Unleash the Champ Within Using Leadership Coaching
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Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So welcome, everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast. And I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as you know, we talk about four different types of freedom: time, location, financial, and emotional freedom. And what started out as physician guests and audience has expanded to now include entrepreneurs, investors, high income earners, high net worth individuals.
And so today, I have a special guest named Kyle Sullivan, he's founder and CEO of Unleash the Champ. And hopefully the audience can have a lot of good takeaways. So Kyle, welcome.
Kyle Sullivan: Yeah, absolutely Dr. Chris, I am excited to be on today and excited to give value to your listeners.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, we had connected through PodMatch. And you have a really interesting story, because you're a performance coach to men and women and leaders. And really, as your business and brand help them to Unleash the Champ. So tell us more about you, how you got started? And we'll go from there.
Kyle Sullivan: Yeah, absolutely. So first and foremost, and I like talking about my family as the greatest, greatest group, I get to impact. And so my wife and I, we just celebrated nine years of marriage, we got a little girl, she’s two and a half and a son that turns one in eight days at the time of this recording. So two under two and a half. So we have full plates right now. But it's super fun.
For your listeners, CHAMP is an acronym. It stands for your Calling, your Heart, your Attitude, Mindset and Performance. And so when you Unleash the Champ, what we talk about within our company, is that you maximize your professional success without creating a mess for you or your team. Oftentimes, and your listeners will get this and they're probably nodding about this point, going, man, I've sacrificed a lot, I've created a lot of mess for the success that I have. And so we work with folks to go, okay, hey, you're gonna have trials, you're gonna have troubles, you're gonna have pain. But let's mitigate that. And so we enhance that professional success through our frameworks and our tools and our assessments and things like that.
Before I started this, I was a pastor for 13 years, eleven full time, and got to work for amazing organizations that have really a global reach, and sit under some of the greatest leaders in the faith world. And so that's really what sparked a lot of this. Unleash the Champ unofficially started October 5 2019, at 12:47am. That's when I held my little girl for the first time, the one that's about to be two and a half years old. And I knew I wanted to give her presence of time, not just presence of things, and had no clue how it happened. And then, as we all know, and your listeners will know especially, March 2020, when the world shuts down.
If the pandemic didn't happen, I wouldn't be doing this today. I would have just kept doing what I was doing. But I believe that disruption allows for reflection and sometimes reflection causes us to take a different action. And that's what really spurred a champ to start so it got a crazy story being a part of a lot of really amazing things. And we're building something really special here.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, yeah, I love creating beauty from ashes. And I just love you know, phoenix rising out of the turmoil. So, you talk about a lot of leadership development, personal growth, motivation and inspiration. From your experience, what's the number one thing someone needs to be successful?
Kyle Sullivan: Number one thing? I'm gonna go with probably the most basic, but the thing that most people struggle to define, and that's your vision. You know, when we talk about the altitude in Unleash the Champ, most people, you ask them, hey, what do you want? You freeze them right in their tracks. If you're married as your spouse, hey, where are you gonna go eat tonight, and you'll see you won't be able to define it. I don't know. I don't know. You decide, you decide, you decide.
We do that with our vision, and with our altitude of where we want to go. And you can have all the success in the world, have the houses and the cars and the vacation homes and, and the investments and all of this stuff. But a lot of times, if you really peel back the layers of it, it's just been kind of, well, you just go to this thing, and you go to the school and you get this degree and you go to this deal, and you just kind of end up somewhere. But when I work with people, I go, Okay, what do you want? Now what society tells you is not what your colleagues say, not what your team says. Like, really, what do you want?
And that's a big piece. And that's why, even within Unleash the Champ, it’s the center, it's the altitude piece. Because where there is no vision, where there is no altitude, the people perish. You'll just exist in life until you get to retirement age, and then wonder where the time is. And so I think that's the biggest thing that people need is, what are they shooting for? What's their target? And then from there you talk about the consistency over time.
One of my mentors said, the problem with you young guys is you've grossly overestimated what you can accomplish in the short term. But you grossly underestimate what you can accomplish through decades of consistency. And so, having the altitude, where you want to go in life, and the consistency to stay with it through the ups and downs and ins and outs, to things that will ensure success, nine and a half out of 10 times. I just don't want to say 10 out of 10.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD:
Yeah. Yeah. What's interesting is, so the other thing is, where did you get your belief that everything is going to turn out okay? You know, the end outcome is going to be awesome?
Kyle Sullivan: Oh, man, for me, it's centered in my faith. And my story, I mean, I was wrapped up in a lot of really destructive behaviors, really destructive circles. I mean, if you look at my life, and I don't talk about it much now, because it was a long time ago, but I mean, I was wrapped up in drugs and alcohol and dealing. And to go from here, a very destructive path to either jail or death, to do what I'm doing now with a thriving family, amazing wife, growing business, being able to serve people powerfully. I can't look at my own life and go, that's probably not gonna work out.
And what it came from me is back to what I just said, a vision of where I wanted to go, and the commitment to stay with it. And for me, it's going, Listen, I've been in much worse places than I am now. And both are with problems. Both are with challenges. But I like these problems and challenges way more than I liked those when I was wrapped up in drugs and alcohol and really destructive behavior. So for me, it's my own personal life that says, it's gonna be alright, it's going to work out, you just gotta keep moving forward.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: That's very inspiring. And you talk a lot about taking risks and betting on yourself. What led you out of comfort and security to start your own business? Tell us more.
Kyle Sullivan: Yeah. So I'm futuristic. If your listeners have done StrengthsFinder, Futuristic is in my top five. Depending on the time I’ve taken the test, it's sometimes in the top three. And so, I'm constantly thinking about the future. And when I thought, okay, October 5 2019 12:47am, they say Alright Mr. Sullivan, you can take your little girl back to the post op room, and we'll fix up your wife and she'll be with us shortly. And I'm like, who's coming in with me? She had a whole team of people. I mean, she did just have a baby. But I looked and I said, okay, one day, I know this is gonna happen. One day, my daughter, now my daughter and my son, they're going to look at me, and they're going to ask me a question. And the question is going to be, Dad, I don't know which way I should go. I have this one option, option A. It’s secure, with a lot of guarantees in it. It's comfortable. It's safe. I'm familiar with what it could bring. I'm familiar with the challenges that it holds. So I have this, I have option A. Okay, sure.
Option B is and I got this thing I'm really passionate about, I'm not sure if it will work. You know, this is like 90% sure. I'm like 51% sure here. What do I do, how do I process which decision to make? And I knew that would happen. I had that conversation with my parents and decisions of my life, and I wanted to be able to tell them stories, not theories, of mom and dad taking those same risks. You know, I email my kids two and a half and almost one, they have email addresses that I've set up. And I email them periodically about what's happening in our lives. And when they turn 18, they're going to get the email and password to those accounts. And they're going to have this log of me just emailing telling them over the next 18 years of, hey, here's what dad is struggling with right now, here's what dad is challenged with. And so that's really what spurred me to go, okay. I know this is gonna happen, happens with everybody that has a relationship with somebody they value, they trust that more of a guide and mentor, in this case, parent. I don't want to just say you should go for your dreams, you should do it. And they look at me and go, Well, Dad, you didn't? I wouldn't be willing to have that conversation be their response.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Interesting. That's very, very profound. And I think the worst thing at the end is to have regrets. Not failures, at least you tried, but you know, that regret is really painful to have.
I'm interested in your coaching because you talk about championship runs, and playbooks. Tell us more about that. And what does that mean?
Kyle Sullivan: Chris, for me, everything in Unleash the Champ is sports related, so that's where you're gonna hear a lot of the playbook, the championship run. The, I don't even say morning and evening routine, it's your warm up and your cool down. Every week when my clients send in their review. It's called film study. So all of my stuff is geared towards athletics. Because that was my world, that was everything growing up. And I love sports and what it means and what it can teach us.
And so for me, the championship run is that vision. What do you want to be known for? You know, I talked about there's going to be a dash between two dates in your life, what do you want the dash to be? That's your championship run, that's the thing you're striving for. That's the thing you're making strides to get. And that's what it is. So you set your championship run. And then from there, you can reverse engineer it back.
And every one of my clients they go through, and we set targets using the playbook. So the playbook is, there's four phases of life. That is: Personal: your body. How are you improving and pushing this one body we have? Two relationships to yourself and others. Three, is your emotional health and well-being, your spirituality, your faith, your life, how you are growing internally. And then four, in its rightful place, professionally. So if your listeners are hearing that PREP. So we prep using the playbook to Unleash the Champ. And so for me, it makes it to where my coaching is very action based, very trackable. It's very, okay, hey, this is what you want. This is what it needs to get there. And we just, we just check the boxes.
Because I think within coaching, though, it's a very new thing. I was listening to a podcast on the World Health Organization. And coaching has only been established for 35 years. It's a very new thing. And it's got a lot of people that are like, Oh, I couldn't get a job. So now I'm a coach. [laughs] And people that have gone to tons of school and things, just like, Who is this joker?
But like, I've just listened to a podcast today where there's some insurance that is now allowing people to use their health insurance to pay for coaching. And so it's really taking a lot of place of legitimacy in the marketplace. And so for me, my coaching is going, okay, what can we track? What can we measure? Because when our performance is measured, our performance improves. And so if we can continue to do that, continue to push the needle forward, move the ball down the field, we'll hit our championship run every time.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Nice, I like that. Yeah. From your coaching and from your clients, what do you see most clients being held back? And why don’t some of them not step into their championship run?
Kyle Sullivan: They don't think they need it. That's the biggest barrier that I get the opportunity to overcome with the type of people I work with. Because success covers a multitude of sins. And oftentimes, when things are going great, you don't think, I should hire a coach. Hey, I should get somebody in my corner that's going to help me move forward. But one of the things that I talked about is you don't have to be sick to get better. You don't have to wait until your life is in flames. Your leadership is plummeting, your team hates you, to go, maybe I should bring somebody in on this.
And so the biggest barrier is not competency. Because the people I work with are incredibly smart. It's not the investment because they're really successful, they spend more money on frivolous things than their investment with me. But it's getting them to a place where they understand the value of having somebody walking alongside them, not for the rebuild when everything's up in flames. But just the checkpoint, just a checkpoint. And your listeners are going to understand this as physicians, it's important to have regular checkups. It's important to have people, whether it be healthcare professionals, psychologists, counselors that you oil change. There's so much in our life that we just put on a routine schedule, to make sure everything is good. But yet with ourselves. oftentimes it's like, Nah, I'm good. But when things are all up in flames, and I want to burn it all to the ground, then I need someone. So that's the biggest barrier. And so if you can get beyond that, then you can really have somebody go okay, hey, look, I'm not saying that when you need a coach. It's because things are bad. Oftentimes, I'm taking people, like the book says, from good to great, great to champion.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. What are some of the key characteristics of the truly successful, from your perspective?
Kyle Sullivan: One they give more than they can take. I mean, that's kind of universal. The truly successful understand that there's a lot of people that helped them get to where they're at, and so they want to pay it forward. I have a problem with anybody saying that they're self made; like you or at least me by two people. So off the bat, none of us are self made. So I think, when you understand that, and then you give freely, because you understand that, whatever you give, not because of this, but just in fact, it comes back to you. I think the truly successful are proud of learning at all. So they're never satisfied with just what they used to learn.
People sometimes, when I have consultations or work I'm like, you're like Uncle Rico. So if your listeners watched Napoleon Dynamite, where Uncle Rico talks about what he could do 20 years ago, it's like, no, don't rest on what you did a year, two years, 10 years, 20 years ago. How are you learning now? How are you evolving? And so when you give more than you take, you're always learning. It puts you in a place where you're truly magnetic to where your challenges come. But you understand because you're rooted in going, Hey, man, this is gonna work out. I have what it takes. I'm worthy of success. And when I know more, I'll do more. When I have more, I’ll give more. And when I give more, I pay it forward. And so that's three very easy qualities to have of someone truly successful.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, nice, nice, nice. It's been a really fantastic conversation and really inspiring, very motivating. You know, I love all the analogies. A lot of your responses will resonate with the audience. So how can people get a hold of you, contact you and possibly even work with you?
Kyle Sullivan: Yeah, absolutely. So the easiest place for all that I have going on is UnleashTheChamp.com. I'd love to hear how it resonated and what I can do to serve.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Awesome awesome. For all the listeners in the audience, Kyle's links and resources will be in the show notes. Thanks so much, we look forward to hearing more about your future success.
Kyle Sullivan: Absolutely. Thanks Dr. Loo.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at Chris@drchrisloomdphd.com. I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!
Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.