Leaders as Humble as They are Successful

Refreshingly candid conversations with some of today's most humble leaders. Adam Kaufman dives into topics often left unexplored. His guests’ challenges, fears, and motivations show what it takes to become a humble leader.

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John DiJulius: Finding the Gift in Every Situation

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John DiJulius: Finding the Gift in Every Situation

John DiJulius travels the globe working with the most-respected companies on their customer experience. Starbucks. Disney. The Ritz Carlton.... Having overcome significant challenges in his own life -- like being asked to retake every year of elementary school -- John ultimately failed out of college, and also dealt with major family challenges. Successfully navigating these curves in the road, John has built two award-winning businesses, and is now asked to speak around the world about his positive outlook and his commitment to service excellence. John tells every story with a smile and he motivates and inspires everyone around him.



John DiJulius is redefining customer service in corporate America today. He didn’t read the books on customer service, he wrote them: Secret Service, Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service, What’s The Secret? To Being a World Class Customer Service Organization, The Customer Service Revolution, The Best Customer Service Quotes Ever Said, and The Relationship Economy One of the most captivating and charismatic speakers today, John’s keynotes and workshops are used by world-class service companies to provide unforgettable customer service every day. In his high-energy presentations, he uses powerful visuals as he discusses the 10 commandments of customer service and explains how to improve the service aptitude of employees at all levels.

As the authority on world-class customer experience, organizations across America use his philosophies and systems for creating world-class service. He has worked with companies such as the The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Panera Bread, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PWC, National City Bank, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-a, and many more, to help them continue to raise the bar and set the standard in service that consistently exceeds customer expectations.

John is not just telling others how to do it. His strongest attributes may not only be that he has the experience of working with extremely large companies, but knows how to translate those processes to fit small business models as well. Not only is John the Owner, President and Chief Revolution Officer of The DiJulius Group, he is also the Founder, President and Owner of John Robert’s Spa; Named one of the Top 20 Salons in America with multiple locations (and over 150 employees), which he uses as living laboratories to test his findings and theories.


Excerpt from “The Customer Service Revolution,” by John DiJulius

Chapter 12


So countless others do as well

Who are you not to be great? Who are you to be ordinary? Who are you to deny greatness? If you would deny it to yourself, you would deny it to the entire world. How dare you to be ordinary?

I gave my best

This may sound mean or unsympathetic, but one of my least favorite sayings is “I gave my best.” To me, it is an unacceptable crutch; I don’t want to hear it.

My personal feeling is this: when the goal is to accomplish great- ness, go where no one or team has gone before. I wasn’t asking for your best effort; your best is what you were capable of in the past. I was expecting you to figure it out, to try a thousand ways, if need be try another thousand ways, expecting you to innovate, lose sleep, get around it, find loopholes, research, sweat like you never have before. Every extraordinary accomplishment, invention,

or revolution was not a result of someone giving his or her best. Somehow that person or group found a way to do what no one else could do; they did the impossible; they did what no one had ever done before. The real issue is: it’s not the effort that is in question at the moment or during the event; it’s what you put into it lead- ing up to it. Whether you win or lose, get the sale, or ace the test, it is all determined by the effort given in preparing for the event. Every match is determined long before the contest happens. So the next time you fail, before you want to make yourself feel better by saying “I did my best,” consider if you had given your best in the preparation. The actual effort given in the event has the littlest to do with the outcome.

Each of us has the ability to impact thousands of people’s lives through providing genuine care for others, whether it is called Customer service or human service. One of my favorite quotes is by author Marian Wright Edelman, who said, “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.” However, it is critical that each of us under- stand the purpose of why we were given this amazing gift of life and what we were put here for, what we are to accomplish in the short time we have. You can’t just deliver world-class service at work; it has to be something that is in you, in all areas of your life. It is who you are; it is the way you treat your family, neighbors, coworkers, Customers, and strangers. And remember, there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet.

I really like how actor Matthew McConaughey said it, while he accepted the Academy Award for best actor in a leading role for his part in Dallas Buyers Club: “My hero, that’s who I chase . . . My hero is me in ten years . . . Every day, every week, every month, every year of my life, my hero is always ten years away. I am never going to be my hero, I am not going to attain that, I know I am not.

That’s just fine with me, because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”71

Personal purpose statement

Over the last ten years, I have had a personal purpose statement, a vision of what I want to accomplish in my lifetime, and which has served me greatly through good times and some very tough times. I have had this vision posted on my bathroom mirror, it is in my wallet, and it’s on my desk in my office. It reads, “Live an extraordinary life so countless others do as well.”

I don’t want to live an extraordinary life so I have a bigger bank account, nicer car, house, and more toys. I know that if I live an extraordinary life, so many others will as a result. And if I do not find a way to live an extraordinary life, I will probably end up cheating thousands of people.

Undeveloped potential cheats those around us, those we touch, influence, and impact, as well as deprives ourselves of joy, satisfaction, and opportunities. Living our life to its fullest potential is not an opportunity; it is our responsibility. It is an obligation to be the best version of ourselves we possibly can be, every day. Not just for us and how our life will benefit, but also for all the people depending on us: our spouse, children, friends, employees, coworkers, Customers, and our community.72

Living an extraordinary life is living fully. I believe that we all have enormous potential inside each of us, and if there are parts of that potential that we do not develop, we are cheating the rest of the world out of the contribution that we could have made.

So if I don’t live fully, I don’t just deny myself a lot of joy and satisfaction; I deny the rest of the people in the world the benefit of what I could have contributed. Success is when you are fir- ing on all eight cylinders, mentally, physically, emotionally, with family, socially, in your career, financially, and spiritually—all of those are part of you and they all deserve your very best. Living an extraordinary life is like when the flight attendant says, “You must put your own oxygen mask on first before helping those around you.” When you first hear that, it actually sounds a bit selfish. However, what use will you be to anyone else if you do not take care of yourself first?

A personal purpose statement is not something you just write out, post, and expect automatic achievement from. You need to make yourself accountable—it needs to be measurable. For me, liv- ing an extraordinary life means there are so many things I need to be working on daily, personally, and professionally. It is everything from whom I am spending my time with (are they positive or negative influences in my life?) to my health, exercise, and diet. Some people think that if they eat junk food all day, that is their business. However, I realize that if I eat a poor diet, it is one of the most selfish things I can do. Because when I get home after work, I am going to be exhausted and irritable and not have any good energy left to spend with my boys. Therefore, I just cheated them. It is not only living longer, but it is the quality of life I want to have during my fifties, sixties, and beyond.

Any time I am feeling like I am not living an extraordinary life, and that is more times than I like to admit, I can look at my key drivers and see why—see what I am neglecting—and hopefully I can get right back on track.

What if today is the last day of your life?

Are you ready? Did you do what you were put on this earth to do? Did you make the impact in people’s lives you were capable of? We don’t get much say over how or when we die, but we do get to decide how we are going to live, so decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this what you want to do every day? Are these the people you want to spend your time with? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger, kinder, more compassionate? Can you love more? Can you care more? Can you show more appreciation? Can you forgive? What are you waiting for?

How different would our world be today if Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Edison, Nelson Mandela, and other greats just chose to be ordinary?

Our greatest fear should be that we will not realize our fullest potential before we die.

Did I utilize my potential today?

My greatest fear is that before I die, I won’t realize my fullest potential of the talents given to me to use. What a waste if I don’t. Think about it: What if God could have given my talents to someone else who would have done more with it? They say a runner has two fears before he runs a race: the first one is that he will not have enough energy to finish the race strong, and the second fear is that he will have some energy left when he finishes. I don’t want to have anything left when I am done.

Think for a moment: if you die tomorrow, would you have reached your fullest potential as a spouse, parent, son/daughter, employee, coworker, service provider, leader, neighbor, and friend? The following is an exercise I did that I challenge you to do: ask yourself if you are reaching your fullest potential in all areas of your life. Write a few sentences about each of the people or groups of people that are important to you. Start with “Did I utilize the potential I had inside of me to my . . .”

  • spouse?
  • children?
  • leadership team?
  • employees?
  • Customers?
  • friends?

    Below is what I wrote about each group after doing this exer- cise. I am not this person yet—it is who I want to be. However, when I do read this (try to a few times a week), I do seem to be closer to that person than the days I do not. I hope my examples help you in crafting your own responses.

  • Did I utilize the potential I had inside me to make my spouse feel so loved, so beautiful, so sexy and smart every day? Did I remind her what a wonderful mother she is and how fortunate I am to have her as a partner? Did I tell her that I could not be the person I am today if it weren’t for the support and love that she continues to give me?
  • Did I utilize the potential I had inside me to make my children feel that they were the most special human beings ever born? Did they feel that they could accomplish anything because they believe in their own ability and have phenomenal self- esteem because of the way I make them feel every day?
  • Did I utilize the potential I had inside me to inspire leaders to take risks, make them realize that it’s all right to fail, to dream? Did I tell them what I think they can accomplish? Did I let them know the greatness I see in them and that there is nothing they can’t do?
  • Did I utilize the potential I had inside me to help my company achieve its potential? Did I make clear my vision and purpose of why our company exists? Did I find a way to articulate that message to my team and get them to under- stand the critically important roles they play in that vision? Am I doing everything in my power to make sure the company is on the right path to benefit everyone on the team long term, which will produce plenty of job opportunities, advancement, and both personal and professional fulfillment through their careers?
  • Did I utilize the potential I had inside me to help my Customers gain an unfair competitive advantage? Did I deliver more than what they were expecting? Did they feel like I was one of the best investments that they have ever made?
  • Did I utilize the potential I had inside me to be a great friend to the people I know well and have known for a long time? Did I make the effort to stay in touch and remind them that I was always there for them, even if we didn’t talk but once a year? Did they know that I would drop anything for them in a moment’s notice? Did they realize that there was nothing I wouldn’t do for them? Did they know that I still enjoyed seeing them, and did I always ask about their families and their work?

    I invite you to live an extraordinary life so countless others will. Change the world by creating a customer service revolution.


A radical overthrow of conventional business mentality designed to transform what employees and Customers experience. This shift pro- duces a culture that permeates into people’s personal lives, at home and in the community, which in turn provides the business with higher sales, morale, and brand loyalty—and which makes price irrelevant.

Dave Douglas: Welcome to another episode of Up2. Eight years ago, Up2 started as a live event series showcasing leaders who are as humble as they are successful. The humility piece is extremely important, as we identify leaders who can inspire others. We try to focus our interviews on the non-business aspects of their lives and in doing so have found there is a real thirst to explore their hearts and minds in atypical ways. Our host as always is Adam Kaufman and our guest today is John DiJulius. Right now you're listening to the Up2 Podcast. We'll be right back.

Adam Kaufman: One of the aspects of podcasting I enjoy the most is the ability to delve into long form discussions without any interruption, other than a periodic commentary about one of our partners. I'm grateful that Calfee Ohio-based law firm has agreed to partner with us. They have offices throughout Ohio and also in Washington D.C. in New York and Indianapolis too. They are a full service firm, every type of legal need. One example I'll share right now because so many of our listeners are entrepreneurs is, not too long ago a friend of mine sold his company to a public corporation. And with that came some restrictions and ramifications on his future employment. To navigate through that properly, he asked my advice and without hesitation I recommended Calfee because I knew they'd have the right type of specialist to help him with his particular needs. My friend continues to rave about that experience and I'm very grateful that Calfee has agreed to partner with Up2. So whether it's selling your own business or the more routine needs of creating your first will or anything in between, this firm can really do it all in terms of legal needs. Once again, the firm is Calfee. You can find them at calfee.com or on the UP2 Foundation website.

Dave Douglas: Welcome back. You're listening to the Up2 Podcast. Here's your host, Adam Kaufman.

Adam Kaufman: So today I'm super excited to have with us, someone who can only be considered as a global leader in his field of work, John is considered among the world's foremost experts on customer service, as he has worked with many practically all of the companies best known for customer service, excellence. Companies like Starbucks. If you've ever heard of that, Ritz-Carlton, Chick-fil-A, Nordstrom. He's one of those people who, when you hear about all that he's accomplished, you wonder how does he do at all? Our guest today is the founder of two successful businesses, a multi-location upscale salon and spa that I used to attend when I needed haircuts. Also, a customer experience consulting business that has him traveling all over the world. He's additionally, a four-time bestselling author. My favorite book of his is What's the Secret?

Adam Kaufman: We can talk about that a little bit, John and he travels worldwide as a keynote speaker. He's the founder of a very special foundation called Believe in Dreams, which aims to fulfill the dreams of underprivileged individuals who overcome adversity. And John has done all of this raising three boys, mostly on his own, simply remarkable. John DiJulius, welcome to the podcast where we feature leaders who are as humble as they are successful. What have you been up to?

John DiJulius: Thank you. It's such a pleasure to be here. Up to a lot with the new normal.

Adam Kaufman: What is new normal like for you?

John DiJulius: I've really enjoyed and made the most out of the opportunity, the quarantine that we've come out of? I just thought it was a great opportunity to pivot in every area professionally and personally. The first thing, I think was important is to find the gift, personally and professionally. So the gift at home to have that quality time to not be traveling, to be present, get better work outs and-

Adam Kaufman: You usually travel a lot, right?

John DiJulius: Every week.

Adam Kaufman: Right. So you're gone, do you say half the time or?

John DiJulius: Yeah. Probably half the time.

Adam Kaufman: I define my travels half the time. So it's been a gift to travel.

John DiJulius: Yeah, totally.

Adam Kaufman: What have you been doing with that additional time that would normally be traveling, not even the work part, but what have you been doing with that time?

John DiJulius: Yeah. Not even having a commute time and adding that back in, getting the best workouts I have, since I was probably in college and I found a new love for cooking.

Adam Kaufman: Really?

John DiJulius: Yeah. I mean, I used to burn salads on purpose, so I would never be asked to do anything.

Adam Kaufman: What are you cooking?

John DiJulius: Grilling.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah.

John DiJulius: So I don't know if that really counts.

Adam Kaufman: No, that's what I do. I hope it counts.

John DiJulius: Every night, I'm outside grilling on the patio and doing that. And the other thing I'm doing and I'm always pretty good at this, but now I'm just obsessed is consuming books, podcasts, videos. I love it. Probably two to three hours a day, not in a row, but it fires me.

Adam Kaufman: I love hearing that because I often ask busy achievers like you, what are you reading? What are you learning? What is inspiring you? So, what are some of your favorite new publications or in addition to the Up2 Podcast, what's your favorite podcast?

John DiJulius: I love Moonshots.

Adam Kaufman: Moonshots. That's-

John DiJulius: Love it. How We Built This, a bunch of customer service ones, just to make sure I'm not missing anything. I love Tom Bilyeu, Impact Theory.

Adam Kaufman: Oh, I don't know that one.

John DiJulius: Oh, he's great. He's great.

Adam Kaufman: Okay. Impact Theory.

John DiJulius: He started Quest.

Adam Kaufman: Wow.

John DiJulius: I love Brené Brown.

Adam Kaufman: Yes. Inspiring. She's great.

John DiJulius: Yeah. All those. And then when the quarantine happened, I found myself at night watching Breaking Bad and binge watching all that. And so there was several. I enjoyed it, I thought it was a good escape, but I don't know if it's just me and I went through several different of those series and watching them all. I couldn't find one that was inspiring. Right? That I wanted to be the main character, Breaking Bad.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah.

John DiJulius: Don't necessarily want to-

Adam Kaufman: Don't want to be Heisenberg.

John DiJulius: Right.

Adam Kaufman: I want to look by Heisenberg.

John DiJulius: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: Tough guy.

John DiJulius: I couldn't find any that made me want to be a better person in any way. So I stumbled back onto audio books. I usually only Kindle and I've been obsessing over biographies. So just literally in the past two weeks, I've done three. Michelle Obama, Elon Musk. And then right now listening to Shoe Dog, Phil Knight.

Adam Kaufman: I read the book. Does he read his own or was it somebody else?

John DiJulius: No. So he did the prologue, but it's someone else. It is something, yeah. But to me, those are exactly like a binge watching show. Because I can't wait to get back in the car to see how he gets out of this mess that he's in and he's about to go bankrupt and all these things and they've filled that entertainment need.

Adam Kaufman: Good. I feel like the most dramatic stories are usually true stories when we're entertained. I'm always talking to our kids when we want some show or movie, but then I surprise them at the end saying, "That's a true story." Whether it's Phil Knight or some other entrepreneurs navigating curves in the road, it can be inspirational and you can apply it to your own life.

John DiJulius: Oh my God. In so many ways.

Adam Kaufman: Where do you think the entrepreneurship in you came from? I'm not familiar. Were your parents in business or is this something that you think you were just born with? In high school were you experimenting with ideas on starting businesses? Where do you think it came from?

John DiJulius: I don't know. I always questioned things in an annoying way. Like, "Why don't you do it that way?" Sometimes it was to learn and sometimes it was to push back because it just didn't make sense. I struggled in school. I was requested, didn't, because my mom wouldn't let me, but I was requested to repeat every grade from first through 12th. I literally have my grade school transcripts hanging up. I was not accepted on St. Joe's, which my older brothers went. We had to pull some strings and I got in there and I graduated dead last. And then-

Adam Kaufman: But in four years?

John DiJulius: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: So that was a lot of work for you, I imagine then, given what you've said about-

John DiJulius: Yeah. I didn't do much.

Adam Kaufman: Oh. So it wasn't hard. It was pretty easy.

John DiJulius: It wasn't. Yeah, it was really easy.

Adam Kaufman: Oh, congratulations.

John DiJulius: Then I went to Cleveland State, which back then wasn't a very tough school and flunked out and then eventually graduated. It took me seven years.

Adam Kaufman: I didn't know that. Right away, did you start cutting hair or was that idea number four or five?

John DiJulius: So I loved to share these parts with kids. What I mean by kids, which is so is depressing, is probably anyone under 35.

Adam Kaufman: I know. It's awful. Your intern said, "Mr. Kaufman, do we get in?"

John DiJulius: Right.

Adam Kaufman: I wanted to be like his cool equal.

John DiJulius: Right. Did you try to fist bump him?

Adam Kaufman: I know. He's like, "Get out here, bald, fat guy."

John DiJulius: This is where I think our maybe college system is a little backwards. You have college-age kids is asking an 18 year old to pick a major of what they think they might want to do for the next 50, 60 years.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. How are you supposed to know?

John DiJulius: And so my two primary careers that I absolutely love were total mistakes. Had we been friends prior to either one of those and you would have said, "John, someday, you're going to be in the salon business." I would've said, "Adam, I'll bet you a dollar, give you a million to one odds that ain't going to happen." I finally graduate, I'm driving a truck for UPS and all I want to do is own my own business. Knew that. I literally stayed up at night. So the two things I love is own my own business and I love sports. So the only two plus two I can come up to was that I was going to open a sporting goods store back in the late '80s. Right? Because that was the only thing, I wasn't going to play and be in sports that way.

John DiJulius: So I said, "All right, man, I'm going to take this job at UPS." Because I was working there and it was a great paying job for me, worked there for five years, put some money away and then opened my business. So meet my wife. She's this great hairdresser who back in the late '80s, early '90s, was a very unprofessional industry. They didn't take care of customers, they didn't take care of employees. It wasn't great experience. So she was this great hairdresser and they had a big following, but she didn't have health insurance. She didn't have vacation. There was no education. A lot of her coworkers who loved the business, really loved doing hair, had to quit to go get real jobs.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. Couldn't afford to follow their passion.

John DiJulius: Right. Some you're loosing really good people. So I said, "Hey." To me, the UPS was golden handcuffs at the time, because I'm making like four-

Adam Kaufman: And you had good benefits, I imagine.

John DiJulius: Amazing.

Adam Kaufman: The opposite of the hairdresser.

John DiJulius: Exactly. So when I graduated from Cleveland State in '89, my marketing degree was getting me $22,000 offers where I could go driving it ups for 45.

Adam Kaufman: Wow.

John DiJulius: Which was to me a... I mean, I grew up on welfare. So, to me that was a billion dollars. So I took the UPS job again but it became golden handcuffs. So I'm like, "All right, if me and my wife opened a salon for her and we do things differently and we offer real job benefits, great customer service, take care of employees and give back to the community, that would take off hopefully, and then I'd be able to quit my job and go my sporting goods store."

Adam Kaufman: So did you come up with the hair salon idea because of her particular passion for it?

John DiJulius: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: Okay. It's not like you identified that industry-

John DiJulius: When I started learning about it and she'd complain all the time about the limitations of her salon and I'm like, "Why don't you just go to another salon?" She's like, "Every salon is like this." So I was like, "That's wrong." So, we found a huge opportunity that we thought we could change. So that, I was excited about.

Adam Kaufman: Then John Roberts Spa and Salon grew to one of the highest rated. I used to see those industry rankings just because of our friendship. And it was really impressive. It wasn't just about the size or number of locations, but customer satisfaction. So, before you became this customer service expert, you really leaned into that within your own business.

John DiJulius: Well, when we opened in '92, we had the three no's. We had no money, no employees and no customers. Like every city, you could throw a rock in any direction and hit another salon.

Adam Kaufman: There's so many.

John DiJulius: Right. So how do you compete? We couldn't build a nicer facility. Couldn't advertise, we had no money. So I said, if we could create an unbelievable experience, which is basically free and I didn't want to have a salon experience that was the best you or your wife could have in the salon industry. Because, that's the mistake I believe most companies do. They say, "We're the best in our industry?" Well, let's say that's true. It's kind of irrelevant. Because you wouldn't come into John Roberts Spa today and then leave and go to a competitor and compare and say, "Oh my gosh, they are so much better. Or they're not. You didn't need a salon for a few more weeks or a few more months. But what would you do? You'd run up to the mall and go shopping. You'd have a dentist appointment, you'd meet a buddy for lunch or a business meeting and you would be comparing your experiences and you might be frustrated when you went to the doctor's office and say, "God, I wish these receptionists would look up and realize I'm standing in front of them like they did at John Roberts."

Adam Kaufman: So you compared, you're benchmarking against other industries, not just your own.

John DiJulius: We wanted to be the best experience of your day.

Adam Kaufman: Didn't I read somewhere I was preparing for this and maybe one time you quoted, you want to be the gateway to Paris or something for your customers.

John DiJulius: They're a 60 minute vacation to Paris.

Adam Kaufman: Yes. Right, right.

John DiJulius: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: I mean, that's very innovative to think like that.

John DiJulius: We created a day in the life of a customer and a typical customer is our life getting up at, especially we're 80% female. Right? So your wife, she's getting up probably at 4:45 or 5:45 to get a workout in before she has to get the kids off to school, get you set-

Adam Kaufman: Out of her way.

John DiJulius: Out of her way. Dealing with some temper tantrums by you or by the kids. And then she has her day and rush hour jobs, customers, all that. Then she might be the Uber driver tonight, picking up and dropping off her kids. And so, we wanted to give her that 60 minute escape to rejuvenate her, to want to be super woman again. She's given and given and given. That was our modem. And so what happened was because we started to make a lot of noise in the early to mid '90s, people in Cleveland would ask me to speak at a chamber or something. I was flattered.

John DiJulius: Again, if you would have told me... I thought I was going to be the Starbucks of salons, that we are going to open one every day in every city and that was going to be my future. If you would have said, "John, someday, you're going to be in the salon industry, you're going to be speaking...." I said, "I don't want to. No way." But what ended up happening... So people in Cleveland started asking me to speak and I was flattered. Right? Then I was also thinking it was good PR for the salon. If you came to the chamber and you hear about John Roberts, maybe you'd be a customer.

Adam Kaufman: Totally.

John DiJulius: Totally looked at as that way.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: And then every time I did speak two or three people would come up to me and say, "Hey, can I hire you to do this for my company?"

Adam Kaufman: So it was truly accidental. That was on my list here. Question number three, how did you then move into the advisory and speaking work on customer service, which is just one aspect of your day job, so to speak? You didn't become an expert in types of hair products or makeup, but in customer service. So that was accidental just because of your own passion?

John DiJulius: Yeah. And again, so go back to the original story. I tell kids, I tell my own kids, I tell my interns, there's a few percent of us at six, at 15 Bernie Marino and listening to your podcast knew at five, he wanted to be in the car business. Some people do, but for the majority of us, I just say, go do shit, right? Can I say that?

Adam Kaufman: You can say whatever you want.

John DiJulius: Okay.

Adam Kaufman: Yes.

John DiJulius: Go get a degree and go do stuff. Because at 21, I've literally had people, they got an accounting degree. I say, "Why?" Because they hated it, they change. I say, "Why did you do that?" They said, "Because my uncle is an accountant and he drives the nicest car." That's not really enough to base it on. Right?

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: So anyway. Yeah. So then, I started getting more and more speaking opportunities and up to 2002, I was a salon owner that spoke six to 12 times a year, not for a lot of money. Then my first book came out then, and that literally took me out. And then I became a speaker that owned salon.

Adam Kaufman: Right. You had a book, I remember, before every entrepreneur had a book. Now it's really common. Like if you see, and I love Verne Harnish's conferences, he lists every speaker and then the book right next to it, it's like compulsory, you have to have a book.

John DiJulius: Right.

Adam Kaufman: But you did that long before it so common almost as a business card. So you must enjoy writing a little bit. It's not just a... You didn't do it just for lead generation.

John DiJulius: I did it because I knew that was the gurus, the big time speakers. When I said, "I think I want to do this now." They said, "You got to write a book."

Adam Kaufman: And so did the speaking lead to consulting engagements?

John DiJulius: Yeah. I started getting hired because I was in the right place at the right time.

Adam Kaufman: Again, not looking for that. It's not like you set out to start a consulting practice.

John DiJulius: No, no. I started getting to do keynotes for Starbucks or Chick-fil-A or Ritz-Carlton. I started seeing that they all had the same thing in common, regardless of the industry Nestle, Pricewaterhouse. And it didn't matter what industry, but there was this methodology that I was able to kind of codify.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. Isn't it true? You just mentioned Starbucks. Did I read that you helped create their service vision and it's sewn on the inside of their barista aprons?

John DiJulius: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: That's amazing.

John DiJulius: I loved Starbucks since they opened. There is a pending restraining order with me and Howard Schultz, I just idolized the guy.

Adam Kaufman: Oh, you're joking.

John DiJulius: I am joking.

Adam Kaufman: Okay. I thought you were serious.

John DiJulius: But there could be.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: I just idolize the guy, his three books that he's written were all my favorite books of all time. I just think he's one of the people and I hope I don't find out any... I was kind of happy he backed off running for president.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: Because when you read about Steve jobs or Elon Musk, you're like, "Now I see in order to be so great at something you have to have serious flaws in other areas."

Adam Kaufman: I know what you're saying about Steve jobs. I've known two people who worked directly for him and yes, he was a tough person for him to work, but I haven't heard that about Howard Schultz.

John DiJulius: Yeah. That's what I'm saying. The way he is and what he's done for his employees and what he does for communities and social injustice.

Adam Kaufman: Yes.

John DiJulius: I mean, he's so ahead of the curve with all this. So, I liked him. I got an opportunity to... They were struggling, they grew too fast and so they hired us and so we created a day in the life of a Starbucks customer. We created their service vision, their pillars, they're nevers and always. And it was cool for about 10 years on every apron in the world. We'd go to Malaysia and I'd say, "Can you flip over your apron? And it'd be in their language." It'd be in Mexico, it'd be every, it was really cool.

Adam Kaufman: Have you had an opportunity yet to interact with Kevin Johnson, their new CEO?

John DiJulius: No.

Adam Kaufman: I've heard good things about him.

John DiJulius: Yes. I had the previous one but not Kevin, but I hear great things about him.

Adam Kaufman: Why do you think so many companies still don't get customer service? It seems to be the most rudimentary way to deliver value in addition to making a widget that you're selling, but still so many companies, I feel like in America, the state of customer service, no disrespect to your efforts is not that terrific. Why is so hard to understand good customer service will lead to repeat customers?

John DiJulius: So I have a really easy answer to that. One of my favorite all time books is The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy.

Adam Kaufman: Okay. I don't know that, The Compound Effect.

John DiJulius: Great book. To give you the ten second overview is whether you worked out this morning or you didn't doesn't matter today. I don't look at you and say, "You skipped a workout." Right? Whether you choose to have donuts and-

Adam Kaufman: Pizza.

John DiJulius: Pizza at lunch, or you have a salad does not matter today. You won't weigh much different tonight. Whether you invest three percent of your check this week into your 401k or savings or you don't, doesn't matter. You aren't going to look at your statement next week and say, "Oh my God, I have..."

Adam Kaufman: Last Tuesday killed me.

John DiJulius: Right. And so that's the impact.

Adam Kaufman: You're talking about discipline. It requires discipline.

John DiJulius: So everyone in business wants the short-term gains to please shareholders.

Adam Kaufman: That's so true.

John DiJulius: Customer service is a longterm game. So you go back to that, whether you train your new employees or your existing employees on better soft skills, empathy, compassion, great service recovery when you drop the ball or you don't won't matter this week, your sales will still be the same. And now in six months it'll be a freight train.

Adam Kaufman: You taught me that well, excuse me, full disclosure for our listeners. One time I brought you into a company I was leading and we had some customer service issues and what I took away the most is when there was a problem, the opportunity is there to create raving fans out of the problem that you solve with that customer. Then they'll end up speaking even more highly of you in spite of the problem.

John DiJulius: Right. Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: Really powerful. So maybe it starts with hiring even the right types of attitudes, not just training the employees in-house, because I just... It's really perplexing to me, customer service. I'm just so glad you do what you do. We just need 25 more of you doing it, I guess. Well, that's where we're pivoting in our new business model.

John DiJulius: Tell me about that. So the digital script consults and does all that and we have a bunch of consultants, but we are launching in 2021, CX Coaching.

Adam Kaufman: CX Coaching. Yeah. And it's licensing our fanatical raving fans that have gone through all our education. It's kind of like the EOS model.

John DiJulius: I was about to say. Is it like EOS?

Adam Kaufman: Exactly.

John DiJulius: You and I have so many friends who've become EOS certified. It's amazing how much that took off.

Adam Kaufman: Right. And so it's exactly that. So is the content something you created or you're buying into someone else's thinking?

John DiJulius: No. It's our methodology. Your methodology.

Adam Kaufman: From The 10 Commandments and What's the Secret? That is our consulting methodology that we work with companies.

John DiJulius: Okay. And do you think post pandemic you'll return to traveling and public speaking? Do you enjoy that?

Adam Kaufman: Love it. Because, I've watched you get really good at that.

John DiJulius: Thank you.

Adam Kaufman: I remember the first time I saw you speak, I was going to support you and be there for you.

John DiJulius: And you were the only one in the audience, I think.

Adam Kaufman: Yet I was so impressed with how good you were. More than just a friendship thing. So you must have worked at it probably to get better and better and better.

John DiJulius: Still do, every day.

Adam Kaufman: What aspect of it required the most work on your part? Because I think a lot of people struggle with public speaking.

John DiJulius: Yeah. So my problem was I didn't have a fear, which was, everyone says, jumping on airplanes, snakes and public speaking.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: That I didn't, and even before I was a speaker give me a room of three to 25 and I'm like, "Give me a stadium." And now I'm like... So I didn't have the fear which hurt me because you didn't prepare enough, maybe.

Adam Kaufman: I didn't prepare.

John DiJulius: Exactly.

Adam Kaufman: Right. Because you were good at it or at least you weren't worried about it.

John DiJulius: I wasn't worried about it.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: And so I remember taking our first professional classes and I was hanging out with people and we'd go to dinner the night after day one and we had to give a 10 minute presentation the next day, each of us. And so after dinner I'm like, "Hey, where do I go?" I go to a bar, I was younger. They're like, "No, we have to go home and prepare." I'm like, "It's 10 minutes. You could roll that back." They're like, "No." I'm sure they've never spoken since, they were horrible. Right? So I just laughed and said, "You guys are amateurs." Then the next day they crushed me in the ratings because they prepared-

Adam Kaufman: Took it more seriously.

John DiJulius: And I just was like, "Hey." Going down rabbit holes and it was such a wake up call to-

Adam Kaufman: It's kind of my favorite first line in a book, Jim Collins, Good is the enemy of great.

John DiJulius: Right.

Adam Kaufman: You were good at it, but it wasn't allowing you, your goodness. Wasn't allowing you to become great at it until you realize that.

John DiJulius: Yeah. Now, I tell people that want to be speakers, "You have the advantages of YouTube and TED talks." When I was starting, the only speakers I ever saw was the two or three conferences I go to a year.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: Which didn't give you much exposure. Most of them I'd see these people that stood behind podiums and I'd say, "Oh, that's what you have to do." So I'd stand behind a podium and I sucked because... Then I saw Tom Peters and Jim Valvano speak. Remember Jimmy V?

Adam Kaufman: Of course.

John DiJulius: Oh my God.

Adam Kaufman: NC State.

John DiJulius: Yeah. And watching them, they were all over the stage. They'd come down in the audience and walk the room. I didn't know you were allowed to do that. Watching them gave me the permission, which unleashed me because my bottled up energy and my ADD and all of that allowed me to-

Adam Kaufman: To package it into an effective way of communicating.

John DiJulius: Exactly.

Adam Kaufman: Which you definitely do.

John DiJulius: I found my voice, my personality and speaking from them.

Dave Douglas: You're listening to the Up2 Podcast. We'll be right back.

Adam Kaufman: During the first season of the Up2 Podcast, I had several companies and entrepreneurs approach me about potential partnerships, but I'm really selective before choosing to do something like that. One choice we did make happily is to partner with VividFront, a full service, digital marketing and website design agency based in Cleveland that works with both local and national brands. They built their entire client base on referrals and they've won a lot of awards, including the 2019 Inc. magazine, top 5,000 fastest growing companies, North Coast, top places to work and several others. They're known for their talent, they're known for their creativity, they're known for their culture. A firm I liked before we agreed to partner together for the show. Check out vividfront.com or you can email me and I'll introduce you to their dynamic leader, Andrew Spott.

Adam Kaufman: Hello. My name is Adam Kaufman, and I'm thankful you're joining us today on the Up2 Podcast. I want to tell you about a group that I'm grateful for, and that is Townhall, Cleveland's most popular restaurant and one that I can say is the only place my wife tells me she can eat every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Townhall was the first all non-GMO restaurant in the US a few years ago and they're now expanding into Columbus, Ohio soon. I'm also very selective about who we choose to partner with for this podcast and it was with open arms that I embraced the idea of partnering with Bobby George and Townhall. To learn more about what they're up to, you can visit townhallohiocity.com.

Dave Douglas: Welcome back. You're listening to the Up2 Podcast with Adam Kaufman. Today's guest, John DiJulius.

Adam Kaufman: In addition to Valvano and Tom Peters, any other really impressionable moments you watching someone speak or any one you really like to see speak today? Whether it's in person or on YouTube.

John DiJulius: Yeah. Simon Sinek.

Adam Kaufman: Good one.

John DiJulius: He's a really good one. There's so many out there. I love Howard Schultz. He just, not just maybe a year ago did the commencement speech at Arizona State University and I just love everything that comes out of his mouth. It's always about social responsibility. He said something so cool. He said a lot of things, so cool. But he said something so cool to the graduating audience. He says, "Your generation is going to be the generation that makes racism and a few other things only known in the history books." I thought that was so cool.

Adam Kaufman: It's a big idea.

John DiJulius: Oh my God. And to put that on them, it's almost a burden, a great burden.

Adam Kaufman: A big responsibility.

John DiJulius: Yeah. And just the stuff he says is just inspiring to me and every great speaker, they put hope and optimism in their speech where you get up and you know you have a responsibility to go make a difference now at home or in your job or community or whatever that may look like.

Adam Kaufman: Right. One of my favorite speakers that left an impression with me is Marcus Buckingham. Have you ever shared a stage with him or been around Buckingham?

John DiJulius: I haven't. I've watched him, read his books.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah.

John DiJulius: He's fantastic.

Adam Kaufman: He helped me kind of rethink how I wanted to package my own career path in the future. I know whoever the speaker is, it can really have a lasting impact on us. I will go back to Steve jobs. You mentioned a while ago, and while he might've been a tough boss, he gave a really famous speech at Stanford and he talked about different curves in the road, in his life and how he turned those into positive pursuits. Every time I have someone on the podcast, John, I like to talk about curves in the road and how we navigate them because oftentimes people see a successful individual like you and, "Wow, he's got everything." But it wasn't always this way. Right? You mentioned growing up modest family.

John DiJulius: That would be an exaggeration. My dad left my mother and six children, when I was six. And so we went from middle-class to welfare overnight, never saw him, heard from him again. So I saw my mom go from being a full time parent of six young kids to having to go get a job in 1971 and she had no marketable skills.

Adam Kaufman: Were you in the middle of the six of you?

John DiJulius: I was the youngest.

Adam Kaufman: You were the youngest?

John DiJulius: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Kaufman: Okay. Keep going.

John DiJulius: And so, just seeing her go through that, which is the reason why I wasn't a good student. Because, my mom wasn't home.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: She was getting a minimum wage job in the day and a job in the night to try to keep-

Adam Kaufman: Make ends meet.

John DiJulius: Right. And so I had no responsibility.

Adam Kaufman: Home structure-

John DiJulius: Right. I'd just come home and go play sports until it got dark and I was ADD, and they thought I was LD, learning disabled. And so they tried to hold me back every year. You could argue, I should have, but I'm 99% sure I would have done just as bad the next year in second grade. I just wasn't sitting still.

Adam Kaufman: You weren't wired that way.

John DiJulius: I was pulling the hair of the girl next to me. I got mischievous trouble, nothing bad, but I was always in trouble. I was always in the principal's office, got into a few scuffles here and there-

Adam Kaufman: So do you still, at this age, not know your father today? You have no relationship?

John DiJulius: Never had a relationship. Tracked him down, 30 some years later because the way I... This is probably normal. Growing up, you're thinking, "All right, how does dad leave six young kids and never..." So I had two obvious answers, right? He was in the witness-

Adam Kaufman: Protection-

John DiJulius: Yes, program and he had to, he didn't want to. Or Martians came and got him.

Adam Kaufman: Only way to explain it in your mind.

John DiJulius: Right. I was worried that he would die someday and I'd never get that answered. So I tracked him down and we had a meeting and he was probably 80 at the time or maybe 75. He was pretty old. I was pretty sure, what I was going to hear was, "Listen, I left you, I made a mistake, but I know all about you. I just never came back, because I didn't think you'd..." But I know you own a business, I know you got married-

Adam Kaufman: Achieved all the success, kids.

John DiJulius: Yeah. Whatever it was. It was hilarious. It goes back to, everyone justifies in your own head. If I work for you and I'm stealing, I'm going home and sleeping good at night because I've justified that you're not paying me enough. My dad, he said, "What do you want to meet with me about?" I said, "I wanted to find out why you were such a piece of shit as a father." He said, he's surprised, he was, "Maybe by your standards, not by mine." I said, "How?" He was convinced he was a good dad and he also didn't know one thing about me.

Adam Kaufman: I call this irrationally rationalizing.

John DiJulius: It's crazy. Right. He didn't know how old I was. And we share the same birthday, which wouldn't have been hard. He said, "How old are you?" I think I was 35 at the time. I said, "35." He goes, "Really?" No idea. He didn't know anything about any of us and he just basically said, "Dude, you got to get over it." It was one of the best things I've ever done, gave me closure.

Adam Kaufman: That's amazing to hear the word best come out of your mouth after this story.

John DiJulius: It is, because in my life, you've probably done this last, but we're all guilty of it where we've told someone off. Okay? So let's say I've done it 1,000 times. 999, I've regretted. Like, "I didn't have to do that. That was uncalled for." Even if they were [inaudible 00:34:48], "I didn't have to do... There was a better way."

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: This, I told him off.

Adam Kaufman: In this meeting?

John DiJulius: In this meeting and it felt so good. I mean, it was the best closure. A few years later, someone told me my dad passed and it had no bearing on me, no regret, because I had that. I found out that there were no Martians, there was no witness protection program. He just checked out, ran away with a secretary and wanted nothing to do with us. And that was... I could live with that.

Adam Kaufman: How do you feel, John? Because, I've watched you be such an engaged father with your boys. How do you feel this lack of a relationship with your father helped create the type of father you are to your family?

John DiJulius: It was the best thing that happened. Even him leaving. Because him not being the father, he should have been made me the father that I am today because I became... I wanted to make sure I never did that to my kids and that I was always there.

Adam Kaufman: You did the opposite. I love how you did the surprise. Take them out to breakfast before school or the surprise, not even go to school that day, once in a while. Or the wake them up after bedtime for movie night, one son at a time.

John DiJulius: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: You inspired me to get creative with my own parenting, with these ideas.

John DiJulius: Thank you. I think Tony Robbins has said it. Things don't happen to you. They happen for you and I really look at everything from that lens.

Adam Kaufman: Not only did you have this challenge with your father, but then you ended up being a single parent.

John DiJulius: Yes.

Adam Kaufman: So ironically, this Tony Robbins comment, I'm just reacting in the moment now, it prepared you a little bit to be the greatest single parent you became, maybe.

John DiJulius: Yeah. I lost my wife 11 years ago to a tragic accident. But again, I looked at it at the time, horrible and never want anything like that to happen as how lucky were we to have her for nearly 20 years. When I do get compliments with people that meet my kids and on a good day, they're impressive to meet. Right?

Adam Kaufman: They're very sharp.

John DiJulius: I can't take even 50% of the credit, they have so much of their mom in them and her spirit, her fun-ness, her energy, her passion, that will always be there.

Adam Kaufman: Then eventually God willing, you'll be a grandparent someday and you'll probably be the world's best grandparent.

John DiJulius: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: We're not rushing it. I don't want to, on my side either. But-

John DiJulius: Do you know something I don't?

Adam Kaufman: No, no. I didn't mean to go there, but I just feel like a lot of times we think about day-to-day, like you said, being disciplined with customer service, but also just being disciplined with the legacy we're creating longterm. Your legacy probably won't be affected by what you do the rest of today. Maybe it could, but the longterm practice of legacy versus just building resume. I love David Brooks' two documents speech, Are you working more on your resume or your eulogy?

John DiJulius: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: You're young. But do you ever think about legacy?

John DiJulius: Yeah. I mean, I have a phrase on my mirror and my wall in our office and it's what I want my legacy to be, to live an extraordinary life, so countless others do.

Adam Kaufman: Let me just... To live an extraordinary life, so that countless others do. So it's not just for your own joy that you're living this extraordinary life.

John DiJulius: No, absolutely not. I have a plan and I have personal and professional buckets that I have to visit in order to live an extraordinary life. More times than not, when I realize I'm not, I go to these personal buckets and I can immediately see what's deficient and get back to it, whether it be working out, eating, not hanging around the right people that-

Adam Kaufman: Certain crowd.

John DiJulius: Right.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah.

John DiJulius: I judge the people I want to hang out by two ways. Me and you go get a beer tonight. All right. And we sit down, I say, "Adam, I just got to let you know that I promised Claudie, I'd be home by 8:00." You're like, "Cool." So now it's 7:15 and bartender says, "You guys want another one?" You say, "Yeah." Or you say to me, "Hey, John, uh, you said, you'd be home by 8:00. I think if you leave now, you can still make it." Versus, "Dude let's have another one." Or it could be, "Let's get a workout in tomorrow." Or, "You got to study for that test, you want help?" Or, "Screw it. It's only midterms. Let's go out for a party." Whatever level you are, that's how I look at people and I got to be that to right to you. It's not just about you coaching me to be a better coaching up. So yeah. Living an extraordinary life-

Adam Kaufman: So, that's one aspect of how you choose.

John DiJulius: Yes.

Adam Kaufman: All right. So what's the other aspects of who you choose to be with?

John DiJulius: There's three personal pillars, there's what am I feeding my brain?

Adam Kaufman: Okay.

John DiJulius: So we're talking about the podcast.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: Whether you're listening to Howard Stern or Up2.

Adam Kaufman: Right, right. Thank you. Yeah.

John DiJulius: It's networking, but not in a networking sense of, "Hey, here's my business card, do you need me?" It's surrounding myself with brilliant, inspiring people.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. Relationships. I call that relationships.

John DiJulius: Exactly, yeah.

Adam Kaufman: And networking has a bad name right now but-

John DiJulius: I like building social capital.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. I call it relationship equity. So it's kind of similar.

John DiJulius: Yeah. Love that.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. Relationship equity. So that's another piece. So did I interrupt you? So it's the relationships expanding your mind and what was the third piece?

John DiJulius: Charity, giving more.

Adam Kaufman: Okay.

John DiJulius: Giving back.

Adam Kaufman: Awesome.

John DiJulius: And then there's three buckets professionally.

Adam Kaufman: How did you come up with that whole structure? This is interesting. Was it like the Peter Thomas life plan stuff? Or how did you create these buckets?

John DiJulius: I don't know. And I created it about 15 years ago. Then I created a strategy to that. Is that in one of your books or?

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. In The Customer Service Revolution it's the last chapter titled, Living an Extraordinary Life, So Countless Others Do.

John DiJulius: I'd like to maybe share out your strategy. I could send you a PDF of that chapter and you could provide a link.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. That'd be good.

John DiJulius: Yeah. Because my whole premise is, I don't want to live an extraordinary life. So I have more cars, more vacations, more bank accounts, whatever that is. I feel that we all have seeds of potential in us and the seeds we don't sow, cheat those around us. Right? You can look at it one or two ways.

Adam Kaufman: It is a sin not to use our talents, I believe that.

John DiJulius: It totally is. And so if me and you are dependent on each other, we're partners, we're relatives, father, son, husband, wife, whatever you want to call it, employer, employee and I'm eating like crap and drinking too and you can call me out. I could say, "Hey Adam, that's none of your business." Right? But it is.

Adam Kaufman: The accountability. Right.

John DiJulius: Not even the accountability. If I'm not living the best version of myself, I'm cheating you as my business partner, as my significant other.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: So let's say I eat like crap, don't get a workout in, have a couple of beers, come home and I want to collapse on the couch. And my youngest son says-

Adam Kaufman: You're not available to the family member.

John DiJulius: Right. "Hey, you want to play catch?"

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: "No, no, no." Or I snap at him more because I'm edgier. And so it's just that. So for me, this is what motivates me, the ripple effect of it. Then we go back to the Steve Jobs, Walt Disneys, Nelson Mandelas, whomever they are, what if they would have said, "Screw it, I'm going to be ordinary." How much different would our lives be? Right?

Adam Kaufman: That's a great point.

John DiJulius: And that's what motivates me.

Adam Kaufman: Who aren't we effecting if we don't become the best versions of ourselves?

John DiJulius: And we're a Walt Disney, Nelson Mandela to someone. It might be a much smaller community, but we're that to them.

Adam Kaufman: One of my mentors, Doug Holiday, he often says, "Not only who's tribe are you in, but who's in your tribe?"

John DiJulius: Right.

Adam Kaufman: And that I think relates to a lot of what you're saying right now. That's really interesting about comparing ourselves to Walt Disney or legends like that because who can we affect in the future, if we come better versions of ourselves. Now you've started a foundation. I wanted to get to that a little bit. Tell us about, Believe in Dreams. What inspired you to do that?

John DiJulius: Probably my background. Okay. Growing up, on the poorer side, but I was lucky to have five older brothers and sisters and an incredible mom that loved me that I didn't realize that we were at a disadvantage.

Adam Kaufman: Isn't that amazing?

John DiJulius: Yeah. And things have worked out well for me because people believed in me when it was really hard to believe in me. I didn't make it easy for people to believe in me. When I'm getting kicked out of school and teachers are-

Adam Kaufman: Pulling the young girl's hair next to you-

John DiJulius: Right. So we started looking at the markets. I love the kid markets, if you will. I started thinking about, "Maybe, we'll just become a big supporter of Make-A-Wish, which I love. But then, as I looked more into it, there's an underserved market of non-medically kids that have gone through incredible hardship at no fault of their own, not a lot of people are taking care of them.

Adam Kaufman: I noticed that in your mission statement, the extended version, how so much of our efforts and our hearts are directed towards people who've overcome a major medical problem. And of course, we should think about that a lot, but I like your different focus. It's a market opportunity, so to speak.

John DiJulius: It is.

Adam Kaufman: To address that part of the market.

John DiJulius: And listen, Make-A-Wish is great and when we get submissions with medical... We recommend them to Make-A-Wish and vice versa. Make-A-Wish recommends people to us that don't fall into their thing. So we're not even competing, but my kids like your kids, they're so spoiled. Right? And listening to your podcasts with Bernie Marino just made me feel so guilty. Because I love what his parents did that I needed to do.

Adam Kaufman: Talking to America, right.

John DiJulius: If I told my kids, "I think next weekend, we're going to go to Disney." One of them would complain, one would say, "We've been there so many times."

Adam Kaufman: Oh gosh.

John DiJulius: And so when we started this, Believe in Dreams, six or seven years ago, one of my concerns was that their dreams would be ostentatious and we wouldn't be able to do a lot because the value of their dreams-

Adam Kaufman: The participants, not your children.

John DiJulius: The kids, yes.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah.

John DiJulius: And boy, was I wrong.

Adam Kaufman: The most basic dreams.

John DiJulius: One kid said, he was eight, "To visit the local fire station." Here's me in my bubble. I'm like, "What? What do you mean? Anyone go to the fire station." This kid doesn't have anyone to take him. A girl said, and I'm getting teared up, "A bed without bugs." That's all she wanted.

Adam Kaufman: That's all she wanted.

John DiJulius: Then another girl said, "I would like to be able to buy homeless people, gift certificates to McDonald's." I wanted to go home and beat my kids.

Adam Kaufman: Isn't that remarkable.

John DiJulius: What's wrong with you guys? Right?

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: And so there's a couple of things at play, right? They are humble dreams. But the other problem, which I will argue is worse than what they're going... And their stories are bad, really bad. Right? They've seen their mother's boyfriend beat her to death, just bad, bad stuff. Right? And so maybe equal or worse than what they're going through or they've been through is that they have a lack of imagination. You ask our kids, "What do you want to do, when you grow up?" You're going to hear some crazy stuff from president to-

Adam Kaufman: Rocket ships.

John DiJulius: Yeah, all that. Which is great.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: Again, these kids wouldn't say go to an Indians game, go to a Browns game, go to anything because that's not even in the realm of their possibility, which really bothers me because they don't have hope. They don't have an imagination and every kid should have those things. So that's what we really try to do is yes, give them the new shoes, give them a bed, but also find out some other things and take them to a Cavs game and high five, back then LeBron James.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

John DiJulius: And they'll just think that-

Adam Kaufman: You took them to the moon.

John DiJulius: Right. And they're so appreciative.

Adam Kaufman: What's the website?

John DiJulius: Believeindreams.org.

Adam Kaufman: Believeindreams.org. Okay. That's easy. It's just so inspirational. And then I've been lucky enough to see some of the testimonials of the families and how you affect them and you can't help, but want to get more involved. So congratulations on what you've created there.

John DiJulius: Thank you.

Adam Kaufman: Well, what's next for you. You're way too young to start slowing down. So what are you most excited about as we look ahead optimistically post-pandemic. What are you intrigued by the most? Is that this new certification program you developed for other coaches?

John DiJulius: Yeah. I really think that this is going to really be scalable. I'm excited, because we have so many that are interested. So our mission statement at the DiJulius Group is to change the world by creating a customer service revolution. That's hard to do as a boutique consulting firm, even with as many clients as we touch. But now if we can get an army of 50, 150, 200 certified coaches out there, now we can really start to help that. So to your point that-

Adam Kaufman: We need John DiJuliuses teaching customer service.

John DiJulius: Yeah, I know-

Adam Kaufman: I guess we're delivering that.

John DiJulius: Right. But I mean, like what you basically said earlier is when you go out, if it's not horrible, you're kind of relieved.

Adam Kaufman: Ain't that amazing.

John DiJulius: That's not the bar, we-

Adam Kaufman: I hope I didn't bring you down by saying that, it's-

John DiJulius: No, it's true and it's why I... We're busy and we get busier even during economic times that are tough.

Adam Kaufman: Well, I know how busy you are even during this pandemic, so I'm really grateful that you took the time to visit with us today.

John DiJulius: I'm flattered. You asked me. You've had a great lineup and it was intimidating to come in and be one of your guests.

Adam Kaufman: Well, you continue to keep the bar high. So thank you so much, John and congratulations all your success. I just look forward to continuing to be a fan on the sidelines rooting for you.

John DiJulius: Thanks Adam. I appreciate. I love the way you're pivoting and the inspiration that you're bringing to so many.

Adam Kaufman: Thank you. John gave us so many good observations and life experiences. It's almost as if each of his phrases that come out of his mouth are slogans you could put on a poster or on an inspirational book cover or something. I'll try to share my favorites here. The first one is something you said at the beginning, find the gift in every situation. I really liked that. Kind of a glass half full mentality. Number two, in business, you can benchmark beyond your own industry to truly strive for and hopefully achieve optimal performance. Your standards don't need to be limited to competitors in your same field. It's very good for all of us to think about, no matter what line of work we're in.

Adam Kaufman: Number three, customer service is a longterm game. The compound effect of doing the right thing every time, every day has staying power. It's a lot like John said, the daily discipline of eating right or working out. One day may not be noticeable if you struggle, but it adds up over time. Number four, if you're ever asked to give a presentation, remember that giving your audience hope and optimism is the surest way to deliver the value to them. I know a lot of folks who don't like speaking publicly or even presenting in a meeting. So those are good words to live by.

Adam Kaufman: Number five, John's mission to live an exemplary life so that others can benefit from it. I found to be quite inspirational. And number six, living to be the best version of ourselves isn't just for ourselves. It's so others around us, those who depend on us can benefit and grow and count on us. I actually never thought about it that way, but it's very powerful.

Dave Douglas: Okay, Adam, we got more feedback than normal here this week. So it was tough to pick out a few. I think I'll go ahead and read them this week.

Adam Kaufman: That'd be great because there were so many on social media as well after we would post the episode. So go ahead. What do you have?

Dave Douglas: Okay, so here's a good one. This is from Dave McKee. Says, "Adam, this could be one of the best, for sure. Top three. What a humble well-spoken woman." He's talking about General Laurel Lenderman. "What a humble well-spoken woman, certainly brilliant, successful, and it makes one proud of our military. Great timing. No, you plan this around our nation's birthday. MB and I..." Presumably a spouse, maybe. "MB and I loved her faith statements, daily prayer, very solid. Great job with the interview and the quality of the recording was excellent." So, that's a nice-

Adam Kaufman: That's awesome.

Dave Douglas: Nice little something to me as well. I've got a second one here that stood out. And this is from Marty Kady, Editor, Politico, Washington D.C. "Really great to hear both voices on Adam's podcast. Both the host and General Lenderman have positive outlooks in their approach to professionalism and their personal life. And it's something to admire during really negative times. I have to fight that fight every day, try to be positive in a profession that has to swirl in pretty rough waters. Thanks for doing the podcast. Also Adam, I never realized this, but you have a great radio therapist's voice."

Adam Kaufman: Oh my.

Dave Douglas: "I felt like I needed to lie on the couch and tell you all of my darkest fears."

Adam Kaufman: Raise your crane, that's funny. That's very nice though.

Dave Douglas: Yeah. Really great feedback. Just a couple that I picked out of the hat here.

Adam Kaufman: Well, we love the feedback and we accept definitely criticisms as well as compliments. So please engage with us via social media, email, text, letters, whatever you want. Thank you. Up2 is a production of Evergreen Podcasts, a special thanks to our producer and audio engineer, Dave Douglas. I'm your host, Adam Kaufman. And thank you so much for listening to the Up2 Podcast.

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