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If you are an entrepreneur, you understand the difficulty of finding enough time. Between life, work, business and relationships, 24 hours in a day doesn’t seem like enough. But that’s what we’ve got.
Cody Jefferson was a motivated occupational minister for several years. During his time, he struggled in seeking success in his ministry without sacrificing time with his family and friends. After several years where it seemed as if he was sacrificing one for the other, Jefferson knew he had to step back and realign his priorities. Now, Jefferson works with high-level clients from around the world and spends a large amount of time speaking at events across the country.
Jefferson’s alignment switch helped him become more successful in his career while not losing precious moments with his family. He realized that it was possible to have success, impact and family. Through his company, Embrace the Lion, Jefferson has dedicated his life to sharing the lessons he has learned from both his mistakes and his achievements. As a highly sought-after coach and a multimillion-dollar entrepreneur, he boils down his success to answering three simple questions.
1. What do you want?
This is the first question Jefferson asks his clients. While the tendency is for people to answer this with a simple answer such as, “I want to be able to afford a new car,” or “I want to lose 15 pounds,” Jefferson prompts his clients to dig a little deeper.
“I want them to give something that is measurable,” he says. “Something that we can put a plan to and track.” Jefferson does this because he realizes that most of us don’t have a clear understanding of what we want. Maybe we fantasize about achieving wealth or raising a family, but until we gain clarity of what we want in our physical, spiritual and financial lives, we won’t be able to hold ourselves accountable.
In his own life, Jefferson found that by gaining a crystal clear understanding of what he actually wanted in life allowed him to prioritize his activities. “A lot of times we are chasing things that we don’t even want,” Jefferson says. “Or even worse, we don’t know what we want so we are wandering. That’s a recipe for disaster.”
For Jefferson, the disaster was his world turning upside down. In 2016, he walked through a very difficult divorce, lost many of the people he held dear in tragic deaths, and found himself laid up in a hospital bed. “I was septic and I knew I needed a change,” he says. “I was entirely drained and the doctors didn’t think I would make it.”
That’s when Jefferson took a hard look in the mirror and asked himself: “What needs to die in me to become the man I said I’d be?”
2. Who do you have to become?
Jefferson found the answer to his question. “I realized that I wanted to be a man that provided solutions, was fully present for his son and stayed away from destructive habits and patterns,” he says.
Before hitting rock bottom, Jefferson was exactly the opposite of that man. Overly committed to his ministry, he found himself neglecting the other areas of his life. The answer was taking a look at who he needed to be in order to live the life he wanted. For Jefferson, focusing on what he truly wanted was the key to building a life of impact and peace.
“As a pastor, I spent 13 years not really knowing what I wanted,” Jefferson says. “I found my identity in ministry and the people I could help, but I didn’t know who I was.” The key is in mapping out an action plan to confirm the identity you’re stepping into, so that you can have what you want and build confidence and certainty by keeping your word to those commitments. Do you need to be a better father to find peace at home? Or maybe you need to be more committed as a leader in the workplace to reach your financial goals? And how do you do that without, as Jefferson says, “sacrificing your soul on the altar of your success?”
Jefferson challenges his students to look at how they speak, look at how they plan, and if they’re not taking the steps to make their goals a reality—something needs to change. Jefferson’s own life, before he discovered the power of balanced leadership, didn’t reflect the man he wanted to be. Taking the time to find answers to the hard-to-chew questions made Jefferson realize how important it is to take the goals in your life seriously, and he and his business have grown and succeeded because of it.
3. What actions do you need to take?
As the final step in achieving his fulfilled and balanced persona, Jefferson realized that his words meant nothing unless his actions backed them up. “I am fiercely dedicated to being a man of my word,” he says. “If I make a promise to my son or to anyone, I keep it.”
One promise that he made is to be present for his son and all of his daily activities. “I don’t take any calls after 4 p.m., that’s for my son,” Jefferson explains. “I will also cancel a business meeting before canceling on my son. My role is father first.”
Jefferson also holds his clients to the same dedication. By leading with this kind of action, Jefferson has seen a complete change in his life and of those around him.
He believes that every day you have the choice to get up and be better and when you know the actions to take, it gets even easier. Without practical application of goals, there will never be the true work-life balance. People get caught in a cycle of “catch-up” but simple goals achieved every day can lead to a more balanced lifestyle overall. If everyone has the same hours in a day, why can some people accomplish more than others? The answer is simple: They make it happen.
Jefferson has pushed himself and his clients to rethink their daily choices to help them achieve their goals better, adopting the mentality: This is who I am, so this is what I do.
Working in a career that is heavily people-focused, Jefferson recognizes the importance of real relationships. People aren’t always easy to get along with. However, at our core, we are all the same, and we all seek genuine relationships. Jefferson has placed real relationships as a top priority in his life, and he has reaped the benefits.
When people can feel connected and at ease, they can attribute trust into the relationship. It is easier for Jefferson to connect to his clients when there is mutual trust and respect at the center of the relationship. We aren’t meant to go through life alone, and being held accountable to a higher standard makes all the difference in personal and business goals.
Jefferson founded the “Embrace the Lion” coaching program that encourages people, business owners or not, to get up and become the person they truly want to be. Every day is a new day with new choices to make that will help you achieve your goal. If you are interested in connecting with Jefferson and his program, check out his website or go give his Instagram a follow.