R. Shawn McBride recently interviewed Jill Hawkins about success and failure. Here is the transcript:
R. Shawn McBride: Hey everyone, R. Shawn McBride here with you live, I’ve got my friend Jillian with me. We were having a conversation recently about success and failure, and she’s had quite a bit of experience in her career. Today we kind of wanted to talk some about that. I think all of us that have reached some level of success have had failure in our past of different degrees, different things that have gone good and bad for us. One of the keys is to keep rolling. For the newer entrepreneurs it’s a constant lesson and for those of us who’ve been around for a while it’s a nice reminder that we’re going to have these situation happen.
R. Shawn McBride: Do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Jillian Hawkins: I’ve been an entrepreneur for about 30 years, my entire career actually. I started at 20 years old building homes and remodeling homes and buying investment properties. At one time I probably owned over 500 properties and was over 7 millionaire. Of course, as an entrepreneur, you oftentimes buy businesses you felt, businesses that are successful, and some of which are failures. I’ve had probably six companies, five of which have been very successful. Actually, seven, two of which have been immeasurable failures. In fact, I lost everything in the last company that I had, and pretty much was down to not being able to pay my house payment, my car payment. I was literally counting how many pieces of the toilet paper I used.
R. Shawn McBride: Oh my. Okay, so that one ran you pretty far down.
Jillian Hawkins: Pretty far down.
R. Shawn McBride: It wasn’t inexperience, because you had had businesses before. What kind of led to that moment, or getting to that point?
Jillian Hawkins: Well you and I were talking about fear and this is what led to this interview. Basically, fear ran my life. Even when I had everything I was still run by fear. When I lost everything, I’m lying in bed, couldn’t get out of bed for days. I was paralyzed. Just lying and drowning in fear. Basically, I turned my heart to God and I just looked to him for the first time that I really, really surrendered. When I did that I was able to get out of bed and start my life again.
R. Shawn McBride: Did operations just get complicated? What was the root cause of the fear, or …
Jillian Hawkins: I got into an industry that I did not know anything about. You hear that old adage that “Stay with what you know.” Well, it’s so true. Unless you have someone on board doing a new venture with you that is an expert in it and you trust them. I was with a partner that was not a good partner. I just got into a partnership that was not a good match. It was actually a disastrous match. You hear advice all the time about going into partnership with people and most of the time you really shouldn’t go into partnership with anyone if you can help it. If you do, you need to know them for a long, long time and know their good, their bad, their ugly, so that you guys can match your personalities and work well together. Otherwise, often times you have nothing but trouble. It really was the demise of the company.
R. Shawn McBride: We see that. I work a lot with partnerships and they can be great. We see Microsoft, we see Apple, we see some huge companies. Google, others where you bring different talents together and you do something amazing. A lot of times there’s a challenge to a partnership. Definitely something to be mindful of, the fact that they have dynamics to them.
So you’re in this partnership, you’ve jumped into the wrong area, I guess you just stretched too far as an entrepreneur, right? We’re always stretching as an entrepreneur, maybe we stretched too far.
Jillian Hawkins: I really didn’t have the reserve and the resources that I needed to stay with it over a long period of time. When you start up these start-up businesses, you really have to have the resources to get through the first three years. If you don’t, you know, most businesses fail after two years. I was into my third year and I could not get it out of the bottom of that S curve. You start your business and then you’ve got to get it through that curve to get it into momentum, and I just could not get it out of the curve.
R. Shawn McBride: Right. You were probably close, it’s just, you know, probably unanticipated things and it took what it took, yeah.
Jillian Hawkins: Well, the partnership fell apart, and so, without that, it couldn’t make it work. You get an upset like that when you’re trying to get it out of a curve and you don’t have any momentum. It is pretty much a done deal or a dead deal.
R. Shawn McBride: Exactly. What have you done now? How do you think about things differently with fear and risk and failure?
Jillian Hawkins: Number one, I went back to the industry that I know and that’s real estate. I’ve done every part of real estate and I’m a realtor now, which I love. Mainly, I don’t take as many risks as I did at one time. I’m very, very conservative in my risk taking and I also have learned to make sure I have the reserve I need. If I’m going to stretch myself, I need that reserve to fall back on in case whatever decision I make, you know, whatever path I’m taking does not work. As an entrepreneur we try a lot of things that don’t work. We throw a lot of mud against the wall and one out of twenty work. The most important thing is to make sure that if you’re short on reserves to not throw too much mud against the wall until you’ve got the foundation to actually extend yourself.
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah, so it’s almost the timing based. Where are you in your business’s life cycle, how are things going, that can determine how much risk or reward you take.
Jillian Hawkins: That is so true, and it really minimizes the fear. Go figure, right?
R. Shawn McBride: Yep. I know you’re sitting in a much better spot now, so how did you kind of resurrect from there, for people that might have had similar situations or might have challenges? How do you move from a spot of difficulty into moving a more successful place?
Jillian Hawkins: It’s all your mindset. We do get to choose our destiny. There are times in which we make poor choices, and it’s nobody’s fault but our own. What I had to do is I had to own it all. It was nobody else’s fault but mine. Once I owned all of it and took full responsibility for it, then I was able to say, “Okay, if I could do that, if I could fail so miserably, and I’ve had so many wonderful successes? I know one thing, action. Don’t listen to your head, take action.”
R. Shawn McBride: What do you know?
Jillian Hawkins: Action, action, action. No matter whether you’re depressed, no matter whether you feel bad, no matter whether your head is telling you the biggest, fattest, loser. You’re never going to be successful, you know. Our heads play such a number on us, so you have to ignore that, and you have to put a plan together.
During that time that I was so down, I coined the phrase … this is going to sound really silly, but I coined the phrase that I needed a parent. I created my own parent. That parent got me out of bed in the morning; that parent put my plan together. That parent washed my clothes and got my bath and washed my hair and brushed my teeth. It told me every day … my parent that I created, cause I had to have something that was going to get … you know, it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ve got to create something that’s going to get you going. The most important thing, though, is to take that action every day. Moving yourself forward, putting one foot in front of the other. Even if it feels like you’re in concrete.
R. Shawn McBride: Yes. I’ve heard this from other people and I’ve heard this system. Your idea of having a parent I think is a great way of conceptualizing. I’ve never heard it exactly that way, but constant action, even good or bad, setting a plan that you’re going to execute on regardless of what’s happening from the outside. You can’t change your plan every day because of external conditions. You’re going to have good days and bad days and I love this kind of stuff that you have of basically parenting yourself.
Jillian Hawkins: Yeah. Another thing that is so important I think too, Shawn, is to reach out to somebody. Reach out to a mentor, reach out to someone who’s successful that you know in your life. If you don’t know anyone, go find someone and share your situation, share where you are. People are willing to help. They’re so willing and happy to mentor people and help people, as long as you’re taking the steps. People don’t want to help anyone who’s a victim. People don’t want to work with anyone who is not being responsible for all their failures. It’s hard to pull someone out of that.
R. Shawn McBride: Absolutely.
R. Shawn McBride continues with his interview with Jillian Hawkins about success and failure and dealing with fear.
R. Shawn McBride: Hey everyone, R. Shawn McBride with you here. We are just talking about fear and all of this ties into planning. It’s about having a good plan and being realistic. And then we talked about reaching out for help and vulnerability, and there’s a careful line between, I guess, being vulnerable and being a person who just is somebody who’s too negative or somebody others would not want to mentor because they felt like you’re not taking ownership or control of your life.
And how do you walk that fine line? How have you been vulnerable with other people? Been a mentee without making them think that you’re just needy, I guess, or trying to get something too easily?
Jillian: Well, I think probably when you’re sitting in fear, or whatever that is, the emotions come with being in that place.
R. Shawn McBride: Yup.
Jillian: You’re going to have some negative talk, but your mentor, a good mentor, is gonna call that out. And you just have to be willing, and willing to be coached, be coachable, be vulnerable, be humble, and no matter … look, I’ve had five very successful companies. I was a seven millionaire at one time. Not now, but I will be again. But the most important thing is to be coachable.
R. Shawn McBride: Yup.
Jillian: No matter where you’re coming from, there’s always someone that’s more successful than you.
R. Shawn McBride: Sure
Jillian: And I have a friend right now who’s very successful. He’s an older man. He’s got financial security, he’s handled millions of dollars of peoples’ money, and he’s in his sixties and some bad things have happened to him. Well, at one time yesterday … he’s 67 years old and he’s getting a coach. Now, who at 67 years old gets a coach?
R. Shawn McBride: Right.
Jillian: You know? Someone who’s smart. Someone who’s acceptable.
R. Shawn McBride: They’re looking to the outside for help because … you know, I was just having this conversation the other day. You can’t see what’s going on . . . you’re too close to the action, right? You’re not gonna be able to view yourself objectively. That’s where a great coach comes in. Regardless of that. Yeah.
Jillian: That’s exactly it. Exactly. Cause you know, when you’re in a position where you’re not getting where you want to go, the self-talk will convince you that it’ll never happen.
R. Shawn McBride: Right.
Jillian: And then, when you’re speaking to other people … you know there’s a scripture in the Bible. I know some people are not Bible people and some people are, but it does have some wisdom. And one of the scriptures says that “out of the mouth, the heart speaketh”.
R. Shawn McBride: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jillian: And it’s so true, because when you hear and listen to people speak, they do speak their world. And so, when I was so down I just … everything that came out of my mouth.
R. Shawn McBride: Yup.
Jillian: Which was negative, you know? I used words like “never”, and “will never”, and “can’t”, and “it’s awful”, “it’s terrible”. You know, all those negative stuff, negative words. And so, I did not have a mentor. So I really had to watch myself and really be vigilant. But I did have a lot of personal growth and development training.
R. Shawn McBride: Right, yup.
Jillian: So that was helpful in that moment, but eventually I did get … I had some friends that really helped me out that were not in that space, a little bit more positive, so they kinda helped to pull me out of it. You know?
R. Shawn McBride: Yup, yup. So we’re gonna have to do some more and explore you some more. I do want to take a moment and let people know how to contact you. I mean, you’re down the real estate space and you probably have a more wholistic view of the world than many in the space, so there may be some people would connect with that. They might work better with you in their needs, so take a moment and let folks know how to get a hold of you and what they can do to work with you in the future.
Jillian: Well, number one, my phone number is 214-417-4363 and you can text me, you can call me. My email address is very easy. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
R. Shawn McBride: Got it.
Jillian: So I would love to hear from people, and if I can do anything to help someone, that’s what really my life is about. And it’s the most fulfilling. It’s to make sure that I am giving back and that’s one thing that I was not doing.
R. Shawn McBride: Wow.
Jillian: I was not giving back and now that’s one of my number one things that I do.
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah.
Jillian: Like it’s not fulfilling without that. So please do. I’ve got lots of stories.
R. Shawn McBride: I mean, we’re all part of a community. And that’s been one of the greatest journeys for me as being a business person is you open up a whole new level of knowing people. Understanding, building businesses, and really connecting with others. So, I think it’s a great thing. So I’m glad you’re out there in the world. I think your experiences make you very valuable to some particular groups of people who could launch their entrepreneurial nature and they’re dealing with some of this stuff to connect with you and work with you. You’ll bond on a certain level and that’s what it’s all about, is finding our tribe.
Jillian: You’re very right.
R. Shawn McBride: And thank you for talking about the tough side of planning. You know, all the stuff I do, my speaking, my legal work, my strategy work, everything’s around planning and I hardly make plans that work and sometimes plans are going to have difficulties and we gotta have this aspect to it, so I think it’s good. Thank you for helping us spread this message.
Jillian: Well thank you, Shawn. It’s been an honor talking with you.
R. Shawn McBride: Thank you, thank you.
R. Shawn McBride: I’ll talk to you soon.
Jillian: Okay, bye.
R. Shawn McBride: Bye.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer Sootyangel.
About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com/3laws), gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at email@example.com or (214) 418-0258.
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