Sept. 6, 2022

How to Stop Settling and Start Driving for the Unreasonable with Kris Kluver Ep. 85


Kris Kluver is a dedicated speaker, facilitator, advisor, seasoned entrepreneur, and bestselling author of The Aspiring Solopreneur: Your Business Start-Up Bible as well as The Fable: Life on Your Terms, part of the Defining What’s Next series. He has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and organizations find balance and achieve more than they ever thought possible using simple tools, candid facilitation, and unique stories. Kris has helped organizations achieve eight-figure exits, ten times growth spurts and the process of going public.

Kris is a Certified Speaker with EO, the Entrepreneur Association, has studied entrepreneurial strategy at Harvard Business School and is a fellow at York University in the United Kingdom. He lives in the high country of Colorado with his spouse, Reka, where they live life on their terms embracing adventure travel and endurance events.

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Transcript

Kristopher Kluver:

For most successful entrepreneurs, the reason they're successful is their default mode is head down, work harder. And the reason they hit those ceilings is because their default mode is head down and work harder. But when you can look at your life in a holistic level, you end up becoming the very best partner, the very best spouse, the very best parent, the very best friend and the very best boss and leader you can be. And what happens is everything expands.

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur? How do they scale and grow their businesses? How do they plan for profit? Are they in it for life? Are they building to exit these in a myriad of other topics will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of success and FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. My book RELENTLESS is now available everywhere books can be bought online, including Amazon and BarnesAndNoble.com. Try your local indie bookstore too. And if they don't have it, they can order it. Just ask them, the reviews are streaming in and I'm so thankful for the positive feedback, as well as hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively. It is not enough to be resilient. You have to be RELENTLESS. You can go to TheRelentlessBook.com for more information. Thank you so much. Kristopher Kluver is a seasoned entrepreneur and bestselling author of two books. He has helped thousands of people find balance and achieve more than they ever thought possible. Using simple tools, candid, facilitation, and unique stories. We talk about the number one main thing. He has his client's focus on what his new definition of success is and how he got to that realization. Now let's get right into it.

Kristopher Kluver:

The biggest thing without question. And again, thank you for having me is to help people shift their thinking, the skills that we have. So many of us live in a box, and there's a quote. Everybody knows from Henry Ford that says "Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can't, you are right." And the most critical thing. And the primary things for senior leaders is to be audacious is to be unreason. It doesn't mean we just throw it against the wall, but when you can get an entire team focused on what would amazing look like, where do we wanna go? What is unreasonable? And I've had senior leaders pull me aside and cuss me a blue streak after a session, because it's like, what are you doing? There's no way we're gonna hit that. That's insane. But then that same leader, I had this one gal, she called me crying three days before the end of the year she just said "We just hit it". And that's a company that's gone from roughly 8 million in revenue to over well, over 150 million. It's extraordinary. So it's helping people think about things differently. And then from there, how do you build that strategic plan to make sure how are we gonna get it done? What are those priorities? And then just start eating that elephant one bite at a time. But what's the primary point.

Natasha Miller:

That is a wonderful answer to the question of what to focus on when trying to scale and grow and coming from the Midwest and very humble situations. It's not ingrained in Midwesterners. It's a left coast, right coast mentality. That's not exactly, but that's in general, you probably understand that. So I love that. And do you think that people can break through the barrier of their own limited beliefs and do they need someone like you or a coach to help them find that?

Kristopher Kluver:

So let me first just say to me, we end up with the aw shucks Midwest martyr where it's embarrassing to say you're really good at something.

Natasha Miller:

Yep.

Kristopher Kluver:

Respectfully to my east coast and west coast, brothers and sisters. I love you. But a lot of you guys are trying to stand on the corner and beat your chest and say how great the world is. And in the Midwest, I think we have a lot of those skills and with the teams I've worked with in the Midwest, and I've worked with teams all over the world, but to help people start having that confidence and realizing. I think that one of the main shifts, particularly for the senior leaders is to have that humble confidence. It's to have that ability to say, no, we're not going there. We're going all the way there and we're gonna do it and we can do it, but it's inspiring the team. And they say "How are we gonna do it?" "I don't know. But we're gonna do it." I know it, my heart, and I need you to know it in your heart. And then how do we start figuring out how to then as a team, what are those primary things that we gotta get done and the process for strategic planning for it, and with the idea of coaches and experts? I can say that early on in my career, I started my first of 15 companies when I was 19. I thought it was really expensive for me to go out and invest in somebody. And it was foolish. And once I shifted my thinking in realizing that if I can get somebody who can adjust my thinking just a little bit, if I can pull out a nugget, somebody who will fearlessly challenge me, "oh my God, it's the greatest thing in the world." So when you look at like tiger woods or LeBron James, or the best of the best, these guys don't have one coach, they have four or five coaches. So I personally have multiple coaches, myself. My performance coach is one of the very best on the planet. And she's the performance coach for the Phoenix. But she's not afraid of calling me out and going, dude, why are you getting your own way? Why is that happening? What's going on here? And that's what we need is to have that outside keys. So I think when you can have an outside influencer, They're not influenced per a trusted source. The whole cornerstone of it though, is it's gotta be somebody you trust and respect and yeah. They can challenge you.

Natasha Miller:

How would you suggest people source and qualify a great coach?

Kristopher Kluver:

So in my first book, the Aspiring Solopreneur, I talk a lot about for people looking to jump in, to start gig working. Is, you can build a whole team of advisors, which are defacto coaches by finding a great business accountant, a great business attorney. A great, and I think the thing is that when you're starting it, most people need to remember how can I be interviewing this person? Because sometimes, oh, this person makes this much an hour. They must like, I don't care. I'm interviewing that person for culture fit. Is this somebody that I'm gonna believe and trust is this somebody that I share my values with and is this somebody that I believe is going to be able to help transition to that next level? So I guess the biggest thing is not being afraid. First off, go to your resources that you have ask around, do you know anybody, but then second, don't be afraid of smiling that and dial in a little bit. And if you have a coach that says I'm not willing to give you an hour, I'm way too important. That's not a good fit. Because if they're not willing to invest the time in you to see if they're a good fit, then they're just taking money.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah. They don't understand that it is a two way street and they have to woo the client as much as the client has to woo them or prove the fit. Yeah.

Kristopher Kluver:

Yeah. I look at it almost as vetting. When I interview somebody I'm very selective with who I work with and I'm like I'm choosing to see if we're gonna be a good fit.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Kristopher Kluver:

Because I get really invest. I care. It lights me up when somebody gets really successful and I get really sad when somebody won't listen and they keep getting in their own way.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Kristopher Kluver:

So I figure I'm gonna invest as much energy in that and people sense that, so.

Natasha Miller:

What was your definition of success before your "aha" moment on the couch, and you can set up. I saw the video. So people are like what was-

Kristopher Kluver:

Alright, so I'm a little embarrassed to admit this. So I, like I said, I've had lots of companies. I've helped people all over the world. I am used to running a hundred miles an hour with my hair on fire. That's my normal default. My Midwest default of head down work harder, not necessarily smarter. And I had my hip and my knee replaced and I found myself stuck on the couch. I couldn't do. So I ended up watching daytime TV, which in and of itself is a frightening experience. Wow. And then I discovered what a Kardashian was and it scared the pants off me because the reality is this is a group of people that are beautiful, that have unbelievable wealth. They have great power fame accolades. And yet, if I was really candid, it seemed like all he did was bitch. And I realized that the metrics. I was tracking for success were very similar to the Kardashians. And I did not feel very happy about that. And it was through that process that had started me down a rabbit hole that I realized that I had and a lot of the senior members that I work with had abdicated what success looked like that narrative to the wine commercials, to maybe the scarcity mindsets, good intention, but scarcity mindsets of our parents. Or even our peers, because Natasha, I can't tell you how many people I work with, who apparently on the outside feel like they've got it all. They're making millions, cars, private jets, everything. And yet, if they're really honest with themselves, they're miserable and they're really longing for what is it that's gonna make me happy. So that was so the traditional success metrics is where I looked and, but I, I.

Natasha Miller:

The Kardashians led you to enlightenment? Wow.

Kristopher Kluver:

When you say it that way, it makes me feel even worse. but yeah, no it really challenged my thinking and shifted my thinking.

Natasha Miller:

And so what is your definition of success today?

Kristopher Kluver:

My definition of success today is having a holistic well-balanced life. So I think like a lot of the millennials and the gen Zs traditionally are looking at things in the right way. They traditionally, and this is stereotypical, but it's fairly accurate is that people are looking more at relationships and more at their health, their personal, their partner of their family relationships, their mental, their spiritual, and their physical health. And I don't think that's wrong. I think it's actually the right way. But if that's all you do. Then you're probably destined to end up in your parents' basement, but if all you focus on is your money, your professional life and your resources and your stuff. You're probably destined to be wealthy, unfit, heart attack, and divorced, and your kids don't like you. So to me, success now is whatever it is for me is how can we look at a holistic assessment? And have a balance in all of those areas. And here's the secret. This is the biggest secret that I've discovered with. This is so often entrepreneurs are like, yeah, but dude, if I start backing off in the business, if I take my foot off the throttle, it's gonna go in the ditch and everything's gonna go to hell. And that is not true.

Natasha Miller:

Not true. I'll tell you right here, after a multimillion dollar business, going to zero in March, because we're in events and entertainment, I was able to build it back. And today after the biggest overturn in history, of our businesses in general, I'm working on my business 20% of my time. And it's thriving. So hear me, hear us, everyone it can be done. And it is reframing the mindset, but also putting the right things in place.

Kristopher Kluver:

It is, but if we don't take time to breathe, if we don't take time to step. If we don't take time to look at it on a holistic level. And again, for most successful entrepreneurs, the reason they're successful is their default mode is head down, work harder. And the reason they hit those ceilings is because their default mode is head down and work harder. But when you can look at your life in a holistic level across the board, you end up becoming the very best partner, the very best spouse, the very best parent, the very best friend and the very best boss and leader you can be. And what happens is everything expands. So for me, since I invested and started, rechanging in our focus, we've been able to 10 X, our income, and we take two to three months off a year for adventure travel. And we live in the high country of Colorado. Part-time in Nebraska and we're thriving. I feel like the luckiest cat on the planet.

Natasha Miller:

Do you have to fight your innate sense of running with your hair on fire? Do you have to physically or mentally stop that and enjoy or stop that slow down.

Kristopher Kluver:

I'm shaking my head. No, but I'm saying absolutely. I, the reality is-

Natasha Miller:

Does anyone else have to help you with that? Like your wife or your team?

Kristopher Kluver:

And again, that's where with the life on your terms, programs, helping people acknowledge what success looks like and then recruiting others in our sphere of influence to say, look, this is important to me and I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I need some help with that and creating, but when we create awareness, we have a discussion. Then we can create champions instead of saboteurs. Then people can understand the why behind that. And as the senior leaders of the organizations of our households, we are the primary asset of the organization. Without any question, you are the primary asset of your organization. And as such your number one obligation is to protect the asset. But most of us. In turn, what we do is we just abuse the hell out of the asset and it's not.

Natasha Miller:

And we call it hard work. And-

Kristopher Kluver:

But don't get me wrong. I love my BMWs. I love my multiple homes. I love the way I fly. I love those things, but it's not the only measure. And when we start looking at it from a health perspective, I used to be a hundred pounds heavier and having, I could barely walk. And I've seen a, I had somebody called me last week who went through this program, they're down 140 pounds. Somebody else called me, they just moved. They picked up, they were in derivatives, had been in Colorado and they ended up moving to Nashville. Completely changed their lives in their early fifties. It's just beautiful.

Natasha Miller:

Have you ever thought that you should write a book that you should write the story of your life to help other people learn from your experience? Please go to MemoirSherpa.com and learn how I can help you write, figure out your publishing path and market your story, your memoir to a best seller status. Switching gears. I'd love to know as a newly published author and someone who's passionate about publishing. Now, what led to you realizing you wanted to write and publish your books?

Kristopher Kluver:

For me, my wife and I weren't able to have kids and I wanna have purpose. So again, there's a tool that we've created called Life Changing Goal, but imagine a behave a big hair audacious goal from Jim Collins, but for your own personal. For me, mine is to introduce a million people to a new way of thinking impacting countless lives. That to me means that I'm not just on this earth taking up space. I would like to have an impact. And as such a book is one of those ways that can help it establishes reputability, but it also can help outreach. And it's a way to leverage that knowledge in some ways for different people. So does that kinda answer that?

Natasha Miller:

Yeah. You have two books and I understand what you just said and I appreciate it. And I think it's absolutely, the best way to put out a book is to be helpful to others. And it's also the best way to get someone to actually read the book if it's for them and not for you. Beyond those wonderful, like legacy leaving and helpful KPIs was there a okay, with this book, I wanna get this many clients, this many speaking gigs, I wanna sell this many. I wanna make this much. We are business people. I'm wondering if you had that in your mindset, along with the other nicer and softer and meaningful and legacy leaving types of feelings.

Kristopher Kluver:

So absolutely there is. So I shifted my thinking about a year and a half ago. On ROI from a return on investment to a return on impact. I know and we talked briefly before on how you help drive companies to big dollars, but if people are crystal clear on their why, if they know on their heart every day, why am I driving this? They keep in mind the numbers and the metrics you're gonna make money like crazy. So to me, I genuinely want to have. And I feel that this is gonna work, but it also has the knock on effect of doing that. I will be very candid. I'm pretty dyslexic. So for the dyslexic guy to write a book, doesn't work very well.

Natasha Miller:

You probably had some help.

Kristopher Kluver:

Good storyteller, but this is where from a coaching perspective, you can look at Dan Sullivan, the idea who, not, how you get people to help you with that. And you get the very best, but the newest one, the life on your terms of fable is specifically written. To be a one leg book. So I was giving a talk down in the Caymans. I gave everybody a book, but anybody flying back would be able to read that entire book before they got back into the us within that there are specific calls to actions, there's intros, there's a lot of good, positive information to give to people, but it doesn't mean that I'm not looking for. I would like to build a business that's it's done intentionally, but with a combination of both.

Natasha Miller:

Do you think that it is important for someone to buy your book instead of receive it as a gift to get them to actually open it and read it?

Kristopher Kluver:

I don't know. Normally I would say the, if they buy it, it's gonna work. But I can tell you this group already, I've had a bunch of people call and say, love your book. That's a fun, interesting, quick story.

Natasha Miller:

Did you, is that group of people that have been giving you the responses they heard you speak before then you gave them the book?

Kristopher Kluver:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

So it was a tale. If you were just giving your book out at Let's say an EO regional event and everyone got one in their goody bag. I'm going to assume the likelihood of someone opening it up and actually reading it from cover to cover. No matter how amazing it is, no matter how important it is to their life. They're not gonna read it. I feel like I'm using myself as the Guinea pig that happens to me. But if I bought something I'm invested in it and it's gonna wear at me in my mind, you better read that you paid money for it. There's no right or wrong answer. I just wondered what your thoughts were around that.

Kristopher Kluver:

Okay. Since we're being candid, I think that the most valuable in a book is because everybody's got a book right now. And candidly books are great ways to make tens of dollars. for 99.99% of the people who write them publish a friend of mine said that the average book in the United States sells a total cop number of copies in the entire existence. And these are the ones that people buy to give to their family of like right at 200. Yep. So I think the biggest value in writing book is it helps establish you as an expert in that.

Natasha Miller:

There's no money in actual book sales.

Kristopher Kluver:

It's all back in.

Natasha Miller:

Unless you're Glen and Doyle and then it's off the charts.

Kristopher Kluver:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

So, what do you love? We were talking about EO just briefly, a minute Entrepreneurs Organization. What do you love most about that organization? What's your one like, oh, this is it for me?

Kristopher Kluver:

So I've been in EO for quite a while, so I'm long in the tooth with everybody there.

Natasha Miller:

Did you start it with Vern?

Kristopher Kluver:

No, but I actually, I originally met Vern for the first time in 1987, when he started the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, oddly. But I think the thing that I love the most with EO is the challenge to get better. A lot of people like forum, some people like the social stuff and I, that those are both great, but I've studied entrepreneurial strategy at Harvard business school with EO.

Natasha Miller:

Were we in the same class? When did you go?

Kristopher Kluver:

Two years before COVID I think.

Natasha Miller:

I went in 2019 where you went, we're gonna have to..

Kristopher Kluver:

Was Applegate? We'll check in, but Applegate was our main, she was awesome, lovely. Anyway.

Natasha Miller:

Amazing. Oh my, okay. After the show we're gonna.

Kristopher Kluver:

And then I also was able to get into the Global Speakers Academy.

Natasha Miller:

I did that as well, the first time, the first one outta the gate. OK.

Kristopher Kluver:

So this last one was, I did one in October last year and we had Tony Robbins coach. The coach at Tony Robbins uses and there were 25 of us in person. I think another time.

Natasha Miller:

Is it Pat Quinn?

Kristopher Kluver:

Down in san Diego.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Kristopher Kluver:

So I love the learning opportunities. And I have to say I'd been outta forum for a while, but finding my new forum, that's a bridge forum and it's cool because it's seven women, three guys. And which is different dynamic, but my goodness, these guys are heavy hitters and holy smokes and I having fun with them.

Natasha Miller:

Cool. Yeah. How do you manage the team of your core business now? Life on your terms?

Kristopher Kluver:

I am a huge fan of finding amazing people. That was one of the big things from the Harvard piece. Two biggest things. When businesses hit the hockey stick. Number one, when you start using crystal clear metrics to make decisions, rather than using your gut. And then two, when you start hiring people, who've done it 10 times before and are gonna are great at it. Not somebody. Oh yeah. We could get Jones. She could do it. No, I want somebody who's gonna come in and say no Kluver. This is the way we need to do this. This is how we're driving this and a players only crystal clear accountability. I need you to manage these four things. And then with that, and then these are the metrics. These are the outcomes we're driving towards, and these are the metrics we're gonna track to make sure that we're getting that done.

Natasha Miller:

Are you using something like EOS traction or scaling up in this current business of yours or have you done a hybrid and included your own.

Kristopher Kluver:

Actually, I was certified in EOS about eight years ago and I left the community on purpose about three or four years ago. And I helped found one of the original groups called pinnacle, which is, and it uses a little bit of everybody. The thing is all of those tools that it will never cease to amaze me how much everybody gets wrapped around the brand name of the tool. wanna know what you're gonna build for. And the thing that I like with pinnacles, we have hundreds of tools and we can paint outside the lines a lot. So it allows me to meet my clients really where they are. But in essence, it's gonna be the same quarterly cadence. It's having that crystal clear vision, making sure we know our values, what's our BHAG or life-changing goal. We have some sort of printed vision of some sorts. I like Dan Miller for the marketing pieces, then simplified annual goals, simplified quarterly goals. So it's all very simple in how everything's integrated. But yes, I'm working with an aerospace company now and we're rebuilding their skunkworks, their innovation lab, and we're using the same structures. Then those are time tests. People have been doing those for hundreds of years. Everybody wants to tell you it's new stuff. It isn't, it's just. It's simplifying.

Natasha Miller:

It's new stuff, but having access to it and being taught by or guided by or coached by the right person for that CEO or that organization, that's a challenge. So I know early on in my business, I was at $1.5 million in revenue before I really knew how to run a business. I had of course systems and processes. We all do, whether we realize it or not, but I didn't have the language or the foundation or the outline, the structure to understand what was happening. And had I known a lot earlier. I would've been a lot further in life, but that was my journey. And that was my process. And. Yes, looking back, I would change it, but not really. I arrive to where I'm at right now, where I'm supposed to be. So last question for you is what are you most looking forward to in the nearest future? And that can be a holistic answer. Not just in business or personal life.

Kristopher Kluver:

Immediately when I'm done with you, I'm gonna jump on a plane and go back to my place in Colorado. And I'm gonna ride my mountain bike and ride my legs off over the next few days, but

Natasha Miller:

Wait, do you know who Jesse Itzler is? You've gotta check him out. He, he may be a little too much for you. He's an endurance. He's married to Sarah Blakely, the founder of Spanks. And I think there's a lot of synergies between how you look at the world and think, and him, he's just a little more aggressive than you are, you'll see. It's a little nutty. You can email me or call me after you look him up and go, "oh, I see what you mean."

Kristopher Kluver:

Okay, I will, for sure. I think, no. The biggest thing I'm excited about is I'm doing a different type of launch for a group coaching for life on your terms. People it's gonna have a much broader reach. And this is where as we know, I'm transitioning from that, I've gone from one to one to a few, and this is gonna start being one to many. And I have six amazing rockstar coaches that already wanna start helping with this. So I feel like I'm right at that trajectory, that poor turning point on the hockey stick. So I think I've got some fun adventures to Nepal and some other travel stuff, but I think that's probably what I'm most jazzed about right now is the opportunity that I'm really gonna be able to help some people.

Natasha Miller:

For information on Kris's Life On Your Terms Program, go to the show notes where there's a link and a discount code. Wanna know more about me go to my website, OfficialNatashaMiller.com. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved the show. If you did, please subscribe also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review where you're listening to this podcast now. I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTPRENEURS.

Kristopher Kluver Profile Photo

Kristopher Kluver

Author / Speaker

Kris Kluver is a dedicated speaker, facilitator, advisor, seasoned entrepreneur, and bestselling author of The Aspiring Solopreneur: Your Business Start-Up Bible as well as The Fable: Life on Your Terms, part of the Defining What’s Next series. He has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and organizations find balance and achieve more than they ever thought possible using simple tools, candid facilitation, and unique stories. Kris has helped organizations achieve eight-figure exits, ten times growth spurts and the process of going public.
Kris is a Certified Speaker with EO, the Entrepreneur Association, has studied entrepreneurial strategy at Harvard Business School and is a fellow at York University in the United Kingdom. He lives in the high country of Colorado with his spouse, Reka, where they live life on their terms embracing adventure travel and endurance events.