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Brandon Stover
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In this Episode I talk to Brandon Stover, a Startup Executive Coach, who’s aim is to help startup founders enhance leadership. He does this by focusing on a holistic approach to build clients emotional intelligence in order to support their Entrepreneurial goals.

Brandon Shares his path of why he decided to become a life coach and explains the importance of how our emotions and relationships impact every area of our life including how we show up in our businesses.  

Here Are Some Quotes From Brandon In The Episode 

 Brandon’s Journey into this work  

“I started to think to myself if I continue down the path that I am on. I’m going to be sitting in that same seat 40 years from now, and is that where I want to be? And the answer to that was no.”

A lot of people are often starting a business, to create some sort of impact or something they want in the world, or they’re doing it in reaction to a way that they’ve been living in the past. For example, they may be wanting to solve a big problem, or they are reacting to working the nine to five life. 

This is kind of how I started as an entrepreneur working nine to five in architecture. That was really a reaction of my mom kind of pushing me to basically succeed really well in school, do the best I can to get a good college and go get a good job. I thought that was architecture but when I was working in architecture, I remember sitting around and hearing the problems that the other bosses and partners in the firm were having and seeing the faces that they would come in with every day. And I started to think to myself, like, if I continue down the path that I am, I’m going to be sitting in that same seat 40 years from now, and is that where I want to be? And the answer to that was no. 

So I started doing, you know, everything that I could to try and find a way out of that. I started doing, you know, side hustles. I did things like e-commerce and building websites for other people or kind of small Freelancer stuff. Trying to find that as a way out, but eventually, I found myself not enjoying those things as much as well. 

When you are building a business, you have to really love what you’re doing or you’re not going to be able to continue. To keep building that to keep thriving and have the longevity of being in that situation. For as long as it’s going to take to build that business. So you have to really get clear on what it is that you value and what you know lights a fire inside you. So as a coach of these early stage founders and entrepreneurs, I really try to help them to see that mirror in themselves of what it is that they actually truly value. What is it that is actually going to light them on fire and use that as an energy to help them build their business because no matter what you’re doing in life, like you’re gonna come up against struggles. It’s hard to be an entrepreneur, it’s hard to build a business and so you need to have that fire to keep you going through those struggles.

What drew me to coaching in the beginning was this interaction with other people and Helping them to see and fulfill the things that they actually want in life. 

When I was working in architecture I felt so disconnected, you know, drawing lines on a computer and not really feeling like what I was doing was making a difference in anyone’s life. 

I saw coaching as two fold. One, it would allow me to do all the things that I was doing for myself. Like diving into personal development, and trying to better myself.  Allowing me to share that with others. Taking some of the things that I learned and giving others the tools that were helping me to make things better in my life. 

Then the second thing was allowing for that human interaction. There is a beauty about getting on a call with a client with someone else, and opening up their life and you know, we start to dive deeper into You know, maybe you’re having this problem in your business, but what is actually behind that. People actually showing that being real, raw and honest, creates a real human genuine connection that I was kind of longing for when I was working on other things. So I went ahead and took the catalyst coaching program. 

From there I just started to do it for free. I think that’s where you have to start building your credibility not only with other people but inside yourself. In believing that you can actually coach other people through this. So starting for free and then working out and using those as referrals, to get other clients and have that credibility. It’s a lot easier for someone to hear that, hey this person actually helped Me, helped me gain clarity, helped me gain direction, and hear the value of coaching from somebody that they trust rather than you just trying to market to them, and tell them that coaching is going to help them. 

Holistic Approach To Supporting A Business  

“How you’re doing in fitness, or in your communication with your partners is going to affect the other areas.”

Something that I do in my process is I have a 100 question questionnaire that they go through. This kind of goes through each area of your life.Through your own mindset, through what you’re doing in your body, through your own personal and self being ,through the relationships and partners that you have, and then some of the things that you’re doing in your business. Because again, we can’t silo any one of these things, you know, how you’re doing in fitness, or in your communication with your partners is going to affect the other areas. 

They take this questionnaire and rate themselves on how they’re doing in different areas. They explore Some of the things that they’ve been doing in some of those. For instance in Self-Being I asked them, have they ever felt imposter syndrome? Have they ever felt depression and anxiety? How much are they feeling it and then we look at things like their sleep and if they’re not getting enough sleep. It’s going to raise those things like depression and anxiety and stress. I ask questions around those things. So when I come to that first coaching call I have an idea of where they are in their life. I also reflect that back to them. 

One thing working with entrepreneurs and startup founders is they really love metrics and things that you can measure and can see. So I present that to them so they can see a score of what is going on in their life in these different areas. That starts to open up the conversation around those and being like, okay, Well, how come you  have been feeling so much stress? Or where are you feeling this depression, and anxiety? What comes up with you there? And they start to dive in a little bit. Then after that, it comes from the questions that you’re asking to kind of pull that out of them deeper and work through that in the following sessions.

Role of A Coach 

“A coach is really trying to help you understand where you are right now.”

What are the roles of each of those people? You know, obviously a mentor is somebody that has Maybe been in the place that you want to be in. So they kind of have a roadmap to show you how to get there. A therapist really is helping you to work through some of your past traumas, helping you understand why you may feel a certain way. Whereas a coach is really trying to help you understand where you are right now. Looking at some of those things from the past, but more through the lens of how can we move you forward, like, okay, yes, maybe this happened to you, but what can we do now to actually help you reach your goals. 

I think working in tandem with these other people is really helpful. So if you have a mentor, there’re outlining the steps for you to take to reach your goals. Then you have somebody like a therapist helping you work through your past. 

A coach is basically  going to help you combine those two things and really understand what is holding you back right now. Whether that be an emotion Maybe that’s something like imposter syndrome, or, the belief that you can’t do it. Working through those sorts of things, helping you overcome them in moving you forward. That’s kind of the key aspect of a coach is really looking towards the future and what can we do now? What can we execute on to reach that future?

 Importance  of Accepting All Emotions  

“Unless they feel those down moments in their life, they’re not going to be able to feel that other end of the spectrum.”

If you do not express all of the other feelings and allow those to come out, oftentimes you don’t allow yourself to express joy either. 

In my life I before expressing these other emotions, I kind of bottled them up. I put armor on and didn’t allow myself to feel them all fully, and because of that, I didn’t allow myself to actually revel in the things that were bringing me joy. To allow myself to actually feel joy to the fullest. 

I think a lot of people are trying to chase happiness or chase a euphoria of always feeling good. But unless they feel those down moments in their life, they’re not going to be able to feel that other end of the spectrum. 

Just as advice to listeners, think about the other emotions that we had just spoken about ( Anger, Fear, Shame, Disjust, Sadness),  and where they show up in your life. Be able to actually express those so that when something joyful happens in your life you can actually feel that too.

How To Be Your Own Coach 

“One of the biggest things when I was getting aware of my thoughts and my emotions was just sharing it with others even in small ways.”

Maybe you don’t have access to a coach or are not ready for Coach yet. One of the biggest things when I was getting aware of my thoughts, and emotions was just sharing it with others even in small ways. Whether that be with the person that you are getting your coffee from, or the barista at the coffee store. Instead of when they say hey, you know, how are you doing? You say, you know, I’m doing okay, or All right, or things are going good.Take a few extra moments to be a little mindful. Check in like, what am I actually feeling in this moment. If you’re feeling super joyful, then share with them, you know?  I’m feeling really joyful. I got to have breakfast with my wife this morning and take the dog for a walk. So I’m feeling really good right now. 

That’s going to not only help you start building that muscle of awareness, but it’s also going to allow you to have a real, genuine human connection with somebody else, and maybe make their day a little better. Likewise, if you’re not actually feeling that great, and you know, maybe something’s a little down in your life. When people ask how are you feeling? You don’t necessarily need to unload your entire life on them, but actually, genuinely share, and be honest of how you’re feeling. You know, things actually aren’t going that great. I had a little bit of a rough morning and so I’m not feeling up to my fullest. Just those few little words is going to help you start expressing what you actually feel and not hiding that with others. 

When you do little exercises like that with strangers it allows you to more easily do it with the ones you love. I think that is where you are actually going to find that support network. Because whether it be your parents, or, your significant other, or really good friend. These are people that love you, and are going to be the ones that are less likely to judge you, and actually  want to hear the emotions and thoughts that you’re having. Oftentimes they are the ones you’re having the most problems with, and the reason that those emotions and thoughts are coming up. So when you build that muscle in little ways, it gives you the courage and the strength to actually do it with the people that matter more.




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