There are two roads to success: you can either take the painstakingly long, unpaved roads or follow the paths already laid out by those who came before you. If you’re smart, you’ll choose the latter because the one thing successful people have in common is a coach. In this episode, learn how to take back time by understanding the power of coaching. Penny Zenker sits down with Larry Long Jr., the Founder and CEO of LLJR Enterprises, the host of Midweek Midday Motivational Minute, and the author of JOLT!. He tells us about the amazing coaches that made a huge impact on his life, the lessons he learned from them, and how they taught him what being a coach truly is. Learn how to reframe perfectionism, tap into your excellence, and leverage other people’s experiences. Start taking back time in your business and life with this conversation!
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The Power Of Coaching: Leveraging People’s Experience And Rediscovering Excellence With Larry Long Jr.
In this episode, we are going to dig into the power of coaching because we talk about on this show how to take back time. What does that mean? I’m not going to give you more time because that’s not possible. However, how do we get the most out of our time? What we’re looking to do is to be more strategic in the way that we think. I’m super excited to have a good friend and a great storyteller and super enthusiast Larry Long Jr. with me. He is the Founder and CEO of LLJR Enterprises. He focuses on sales, motivation, inspiration and most importantly, transformation through speaking, coaching and training programs. He is the host of Midweek Midday Motivational Minute and is the author of JOLT!. We’re going to know a little bit about that. Without further ado, Larry, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. I’m happy to be here. I’m excited to be here. Thank you for that kind introduction. I love the topic that we’re going to be talking about.
We’re going to get into the power of coaching. Before we do that, maybe we can know a little bit about you. Tell us from your background, who are you? Who is Larry Long Jr?
I moved around a lot as a youngster. I lived in different states which helped me become the person that I am. I played baseball at the University of Maryland and was a college athlete. I cut my teeth in software sales. Also, a little bit of entrepreneurship. I’m a failed entrepreneur, but I found my passion in speaking, serving and helping to uplift people. That comes from my sports background, being able to coach people and help them. I’m privileged. I get to talk, share and tell stories for a living these days.
I love that too. We’re going to talk about the power of coaching. Since you were in sports, tell us that first moment when you realized the power of coaching because you had an amazing coach. Tell us about the amazing coaches and the impact that they had on you.
It was Little League. This would’ve been circa 1987 and 1988 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, with coach Harold Zeigler. I lived with Coach Zig because my family had moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland. He was gracious enough to open up his house for me to stay with them while we were going through the playoffs and trying to qualify for the Little League World Series. Coach Zig was one of those no-nonsense coaches.
First of all, he looks like Hulk Hogan. He’s got a mustache like Hulk Hogan. He’s got the build. He’s a strong gentleman. At the time, I was 10 or 11 years old, and his expectations were sky-high, which was awesome. We were able to exceed what we thought we could have done. He was able to get that out of each individual, which made the team amazing. He was a father figure and a guide. He expected the best out of us. He helped support us along the way. Most importantly, when I think about coaching, I think of another C-word, Care.
He showed us how much he cared about us and I still have a relationship with him now. I had the opportunity before COVID to surprise and visit him at one of their games. I told his son I was going to be there, Lance, who was one of my former teammates. I’m surprised. I hadn’t seen Coach Zig in twenty-plus years, but we still had that connection.
What was it? We’re then going to come to the modern day, but how did you know that he expected much from you and pushed you to that level? Was there something that he said or did? What stuck with you, like a nugget that you could say, “This represents Coach Zig?”
It was the communication verbal and non-verbal. It was the expectation during practice. The easy part for us was the games because our practices were rigorous. He shared with us the right way to do it. He let us know when we weren’t doing it the right way. We would repeat drills. It was like that perfectionism, but it was perfectionism with love. It was never a place of putting you down. It was, “I’m going to let you know when you’re not doing it right and I’m going to lift you up. When you do it right, I’m going to make sure I give you all the praise and you know that I’m super proud of you.” That stuck with me.
Maya Angelou has a quote, “People will forget what you said. They’ll forget what you do, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” This was many years ago. I will never forget how Coach Zig made me feel as a youngster. Thinking about him and how that makes me feel brings me so much joy. They call it the warm and fuzzies of an amazing person.
I want to reframe something you said, which is perfectionism. People see that as a negative. What I heard you say was that he had a high standard. He wanted you to get it right to meet that standard. When you did, he praised you. When you didn’t, he supported you to do it again and gave you the space to keep working at it. That’s what we learned from sports, repetition and practice. That’s how we can show up at our best for game day. I want to reframe that for people who are tuning in. It’s not about perfection. It’s about progress. He was celebrating your progress.
For those of you who are tuning in, it’s okay. You want to set high standards and you want to constantly be making progress no matter what level you’re at. I love that. I do think that that’s the role of a coach. It’s to push, challenge and care for you, at the same time celebrate your progress and keep you moving forward. That’s a great story. I love that you went to visit him because I’m sure that he totally was lit up.
He was so surprised. We kept in touch over Facebook, but we hadn’t seen each other for 30-plus years. It had been ages.
Tell us about the modern day. What’s a coaching experience from the modern day? That’s in sports. How does that relate to coaching in business and your life? You said you had a story to share with us.
I ventured out as a professional speaker. I invested in a coach and I shared with my wife how much that investment was. She said, “You’re going to pay how much? I’ll do it for half price.” I said, “I love you but when you talk, it goes in one ear and out the other.”
That’s a good point right there for everybody. People might care about you who are family and friends, but they are not the right person to coach you. You mentioned a couple of different things that represent a coach. Caring is not enough.
My coach, Kristin Frade, the fit was amazing. We were colleagues and friends before she became my coach. She challenged me. She said, “Larry, you’re on your own but your LinkedIn still shows you’re in Corporate America. What’s up with that? Essentially, I was scared. I didn’t feel like I was ready. There was imposter syndrome. She issued a challenge even before we started working together. She said, “Will you commit to updating your LinkedIn profile before the next time we meet?” I said, “No, I’m not going to commit to something that I’m not committed to.”
She took me through an exercise of all the good things that could come and all the bad things, all the things that I was afraid of. The positives outweighed the negatives. I reluctantly committed and I’m a person who if I commit to something, I’m going to do it. I updated my LinkedIn profile. I was scared out of my mind. My website wasn’t live. I didn’t have any Speaker Reel or One Pager. I was not ready.
That was up here. In your mind, you weren’t ready. That gentle push that she gave you helped you do it anyway. I read this when I was going through a tough time, “I feel the fear and do it anyway.” Feel the guilt and do it anyway sometimes if you’re feeling guilty, but it’s something that’s good for you. I’m glad that she was able to get you to do that.
It was that challenge. When I did it, I was on my way to Myrtle Beach for a golf trip, and I got 700 LinkedIn reactions, 6 business inquiries, and out of all that, there was only 1 person who said, “Do you have a website?” I said, “No, it’s going to be coming in a little bit.” She was right. In my mind, I had created this beast that was a lot scarier than it was. That was a sign of things to come because when I was writing JOLT!, I’m not the strongest writer. Let’s call spade a spade.
There were plenty of times when I was discouraged and somewhat ready to give up. Once again, coach Kristen took me through exercises of, “Why are you writing your book? Who do you want to serve? Is that mission bigger than all of these fears you have in your heart and that you have made up in your mind?” She didn’t say that I made them up but I know that I made things a lot bigger and scarier in my mind. As we work through it and chunked it down into bite-size pieces, the metaphorical elephant, I was able to come together bite by bite.
That’s so important to reconnect to that higher purpose when we get lost in the weeds and we’re losing that motivation. That’s a big one. I know writing a book is like giving birth. It’s the same with my first book. I’m in the midst of writing one, and it is a process. Give us a quick highlight of what’s the gist of your book.
I’ve been doing a Midweek Midday Motivational Minute every Wednesday at 12:00. I hop on live on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. I share a positive word. I met a book consultant who said, “Larry, you’ve got to tell your story.” I said, “I do tell my story. I speak all the time.” She said, “No, you need to write your story for those people that will never hear you speak.” We compiled the most significant and most meaningful seven topics from my Midweek Midday Motivational Minute. That’s the genesis of my book.You need to write your story for those people that will never hear you speak. Click To Tweet
What story are you telling yourself in believing is chapter one. We talk about strikeouts. They’re a part of life, and I’ve had plenty of strikeouts. I lost my father seven years ago. Chapter seven is lessons from my dad. The book is geared to help folks rediscover and believe in their inner greatness. Sometimes as we get a little bit older, I’ve got 44 years on this Earth, we forget how great and how special we are. We operate from a place of just not excellence. I believe everyone’s got excellence inside of them, but sometimes we lose where that excellence is. I’m here to give people a zap and give them that jot so that they can step back into that excellence.
I want to come back to your other coaching story, but it brings me up a couple of questions. I think this is relevant too because as you were going through this process, your coach was tapping into the excellence that you were holding back on because of fear. I call, “Fear is our kryptonite.” It keeps us back from that superpower that we have in our uniqueness. You told us a couple of things, but is there anything else that you do that might be different or that they did that helped you to tap into that excellence? One of them was eliminating fear. Is there another piece that we can leverage from now?
She got deep in terms of asking me some tough questions about why. I’ll be honest with you. She made a comment. She said, “Larry, you’re so uplifting with everyone else. You find the positive in everyone else, but when you start to refer to yourself, you turn into a whole different person and it’s not good. It’s holding you back.” She was brutally honest about how self-deprecation, limiting myself, and self-limiting beliefs are not doing me any favors.
She encouraged me to give myself grace. This all sounds good but the reason why I appreciate her coaching is that she holds me accountable. We meet three times a month and she asked me what am I committed to. I’ve made a commitment to be careful with the words that I speak about myself. She said, “Larry, you say it all the time, ‘I’m not good at Math,’ but then you figure out the problem. You’re just making that up. Don’t say that. You can’t say that.”
We totally tell ourselves that.
You talked earlier about reframing. She said, “Why not say, ‘Up until now, I haven’t been the strongest writer, but I’m a work in progress and I’m getting better. Up until now, I haven’t been good at Math. I had to use my fingers to add up numbers, but I’m a work in progress. It’s that kryptonite. My superpower is bursting through.’” It was a lot of self-discovery, self-reflection and then commitment. One big takeaway was it’s okay to not be committed.It's okay to not be committed. Click To Tweet
I used to try to commit to everything, “I’m going to do that,” then in our next session, I had all these broken commitments. I would feel bad. In my relationship with broken commitments and “failure,” I wasn’t in the best place. I’ve learned to reframe that failure. That’s an interesting word because you don’t fail as long as you don’t give up. If you learn and you share those learnings, that’s not a failure. That’s learning.
I believe it’s progress because you learn more from your failures and your missteps than you do from your successes. Success makes us lazy. It makes us not want to work harder because in fear of further failure, now that we’re successful, that extra step might screw up our balance. It gives you the power also to say no. If you know that you commit to too many things, you can also agree to have fewer commitments. It is what I’m hearing you say.
This is probably my biggest takeaway coming into 2023. It’s the concept of dreaming big, but even bigger. I’m dreaming really big in 2023. It’s scary ridiculous. It’s exciting and thrilling.
What Is it?
Do I get to put it out there?
You do because that’s what happens. You talked about accountability. If we want to achieve those big things, we have to put them out there.
I’m afraid to put it out there. By the end of 2023, I’m going to have a streaming series that’s live on a platform. I don’t know what platform. YouTube or maybe Netflix picks it up, but I never thought that I would be an author. My family, we’re thinking about doing a children’s book. I said, “I never imagined that I would be a movie producer and produce my own series.” It’s going to happen in 2023.
What is it going to be around?
It’s going to be around the JOLT! concept, helping to uplift people and showing stories of everyday folks that are stepping into their greatness. It’s the stories that we don’t hear about. You and I know them, but the world needs to hear these positive stories and see these examples. Not just inspiration or motivation but like you mentioned before, true transformation, which I don’t know the Webster’s Dictionary form definition of transformation but change. I want people to be changed by observing this. Google did a commercial. It was the year in search for 2022 and it pretty much said that people were asking, “Can I change? Can I change jobs? Can I change my mindset? Can I change my thinking and my way of operating?” My answer to that is yes and more yes.
Was that the top thing that was searched?
You’ll have to go to Google and YouTube. Google commercial year and search, “Can I change?”
It’s interesting to me that people have to ask whether they can change. We’re changing all the time. We wake up tomorrow. We are not the same person that went to bed the day before because of everything that happens. The people that we interact with, the things that we think about, and our attitudes, expectations and priorities are constantly shifting based on our circumstances, our capacity and the conditions that we live under. That’s crazy to me that people don’t understand that we’re constantly in change. I get that we don’t embrace it because we think of changes as big changes, but we’re changing every day.
In 2022, there was a lot of change in society, economic conditions, work environment and personally. love what you said. We’re always going through changes.
There are many things that we can talk about. What didn’t we talk about around the power of coaching and how it can support us? The topic is Take Back Time. It’s about how we’re more strategic in our thinking and the way we approach things. Any last thoughts or comments that you want to make around that?
I got to say thank you to you because you and I are part of a loose mastermind from the NSA Winter Workshop and we had the chance to meet. There’s power. It got me thinking, “Don’t do it alone.” I’m guilty as charged. I’ve tried to go through life and my entrepreneurial journey, “I can do this on my own. I’m Superman.” Why would you? Why not leverage other people’s experiences, the people that they know, and their network so that you can now be more productive and not bash your head against the wall if someone else has already bashed their head against the wall and they’re willing to teach it to you.” That could be in the form of books, coaching, masterminds, hype groups, and peer groups. You name it. I want to say thank you because I’m not alone along this journey with its ups and downs and its twists and turn.
It’s a faster path to success. We don’t need to spin our wheels or make some mistakes. Why not, “If you can choose not to make the long hard mistake that’s going to waste your time, would you choose to skip to the end of the line?” “Yes.” “Let’s keep beating our heads against the wall.” It is a faster path for sure and it’s more fun. It makes things more meaningful. Some people don’t reach out and I learned this a long time ago, maybe age is wisdom here.
A long time ago, I realized that people want to give and share. Sometimes, we’ll hold back them and think, “We don’t want to bother them,” or even I had a friend. She said, “Thanks for squeezing me in,” because we went for a walk together and she needed to go for a walk. She’s going through a tough time in her life another time, not in business but personally, and you need to reach out to people. When she said that, it made me realize she’s not reaching out to people because she thinks that people don’t have the time or, “Maybe you wouldn’t ask me for some resources because I don’t want to share or I’m concerned there’s competitive nature and you’ll get ahead when I don’t get ahead.”
Most people don’t think like that. If they do, you shouldn’t be hanging out with them anyway. They think, “I’d love to help you if there’s any way that I can help you.” I was like, “I am not squeezing you in. This is important to me.” We have to let go. That’s part of that fear and that, “I don’t want to be a burden,” and all of that. You have to let go of that because it’s a gift. I feel more fulfilled when I can do something for someone or when I can be in service. It would be like if somebody gives you flowers and you cut off the heads of those flowers. Allowing somebody to give to you is a gift and you wouldn’t want to say, “No, I don’t want your help.” They want to help. It’s a gift.
People care for the most part. There are some that only care about them. I call them Me Monsters, but most people would love to help and serve others.
You’re one of those people. Tell people how they can get ahold of you and then we’ll close out the show.
Thank you so much for being here. Before we jump off, any last words that you want to share?
The biggest thing that I want to share is I want to let you know, you are amazing. Don’t ever forget it. I hope that uplifts someone that needs to read that. Step into it. Believe in it. If you need help, you know where to find me.You are amazing. Don't ever forget it. Click To Tweet
Thank you so much, and thank you all for being here because you are amazing. You heard it and it is true. We talked about the power of coaching, reaching out, and getting support so that you can move further faster, and get other people around you to challenge you and help you not only see your amazingness but to achieve more than you ever thought that you could achieve because it is possible. Larry said it and I’m always a big fan of that too. Think bigger and even bigger. Whatever you got planned for 2023, go bigger. What’s even bigger than that? Put that out there. We’ll see you in the next episode.
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About Larry Long Jr.
Larry Long Jr is the Founder and CEO of LLJR Enterprises, which focuses on sales motivation, inspiration, and most importantly, transformation through speaking, coaching & training programs. He is the host of the weekly, ‘Midweek Midday Motivational Minute’ and Author of ‘JOLT!’.
As a former college athlete (He played baseball for the University of Maryland… Go Terps!), Larry is extremely passionate about coaching, and helping sales professionals and leaders take their game to the ‘next level’. As an experienced sales leader with a demonstrated history of success in SaaS sales, Larry brings a unique perspective to the table and understands many of the challenges faced by sales professionals today.
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