Episode 31: John Laurito – How To Be A Great Leader

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Gold Nuggets

  • “Most people don’t like to step outside their comfort zone, but when you do, it opens your eyes to different things.”
  • “Leaders in any type of organization that are large and effective, they somehow make their people feel a different feeling of importance, attention, that they matter – that it’s not just the numbers.”
  • There’s not only one formula to be a great leader.
  • “The best entrepreneurs are the ones that have a powerful ‘why’.”
  • As a leader, how you feel reflects in how your team is going to feel. Sometimes, for entrepreneurs that’s a lot of pressure – feeling like you can’t have a bad day because then your team is going to have a bad day.

    “You’re going to have bad days, but how do you handle it, and do you have a routine that gets you back at least to a neutral spot so you’re not walking in with a sour face?”
  • “The key to be a great leader is to be genuine, real, to be yourself, and to care about the people you work with.”
  • “It’s very critical to have a routine that you start your day with. It’s less important what the routine is, and more important that you have a routine.”
  • Steve and Juliet have written a book. Steve reckons there are still more chapters to write, but Juliet doesn’t quite feel the same way.
  • “Being an entrepreneur is tough. It takes a lot of dedication. Maybe you’re having a horrible year, those conditions are temporary. If you have that resilience and persistence to keep going, if you truly believe in something and you’re passionate about it, then things will turn.”
  • “There’s a big difference between being a business owner and being a leader. Just because you are an entrepreneur and you own a business doesn’t automatically mean that you are a good leader.”
  • “Motivation gets you going. Discipline keeps you growing.” – John C. Maxwell

Meet John Laurito

Our guest is John Laurito CFP, ChFC, CRPC, CEO of The Laurito Group, Keynote speaker, Leadership expert, Author, and Host of the Tomorrow’s Leader Podcast. John is a highly successful leader, earning a reputation as a “turnaround expert.” His work speaks for itself: he led the Hartford, CT office of Amiprise from it’s ranking of 100th out of 110 up to #1 in the country. He also tripled the size of Concord Wealth Management (the Boston Agency of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company) within 7 years, moving it from last place in national ranking to being awarded the President’s Award (twice) and the Excellence Award (three times).

Smart Man, Smarter Woman References

We talk about a lot in each episode; however, we don’t want you to miss a thing! Here are some key items were mentioned if you want to take a closer look.

Website Recommendations:

Book Recommendation:
Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill

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Steve Loates (00:00):

Hello everyone. And welcome to our podcast, Smart Man, Smarter Woman, a podcast for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. And thank you very much for joining us today. I am Steve Loates.

Juliet Aurora (00:15):

And I am Juliet Aurora.

Steve Loates (00:17):

And we are your co-hosts. And before I introduce today’s guest, why don’t we have a few words from my sad co-host today. I know you can’t see it, but she really does have a sad face. So I’m going to let her share with you why she’s not feeling her best today. And perhaps we can all send her wishes of encouragement. Juliet, how are you doing today?

Juliet Aurora (00:42):

I’m doing fine. True, I am a little sad today. Although by the time this podcast episode goes live, it will sound very ridiculous to the audience. But at the time of the recording, it is late fall. And my pool was closed today. And if you’ve been following along our journey, you know how much my pool means to me. And so yes, it is a sad day that the pool is closed for the season. Last swim was this morning for 2020. And as I was telling Steve and our guest earlier, the temperature differential between the air and the pool this morning was 42 degrees Fahrenheit. So yeah, not looking forward to the next couple of months. And hopefully we’ll get my pool opened again in April.

Steve Loates (01:33):

Absolutely. Well, on the bright side though, Juliet, now that it’s closed, every day going forward, it’s getting closer to being reopened. So it’s a great thing.

Juliet Aurora (01:43):

Perfect. That’s the way to look at it.

Steve Loates (01:44):

Absolutely. Anyway, it won’t be long before you’re back in the pool. I know that. Anyway, we have a great show again for you today with our special guest, John Laurito. I’ll tell you a little bit about John, but let’s bring him into the show before we do that. And so, John, thank you very much for joining us for today’s episode.

John Laurito (02:07):

Well thank you, Steve, and thank you Juliet. Great to be here. And Juliet, I feel for you. I’m sorry. I can imagine how tough of a day that has been. But as Steve said, that’s right, six months will fly by. You’ll be back in it before you know it.

Juliet Aurora (02:20):

Thank you. I appreciate the sympathy.

Steve Loates (02:24):

Absolutely. So anyway, we’re really looking forward to our conversation today. Because like our guest, I and Juliet have always been fascinated with the topic of leadership. In fact, Juliet and I attended an all day virtual conference on leadership just a few weeks ago called Live 2 Lead. And we really, really enjoyed that. And there’s just so many things to talk about with leadership. What makes a great leader? Why is one person, they can really get people to follow them? Others struggle with that. And why is that? And so those are the kinds of things we’re going to get into. Lots of learnings today about leadership. But perhaps before we actually get into a deep dive on the topic, maybe John, you could just take a few minutes and perhaps share with us who you are, where you are, what you do, and how you help people.

John Laurito (03:23):

Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So my work background started in financial services. And I started as a financial advisor, which I had a goal of being in a business that I was helping people and making an impact. I liked problem solving. I liked finance. And at that time, this was the perfect intersection of all that. And it was also an opportunity to run a business, which really I had no knowledge of what it would really take to run a business. I don’t think anybody really does until they’re in it and does it. I know your audience is full of entrepreneurs, so they’re learning it or they know it. And it was tough.

John Laurito (04:01):

I mean, I almost failed out of the business in my first year and second year. It took me almost three years to really get it going. And when it did, and I figured out some things that really dramatically changed and grew my business, and then it was no turning back. And I got an opportunity to step into a leadership role that involved me mentoring and training other people. And once I did that, I got bit by the bug. I just was fascinated with leadership. I was intrigued by it. I loved it. Just the whole concept of someone impacting and influencing large numbers of people, or even a single person to do things that they weren’t able to do themselves, or wouldn’t have otherwise done to me has always been fascinating.

John Laurito (04:44):

So I spent 20 years in financial services. And my focus in leadership in that arena was to turn around companies. I had taken over an office that was ranked 100 out of 110 in the country, and brought it up to number one in the country. And learned a lot from my mistakes and also successes, and the importance of building a great team and people around you. And then did that a few more times at different spots across the country, similar types of things.

John Laurito (05:12):

And over the last few years, I started to get involved in speaking engagements and consulting, and helping other people and other companies. And decided earlier this year, actually in February, that I wanted to do it full-time. I had been planning it and decided to make the leap and immerse myself in this and start my own business. Of course, I knew that COVID was coming, and I had planned it perfectly and knew exactly that that was going to be the environment I would be in. So it was all part of my grand master plan. No.

John Laurito (05:44):

In reality, we’ll talk about that I’m sure, but it was a big wake up call. But I am doing this now. I’m working with companies. I’m helping them develop leaders. I do speaking engagements, keynotes now virtually. I do executive coaching with business owners and CEOs. So I have a blast and love it. As you know, I do a podcast too, similar to what you’re doing. So that’s my life now. And I’m down in North Carolina, close to family and loving every day.

Steve Loates (06:13):

Awesome, awesome.

Juliet Aurora (06:14):

Excellent. I do love… I mean, we’ve had a couple of guests over the last several months who either started a new business, or pivoted their business and launched a new service. Again, timing-wise could probably not have picked a worse time to do that. But I think it really shows the resilience of entrepreneurs that even though it is a completely unknown, what the next step looks like, nobody knows, that you’re still sticking with it. And you’re still loving every day of it, even though you’ve launched in probably one of the worst times in history. So kudos to all the entrepreneurs out there who are navigating this as well.

John Laurito (06:56):

Well, it’s interesting because this has forced everybody out of their comfort zone. In some way or another, they’ve had to change their life, or they’ve changed their business. And most people don’t like to step outside their comfort zone. But when you do it opens your eyes to different things. I think a lot of businesses have been either pushed in a significantly better position or worse position. But very few are kind of static. And that’s all part of growth. So I know we’ll talk about some examples, I’m sure, but I think this has forced people to look at things totally different. And in many cases that results in doing things totally different and getting a totally different result.

Steve Loates (07:37):


Juliet Aurora (07:37):

Definitely. Have you found that this shift with the clients that you’re working with, obviously a lot of them now are virtual and they’re remote, have you found that they’ve needed to change their leadership style as well?

John Laurito (07:52):

Yes. Without a doubt. And that’s the thing I am asked and kind of called upon to talk about more than anything else is what does leadership look like now? Because even without COVID and this pandemic, leadership has shifted dramatically. Because the days of being that commanding style, authoritative leader, do this and do that, that’s really dwindled. And that’s not what today’s and tomorrow’s leader’s all about now. Now it’s so important for leaders to be transparent. This has kind of forced a level of transparency and authenticity because we see into people’s homes. I mean, literally we see what’s going on in their lives. We see the cats jumping on the table, or the dog barking and the kids. And so we get a glimpse into people’s lives that’s totally different.

John Laurito (08:39):

And I think what’s happened is the leaders that really understand and take the time to build relationships with their people, and really take the extra steps to bring everybody together and realize that it’s not just about numbers, it’s not just about driving results. It’s about people. And their world is bigger than just the business. It’s life and everything that’s going on beyond. So I think people, it’s a wake up call for leaders. They’re realizing, wow, you know what? Whether they wanted to or not, they’re now seeing a whole different part of their organization. And their organization is seeing a whole different part of them. So tomorrow’s leader and today’s leader is empathetic. They’re relationship-based, they’re visionary. They’re very focused, not just on the what, but also the why. And that’s a key differentiator.

Juliet Aurora (09:32):

Now there will be people in our audience who didn’t encounter leaders or bosses that were like that as they went through their career. And I’m sure that there are some people who are thinking well, that’s just way too touchy feely. I’m a boss. I am providing someone a livelihood and a paycheck, and I’m hiring them to come in and do a job. I don’t want to hear about their life and their kids and their dog. And I just want them to come in and do what they’re paid for. What do you say to people who are running their organizations like that?

John Laurito (10:07):

Well, I think what you have to understand is it’s all about the long-term. I mean, there are businesses that are scratching their head and they’re puzzled as to why they might have high turnover. They lose great people. And then they have to spend money and time and resources hiring new people and training them and developing them. And you, unfortunately, don’t really get the reason. It’s not like every person that leaves says, “Hey, Juliet, let me be really open and honest with you of all the things I didn’t like and why I’m leaving.” It just doesn’t happen. People vote with their feet.

John Laurito (10:39):

So what really I’ve seen, and I get the opportunity to work with business leaders in all different industries, which is really a cool perspective. The ones that are really at the top, and I’m not talking about the top 20, 30%, I’m talking about the top one, maybe five, maybe 10% of leaders in their industry. They are the ones that really focus on the culture of their organization and the people. It’s very much a different feel in that organization. Even a large company. Because some people say, “Well yeah, okay, I could do that if I’m a leader of an organization of 10 people. But if I’ve got 500 or 1,000 people or whatnot…” But it is amazing at even large companies, CEOs, or leaders in any type of organization that are large, that are effective, they somehow make their people feel a different feeling of importance, of attention, a feeling that they matter. It’s not just the numbers. And that’s what’s important. So I think for a leader that’s really after long-term success and growth and very unique business, I think that’s something that needs to happen. That’s a change that needs to-

Juliet Aurora (11:55):

So I think for the business owners, they need to think about what they want their organization to look like, and then work backwards from there.

John Laurito (12:03):

Absolutely. It’s all about the vision and painting that picture of what you want it to look like and feel like. Absolutely.

Steve Loates (12:11):

If we took a leader who had the style that Juliet mentioned, that they’re a little authoritarian, their people skills are not the best, shall we say. But they recognize that. And they want to become a better leader. They want to be more successful. What are some tips that you could give them? I mean, I think the first thing is you’ve got to at least be aware that you need to make some adjustments and some changes. But what tips could you give them to perhaps help them start making that shift?

John Laurito (12:55):

Such a great question. And the good thing about this, there’s not only one formula to be a great leader. So there are some very authoritative commanding leaders that are extremely successful. Steve Jobs was one of them. Elon Musk is another one. I mean, there’s tons of very successful leaders that have that style. So it’s not that you can’t be successful with that. But for a leader that really has a level of awareness, that they say, “You know what? I need to change. I want to change.” Even a little bit. The first step is we’ve got to work on allowing ourselves to be more authentic. I think that leader oftentimes really is reluctant to kind of pull the curtain back and let people understand how they feel or what they’re thinking.

John Laurito (13:46):

I mean, I think a great thing a leader can do in that situation is talk about it with their people, their team. And say, “Hey, here’s what my goal is personally. I want to become better. I know sometimes I don’t show it. And it kind of seems like I’m all business and all about numbers. But there is more to me and I am interested. And I do want to take an interest and I do want to hear how your weekend has gone. And I do want to know who your family is and things like that.” So I think that’s the first step is acknowledging it, and also talking about it, and being more transparent and open. It’s amazing what happens when leaders drop their guard and stop trying so hard to be somebody that they’re really not.

John Laurito (14:28):

There’s many leaders that in the workplace, they’re one person, and personally they’re totally different. And that’s not healthy. It really is not. Granted, we’re all a little bit different, obviously, outside of work than in. But there shouldn’t be two opposite types of people. And I was for a period of time when I got into leadership. I was a very different person in work than I was out of work. Because I thought there was a specific personality style. I thought there was a formula, and it wasn’t my natural way.

John Laurito (14:56):

And for the first couple of years, I mean, I remember friends hearing stories about work or vice versa, and they’d be like, “What? That doesn’t sound like you.” And it took me a little while, and I started then to just relax and be myself. And not only did I enjoy it more, but my results went up dramatically. I thought people wouldn’t respect me as much. Conversely, they respected me more. I thought they wouldn’t listen to me as much, or do what I was asking them to do. They did more. There was more loyalty. There was more retention. There was more people wanting to be part of my team. There was more fun. And the results were were better. It was kind of a really interesting case study.

Steve Loates (15:33):

That’s great.

Juliet Aurora (15:33):

It’s interesting that you say that about the disparity between how you are in the workplace versus how you are personally. One of the tools that we started using recently is something called predictive index. And I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. But what it actually does is it evaluates a person as to how they perceive they need to be for the role that they’re applying for, or that they’re in. And then it asks a whole bunch of questions that give you how they perceive themselves.

Juliet Aurora (16:07):

And one of the metrics that comes out of this assessment is it maps the disparity between the two. And that if there is a huge disparity, they’re basically telling us that at some point this person is going to walk out because they’re doing something that is so against who they are as a person. So I find it interesting that you say that, from a leadership perspective as well, how fundamental that is. And I guess if it’s fundamental for your team and your employees, why wouldn’t it be as a leader? So I like that example.

John Laurito (16:41):

Yeah. One thing I’ll add to that too is, and you’re speaking about it without necessarily using the words, but core values. What I think about, and anybody that I’m working with is I’ve seen leaders that have taken roles within organizations and they didn’t necessarily take the time to think about how their own core values relate to the company’s core values. And to your point, Juliet, ultimately there became this internal rub. Because if my core value is balance in life and family, and I’m joining an organization that truly believes you should be working 80, 90, 100 hours a week, then that’s not going to jibe. At some point, that’s going to break down. And that’s an extreme example, but it could be lots of examples.

John Laurito (17:25):

So I think the leaders and business owners and entrepreneurs starting businesses, does this business really fit in with your core values, with what you believe in. The best entrepreneurs are the ones that truly, they have a powerful why. There’s a passion there. It’s not just, hey, I heard about this business and it makes a lot of money. So let me buy this franchise and let me do this because I think that’s where the money is. I see that all the time, and rarely does that end up working out, and rarely does that person end up having the wherewithal and the fortitude mentally, emotionally, physically to go through the downs as well as the ups that you have to in starting a business.

Juliet Aurora (18:04):

And it would be very hard as a leader to motivate your team and get them excited if you’re not excited.

John Laurito (18:11):

Absolutely. I was just talking to a client recently who was really expressing some frustrations in his team, their performance, and the fact that they were really, as he called it, checked out. They really were not showing up. They weren’t doing anything. And I said, “Well, let me ask you this. And this might be a tough question to answer. But what would they say about you? What would they characterize you right now?” And he thought for a minute, there was a little silence. And he said, “I think they’d probably say the same thing about me.” I said, “Okay. Well, is there any reason that you would expect different of them? If that’s what you’re going through, and you’re setting that example, you’re setting the tone.” So leaders always need to look in the mirror first, good, bad, or indifferent, whatever’s going on in their organization is a reflection of them.

Juliet Aurora (18:58):

Yeah. Which sometimes is a pretty scary thought that you walk into it into a building, when you weren’t remote, and you walk into your office as the owner or the leader of a team, and how it is that you feel reflects in how your team is also going to feel. And it’s sometimes, for entrepreneurs, that’s a lot of pressure. It’s I can’t have a bad day. I’m not allowed a bad day because then all of my team has a bad day. And I think being able to give them permission that yes, they’re human, they’re allowed to have a bad day, but acknowledging that it also reflects within the team, I think is fairly important.

John Laurito (19:37):

Well, and I think also, and this again goes to the transparency because what happens is, and you’re right, that is a lot of pressure for a leader to think about, wow, I can’t have a bad day. No, of course, you’re going to have bad days. But how do you handle it? And do you have any kind of routine that kind of gets you back at least to a neutral spot? So you’re not walking in with a sour face. I remember one of my employees came up to me one time, and said, “Hey, is everything okay?” And I said, “Yeah, why?” He said, “I don’t know. I’m sensing this really weird vibe from you.” And truth be told, I had a tough day. It was something personal that was going on, or a tough weekend.

John Laurito (20:18):

And I’m like, “Well yeah, I just had a rough couple of days. So yeah. No, I’m totally fine.” He said, “Okay. But you and I are okay, right? You’re not mad at me, are you?” I’m like, “No, not at all. Why would I be mad at you?” He said, “Oh, I don’t know. I kind of just thought maybe you had a problem with me.” But it made me realize that in the absence of them really understanding what’s causing this situation, my face to show a certain expression or my body language, they guess what it is. They come up with their own conclusions. And oftentimes it’s wrong. And our teams, our people, our employees in our organization will sometimes feel, especially if they have respect for you and they like you, they want to be liked, they might take that as, wow, Juliet’s mad at me. They totally take it out of context, right? So that was a wake-up call for me, big time.

Juliet Aurora (21:10):

Just a reinforcement of that transparency piece you talked about.

John Laurito (21:13):

Yep, absolutely. Yeah.

Steve Loates (21:16):

So the key then to be a great leader is to be genuine, to be real, to be yourself, and to care about the people who you work with.

John Laurito (21:31):

Absolutely. I mean, those are big pieces. There’s a lot to it, but that’s the foundation. I mean, people, they want to follow people that have a strong sense of who they are. People are smart. They can tell if you’re kind of faking it, or you’re trying to be somebody that you’re really not. There’s nothing that lets people down when they see a leader that… There shouldn’t be a mystery with a leader. It shouldn’t be trying to figure somebody out. I guess there’s some allure with being that cryptic, mystical, figure or whatnot where nobody can figure you out.

John Laurito (22:05):

But in leadership, in this day and age now, we’ve got enough things that are confusing people, enough unknowns. Their leader should not be an unknown. Their leader should be a stable force, a stable figure, consistent, predictable to some extent, and someone who brings them a feeling of safety and security. In light of these uncertain, unstable times, that might be ahead in this tough journey that we’re going to be taking as an organization ahead. I’ve got to be that leader that people look at for that calming kind of a feeling of security, that security blanket almost. Then I’m going to get people to charge up the hill behind me.

Steve Loates (22:44):

Right. That’s great.

Juliet Aurora (22:46):

So one of the things that we’ve said in several different ways is the responsibility of a leader within the organization. And I guess going back to my comment about, well, that’s a lot of pressure. You’re not allowed to have a bad day. There is a lot of pressure in being a leader. And I think for entrepreneurs and business owners who think that it’s easy to lead a team, it’s not. And how would you advise them? Because we’re all still human as entrepreneurs and business leaders. Where do we get our cup refilled? We’re making sure that our team is okay, and that we’re connected to them and we’re empathetic with them. Where would you recommend that leaders are able to refill their cups?

John Laurito (23:37):

I think a couple of things. I think it’s very critical to have a routine that you start your day with. I think that gets things going in the right way. And it’s less important what the routine is and more important that you have a routine. I wake up, I go to the gym early in the morning. I need that to get my day started. I take a cold shower. I have a place where I sit. I usually will reflect on what I’m grateful for. I’ll write my to-do list for the day. I’ll do a journal entry, something quick like that, that gets my mind and my body in the right place. I think leaders need to do that. And that sets the day. And then you have to have your outlets. You have to have the things, whether it’s a loved one and spending time with them, if it’s a social outlet or something that just gives you the ability to let out some steam, somebody to talk to, somebody to comfort to. I think that’s a really critical piece too.

Juliet Aurora (24:33):


Steve Loates (24:33):

That’s great. Great advice. Now I know you’ve written a book. Not out yet, coming out shortly, hopefully December or January. For those of us who want to read your book, what are we going to get from it if we read the book?

John Laurito (24:51):

So I’ve always devoured leadership books. I’ve read as many as I can. And I’ve always, with most books, I get left with this feeling like, wow, that was a great book. Really cool concepts. But now what? What do I do with this? And it’s always been a challenge to say, okay, here’s what I’m going to do differently as a result of reading this book. So what I wanted to do with my book is really make it a book for leaders that want to become better leaders, but want to turn the concepts into action.

John Laurito (25:23):

So I’m a big storyteller. I love stories. I think they make points really well. So my book is full of all kinds of stories, personal situations, stories about me leading organizations. But also famous examples of leaders in all different industries and all different walks of life so that readers can really understand it better. And then it breaks it down in different points of the book of, okay, now what? What do you do with this? Here’s what you can do. So it’s a very actionable, I think it’s a fun read. But it’s full of really what I think are the most important concepts of being a top level leader. Basically, what do top level leaders think, what do they say, and what do they do? And that’s what it’s all about.

Steve Loates (26:04):

Awesome. And the name of the book is Tomorrow’s Leader.

John Laurito (26:08):

Tomorrow’s Leader. And it will most likely, as you said, be out either the end of this year, or beginning of next year. So a couple of months from now. And listeners can go to my website, which is lauritogroup.com, L-A-U-R-I-T-O, group.com. And that’ll have information as it’s getting near to that. Or my podcast, which is also called Tomorrow’s Leader.

Steve Loates (26:30):

Awesome. And we will have links to the website and the podcast in the show notes so everyone will be able to get it there. Now you’ve mentioned storyteller a couple of times. What is one of your favorite stories from your book?

John Laurito (26:47):

Wow. I’ve got so many of them. I start right on word number one with a story. And it had to do with what I consider to be one of my worst moments in my leadership career. And it tied in with something I was struggling with for 20 years prior. And that was panic attacks. So I remember being asked to speak. I had had success in that office that I was turning around. And the president of the company had asked me to speak in front of about 50 leaders. People that I knew. So it should have been an honor, and it was. But I got that feeling as I was getting closer to that presentation, the hour before, even the minutes before and the seconds before, that all too horribly familiar feeling of a panic attack coming on.

John Laurito (27:34):

So as they’re calling me up, my heart was racing. I mean, racing. I was struggling to breathe. I was turning beet red. I could feel sweat beads of sweat coming down my back of my neck and my shirt, and my shirt felt tight. I’m walking up to the stage, and I turn and face everybody and I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t say anything. And I’m up there for probably five seconds not saying anything. And all I could think to do was turn around. And there was a whiteboard behind me. And I just grabbed a marker and started writing.

John Laurito (28:06):

And I honestly, to this day, I have no idea what I was writing, literally. Just started writing a bunch of stuff up there, thinking it would buy me time and relax me. And it just got worse. And I turned around and people were looking at me thinking I’m having a heart attack or something. I mean, they didn’t know what was happening. And I still couldn’t speak, I couldn’t breathe. And all I could do was I ran out of the room. I literally ran off the stage, out the room, and went into the bathroom. And it was horrific. I mean, it was horrific. So I go into more detail about it in the book.

John Laurito (28:39):

But for me, that was a really big catalyst. It was a turning point because I had been fighting that private battle in my life for years trying to overcome. I never even used the word panic attack because I felt like it would give it more meaning, and fuel the fire and legitimize it. And I was just trying to pretend like it wasn’t there. And I was fighting this battle. And finally, I said, I’ve got to overcome this and figure this out. Which I went through a whole period of time and did it ultimately. And now to the point where my living is going on stages and speaking in front of groups of people. And not only do I not fear it, I love it. But that was a painful story, but that’s one of them.

Steve Loates (29:24):

Wow. Yeah.

Juliet Aurora (29:26):

Thank you for sharing that.

Steve Loates (29:27):

Yeah. Thank you. Panic attacks are no fun at all.

John Laurito (29:32):

Oh no.

Steve Loates (29:33):

So I can relate to that.

John Laurito (29:36):

[inaudible 00:29:36].

Steve Loates (29:37):

How did you enjoy the experience of writing the book? I mean, we’ve had lots of guests on our shows who have written a book. And some of them tell us, “Oh my God, it was so painful.” And others, “Oh, no, it was easy. It was great. One of the greatest experiences.” What was it like for you?

John Laurito (29:58):

Well, I will tell you it was a fantastic experience. I didn’t know the first thing about what I was doing. I’m a much better speaker than I am writer. And not that I’m not a good writer. It’s just I’m a very slow writer. It’s kind of the perfectionist in me. So actually, I collaborated with a guy named Marcus Webb who I’ll give a shout out here. He’s fantastic. And he was a major help with me and making sure I got the right words out. And was a really a big influencer to get it done quickly. And not that it was quickly, it’s taken about a year.

John Laurito (30:38):

So I’ve had a lot of content, and it was almost a struggle to pair it down to the most critical things. Some writers, I think, struggle to find the content. Me, I think I had too much, and trying to organize it and get the right stuff into the book to make it best book possible. So it was a lot of fun. I am definitely going to be writing more. So I think writers, either they stopped at one or they go till 10 or 15 or 20. I think I’ll probably be more on the latter.

Steve Loates (31:04):

Awesome. Awesome.

Juliet Aurora (31:06):

And Steve, just for the record, we’re stopping at one. Okay?

Steve Loates (31:09):

We’re not going to… But you got to get… There’s more chapters.

Juliet Aurora (31:13):

We’re not looking to write another book. We’ve done one, we’re done.

John Laurito (31:17):

That’s great. What is your book?

Juliet Aurora (31:19):

It’s called The Kninja Way: Our Journey to Firm of the Future.

John Laurito (31:22):

Oh, terrific.

Steve Loates (31:24):

Yeah, we published it, what, a year and a half ago, I guess.

Juliet Aurora (31:30):

  1. 2018.

Steve Loates (31:30):


John Laurito (31:32):


Steve Loates (31:33):

Anyway, that was great. That brings us to the part of the show that we call the Smart Man, Smarter Woman version of James Lipton’s Actors Studio, where we ask all of our guests some questions, six questions. And we ask the same questions of every guest. And so if you are ready, John, I’d like to get started.

John Laurito (31:56):

You got it.

Steve Loates (31:58):

Perfect. Question number one. What one word best defines an entrepreneur?

John Laurito (32:05):


Steve Loates (32:05):

Okay. What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

John Laurito (32:16):

Being an actor.

Steve Loates (32:19):

What profession would you like never to attempt?

John Laurito (32:24):

Wow. That’s a tough one. There’s so many things I wouldn’t be good at. I have all the respect and admiration for teachers. I don’t think I could do very well with that. I just give them so much credit, especially now. So I would say that probably would be it. They don’t get enough recognition.

Steve Loates (32:50):

I would agree with that. What sound or noise do you love?

John Laurito (32:56):

The sound of crashing waves. I’m a big ocean guy.

Steve Loates (33:01):

What book would you recommend every entrepreneur should read, other than yours of course?

John Laurito (33:08):

So many books I’ve read, one of the most impactful was Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. It’s a classic, but wow, what a powerful message. And the lesson in there has stayed with me through my whole life.

Steve Loates (33:23):

Excellent. And last question, when your own entrepreneurial journey is completed, what do you hope your legacy is?

John Laurito (33:33):

I hope I have impacted people around the world and influenced them to be better leaders of themselves and other people. I’d like to be known as the person who’s had a worldwide impact on that.

Steve Loates (33:46):

Awesome. And for the listeners to the show, if they want to connect with you, what is the best way for them to do that?

John Laurito (33:54):

Sure. They can send me an email at john@lauritogroup.com. Or I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on Facebook, I’m on Instagram, primarily those three platforms, and they can subscribe to my podcast Tomorrow’s Leader.

Steve Loates (34:10):

Awesome. And before we conclude the episode, do you have any final thoughts, John, that you would like to share with our audience of entrepreneurs?

John Laurito (34:19):

I’m a big believer that, number one is, being an entrepreneur is very tough and it takes a lot of dedication. And as much as it may be maybe today you’re listening to this and you are having a horrible day or a horrible month or a horrible year, those conditions are temporary. And if you have that resilience and persistence to just keep going, if you truly believe in something, you’re passionate about it, then things will turn. And you have to trust that and you have to embrace that. That’s what I would leave the audience with.

Steve Loates (34:53):

Awesome. What great advice. And what about you Juliet?

Juliet Aurora (34:57):

I guess, for me, it was just the conversation reinforced for me that there is a big difference between being a business owner and being a leader. That just because you are an entrepreneur and you own a business does not automatically mean that you are a good leader. And that was just reinforced for me again today.

Steve Loates (35:20):

Great. Very good. And that brings us to our words of wisdom for this week’s episode. And I chose a quote by, I guess, by anyone’s standards he would be recognized as one of the leadership gurus, John Maxwell. And the quote is, “Motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you growing.” Which I thought was-

John Laurito (35:49):

I like that.

Steve Loates (35:50):

…a good one. He’s got lots of good ones. It’s hard to pick one when you’re trying to find one from John Maxwell. Anyway, so thank you very much, John. Really appreciate you joining us. Great episode, lots of great value for our audience. Thank you to my awesome co-host Juliet. You know I can’t do this without you. But most importantly, thank you to you, our audience, for tuning in and giving us a listen. We hope you found some value. If you did, please subscribe. We’re in all the normal places, iTunes, Spotify, Google. Or you can go to the website, smartmansmarterwoman.com. So thank you. Until next time, take good care of yourself and those that you love. Bye for now.

Song by Adam Vitovsky / CC BY 3.0

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Episode 31