The Bregman Leadership Podcast
Episode 200

JT McCormick

Never One Thing

How do you figure out who you want to be? JT McCormick is the president and CEO of Scribe Media, ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as having the #1 company culture in America. Today, he tells his inspiring story of growing up in the slums of Dayton, becoming a millionaire and losing it all, and starting a company with precisely the culture that leads to success. JT discusses the key moments that made him realize what he wanted to have and who he wanted to be, how and why he uses language deliberately, and how he implements his personal three rules for leadership within Scribe.

About

Website: JTMcCormick.com

Video

Transcript

This transcript is unedited.

Peter:

With us today is JT McCormick. He is the president and CEO of scribe media, which is a publishing company that helps people write, publish and market their books. Entrepreneur magazine recently ranked scribe as having the number one top company culture in America. The company has also been repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to work in all of Texas. So I am really excited to have JT on the show with us. We’re going to be talking a little bit about his background and how he got to where he is today. And then where that is what, what it looks like to run a company the way he does and how it is that we can create best company cultures and best places to work. What goes into it and what are the challenges to it and how do you overcome those challenges? JT, welcome to the Bregman leadership podcast.

JT:

Peter. I appreciate it, sir. Thank you for having me.

Peter:

Such a pleasure. So let’s actually start from the beginning, right? Let’s, let’s, I’d love to, you know, you’re, you’re a, a, you’re a thought leader and also a business leader, someone who runs a company and, and it’s always interesting to understand how people get to where they are. And you started kind of tough. So tell us, I, I I know that you were born a mixed race, son of a drug dealing pimp, father and an orphaned single mother on welfare. So I I would not have made up that sentence. I read it. Cause there’s, you know, all sorts of ways I could’ve gotten that wrong. But tell us a little bit about what it was like growing up in the slums of Dayton, Ohio, what it was like to live with what I understand to be abuse and racism and sometime in the juvenile justice system.

JT:

Oh wow. You know, it was at the time, very hard, very, very disheartening as a, as a child because you can’t do anything about your circumstances as an adult. We have the choice to look back and see the the story for what it is and what we want to make of it. So I chose not to be a victim, but you, you nailed it. My father was a pimp and drug dealer. He had 23 children. I’m the only one by my mother to this day. I don’t know where my last name comes from. My mother got the last name, McCormick when she was in the orphanage. And we have no clue where it comes from or why we have it. Three different times in juvenile. I was sexually abused. One of my fathers prostitutes from the ages of six to eight. And man, never, never graduated high school, had to go to summer school, get my GED. But I always say this to people, dammit, it says on the piece of paper, high school diploma. So I got a high school diploma, not a GED, but never went to college. And here I am.

Peter:

So JT, there’s, I don’t want to make light of this because there’s, there’s, you know, there’s so much to unpack here and it’s such a challenging childhood that you lived. And what I’m curious about is what, where, what is the point at which you recognized, this might seem like a silly question, but what is the point at which you recognized? I’m actually living a pretty tough childhood. Like there, there’s a way in which we, we live in circumstances and we don’t recognize for some period of time that our circumstances is different than anyone else’s. And then there’s a point at which we recognize it. Either we’re privileged or where we’re challenged or we’re victims or, and I’m curious how, how you came to that consciousness and awareness.

JT:

You know, for the first nine years of my life, I was with my mother and my mother and I, we struggled. We were hungry. She was, you know, on welfare, raising a, a single child. And you know, my mother’s white and here I am, this mixed race child that was hard for her. So those circumstances were tough. But when I knew things were incredibly chaotic for me is when I was sent to live with my dad when I was nine. And now I was in the thick of it with prostitutes, heroin addicts, drug dealers. And that’s when I realized, okay, this, this is pretty tough. This is some next level really dysfunctional things that, that I’m going through. And you’re, you’re constantly, as a child looking over your shoulder, trying to figure out what your next move, trying to keep peace, calm or avoid certain circumstances.

JT:

So I would say from the ages of mine to about 13 were just absolutely chaotic. A great learning experience. You know, not, not at the time, obviously, but again, when you take the time to look back and realize the things that you learned, it’s actually I would not change a thing for me. My childhood prepared me for business. I grew up in such chaos. That business is very structured, it’s consistent, it’s in. So I find peace within business, you know sells balance sheets, income statements, operational metrics, those things. It’s all consistent, structured discipline. So I, I love business.

Peter:

And, and I want to stay in your childhood for just one more minute and then we’ll shoot over to business, which is you said you were in the juvenile justice system. Can you share why?

JT:

Wow. First, first time was for stealing because I was hungry the second time was because I beat a kid up and he went into the hospital and I went back to juvenile. And then the third time was for stealing again. And I remember just real quick Peter, I remember my last time in juvenile, the corrections officer pulled me to the side and he looked at me and he said, let me tell you something son, you come back here again, you’re going to man prison now Peter, I’m 48 years old man. And I don’t know what it is about the term man prison, but it doesn’t sound right. I don’t want to know what it is. And so I never went back to juvenile strictly because he told me I was going to go to man prison.

Peter:

So that’s that’s amazing. And, and I, and that was going to be my next question. Is that, what is that, what turned it around for you? Is that one conversation with that prison guard? What turned it around for you?

JT:

At least for juvenile, it was, that’s, that’s what turned it around for me. And I, I say this even with business, even with my personal background, it’s never one thing. It’s always a series of things that transpire. But as far as keeping me out of the system, the prison system, the juvenile system, man prison, it was that one conversation that that corrections officer pulled me to the side and told me that I was going to go to man prison if I come back.

Peter:

Have you been in touch with that corrections officer since?

JT:

To this day, Peter, I would love to find out who that man is, if he’s still alive. I have no clue. I have no clue. His name couldn’t. I couldn’t tell you if I walked by him right now who he is, but yes, he, he’s the single reason I never went back to juvenile.

Peter:

Wow. Your father w and I understand from you the sort of chaos of living with him, but he did something with you. He took you through this exclusive neighborhood of river Oaks and showed you these multimillion dollar homes. What was the impact of that on you?

JT:

You know, I don’t even know if he knew what he was doing at the time. I don’t know if he was driving through there for himself. If he was showing me something. He never said anything, but for me at 10 years old, I had never seen homes that big. You’re talking five 10 $25 million homes that one family lived in. Right. I come from the projects and public housing that I lived in weren’t as big as some of these houses that I was seeing and it really, it spoke to me because it made me say to myself, okay, I want one of those one day, and it showed me possibility and I won’t derail too much here, but that’s a real big problem for me because so many people are busy telling people what to do instead of also showing them, how am I supposed to know that I can be an entrepreneur? No one ever shows me what an entrepreneur is. And so when he showed that neighborhood, it showed me possibility.

Peter:

Did you see your dad as an entrepreneur?

JT:

As I got older, yes, because, and even as a kid, I didn’t know what he was telling me when he would say this at the time, but my dad as a kid would always tell me. He would tell me, my siblings, his friends. The only difference between him and the CEO of Budweiser is that our government chose to make the CEO of Budweiser, his drug legal, and he would tell us about prohibition and how alcohol was, was illegal. And I never in a million years would have thought that I would see the day that now look at our country, we’re legalizing marijuana. So you know, my dad taught me that lesson as a child, that the only difference between him as a drug dealer or his product and service that he was selling was our government chose to make one legal. That was it.

Peter:

Were you tempted to go into his business?

JT:

No. No, I it, there was nothing glamorous about it. And in fact, I’ll tell you why I never did. There was on one occasion I was living with my father. He came home one evening and it was a late, I mean, I’m talking one two in the morning. I don’t even know why we were still awake, but my father leans on the bookshelf. I have this image clear as day. He’s leaning on the bookshelf and he looks at us, me and a couple of my brothers and sisters, and he says to us, don’t you ever end up like me? Don’t ever be like me. And he said it twice just like that. And so for me as a child, all I knew was, okay, my father puts women on a corner. My father’s a drug dealer. My father has times where he’s extremely violent. And so I didn’t know really anything good of my father. So what that taught me was, okay, don’t do those things.

Peter:

Right. How did you get from there to here? Like how did you, you know, like, so you’re, you’re living with your father, you’ve seen those houses. Do you live in one of those houses, by the way? Now

JT:

I will, I will proudly say, given my background to not sound arrogant or like an ass I’m proud. I’m proud to say that yes, I do live in a gated community and there was a pond in my room.

Peter:

How does it feel? Excellent.

JT:

I wake up, I, I have so much gratitude. I remember where I come from. And, and truth be told, Peter, it, it very much makes it an easy mindset that when you wake up in the morning and sit back and say to yourself, wow, you know, there’s somebody in a hospital room right now with cancer that can’t leave that hospital bed. I have the incredible privilege to wake up in this beautiful home for healthy children, healthy, beautiful wife. And it makes getting out of bed at four in the morning. So easy.

Peter:

Right. We’ll get back to that four in the morning thing. So, so, so what, how did you get there? How did you get here from there? What, what, what what are some of the steps that you took and, and even some of

JT:

The relationships that supported you along the way that enabled you to go from living in your father’s home to living in this house that you only imagined? You know, I’ve asked this question. I’ve been asked this question many times and you and I talked about this earlier. It’s never one thing. It’s always a series of things that transpire for me. The lessons that I took as a child, I’ve always been willing to ask questions. I’ve always been extremely observant and I’ve always been willing to do whatever it takes to, to succeed at whatever we’re defining success as at the time I’ve always been willing to do whatever it’s taken. So, you know, go back to my father again. He, on one occasion he looked at me and a couple of my brothers and he said to us, no matter what you do in life, be the best at it.

JT:

And he said, I don’t care if you are a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper in the world. And that was the exact example he used all the things he could have told us to be. He said street sweeper. But that stuck with me. So from my very first job of cleaning toilets at a restaurant, I remember looking at the toilets and saying to myself, okay, I am going to have the cleanest toilets in the state of Texas. I’m going to have the cleanest toilets in San Antonio, Texas. And every ever since then, everything that I do, I try to be the absolute best at it. How did you get from there into finance? Wow. It’s a big leap. Big leap. So, so I was, ah, my second job from cleaning toilets was I was the mail boy at nationwide insurance. My mother worked there and she said that there was a job opening.

JT:

So I went and applied and didn’t even know how to tie a tie. I had to ask my next door neighbor to help me tie my tie and I got the job and I was the middle boy and a file clerk. And what really changed for me? Ah man, it was such a great day. I saw a sign that said free lunch and learn 401k now I’m 18 years old. I don’t know what the hell a 401k is, but I saw free lunch. So, so I go to this, this, this free lunch and learn and during this lunch and learn, I heard the greatest two words in the history of mankind and it was compound interest. And so from then on I was hooked on investing. Fast forward. I was also at the time doing personal training on the side and one of my clients, his father owned a payday loan company and he told me I should go work for his dad.

JT:

And I said, Hey, I don’t know what your dad does. I just know you guys have a big house and a ton of cars out in front. And I said, that could be a drug dealer for all I know. And he goes, no, I assure you he’s not. What intrigued me was his father started with one payday loan. His father did not have a degree and now he had over 450 payday loans. And that hit me like, wow, okay, he did it, maybe I can do it. And so I went and worked with him and worked my way up the ladder and I would always ask questions of how can I improve, how can I be better? And that’s how I got introduced to finance. And then it crashed. Well, so payday loans didn’t crash. What happened was when I was in Portland, Oregon doing the payday loans, I stayed there three years and realize, ah, I don’t want to do this the rest of my life.

JT:

I just didn’t like how it made me feel. You, you’re keeping people trapped. When, when someone has to borrow a hundred dollars, how did, how do you really expect them to be able to pay that back if things are so desperate that you have to borrow a hundred it’s hard as hell to pay back a hundred so I got out of that, moved back to San Antonio, got into the mortgage business. That’s where I learned every aspect of the mortgage business. Ctos, mortgage backed securities, everything in anything. And then yes, that’s when it crashed. That’s when I lost all my money and that’s what I was flat broke again. All your money. All my money, I was, I make the joke, I was negative broke. I had to borrow money from my best friend and my stepdad to pay my rent. And then what?

JT:

Wow. Where the turning point actually came was I was very fortunate and yes, I say fortunate when I say this, I already knew what it was like to be poor, so to be poor again, it wasn’t a big deal to me. I was disappointed in myself that I allowed that to happen, but when I saw poor and broke, I just spoke to him again. I was like, Hey, how are you doing? Hadn’t seen you a long time. Good to see you again. Didn’t think we would meet back up. But the big turning point for me, it didn’t scare you. It did not scare me because I knew what it was like to be poor. I knew how to, I had made the money once, I made a million dollars from once, I could do it again. And so it didn’t scare me. What really the turning point was, one night I was going to get gas, I was putting gas in my car and I had $10 in quarters and I waited until like 10 30 at night to go because I was embarrassed and I put my $10 on the counter and I said, can I have $10 on number seven?

JT:

And I’m walking back to the car and I just remember saying to myself, okay, how did I get back here? What did I do? I got back to my apartment and I had a truly out loud conversation with myself and I said, okay, you know what? The money’s gone, but you’re still here. Who do you want to be going forward? Your character was horrible. You did not know how to hold a relationship. You didn’t know how to treat women, and your character was just atrocious. Now who do you want to be going forward? And from that day forward, I made it a point to attempt to be the best person I could possibly be and to learn and grow and have a great character, have integrity, be a good man. And you know, I’m not going to say I was always perfect. There was a lot of stumbles.

JT:

There was things that I was still learning, but I knew I could make the money back. You know, there’s truth in that phrase. The first million is the hardest. That is true. But once you do it, you understand how, and so from a financial perspective, I spent the next five years after that, I would not spend any money on anything, no new underwear, no new socks, no new t-shirts, every dime I would put back into the stock market. And I’ve been fortunate that, you know, I made the money at first time, I’ve made even more the second time.

Peter:

So when you say, you know how you know that the first million is the hardest, but then when you have to do that again, you know how it is. You know, like, like with any change, there’s a million points of, of influence that ended up driving to a change. It’s the same thing with making a million. But was that for you, the big bold one that that you really make sure in a very, very simple, straightforward way that your expenses are less than your income and you take every dime you have and you invest it in a way that can duplicate it, that can compound it, that could begin to to grow it.

JT:

You know, it’s, I knew what to do. Again, when you’re poor, you, you understand what it’s like to pull food out of a trash can because you’re hungry. You understand how to get by on 35 cents. You know, I still remember my mom used to tell me a story of how she had $2 for the whole week. Think about that Peter. Two bucks for the whole week to two that she had to make last until the next welfare check came. So, you know, I come from knowing how to survive. What I didn’t know was how to live. And so, you know, survival was the easy part, but going back into it, yeah, I knew, okay, we’re going to invest. I’m going to study. I’m going to study every aspect of the market and I’ll be the first to say this as well. Peter, I am the great recipient of the internet. I have to this day, I am blown away. Everything you want to know about a publicly traded company is online. They have to post their five quarterly financials, their annual report. And so I find it amazing while other people are binge watching game of Thrones for the weekend, I go study annual reports so I can invest in and make my money, make money for me.

Peter:

So you, you then went on to start Headspring software and eventually this current company of scribed media and, and Headspring software was repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to work in Texas. Scribe media is ranked as having the number one top company culture in America. So I’m curious both how you move from this individually focused strategy of saying, I’m going to invest this documentary, I’m gonna save money. I’m going to make my money grow to, I’m going to run a company that, that employs a bunch of people and I’m going to create a culture and an environment really is a place that they want to stay and be at. So, and, and, and along with that as a podcast or an interviewer, you should never ask more than one question. And I’m asking you about five all at the same time.

Peter:

But I’m also curious if this is related, this challenge of actually going from survival to living, because I imagine the echoes of the need to survive always exist. And so you, you need some confidence to say, okay, I’m actually going to buy some new underwear and a new shirt and a big house and a car. And as opposed to save all this money in order to be safe and secure. So I’m curious, you know, that’s, that’s like a number of different transitions that you went through from survival to thriving and living and, and being more expansive from being individually focused and, and making money in the stock market to running a company and from focused on yourself to being focused on all these other people are working for you.

JT:

So, so yeah, you’re right. You threw, you threw out about 10 questions. I’ll go through this and I’ll start with the, the, the word confidence that you just brought up. So yes, survival for me actually looks a little bit different when you’re broke. I would say this to people all the time when you’re broke, sometimes confidence is all you had. And I would tell people, and I still tell people competence is free and, and some people disagree with that, but you have the choice every morning when you wake up, am I going to be timid and meek? Am I going to be fearful or am I going to be confident? And even when I was broke, I knew confidence with spree. I always had to be confident. And I believe a lot of that just came from the neighborhoods. I had to walk through the people I had to encounter.

JT:

You had to give a confident demeanor sometimes just to survive. So survival for me also came with understanding confidence so that we’ve got confidence covered. I’ll take you back to where you said about Headspring. So I gotta give credit. One. I did not, I was not the founder of Headspring. Headspring was around for a while before I got there. The, the CEO was there. So I’ll tell you how this story came to be of understanding culture and not being an individual anymore. So when I was at Headspring, I was surrounded by incredibly talented software engineers. And I got hired. I was the lowest paid person in the company, and I made my boat, my sales calls from a storage closet on a foldout metal chair. I fast forward, within two and a half years, I became the president of the company. Now what transpired between that two and a half years was I went from a very selfish individual who was not a culture fit that should have been fired 71 different times because all I cared about was I made the cell go do your engineer thing, go code, go build something, and it was all about me and in cells.

JT:

That’s what most of your salespeople are anyway. There’s selfish individuals that want to make their commission and you know they’re, they’re all about themselves. What changed is then I got promoted from the individual salesperson to the EVP of sales and marketing. Well now it wasn’t just me that I was responsible for. I was responsible for our sales and marketing team. So then my attitude became, okay, we’re going to have the very best department in the company and we’re going to be better than everybody else. So now I’ve got this whole team together and we’re not a culture fit because I’ve spread this toxic culture of we’re better than everybody else. Then I got promoted to president and Peter. I remember the day I woke up and it hit me. I thought to myself, Oh, I can’t do this by myself. I have to depend on everyone in this company.

JT:

And it was that day. I would say within that month, I created my rules for myself and my three leadership rules. Number one, surround the company with people far smarter than yourself. Number two, surround yourself with people far smarter than yourself. And then number three, repeat number one and two. So it that that became my motto for, for leadership. I realized it wasn’t about me anymore. It was about those individuals that I serve. And I feel that so many so-called leaders, people with three letters behind their name, CEO, MBA, PhD, I don’t care what your letters are, three letters don’t make you a leader. You’re a leader. If you serve and support those individuals that allow you to lead.

Peter:

So what is it? What are some of the concrete ways you do that that makes scribes such a strong company? Culture?

JT:

Number one, you, you mentioned this earlier. You said for those people who work for me, I, I’m very adamant on this. No one works for me. People work with me. I am no more important than anyone else in, in our organization. We, we all work with one another. Another way we do this is we do not have direct reports. You hear that so many times. Who’s your direct report? No. If you are in leadership in this company, eh, you are there to serve. So we have direct supports. Who do you support? Who’s your direct support? And that’s, that’s just a couple of things that we look at. The change, the culture. Here’s another one. I can’t stand the term satisfaction. You hear so many companies, Oh, we focus on client satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and who the hell wants to be satisfied? Think about this, Peter, you, you’re, you’re married.

JT:

You have three children. Do you ever want your kids to say, yeah, I got a satisfactory father. Who the hell wants to be satisfied? So that in itself, you know, throw that garbage out of the window. We want our tribe members. We don’t see employees. We want our tribe members to be fulfilled. We want our authors that we work with to be fulfilled. So we focus on tribe member fulfillment. We focus on author fulfillment, I never want to be referred to as satisfactory. So there’s just a lot of pieces that we throughout our culture that we go about. Verbiage is big with us. When I was a kid, someone tried to tell me this someone said, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me and excuse my language. I call bullshit on that. You know, as a kid growing up, mixed race, I was constantly called Oreo cookie half-breed, zebra, chocolate, vanilla squirrel, so on and so forth. And it hurt because I couldn’t change my race. And so I realized there is great power in words. So we’re very, very intentional on the words that we use here within, within our culture.

Peter:

And so when when you say that you’re not the most important person and that you’re there to serve people, and I, and I hear that, and I, and it’s, and, and we’ve heard that a lot from great leaders, right? A lot of great leaders will say the same thing. That, that, you know, you’re there as a leader to support the people being successful who are also supporting you and, and the company to be successful. When, when it comes down to making a decision that other people aren’t making or when there’s conflict lower in the organization with theirs, there’s a certain point where I’m assuming things come back to you and you’re in a position of making decisions and probably sometimes even autocratically firing people. And I’m curious how you balance that with the sense of communal culture that you’re creating.

JT:

Definitely. I mean, no doubt they’re there for sure times where I’m, you know, I’m the last decision maker, but regardless of what those decisions come down to, you heard me say my rule number two, surround yourself with people far smarter than yourself. I, I’ve got for us there’s a group of six on the executive team that I have surrounded myself with, so I’ll always seek their counsel, but you know, when sometimes the decision comes down to, okay, JT, what are we going to do? And I, you know, I know that that comes with the position that comes with the three letters. But at the end of the day, I’ll stand by it. The role itself is truly in service of the people we want to hear. Here’s one for you, Peter. I hear this all the time. Companies say we want to recruit and retain who the hell wants to be retained.

JT:

So we want to what I call, offer and provide. We want to offer you a great company, a great culture, and we want to provide you with a career that you choose to. You can wake up each morning and say, Hey, I’m going to retire from scribe. And it’s just a mindset of how we go about doing things. We, we’ve got another piece where we call bring your whole self to work. We do not believe in work life balance. We all have to eat. We all pay bills. We all have, have lives outside of the office. But what I find interesting, especially in our country right now, so many people have issues, personal issues outside the office that they feel that they can’t bring into the office. And I’ll give you one example. We all know this is our country has a big debt problem and people don’t want to talk about debt.

JT:

One of our tribe members comes to me one day and he says, Hey JT, I’m about $30,000 in debt. I don’t know what to do. We sat down and we built a plan for him and in nine months we got him out of debt. Now, now those are the type of pieces where we don’t believe in the whole work life, balance your work self. You’re like, no, this is one place. You, you come here, you, you arguably spend more hours here than you do at home at times. So we want to provide an environment, a culture, a company where people are proud and, and again have that option to retire to should they choose. So

Peter:

I I’m curious about the fact that what you’re doing is your publishing house and helping people write and publish and market their books. And it, it reminds me of a good friend of mine who was a real estate investor. He also, he never went to college. He was incredibly successful to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in terms of sort of the way we think of success in the business world, certainly. And and then he started a nonprofit. He was dyslexic and he started a nonprofit sending books for free to young kids as they, as they, and as they continue to grow. And, and it, it reminds me as I’m listening to you of the fact that you didn’t go to college and that, you know, your education is, you know, is, is one of, of both streetwise and collected through advice and relationship and, and learning and trial and error and challenges and, and, and fortuitousness and success. And I’m curious whether you’ve thought about and whether there’s a relationship between like the fact that you’re out there creating books. And the fact that you didn’t really grow up, you know, in effect building your education through a lot of books.

JT:

Yeah. Theater. It is a running joke that I look at. I’ll take it back to the software company. Think of it this way. I was the president of a software company and to this day, I can’t write code. I can’t tell you. Dot net from connect the dots. So even then I had imposter syndrome and I tell people, my God, I made a ton of mistakes as a first time president of a software company. But I don’t subscribe to the fail fast phrase. I think it’s putrid. I think it’s ridiculous. It’s horrible. I don’t want to fail fast. I’ve spent my whole life trying to learn faster. So I do believe we make mistakes, but the goal in life is to learn, grow, and not repeat those mistakes. And so that’s what I’ve done my best to do. Now I’m at the publishing company and we laugh all the time.

JT:

I can’t tell you an advert from an adjective I can’t spell. God knows one of my top three people. I want to meet is the man or woman who created spellcheck cause you’ve been so influential in my career, but it’s it, it is the irony of life. When I think about, I went to schools that were so bad, we weren’t allowed to take our books home at night. When I was 15 years old, my mother took me to get tested. I was testing on a fifth and sixth grade level at at 15 years old. And here I am now the president and CEO of a publishing company. Yeah, God bless America. But it’s, I do believe that we are blessed to live in a country where something like that is even possible. And I won’t go too far off track here, Peter. I look every day and we’ve all heard or read the story of where a, an immigrant has come into this country.

JT:

They had 45 cents in their pocket, only to end up a multimillionaire. And my thought has always been to myself, well wait a minute, I was born here so I’m kind of already ahead of the curve. So I’ve got a responsibility to go out, give my all and do everything I can to achieve my dreams and goals. And I just keep that in perspective each, each and every day, every day. I don’t say that cause it sounds nice, but there’s a single mom right now with two kids walking up 1100 miles from Honduras trying to get into this country to create an opportunity. And I’m already here.

Peter:

You and your wife Megan have four children, right? I may or may not be pronouncing these names, but Ava, Jackson, L and Jace. Oh man, you got them. All right. Awesome. And I’m curious about the way you’re raising them. You know, you, you, you had like so much of your success in, in, and by success I don’t just mean monetary success, but I mean your sense of, of, of working really hard and reaping the benefits of, of, of maximizing your potential, right? And like being the person you most want to be. And, and in some ways it certainly from your story, it sounds like it’s helpful that you grew up under the kind of pressure that required that you show up in order to do that. And I’m about, you know, whether you’re worried about Ava and Jackson and Alan Jace, whether you are confident that the, you know, like, like how do you support them in that kind of growth when they don’t have the same kinds of challenges?

JT:

Man, I have. Peter, I so greatly appreciate the question and I will share this with everyone. We all have fears. I don’t care what anyone says that you know, I’m not afraid of anything. Whatever. My greatest fear, my greatest challenge in life is how do I give my children everything but teach them to appreciate it. The very reason I appreciate my home is because I didn’t have a house like this. My kids, this is all they know. They go to private Christian school. They don’t know what it’s like to be hungry. They had the, we were fortunate. I was, I was speaking and my two oldest, Ava and Jackson got a chance to see me speak on stage for the first time. And afterwards they heard things from me on stage that they hadn’t heard before. And what they really focused in on was dad used to eat out of a trashcan because he didn’t have food and they just can’t bring their, their minds around.

JT:

Dad, why were you eating out of a trashcan? So yeah, I met, I’ll admit, it is my greatest struggle to give my children everything. Ava’s six years old. All Peter get this. Ava is six years old. She knows what the Ritz Carlton is, right? She will say, are we staying at JW? Are we staying at Ritz-Carlton? She knows. And I look at her and I say to myself, I have to smile. But I created that. But it’s also scary. It’s also scary because you know, for two reasons I say to say to my wife, you know, I don’t want her to feel entitled. I don’t want her to, to grow up and not realize the work ethic and everything that went into this. So that’s one reason. The other reason that’s scary is because man, I feel bad for the person that tries to take my daughter.

Peter:

We have been speaking with JT McCormick. He’s the president and CEO of scribe media, which is a publishing company that helps people write, publish, and market their books. JT, it is such a pleasure to connect with you. Such a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much for being on the Bregman leadership podcast.

JT:

Ah, Peter’s was awesome. I appreciate you having me on. Thank you, sir.

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