291 Living with Significance after a Tragic Accident – Aaron Walker

What You will Hear  in Aaron Walker's Story:

  • A Tragic Accident and How It Changed Him
  • What does it Take to Succeed in Your Own Business
  • Tips – Become Known and Succeed in Your business

Listen to ReLaunch Show on iPhone or Android App

More about our featured guest Aaron Walker

Businessman and Life Coach, Aaron T. Walker, has inspired many through his leadership, mentorship, and consistent pursuit of excellence. He enjoys helping others and believes experience is a great teacher. Having been an Entrepreneur now for 36 years and enjoying 35 years of marriage have given Aaron a wealth of experience. Aaron continues to reach new heights nationally and internationally with his life and business coaching and consulting company “View From The Top”. Having owned 8 successful businesses and selling to a Fortune 500 company allows Aaron now the time, experience and resources to take others to heights they never dreamed possible.

Full Transcript

[00:02] Joel: Welcome to ReLaunch, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, and practical solutions to help you become known in your niche. And if you are a daily listener, welcome back to the show, thank you for tuning in, and thank you for joining us in the before and the after show online conversation. And if you are new here, just know that you are among friends. And this is what you can expect from today's show: Unique insights, a-ha moments, and actionable information from self-made successes as they share their trials, tribulations, and come-from-behind victories.

[00:50] Joel: And today's promotional partner is Audible. And you know how it works, you visit joelboggess.com/audible, and new members can get a free audio book of their choice simply by taking for a test drive their easy, no-strings-attached 30-day trial membership. Signing up is quick and easy, and you can do it right there on your phone and tablet. Again it's joelboggess.com/audible. And joining us on today's show, life coach Aaron Walker. And you know, Aaron has been leading, mentoring and empowering people and business, and in their life journey, for a combined 35-plus years. And hey Pei, I don't know if you knew this, but he has actually owned and sold eight successful businesses in his career. And as a entrepreneur, he continues his mission of helping others experience new heights in their business and in their personal life. And the name of his organization, it really says it all, it's called ‘View from the Top.'

[02:03] Pei: Excellent.

[02:03] Joel: Aaron Walker, great to have you on ReLaunch. How goes it?

[02:06] Aaron Walker: Joel, how is it going today man? Thank you and Pei for having me on. Great honor. Thank you.

[02:12] Joel: Well, thank you for those kind, kind words, and we are excited to have you on, and we're gonna respect your time Aaron, and we're definitely gonna respect the time of the people in the ReLaunch nation. So what do you say we just jump right into the show?

[02:27] Aaron Walker: Let's do it.

[02:28] Joel: Aaron, as you know, this show is all about relaunching into the life and business that you love, and while we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches throughout our lives, I generally ask our guests to zero in on the ReLaunch that has been the most significant, or that's been the most transformational for them, and then we just unfold the story from there. And we'll do that with you here in just a few minutes if that's okay; but first, I like to start off the shows with a quick piece of take-away gold… Aaron, if you don't mind, and let me ask you, in your three decades worth of experience, what would you say is the number one hesitation that entrepreneurs have when it comes to moving forward with their business idea… Number one hesitation entrepreneurs have, what do you think?

[03:22] Aaron Walker: Well, I would say they're afraid, and I've lived my life mantra with this saying is, “Be fearful of missing an opportunity more than you're afraid of failure.” And if you will take that, it will erase the fear of trying to go forward, because none of us want to miss an opportunity.

[03:43] Joel: So be more fearful of missing an opportunity, right?

[03:48] Aaron Walker: Correct.

[03:48] Joel: Than…

[03:49] Aaron Walker: Than you are afraid of failure.

[03:51] Joel: Okay, fantastic. Let's hold that thought, put it on a shelf, if we can weave it back into the show a little bit later, that would be fantastic, 'cause that… That could be a show right there in and of itself, but let's just… We'll try to get back into that thought a little bit later on, deal?

[04:08] Aaron Walker: Deal.

[04:09] Joel: Fantastic. Okay, so talking about ReLaunch. Why don't we start the show talking about the most transformational ReLaunch for you, Aaron? Go ahead, start us.

[04:20] Aaron Walker: You know, Joel, I've had a number of relaunches and I've thought a lot about your show, you and Pei, and what a great job you guys are doing in helping people relaunch. But quite honestly, it'll be soon four decades of business for me, and it's a constant relaunch. There's things change in our lives personally, things change in the social media world, things change in business, the financial markets change, so it's really a constant relaunch, if you will. But if you'll allow me to share one time that was probably one of the most profound relaunches for me, was in August of 2001, and Joel, it's not fun, quite honestly, this relaunch, it was actually very tragic.

[05:07] Aaron Walker: I was on my way to the office at [7:30] in the morning, it was August 1st, 2001, and a pedestrian was crossing the street to get on the bus, and they hesitated just for a moment, and they relaxed their shoulders, and they stood in the median, and they were waiting for me to pass. Just as I got to the pedestrian, I don't know if they didn't see me or if they were afraid they were gonna miss the bus, but they took off running. And, Joel, I hit the pedestrian. And at that moment, my life changed forever. I swerved off to the side of the road, got out, I was so nervous, I was shaken, I didn't know what to do. And I was trying to dial 911 on my cell phone, and I couldn't even dial, my hands were shaking so and, I was just standing there panicking, and cars were stopping everywhere.

[05:58] Aaron Walker: And finally I got my hand stable enough to dial the number and called 911. They came and they were there 15, 20 minutes, and took the gentleman and took him to Vanderbilt and regretfully, he didn't make it. He lived three days in the Vanderbilt trauma unit. I had to take some time off, needless to say and reflect and think about what I was doing and I had been very successful up to this point. I started really early and I had done well and sold out to a Fortune 500 company by this time and had other stores and I was doing good from a success standpoint. A friend of mine, Dave Ramsey took me to a place in Amelia Island and we heard a speaker named Bob Buford. And he spoke how to transform our lives…

[06:47] Pei: Oh, he's the…

[06:49] Aaron Walker: From Success to Significance.

[06:50] Joel: Yeah, he wrote…

[06:51] Pei: He's the Halftime guy.

[06:52] Aaron Walker: Yeah.

[06:53] Pei: Yeah.

[06:53] Joel: That's a great book, too.

[06:55] Aaron Walker: Yeah, it is. And it was really a halftime for me in a number of ways and for a number of reasons at that point. And so, all this kind of happened over the same period of time just prior to the accident we had gone on this trip and… So, I just started thinking really what was the purpose of my life? Was it just about making money? Was it just about fame and fortune and success and more money and more toys?

[07:21] Joel: Now, these new questions Aaron came to you, and thank you, by the way. So, these new questions that you were asking yourself, it came as a result of, unfortunately, that person passing away; so that causes you to really take a deep dive within yourself; and I wasn't there, so I won't pretend to understand what that was like, that ReLaunch period was like but this came from you taking as you said, “The introspective look.”

[07:57] Aaron Walker: Yeah. What I'm trying to teach guys to do now is not to have to have an accident to ask yourselves these difficult questions to really reflect on the significance of your life to really think of what your purpose is; and I was successful but I wasn't necessarily significant and so for me, the turning point…

[08:19] Joel: Let's impact that for a minute. Successful but not significant. Okay, so, let's talk about the meanings of those words. Because… And me, too, struggle with that.

[08:32] Aaron Walker: Yeah. Well, we all define success in different ways but, of course, the first one on everybody's list is the dollar signs, it's the money, how successful are you financially. And that's great and I enjoy making money, I teach guys to make money, I want to make money, we all wanna make money, that's the thing.

[08:51] Joel: Sure.

[08:51] Aaron Walker: But true success comes out of significance and how you can impact others, not necessarily just yourself. It's pretty selfish to say, “Well, I got enough money for me so I'm gonna quit now and I'm gonna do my own thing.” And so, success can be defined in a number of ways. I'm very successful now not just monetarily speaking, but I've got a 35-year marriage, I have four grandchildren, I have two great daughters. I have a great home. I'm very successful in regards to things and tangible possessions. But then I have to say “What is significant, how am I impacting others?” And that accident made me think about that, cause I thought that could have been me getting hit by a car. It can happen to any of us. A good friend of mine died recently unexpected, it was like I didn't get a chance to say bye. It can happen to any of us. And so my legacy became much more important to me going forward from that moment. So, for me the relaunch started at that moment how to transform my life and live it successfully, but as well as significantly.

[09:57] Pei: Yeah. Aaron, thank you for sharing that again. When that happened, within the first few days or months, what was the hardest part for you? It's dealing with some emotions? Or would you unpack a little bit what you went through?

[10:22] Aaron Walker: Yeah, sure, sure. Well, it was difficult for a number of reasons. First of all, my wife was in Florida with my children at a youth retreat for our church, and so I was home alone, so that made it twice as difficult. My wife came on back as quick as they heard and of course the family rallied around me and then people at my church and things and they came and comforted me. But the most difficult part was it was an accident. People testified and said it wasn't my fault, it was the person that had ran out. We later found out that he had run out in front of a number of cars. He was older, he was 77 years old and he couldn't see that well. He just didn't see me. And so, I wasn't in any trouble, but the part that was most difficult is my attorney said, “Don't contact the family.” Well, maybe, I don't wanna give you this advice, but for me, that didn't work. I had to contact the family. I had to give my condolences and I had to speak out.

[11:21] Aaron Walker: Well, a friend of mine, my personal physician and this gentlemen were friends and he went to the family on my behalf and said, “I've known these guys their whole life, they're good people. He wasn't doing anything wrong.” And it was later ruled an accident, nobody's fault, he just didn't see me. But the most difficult part for me was I wanted to embrace those people. I wanted to love on those people and tell 'em I was sorry, it was very unfortunate. If I could fast forward just to show you how things work though.

[11:51] Joel: Sure.

[11:51] Pei: Please.

[11:51] Aaron Walker: Seven years later, my dad was in the hospital dying of cancer and the daughter to the man that I hit was my dad's personal nurse and took care of my dad…

[12:04] Joel: Wow!

[12:05] Aaron Walker: For the length of time that he was in critical care in the hospital. So it just goes to show you that you never know who you're talking to, you never know who you're around, and we need to embrace each and every moment. But I would say my life took a 180 turn at that point and the significance was far more important than the success, but you can have both. But for me it took that accident to get me to see the light.

[12:28] Joel: Really appreciate you sharing that with us Aaron. We've got 10 minutes left, a lot to cover. So I wanna ask you a quick question and if you can nutshell this answer, I wanna move right into the next segment of the show. But what did you, Aaron, learn or re-learn about Aaron, about your potential, about your possibilities, about your value and worthiness?

[12:57] Aaron Walker: You know, I don't know that any of us are necessarily worthy, I don't know if that's the word I would choose but all of us are capable. And I was raised in a house where my mom wouldn't allow us to say “can't”, it wasn't allowed. They said, “You might not be able to do it but you're gonna try”. As a result of that I have a lot of self-confidence. And so, now my wife uses it against me. She'll say, “I don't think you can do that”. Well, she knows that stokes me up [chuckle] and I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it one way or the other.

[13:28] Joel: So what she's done, because women are smarter than guys like you and me, especially our wives 'cause we married up, what she does is she challenges you when she really wants something done. She was like, “Aaron, don't you do that or, you can't do that”.

[13:40] Aaron Walker: Absolutely. Yeah, she knows it stokes me up and I'm gonna get it done, right. But I know that there's nothing out there that I can't accomplish if I'm not willing to put the time, the effort, the energy, the resources, studying, learning, putting my 10,000 hours in. My answer is yes, I can do it, what is it you want done? And I think we all can do that, it's just that most people are not willing to put the effort and the energy, the resources, and the time into whatever it takes to make you successful. Can you be successful? Absolutely, you just have to put the effort, energy, and resources in it, you can do it.

[14:12] Joel: And that actually answers my next question which is going to be what were you able to harness within yourself as you went through not just your emotional ReLaunch, like with the accident that happened but also your professional ReLaunch? And you just hit it right there on the head. You talked about your willingness and your commitment, not just to your family and the people that you love, but your commitment to yourself and the commitment to put in the time, energy, effort, and whatever it took.

[14:45] Aaron Walker: Right. Well, here's what I teach people on a daily basis. People say, “Well, I need to get motivated”. They say, “Joel, I need to get motivated”. Well, I'll tell 'em, “Motivation doesn't work.” And they look at me like, “What?” And I said, “Motivation is an exhaustible resource, you can only stay up so long”. What works is a plan. If you have a plan written down, very, very diligent, articulate, specified plan, it will work. You just need to put your left foot in front of your right one 35 times and you'll get to the mailbox. I didn't have to get excited to go get the mail, I had to have a plan by which to get there. And Joel, I even have a document that I created called “Steps To A Productive Day”. I'd like to make that free for your audience and I'll put it on a website and they can come and download it, and they can walk through their day to have the steps to a productive day.

[15:32] Joel: I appreciate that, Aaron. We'll of course include the link in the blog article that accompanies this episode along with all of your social media hot spots, all the go to places. We'll have that embedded in our link. Hold on Pei, I wanna move forward, is that okay? Can we move forward?

[15:50] Pei: Yeah. I'll announce it later again but if they go to joelboggess.com/291 it will access the information.

[15:59] Joel: Okay, very good. So joelboggess.com/291. Okay Aaron, now part of what we do on this show is we not only learn about the ReLaunch and some of the things that you've learned and the steps that you took in your own personal ReLaunch; but we also talk about becoming known in your niche. Because if there's one thing that entrepreneurs have to learn how to do and strive to achieve is if they wanna be successful, wildly successful at their entrepreneurial venture, they need to become known in their niche, experts if you will, and some people even use the word, become celebrities in your niche. So pick your favorite word, known or expert or…

[16:49] Pei: Be visible, be heard.

[16:50] Joel: Or celebrity. But how did you become known in your niche so that you could build View From the Top into yet another successful business? What do you think?

[17:03] Aaron Walker: Well, I'm very intentional about everything I do, that's why my tag line is ‘live on purpose'. I don't believe in living reactively, I believe in living proactively so every day I get up there's a plan. I don't do this by accident. I've been on about 60 podcast interviews in the past 120 days. And so, I did that very intentional, I want to reach out to people to spread my word, to tell about who I am, what my business is, to try to be a decent guest on some of these shows. I hope I'm not botching your show up but I try to get on intentionally. I have hired two full-time social media assistants that they do nothing but follow up. And I acknowledge every tweet, every Facebook post, every like, every comment, every follow. We intentionally do that every day. It's very, very thought out, very proactive. They're not gonna come to you, Joel, you've gotta go to them. People are not gonna knock down your door and say, “Hey, I want you to be a guest on my show.” They just don't do it. You've gotta be proactive.

[18:06] Aaron Walker: Relationship building for me is number one in every business I've ever owned. I never eat lunch alone. I never drink coffee alone. I make calls intentionally every day to people just to check on them to see how they are. Not when I want something. I call them and check on them just to check on them. I build relationships intentionally, very purposefully build relationships. I encourage people daily. I'll tweet, text out, just words of encouragement, affirmation. I want those guys to know I'm here for them. I care about them. I wanna help them. It's the jab, jab, jab, right hook. You give, you give, you give and then you can ask. Don't go and ask first. Give, give, give, then you can ask.

[18:50] Pei: Wow, thank you Aaron, you had so many different points. You reach out on podcasts, you are intentional, and I absolutely love that word, too. On social media connections and personal, local connections, and there's just so many tips within the last five or maybe two, three minutes you shared, so thank you.

[19:15] Aaron Walker: Yeah, absolutely.

[19:15] Pei: And never have coffee or lunch alone, that's a great tip, 'cause really success… One of our mentors I absolutely adore, Rabbi Lapin, and I know his, you know Dave Ramsey, well, his book, “Thou Shall Prosper” is very much liked by Dave Ramsey, too.

[19:38] Aaron Walker: You know, he came to our Mastermind group, Daniel Lapin did. I've met him a few times and had dinner with him, and had a breakfast with him, and he came to our Mastermind group. I'm in a Mastermind group, with Dave Ramsey, and Dan Miller, and Ken Abraham, and for over 10 years, we've been meeting every Wednesday morning at Dave's office and Daniel Lapin is a good friend of Dave's, and he brought him in. That book is fabulous.

[20:00] Pei: Yes.

[20:00] Aaron Walker: If you haven't read that book, audience, go get Daniel Lapin's book, “Thou Shall Prosper”, it's amazing.

[20:06] Pei: I'll put a link in there, too. Yeah, he mentioned… The reason why I brought him up was, he mentioned there's intelligence quotient, the IQ and then the emotional quotient, so many people are now aware of… But then he said the key to success or more business success is the connection quotient, to intentionally build connections.

[20:33] Aaron Walker: It's everything. I went to the Social Media Examiner last week in San Diego, and 95% of my time was going around talking to Pat Flynn, and Chris Brogan, and John Lee Dumas, and just meeting those guys. And Joel, I meet Joel, I got to meet for the first time at Social Media, so that was awesome within itself. And so meeting people, building those relationships… Man, go out there and do it, because it will pay dividends for the rest of your life, if you'll build relationships intentionally.

[21:05] Joel: Talking with Aaron Walker today, ‘View From The Top' is the name of his organization. And one of the things that we talk about on this show is becoming known in your niche. And there are a lot of ways that you can become known in your niche, and Aaron has shared a little bit about how he has used his relationships, and how he connects with people, not when he wants something but just to be of service, to be a good friend, and to be a sounding board for people. And that's one of the ways that he over 10 years, 20 years, 30 years 35 years plus has become that go-to business expert and life coach. Harnessing the power of his relationships and letting people just know what he is, solid and a rock star. Go ahead Pei.

[21:58] Aaron Walker: Joel, you know when you look at your phone when it rings, and you look at that phone, and it's Pei, she's calling you up; something comes to your mind, you're either very, very energized. Or when Billy calls you, it's like, “Oh man, what does he want?” [chuckle] What I wanna know is, is what does people think when my name shows up on their screen? I wanna be the guy that empowers, encourages, builds up, edifies, I wanna be that guy. And you can only get that reputation if you call them and check on them when you don't need something, and check genuinely how they're doing. When you do that, then you've formed and built a relationship.

[22:36] Joel: Awesome, very well said, Aaron, really appreciate your time today. Again, all of the information will be in the blog article, that accompanies this episode. You can go to joelboggess.com/

[22:50] Pei: 291.

[22:50] Joel: Awesome, Aaron, have a wonderful rest of your day. Welcome back here on ReLaunch anytime. Go ahead, Pei.

[22:56] Pei: And don't forget to grab Aaron's multiple resources, right?

[23:01] Aaron Walker: Yes, we're gonna give you “Personal Assessments”, “What Do I Want?” and “Steps to a Productive Day”. I'm gonna make them free for your entire audience. Just go to that site, and download them, and use them ever how you see fit. Man, you guys have been great. Thank you very much.

[23:17] Joel: All the best, Aaron, bye bye. Thanks so much for tuning in. You can also access our show from many mobile apps and by visiting our website. Just go to joelboggess.com/291. You'll also find show transcripts and additional resources to support your relaunch into the life and business that you love.

Connect with Aaron on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and his website.

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Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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