Episode 39: Interview with Jordan Babineaux, Author of Pivot to Win

Ep 39: Dawn McGruer Interviews Jordan Babineaux, Author of Pivot to Win for Dawn of a New Era Podcast ‘Chronicles of a Serial Entrepreneur’ 

My guest today is Jordan Babineaux who lives in Seattle with his wife and three children. He has had a very interesting journey and I know you’ll be really interested to know about Jordan’s transition from NFL player to entrepreneur.

We talk about Jordans fantastic journey from being a professional NFL player to becoming an entrepreneur. We also look at Jordans book ‘Pivot to Win’.

🔥 Jordan started as an NFL star who played for the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans and transitioned to an entrepreneur and author.

🔥 Jordan is the author of a new book ‘Pivot to Win’ where he talks about inspiration to take the next step in his career by taking advantage of uncertainty and opportunities as they arise.

🔥 Jordan also has a production company and he has worked with very famous stars such as Kevin Hart and Mike Epps.

🔥 Jordan is currently completing his MBA and is due to be finished by June.

🔥 Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast – I have some pretty epics guest lined up for the next few months (yep I have been a busy bee!) and I promise the stories and insights my guests are going to be sharing are out of this world in terms of inspiring!!!

Did you know that my podcast Dawn of a New Era has reached the top 10% most popular shows out of 1,992,247 podcasts globally, ranked by Listen Score?… Just 8 months and 39 episodes in – SUBSCRIBE NOW
Interview with Jordan Babineaux

Here are the highlights from this episode:

{1:41} Jordan’s biggest focus for 2021

{5:50} How Jordan re-defined success as he pivoted from NFL star to author and entrepreneur

{8:16} Jordan’s success pillars

{13:01} How Jordan sets aspirational goals

{16:02} How a failed business made Jordan come back stronger

{19:03} The sacrifices Jordan made when he pivoted into entrepreneurship

{22:03} The biggest changes Jordan made through lockdown

{24:20} Jordan’s book recommendations

{25:46} “A man who views the world at 50 the same way he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali

Connect with Jordan:

pivottowin.com

@jordanbabineaux

Check out all episodes here

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Dawn McGruer’s Marketing * Motivation * Mindset Group    


 
Speaker. Author. Podcaster. Strategist.
 
Multi-award-winning speaker, strategist & best-selling author of Dynamic Digital MarketingHelping to inspire entrepreneurs to rise to meet today’s challenges and be powerfully present to shine online.
 
Connect with me and let’s Dream Big * Work Hard * Make it Happen
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Ways to work with me
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Who is Jordan Babineaux?

 

Dawn McGruer:

Hello everyone. We are live on this week’s Dawn of a New Era podcast, and we have another special guest. Now, our guest today is Jordan Babineaux. You live in Seattle with your wife and three children, and you’ve had a very interesting journey. I’ve just been reading a little bit more about you and delving into your new book, Pivot To Win. Now, I think the listeners and people who are watching the interview will be really keen to know about your transition from sports star. So you were NFL player for, I think, a decade, and now you’ve focused on not just entrepreneurial journey, but you have a foundation at Believe that is it’s all about the research for an amazing cause for lupus. And we’re just going to have a chat and find out a little bit more about you, but before we get started, I wonder whether I can ask you one question?

Jordan Babineaux:

Sure.

 

Jordan’s biggest focus for 2021

 

Dawn McGruer:

What is your biggest, biggest focus for 2021?

Jordan Babineaux:

Oh, wow. My biggest focus in 2021, I would say… Well, wow [crosstalk 00:01:49]. One of the things that’s probably at the top and center is to get rid of things, get rid of things that I don’t need, get rid of things I don’t use anymore. I mean, it sounds like things that could be in a house and things that I haven’t used or clothes that I haven’t worn and need to donate, but it’s also people. Right? I mean, I think there’s also need to be an audit of where we are in our relationships, considering that we’ve went through so much in the last year. Life got really simple. So yeah, I would say trim the fat, if you will.

Dawn McGruer:

So then I ask a question that we’ve had many authors on here, and I know when I did my book Dynamic Digital Marketing, it was a labor of love. And let’s be honest. Anyone who says it’s easy is probably lying, but what was it like when you started your book? Because obviously you came out of sports, you probably had a lot to share. But what was the process like?

Jordan Babineaux:

A labor of love? Well, certainly Dawn you have a lot of love to give, having gone through that process. I know exactly what it takes to go from conceiving an idea and to getting content on the pages. And I probably felt like… I’ve dealt with so much of writer’s block at times. And it wasn’t because of lack of motivation. I think sometimes in the process we kind of have this idea of what we want to go in the book and we get to writing and then we kind of play this battle of, should we include this story in a book?

For me, it was a 22 month process. And from the day that I reached out to my book composer and he and I began our relationship. And of the 22 months, 17 months of it was writing.

Yeah. So it’s not like something that just happens. And it comes to… You hear these great people, like the Brendon Burchard’s of the world who can flush out a book in maybe 30 days or two weeks. I’m not that guy. I was very thoughtful about it. And certainly having played nearly a decade in the NFL, there were some stories that I wanted to share. And then, the other part too was taking the time to kind of have some space to find out what those stories were, from childhood to early professionalism and then pivoting away from the NFL. So it was definitely quite the journey. I enjoyed every bit of it. The timing of it was… I would say more divine because I wouldn’t have planned it the way I would have.

I’m still in the midst of my MBA program. And I wrote the book while doing my master’s program. Not something that I would recommend, but part of where I was is I was absorbing and learning so much that I had to decide what goes in the book, what gets left out, and then kind of taking the new content that I’m learning and then using it to develop some of the post book release screening and content and conversations and things that I want to have. So I would say probably the biggest thing and the biggest challenge was finding the end to the book.

 

How Jordan re-defined success as he pivoted from NFL star to author and entrepreneur

 

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. I think the thing is you’ve gone on, you’ve played a sport, you’ve done lots of press and it’s a different kind of feeling, isn’t it? To what you’re sharing through the press. What is the kind of the superstar, the sports star out there. And then, did you feel almost kind of like the imposter syndrome a little bit about writing the book, but also a little bit nervous about the content, like peeling back the layers and showing the real you? Did that surface at all during writing?

Jordan Babineaux:

I would say more so than not. One of the biggest thing in pivoting away from the NFL that I’ve learned was I had to redefine success. Success was no longer putting on a helmet and making big plays or tackling Tony Romo before running into the end zone. And through that process, it was a matter of getting clarity around me, myself, right? And for so long, I think one of the things that I hope that readers can get from the book is that when we’re moving through change, we experience loss and there is this element or this notion that I’m not this particular person, right?

So this imposter syndrome begins to set in, when the very part of us kind of identifying what change is, is this… I would say this, these new discoveries of reinventing yourself. So that includes new behaviors, forming new habits, potentially having new relationships, all of these things that’s going to push us to where we want to go. And change is uncomfortable, frankly, Dawn. I mean really, think about it. It’s really uncomfortable when we’re in this environment of something that we’ve not been exposed to, something that’s new, and we’re trying to develop and grow ourselves in a way to reach or hit this specific goal. I think that’s also powerful. And one of the things I just want to share and encourage people to do when they’re going through this change, even in your moments of discomfort, to keep moving through that, because those breakthroughs are on the other side.

Dawn McGruer:

So interesting. So when we talk about the whole sort of change aspect, a lot of people totally relate to the sort of fear and retreat. Whenever you start thinking about something new, it’s easy to go kind of back to what you know and stay there. I mean, the transition is huge, going from obviously sports personality into entrepreneurial world. I mean, you’re still obviously commentating and you were the voice of the Seattle Hawks and you’re sharing your interest there. Where do you think in terms of like your pose of success, is there a crossover?

 

Jordan’s success pillars

 

Dawn McGruer:

For me, I believe that marketing, motivation, and mindset are my core foundations, that if I know that I’m putting my efforts into all three, that it is pretty hard to fail. I’m not saying I have balance at all times. Those are the things that I believe. What are the sort of success pillars that maybe you’ve taken from sport that you can use as an entrepreneur?

Jordan Babineaux:

Yeah, great. I think maybe even starting with how we approach things, right? So cultivating and developing a winning mindset, right? So I went from growing up in economic ruin, surrounded by drug abuse, violence, and really the streets seem like a faster way to make money than a real way. And here I was, having dodged and put myself in a position where I’ve escaped really that environment. And I think a lot of times, one of the things that really stands out is that sometimes we can be kind of captured by our environment and start to behave like the people that we’re around. One of the things that really always set me free was this idea that the world is bigger than where I was.

And sometimes, it’s hard to do because we’re so caught up in our circumstances. But even at this early age, I had this idea of how things worked and wanted to really see myself outside of where I was. And look, it was some child-like imagination, right? But I even think that even in that, we lose that element of thinking, that things are possible the older we get, right? We become to real about limiting being ourselves from things that are actually possible, when the very thing that we want, they’re still available to us. So like, I really believe that we can accomplish and do impossible things. I mean, that’s one of the great things about humans. That’s reason that we’ve had so much progress in humankind and mankind and the development of technology and development of infrastructure and development of laws, policies, opportunities, and et cetera.

I mean, just the list goes on, on and on and on. So I would say number one is mindset, right? And so, Carol Dweck has this book called Mindset where she kind of challenges the notion of a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. And I think many of us are familiar with those terms, but that growth mindset always allows us to, even in our failures, find something new to learn and take away and apply it. So that the next time we’re in that situation, we can advance. We can move through it a little bit more comfortable. I think that’s also the reason that we, as people, can develop more grit or we can create this muscle of persistence and perseverance.

Now, I talk about persistence as a muscle because it’s something that you can develop through trials and to overcoming adversity. And we’ve all been through something, Dawn I mean, we’ve all been through something. We’ve all failed at something. Failing at something doesn’t make you failure. Right? So that’s what would be called a fixed mindset, right? And if in our failure we’re learning, we’re developing this growth mindset. So that’s one. I would say mindset is probably the number one thing that’s high on my list. And I’ll just share this one too, is that routine.

One of the things that I had to learn coming from college and becoming a professional football player was I had to find a routine. And I didn’t know exactly what that looked like. Right? I mean, it was come to work early, how you wake up, how you show up. The first thing you do when you wake up, the first thing you do when you get to the workplace. Find these little triggers that can set you in a place… Well one, set you up for success. But I think also will help eliminate distractions. Part of developing a routine is also putting borders around things that may be distracting or impeding a high level of efficiency that we all want to achieve. So I would say mindset and routine would be my top two. And certainly, there are several other-

 

How Jordan sets aspirational goals

 

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah, I think.. I think just going back to one of the things you said, which I particularly love, and I am going to take away today is that it’s like kind of finding your inner child again and allowing yourself to dream big. And I think it’s one of the ethos that many entrepreneurs are quite good at. Having sort of aspirational goals, but things that feel truly achievable and having those steps and processes in place. Now, we’ve talked about the core pillars for success, and there’s a lot of things in your book that obviously will really help leaders, entrepreneurs, people looking just for change in all aspects of their lives. But how would you go about setting your goals? You’re obviously quite disciplined in what you do, but how can you make sure that you’re pushing hard enough and you’ve got goals that really are truly aspirational?

Jordan Babineaux:

The discipline part, Dawn, trust me, it’s always a battle. We’re always trying to find out how to be more disciplined, how to be more efficient. And I would say maybe one thing to help any of us is that where’s our focus, right? I mean, in the book, I talk about the use of a magnifying glass, right? If you have a magnifying glass and it’s just centered on one particular point is that, well, light can shine so heavily and illuminate through that magnifying glass, that you could burn a hole on the paper, right? In a piece of paper. Now, so imagine that if we had that same intensity and focus on a particular project, on a particular goal, on a particular whatever, fill in the blank, that achieving what we want would be more probable.

So you mentioned goal setting. I think one of the things for me in pivoting away from the NFL is that I was… I mean, as a football player, that was a huge part of my identity. Now, people saw me in that light. Now, certainly when I showed up, I was Jordan Babineaux. And I mean, people saw me as Jordan Babineaux the Seahawks player. Or the Tennessee Titan, the football player. But if I was introducing myself to anyone who didn’t know who I was as a football player, I just wouldn’t. Right now, if you know who I am, then great, but I don’t lead with my title.

I think the one thing that I like organically is connection. And I think as humans, if we have that connection, then one, it’ll tell me a lot about who you are as a person. And versus if you know me as, I don’t know, the CEO of Microsoft, if you know me as a football player or the championship winning coach or superstar, this Hollywood actor, right? Then you would treat me in a very unauthentic way. Like that’s not how you would treat me.

 

How a failed business made Jordan come back stronger

 

Dawn McGruer:

You take the ego away and just be your actual, authentic self. Yeah? I guess to respect. And probably people will respect you 10 times more because you’re leading with what you’re passionate about, what you really feel is important. And I think this is a really nice angle when you think about entrepreneurs and people will see your status and they will think very lucky in this position. They forget the journey that Jordan has been on to get to that point. And it’s interesting because you didn’t just find an easy way into it. You overcame a lot of adversity, a lot of resilience is obviously built in with that. But when you think about what has been your sort of hardest moment, like if you think about a failure, what is something that you’ve struggled to kind of get through?

Jordan Babineaux:

Well, probably not achieving any one of those goals. Right? Both personally and professionally. Probably what my biggest failure was, or has been, I would say one of them in one of my businesses that failed in a very beginning. It felt embarrassing. I felt small essentially. I felt like even like my confidence was challenged. I even kind of questioned if it’s something that I wanted to do again.

But from that also birthed this new fire and desire to want to achieve or try again. It’s like, well, I’ll be damned if you’re going to remember me this way. And you get this fuel, this motivation from failure. And this is why I say that embodying this growth mindset is real critical because many of us who have failed and have decided not to do something again, because of that failure, it starts to limit who we are as an individual.

But one, it also shows up in other areas of our life. And that’s where we have to be even more conscious of this growth and fixed mindset because a fixed mindset in your finances, a fixed mindset in your relationships, a fixed mindset in your spirituality, it starts to, I would say, shrink our actual capacity, right? Rather than taking on his growth mindset, that it allows those other areas to blossom. So failure in one of my first businesses where we had to… It was a restaurant, it was a food chain restaurant and we had to shut it down. And I like damn. Well, also associated with shutting down a business, that you have the responsibility of your employees and the team and the people that you lead. And you’ve got to have those tough conversations, right? But you also got to have those tough conversations with yourself. And I think really in looking at them head on and having those tough conversations makes the second time or pursuing a new opportunity, you more aware of where you were, the steps that you need to take to prevent failure again, and then work even more hard to get yourself in a winning position, associate, and also with your team.

 

The sacrifices Jordan made when he pivoted into entrepreneurship

 

Dawn McGruer:

I think it’s so true. I mean, you talk to entrepreneurs and businesses, most entrepreneurs have had a failure in business at some point, whether they choose to share them or not. And I think the thing is, is we need to hear more about this because not everybody starts off with the lovely kind of success that just goes up. There’s a lot of stress. There’s a lot of sacrifice that goes into it. What would you say the transition of becoming an entrepreneur, what did you sacrifice more to kind of get your businesses up and running? Because clearly, you’re very focused and you’re very disciplined. What do you think you let fall by the wayside?

Jordan Babineaux:

Yeah, I think having gone through this global pandemic in the last year, that many businesses, both small businesses and large corporations are, and have, battled the idea of do we continue to increase our debt, to accompany more risks, to try to serve our customers in a way? Should we pivot our product? How do we increase our processes, that is more efficient?

And all while laying off hundreds and thousands and millions of people who were no longer employed. And I think it’s a huge challenge as entrepreneurs, but even as business leaders to kind of walk that line on, okay, where do we take a look at the balance sheet, we monitor their environment, what we don’t have control of, and then make the best decision to position the company to still be successful.

It’s a real challenge. It’s a real battle, Dawn. And here in Pivot to Win, I share some of those stories with my current business in transportation, is that, well, transportation was shut down and we were on hiatus for quite some time. And no one was traveling. There was no corporate and business travel. And certainly, companies saved a lot of money due to that, but no one was going to events. There was no nightlife. There was no scenic tours or any of that. Right?

And so, every transportation company, for the most part, at least here in the Pacific Northwest. Now, other parts of the country decided that they wanted to keep things open and risk that. But here in Washington, we’ve shut down completely.

Right? And so it’s like, well, no, how do I still position a company in a way that when things do open back up, that we’re in a position. Or in looking at the pandemic, who are the few people that are still spending money. They’re still spending money. Right? So how do we become partners with the government? And I think looking at, and going through this change, or at least particularly the pandemic, is that, yeah, sure. There are threats. There are uncertainties, but there’s also opportunities. And in that pivot or in change, we have to recognize where the benefits may lie, rather than looking at what it is that we’re losing.

 

The biggest changes Jordan made through lockdown

 

Dawn McGruer:

What would you say… I mean, everyone’s made these big changes. I mean, I think we’ve become the most exercised people in the planet due to the pandemic, but there’s been changes that I’ve made that I don’t think I will reverse. And it’s probably more about why I became an entrepreneur, about freedom, flexibility. I think we get stuck in the churn. Don’t we? Where we’re getting up, we’re going through a day. We kind of think busy is great. What’s the biggest change that you think that you’ve made during the pandemic in your own personal life that you will take forward as we hopefully come out through the run?

Jordan Babineaux:

Yeah. I think one thing that I’ve heard many people talk about is simplicity, right? I mean, life got simple real fast. I mean, suddenly having a nice fancy car, and overvaluing moving from point A to point B, it became relevant, right? Or people who go into offices or organizations and corporations who own an office space, even myself, I’m like, I don’t even need an office space. I mean, yeah, like working from home just became so much of the norm that people in many ways want to continue that. The norm became taking a conference call and taking out the trash and maybe changing a diaper all at the same time.

Dawn McGruer:

Bakers, cooks, and all sorts of different professions. And we were down to the basics, where we couldn’t get flour. These items more at this point. And I think simplicity is key. I mean, I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, there’ll be people who, as we ease lockdown, they’re coming out. They’re positive about the businesses, but I think we will all probably focus on a more simplistic life. And I think going forward as an entrepreneur, I read one of the stats and facts about books. In 2023, we’re not going to have paperbacks. When we think about books, I think books have been one of those central things in my life. And one of the books.

Jordan Babineaux:

Really? No Paperbacks?

I love buying books. The only thing I don’t like about the eBook… Well, one, I think now we’ve over consumed too much screen time with these digital platforms of what feels like the normal way of seeing and hitting each other for social hour, for meetings, et cetera. I mean, look, it used to be text messaging became the hot thing to do in communication. Now, it’s like, hey, I’ll FaceTime you. So still picking up the phone still doesn’t feel normal.

 

Jordan’s book recommendations

 

Dawn McGruer:

There’s one thing about a book and I don’t know what it is. And I was actually quite distraught because I’ve looked back to some of the books I read, like Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind. It’s a really old book now in terms of books, but it’s something that’s stayed with me. And some of the things I’ve read over the time. What books would you say have been central or impactful on your journey that you just really remember?

Jordan Babineaux:

Yeah. Leadership On the Line was one. Let me think. Switch by the Heath Brothers is another good one. Jim Roan and Darren Hardy, two of my mentors. I’ve over-consumed their content. Senior Leadership Teams, another one. Fierce Conversations, that’s a really good one. And then of course, everyone should pick up Pivot to Win.

Dawn McGruer:

Absolutely. So in terms of best way of connecting with you, Jordan, how can people find you? What’s the best social platform to get you on?

Jordan Babineaux:

Yeah. Yeah. Great. Thank you. So right now, it’s Jordan Babineaux across all platforms, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, working on a YouTube channel as well. Anyone who wants to continue the conversation and learn more about Pivot to Win and share their own personal journey, check out the website at pivottowin.com. There’s a free chapter download. You can also order the book on Amazon.

 

“A man who views the world at 50 the same way he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali

 

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. I’d highly recommend it. I’ve just started. And each week, I’m dipping into other people’s books and I’m flicking through the different things. But I don’t think we ever stop learning. And I think it’s one of the things that we should really be passionate about. And we should encourage in others. If there was one takeaway that we could remember Jordan Babineaux from today, is there a famous saying or a quote that you love?

Jordan Babineaux:

Wow, that’s a good one. Maybe I’ll share… I have many to share, but maybe I’ll share the one from Muhammad Ali who says, “A man who views the world at 50 the same way he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

Dawn McGruer:

I love that. I love it. It’s so true. Isn’t it? I mean, I think every day that we meet people, one of the things that the pandemic has starved us from is the interaction. So the life experiences that we will have, hopefully as we’re coming out and the lockdown is easing, it is so exciting. What have you got planned for the next three months that our listeners might be interested in?

Jordan Babineaux:

So coming up next month, I’m doing a three part book series with ClubCorp. It’ll be something that’s featured through my social channels as well. It’d be a live webinar. So it’s a three part series. One of the first part is a keynote from myself. The second part is an intimate conversation with an educator and also author, Maryland Gist. Her book is the Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility. And then the fourth… I’m sorry. The third piece of the series is going to be a panel with myself and other professional athletes, both football, another player who played professionally nine years of soccer for the Sounders as well. And talking about change and successes and failures and what has worked. And yeah, I would say probably that. And then Dawn, I’m even more happy and excited to hear that I’ll be done with my MBA program in June. So I’m looking forward to that and the new opportunities and conversations.

Dawn McGruer:

And there must be something in the air. You’re the third entrepreneur I’ve spoken to in the past couple of weeks who’s finishing their MBA. And I just think it’s amazing because it’s a hard thing to do. And then, you think about the fact that you did a book during this as well, ran some businesses, set up a foundation. I mean, is there anything else that we need to know about Jordan before we leave in terms of your production on film? So are you going to be featuring in anything or staring in any other roles?

Jordan Babineaux:

So yes, I do have a production company and there were some learning lessons in working in navigating that industry as well, but nothing in the next 90 days. We’re still… The work that we’ve done in the past, working with Kevin Hart and Mike and some of the other great comedians that many of us know about and love these days, those relationships are still there. I do have a script that’s just been sitting on my desk for some time. It’s a someday goal. I don’t think it happens in the next 90 days, but one day I’ll be excited to share this script with the world and produce another movie.

Dawn McGruer:

Well, it’s been a pleasure to have you on here. And do you know what? We could probably talk endlessly about the journey that-

Jordan Babineaux:

Yeah, thanks Dawn.

Dawn McGruer:

You’ve had a lot of great tips and insights to share. So everybody who is either watching or listening Dawn of the New Era podcast, don’t forget to subscribe and obviously share and continue to follow our amazing inspiring leaders like Jordan. Remember, it’s Jordan Babineaux and he is in all social channels. And you can also go and check out his book, Pivot to Win. So we’re going to love you and leave you and enjoy… What time is it with you in Seattle?

Jordan Babineaux:

It’s 10 minutes to 10:00. It’s morning here.

Dawn McGruer:

Well, awesome. We’re just finishing our day in the UK.

Jordan Babineaux:

You guys are done with the day.

Dawn McGruer:

We were at 10 to 6:00. So yes, we are now finishing the work day. So enjoy, have a super day. And thank you so much for being our guest on today’s podcast.

Jordan Babineaux:

Dawn, thank you so much for having me. Take care.

Dawn McGruer:

Okay.

Thank you for listening to Dawn of a New Era podcast. And for your free checklist to find out how to boost your business for growth, profit, and success, then join our community. Go to DawnMcGruer.com.

Remember to join me and all my Podcast Guests on Facebook
Dawn McGruer's Marketing * Motivation * Mindset Group

Speaker. Author. Podcaster. Strategist.

Multi-award-winning speaker, strategist & best-selling author of Dynamic Digital Marketing - Helping to inspire entrepreneurs to rise to meet today’s challenges and be powerfully present to shine online.

Connect with me and let’s Dream Big * Work Hard * Make it Happen
Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube

Ways to work with me
Read My Book | Speaking | Training | Strategy | Retreat

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