Your Inner Child Knows What's Your Purpose, You Should Ask Them with James Quandahl

Jul 26, 2022

Even after accomplishing the arduous task of connecting with our purpose, it's easy to get caught by impatience when becoming who we want to become takes longer than we initially thought. One of the many ways to solve that issue is through perspective, taking a pause, and looking back at everything we've accomplished so far. We can learn much about those two things, purpose and perspective, from our special guest, James Quandahl. 

James Quandahl is an Entrepreneur, Performance Coach. He is also the host of The James Quandahl Show, a podcast where he interviews experts and unravels the secrets of living a fully present life. 

In this episode, we delve into James' fascinating story of how he decided to abandon his successful career in corporate America to pursue what he identified as his calling, even though he wasn't sure what it was precisely at the moment. We navigate the different stages of his journey, simultaneously discovering himself and his purpose, his fantastic progress, and his new reality of leading three successful businesses. 

James kindly shared the golden nuggets of wisdom he gathered throughout his journey, the books and stories that inspired him, and the formula he developed that any of us can use to connect with our purpose. We also discuss the pursuit of excellence, the challenges of leading remote teams, gratitude, perspective, and much more.  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • I would love some of my listeners to hear more about your story and who you are. Could you share a little bit with us? (1:38)
  • What else is getting you excited right now, in your business or your life? (11:51)
  • What do you do for yourself to ensure that you see your progress in yourself? (25:17)

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • James shares some details about his journey of becoming an entrepreneur (3:21)
  • James talks about the decisive moment when he read an article about the importance of finding one's purpose (7:07)
  • About James' Seven Buckets framework (14:56)
  • Clint and James discuss the importance of remaining patient while pursuing our goals (19:18)
  • Hang your problems on a tree. James shares a beautiful and inspiring story about gratitude and perspective (25:55)
  • James shares his thoughts on leadership, and the challenges of leading remote teams (36:24)


Connect with James:

Let's Connect!


Clint Hoopes: As men, sometimes we feel guilty, I think. We feel like we need to provide in a certain way for our families or we need to keep this focus. And we forget that you can provide well for your family and you can have a focus and accomplish great things while also living a great life and having fun along the way.

Clint Hoopes: Welcome to the Unrivaled Man podcast. Thanks for joining me. I am very excited to introduce my guest for today, James Quandahl. He is an entrepreneur, author, performance coach, and host of The James Quandahl Show. He has led teams for nearly two decades, including two at Fortune 1000 companies, and has coached hundreds have driven individuals to success. James's agencies help natural product brands sell more on Amazon and support authors in producing and launching best-selling books. James, welcome to the show.

James Quandahl: Thanks for having me, Clint. I really appreciate that you invited me.

Clint Hoopes: Well, James and I have met recently, and it's just been fun, I've been able to listen to your podcast and get a little feel for your background. So, I'm excited. I really would love, as we get started, for some of my listeners to hear a little bit more about your story and who you are. So, share a little bit with us.

James Quandahl: So, I have listened to episodes of your show and I know that you talk a lot about leadership. So, my credibility there comes from working at two different companies in a management capacity, leading teams of 100 or more people. And I did that for just over 15 years. And then one day in 2016, I was sitting and I was like, “Okay, do I want to do this for the rest of my life?” I was working 50 or 60 hours a week. I took two or three vacations a year, just short little trips. I didn't have a lot of balance, didn't have a lot of friends, and wasn't working out. I was saving a lot of money moving up the ladder, but that was really it. I didn't have what you would call balance. And I said, “No, I don't want to do this for the next 50 years.” And then I had the thought, “If I don't want to do this for the next 50 years, why would I do it for the next five?” And believe it or not, I had just finished reading Tim Ferriss's book, The 4-Hour Workweek, I listened to a lot of entrepreneurial podcasts and I said, “Hey, I've learned a lot working in retail for 15 years, I think I could start a business and run a business on my own.” I've always been entrepreneurial. I've had all these different side businesses. So, I put a date on my calendar, and it was quitting day. And with no plan, except I was gonna quit that job, move to South Carolina, and start completely over on that date. And I did it. I walked into my boss's office on quitting day and said, “Hey, John, I need to talk to you today.” I was sick to my stomach — I'm like, “What am I doing? I've worked almost a decade at that company to build my credibility and to move up the ranks.” And I'm like, “We need to talk.” And he said, “Alright, have a seat.” I sat down, and I'm like, “I just gotta pull it out.” I'm like, “I have to quit.” He's like, “What? You have to quit?” I'm like, “Yeah, I just need to do something different.” He's like, “Well, what are you gonna do?” I said, “I don't really know. I just know I'm gonna move to South Carolina, and I'm gonna start a business, and I'm just gonna figure it out.” And I was so scared that he was going to scold me or tell me I was insane. I was just teetering. He could have probably talked me out of it at that point exactly — I had almost no faith in myself at that point. I was almost like, “Come on, talk me out of it.” But he didn't. He encouraged me. He said, “James, I'm really proud of you.” He said, “Someday I'd be honored to work for you. I think you're going to do great things.” And he was like, “We're gonna make sure you get all your PTO time so you have more of a runway.” Typically, you weren't paid out any PTO time at the end of your career, you would just kind of surrender there. So, he was going to make sure I got paid for those three or four extra weeks. And I moved to South Carolina and I did exactly what I said I was going to do. It was much more difficult than I anticipated. I did not know anyone here, didn't have friends, didn't have connections, didn't know what business I want to start. I just knew that I had had a calling for something else and I had to go find it.

Clint Hoopes: It's funny, sometimes you hear people that have those kinds of stories, and that usually ends up with “And it all just was perfect and butterflies and rainbows and everything was great.” But like you said, I imagine it wasn't, getting that started.

James Quandahl: I was not pleasant or rainbows or perfect in any way. First of all, it wasn't like I had no plan. I had a year's worth of savings. I knew, for one year, I could basically live with no income, so I worked really hard for a long time and saved a lot of money. But that started dwindling very quickly. When you aren't having any income, your cash starts to go away very fast. And being a saver and having saved for 10 years to be able to do that, I did not feel good about that.

Clint Hoopes: Never seen the balance in your bank account go negative, it never go down.

James Quandahl: You don't ever want that. You want to set a number and then like, “Hey, it's gonna stay here and go up, not come back down.” So, I started reading a lot, taking a lot of walks and praying and listening to podcasts, all these different books. If you want to find a genre of books that's really interesting, like finding your identity or finding your purpose or what you should be doing with your life, there are a million of them. And I've read probably all of them, and none of them helped. If anything, not only was I unemployed, now I was depressed because I was like, “Why don't I know what I should be doing?” It was not a good recipe. You can only take so many walks, and you can only sit around and read for so many hours before you really start to get bored. And I think I had a mindset issue. I remember, at that point, I would meet with local people that were much wiser and been around a lot longer, and they’d be like, “So, what's your plan?” I'm like, “Well, I want to start some kind of business that I don't have to work out very many hours, will pay me more than I was making before, and then I can go just have fun the rest of the time.” And they’d all look at me like, “Yeah, okay, good luck with that.” And I didn't realize it at the time how wrong that sounded. It wasn't until I was reading an article in Christianity Today. And this guy was an executive coach and was talking about people finding their purpose and whatnot. And I was really moved by what he wrote, so I sent him an email, and I'm like, “Hey, would you be willing to talk to me for 15 minutes?” He's like, “Sure.” So, we chatted. I told him my plan, “I'm just going to work only a few hours a week.” He's like, “You know, James. We were made to work. We aren't made to sit around. We were, actually, from the very beginning, made to work.” I was like, “Hold on a second. Maybe he's right.” And now having three businesses and loving waking up each day and being able to spend an entire day doing what I enjoyed doing, I agree 100% that it’s the wrong recipe to try to work less, the right recipe is to find what you actually enjoy and do that, and then create balance in your life from it.

Clint Hoopes: More of what you love and less what you don't. But along the way, you have to trudge through quite a few of the things that you don't like to do to get there to get that chance. 

James Quandahl: I had to start saying yes, basically. I had to stop sitting and reading and taking walks, and I had to actually start saying yes to some opportunities even if they maybe weren't perfect. Because I think it's a lot easier to find where you're going when your feet are actually moving than if you're just stationary. And I was stationary. I was reading and developing myself, and I was giving myself some much-needed rest that I needed, but I wasn't moving. And it's really hard to move anything that is stationary. 

Clint Hoopes: It's like starting from a standstill, it's a lot harder to get going. But if you're already moving, it's a lot easier to move and a lot easier to pivot.

James Quandahl: Exactly. So, I started saying yes to just various opportunities even if they were small. And the things that I enjoyed and that lit me up, I said yes to more of those opportunities. And the things that were really draining, I just said no. And I use that as my barometer to figure out where I was going. But actually, what really helped me, there was a trick that I eventually discovered to finding your passions or your purpose, and it was so simple that it would have never been published in a book because it would have only taken two pages to describe it. And it was just to remember what you'd like to do when you were a kid, and when maybe you're from eight to 12 years old before you had to keep up with the Joneses; before you had to impress anyone; before you really felt like it mattered what you were doing. Whatever you like to do then is probably an indicator of what you like to do as an adult. And when I went through that exercise, I sent messages to my childhood friends, I sent messages to my family, and I was like, “Hey, what was I like at that age? Why did I like to do?” And they were telling me all these things, “Oh, I like to do computer programming. I had internet radio station. I climbed trees and played street hockey and played games all the time.” And I looked around and I wasn't doing any of that as an adult, it was completely gone. So, I started just doing some of those activities and was getting really excited again. And it was so simple.

Clint Hoopes: There's a lot of truth to that — just having fun again. Because when you're growing up, nothing stops you from having fun and enjoying life. So, it's the same thing now. As men, sometimes we feel guilty, I think. We feel like we need to provide in a certain way for our families or we need to keep this focus. And we forget that you can provide well for your family and you can have a focus and accomplish great things while also living a great life and having fun along the way. 

James Quandahl: There's a reason there are all these cliches in our culture where you see this person who's a executive and they've got all the money in the world, an amazing job, they're flying around in private planes and they've got a boat, and then they lose their family. Or you hear of an athlete, and they're at the top of their game, and they finish playing and they're broke, they go through bankruptcy. Or all these different examples of people who have it made in one area, and then are way below the curve in another to a point where it actually brings them down and destroys everything they built on the other side. And it's so common, it's everywhere. And I think when we're in touch with who we were as kids, it's just so much easier to just actually find true joy and just stop doing things just because we're just doing them because it's a habit.

Clint Hoopes: Well, James, what else is getting you excited right now in your business or your life? What's getting you excited?

James Quandahl: I think right now one thing is I am in process of growing two different businesses, as you mentioned in the intro. One is an Amazon Marketing Agency, where I help natural product brands sell more on Amazon. It's a passion area for me because my wife and I are very into natural health and smaller companies that are creating really cool products. So, we get to find these companies and then help them sell more on Amazon. And the other business happened by accident just by saying yes, it's helping authors actually get their books written, published, and marketed. And it's just really neat, both of these businesses because I'm meeting all sorts of different people from all walks of life, and I'm able to just lean into things that I love to do. I love natural products, I love selling, I love marketing, and I love reading books. And to me, the steps that I typically give these business owners are so clear and so simple and so easy. So, I know that I'm on the right track. So, I'm really excited about that. That's in the career bucket. I talk a lot about buckets. And I've found out that there are seven different buckets that almost everything we do can fall into. And I try really hard not to just stick to one of those.

Clint Hoopes: I love it. Tell us more. Where did this come from, the different buckets? And how that works? It sounds like that's your way of figuring out your balance in life, whatever that means, right?

James Quandahl: Some people call it buckets, some people call it spokes on a wheel. There are lots of different ways to put this. And I've seen a lot of different versions of it. Mine is kind of a creation of Frankenstein of my own. I read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, Total Recall — not a book that you would think you would learn goal-setting, dreaming, and ambition from, but he has done some amazing things, and it was always deliberate. He would carry around these index cards, write down goals on them, and put them in his pocket, take them around, and then he would make those things happen. He was deliberate about it. And I loved how he could sit down at the beginning of the year and say, “I want to accomplish X, Y, and Z this year, and then figure out what's the first step for X, what's the first step for Y, and what's the first step for Z.” And then he would go and do that. And then the other place I got the inspiration for this was from Zig Ziglar actually. He had something called the wheel of life, and he's got a couple of books about it. I read that and I've read Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger and I'm like, “Okay, these are both really great.” And I formed my own version of it. And this started maybe four years ago. It was literally just started by I had a piece of paper and I wrote these seven categories or buckets or spokes down, which are mind, body, spirit, family, friends and community, career, and financial. I wrote those seven things down and I said, “In 20 years, what do I want my life to look like in all seven of these categories?” I wrote down crazy stuff — like in career, I was like, “I want to be an author, I want to have a podcast, I want to be a speaker, and I want to be a coach.” I was doing none of those things. I had never written an article. I didn't have my podcast that I have now. I'd never done any speaking outside of my businesses. And I was basically starting from scratch. And that was sort of the way each of those buckets were — it's like, “Hey, 20 years is far enough out that there's no way that you can start planning how you're going to achieve that, so you can just sit there and dream.” 20 years is so far out that it's like, what's the craziest thing that would get me really excited if, in 20 years, I achieved it? So, my wife and I sat down and we went through each of these different categories and wrote a couple of things down, as hilarious this is, in family, we wrote down, “Get married.” We were just dating at the time. So, now we've been married two years. It’s just you can put anything down you want, then you start following the process to actually have them come true.

Clint Hoopes: There is something amazing about taking the time to determine who you want your future self to be; who you want to become, and then doing those things that will get you there today. There's a lot to that. And I love once again, Zig Ziglar, he's one of the good classic ones that a lot of us hear about that he has influenced a lot of people in this world all because he set his mind to it and made it happen, a lot of wonderful things.

James Quandahl: He's quite a motivation and his books are full of stories. And I think he would be the first to tell you that he’s just an ordinary guy and that he had no special skills or luck or anything bestowed upon him, except maybe the gift of storytelling and paying attention to people around him, and maybe not quitting. He wasn't a quitter, he would see it through. And a lot of those guys like Dave Ramsey and some of those other folks from that era, they just didn't quit, they just kept working and working at what they were doing. And just like with my three businesses, with my podcast, and my writing, I know that if in a year, not much has happened yet, that's okay because this is a 20-year plan, this is a long game. I'm not here for a “get rich quick” or overnight success. It doesn't happen. And through my author business, I've worked with a lot of authors now who are those household names, who are New York Times bestselling authors that people have heard of, and they all worked hard for 10-plus years before anyone even knew who they were. I think, with any goal — it doesn't have to be a career goal, it could be anything — it's going to take a lot longer than you think to get there. But what's surprising is my wife and I just had what we call a family board meeting over the weekend, that's where we check in on all these goals. And we pulled out our 20-year goals, we hadn't looked at them in maybe a year. We've done a lot of those already. A lot of those things we thought would take 20 years, now four years later, we've already achieved a lot of them. So, I'm like, “Oh, wow, we have to actually revisit some of these and actually set the bar a little higher.”

Clint Hoopes: Yeah, ‘cause from your current perspective, what was your perspective then, looked impossible almost — like, “Holy cow! This is so much.” And from where you're sitting now, after so much progress, man, you can see where you can look even higher. 

James Quandahl: And it gets you excited, like, “Hey, I actually achieved a lot in such a short time. And what else can I do?” I think we actually wrote down now “To have children.” We added that to our list. We added a bunch of new things to the list that wasn't on there before, and I'm like, “Hey, worked for some of these. We might as well just put them down on paper.” For some reason, pen and paper, and looking at it really motivates me.

Clint Hoopes: I love it. Those goals, it's amazing what can happen. And even if it takes a lot of time. For instance, you mentioned Dave Ramsey, I think of a quote that he said once: “It took me over 20 years to become an overnight success.” He said something like that because one day, nobody knew who he was, and then all of a sudden it clicked and people knew who he was and he would show up on the radio, so he said something like that. That's always stuck with me. It's made me think it's okay for it to take time to become that overnight success because the reality is that you’ll discover what you really want along the way. I imagine, the goals you're thinking of now for your future, 20 years out, are going to be different than when you first did it four or five years ago.

James Quandahl: I think for sure they change. And I think I've realized that I don't have to be a household name. And I don't have to have $100 million in the bank to be happy. We're happy right now with where we are today in this process. It's actually the pursuit of excellence and the improvement and the goal setting that I get the most joy of. Once I actually achieve the goal, I'm like, “Alright, what's next?” It's this moment I'm in right now that's actually the best moment. And actually, I was at Dave Ramsey’s new studio up in Franklin, Tennessee. And in his studio, he's got an old car, and it's full of books in the trunk. And what people don't realize when they say someone like him is an overnight success is that he had to print these books himself, put them in the back of his car and drive place to place pitching and trying to get rid of them himself. And now when they can release a book as a best seller overnight, people don't realize how much effort went into creating that. And I think you'd be the first to tell you.

Clint Hoopes: Yeah, that momentum has not started quickly. 

James Quandahl: And he would say, “You wouldn't believe how many graves are on the path of people that wanted to do what I did but just quit too early and didn't see it through.”

Clint Hoopes: There's a lot of truth to that. A lot of people can get excited about something out of the gate, but losing steam is a real deal. It's a real thing.

James Quandahl: Is that something you see with your coaching that you do as far as with your folks?

Clint Hoopes: what happens is we all get so impatient in our road to becoming who we want to become, so we get frustrated and we think, “Gosh! I know I can do better.” And we get frustrated with ourselves when we don't. We want to be wherever there is for us, just out there, we know inherently that it should take years. But yet we get frustrated a few weeks later after we've started down a path. Whether that's health, whether that's our relationship with our wife or children, or whether that's building a business, or whatever it might be, we all get so impatient. So, I see that with my clients where they'll get impatient. That's where I come in helping to provide perspective, and helping them actually see where they've come from, not getting so caught up in how far they have to go to be this ideal version of themselves but to look at how far they've come, and that is hard. That's why I have a coach that helps me do the same thing because I'm the one teaching people how to do this often, but I'm working on it right alongside them because I'm in the same boat, I need to remember this all the time. And James, I imagine you're probably in a similar boat. Anybody who's accomplished great things, that's where you're at, right?

James Quandahl: I have many days where I call it depression, that's not really what it is, it's more just like a loss of energy temporarily, but I'm like, “Oh, I'm doing nothing. I haven't achieved anything. And I'm a failure.” And I beat myself up, I'm so hard on myself. And I'll kind of wallow in that for a short time. And then occasionally, I'll look at my calendar or look at my contacts or text messages on my phone or things, and I'll go, “Whoa! Wait a second. Looking backward at this last year, I didn't know this person, I didn't know that person, I didn't have this connection, I hadn't achieved that, or hadn't even tried this yet.” And sometimes you can really wow yourself if you just slow down and say, “Hey, what did I actually do in this last year?” And it's probably a lot more than you're expecting. Now, just yesterday, I was really kicking myself at the end of the day, for some reason I was just feeling really down and I've been struggling. I hadn't published an episode on my podcast in two weeks because I don't have an editor right now, so I've been editing them myself. And that adds another three or four hours per episode of time that I just didn't allocate. So, I was like, “Man! I want to have this podcast. I love doing it. I've actually recorded the conversations. I just haven't edited them. What is wrong with me?” It took me a little bit to go through that. And eventually, I realized I've published 50 episodes in the last year, 90 minutes each episode, when two years ago, I had no podcast. Two years ago, I was dreaming I would have a podcast and didn't know how to begin. Now, I'm 50 episodes in. It's okay. And I gave myself permission that this is just another one of those growing pains. And I'll look back on it six months from now and go, “Oh, I missed two weeks. Okay, big deal. I've got 12 more weeks or 14 more weeks.”

Clint Hoopes: It's funny how we're always willing to give that grace to other people. We can always see it. It's so much easier to see other people and see what they've done and how far they've come and how much they've grown. But we're so close to our own experience, naturally, because we're living it, we never escape it. So, in the end, it's hard. The progress is so slow, we almost don't see it in ourselves unless we're incredibly intentional. So, what do you do for yourself to help make sure that you do see the progress in yourself?

James Quandahl: So, two things, I just read this story this morning, and so I'm going to share. John Eldredge has this app called Pause. And there's a 30-day program going through, I'm on day four. And right now he's tying up benevolent detachment, which is, basically, you take your worries and for a short time, you just give them to God and say, “Hey, these are yours.” And then you can have some peace for a short time and build trust. And the story I heard this morning, so perfect timing, was this gentleman, he was restoring a farmhouse and he hired a contractor and a plumber to help him, and they're going through working on the house, and they're having all these problems, things are much worse than they anticipated. They need so much more to do than what they thought they were going to. Pretty much the story of every home renovation ever — it’s always way more than you expected. And they're just having a horrible day. He's about ready to go home and his truck won't start — even worse. So, the guy who owns the home says, “I'll take you home.” So, he drives the plumber back to his house. And the plumber says, “Hey, do you want to come inside and meet my family for a minute?” And he was really grumpy and grumbling, the plumber, and the man says, “Yeah, sure, I'll come in.” So, the plumber walks into the house, and right before he walks into the door, he touches this tree that's right next to the house and then walks into the house, has a smile from ear to ear, he’s completely present, not a single complaint, just radiating joy, and he's able to just ask his family what they did that day and be completely with them. And the guy was just blown away. He's like, “What's going on here?” This is like a completely 180 from the guy I just spent the entire day with. So, when he's leaving, the plumber walks him out to his car and he says, “Hey, I gotta ask you, what was the deal with that tree thing? Because as soon as you touch that tree, it was like you're a completely different person.” And the plumber just looks at him and said, “Oh, when I get home, I hang all my problems on that tree, and then I go inside because I don't want to bring them into my family. And for some reason, the next day, when I go back to the tree to collect my problems, there are less of them than there were the night before.” And it blew his mind. And that was benevolent detachment in real life. And for me, it's really just taking the time to get a few thousand feet higher than just my day and just look back at my week, month, or my year. And for me, I do a lot on my calendar, so sometimes it’s just pulling up my calendar and actually looking back and trying to find those small wins because I do a horrible job of celebrating wins in the moment. I'm just like, “Alright, cool, that's done, move on to the next thing.” I never take the time to celebrate. And going back and actually doing a post-mortem and then analyzing a year has really helped me to really see all this stuff that stacks up. And it's pretty amazing when you actually see it all.

Clint Hoopes: It's all about perspective — so many of those things that you just described. I love the tree example, how he says there are less problems when it comes back. I like that because I believe that once we get a change of perspective-- going back to what you said, you were saying, one of the things that we need to do is just remember what we like to do and enjoy and just have fun like we did when we were young. It's funny, that's kind of what he was doing. When he came back in the house, he was kind of saying, “Hey, I'm gonna connect my family again, I'm gonna have fun again.” And he just left everything else on the tree, so when he came back out the next day, he actually was a different person because he allowed himself to have fun again. So, he had a different perspective. So, some of the things he was worrying about that were getting them down, just didn't matter anymore. Not that they weren't there if he wanted them, some of those problems, but that he just didn't serve them anymore. So, he's like, “Hey, they can rot next to the tree.”

James Quandahl: Think about how easy it is when you come home from a tough day to vomit that onto your family and then be creating bigger problems down the line because your family is not able to share their life with you. And a friend of mine, John Delony, who actually works with Dave Ramsey, talks a lot about when people are in the pool and they're drowning, and a lifeguard jumps in to save them. It's very common that that person drowning might actually push that lifeguard under the water so they can breathe a little longer and actually try to drown the person who's saving them. And how often do we do that with our families where we come in and we unload all of our work problems onto them, and now they're drowning with us, when instead, we should hang those things up outside the door and really be aware of what we're bringing into the house. Do they need to know all of the work gossip and drama and all of these little things? Maybe they don't. Maybe the most healing thing we could have at the end of the day is just to be present and not bring all those problems home. My wife and I actually, before she quit her job last fall, she was a nursing home administrator of a 105-bed senior living nursing home and memory care. Very stressful, very hard job.

Clint Hoopes: James, you probably don't know this, but that's actually my background in the past as a nursing home administrator. So, some people on the show have heard me share some stories and things of the past of leading teams and skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation centers. I'll let you continue with your story, but I can already start seeing where you're going with this because I know this world. 

James Quandahl: We'll have to talk more about that because we're still in therapy from it, basically. It's a tough world. So, we created the safe space on our screened-in porch — in the south, we all have screened-in porches that northerners are missing out — and she would come home, I was working from home, and I'd be down on the porch. And oftentimes, I'd have a glass of wine and some kind of snack. And we would go through that process of debriefing the day and helping her to lay the bricks or the problems on the tree. And then when we went upstairs into the house, that was it. We weren't going to talk about that anymore. It was now time to be present, and to dream, and to do other things. We didn't let that impossibly stressful and difficult job bleed into our entire life because we would have drowned.

Clint Hoopes: Yeah, it's a heavy world. I have so much respect for that world and for so many people that work in the health care of others. It's a trying thing, so many regulations, so many requirements, long hours, and working with people that are honestly often at the worst times of their lives. You get these amazing people that go there every day and help brighten these people's days that are having tough times, and it wears on you, and it wears on the people. And it's such a wonderful thing what you're saying is, help to leave some of those problems at the door. And like you're saying, you can come back and get them the next day if you need, but otherwise, go up and live life. So, that's a great thing. Great advice.

James Quandahl: Yes, she did an excellent job. And actually, after high school, all through college, she was working as a caregiver. And her degree was in healthcare administration, so she was working, actually, doing the labor, and then was a memory care director, then she was an assisted living director, then she was running an entire sniff and memory care and assisted living facility. And she had done basically every job there. She was not an administrator, she was a lover of the people; that's what got her into it, and that makes it even harder. Because as you said, some of these people are going to die and you're going to be the one to see them every single day. Their family sees them maybe once a month, a lot of times. And you become their family. Especially over the last two years when she was working with lockdowns and face shields and face masks and all these protocols, family wasn't even permitted to come in the building. She was the family. And it was crazy. We can't do what we did again to these folks that are in these facilities, the employees and the residents. We, basically, just took two years of their life and closed it down. So, it's really sad.

Clint Hoopes: Yeah, there have been a lot of trying times over the last few years in a lot of industries, and specifically in healthcare. That's an amazing thing that it sounds like you guys have been able to move to a different part of life now. Is she working with you or is she working on another business?

James Quandahl: She's working with family businesses now. So, the companies grew to where last fall we made a hard choice of her leaving that and being able to be home and work with our family businesses. And at that point, I interviewed a whole bunch of people that had worked with their spouses on my podcast, I’m like, “Is this a crazy idea?” And I found all the people that actually said, “Hey, there's no one better to work with than your partner.” Because there are so many people that tell the opposite story, like, “Don't ever work with your partner, it's a sure way to end your marriage.” But it has been nothing more than a blessing to be able to work side by side with the person I love and cherish and trust more than anyone on this planet. And she's got some ideas of her own that she's working on additional businesses, and it's just so much fun to just experiment and to do life side by side. I know most people have to do it but it's such a blessing to not leave for eight hours or 10 hours, five days a week, and only see your spouse in the morning and the evening. I just feel like we were meant to see each other more than that.

Clint Hoopes: Such a blessing that you're able to do that because there are so many that aren't. And that's maybe one of the blessings that came out of the pandemic is there are a lot more people that have the chance to work at home than I would guess ever in much of the history of the world. Before I guess people working on farms or things in the past, everyone was home. But short of that, this has been an unprecedented time in our modern history. So, it's a wonderful thing for the most part.

James Quandahl: In 2016 when I started working remotely, I didn't really know anyone else that was doing it. Now, there are so many people and industries you would have never thought could be working remotely. And I'm still trying to figure it out because being a leader of people — I love to lead teams, I love to coach, I love to develop people, and I love to have a vision and help achieve things as a group — I'm really struggling to figure out how to manage remote teams, I haven't quite got a grasp of it. I don't know if I ever will. I don't know as I need to hire people for full-time positions if I want them to be remote. I want to see them because I just haven't figured it out. And I know there are people that are figuring it out but that's going to be our next big challenge is how do you inspire, develop, nourish, and grow your organization when you don't really see these people very often?

Clint Hoopes: They always say the key to all of these things with leadership and leading people, it's all communication. I think what we're just learning now, even more and more is how to more effectively communicate across distance. We have all these different tools and videos and different ways that we can help connect with people, but it takes a lot of intentionality and a lot of focus to not lose people along the way.

James Quandahl: I think it actually probably made me realize some weaknesses in my own leadership ability on why do I need to be over their shoulder watching them complete that work, to know that it's done. I should have other ways to measure performance and indicators of performance than if they showed up and punched the clock and punched out. I think it's challenging those types of thoughts. I do wonder, when you see folks like Elon Musk, with Tesla, saying, “You gotta get into a building and you gotta be around people.” I think we always have these kinds of pendulums — like we've swung the pendulum so far that everyone's now remote, and we're like, “Oh, no!” And Elon actually even said in his letter, he's like, “It's fine for some companies that aren't doing anything great, and aren't doing anything new, and aren't challenging the status quo to be completely remote. But we are trying to do that, and so you need to be together to have that mindshare and to really push each other.” So, I think we're going to see that pendulum come back the other way, and it'll be interesting to see what leaders are developed from this because I would never go back to a full-time building where I was away from the home. So, if I wouldn't, how can I expect everyone working for me to not want that freedom and flexibility, too? I don't know, I'm still figuring it out. 

Clint Hoopes: I think the hybrid roles that are happening more and more now are probably just going to become more and more the norm where people will have an opportunity to work part at home, part at work, get the connection with people, but then also have some of the freedom at home. It's a challenge as a leader. I know prior to the pandemic, I rarely had anyone that worked from home. It was a way more rare thing, whereas now it's much more common. So, I'm in the same boat, trying to learn how to be a great leader to people that are remote. It's difficult.

James Quandahl: And I cherish those water cooler moments where there was inter-department communication and you'd get an IT person chatting with a salesperson in the break room, and the salesperson say, “Oh, I get so frustrated with this.” And the IT person is like, “Oh, I didn't know that was a problem. I could fix that for you.” And they never weren't even communicating in any other way. 

Clint Hoopes: He’s like, “Give me 10 minutes.” And they’re thinking it's an insurmountable problem, right?

James Quandahl: Exactly. And I think that's one of the big things missing in remote work, but there are ways to create those types of conversations. Like we said at the beginning of this conversation, you have to be deliberate. It is not going to happen by accident anymore. Leaders, like myself, allow that to happen by accident because we had break rooms and people had to get ready for their shift and leave their shifts and all of that. So, it was an accident that that happened, now we have to actually create it as a leader. So, I'm really interested to see how all this happens.

Clint Hoopes: Yeah, it'll be an interesting world, see where things go. Well, I love it. James, this has been a great conversation, I've loved the direction we've went. As we start wrapping things up, I really would love to know, what would be the top action step that you'd have for our listeners, something that they could do that would help them in their work or their life?

James Quandahl: I would say to do exactly that exercise that I mentioned earlier, of sitting down and remembering what you like to do when you were a child. And if you can't remember, then; one, that shows that you probably aren't doing those things: but two, to it just means, “Hey, get in touch with the people from that period of your life,” whether it be your siblings, parents, friends, teachers, or whoever was around you, and ask them to remind you, and let their answers surprise you. And then write them down on a piece of paper — all those things. Whether it's climbing trees, writing fiction, dancing, shooting archery, juggling, or whatever it was that you loved, write it down, look at that list and ask yourself, “How long has it been since you did those things?” And then start to do them. And then watch as you start to light up and reconnect with who you were and then find ways to introduce more of that into your day each day and just see how all the people around you are getting excited, too.

Clint Hoopes: Great advice. I love it. Well, James, where can people connect with you if they want to learn more about your show or what you do?

James Quandahl: So, I'm on Instagram and Twitter, it's @JamesQuandahl. Or you can just go to, or look up The James Quandahl Show on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. We have similar conversations as on this show. And actually, it's funny, Clint doesn't know this, but originally, my podcast was going to be called These Wise Men, and it was going to be a leadership podcast for businessmen who were winning in business but also wanted to win at home. And I was proceeding under that premise at first, and then I kept getting all these emails, but they were always from women. I was like, “Huh, okay. Maybe I need to branch out on my show.” So, I just named it The James Quandahl Show, still have the same idea of helping people to build the life of their dreams, and that's my passion.

Clint Hoopes: Wonderful. Well, we'll put links to all those places in the show notes so you can go and connect with James as well. Well, James, thank you so much for being on the show today.

James Quandahl: Thank you. This was really fun. I can't wait to chat with you some more.

Clint Hoopes: I love it. Well, thank you. And for all of you out there listening, now it is your time to go and be the unrivaled man in your life.