Leadership is not a role, it’s a calling. What you portray to your team will exhibit the results and outcome of each of your decision. Join in the conversation and learn what might have been lacking in your drive as a leader and a team player as Cody takes us on his journey through life and how his ups and downs have given him strength to “embrace the lion” inside of him.
Cody Jefferson is a father, entrepreneur, public speaker, life and business coach, and the founder of Embrace The Lion.
He is the creator of Lion:Elite, the #1 Group Performance Program for Kingdom-Minded Men looking to LIVE their legacy in life and business. Cody coaches and advises CEO’s, business owners, and entrepreneurs on scaling their business, growing their impact and influence, and how establishing a robust professional/personal life balance will significantly boost the bottom line.
When not working with clients or traveling to speak, Cody can be found wrenching on old Harleys, going on road trips with his son, or at Dana Point with his best friends trying to take on waves that are way out of his skill level.
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A few things came up:
Cody Jefferson – a coach, mentor and communicator – takes us on his journey through life and how his ups and downs have given him strength to “embrace the lion” inside of him. Cody has taken his experiences in life to create a platform for others to be learn how to be the leader that walks with their team, not in front of them.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup….if you’re not really careful in managing your time, if you’re not really careful in managing your mental health what happens is you start to be come co-dependent on other people’s need for you”
“Rather than being the leader that comes across aggressive and a bit wounded, I’m going to walk with people.”
“We can only lead to our level of awareness…we can look at that objectively and we can look at itwith a humility saying ‘this is how I’ve always done it, but might there be a better way?’”
“I think of pain as: if we don’t transform it, we transmit it”
“Men aren’t finding fulfillment as a whole because we are being told to do and do and do, but we don’t know how to be. We weren’t ever really taught how to create emotional help for ourselves.”
“We have to look at what we can control…head, heart, health, and habits.”
“One of the things that I learned is so long as you’re willing to pour, people will always have their cup out. So you need to make sure that you are filling your cup first.”
“If I could leave you with one piece of insight, it’s that your purpose and your promise in this life is not an expectation to live up to, that it is a divine appointment that you get to live out of. And when we can reframe that and understand that everything is a gift and everything had to happen in the way that it happened in order to create the testimony that you have today and that failure is nothing more than feedback so long as we want to take the proper steps: forward in faith to find favor.”
Cody Jefferson: Embrace The Lion
I am super excited because I was prepping for this. There is a lot of overlap and a lot of things that I love about our guest, Cody Jefferson. You are going to love this story. A quick little background about somebody who was a pastor for many years in the worship side as well. You know my background, many of you that follow me there, and you will read how he’s not only transitioned into doing more with what he’s already learned in that pastor space but how he’s making an impact specifically in men’s lives. We’re going to unpack some things about not just mental health but physical health, how that ties in, things about being a great dad and how that all correlates together. I believe God created us to make sure that we brought our gifts and talents out to the world and that we make a difference. I’m excited to have Cody on. We’ll talk a little more about his story as we bring him on. Cody, welcome.
I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. It’s good to be here, be connected and have this conversation finally. Thanks for having me.
Growing up, my dad was a pastor as well. You’re talking about this. Growing up, the music thing with us, I always love. For many years, doing what you did and serving. I think a lot of people don’t even know what happens behind the scenes. They see people on Sunday and they think like, “That’s your job.” The reality is it’s probably 7-day a week and 24-hour more than any other profession.
It also gets a little tricky because for many of us, we didn’t learn the balance of when God is your job and your job as God. In the church, you are taught to put God first but what happens when God is your job? You put your job first. It then becomes this being all things to all people taking on multiple roles, wearing all the hats because you start to identify your whole call and role in life as your efficiency to lead an organization. It gets hairy really quick.
It’s been said by some of my friends that are in that space. It’s probably even more difficult to lead a church body and organization that people sometimes may only show up once a month. Maybe, they show up every Sunday so they’re engaged, but you’re trying to lead a team. There are teams within the teams. Some of the best lessons in business now that you’ve probably carried on are you’re leading men and you’re helping people figure out how to live their purpose. Do you think that’s the same?
You’re also leading a multitude of different capacities. You’ve got paid staff, clergy, part-time staff, volunteers and new members that you’re bringing into the community. You’ve got all of these different pipelines that you’re trying to run and navigate. Business is simple. Business is you got a C-suite or if you’re a smaller business, you’re a business owner and you have employees. Maybe you have some subcontractors and then you worry about customer fulfillment, marketing and sales. That’s simple.
The church is like trying to organize cats because they all have their different ways in which they live, move and have their beings. They’re all coming in with different expectations and ways that they’re hoping to be served or that they’re hoping to be fed spiritually and sometimes physically. There’s a lot of expectations and personalities to manage. You’re doing so very front-facing with empathy because you recognize that again, it’s not necessarily always healthy people that are coming into the organization or coming into the body. It’s people who are looking for some reconciliation or restoration or some answer to a deeper question.
We’re trying to figure it out because you mentioned that people are coming in with some pain. Something happened in their life, they’re coming in, and they’re hoping for help. As you were doing that, were there any lessons that you learned from there that you think taught you what now you’re able to deploy and embrace the line like with your crew? Is there anything you learned from church that now you’re like, “That was the lesson that moving over and coaching all these men and working with them,” was a big lesson that you took away?
I’ll share a couple. One is that you can’t pour from an empty cup. When you’re serving the church, it’s not an indictment against the organization or the community. It’s just people are coming in looking to be served. As long as you serve them, they will allow you to do that. As long as you make yourself available, they will want your time and attention. That’s the nature of the thing. If you’re not careful in managing your time and mental health, what happens is you start to become co-dependent on other people’s need for you. The same can happen in organizational leadership and in business when a founder or CEO or a business owner becomes tied to the outcome of the individual or to the client or to the business itself that we create this unhealthy codependency.
Even as I work with founders and CEOs towards the eventual exit of their organization, whether that be IPO, M&A, or whatever it is, we have to look at where we’ve created these co-dependent attachments to the idea of what it is that we’ve been building. The same happens in church. The other thing is this, when I was in my twenties, I would travel. I would go to larger conferences. I served a smaller church of about 350 people. They loved that I would do things and be the cool guy. I would come back from a conference with Louie and Shelley and I would have all these ideas. “This is what they’re doing with 40,000 college students. This is what we have to do in our church. If we don’t, we are going to die.” Not recognizing that the median age of the church that I was serving was 55 years old and a Methodist conference church.
It’s a different conversation. My mentor, Willie Davis, pulled me into his office and said, “You got some amazing ideas. You’re a brilliant leader. You are young. You got all this energy, and going to do bigger things than I think you even recognize.” Speaking prophetically over me in a way that I didn’t even know how to receive at that time. Now, I see the fruit of what he spoke to me those years ago. Always pay attention to those older than you speaking wisdom in life into you, especially the guys my age guys or younger than me. We sometimes take that for granted and what a gift it is.
He said, “There are two ways you can lead. There’s a mountain that everyone’s trying to go up. Now you’re at the top of the mountain. You can see everything and understand what needs to happen. The problem is, all of us are here at the bottom and you’re yelling at us about all the things that we need to do, where we need to go and how we need to do them. You’re assigning a mountain to us that you don’t even know that we want to climb yet, but you’re telling us because you’ve been at the top that this is the mountain for us to climb. Meanwhile, you’re yelling at us.” That’s how so many leaders navigate their churches and navigate their organizations. He’s this very top-down, “This is where we’re going.” For some of that, that’s healthy. We need strong leadership and we need a strong vision. On the backside of that, there’s a way that Jesus led.
That is to say, “Even in this beautiful conversation, mostly was like I went up to the mountain, I saw and I’m coming back down. I’m going to walk with you. I already know where we’re going. You’re going to be a part of this conversation. I’m going to walk with you. When you get tired, together we’re going to help you up, and we’re going to walk up this mountain together.” There are those two kinds of leadership. For me, the reason that we found the success that we have and the ways in which that I’ve been able to grow is to always say rather than being the leader that comes across aggressive and a bit like a bully that was a bit wounded, I’m going to walk with people. Running that play throughout my transition from organizational ministry into the development space and in the leadership space into working with equity firms and VC firms, the conversation’s always the same. There was one lesson that was the biggest, it was that lesson when I was probably 23 years old. I didn’t know how to receive it then, but I received it now.
When you’re talking about that, I’m thinking to myself, as you’ve worked with leaders now, you’ve had these lessons and mentors teach you, which I think are always huge. To your point, you may not even be able to understand what they’re sharing at that moment, but later on, it may click. Do you think leaders choose to lead one way or the other? As you’re describing both of those, do you think they choose to lead that way, or some people are just wired that way? I get that question a lot.
It might be a false binary. It has to be one way or the other. Some people are naturally bent towards a more visionary style of leadership like I would want to go back to how they were raised. I would want to go back to even their spiritual upbringing. I want to know how their parents were because if we understand psychology, we understand how people live, move, have their being and their personality types where they’re bent towards perfectionism or performance. I am an Enneagram 3. I’m high ENFJ. We can look at my history and we can understand why that is the way it is. We look at how people were raised and the experiences that they’ve walked through.
Through that lens, we can get a great baseline understanding of why they have the motivators that they do, the drivers and triggers. I think it’s both, and. Some people are naturally wired towards that and we’d have to look into again what created that and then others were not wired that way based off on their experiences. They’ve had to then adapt and understand that a growth mindset says that there is no quantifier for human potential that with the right environment, people, belief system, tools, education, person and amount of perseverance, that anything is possible. There is no lid to the potential of your leadership capabilities. I think it could be both.
A mentor of mine shared that once. I remember it was one of those defining moments in a way. When she shared it, she was talking about a lot of times we think either/or. I was finding myself in almost a pattern of this either/or. She’s like, “Brian, this leadership starts to multiply and expand when it can be both, and. This dichotomy is a beautiful thing sometimes and we are thinking, ‘Wow.’” It’s one of those moments where you go back to it. I bring that back in when I catch myself pattern-wise, going back to, “It’s got to be this or that,” or something together.
This is interesting because I talk with people all the time and we’re building out our team across a lot of places. I hear from a lot of leaders, they’re so fixed on what they think is possible and what they’ve done in the past. As you’re thinking about this growth mindset leader, are there any other characteristics or things you’re seeing emerge as leaders in this new world of we’ve got remote teams for many of us? Life has changed in many ways. Are there any other emerging trends of great leaders you see that stand out to you?
I would say awareness and accountability. We can only lead to our level of awareness. This is why we have some who lead in a certain pattern, and they don’t know that they’re leading a certain pattern. It could be a very toxic way of leading, but to them, it’s all they’ve known. It’s how they build their organization, so they can’t even see the unhealthy side of what they’ve built because, for them, it’s normalized. The brain doesn’t care whether you’re happy or sad, or whether something’s healthy or unhealthy, whether you’re rich or poor. It only cares about patterns and confirming a bias that has been prevalent throughout your whole experience of life. When we can look at that objectively and we can look at it with humility to say, “This is how I’ve always done it, but might there be a better way.”
We have the awareness to say, “My way has gotten me to where I’m at, but could there be another way to look at this?” Not in terms of right or wrong, not in terms of binary, but could there be a way in which we can walk around this hypothetical cube and there could be four different scenarios that all might get us to the same position, but there might be a more effective way to get there? One is the awareness that you’re not the end-all-be-all and that collaboration and mentorship are always welcomed. There’s awareness, but then there’s also accountability that no man is on an island unto himself. That we have systems and metrics that allow for accountability, not just in business, but in family life and personal life, in physical development, in spiritual practices and disciplines like, “You show me what you do and I’ll show you what you believe. You show me the health of your organization and I can mirror it back to the health of your personal life and how you view yourself because businesses don’t have problems.”
They are KPIs, numbers, metrics, P&Ls, checks and balances. Businesses have people and people have problems. When we can look at the person and say, “You are not a problem, but there are some problems that we can make some subtle shifts here, and you’re going to be unstoppable. One, can you become aware of those? Can you have situational and awareness so that we can walk through this? Two, can we hold you accountable for being the leader, visionary, employee, entrepreneur, a founder that you said that you would be or that you can see yourself becoming? Hold you accountable to that vision through what we can measure.” If we can quantify it, if we can set a target, if we can see a goal, if you can see it in your head, you can hold it in your hand, we can make that happen.
Awareness and accountability, I love those two. I’d love for people to learn your story because as I’m listening to you and I was prepping for this, I could tell you’re somebody that’s on this mission of you’ve got your own personal development. You’re living what you’re telling other people and teaching them to do it. It wasn’t just, “I read this book. I went to a conference. Here it is.” You’re living it. I always love to pull out that story and your greatness. Let’s find out what we don’t know about you. How did that start? As you talked about that, it probably started as a kid. Was there anything you look back on like how Cody came up, that now has manifested into where you are now?
I could tell you about some of the more traumatic experiences that probably led to performances and led to always wearing a mask because I felt like I had to cover some of the traumas of the adults in my lives who couldn’t necessarily handle their own trauma. I think about pain as if we don’t transform it. We transmit it. For me, a lot of my life’s work is transforming my own pain and the generational pain that I’ve inherited so that my son doesn’t ever experience it, which takes awareness, accountability and a willingness to want to move forward.
To have a back story, I think it’s a story that’s far more beautiful. The frame that I choose to look through is a result of having parents that were divorced and having some situations arise in my life that created some custody issues. My dad was a single dad working a lot of hours so my grandparents ended up raising my brother and me for the majority of my childhood. It was a unique gift that only people who are raised by their grandparents understand because you’ve got this like gap of generation. My grandfather was the president of the Oklahoma Basketball Singing Association. You couldn’t go anywhere where somebody couldn’t hum a key. My family would be in perfect four-part harmony every time. It’s not even a thing. It’s what we do. I grew up going to Southern Baptist singing conventions. I started playing the piano. My grandma put me in lessons at eight.
I don’t know that she saw a gift in me. I think it’s just so that I could be the token kid who could play the piano and shape notes at the convention when Brother Carl couldn’t make it. When Brother Carl was sick and young Cody could come in and wow him with how he lives. It was a beautiful experience. I wake up early. I’m usually at by 3:45 every single morning. People think that’s insane. It probably is. I woke up early because we had to go to my grandparent’s house early to catch the bus. They would have breakfast. We would get there early in the morning, my grandfather waking up between 4:00 and 4:30 every morning. By the time we got there, he was always reading the paper, whistling, drinking coffee because he had already prayed, in the word, journaled and walked through the honeydew list that my grandma had on the fridge every single night for him.
He had already gone over the list of people that he needed to visit in the hospital that day. He had already gone through all those things. So much more is caught than taught. He never taught me to do that. I find myself every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is I speak gratitude over my life and those around me. I pray specifically over an extended list, calling each person out by name because I want to put a face or a name in the prayer, to the petition that I’m putting forward. I read psalm, proverb and nonfiction every morning. Every morning, I read a sermon out of what I’ve read. I keep those in composition books.
One day my son is going to get all of these sermons that I write every single day as a way to say, “This is who your dad’s been. This is the journey I’ve been on.” It’s been perfect. It’s been messy. This is what I know about Jesus, about my own experience, about catching atheist flu and not knowing what you believe on any given day. This is how I reconcile it. What’s made me is I got into ministry at nineteen haphazardly. It wasn’t like a call from the Lord. I had a particular look about me that was aesthetically pleasing to a megachurch. My pastor saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, this ability to captivate, lead, speak and be effective with my words. I can play an instrument fairly well. I could sing fairly well and everything fit the bill.
For the next thirteen years, I developed into a leader within the church. The problem was, I didn’t have a solid foundation of identity outside of that. In 2015, when I walked through a divorce with a windmill child, my whole world came tumbling down because there was so much pressure, I put on myself to be perfect because I never felt worthy to be in ministry. I felt like I was always having to prove myself and prove my worth. It was only as effective as my last campaign that was successful, the number of people, the accolades or the affirmation. You remove the identity of the husband, I don’t know who I am. I remove the identity of being a dad all the time.
I stay in ministry. There’s no moral failing or anything. I was committed to the church to the point where I was working about eighteen hours a day and everybody needed to understand and sustain ministry for about a year after that. Over the course of that year, I went through some heavy tragedy. Eight family members and friends passed away, all unrelated, all very tragic, like bad murder, suicides and overdoses. It’s just horrific things. I was leading all the funerals because I have to. I’m the pastor and I’m all things to all people, “God’s got a plan. We’re going to be fine.” I lead worship, pray and sing songs on Sunday. On Sunday evening, I’m leading the funeral for my 18-month-old niece, for my 19-year-old sister, for my sister-in-law and for this person.
Finally, my body just gave out. I went septic. My body was like, “See you,” and 106 fever, unconscious, hormonal shutdowns, thyroid scramble and adrenal shut down. I was supposed to die and I didn’t. I recognize like, “I am sacrificing my soul on the altar of this ministry. I needed a break.” As I took that sabbatical and that break, I had friends at the ministry who kept putting guns in their mouths and you get to this point where it’s like, “What are we doing?”
That’s where Embrace The Lion was born. It was this concept and this idea that guys like me, this front-facing, high-performing, honestly good at pretty much everything. Whether it be artistic, academic, music or leadership, most people think, “What a gift. It’s so lucky to be you.” “No.” It becomes this chaos of performance and this chaos of you don’t know which direction to go because I can go a million directions. “Give me one direction, God.” Those are the guys that I talk to every day. Over the course of the years, I have built a community of around 4,200 dads that I walk with every single day, coach and consult some of the larger organizations in the country, some founders of some very large companies.
I get to speak into the questions and the conversations that money doesn’t solve, influence doesn’t solve and that front-facing success doesn’t solve. Those are questions that you can only answer once the money question to solve because everybody wants to get to that point, then you get to that point, you get to the success point, you get to your churches now with 30,000 people and now what? It doesn’t feel like you thought it was going to feel. The idea now that you have to keep on the hamster wheel and this facade going that you’ve built.
That’s the mission for me is how do we create true lasting success? How do we not just work toward leaving a legacy behind, but how do we live a legacy right now? I have a son. My son is my world and rather than working so that I can give him this future someday that I never had, I recognized is if I do that, I’m doing the same thing my dad did. My dad worked all the time. He’s the hardest working man I know to give us what he could. I recognize now, all I wanted was more time with him. How do we do both?
Thank you for sharing your story because I know it’s not easy. You go back through it, you can sense some of the emotions and that’s a lot to go through and to build who you are now. I know we both, in our faith, believed those things happened to prepare us for things in the future we don’t even see. Thinking about that now and the transition of how you created this group, Embrace The Lion. I’m looking at some of that and there is this void that has been created. It’s gotten unfortunately worse, with the whole work from home or not around people, but you can see the mental health side of things.
For men, the deterioration and the things. You said it. It was something as you were talking there is like everybody says, “I’m fine.” One of my favorite songs, one of our friends here, Matthew West, wrote that song, “I’m fine.” You talk about that just hit and certain guys will open up. You’ve created this community. I’d love to know what your insights are because a lot of times people say, “I’m good, I’m fine,” but they’re not. One, how can we be aware of that? Two, what are some of the things that you see in that space? I’ve got some observations and I’m seeing things, but you are seeing it on a whole different level.
We have this conversation of fulfillment. Men aren’t finding fulfillment as a whole because we’re being told to do, when to do and what to do but we don’t know how to be. We’re never taught how to create emotional health for ourselves. In the space that I occupied, the conversation most of the time is, “Man up. Get it together. Put your boots on. Do the work. Tell the truth.” What happens though when you don’t know how to tell the truth because there’s never been a safe place to tell the truth? We find so often that many men go into these programs and opportunities where men are yelling at them in their face and getting so aggressive with them. Why is that?
As we took a poll of a few thousand men, what we recognized is the ones who interact in these kinds of opportunities, most of them grew up with abusive fathers. It’s interesting that you’re going to go back to that trying to find the reconciliation that you never found as a child, but then what happens is you exacerbate the wound that you tried so hard to mask and now you don’t know what to do with it. What I do is try to look towards what is real, what is perceived and where does our value system come from? How do we create autonomy with that which we can control? What’s been interesting about this in 2020 is that many men thought they were stable. Maybe their home life was stable because of the salary that they made.
There wasn’t a lot of intimacy, but at least things were in a spot where it was manageable. There was enough distance where we were doing our own thing and it’s fine. Now, we’re all at home all the time. Not only that, “I got laid off because my company wasn’t pulling the numbers in because of a shutdown or something else. Now, I’ve lost the identity of the provider. I’ve lost the identity of the only role I’ve had for the past fifteen years. I am now in a home with someone that I’ve been disconnected from and I have to confront that disconnect while confronting my own inadequacies because I don’t have the things that I thought that I was going to have. It feels like the world is caving in.”
We have to look at what we can control. One of the things that I work with men is looking at the four pillars. We have head, heart, health and habits. The head meaning how we treat our money, thoughts and feelings. This is what creates our reality. We can think the sky is falling, but if you look outside, it’s not. Two is heart. It’s how we treat our relationships if we’re married or a spouse. For me, it’s my co-parent and bonus dad. How do we treat our relationship with our kids, ourselves, family, friends, employees and staff? Also, most importantly is how we treat our relationship with God. I work with men of faith. That’s my wheelhouse and niche. It’s not because I’m against any others. It’s just I talk about God a lot so it’s not going to make sense.
Health, we have one body. We have to be able to take care of this body, which means not only do you need to push and pull heavy things if you’re able, but we also need to look at how we’re treating our heart in terms of our activity. We need to look at our distress and eustress. We need to look at what we’re putting in our body, what our diet consists of, what our hydration looks like and what quality sleep looks like. For so many, we’re consistently wrapped up in worrying about things and futurecasting a reality that doesn’t exist yet that we lose sleep.
Our sleep is restless, which then raises cortisol, which then causes weight gain, which then causes more distress on the body, which then can lead to more depression, anxiety and isolation. We create this downward spiral of not only mental health but emotional health, spiritual health and physical health, not to mention relational health. All of that starts with, “How do I care for me?” Remember at the very beginning of this I said, “One of the things that I learned is as long as you’re willing to pour, people will always have a cup out.” You need to make sure that you are filling your cup first. How do we do that? My morning routine. Why does that exist? It’s not because I’m trying to check things off the list. It’s because I try to keep my sanity.
I walk alongside a lot of high-caliber individuals that wrestle with stress that is at a level that most will never ever understand. For me to be able to carry that and walk with them, I need to make sure that my cup is full. I love my son. He’s a hugger. He is a physical touch kid. He loves to be held. I couldn’t hold my son if I didn’t take care of my body physically. I wouldn’t be able to give him what he needs if I don’t take care of myself emotionally. I would be looking for him to create comfort for me, creating unhealthy, toxic co-dependent relationships. I wouldn’t be able to be the father that I’m called to be. It was important for me to create those boundaries in my own life. It’s important for men to create boundaries in their life where they selfishly have to take care of themselves. Jesus retreated to pray. He took care of himself. You are not above Jesus, so don’t tell me you can’t make time for it.
I do think people, especially men, and I’ve been there where you try to compartmentalize these relationships, finance, health and all this stuff together. The beauty is when they start to interweave, and you realize how connected they are. You talked about your morning routines. I’d love to dig into that a little because it’s a question I get asked a lot and I’m sure you do too. It’s like, “How do you fit what you do into a day? What’s your routine?” You’re up early. I was similar playing soccer. It was natural. We got up early. It’s what it was. My parents got up early as well. What is your typical day look like? You said you start early. Are you still doing that 3:45?
If I stopped around 9:00, if I sit down, you can try to have a conversation with me, but if I stop, I’m falling asleep. It’s how it works. I also recognize that I need a fairly consistent routine when it comes to going to bed as well. I travel a lot. A routine is paramount to my sanity. Let’s walk through it. I wake up. I hydrate. I keep water by my bed. The first thing I do is I’m speaking gratitude while I’m drinking water. I’m giving thanks for the water. Gratitude looks like a prayer to me. For those who aren’t within my particular spiritual frame, we speak of gratitude and we talk about that because it’s a universal principle.
I call it prayer and giving thanks. When I pray, I pray the Lord’s Prayer. He did a good model for that. Anything I can add to that, I feel could probably be just trash anyway. I’m going to stick to that. I have a list of people that grows every single day of who I pray for and pray over. After that, I will read it. I have my Bible and my notebook. I have whatever book I’m reading at the time. I’m reading 12 Rules for Life. I’ll read a chapter that. I’ll put those together and I’ll write a sermon. When I’m done writing a sermon, I’ll get up and go do the things that everyone does in the morning like brushing your teeth, do the bathroom staff, do all the things and get dressed.
I then come out to my desk. I look over my day. I visualize my day and make sure there are no fires to put out in my team. I make sure everybody’s happy, healthy and whole. I start to visualize what my day’s going to look like in every conversation. I pray over every single one of my clients, every conversation I’m going to have. I prayed over this show before we have started it. Once I look over everything, then it’s time to drink a little pre-workout. I go to the gym. I hit the gym early in the morning. I’m typically thereby 5:00 AM. I’m done at the gym, typically by 6:30. I like to work out about 1.15 to 1.5-hours getting strengths as well as my hit and cardio in.
I’ve always been an athlete. Your mileage may vary in staying at the gym that long. That does not include like phone time, so there’s never a thumb day at the gym. If that’s the case, you might need to take another look at the plan that you’re working through. When I get back, I get ready for the day. I wear the same thing every single day. If you go into my closet, I’ve got a lot of suits. I love custom suits. I travel a lot speaking. As a man who’s covered in tattoos, one of the ways that I broker trust fairly early on is to come looking like a million bucks and your countenance. That’s an important thing.
You’re always going to find me in a black V-neck and black jeans. If you go on my closet, there are twelve of them hanging up, twelve pairs of jeans. I don’t want to think about any of those things. I get ready. I’d go through a little priming exercise to get myself hyped up for the day. I then make breakfast. I eat the same thing every single morning. I eat 3 eggs, 4 handfuls of spinach, 2 pieces of bacon. I drink black coffee and three glasses of water. I then come and I start my day. That’s what works for me. I’m not saying you got to do the exact same thing.
I’m saying I’ve done all of the variations. It’s all the same. It’s like a very Miracle Morning-ish routine. I’m hitting all the things. They look a little different based on what works for me. I also read in the evening and pray at midday. My day stays fairly consistent even with travel. My team is great to make sure that everything is in its proper place and learning as you grow that you don’t have to do everything. It’s automating, delegating and then eliminating things. I don’t need a big wardrobe because I want to eliminate that conversation. Knowing what makes you look good, feel good and perform well. Optimizing everything, not becoming a robot, but understanding, “This is what works for me. This is what I like,” and moving forward from there.
I love it because you’re able to describe it in great detail and it’s visual. The more I’ve studied successful people and I’ve realized like in my own life is when things are working to take note of that, I’m similar to you like morning workout. What works for me may not work for the next person, but I’ve learned myself enough to know. Don’t fight it right. If that’s what it is.
When I work with those who are looking to build to either be acquired or exit in some way, shape, or form, the conversation is always, “We can have an exit strategy for your organization in 12, 24, 36 months. We also need to be thinking through what the next evolution is going to be because this isn’t about money. That problem will be solved, but there’s going to be a new mountain to climb and something new to build because you are a builder.” We don’t want to negate that. We don’t want to treat that, but that’s some problem to be solved.
We need to look at, “What’s next? Where’s the impact going to be made? What are you going to do with this? What is the next venture that we’re going to look into?” We recognize if this works for you and this is how your personality is wired, we are not going to go against that. This is why many, when they exit their companies, they find themselves for the next 18, 24 months, going through this severe cycle of anxiety and depression. When you eliminate the mountain altogether, you eliminate the person who’s climbing. You remove their call in life, which is intent.
That’s what most people forget is sometimes it’s that pursuit. As you said, “When I have enough money, I’ll do this. When I retire, I’m going to provide this life.” There’s no real destination in that.
I have several friends that are musicians. If we learned anything over 2020, it’s that anything event-related is not essential. You’ve got these wonderful human beings who are creative. All they’ve done is they’ve taken years to climb the ladders of success in an industry. What happens when the mount is not there anymore? A lot of mental health, self-work and identity because everything is strict. We found this over many different verticals where people have been building their whole lives, climbing this proverbial mountain, their whole life only to then have the entire mountain disappear.
That’s what people look at, reflecting and reading. That’s what I’ve loved about as I’ve started to dive into some of your coachings and what you’re sharing is it’s applicable because many times when we’re focused over here when what we’re doing is over here. We’re not looking at the right things. I would love to do this. We could cover a lot of stuff. I feel like we could jam all day. I’ve loved this because it’s one for me. Selfishly, I tell people, part of even starting a show was to bring on great guests like yourself, where I’m like, “That spoke to me,” but then we also want to share that out and equip people with tools. I know people have gained a lot. I’ve seen you are on Instagram. You’ve got your Facebook group, where should they follow along in your journey to connect for more?
The most active platforms would obviously be your standards like Instagram @Cody_Jefferson. You can find me on Facebook at Cody Jefferson. In LinkedIn, look for the guy that’s covered in tattoos with a beard. I’m easy to spot. I believe everybody has a powerful story to share in a powerful story that they’re writing. In a culture that is desperate to be known, now, more than ever, we settle for being seen. My whole life’s mission or work has been to know people on a deeper level.
If you are reading this, I’d love to know your story, where you come from, what you’re working towards, who you’re coming from and what that looks like. Shoot me a message. I respond to every single message I get. We get quite a few of them. I’m grateful. I don’t ever take any of this for granted. I feel like the bulk of this preparation for the platform God had planned for me. I’m going to do my best to steward it well. I’m grateful for you and for this opportunity.
That’s the connections you make. You’re only one connection away. I always believe that whether it’s a new idea or somebody giving you clarity or inspiring you to be there. Maybe you’re the one inspiring them and helping them on their journey. That’s why I believe God’s put us on the Earth is to help people through this together until one day we’re in heaven and a lot more makes sense then. Until then, let’s be equipped with the right tools here.
We’re called to bear the kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven.
I love that you’re leading that message. The final question I love to ask people is, you’ve got a son. My son’s about the same age too. If you were to pass, what would be the one thing you would want to leave part of that legacy, but that one lesson that you would say, “This one thing is what I would want to leave people or your son with that would help them live a more full and meaningful?”
That you’re born on purpose, with a purpose, and for the purpose by a creator who knew you before you were ever spoken into a name by your mother. The purpose of your life a lot of people are going to try and put an expectation on you, of what you’re to live up to and who you’re called to be especially in the ways in which we live, move and have our being. In the communities that we surround ourselves with, there’s going to be a lot of expectations placed on you. It’s going to lead you to want to perform, to want to prove, sometimes hide and other times protect.
If I could leave you with one piece of insight, it’s that your purpose and your promise in this life is not an expectation to live up to than it is a divine appointment that you get to live out of. When we can reframe that, and when you can understand that everything is a gift and everything had to happen in the way that it happened to create the testimony that you have now and that failure is nothing more than feedback as long as we want to take the proper steps forward in faith to find favor. That would be what I would want him to know. That he’s enough because I was enough. I’ll always be enough because there is no expectation to live up to. Simply a promise to live from it.
You pulled it all together and it’s a beautiful message. I see you live in that. I want to affirm what you’re doing. Everything you’re doing and what you’ve shared, I can see why God’s put you through this journey and allowed you to have the experiences so that you can make a difference. I believe that you’re going to do great things. This has been an honor to have you on the show. It’s the most rewarding and fulfilling thing to connect with people and then to know collectively we can make a difference and an impact in the world. Thank you for doing that.
Thank you for having me. It’s been a beautiful conversation. I’m honored.
Guys, we’re going to wrap up. This has been another edition of the show. Make sure you go on and like, subscribe and leave comments. We typically find guests, even like Cody, through mutual friends and people say, “You got to have this person on.” That’s what we always try is to bring on people that are going to inspire and motivate you, but also equip you with tools and give you resources to help you win in life. Thank you for joining. We appreciate each and every one of you. We’ll catch you on the next episode.