When did you first see yourself as a leader? I played sports growing up and I thought about this question. I was captain of the soccer team. In high school, I was sixth man on the basketball team. When I moved from park city to California, after my freshman year, that sophomore year I played on the high school basketball team. In Fresno, we had over 3,000 students at our high school, it was huge. You definitely had taller, more athletic people than you did in Park City, little ski town, Utah. It was fun because, I’ve always had this kind of coach mentality. To the point where my basketball coach would get so mad because I would always make suggestions. I’m like, well, why would we do this? And why would we do that? Why don’t we do it like this? He got to the point where he started calling me “Coach Sam” and they made a hat for me that literally said, “Coach Sam, Utah”. It just became the running joke. I loved kind of orchestrating and being like, okay, you guys, almost the point where I enjoyed that more than having to start or having to be the all star player. I was good. I just wasn’t like the all star center of the attention. I felt more excited about coaching and more excited about strategy, more excited about doing things more efficiently. That’s when I started to really realize I’m a leader.
In that same year I started “The Guttermen”. I sprayed painted shirts and I don’t think I ever even set up an LLC. But, I got about 11 of my friends and convinced them all to go paint addresses on the curbs. That’s why we call ourselves “The Guttermen”. We were always spending our time in the gutter. I would divvy out area. I had multiple stencil kits and I managed the money and things like that. I ran this little business and I found that as I could help other people make a lot of money. I also started to make a lot of money.
I look at early days in my childhood, I’d host these cool epic skate parties. I’d bring all my cousins and friends and we’d go roller skating or skateboarding skate park. I loved hosting events. I loved creating experiences. I loved being the loud one in the room. That’s kind of what I mean, thinking back to like early days is when my dad would always say, Hey, you were born different than the rest of the kids. He would always say “You’re meant to be a great leader.” I gotta give my dad props and my mom. They almost, like, treated me different. I don’t know, I’m not trying to throw anything on other siblings. I have six siblings, but it was almost like they knew I was built differently and I saw things differently and they said you’re destined to be a great leader. That, to me, is probably almost what created this responsibility to say, okay, I can’t let them down and I need to live up to what God’s potential was for me on this earth.
Lack Of An Elevated Consciousness
The next question is what are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced as a leader now? There have been a lot and I continue to face challenges. It it’s funny cause a lot of people think like, oh you’re now like the sit on the throne. You’ve got all your team below you. But, reality is there’s so much more emotional turmoil that comes through leadership than being the individual, being the rep, being the solo printer. I was just studying the, this book called “The Infinite Atonement” and it talked about Christ. When He suffered for our sins, He just brought a bigger cup. How did He withstand? How did He hold up all the sins and all the turmoil and all the agony that every soul pre and post Christ had ever gone through? As we elevate our consciousness and as we expand our understanding knowledge, spiritual, mental, physical capacities, we are able to bear more burden of others.
They Can’t Lead Themselves
Too often, people can’t lead themselves and they can’t seem to even withhold themselves. Where, leaders that lead big tribes, big organizations, big teams, they’ve been able to withstand so much individually, with a small team, then a big team, then a big organization, then a culture and their movement that you look at. The hardships become even harder. The feeling, the opposition, the goods and the highs become even higher. You have bigger stages, bigger audiences, bigger pay days and the lows become even lower. That’s an important principle to understand when you think of the biggest challenges.
In Network Recruits Failing
A couple things that stood out to me when I would hire friends, or people in my own network, you know, I was always scared. I’m like, I don’t want to hire a friend and then it goes south. Sometimes it does. Sometimes they end up having to fire him and you’re like, Hey, I love you as a human, but you suck as an employee. Those are hard conversations to have. I avoid conflict. It is my natural tendency. When you have to let go of key people that you’ve built relationships with and you’ve had to make some hard judgment calls and you have to look at simple data and you’re like, dude, it’s so cool having you around. But, that doesn’t mean I need to write you a paycheck every week. Can we still be friends on the weekends? But, I don’t need to fund your life for not producing the return and value.
Another one is bad ethics. I remember hiring certain people where you would think they would see it as stealing when you advance them money. I remember paying this guy $30,000. He came with all this promise and I vetted it and it was legit. Two weeks later he quits and you’re just like, well I need my 30 grand back, and for some reason he feels he’s justified to keep the $30,000. You’re like, wait, what in what world? In what universe can you go to somebody, take $30,000 off the shelf, and then two weeks later be like, ah, just kidding. You know what I mean? There’s no fair transaction there. That’s happened to me countless times. The ethics and standard in which people see and do business has been shocking for me. The deeper ingrained in companies and organizations and the way peoples make decisions is crazy. It is all about greed.
Nobody Gets You
I found that the greatest challenge is that nobody gets you. You’re alone having to cram on emails until midnight, or you are dealing with like people yelling and telling you you’re suck and your businesses sucks and this and a review of this. There’s times where you’re just like, only I can feel this and only I can take responsibility for this and only I can fix this. So when you’re like, Hey, I look to delegate as much as I can as a leader. It’s like, your time is your biggest currency. When you know you have to spend certain time on money or you have to spend certain time fixing a customer problem or complaint, or you have to spend so much time on something and you’re like, I wish I could call somebody and tell them to do it. But, as a leader, there’s certain things that you just have to pick up the scraps.
You Have To Do Things You Don’t Want To Do
I think when I think of the biggest challenges, I think of the days where, you know, I had to run billing or I had to go update CRMs and I had to go recalculate a ton of these little transactions. You’re just like, I don’t normally do this and this is so hard. It’s not like what I want to be spending time on. You have to do the things that you don’t like to do. That is a huge challenge of leadership. Too often people see the leader, cause they get a lot of the highlight. But, the opposition here is the greatest. They forget that they go through all the hard work, too.
Money has been a challenge. When I started D2D, a lot of people don’t realize I spent a year and a half paying other people’s payroll and not taking a single dime. Considering the fact that I’m the one people are paying to do all the work, I’m the one doing the consulting, the videos, the training, the products, and I didn’t even get a check. That was a challenge for me. I’ve almost had to rewrite my brain the last year to be like, it’s okay, Sam, you can take a paycheck. That’s been a hard rewrite. Just changing my own identity to keep up with like the evolution of a leader that I’m becoming. That’s common for people to run into.