Our guest today is COO Alliance member and COO of Closers.io, Sivana Brewer.
Sivana runs the operational teams for both Remote Closing Academy & Sales Team Accelerator at our company Closers.io. She dropped out of college at 19, spent her time reading 100 business books in a year, while going full steam into building skillsets online.
Sivana quickly honed in on sales. In 2020, Cole Gordon hired her to help build the sales recruiting department, which now places over 100+ sales reps per month into 7-9 figure online coaching and agency offers for clients like Tony Robbins, Todd Brown, Agora Financial, and others.
Sivana now leads all recruiting, operations, and event teams in the company. She loves spending her free time hunting for vintage fashion, swing dancing, and doing anything that sounds fun. Sivana is known around the team as, “the most random lady ever.” Sivana dreams to someday win the show Survivor and become a world champion barrel racer.
In This Conversation We Discuss:
- What are the goals to accomplish during one-on-one meetings between Sivana and her team, and CEO
- What are some typical struggles when it comes to client expectations
- How Sivana and her CEO stay aligned with each other based on vision and plan
- How Sivana grew the company quickly in just two years
- Why it’s important to have a filter on constructive feedback
Connect with Sivana Brewer: LinkedIn
Closers.io – https://closers.io
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Our guest is a COO Alliance member and the COO of Closers.io, Sivana Brewer. Sivana runs the operational teams for both Remote Closing Academy and Sales Team Accelerator at their company, Closers.io. She dropped out of college at nineteen, and spent her time reading 100 business books in a year while going full steam into business-building skillsets online. Sivana quickly honed in on sales.
In 2020, Cole Gordon hired her to help build the sales recruiting department, which now places over 100-plus sales reps per month into 7 to 9-figure online coaching and agency offers for clients like Tony Robbins, Todd Brown, Agora Financial, and others. Sivana now leads all recruiting operations and event teams in the company, loves spending her time hunting for vintage fashion, swing dancing, and doing anything that sounds fun. Sivana is known around the team as the most random lady ever. Sivana dreams to someday win the show, Survivor, and become a world-champion barrel racer. That is random. That’s amazing. Welcome to the show.
Thank you. I’m super excited.
Did you really read 100 books in a year?
I did. What’s crazy is I had never fully read one book before that. I was a SparkNotes student, so I never read any books fully. I watched Tai Lopez‘s video on, and everyone gives him a hard time about it, but his “I read a book a day” thing. I’m like, “If I’m dropping out of college, I have to find some way to educate myself. I might as well just read books because it’s working for this guy.” I ended up meeting him when I was at 30 books in and went on a Snapchat about reading books. Once I was 30 books in, I told Tai Lopez’s audience that I was reading 100. I was like, “I have to finish,” and I did. I think I hit one or two.
Good for you, it’s amazing. Any favorites?
The book that I gift the most often is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. That book is great. A lot of my network is a younger crowd, and the book that I would gift for them most often is Millionaire Success Habits by Dean Graziosi. It’s a really good entry book for people.
How do you learn now? What do you do to grow as a leader now?
The things that I’ve learned in the last two years with this company of just actually being in the weeds is probably ten times higher than every year before doing any amount of studying I could have ever done. Outside of that, Leila and Alex Hormozi, I think their content is absolutely incredible. I watched Leila’s stuff, probably every video, at least five times. I still read a lot of books, audiobooks, and I ask a lot of questions to the other execs in the company.
What’s your Kolbe profile? Have you done your Kolbe A profile?
Yes, I’m a 4583.
You’re more of a quick start than a real fact-finder. You do ask a lot of questions, but you’re not wired that way. You are wired more entrepreneurially.
I’m actually a higher quick start than Cole, the owner.
Why do you think it is that you ask questions then?
Actually, the company that I met Cole at, we met in a sales team at this other company. One of the things that they drilled into my mind was when I go to that meeting, if I’m not on pace to hit my numbers, and I don’t know why, that’s a problem. If I go into that meeting and I’m not on track to hit my numbers, and I don’t have any questions for people that are better than me, I’m like, “What the heck am I doing?” That was such a big learning lesson for me. If you’re around people that are farther ahead than you are, if you’re not asking questions, you’re just an idiot basically.
That is something that I really carried into my relationship with Cole. Every single time I have a one-on-one call with him, we have a weekly one-on-one, I make sure that I have at least one question. Even if I feel like I don’t really have any big problem that I need his help with or things I want his suggestions on, farther ahead than me in a lot of areas. If I don’t come up with questions, in my opinion, I shouldn’t even be on this team. That’s my philosophy, I guess.
It’s like that adage of, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room,” right?
It’s funny that you actually mentioned Tai Lopez. I had that same feeling about Tai when I first saw him online as this super douchey, “Here’s me and my Ferrari, or me and my Lambo. I’m out in my garage at my bookshelf.” I’m like, “Really? You’re such a poser.” Then I saw him speak at a conference and sat and listened to him for about a half hour with a flip chart, running numbers and talking. I’m like, “Holy crap.” He wasn’t selling anything. There was no backup stage offer at all. He was just explaining marketing and cost per acquisition and lifetime value, the casual cycle. I’m just like, “You’re really smart.” His point was, “I’m spending all this money on marketing. I need to understand this.” It gave me a whole new respect for him.
Strangely, he ended up reaching out about three months after that and asked for one of my books to be in mentor box. I don’t remember if it was Vivid Vision or Free PR. I think it was Vivid Vision. Anyway, it was pretty cool to be asked by that. Now, I’ve got to go back and figure out which book was in there. That’s embarrassing. How did you guys land some of the marquee clients that you have? I know you’ve mentioned Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, and I guess Russell Brunson, all part of that one program together. I’m sure that’s one company. How did you go about landing them and some of the other clients that you’ve landed?
One of the things that I respect Cole for the most is the amount that he invests into other people. I’ve never seen anything like it. The amount of content he consumes and the people that he invests in is unlike any other person I’ve ever met. Early on, any time there was something he didn’t know where he wanted to get better at or someone he wanted to meet, he just pays them. Even if there’s not something crucial that he’s wanting to learn, if he wants to get in contact with that person, he’s going to pay them for their time just to get into their circle.
He did that with a lot of different people. I know that Todd Herman is his personal mentor. Todd obviously is connected to a ton of people. He’s got many coaches, and he’s had so many that I think that just allows him into different circles, masterminds. Being in War Room opens up a lot of opportunities, and it’s a really fast ripple effect for him.
That pays off too. You do have to put yourself in the room to be around luck. You’re good to be lucky and lucky to be good. You have to put yourself in that room to allow yourself to meet some of those people, and be okay with just going up and asking them questions. What’s interesting is I think every successful person has been helped by someone else as well.
We’re hardwired as humans to help the next person that asks us for help. It’s a bit of a living in abundance. It’s a bit of, “What goes around comes around.” I like that you recognize that as well. Tell me about some of the questions that you go into your one-on-ones with Cole. Can you give me an example of what one of those or a couple of questions might be that you would ask in a one-on-one?
They range from more practical business stuff that I’m struggling with and then philosophy. My one-on-one this week, I actually had one major question and that was basically, I’m doing a lot for my age, and I hear that all the time like, “You’re so far for your age.” I hear that a lot, but internally I’ve never felt that way. I have felt behind since I was 14, 15, when I really started getting into this stuff.
I went to Russ, the artist. I went to his show on Friday with 27 of my friends. We got a party bus. It was the first time I’ve done something really fun in quite a while, and it brought back all this inspiration and excitement. I’m like, “There are many things I want to do in my life. Maybe I want to be a superstar, as well, not just do business. I want to compete nationally in barrel racing. I want to win Survivor, the TV show.” There are all these things I want to do. I feel like I’m not doing them or not doing enough.
Going into that one-on-one, I asked him, “How do you feel? Are there other things that you want to do outside of business? Because all I see is you’re just dead set on business. I don’t even know what else you’re excited about. Am I putting too much pressure on myself? I should be looking at this.” Sometimes, I go into things with questions like that. Then other times, it’s very specific leadership problems like, “Here’s the challenge I’m having. This is what I’ve done.” We have a rule in our company that we always come with an “I intend to,” which is huge. “This is the problem. I intend to do this. What are your thoughts?” kind of thing. Those are the two sides.
I love the “I intend to.” I was just speaking with somebody earlier on a coaching call. He said he doesn’t want his employees to be problem spotters. He wants them to be problem solvers as well. I love that you can act. I love the “I intend to” as a mantra or a saying that’s part of the Closers while they are away. What’s the agenda for your one-on-one meetings? How do they typically run?
I love that you just asked me this question. Before, there was no agenda at all. No agenda, just come in, like what-do-you-need-from-me kind of thing. Sometimes we would just chat about my health stuff or family or whatever and then otherwise, ask about business stuff. I started feeling that my one-on-ones with my team weren’t as effective as they could be. I went and started playing around with different one-on-one docs that they have to complete 24 hours in advance and then send to me. Then I review it and then we go into that call and we go through it together. I tested that with my team a few months ago, totally changed my one-on-ones. With them, it’s a little bit different.
Now with Cole, I was like, “I’m doing this because I want to get more out of my one-on-one. I’m sending you a document. You need to review it, and then we’ll go into it.” On our one-on-one document, we go over projections and numbers where we’re at for the month. I go over what I’m excited about going into next week, what I’m working on. One of our core values is getting and staying in sync. The bigger we get, the harder I have found it to stay in sync specifically with Cole and with the other execs. Really easy with my team, but with cross departments, that’s where breakdown can happen a little bit easier.
We’re trying to do more, “What’s working? What are we working on?” and just sharing more so we’re in the loop. I go over that, the biggest problems, and then what I intend to do about them. That way I can tell him exactly what my plan is and he can tell me if he thinks I’m on the right track or not. Then anything that you need from me as a leader and then any other thoughts or questions. It’s pretty simple.
Do you ask the same of him? What you need from him as a CEO?
He’s really good at asking for feedback. On our one-on-one calls, no specifically, but he does ask. He said, “Do you have any feedback for me?”
I would flip them a little bit, and I’ll explain why. I think the COO and the CEO are very much the yin and yang of the company, where they’re very much the partners. They’re very much the sidekicks. You’re very much the counterpart. As much as it’s valuable to find out what he needs from you, you also need to be able to share what you need from him. You report to him, but it’s a very different dynamic than any of his other direct reports.
It’s not the same dynamic as you and your direct reports. You very much are that yin and yang too, like a husband and wife might be in a traditional relationship. The husband might still have great relationships with the kids and the aunts and uncles, but the husband and wife are sacrosanct. It’s very similar to the CEO-COO relationship. It’s just having that very tied yin and yang relationship.
That makes sense.
Worth thinking about. I didn’t want this to strip into a coaching relationship, but I can’t ever help myself.
I’m all about it.
Tell me a little bit about Leila Hormozi. Leila and Alex both came to the culture event that I ran a few years ago. We had an offline event at the Royal Palms. We had a bunch of CEOs and COOs from all over North America come in. I was really super impressed with both of them. What is it that you like about Leila? Because she’s often not the one who’s in the media. It’s often Alex who’s in the media, and Leila’s ridiculously strong. What is it that you are learning from and trying to sponge off of her?
She knows her audience better than 99% of influencers on YouTube, to be honest, because every single time that I watch one of her videos, even if the title doesn’t speak to me, I start watching it. It feels like she made that video just for me. I read a lot of her comments from her audience, and everyone feels that way. She’s really good at that. She’s not worried about reaching everybody or getting famous, at least from what I can tell. She just really wants to help people and the content that she gives.
I want to hire her to be my personal coach. I know she’s not taking on coaching clients, but Leila’s eventually like, “I want to work with you.” I feel like I owe her tens of thousands of dollars just from the free videos I’ve watched on YouTube. I’ve never been one of those fluffy female COOs, like the fluffy business. I don’t follow any female entrepreneur accounts. That has never been something that’s been appealing to me. No hard feelings if that’s what you’re into, but for me, I just don’t care about it.
When she started putting out content about it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman like, “Why do you have the need to say I’m a female COO or a female CEO? You’re just a COO or you’re a CEO. It doesn’t really matter.” I really appreciate that about her. Some of that is controversial too right now. People sometimes like to be in the minority. She’s being a little bit controversial. She’s bold, and I appreciate that about her.
She’s super strong. We understand you and a little bit of your learning and where you’re growing as a leader. Walk us through a little bit more about what Closers.io does. Who are you as a company? What do you guys really focus on?
Our mission is to produce and empower world-class salespeople. We do three things through that. We do done-for-you recruiting. We place sales reps. We train sales reps as well. That’s the second thing we do is we do a lot of training. The amount of group coaching calls we have for sales reps is unlike any other program. Not only do we get you reps, but after they’re on your team, we continually train them.
The third thing that we do, which is the thing that we don’t market because it’s not sexy and no one would click on this ad, is the management and the leadership consulting. That is really important for whoever’s leading the sales team. You can get an A-player on your team, but if you don’t know how to lead them or set them up for success, they’re going to leave, and they’re going to go somewhere where they do get that.
You may find the diamond in the rough, the 0.001% of salesperson that can be on their own solo island for a couple of years, but most people want to be a part of something cool. They want leadership. They want to feel cared for, appreciated. How to do that while also doing that in a sustainable way. Some people think that they should pay 30% commissions. That may work right now, but as you scale, those margins aren’t going to hold up anymore. It’s a lot of those simple things around management and structure that we also teach on.
You’re teaching it and you’re also running the recruiting as well. Are you hiring entire teams for them and coaching those teams and helping build out their sales teams internally? Or are you teaching them how to do it and then sending them a few salespeople and saying, “Good luck?” What’s the model?
It depends. We have clients that come in that are at $20,000, $30,000 a month, and they’re on calls all day long and they just need to get off calls. They need to hire their very first sales rep and get off the calls. That way, they can scale, hire their first couple reps. We do that. Then we have clients like Tony’s team where they have dozens and dozens of reps and a lot of leads, more leads than they know what to do with.
We just started recruiting for them a few months ago. It’s going really well. Their main problem wasn’t recruiting. I don’t know exactly what Paul’s been working on with them, but more on leadership and overall actual performance-based. It depends on what people come in for. Some people just need to get a couple salespeople on. Some people already have this giant team and they just want the performance to improve.
I like the fact that you’re figuring this out for them as well. Where do you struggle with your clients, with the client’s expectations, what the output the client’s looking for? Where do you traditionally struggle there and how do you work around that?
Expectations is a really big thing, especially around sales because it’s really easy. I used to have my theories about salespeople. Especially the smaller clients when they come in, sometimes they think that if they’re paying for done-for-you recruiting, they’re going to get this beast right out of the gate. This is a quote that Mitchell, he’s our CRO, he always says, “Sales reps are like pretty girls at the bar. They have options.”
Someone that’s a killer is not going to come work for you if you’re just starting out your sales team. You’re wanting a commission-only rep that’s going to close $100,000 in revenue right out of the gate, you’re not going to find them because that same person is going to go close for us, or someone like us where they can actually make money like that. That can be some of the expectations that can be off, depending on the level that they’re in. It’s usually the people when they’re first starting out, how to think about sales and what do salespeople actually want and what do they need. That’s where it can be off.
How about you and Cole? How do you stay in alignment, and how have you decided how to split your roles? If you’re running part of the organization as COO and Cole’s running part of the organization as CEO, how do you guys stay aligned, first on vision and plan? I think part of that is your one-on-one meetings. How have you decided to split up roles? How have you looked at dividing and conquering?
This is something that Cole taught me. I don’t know what book. It may have been like Organizational Physics or something, but there are four different types of energy needed to grow and build a business. You have stabilizing energy, which is what it sounds like stabilizing, making sure things are good, fixing processes. Then we have production, which is the producer role, creating content, bringing in more leads, closing sales. Then you have unifying energy, which is bringing people together, making sure culturally, people are taken care of, people are happy. Then you have innovation, so innovative energy. This really helps me think about how rules are broken up.
Cole is definitely more on the production side and being the CEO and bringing the vision and building the business and pushing. I typically find that I fall more into the unifying energy and the stabilizing. That’s my role. Using those energy fields, it helps me when there’s a new project coming. What type of energy is needed for me? Everyone can be every single energy. There have been times when I need to be in that production mode, but other times I need to be more stabilizing or I need to be more unifying for the team.
We’ve really found what our natural strengths are too in that. I naturally am more unifying. The things that I think about, I do think about the people on our team more. I think about culture. I think about how people are happy and work-life balance, and being a little bit more toning things on that side. Whereas Cole’s like, “Let’s just hit a hundred million. Let’s go and drive, drive, drive.” We do have a really good balance.
What I love and appreciate about Cole and for CEOs, I think is really important, is not to make people on your team feel like those different things are bad. I’ve experienced that before where this type of energy isn’t welcomed here. In many cases, it should be, maybe it can be pivoted or changed a little bit so it fits whatever you’re working on a little bit better, but that still makes sense for the business. If I just all day long was putting together team building events for everybody, that’s not going to be productive. You’ve got to find the middle ground there, but be super welcoming of those things and understands that they’re needed, even if it’s not coming from him.
How many employees were in the company when you started, and how many are there now? It’s been a few years you’ve been there. How many now? How many were there?
There was one when I started. Technically, there were two, but it was a part-time assistant and she quit after I came on, so one. Now, I think we had over 80 people on our last team meeting.
When you go from 2 employees to 80 employees in two years, it’s not even the same kind of company. You are young. You said that you don’t want to be positioned that way and you don’t want to be painted that way, but you’re clearly good at what you do. Where have you learned how to grow an 80-person company in two years? What did you do to do it to make it happen?
In learning, I don’t know, Cameron. I just went for it. I remember the first person that I had to hire, I just kept telling Cole, “I’m tapped. I’m working 80 hours a week. I don’t know what else I can do.” He was like, “You just need to hire someone.” I’m like, “Hire somebody? I don’t know how to hire anybody.” Before that, I remember watching all these YouTube videos, reading hiring books. Before I hired my first person, I went ham on that one topic. When you go dialed into one thing, you learn a lot really quickly.
Through every new challenge that I go through, I just ask questions around that thing to Cole because he usually has done it, and I look at videos on YouTube. Something I’ve had to get really good at though, which I wasn’t good at in the beginning, is this concept of weighted believability, which is how close is this person actually to your circumstance that they deserve to be able to give you feedback that you listen to?
As an example, Cole was telling a story about he was at dinner with this billionaire. Cole was telling him some problems or some challenges we’re working through. This billionaire gave him advice, and Cole thought about it. He’s like, “I don’t think that this really is the best thing for our company.” It can be easy to think, “This guy’s a billionaire and 100 steps beyond us that we should listen to his advice,” but no one knows our situation or our company or our industry better than Cole does. You have to take into consideration the weighted believability of that.
In the beginning, I didn’t really understand that concept. I struggled and I would just do anything that if they were farther ahead than me and they gave me this advice, I would listen to it. Whereas now, I’ve really learned to have a filter on everyone’s advice. You should have the same filter for everybody talking to you and same for me. Everyone should have that filter, same with my parents. Even in my family relationships, I’ve been learning this.
My mom might give me advice that is very true for her and her experience. It is true, but for me, it may not be that relevant based on my life and my circumstance. There’s a lot of diving in, going for it, and learning how to filter information, and then I think reputation more than anything. At the beginning, Cole was dead set on protecting that. I had been in multiple other companies where that wasn’t the precedent. If you have a difficult client, “We’ll dust off our hands, and let’s refund the client and move on.”
Whereas, it is a rule with my team now. We do not off-board or refund clients until we have done every single thing possible to get them the result. Even the most difficult clients, even the clients that are a pain in the rear end that everyone wants to get rid of, we will do everything in our power to get them the result. Even when you do, sometimes those most difficult clients still won’t be happy. You can do a million things for them. Really part of the thing, people come to us for recruiting. We may do all this other stuff, fix all their other processes, train their current reps. Everything else could improve, but if they struggle with the recruiting, and that’s what they initially came in for, they’re still going to be pissed if you don’t get the result.
I think that has been a really big thing is we’ve protected at all costs because a lot of companies when they scale as fast as we have, and I’ve been at companies like this, you scale really fast, but you suffer the client results. Or you have these companies that have amazing client results, but they stay at $100,000 a month, and it’s because they don’t know how to scale without the fear of losing that result. They don’t know how to break systems. Order comes after chaos, not the other way around.
A lot of people try to sit in this mode of creating the systems and thinking about everything that they need to do before scaling. A lot of times, you don’t know how to fix the results, how to fix the systems until you push it. That was probably the biggest thing. Also, hiring top talent from the beginning. I still don’t know. I’ve asked him this question ten times. I’m always thinking he’ll give me a different answer. I’m like, “How did you get so many great people on when you were nothing?” No one really knew Cole in the beginning, but he brought in amazing talent that now, I think out of less than the first 10 people, 4 or 3 of those are on the exec team. That’s a gift that Cole has.
What does he say?
He believes in people. That was huge for me. My confidence when I came to Cole was shot. I actually selfishly took the job with Cole because I was in the worst time of my life in all areas, and I wanted some stability. I remember telling him after three weeks, I think I’m going to be here for five-plus years just based on the way that he was thinking about things. I knew he was going to build something incredible.
One of the things that he said to me that really shifted everything for me was anytime you give me feedback, I thought he was going to fire me in the beginning because that’s what I had experienced at another company I was at. I was always this threat of being fired, the whole team. You’re constantly feeling like you’re on eggshells. Every time he gave me feedback, I would get this anxiety in my body.
I called him one day and I’m like, “I need to tell you what’s going on. I feel like you’re going to fire me. Every single time you give me feedback, I get anxious. I feel sick for the rest of the day. I’m constantly in a state of anxiety. I have no confidence.” I shared with him some of the stuff from the last company. He was like, “I hear you on all of that. One, I think you should go get some therapy.” Probably true, and I did. That was helpful. He said, “I honestly think you need to win again. I don’t think there’s really anything other than that. You just need to win again. I believe in you. You can do it. There’s a reason why I brought you in. I know that you’ll win here.”
Something about that just clicked for me. It went from me wanting to have some stability in my life at that time with the paycheck to, “I’m going to win again. I’m going to do whatever it takes, if not for Cole and the company but for me.” It’s embarrassing to share that. It was that selfish, but it was. When my life started getting better and my confidence built up, then my focus shifted to, “We’re building something amazing here and our clients are doing really well.” Now, it is nothing to do with me, but in the beginning it was.
With hiring top talent, a few of my best hires are people that other people in the team didn’t think we should hire. They were the ones that were 50/50 shots because they were depressed or they had been burned, and they were jaded by the industry or right past people. I could relate to them because that’s how I was. I’m like, “If I can get someone a shot like when Cole gave me a shot like that, then what does that say about me?”
Those are now some of my best hires are those people that they just needed a few months of really good leadership and to be believed in that they could do it, and they would be respected and cared for during that. That can be all some people need. They’re A-players. You just have to give them the time, the right vehicle, and the right leadership to really step into that again. It’s a little off the rabbit trail, but that’s something I’m passionate about, to be honest.
That’s great. That’s exactly what I was looking for. You nailed that part. I want to go back to something you said about the reading because you skipped over it really fast. I want people to really understand what you said. It was something to the effect of you read the books tied to what you’re actually working on. The danger of the reading a book a day, reading the book a week is it’s great. It builds a base. It builds lots of stuff.
During the day-to-day when you’re running a company, which you weren’t back then, but if you were running a company today, reading a book a day or a book a week, it can be very random stuff that can take you off track. If you’re reading books, listening to podcasts, watching videos on YouTube, and it’s about the projects you’re working on this month or this quarter, that can be really powerful. I think you’ve actually lately started to do that, which is where your growth is going to continue to.
I want to ask a question about Cole. I believe the COO’s job is to make the CEO iconic, to make the CEO look good. You definitely have Cole up on a pedestal. You think he’s amazing and he’s wonderful. I was the same with Brian at 1-800-GOT-JUNK. I’d go through brick walls for him. It’s been a few years. There’s got to be a couple of days that Cole’s pissed you off or let you down or upset you. It’s impossible that he’s that good. We’re human. How do you keep him there when there are the normal adversities or the arguments or the stress? How do you get him back to that space that is the healthy space that we need to have in our CEOs as well?
I know I’ve brought up core values a couple times in this episode, but that I would say is why we’ve been able to keep our relationship so strong, is we always go back to our core values. One of them is radical transparency. Under radical transparency, you have to have healthy conflict. Healthy conflict is like we encourage people to argue in our company. When people have different opinions, they start shutting down. I’m like, “No, core value. Let’s go. Let’s hear it. What do you want to say? Let’s get it out and talk about it.”
It’s like with family. Your family may piss you off so much, but the next day, you’re going to hug them and you’re still going to love them because they’re family. That’s the energy I feel between me and Cole is one, when he pisses me off, I will sleep on it. I have a rule now that after 5:00 PM, I do not bring up problems or things I’m mad at. It’s called Hungry, Angry, Tired, and Lonely. If you’re any of those things, it doesn’t make a difference.
After 5:00, we don’t talk about it. The next day, I’ll call and be like, “This is how I’m feeling.” He actually taught me this methodology. It’s really simple. “This is how I’m feeling, and this is what it makes me think.” You can get away from a lot of the accusatory vibe that the other person will feel if you use that. “This happened. It made me feel hurt and a little bit upset and frustrated with you. It made me think that you don’t trust me or whatever the case is.” Using that has really been helpful. We talk everything out. Everything that’s been awkward, I call him about. If he’s upset with me, he calls me out on it. That’s it, we just talk about it.
Do you teach that simple system, “This is how it makes me feel?” Do you teach that to your team, to your employees?
You should. It’s a core foundational way to actually deal with conflict, to have the healthy conflict. Pat Leoncini of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team talks about the absence of trust, the fear of conflict as foundational parts of the five dysfunctions that if you can work through those, it’s really powerful. I was going to say I want to go back to 22-year-old, but are you 22? How old are you?
I want to go back to the 18-year-old you. You’re just getting started in your business career then, you’re just trying to go off your first job. What advice would you give yourself as the younger you? Or when you’re older, what advice are you giving to yourself right now as the younger you that you’re really listening to?
If I were to talk to my younger self, I would tell her to enjoy the process because I know you, and you’re going to get where you want to go. There’s no amount of effort or intensity that you could additionally bring that you don’t already have, but what you aren’t going to have right now is the ability to appreciate and enjoy and have fun along the way, because you think that those two things don’t go hand-in-hand. I used to think that in order to be successful, I had to be stressed because that’s what have been modeled to me from other leaders and even certain things in my upbringing. I always saw the most successful people in my life were constantly stressed. You have to have high levels of stress, and cancel out the fun stuff in order to be successful.
That’s what I would tell my younger self. If I was my younger self talking to me now, I think I would remind myself how much people’s mentorship for free meant to me back then, and for me to do more of that now. I remember when I was eighteen, when I dropped out of college, I read the books, but also the second thing I did was I volunteered at conferences. I was so broke that the only way I could go to them was to volunteer.
I actually think that everyone should do it because you meet all the speakers that you want to meet anyways. You meet everyone putting on the event. At eighteen, I was sitting in the room with billionaires in the green room, giving them water and having conversations. Their advice to me and pouring into me, and some of them I’m still in contact with them now, meant so much to me. That was a magical season of my life.
Now, it’s so easy for me to feel really busy. I don’t have as much time to get on a call with my brother’s friend who wants to start a business. They’re very early on. I’m like, “I’ve got five minutes for you.” Just being more gracious with my time and giving back despite the craziness that maybe I feel would be an important lesson to remind myself of.
That’s an amazing wrap because that’s the golden thread as to how we met. We didn’t say it, but you and I met because a few years ago, I was cold called repeatedly and emailed repeatedly and LinkedIn messages repeatedly by Connor Blakely, who at the time was fifteen and a half years old, and wanted me to mentor him. I finally did a Skype call because Zoom didn’t exist back then. I made his mom and dad wave to me to prove that his parents knew that he was on a call with, at that time, a 47-year-old guy.
I was like, “This is awkward.” I started mentoring Connor Blakeley who became a super successful young person, and that’s how you and I met was he introduced us. We have to balance that out though. I can’t have every fifteen-year-old calling me because I’ve got to have my time for myself and my fiance and my kids and my business too. Sivana Brewer, the COO for Closers.io. Thank you so much for sharing with us on the Second In Command show.
This was awesome. Thanks so much, Cameron.
I appreciate it.