing to do. And so, a lot of people letting go of the fear of, Oh well I’ve got a good thing and I can’t let go of it. I think they need to trust themselves that they’re capable in that way. Core beliefs around finances, I think debt is a deadly snake and needs to be watched so carefully. It can be so insidious and can suck so much life out of people. And yes, it can be a tool. It can be a tool that can actually help. But man, it’s gotta be really wisely approached and with a real kid gloves and with wisdom and caution because it can be one of the first things that takes financial freedom from people. I think marriages are worth investing in. My core belief is that every marriage that starts out good, can become great, and doesn’t have to suffer from the tragedy that relationships often do.
And people often talk about growing apart. And that can be so true. I think it’s important that both people in a relationship develop a common desire to grow and to grow together and grow towards one another. And I think that’s just a critical belief. Guys, there’s so many beliefs that formulate who I am! I believe that I can do almost nothing by myself, but that with Unique Ability teamwork and surrounded by others’ capabilities, anything is possible. And this is a belief I was slow getting to cause I was a lone ranger and I tried to do everything myself. And it’s a very slow road and it’s an arduous road and it’s an unfruitful road. So I believe I’m better with others and surrounded by other people’s unique abilities. Really critical for me. Man, I tell you what, I believe that, in America, if you dream it, it can happen.
I really do. I believe that. I’ve seen so many stories of people who had big hopes, big dreams, but no… Came from a place of starting at zero in every way and to see them, see their dreams realized. It was funny, I was at my mother-in-law’s 89th birthday party last weekend and one of my brother-in-laws married a gal from Vietnam and she’s four years here, less than four years, been here three and a half years. Gets here, doesn’t speak English at all, and she just got her four-year degree in chemistry and has now got her future all excited, paved out. She’s going to work in a lab, she’s going to do all these things. She just can’t believe how bright her future is. But in America, if you dream and are willing to do the work and to be a lifelong student, and to continually apply the things you’re great at and learn from others, I mean, there’s nothing that can’t happen. Anyways, those are some of my core beliefs and they’re a part of who I am. They’re at the core, you know, you can’t pull them away from me.
Mindie Kniss: Yeah, you definitely live those things. It’s one thing to say them, but it’s yet another to live them so I want to honor and speak to that that I see that in you consistently.
Chad Johnson: Thank you, Mindie.
Mindie Kniss: Now Chad, this has been an absolute delight. If our listeners are interested in following along on your adventures, what would be the best place to send them to?
Chad Johnson: You know what, right now, Instagram at @TheBigSkiFamily or on YouTube, The Big Ski Family. They could also follow me, @TheGiant5Guy on Instagram as well. But yeah, those are two of the places where we’re kind of showing up a little bit.
Mindie Kniss: Awesome. Yeah, and we’ll link to those in the show notes so they can have direct access. Chad, I just want to thank you for your time, your wisdom, your example, and you know, I’ve had the joy of spending a lot of time with you over the last number of years and to me, it’s just exciting to share you and your lifestyle with our audience. So thank you so much.
Chad Johnson: Thank you Mindie and Sean, both of you. It’s just such a pleasure to know you both and I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to be in your life and have you guys in mine and again, to be on here today. It’s a treat, so thank you.
Sean Stephenson: Thank you.