Today, we explore the subtle difference between empathy and compassion. Although the distinction might seem barely noticeable, understanding it can not only change our lives and how we see the world, but it can help us have a more significant impact on the lives of others.
Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to all of our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners, wherever you may be in the world today. This is your host, Steve Shallenberger. We have a special guest with us today. CEO, author, speaker, and podcast host — he’s not afraid to admit that he did not like who he was 10 years ago. Initially, he built up his wealth working in sales, but it wasn’t long before his battle with alcohol and drug addiction began to rob him of his finances, career, and relationships. One law moment after another, he eventually hit rock bottom and have no idea what it could look like to turn his life around. So, welcome Jefferson Rogers.
Jefferson Rogers: Thank you, Steve. Appreciate you having me on.
Steve Shallenberger: So excited to have you on, and we’re going to learn a lot from you today. I’m looking forward to the experiences that you’ve had. You’ve got both sides of the perspective. So, looking forward to this. I’ll tell you a little bit more about Jefferson. Fast forward to 2022 and Jefferson is the head of JKR Windows, a $30 million company that he built from scratch in just four years. While growing his business, Jefferson learned a ton of valuable lessons the hard way. That sounds like the life of an entrepreneur, Jefferson.
Jefferson Rogers: Yes, sir, it sure is. I’ve tried to speed up the process a little bit, but there are some things you just can’t get around learning the hard way.
Steve Shallenberger: He’s discovered the importance of focusing on his team every day, which has grown to nearly 100 team members, and having great coaches and mentors, including Grant Cardone. Today, Jefferson has over 80,000 followers on Instagram and is dedicated to not only building on his own success but also helping others who are in the same position that he remembers being in. Jefferson hosts his own podcast, which is ALL IN, and has been featured in St. George News, Dropping Bombs with Brad Lea, and Culture Matters. This is going to be fun. Let’s get right into it. Jefferson, tell us about your background, including any turning points in your life that have had a significant impact on you. And how did you end up where you are today?
Jefferson Rogers: Appreciate that, Steve. Well, it’s been been a long road. In my teenage years and 20s, I struggled with drugs and alcohol, and I didn’t do a whole lot of productive things or responsible things with my life during those years. But one thing I had going for me was my mom was incredible at raising us and instilling confidence in us. So, my whole upbringing, I was told that I was meant to do great things and that I was born first for a reason and it was a big responsibility and my brothers are paying attention to the things that I’m doing. So, all through those years, I was struggling with addiction, I wanted to do something special with my life, I just wasn’t quite sure how it was going to end up playing out. I did have to get to a really low point in my life before I realized that I was tired of living this lifestyle, repeating the patterns, and wanting to start living up to that potential. I still haven’t accomplished nearly what I want to try and accomplish with my life, but a lot has happened in a short period of time. And it just shows that anything can be possible if you put your mind to it. You can make the changes that are necessary; change the way you think about what’s possible for yourself and focus that attention on doing productive things and making a lifestyle. So, over the past five years since I joined a mentor program, started really changing the trajectory of my life: I got sober, started a business, and I was able to repair a lot of these relationships in my life, and now I’ve got an incredible relationship with my wife and my kids, and built an incredible business and got all kinds of other opportunities that I’m working on, writing a book right now that should be done by the first quarter of ‘23, raising $12 million for a big real estate project, and working on all other kinds of projects right now with partnerships and things that I never thought the amount of money that I’m making or the kinds of deals that I’m in right now was even possible five years ago. And it’s pretty cool what can happen.
Steve Shallenberger: Let’s talk about the transition if you don’t mind. First of all, you got into alcohol, you got into drugs when you were younger. How did that affect what you were doing, and how to just survive during that time?
Jefferson Rogers: You know what? I think I was always having fun, that was the challenge. I was having fun and I was hanging around a bunch of people that encouraged that type of behavior, so it just seemed like I was at the right place all the time. But what we all have is our conscience. I’m not sure what to call it but I know that during those times of partying and making not the best decisions, I always had this voice that was talking to me saying that this isn’t who you are, this isn’t aligned with the values that you were brought up with and the man that you were meant to be. So, I always had that hanging over my head and haunting me. And that transition happened slowly over time just because of all those seeds that I had planted myself in there: “I can make this change. I know I can do it. I’m not meant to continue to go down this path and end up being some of these people that I see that kind of seems scary; they’re 30 years further into the future doing the things that I’m doing right now, and this could be my future. Do you want to really continue down this path?” And then on top of that, I had a lot of people that cared about me and were trying to point me in the right direction, aunts and uncles, and mom and dad. And then I’d started hanging out with other people that were business influences, not as much on the lifestyle but just starting to see what was possible if I were to apply myself. And just little by little, a little bit of mindset change, a little bit of belief that I had in myself to do better with my life. There’s no magic formula. It was never one moment that changed everything; it was always just a continuous build-up to where I’m at today. Some people have to go through a catastrophe and a huge life-altering event for things to happen. Thank God I never killed anybody while I was driving around drunk or had to go to prison or anything crazy. I just realized that I wasn’t living the kind of lifestyle or being the kind of human being or example to my wife, kids, brothers, and everybody else around me that I wanted to be, and I slowly just started making changes to where I am today. I still got a long way to go, but I feel like I’m doing pretty darn good.
Steve Shallenberger: So, it was really something you felt inside of what your potential was and you said, “I can do a whole lot better. And if I follow this trajectory, I think I’m going to end up in a lot better place, versus if I follow that trajectory and I’m going to end up in a crummy place because I can see it.” And it sounds like you really started focusing on that good vision, the positive vision, the vision you felt would bring you greater happiness.
Jefferson Rogers: Yeah. And the vision has gotten bigger. I had somebody ask me the other day on a podcast, what I would tell myself five years ago and what do you think myself in five years would come back and tell me right now in this moment? And that vision that I had for what was possible five years ago, it was small, it was a great starting point, it got me out of where I was. But I can’t help but think that if I would have had a bigger vision and if I would have stretched myself a little bit more that I could have accomplished more. Because right now, those things that seemed impossible and that were these just crazy, audacious goals weren’t all that big, and I had them accomplished in a very short period of time. It’s something common that you’ll hear with successful people is that one thing they just wish they would have done if they would have known better was made bigger goals and had a bigger vision and thought bigger than they were capable of at that point because they accomplished all those things they thought were crazy. And if they only thought bigger, they could have accomplished even more.
Steve Shallenberger: This is the whole idea of Becoming Your Best. One of my very favorite poems is “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.” And what you’ve gone through and virtually every other person that’s realized they’re becoming better and better, it is a process and you just can’t force the growth. What’s really fun as you shift your vision to follow what you’re feeling inside to good things and you really look at that and make those choices, your perspective of “good, better, best” grows. And you do learn by experience, and that’s why we’re on this podcast. You can share that with others that it’s hard to cheat the process and congratulations. But it’s a fun journey. What a fun journey, isn’t it? Was there a day, by the way, that you just look back and say, “I’m never doing that stuff again. I know, I’m never doing it”?
Jefferson Rogers: Yeah, I’ve got a couple of those. I had one really bad day, I drank all day long, started in the morning playing golf, ended up at a concert, got in an argument with my wife and I was belligerent, I couldn’t even hardly string words together anymore. And then I got in a fight and I drove off in my car. The car got impounded, I didn’t get caught, and I got an assault charge for that fight that I got into, but could have been a lot worse. I can still kind of hear myself in those moments and the slurred words and the insecurity that I had in the way that I was trying to conduct myself because I was just so belligerent. I never want to feel like that again. And I had done it to myself so many times and told myself “I was never going to do it again,” I just kept doing it. It deemed at my confidence and my self-esteem. The longer you go without being able to keep promises to yourself, it just takes a toll. But that was the last time I ever had to go through it. I just made a commitment. I was finally sick and tired of being sick and tired. And over the next four months, I was able to get sober. And I’ve been sober now for four and a half years.
Steve Shallenberger: Yeah, that’s great. Way to go, Jefferson. That’s one of the great accomplishments in life. And that change can inspire many, many other people that it can and are important to be done. Let’s turn our attention to some of the other experiences you’ve had. Your business scaled rapidly and successfully, but not everyone in the business world has immediate success. So, for people that are struggling to get started or to really grow their business, how can they stay motivated through that whole process?
Jefferson Rogers: Is this a trick question, Steve? I have mixed feelings about motivation. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot in the entrepreneurial space and on TikTok and Instagram. But to me, motivation is just complete BS. If you don’t have some foundation, then motivation will do absolutely no good. Anybody can get motivated and have an idea or feel inspired, and they go out and take this little burst of action in the direction of that new motivation. But if you haven’t spent the time to develop your discipline and your daily habits, then once that burst of energy wears out, you have to lean back on, you just get roped in with everybody else that just has an idea and never does anything about it or does very little and never follow through. I have motivation in my life, every day I get inspiration, I got books and books full of notes and I got my phone full of notes, and I’m inspired, and I’m motivated also. But what I’ve done now for five years is built a foundation of discipline and daily habits that when the motivation wears out, I’ve already got so much momentum in my business and in my day-to-day activities that I’m not relying on just a little burst of motivation for anything in my life. So, there are a lot of different opinions on what motivation is and how you can benefit from it. But for me, it’s it all comes down to your daily habits and the discipline that you’ve created over long periods of time. Anybody can get excited for a day or a week or a month, but the truly great entrepreneurs and business owners string together years and years of consistency that help them build. And it may seem like things all happen fast. I got this badass bookshelf behind me, I live in this incredible house, and it seems like I got everything going on. And when I tell people that I was an addict and I had all kinds of problems and almost threw my marriage away and I had all these issues, it’s hard for people to realize where you’ve come from to get to where you are and all the work dedication that it took to build it. I’ve been working my eyeballs out for five years, it has not come easy.
Steve Shallenberger: One of the key things you’ve mentioned is really building your life on the foundation of principles that create success, and making those tried and proven principles habits in your life. What are some of the most important habits that you’ve developed that you think contribute to your happiness and well-being and an ongoing feeling of plowing through stuff in a good way?
Jefferson Rogers: Some of the biggest ones are your thought patterns: the habits that you have with the way that you think about things, the way that you process information, the way that you talk to yourself, how you believe in what’s possible for yourself. These are just as important as any other habit in your life, and maybe even more important, because your thoughts are the only thing that you could truly have complete control over. So, in the beginning, for me, I had been conditioned my whole life to believe a certain set of things — like the paradigms that were brought up with. Now, for the past five years, maybe even longer than that, I’ve always just had this knack for challenging the way other people think and the things that they’re trying to push on me with their beliefs, and then the things that I’ve believed and come to find out there’s a lot of things that I believed my whole life that is complete BS that was just conditioned to me from these other people in my life; getting involved in sales was one of them. I remember years and years of my life thinking that I would never do sales, never ever was it going to be a possibility because I didn’t want to be lumped into that group of sleazy greasy people that everybody in my circle of influence talked about salespeople like. But turns out that when I did get involved in sales and I started seeing that there are some incredible people in sales and they are offering incredible value, and this entire planet revolves around the sales ecosystem; I started to just see a different perspective and my whole belief system changed, and it changed my life because I got involved in sales. And within a year, I had doubled my income and started working towards bigger numbers than I ever thought were going to be possible for me in my life based off of the circle of people that I hung out with. So, I’d say, one of the most important ones that you want to work on when it comes to habits is your thoughts.
Steve Shallenberger: Yeah, that’s great. In our research, Jefferson, regarding excellence, what sets apart high achieving individuals, performing individuals from all the rest. The same with teams; we observed that none of these people were perfect. We’ve done extensive research all over the world. But what we did discover is there are 12 things over and over they do that sets them apart from everybody else. And when you learn that, you can get the same type of result consistently, it’s predictable, every time. And one of those that we saw among the very top is exactly what you’re talking about is having clarity of what your vision is. In other words, that represents your thoughts, say, “This is what I want to be. This is what I choose to be. And I see this and this is what’s going to fill my mind.” And when I have this clear in mind, then here are some things I want to achieve. And now you really start zeroing in on that focus, and that allows you to do the things day in and day out that matter most. So, congratulations, that’s exactly what our research has shown as well. And then when you make that a habit, look out, because now you’re very focused and you might have a lot of things try to push you aside or things happen all the time. But when you’re focused like that, it makes a difference. So, congratulations on that. Now, you mentioned something else that I’d like to just hear your experience about, and the same with our listeners, I’m sure. A friend of mine, Charlie T. Jones, his nickname was Tremendous, that was his middle name, Charlie Tremendous Jones, shared this quote a long time ago, 35-40 years ago, fun guy, motivational speaker. He said, “In five years from now, you will be the same person you are today except for two things, that is the books you read —” or listen to or whatever, that whole thing education — “and the people that you meet.” One of the things that you’ve talked about that you’ve done is surrounding yourself with mentors, people that inspire you, and also creating networks that help you be successful. Those are the people that you need. You think about where you’re going to be in five years from now, who are the kind of people that will be will be around? So, can you talk about that and how important is it to have a strong network and mentors and people that inspire you?
Jefferson Rogers: One of the biggest contributors to my success over the past five years has been my network and the new level of people that I’ve hung out with that then stretch what’s possible for me by the things that they’ve done in their lives and the way that they talk about what’s possible. And it started small. For me, I had a gentleman in my life. He had come from a financial services background, and he had a great personality, seemed like he had it all put together. And the way that he presented himself, the way that he spoke, the way that he treated people. I’m sure I’d been exposed and been around other people like that. But I, for the first time, started recognizing something in this man and in his life and the things that he’d accomplished that I wanted for myself. And I started emulating him as closely as possible, even to the point where he had a whiskey addiction and I picked up a whiskey addiction. That wasn’t the best trait to pick up from him, but there were a lot of other things that I give him credit for me getting started off with my sales career and the way that I treated people, my leadership, the patients that I have. And then since then, I started really seeing the power of this concept of emulating the people that you hang out with. We do the same thing with our friends. I had a good friend in high school, we’re still friends today, and we would pick up on each other. Even the way that we talked, we started talking like each other. So, you can either hang out with people at and below your level to stay at that level and you’ll continue to repeat the same patterns just like 99% of people do. Or you can see the opportunity like I did and I started really becoming a networker and somebody that was curious and interested in people, which made me kind of interesting to them. And I’ve built incredible relationships all over the United States with people that are at and below my level, but also a large number of people that are way above my level, that now I have access to and I have friendships with and I’m in mentor programs and masterminds and I go to events and meet them. And it’s given me the new lid of things that are possible for you. Right now I’m working with a gentleman, he’s only in his 40s, low 40s, accomplished incredible things with his life, in business, in speaking, in events, and consulting and advising. And some of the high-level things that he talks about from his years of experience in business, exiting businesses, and multimillion-dollar transactions have just made new things possible for me. Because this guy, he’s a great guy, but listen, he is nothing special. He’s just like me, he’s just been doing things at a higher level for longer, believed in himself for longer, and that’s really the only thing separating you from me and me from him, is just experience and time. For me, I look at a guy like Grant Cardone, I think the same thing about him. That guy is incredible and he hasn’t accomplished amazing things with his life, holy smokes: the real estate portfolio, the businesses, the sales platform, the educational content that he’s done. The guy’s been working for a long period of time. But that guy is no different from me, he’s just got work ethic, experience, and time that are separating him from where I am 25 years behind him.
Steve Shallenberger: What makes us different are the thoughts we have, it’s the ability to come up with ideas. And when you can capture a new idea, it changes everything. So, how do you come up with new ideas? Well, you meet new people, you create your networks, and you read and learn, and then that’s what sets you apart. But otherwise, we’re the same, and we’ve got hands and a head and eyes, so that’s what makes the difference, and we have a heart. So, you start putting all this together and you say, “Well, there are things that really create happiness, joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, and the chance to make a difference in life. Well, how fun to see you going through all those discoveries and making those a reality, building a stronger relationship with your wife and your children, and finding this harmony in life of doing all these things because you can’t have one and not have the other. You can’t be really successful in business and treat your family like dirt and ultimately be happy. It’s putting it together, right?
Jefferson Rogers: Yeah, you’ve got to be good at all of them. I like how you said “harmonize” because a lot of people talk about balance. And if you think about balance, that means you have to have equal things on the scale for there to be balance. And the reality is, if you’re going to do anything significant with your life, you are never going to have balance. And if you’re trying to go for it, you’re going to be disappointed every step of the way.
Steve Shallenberger: Yeah, harmony is a great word, I love that. We get the picture of that. Well, I am always blown away by how fast these interviews go, and we’re coming to the end already. As you think about some of the most important lessons that you’ve experienced, Jefferson, any final tips that you would like to leave with our listeners today? It’s been fun visiting with you. Congratulations on the transformations that you’re experiencing and the people that you’re blessing. That’s awesome.
Jefferson Rogers: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. I’ve been asked that question so many times and what comes to mind today is that not everybody listening to this podcast is a business owner. There’s a lot of hype around being an entrepreneur and a business owner. And the reality is not everybody’s ready for entrepreneurship; they’re not ready to jump into being a business owner. There are huge time commitments, a lot of stress, and anxiety. Not saying that it’s not a possibility in the future, but one of the things that I see a lot of as I do coaching, consulting, and advising, I put my cell phone right on Instagram for people to reach out to me and ask questions, and I get a lot of inquiries about what should I do? What do I do next? What kind of business? People asking me for money. One of the big things is that whatever habits that you have right now in your life are going to create your future; the decisions, the habits that you’re making right now are going to create your future. And if you’re at a job right now, where maybe you don’t feel like there’s a ton of alignment, so you’re not giving it your all-in effort and you’re half-assing it and doing as most people do, and they’re just doing barely enough not to get fired. If you were to start a business, if you were to take on entrepreneurship, you are going to take something very similar in your habits in the way that you approach that job to your business. And there’s a reason why 99% of businesses fail in 10 years, over 90% fail in the first two years because most people underestimate the amount of work that’s going to take to have a business, sustain it, and be profitable. And then the rest of them just have bad habits. So, wherever you’re at right now, I’m reading a Napoleon Hill book and he’s interviewing Andrew Carnegie, and he talks about Charles Schwab a lot because he’s such an incredible success story in Andrew Carnegie’s life, because it was this guy that just started at the bottom, the very bottom of the organization. But he had an incredible attitude and he always was doing more than he got paid for, with that incredible attitude. And I think that’s missing in today’s world. It’s already few and far between, but even less today than ever before, are people willing to go above and beyond to do more than they’re getting paid for. So, pay attention to what you’re doing, audit your situation. If you have a bad attitude, you’ve got to fix it. If you’re not willing to do more than you getting paid for, chances are, you’ll never bring enough value for you to make a significant income. So, you got to change the way you think about the value that you bring to your environment.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, one of the terms I like is entrepreneur, there are certain characteristics they have, there’s also something called intrapreneurs. And that is a worker inside the company, and is making a contribution, they love what they do. In other words, there are these traits that you’re talking about, Jefferson, that can make them great where they’re at today, and learn and make a difference, make a contribution, be the very best you can, and raise the bar wherever you’re at. I think that’s what you’re saying, is make a difference now be good, be among the very best at what you do. So, whether you work within an organization like your window company, then you want employees that are kicking it, getting after it, making a difference, and leaving people better than you find them. And that’s what brings joy to life, and these get back to these principles we talked about and as you really work on becoming your best where you’re at. I think that’s great advice. So, whether we’re a parent, a grandparent, a partner, a coach, a teacher, a warehouse manager, a division manager, or a CEO, let’s be great at it. So, good advice, my friend. It’s been fun having you on the show today. We’ve loved it. We wish you the best in all that you’re doing. What an exciting journey.
Jefferson Rogers: Thank you, sir. Appreciate you having me on, Steve. It’s been fun.
Steve Shallenberger: It’s been a blast. And to all of our listeners, wherever you might be, we compliment you. The very fact that you’re listening in, teaches us so much that you too are working on becoming your best, making a difference, working on learning, and gaining new ideas. So, it’s a privilege and an honor to be together with you today. We wish you the best today and really always. This is your host, Steve Shallenberger, with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, wishing you a great day.
Jefferson K. Rogers
Business Growth Expert, CEO, Founder of JKR Windows, ALL IN Podcast Host