Jeff Steinmann: Welcome to the How to Quit Working show. Today, I’m going to be talking to Kellan Fluckiger. Kellan was in the middle of the whole Enron debacle, facing reporters and dealing with all of that stress on a day to day basis. It was that crazy for about 12 years. He finally said, enough is enough.
And he created his own business and became an entrepreneur, doing something that he loves and cares about. And the thing that Kellan did so beautifully – and we’re going to talk a lot about on the show today – is he took his experience with Enron and his other corporate experience and he combined that with the things that he loves and cares about, his art and his music, and his meditation practice.
And he had used all of that together to build an awesome business that he loves and cares about and he loves everything that he does every single day. And he’s going to tell us exactly how he did it. Kellan, welcome to the show.
Kellan Fluckiger: Jeff, just really glad to be here. Thanks for having me on your show.
Jeff: Yeah, well I’m really glad to have you here because I love talking to people who have interesting stories about how they went from living a life that just wasn’t fulfilling to them and wasn’t giving them everything that they wanted out of life to doing something that they really love and lets them live life the way they want to live it. Kellan, tell us a little bit about what’s your life like?
Kellan: My life – I can hardly find the words in the language to articulate how I exciting my life is. I love my life. Everyday I get up, and on my meditation walks, I often will say out loud and sometimes very loud, how much I love my life. So that is a common chant everyday.
Jeff: That is awesome. And what it is about your life that you love so much?
Kellan: I am in great physical shape. I am free to do the things that I want to do. I love what I do. I don’t consider much of what I do to be work. There are certainly some parts of the stuff that I do that are more fun than others. But taken as a whole, I absolutely love the business that I’m in and it connects very much to my soul purpose in life and all that good stuff. So I don’t know. I’m one of those nut cases that could rant about that for a long time.
Jeff: Well, that’s what we’re here to listen to you rant about. So tell us, how did you get your life built in such a way that you love the thing that you do so much?
Kellan: So, I’m sure everyone has a fantastic and interesting story and I’m sure they’re all unique. And maybe every single person like me thinks there’s this most impossibly incredible story in the world. And so, that’s okay, and I’ll say right upfront, mine is the most incredibly impossible story in the world.
Jeff: The story has to be pretty incredible to get on the show.
Kellan: Well then, we’re in the right place, so all good. I spent a long time many, many years in the electricity business. Now, normally you think of electricity as about as interesting as watching paint dry, and you wouldn’t normally think that that’s exciting at all. I started out working at different utilities and kind of whoopee, right?
And then in the 80’s, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decided to deregulate electricity and that’s when things got interesting. Because instead of it just being about electricity, then it got to be about greed, about market power, about backroom deals, manipulation, the whole Enron debacle, people going to jail and all of that kind of good stuff. And I was right in the middle of all of that.
So I was in California during the summer of blackouts, I am mentioned in the Enron book The Smartest Guys in the Room. I was on the other side, I was in the meetings that are portrayed in that movie and the governor’s office in California, I was on the governor staff. All kinds of stuff like that. So I had what could easily have been regarded as a spectacular career in electricity. I was a highly paid consultant. I was hired by the government of Canada. I actually had a contract with the Queen at one point, of England, and in right of Alberta, but it actually said the Queen on the contract, so yey. Kind of funky. But anyway, so to fix their electricity stuff in the province of Alberta. So I did that for a long time and I tell – I say that because that’s a part of the incredible story.
Despite the fact that I was making a lot of money, I was speaking around the world, I spoke in all over the U.S. and Canada, in Europe and Mexico, invited the conferences all over the place about deregulation competition market power and all that good stuff and was making a boat load of money, I did not enjoy the job. Electricity for me, even though it was full of all this skullduggery and all that kind of stuff, it was about as fulfilling in my soul as watching paint dry.
So I did all that and came to a point where I just walked away from a very high six-figure consulting practice and so I’m not doing this anymore. And so I making a boat load of money and said, “I just can’t do this.” I’m not okay with spending the rest of my life doing something that I’m obviously really good at and get paid a lot for but I don’t care about.
Jeff: So what do you care about?
Kellan: What do I care about? What I love most of all is helping people do the things they don’t believe they can do. And I say that with tools they don’t know they have, using power they don’t know they control. That’s the whole shtick. So I help people do the things they don’t believe they can do with tools they don’t know they have and power they don’t know they control. What’s fulfilling for me about that is the victory dance in people’s eyes, on their faces or in their hearts when they get stuff accomplished, done, finished, overcome, whatever it is that they didn’t think they would ever see.
Jeff: Oh, so what kind of things do you help people accomplish? Is it businesses? Things in their personal life? What kind of stuff?
Kellan: So there’s three parts to my business. Part one is called Breakthrough Leadership Results. That is aimed at the corporate world because of my long corporate history and the tag line for that is turning ordinary leaders into powerful passionate leaders who motivate their teams to extraordinary results. Because of the work in electricity, I had a long history doing start-ups and creating high performance teams that did literally impossible things. Create first versions of software in world, new market systems, all kinds of stuff. So, that’s one piece. That’s fulfilling in the sense of the breakthroughs that leaders personally make.
The most fulfilling work is the second line which I call Break the Cage. And I have a program called Break the Cage 90 or BTC 90. It’s a 90-day personal reinvention program, the tag line is the one that I gave you already, and that is the process of helping people who are already motivated, who know that they have something they want to do. Who have felt that maybe they’ve dabbled at starting a business. Maybe they’re already entrepreneurs. Maybe they want to be, but they want to be way worse than just kind of watching infomercials, looking for some way to do it. They actually wanted it bad. And they either don’t know how exactly or they start and don’t finish, or they don’t believe they can, they think they’re going to fail. They’re locked up in that fear of failure thing. And taking one of those people, and giving them the tools and the accountability framework and structure to do it is the most powerful, liberating experience for me, I can imagine.
Jeff: You’ve mentioned that you do some work in the corporate world, do you feel like, you’re helping people to live a happier life in the corporate world that did not give you the satisfaction that you’re looking for. Does that question make sense?
Kellan: It makes perfect sense. So, I get two pieces of enjoyment out of that. I get my jollies in two different ways. The leaders, when they discover that they can actually get the results that they want from their teams and create loyalty and passion from their teams toward them. They have an experience that’s like none other. And then when the team members feel like they also matter and can do stuff, and they feel that loyalty, they also have an experience like hey, there is a purpose and there is a feeling here that I can actually get some fulfillment from work and it’s not just the Dilbert 9 to 5 in a cubicle, I hate my life kind of thing.
Jeff: Sure, sure. Yeah. Well so, how did you figure out that this is what you wanted to do with your life?
Kellan: I’ve always had a piece of this passion going on. So even during the corporate stuff, I did volunteer work. So one of the things that I love to do a lot is music. I have several albums. I owned a recording studio – own a recording studio. For 30 years, I have worked with beginners and Grammy winners, I have a whole bunch of my own music up on Amazon for sale. I do techno, of all things.
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Kellan: And I’m also a classically trained jazz pianist, and I also do meditation music. So you can find me all over Amazon, and I have a distributor in Austria that distributes it worldwide for me. But anyway.
Jeff: That’s awesome.
Kellan: So doing that, I also do volunteer work in church and for choirs. So I’ve done community theater. I’ve done community choirs. I’ve done church choirs. I’ve written and directed orchestral arrangements and music. I’ve taught jazz improvisation at the local community college. So I’ve done a lot of those kinds of things where I had the power to wake up people’s creative souls ongoing and the power of taking a bunch of ragtag volunteers and turning them into a cohesive, powerful, good-sounding choir. For them it’s the same magic of seeing people do crap they don’t think they can do.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. Well, this is a good lesson because while you were in that corporate world, you hadn’t made a decision yet to do something different, but you were doing something on the side. So you’re kind of like leaning into it. You were making that step forward. Sounds like that’s a good lesson for somebody who might be in that situation where they’re on a corporate job, it’s not fulfilling them, they don’t like it. But they’re just not quite sure what to do.
Kellan: You know you can always find places to exercise your talents and experiment with things. And one of things, I mean, you know this. You and I talk to a lot of people in this business who say, I want to help people. How many times have you heard that?
Jeff: Yeah, all the time. I mean, millions.
Kellan: Millions, all the time. I want to help all your clients, members, thousands. I want to help people. Okay, help them do what, you’re asking. And then the answers are all over the place. You know something? I don’t care what your job is, if you really want to help people, and that is a phrase that you find yourself saying, and you feel some kind of burning in you about that, you can find a way to do it, right now, in your current situation, in your current job. And experiment with that feeling to more or less degree. And explore it and expand it right now before you jump off the cliff and start trying to build your parachute on the way down and all that stuff.
Jeff: I think it’s a great lesson and it’s about just biting a little bit off. And just doing a little bit of a little something each day that helps you discover whether that’s offering to volunteer for something at your church or not for profit or whatever that may be. Well Kellan, tell us a little bit about what is your life look like on a day to day basis? Now I know there’s no such thing as a typical day. I don’t ask that question of any entrepreneur. But just tell us, what’s your life like each day, each week, each month?
Kellan: All right. So, we’ll just do the last couple of days to start with. Yesterday, I got up. I had some strategy sessions for people that had listened to a radio show I was on last week. So I was on Drivetime radio last week. Some people called in, I had some strategy sessions to talk about whether or not they wanted to do some breakthrough work. It turned out that they were exactly nothing and they didn’t turn into nothing.
But the fun thing was, I also had another session at lunch, actually. With – guess who I met? – the guy at the radio station who was also a part of the radio show. He turns out to be a dentist. And he had invited me for lunch. And guess what? He’s an entrepreneur. Not only is he an entrepreneur, he has special training and the ability to help people with reconstructive processes that have had cancer and have had real serious problems and I saw some of the stuff that he had done. And he has this itch to sort of get out there in a bigger way and I’m like, “Okay dude, nothing happens by accident. I’m your ticket to freedom.”
So I met him after those disappointing strategy sessions in the morning. We had a very long lunch. We put together a very cool plan. We’re starting next week, and he’s a rip roaring client and the guy’s going to blow the roof off. So, that was yesterday. And then after that, I felt so good that my wife, who is my business partner, was with me. We went out and she did a little shopping, and we had some dinner, and we had some fun last night. So, I had a crappy morning, a spectacular lunch beyond description, with hope and joy as the prospect out there. Yeah, making some money’s good. Him making money’s good. But the prospect of helping him help people do stuff they can’t believe with their life and faces was impossibly good. And then we got to celebrate. So that was yesterday.
Jeff: Okay. That’s awesome. So what’s – so it’s about noon. What is the rest of the day look like for you today?
Kellan: Okay, the rest of today. I don’t have any appointments to keep today. I’m doing my coaching on Monday and Tuesday. So today, I’m going to create some video. I’m working on another packaging of Break the Cage, that’s going to be a home study course. I normally teach that in 90-day increments with small groups and I’ve recorded some of the pods. I’m going to redo them and put together that whole set of 12 as another – in another package form and then start to market that. So, I’m making some video today and going to record some more webinars that are – this are just not in front of anybody webinars but just that I’m putting the other packaging materials. So I’m going to create some content. And then later tonight, my wife and I are going to watch one of the legs of the Tour de France.
Jeff: Oh, cool. Cool. Now, when you’ve got this work to put together these contents, is that something that you enjoy doing? Or is that kind of like busy work?
Kellan: Wildly love doing it. It stimulates my creativity I have developed. I think it’s because of the choir. I’ve developed the ability to look into the customer’s face even when I’m talking to do a microphone, staring at the computer screen. And so I have the ability, good fortune, to be able to be creative with a very true meaning and deep passion when I’m talking to other people that I know are going to hear it later.
Jeff: I see. I see. That’s awesome. So tell us a little bit about, when you made the transition from the corporate world into doing this thing on your own, that you love and that fulfills you, what kind of experience or knowledge did you take from your corporate background and applied it in your own business?
Kellan: So that’s a fabulous question. The corporate – because of what I had done, now if I had just had a cubicle job or something, it would have been different. But because I have been involved in start-ups and some really high pressure situations, I took a lot of business start-up knowledge. So I have the ability to create objectives, to understand time-bound accomplishment, to understand working through impossible deadlines and the kind of things that regularly face an entrepreneur, in fact that derail many entrepreneurs is because they think they’re going to somehow work for themselves and it’s going to be like monopoly or something, and it’s not. And so, you move to doing what you love, you better love what you do, is the first answer.
So if anybody thinks that they’re going to just skate out of a good job, especially when that they’re making mid to high six-figures and they’re going to fly into entrepreneurdom and everything’s going to be easy, and smoking some audacious weed. Because it isn’t going to happen that way. You’re going to have bumps, you’re going to wonder why you did it. You’re going to wonder if it’s the right thing. You’re going to wonder all kinds of stuff at one point. Maybe only for an hour, maybe for a day, maybe you’ll need to take a long walk for a week and figure out if you’re really doing the right thing.
But if you come back to what’s true in your heart and you started in a true place, you’ll be able to answer those questions. You’ll be able to make some adjustments, and the lessons that I took, which was your question on the corporate world is, how to work through tough situations. How to create goals. How to create a business plan. How to make a business plan and we’re going to do this by here. With the marketing piece. We have the creation piece. So it would be product creation, it would be internet marketing in our case but real marketing in – well, not anymore real marketing. Internet marketing’s through everywhere. But anyway, you know what I’m talking about.
Kellan: The marketing part, finding out who your customer avatar is. We use that in our business to know your ideal customer. Creating that. All those parts are important and because I’ve done corporate start-ups, none of the parts were strange. I was like, I know what they are. And so I was fortunate to be able to do that. And even that notwithstanding, things never go what you want them to do or want them to go. And I guess the one real, true advantage that I had, that maybe other won’t have, is that because I’ve done corporate start-ups that were hard, nothing, any ever at any time derailed me from knowing absolutely for dead-on sure it was going to work.
Jeff: You know, that only sounds like Kellan, your corporate career was so stressful and so challenging that it almost made your venture out into doing your own thing easier because you’ve done such big, difficult, stressful things.
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Kellan: That would be true. I mean, so let’s be specific. I’ve spent days in front of banks, of lawyers and depositions. I’ve testified before Congress. I’ve testified before both Houses of the California Legislatures. I’ve done all kinds of things that would scare the crap out of a lot of people, yeah.
Jeff: Yeah. But what about somebody who’s going off on their own and they’re getting into those really scary situations for the first time. And maybe they need to take those hour-long walks or those week-long walks, what’s your advice for them?
Kellan: When you take those long walks – so it’s going to come in several pieces. But the first part is, when you hit those stressful times, and you’re going to, go back and look at the faces of those people that you want to help. Go back and look at the faces and say, do I really want to do this? Do I know that what I have to give them will actually make a difference in one, two, ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million people?
And if the answer’s yes, let that reality soak into your soul like a gentle rain until you’re wringing wet with it. And then you can come back and you can just sort of drip dry and you can just start again. Okay, so that would be the first sort of at the soul level. And I talk like that because one of the first things I did when I quit the corporate jobs, I wrote five books on meditation. So that was – one of my other parallel lives is I’ve 35 years in martial arts and meditation, and I’ve taught meditation, and I’ve taught martial arts, and I have five books that I wrote and a bunch of other stuffs.
Jeff: Oh, that’s awesome.
Kellan: So that was another – I have four parallel lives, okay.
Jeff: That’s what we’re all about, right? You get all kinds of easy love, you can’t just focus on one.
Jeff: I love it.
Kellan: Yeah. Anyway, so that would be the meditation piece. The other piece is, know ahead of time. Come to grips with knowing ahead of time that there are going to be difficult periods. That you’re going to have to work harder than you want to sometimes. And you’re going to have to remember that you’re doing this because you love it and so you can call it not work. You can call it whatever and Tim Ferriss’ four-hour work week notwithstanding. If you read the book, he doesn’t just do things four hours. He works his butt off, he just doesn’t call most of it work. And that’s okay. That’s – live long and prosper, I love it. So, know that. Remember why you did it. If the why – one of the things that we say in our business coaching, is if the why is big enough, the how becomes possible.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. This is going to be about episode number…probably 25 or 30, I’m not sure where we are of the How To Quit Working show. And the thing that’s fascinating to me is that it’s never about money, and it’s never about not doing anything.
Kellan: I can’t imagine in any universe not doing stuff. I told you a little minute ago, I had four parallel lives. So let’s explore them. Martial arts for 35 years and meditation. I’ve owned a recording studio for 30 years. I have created this career now of speaking. I’m going to speak on a stage while – a whole bunch of them in the next month. I’ve got four speaking gigs. And then I had a 30-year electricity career that was started out boring, like watching paint dry and then for the last 12 or 13 years of it was about like being in the middle of Miami Vice. If you remember those old days literally. I mean, we’re going to jail – the first guy from Enron to go to jail was a friend of mine. I mean, when I say I was in the middle of it, I’m talking the middle. The summer of blackouts in California, 90 days in a row roughly, my first act was to stand in front of 30 television cameras and be on the phone with 150 reporters for an hour. Every morning. So yeah, four parallel lives. Yey.
Jeff: That’s some crazy stuff. So, anything else that you took from the corporate world into starting your own business that was beneficial?
Kellan: Yeah. Learn to love people. The kind of people that you get in the corporate world, you don’t often get to choose. Unless you hire them all, and I had that experience once but mostly never. Somebody else hired them. They’re there for a reason. And even if you did hire lots of them, your company interfaces with lots of other people and so you can walk around with the idea that most people are stupid. Most people are jerks. Or most people are something bad, fill in your own negative word.
Or you can walk around with the idea that people are just people. And they want to get through their day and have a nice day just like you. And that you can go at it with the idea of how can you make that happen for everybody. And just decide to take that sort of way lighter, way higher – I call it higher because it feels more elevated view of life – and just decide that and that is a decision. It is not something external. It is a decision. And when you decide that, everything changes color.
Jeff: So you’re choosing how to look at the world.
Kellan: Yes. You do choose how to look at the world. Well, I’ll give you a secret. One of the things I do is the gratitude thing. I mean, people that have done a lot of coaching hear that but the idea of periodically – some people say everyday and I don’t do it everyday but I do it often enough – I make a list of 50. Five zero. 50 things that I’m grateful for.
And when I first tell people that, they freak out and they think that they can’t say 50 things that they’re grateful for and if they can’t, some people even say a hundred. I break it down this way. Well, make a list of 10 things about your body that you’re grateful for. Make a list of 10 people that you’re grateful for. Make a list of 10 things about the area that you live that you’re grateful for. Make a list of 10 things about your past that you’re grateful for. Make a list of 10 things about the possibilities of the future that you’re grateful for. And you can find 10 categories that aren’t even hard in you to a hundred before you get started.
Jeff: That makes it a lot more approachable.
Kellan: And when you actually say them out loud, and I do that when I’m walking with the dog, then I go – I meditate and do – I meditate everyday. So, I’ll talk about that in a minute. I meditate everyday, sometimes for a long time. And sometimes for a shorter time. And when you actually say all that crap out loud – and it’s not crap, I use the word crap, sorry – when you say all that crap out loud, it actually elevates your soul, it opens your heart, it opens your vision, you feel like a different person. You don’t feel like your banging your head against the wall all the time. You feel like life is a bowl of cherries and a basket of possibilities, instead of like being stuck in a mud.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, talk a little bit about your meditation practice.
Kellan: I started studying meditation when I was a teenager. And I am 57. So that would be 40-something years.
Jeff: Now, what makes it – I’m sorry to interrupt, but why does a teenager want to study meditation?
Kellan: I loved – I think it was the kung fu years. I began to be infatuated with the program Kung Fu, and there was a Kowloon out in those days called Black Belt. And there was this whole infatuation during – at least in the area that I live or the Western U.S. or something with, and on T.V. there are all these martial arts programs and it was about the time that Bruce Lee was famous and entered the dragon and all that stuff, and it’s sort of washed over everything. And I became infatuated with it. So, I bought books. I was an avid bookworm. I was a little bit backward socially at that time. People find that hard to believe now, but in high school, I spent my lunches reading the encyclopedia of chemical technology in the library for lunch everyday. And I was the nerd of all nerds. And I had ugly glasses. And I looked like sort of a douchebag geek.
Jeff: Yeah. I can identify with that.
Kellan: I probably was. Okay, but anyway, so maybe it was part fantasy of being able to take care of people that kick sand in my face. Or maybe it was just what was in the air. Or maybe it was growing up in the San Francisco area in the wake of the 60’s, or in the 60’s. That sort of all contributed to this sort of metaphysical, mystical universe that I lived in, in my heart and in my head and so, I was become infatuated with martial arts, I became infatuated with meditation.
I became infatuated, meaning I read books and I spent an enormous amount of time self-hypnosis, transcendental meditation, all of the different kinds of things, oriental philosophy. I read many books on – by the great Leo II and Confucious, and the wisdom of the Eastern philosophies and so forth. And became very, well, very well-read in that kind of stuff and just began practicing many, many different kinds of meditation, so I have meditation courses that taught you how to do this but different ways.
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And I began experimenting and then creating my own and combining them and trying different things and with some pretty amazing results, in terms of being able to get in touch with different areas. Feel all the parts of my body. Speed up and slow down my heart rate. Raise and lower my blood pressure. Do all those kinds of things and some people think that that’s whack. I can tell you, as a personal truth – and you can like it or believe it or not, not you but whoever’s listening, I don’t really care – about five years ago, as a result of having been in martial arts for a long time and having been in a lot of double black diamond crazy whack job skiing and all that kind of stuff. I’d been pretty rough on my body, shall we say.
Kellan: Okay. So, a few years ago, I began to have really, really bad back problems. And it got so bad that I was crawling around on my hands and knees.
Kellan: And I went to the doctor and I was on some really heavy duty narcotic, bad kind of pain meds and he sent me to specialists and MRI’s and orthopedic surgeons and the consensus was that I was going to have to have some back surgery. And I just looked at the back surgeon dude, who was a heavy weight specialist and I said, “No. We’re not going to do that. Thank you.” And I never saw him again and I said, I can fix this.
And so I went on a strict regime, I did some exercise – course strengthening exercises but mostly focus, meditation, doing journeys that I have learned to do through the different parts of my body and finding those places that were – there’s something called tension myositis for your mind to react to emotional trauma and rubs muscles of oxygen. There’s a Dr. Sarno that talks about that. But anyway, a combination of all of those things put through a regime of mediation completely have removed that. At this moment as I talk to you, I have no physical limitations whatsoever, I work out regularly without restriction, I just did a couple of weeks ago, a 50-mile bike ride on a mountain bike.
Kellan: And so, that’s fixed and it’s fixed through those practices.
Jeff: That’s amazing. Every successful person that I talk to – it doesn’t always come up, but I’d say the half of the guest on the show, we talk about meditation and they meditate.
Kellan: I’m not the least bit surprised because the ability to direct your attention, which is what meditation teaches you, the quiet the monkey mind and the ability to direct your attention is one of the few things that we actually control, and it has a direct effect on how successful we are and how much we can manifest things into us.
Jeff: Sure, sure. Now Kellan, we were talking before we started recording this, you have not one, not three, not five, not seven but ten kids and a wife whose a business partner. How does this business that you’ve had, that is structured around what you want and what you love in life, how does that affect your personal relationships, with not only your wife and kids, but friends and other family members?
Kellan: Joy, my beautiful, wonderful wife and business partner, she studied programming in college, she knows HTML. She doesn’t build sites from scratch but she does do – she does all my landing pages, squeeze pages, handles the WordPress membership site – does all of that kind of stuff. So I don’t have to farm any of that out and then on top of that, she oversees all of our contractors that do things like transcriptions and logo design and everything else.
And on top of that, she studied also art and design, so she has a good eye for design and can do – we don’t do all the design, we work with some people on Viber and Elance and stuffs like that, but she can oversee it in a very effective way because she’s got a design background and design eye.
So, I couldn’t be more blessed and on top of all that, if you can get, if there could be another piece of that, she had been an entrepreneur on the side also while she did other work. She’s been sort of a freelancer all of her life, she’s done makeup artist and a project manager and all kinds of other stuffs. She was a skating instructor because she’s from Canada so she did all kinds of stuff but she had been an Ebay business person for several years doing antiques and collectibles and had a decent size business doing that for years and so is not only good in all those other areas but online shops on top of it.
Jeff: That’s awesome.
Kellan: Couldn’t be more awesome. I can’t even describe. If I could write a book, it’s like, how could you write a better piece?
Jeff: Yeah. No, that’s amazing. What about your kids, how old were your kids – and we don’t have time to hear all of their ages – when you made the transition from working in the corporate world to doing your own thing?
Kellan: Yeah, my oldest is 33 and he has – he’s married, he has five kids of his own, and the youngest is 17, and I started about six years ago, seven years ago so probably 10.
Kellan: And then 10, 12, 15, that kind of age.
Kellan: And there were 3 or 4, not gone from the nest, but 6 of the 10 are gone and most of them have kids and partners and stuff on their own already.
Kellan: So, about like that, and they were so used to – they never knew me, except in the excitable years of the heavy duty deregulation and being on camera and being on TV and making noise and being infront of this nut and the other anyway. So, that’s all they’ve ever known from the time they were old enough to remember, so the youngest was 10 or 11 or something. And so, the oldest was 10 or 11, I’m sorry, the time – yes. The change to what I do and being all over the place and travelling and everything else wasn’t even a change. It’s just doing different stuff.
Jeff: Okay. Was there some risk for you involved in making that transition?
Kellan: Yeah. There was a risk of – and this is something that’s going to weird people out – one of the big things that you counsel people on or I do coach them on – counsel’s a wrong word because we’re not therapist, but coach people on is the fear of failure. So, I can tell you right now, and this is going to blow your listener’s mind, that me, after having been successful on one of the parallel lives I didn’t tell you about is I also am a professional pianist. And I’ve done a bunch of music and written a bunch of stuff. So concert level pianist, I paint in acrylics, I’ve done and have been successful in martial arts, I’ve had a corporate career, and I’d been a speaker all over the world.
I’ve had what could be considered an impossibly successful life. And I was terrified of failure and of being an explosive zero at doing this all on my own. Just as much and just as grabbing your gut viscerals, carry you into in action, pain and fear as anybody else. And people who I tell that to, especially clients who I work with, don’t believe me.
But sitting in the corner, staring at the dark, at three in the morning, trying to get over things and taking long meditation marks, trying to get to the root of whatever it is and all of those kinds of things. Hiring coaches myself to sort of sort out some of the things that I sort of viscerally felt but didn’t really have exactly words for and then to create accountability, writing the first five books that I wrote on meditation. I wrote them sequentially because they’re on a series. I had to have some hardcore deadlines and do some work. I went through all of those stages.
So yes, there was risk, yes I was scared, yes I had to beat the crap out of myself for accountability. Yes, I had to do every one of the things that I have to get my clients and you have to get your clients to do before they get to the open-your-arms-wide-scream-at-the-sky-I-love-my-life day.
Jeff: It’s not an easy journey. How did you get past all that fear?
Kellan: The one blessing that I had is that I knew somewhere even beneath all that, that it was possible.
Kellan: I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew there was a way. There’s got to be a way. It’s funny, I’m a trekkie, because I was in the years of Star Trek, the real one, 1967. I remember watching every episode when Captain Jerk and Mr. Spark – Captain Kirk and Mr. Spark. But when you go back and watch those old set, it’s kind of funny but –
Jeff: Oh, it’s crazy.
Kellan: So, I’d been a holy grail devoted trekkie. I don’t watch any television at all. An hour a month is a lot for me.
Kellan: But Star Trek, it’s like the holy grail. So, Captain Kirk, one of his lines in Star Trek 6, when he’s an – and those of you who don’t know Star Trek, sorry for the analogy and you just have to go see it. When he’s in prison, an alien graveyard in Star trek 6, somebody says to him, “Do you want to get out of here? Get out of this prison.” And he looks up at him and says, “There’s got to be a way.”
And that phrase right there has driven my life. Everytime it’s impossible, everytime you come to the end of the rope, I just look at it, I look at the mirror and say, there’s got to be a way. There’s got to be a way. And so that right there is, there’s got to be a way. There has got to be a way and how I actualize that is there has to be a way from where I am standing to – I don’t even really think it means the end goal that I want. But there has to be a way to take a step forward. There has to be a step that I can take from where I am that moves me in a good direction. And if I can just find that, then I’m one step closer.
Jeff: That’s awesome. Very, very, very powerful advice there.
Kellan: So, I’m – I hope – I mean, in doing this interview, I’m doing it from the point of view of sort of no holds barred, behind the kimono, the whole whatever analogy you want to do. Because people view me, especially when they look at all the careers and results and things that I’ve had is impossibly confident, impossibly successful, and they cannot believe the things, and so I’m being just as open and candid because I can, because it is true. And I am impossibly successful. Okay. But it cost all that and there are days and have been many days where I have to look, I have to slow down and I have to say alright, breathe.
Kellan: And then, there’s got to be a way.
Jeff: Yeah. Awesome. Awesome advice. And that’s a wonderful segue into my next question. Speaking of opening the kimono and being completely transparent, what’s the biggest mistake you made, Kellan?
Kellan: Oh, the biggest mistake I made? I think the biggest mistake I made was probably not starting sooner. There was a couple of times in my life where I had wanted to take off on a different career back when I first did the first 10 years of the recording studio. I recorded a lot of my own music and started to have some moderate success, I had some solo concerts and had some success in selling music and stuff like that.
And I wanted to take off and make a career then, and I didn’t. And the biggest mistake I made was not doing it. Not because it would have led me to the where I am now and not because I’m not extremely grateful for who I am now, but I didn’t have the courage to follow what was screaming at me to do then. And so now, I am very grateful in doing music and fitting it in and I do recording and I have a bunch that’s out and I sell some and it’s all fine. But it isn’t even so much the what as the fact that I denied myself the adventure that I would have had then, so that was probably my biggest mistake. I wished I’d – I wish that I had had the courage to do that at that time.
Jeff: There’s got to be a way.
Kellan: There’s got to be a way.
Jeff: So, what’s the one piece of advice that you would leave our listeners with?
Kellan: Start where you are and start today.
Jeff: Start where you are and start today. Awesome piece of advice, Kellan. Thanks so much for talking to us today and just really letting it flow and being open and candid in telling us all about your journey. Where can our listeners go to get more information about you?
Kellan: I have several. I’ll give you three places.
Jeff: Breakthecagenow.com, okay.
Kellan: Breakthecagenow.com or coachwithkellan.com.
Jeff: Coachwithkellan and we will link those up below the show and Kellan, I can’t thank you enough for being on the show and I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to talking again soon.
Kellan: Thanks for having me.
Jeff: All of my guests on the How to Quit Working Show always tell me that there’s something, generally many things, that they learned or did or experienced in their corporate life or in their previous life, whatever that looked like, that is beneficial to them in their lifestyle business.
And Kellan is a great example of that because he talked about how the pressure cooker environment that he was in with Enron is something that he was able to look at and say, “Wow, I was able to deal with that, so I certainly should be able to deal with having my own business and the perceived risk that comes along with that.”
And I think one of the other things that’s so cool about Kellan is that after all of the success that he had prior to his business, he admits very candidly that he was still very fearful and that’s very normal. And he gives us a really good way to deal with that and that is just always knowing that there has to be a way in just putting one foot in front of the other.
So always remember, that no matter what you’re doing, if you’re still working in a corporate job, whatever you’re doing is progress, right? Because you’re gaining skills and you’re gaining experience and you’re gaining exposure that’s going to be beneficial for you in your lifestyle business.
So know that you’re making forward progress, but also do not ever, ever, ever forget to put one foot in front of the other and make some progress. And what that means is, always doing something. What is that next step that you can take? I don’t care how small it is or how large it is. Take that next step. And when you take that next step, it’s going to be scary, no matter how big or small it is, but it’s a still a step and when you take that next step, it’s going to be scary as well. But what happens is when you accumulate those steps, you make really, really great progress.
So we’re going to leave you today with a piece of music by Kellan Fluckiger. And it is some kind of really cool, jazzy stuff. He calls it New Funk with a Side of Smooth and it is called, very appropriately, “Take it as it Comes”.