002: Start With Who: Interview with Kirk McDow

Part 1 of a 2 Part Podcast Interview Series with business coach and dragon slayer Kirk McDow.

Jim Holzknecht: This is Play By Play on Life, Session Number 2.
According to Genesis 1:20 – 1:22, which came first, the chicken or the egg? You have to wait until the end for the answer. Here’s the podcast.

Start your engines. Get them revving. Are you ready to play full out? Shift to a new gear, accelerate? Great! Then buckle up. It’s going to be a wild ride. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Welcome to the transformational series, Play By Play on Life. This podcast series provides tips, tools, techniques and insights on how to reduce stress and increase joy, fun, creativity, inspiration and fashion. I’m your host, Jim Holzknecht.

Today our guest is Kirk McDow. Kirk is a dynamic coaching consultant who has worked with thousands of individuals and organizations over the past 20 plus years. Whether on behalf of a solopreneur, executive or individual, he uncovers, develops and realizes quantum leap results for his clients worldwide.

Kirk, welcome to the program.

Kirk McDow: Hey, Jim. I’m super excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jim Holzknecht: Kirk, from your experience based on the clients you worked with, what tends to stop us and prevent us from playing full out in our life?

Kirk McDow: Well, let me share a little bit of a personal journey I think that might speak this. A few months back, I recently started a coaching business. So there’s a little bit of a journey about that I’d like to share with you.

A lot about my life wasn’t working for me, mostly financial, but I just, over the years, had never really broken through to where I wanted to be. It was very frustrating to me. I had huge, huge successes in other areas and accomplishments and stuff but this one thing kept nagging. And I noticed over the years, every plan, every big strategy, every big game I’d created, every new business or whatever, whatever I was doing – some new little alliance or something – everything I was doing was response to some emergencies, something that went wrong “Oh my God, how am I going to pay that loan? How am I going to do this?” or whatever.

Over the years, I just noticed those things really haven’t worked out very well. And at the time, I could kind of sense something was off but I wasn’t really willing to tell the truth to myself because, man, I need to get this thing rolling. And getting the results is way more important than how I feel or some other concern I have. You know, like that whole thing, right?

So I spent all this time, energy and money, whatever working on something that really wasn’t what I wanted at the end of the day, for one reason or another. So I start to think about that little bit and I started to go back to some work I’ve done in the past and really look at the possibility of inventing who I am. Some people might call it your ‘why’ but for me it’s literally inventing who I am like his way of being, but it’s really like inventing who I am. And for me, that is what I created as who I am is contribution. Who I am is contribution.

And then, what there was for me to do started become very clear. Well, first thing I need to do is fulfill the possibility of contribution out in the world. What I noticed was when I was clear about who I am and what I’m here for, what I want my life to be for – or actually what my life is for – kind of what there was to do and the plan and the questions I had, mostly, not always, but mostly answered themselves pretty quick, because now I was really clear what I was looking from.

Jim Holzknecht: That’s really great where you speak to [unintelligible 3:41 – 3:41]. In Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why, he talks about this, what you just mentioned and he says a lot of companies – and individuals for that matter, too – but a lot of companies start from the outside and work in, rather than from the inside and work out. And it sounds like what you really did was create something from the inside and work out. It was a natural expression of who you were.

in Start with Why, Simon Sinek also equates ‘why’ with being us, being. So who accompany is being and who an individual is being is really about their ‘why’. At the core starting with ‘why’ is starting with who.

So I’d like to think of it as start with who, generating yourself, tapping into that, being responsible for who you’re being out in the world. And if you’re starting with who, you’re also starting with why, they’re synonymous. What would you say about that?

Kirk McDow: /Yes. So I think that’s exactly right. So in the past, I was responding to this outside stimuli saying, “Oh, I’ve got to get this amount of money by this amount of time,” which by the way is an honorable intention. We should pay our bills. There’s nothing wrong with that. But coming from that state of emergency or crisis, nothing really got created. It’s just kind of balancing around from one thing to the other.

Jim Holzknecht: It demonstrates what we’re speaking to in this starting from the outside and working in, and how usually that doesn’t produce very good results. But when we really get in touch with what matters to us, what provides meaning to our life, what adds value, what connects at a deeper level, everything else will fall into place.

Kirk McDow: The breakthrough happens in the new ‘why’. The breakthrough happens in the new “What is my life for?” The breakthrough happens in the new “This is who I am now in the world.” That’s the breakthrough.

And then, there’s a new future possible. And then, what is there to talk about which what we’re talking about how to fulfill that new future. So I just want to say just that way for a minute. The breakthrough happens at the beginning, and the results happen over time depending on the scope and the particular game you’ve chosen to create. Some games don’t happen in ten seconds. Some games take a lifetime.

Jim Holzknecht: What would you recommend for somebody, if they said, “Well, I don’t know what I want”? What would you suggest?

Kirk McDow:/ In our world, our busy, chaotic, high-pressure world, there’s really no space. There’s the next appointment. There’s the next bill. There is the next goal. There is the next thing to buy. Or, if you’re in an emergency situation, there’s like getting shelter. Most people live a life that is just fast and chaotic. And smart phones, things beeping at you moment by moment like they’re just literally – I don’t mean it figure – literally there is no space.

So first thing you got to do is somehow carve out little space for yourself so that you can actually contemplate for a minute the current trajectory that your life is on. We don’t, when we’re having our coffee in the morning trying to get to work, trying to get to the door in 15 minutes, we’re doing that thinking “Wow.”

“Who am I?” and “What is my life really for?” and “Is that the life that inspire me?” And “Is that the legacy I want to leave for my family and friends?”

So you need to create some space to actually stop and take some stock of what the current trajectory – what’s really so? What’s the game you’re actually playing with your life? Are you playing pretty much default game of “Let me see how many toys I can accumulate before I hit the grave”? That’s the game a lot of people play, but they wouldn’t say that. They wouldn’t admit that, and in fact, don’t even notice this.

So what I’m saying is you got to create some space to notice whatever the game is you’re actually playing. And then from there, you can then choose, hey, is that a game I’m really proud of? Does that light me up? Does it inspire me? Would I be proud to share that with my children? Does it have that quality about it?”

And then, if not, there may be some work to do, like what would inspire that kind of passion? Or what have you be connected to that which excites you, that you love and brings you joy?

Once you’re clear who you’re being, and in this particular conversation, it’s something that you just created. Who I’m being is contribution or whatever is it that you created. And I don’t want to say it casually like that. When I created who am I is contribution, that’s real for me, that’s authentic. That’s more authentic for me than my name is Kirk McDow or I’m a coach or I’m a drummer. I’m also a drummer, by the way. I’m a coach or drummer or my history or I’m from New Orleans or whatever. What’s most true for me if someone ask me who I am, it’s who I am is contribution.

So once I look from there, then different actions start to look obvious and clear, and it just adds a little clarity to that. And then, the results you get at the end are a correlate to the actions that you just took, which are correlate to the possibility you just created, like the new future you created.

So I just want to bring the clarity to what it’s really about is looking at what results you’d like to have in the future, and then create actions that correlate to your possibility that would get you to where you want to go.

<Jim Holzknecht: What I’m hearing is to play full out, it’s really a combination of being and doing. You got to generate that, be who you want to be. You also have to be doing the actions.

So it starts with who you’re being AKA your ‘why’, and then you work backwards from that to determine your actions and what you want to do.

Kirk McDow: Yeah, that’s really well-distinguished. And I think that’s the kind of thing that deserves to get set often because I think it’s the key to the fulfilment of what anybody’s really committed to.

Jim Holzknecht: On the core then for people to actually look at, for example, share what actions shifted. Like, you coming from a place of contribution now, all of a sudden look to some of the different social media elements and things like that as to how you could actually add value and contribute to people out there, rather than try to sell them something or whatever. Share about what kind of shift happen when you started to make that change.

Kirk McDow: In the past, I looked around for who could I sell myself or my coaching service to. And that didn’t go particular well. What the difference today is I’m now literally looking around for – and for me the most fun playful way – people I can contribute to. And I actually create a fun little character, a persona back, I call myself The Dragon Slayer.

Jim Holzknecht: The Dragon Slayer, I love it. After slaying dragons.

Kirk McDow: So for me, what that looks like is I’m somebody who’s willing to put themselves on the line. And I invite people to come to a 30-minute free call with me. I promise I’ll have a breakthrough. Like I promise I’ll have a breakthrough in 30 minutes.

And there’s no pressure or anything about that. Because who I am as contribution, of course, I will do that. It just became obvious. So I didn’t construct that and then figure out how to make it become contribution. I got clear of about who I am, and then that was one of the things that just became obvious, “Oh, of course, I’ll do a free coaching call in which the real deal happens”

It’s not a conversation about buying my service. It’s like, “No, no, no. You bring something real to me. I’ll bring the dragon slayer to you. We’re going to mix this party up, and then if you’d like to have a conversation with me about my business, you’re welcome to do that, but I’m not going to bring that up.”

Jim Holzknecht: Great. So if people are interested in participating in the challenge, where would they go to get more information?

Kirk McDow: Probably the best place to go would be my Facebook page called The Challenge Call.

Jim Holzknecht: Thank you for listening. Kirk, thank you so much for being on the show and generously giving your time today. Just so many great insights, so many good things.

Go to The Challenge Call, go to his Facebook site, and take advantage of that. Is there anything that you want to say to our listeners in closing?

Kirk McDow: Yes. Have this time you spent listening to this podcast, being with me and Jim, have this time you spent be a crossroads for you. And consider that it’s a crossroad where you have a choice in front of you. And the choice could look like “Am I going to continue on the current trajectory that I’m on?” or, “Am I going to take a look at the trajectory that I am on?” And “Do I want to create something completely new?” And have this be an opportunity to really choose that powerfully for yourself.

Because what you’re, where you’re at, what you’re doing maybe perfect for you. If that’s the case, you should definitely keep doing that, right? But my stand is you actually look and choose powerfully. And then, if there’s something you want to create, do whatever there is to create then.

Jim Holzknecht: This is the first of the two-part series with Kirk McDow. Be sure to tune in to Session Number 3 with Kirk entitled Dream Team and Dream Killers.

The answer to the question we’ve all been waiting for. What came first, the chicken or the egg? According to Genesis, the chicken, of course, came before the egg. See? Now we can rest easy. Our life is complete. We know the chicken came before the egg. Nice.

If you have ideas or topics that you’d like to see covered in this podcast series, go to our Contact session at www.playbyplayonlife.com/contact. So give us your feedback. Let us know what you want to hear, what topics you like to see and we will do our best to put it up.

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