EP89: Stuart McConnell - How To Be A Champion In Your Life

Did you know it takes 4 to 8 years to fully transition to a new chapter of life?

Our guest, Stuart McConnell, is a life coach who helps transition professional athletes into retirement. He's also a part-time high school teacher who inspires students to embrace their entrepreneur within. He teaches his students the fundamentals of business then encourages them to leap into entrepreneurship and make money with their enterprises before the semester is done.

During this inspiring interview, you'll discover...

  • How to be an entrepreneur and make money

  • Learn the tools to never have to work for somebody a day in your life if you choose

  • Great life hacks on how to be a champion in your everyday life

To learn more about his podcast, Do it Like an Athlete: Inside the Minds of Champions, visit here.

For his website, click here.

For his Facebook page, go here.

To get in touch with Stuart, email him at info@uncommonlife.ca.


Michael Palmer: 01:07 Welcome back to The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. I am your host, Michael Palmer, and today's show is going to be an inspiring one. Our guests helps transition professional athletes into retirement. He's also a part-time high school teacher who inspires students to brace their entrepreneur within. He teaches his students fundamentals of business, but then just encourages them to leap into business and make money with their enterprises before the semester is done. He's also the host of a fantastic podcast. Do it like an athlete inside the minds of champions. He's an inspiring story and I'm happy to have him on the podcast. Welcome Stuart McConnell.

Stuart McConnell: 01:51 Say to Michael. Thank you. I'm really excited to be on and share the story about a, about my students.

MP: 01:57 I think the stories incredible. Literally the, when you were telling me this story, when we had a chance to, to meet a couple of weeks ago, I literally gave me goosebumps. I just absolutely love these stories. It's part of what I love about helping small business is just hearing stories like this. But before we get into this story, Stuart, tell us a little bit about your journey that has led you up to this point in your life.

SM: 02:25 So my journey up until this point was in high school and university. I hated it. I could not stand it. I wanted to be out of school as quickly as possible. And you know, ironically enough, I ended up as a high school teacher and what happened was I went back to to help out a little bit and I realized that it was the way that I was being taught that I didn't like. So throughout my 18 year teaching career, I've always chosen to teach in a way that I would have loved to have been taught. And it's always been very hands-on, you know, real world as possible.

MP: 03:02 Wow, I love this. I love you. Something broken. You can't stand school and yet you become a teacher and now you've found yourself actually being the teacher and transforming the way students learn from the curriculum that you designed and teach.

SM: 03:19 It's funny as this is the career that I'm, I want, I wanted so badly to transition out of for years. Um, it's as I'm becoming more, I'm just okay with being a teacher again. It's all these amazing opportunities are showing up and people are hearing about this course and, and uh, and giving me such wonderful feedback, which is, which is nice, which is really nice. I think that telling me that I'm, every, everything that I am doing is in the right direction.

MP: 03:52 That's such a, such an important message in it. I totally get that when I speak to you about the students there. There's, there's some really powerful energy around that and wherever it takes you, it's, I think you're tapping into your purpose in life.

SM: 04:09 Yeah. Well, thank you.

MP: 04:10 Yeah. Not to say that, that it, it, you know, I don't know what that looks like, but I just really, I feel the energy of it and I, I think it's, it's incredible service that you're doing and who knows where it will go.

SM: 04:22 Exactly. Who knows where it will go and I'm good with all of it

MP: 04:25 can, I know. It's just awesome. I think that's part of your success formula. It's a, is surrendering to that, which is, which is cool.

SM: 04:33 Yeah. Yeah. Definitely

MP: 04:42 Tell us a little bit about this curriculum and how you, you kind of said, okay, wait a second, let's just do something completely radical that's gonna make a difference for students.

SM: 04:54 So how this started was a year, a few years ago when I started doing personal development work myself and I started to bring it into my classroom. So as I learned things, I started to share with my students and I started sharing on very deep levels. And what ended up shaking out of that was a very interesting connection with my students that I never actually thought was possible. It was more, I wouldn't say friendship, but it ended up being a, a very special relationship. And as I expanded and as I got into being an entrepreneur, I started bringing that into my class. So as I would learn things about marketing is I would learn things about media, social media, all that kind of stuff. I would bring it in in bits and pieces. And I had a class last semester that the students and I like it just really clicked well. They really clicked with the material that I was, that I was delivering. And uh, for whatever reason, at the end of the year, I, you know, guys, this was amazing. I loved having you and if you choose to take the next year's class with a grade 12 version, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to teach you how to be an entrepreneur and I'm committing that you make money by the end of the semester so that you will learn the tools to never have to work for somebody a day in your life if you choose

SM: 06:22 remarkable.

SM: 06:23 And I actually had no idea how I was going to deliver that. It's not part of the curriculum at all. In fact, it's a communication technology course and it's got nothing to do with entrepreneurship or, or, or business skills or business studies. But I just really felt in my heart that this is what I wanted to do for these kids. And I would figure out how all the, all the things in terms of how to give them marks across the whole year and how to fit it into the curriculum and everything else. Just as we go.

MP: 06:55 Hi, just isn't this such a fantastic story? I just have my listeners right now sitting in their car driving to one of their wonderful clients that's likely a business owner, but the adult version of the teacher, of the two of the students that you're teaching like and and so, so interesting how you got here. You, you went to work on yourself in terms of your own personal development, really getting in touch with the best part of your humanity, humanity really as a human being. And, and that led to better relationships with not only your students, I'm guessing probably people in your life. So there's a bit of a, a clue there around how to, how to improve. Just all results in life is work on yourself in your own purse, purse, you know, your own personal development. But then it led to this kind of evolution of taking this the step and creating this almost like, hey, we're going to do something totally different. We're actually going to show you how to make money and I school. I mean, what was that? That wasn't, that wasn't part of my high school experience.

SM: 08:04 Yeah.

MP: 08:05 Well it certainly wasn't part of part of my high school experience that everything tends to go through, okay, these are the curriculum, this is, these are the expectations and now let's figure out how to use what we've done before to meet the expectations. And it ends up just being the same cycle over and over and over again. That has been there for, you know, like forever.

SM: 08:29 Yeah. And you know, it's, it wouldn't be a newsflash to see in the, in the paper or on the news that, you know, education, health care, all these things are, are broken the way that they've been done for years and years and years. It w it requires, if it's broken, it requires something new. And I, and it's what I love about this, something fresh, something new. And I think we can learn a lot from this. Just in terms of that number one, you don't need a lot of experience to be able to go out into the world and actually create a business and, and provide value and exchange that value for money. I think, and we're going to get into some of those stories, but as well, what I love about this is that our, our s what working in our society in, in, in, in North America is small business.

MP: 09:25 It really is, you know, if you look out and what's working, what's working right now is that there's businesses that employ most of the people out there and those people are, are the ones that make up our communities. I mean, every single one of us that are listening to this podcast right now, we all either in a small business or our family members in a small business. So you're actually starting earlier with people to help them become more likely that they, they'd have really great success in their small business over their lifetime if they so choose.

SM: 09:58 Yeah. Yeah. And it's about having a say in your future on a completely different level and understanding that it doesn't have to be that you have to go out and work for some big company for the next 40 50 years until you retire. You have a choice in terms of what it is you want to do and how you want your lifestyle to be.

MP: 10:23 Yeah. So what, tell, tell us a little bit about what the reaction's like, it's the first day of class. What, what, what has been the reactions from that point?

SM: 10:35 Well, the reaction is actually started before the beginning of class. So because this is a, a really different model, I wanted to make sure that the students knew what they were getting themselves into beforehand so that they had the option to drop it if it wasn't what they were looking for. Because in terms of what it said in the course catalog, it wasn't very similar to what was in the, the course catalog. And the level of work is significantly higher than it would normally be from my course and from most other courses and being their grade 12 year, their final year, you know, a lot of them are hyper concerned about getting high grades and the level of stress that they're already under. So I called in each student and had a conversation with them individually ahead of time to tell them what the requirements of the course we're going to be including.

SM: 11:30 There is a, um, a special book that I, that I wanted them to have that I believe would be of enormous benefit to them achieving what it is they wanted to achieve. And that's the freedom journal by John Lee Dumas. And each student would actually have to buy their own copy. So I told them that they would, they needed to put aside $100 to be able to invest in their company and the book going to be part of that investment, not money that I took from them. In any way, shape or form. But that was what they needed to actually have in their pocket too, to cover whatever they needed to cover to make their business work.

MP: 12:06 Okay. And what were the reactions like the, what were those conversations like with these, these young people?

SM: 12:12 Some of them were absolute excitement. Like, wow, okay, this is way better than what, you know, what I was expecting, this is going to be awesome. A few people were very grateful that I had that conversation with them and they did drop the course because it wasn't what they were looking for. And you know that that was the whole point of having the conversation. But for the most part they were all really excited about doing something different.

MP: 12:35 Wow. So they, the ones that you spoke to, which is I, I love that you've had a conversation, hey, this is what we're getting into. This is what you need to be prepared for. And so now you've upped the level of commitment, I would guess. And really you've put the right people in the room to take this on. So that's going to be interesting around just even the class dynamics. Yeah. Which is not nontraditional, right. You go to a class, it's like well we're going to go over there to biology. Right. It's like yeah, it's like everybody, people are going there cause I have to go there. You kinda gave this, you can opt in here. Like this is going to be what, what you're, what you're getting. So now you've got people showing up who really, really want what you're offering.

SM: 13:18 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And, and you know, even still with all the, uh, the pre-work that I did, you know, there's some, I had somebody who dropped the course actually last week cause you just couldn't, couldn't keep up with the demands of my course as well as the demands of his other courses. And it's confronting, you know, it's, it's really confronting because it's not a typical course where, you know, the teacher gives you the material, you go and you study it and then there's a test at the end of the week. It's pretty demanding and you have to figure out all the aspects of your business. Pretty much on your own because everybody is doing something different. So I'm there to help work them through it, but in order to make their business actually viable that they're the ones that have to do the work. Plus there's also a whole other aspect to it of understanding what money actually is. You know, understanding the fact that uh, the of, you know exactly what I said, right. I've of what money is and how many actually works in our society. I think that that's a key cornerstone with being an entrepreneur. So they've had to read several books, including richest man in Babylon and turn in reports on it and everything else in very short periods of time. So I, they're on average, they're spending an extra 10 hours, 10 to 15 hours a week outside of school on this course and their businesses.

MP: 14:41 Wow.

MP: 14:49 That was incredible. And, and it's, it's not just theory. This is practical actions. Tell us some stories of how students have taken this. I've done this study, done the, you know, the conversations in the classes and then they've taken this out into the world.

SM: 15:06 Yeah. Actually, I, I was just dealing with that with a bit of a story today. So one student, she is a baker, she loves to bake and she thought it would be a great idea to sell cupcakes. So she's been doing really well. She in the last, uh, three weeks, she's had over 10 or 15 orders for cupcakes, uh, and she's been selling them to an elementary school that she's been working at. But there was obviously some issues around making sure that their peanut free and everything else. So that all kind of came up today to make sure that everything was on board. But it was, but it was great. I was so excited for her to, to hit this obstacle because now what do you do in the face of this obstacle? Okay, so who have you have to Collab the conversations with? And she was asking me for a letter to be able to take to the principal and I said, well no, I'm happy to give the letter if it's absolutely necessary.

SM: 16:01 But this is you and your business. I want you to have a conversation with that principal. And this is how you're going to have the conversation. So I actually coached her through having a proper conversation in order to get what it is that she wanted through building up the proper relationship with the principal first. So that was a really great, interesting story. And other students, he had a side, the way he had a hobby of buying a limited edition merchandise online and reselling it. And he's now taken that to his business. He's on track to profit this month, should be around four to $5,000 for him.

MP: 16:41 Unbelievable. How old is he?

SM: 16:45 Uh, 18 years old. These are high school students. They're in there. This is their grade 12 year grade. 11 year. Great Fault grade 12 right. Cause it's great. 12 year and he's on track to make $4,000 this month from a business while going to school. Yeah.

SM: 17:04 He's actually on track to hit probably $10,000 in profit by the end of June.

MP: 17:10 Wow. So this semester he will do a total of $10,000 in profit. Wow. It's incredible. Now what kind of like

SM: 17:22 Michael, that was actually just, that's for the month of June. That's not up until June. That's for the month of June. He'll make probably 10 grand.

MP: 17:33 Love it. Yeah. My goodness. It's so inspiring. You know, it's like we overcall as adults. I think we overcomplicate things. We, we've had a lifetime of, you know, this happened and that happened. I mean, even the cupcake stories just so great, right? Like that's just the of look, there's going to be, government is going to get in the way. There's going to be a competition that's going to get in the way. There's going to be suppliers that come in and out and problems and you know, it's just go out and do it. Find the problems, get over the problems. I mean, it's really simple when you, when you think about it and it's, and not to say that it's easy, it's not easy, but it's, it's just so inspiring to see these young people going and doing something that wow, if they can do, if he can actually do that at this stage in his life, what's possible. And I think it's a message for all of us that, you know what, go after that spirit that is, wow, they're excited about their business. They're taking it out there. They're taking bold actions.

MP: 18:34 Just do it.

SM: 18:35 Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And the, the reasoning for me doing this is if they don't have to work for anybody a day in their lives and they can be massively successful at their business as well as taking the personal development, coaching that, that, that I'm giving them, imagine what they're going to do for the planet. Yeah. And that's, that's the big reasoning for me. So they're out from under the thumb of, Oh my God, I have to do nine to five. It has to do nine to five. I gotta be at my job, I gotta be at my job. And just with that freedom, that independence, you know, like what can you do for the planet if money were no object.

MP: 19:17 Yeah. Really empowering them around. They have choice and they can, uh, they're empowered to, to go where they're going to go. And I, I love that. And for you, that's your big why. And I can totally see that and hear that. And the way you're excited about it, what kind of pushback have you had along the way?

SM: 19:41 I have had no pushback along the way actually. I've just sort of gone and done what it is that, that I'm doing and it's working out. Wow. So, oh, you know, over the years I've gotten my myself into a, a share of trouble with you know, administration and doing things the way that I want to do them and everything else. And I've learned the INS and outs. [inaudible] is a, is the best way to put, I've learned the INS and outs and how to play the game within the confines of the structure that I've been given.

MP: 20:14 Beautiful. You're, you're, you're an inspiration. You mentioned personal development. You're not just teaching them fundamentals of business, which I'm sure that's a big part of it. Business plans and thinking and strict, you know, strategy and, and t, w, w w you know, the, the, you know, critical path that getting something accomplishing something. But you've talked about personal development. What are you teaching them around personal development?

SM: 20:40 Uh, it ends up being largely individualized depending on the problems that come up for each person. So you know, as, as you know, as an, as an independent business owner who you are, who shows up as you any day is going to be dependent on what happens in your business, right? Like if you're having a bad day, chances are your business is going to have a bad day. So it's so important to understand who's showing up day to day essentially. So as they run into problems, then they come and talk to me about, you know, oh, this is happening with my business or that's happening with my business. And then we look and see what's actually there for them underneath. And then we work, we work through it from there. Actually we just, I just took them rock climbing, indoor rock climbing a couple of days ago in, in the horrible weather we, uh, we, we had to, we had a, our trip booked and we went rock climbing. And it was all about overcoming the things you didn't think you'd be able to overcome.

MP: 21:39 Wow.

SM: 21:40 Yeah. And then we also do a in class discussions of, you know, they'll bring in videos about different, different topics that they've found and we just start talking about all those, all those different things. And I get to basically freestyle whatever comes off the top of my head is the perfect thing that needs to be talked about that day. And, and uh, and it's been, it's worked really, really well. The difference that it's made for these trans kids is, it's pretty amazing. I actually had the, the principal come and talk to me. I was a little nervous, we're going to shut you down. But uh, she was talking to one of the parents of a student in my class and she said, whatever you're doing is, you know, good, good work because these parents are really impressed with their, their kid right now.

MP: 22:38 So wow.

MP: 22:39 Well that's, that's exciting because it's, the results are, are, are showing up, which is going gonna give you hopefully more freedom to do what you're doing and the good, the good work, good work that you're doing. What have been some Aha moments for your students, you know, through this personal development? I'm sure they've had to overcome things about themselves or insights about themselves. What can you say there?

SM: 23:04 Oh yeah. The big thing is understanding the idea of being deliberate about what's going on in your life. So the idea that right now you're living life haphazardly, right? You get up in the morning and you get, you know, you shower, you get dressed, you go and, and you just are in reaction to your entire day. In fact, you're not even paying much attention to the food you're putting in your mouth and all this kind of stuff. So just taking a step back and being deliberate about it and making clear choices about the things that you're, that you're doing has been huge. Because you know, when you're, you're a teenager, there's so much drama that can go on too, right? Like you're just in reaction to, oh, this person said this and this and that, blah, blah, blah, and everything else. And my parents said this and, and all that. And being able to step back and say, well, actually no, I have a choice on how I choose to react to this situation. And I have a choice in terms of what I bring into my life on a daily basis.

MP: 24:13 Amazing. Cutting out the noise and, and having clarity. I mean, these are, these are excellent messages for our listener right now is, is just that, and for me as well is to, to can never hear it enough. It's like, look, step back and go, what, what's really important right now? And, and be deliberate about what I'm doing and what our listener is doing. It's like, what are you, what are you doing today that's gonna move you closer to where you want to be in your own business?

SM: 24:44 Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. The last thing that I gave them was looking at a, making food journals and then asking themselves the question of, is this particular food, uh, match for me or not?

MP: 24:59 So tell, tell me more about this. What's that gonna look like?

SM: 25:03 Yeah. So looking at each thing that they ate over the course of the day and you know, and then just asking themselves the question, is this food a match for me or not? Because you know, especially we wake up quickly in the morning and then you're, in their case heading to school, they're grabbing stuff on their way out the door quickly. They're grabbing stuff from the cafeteria. They're not really paying attention to what it is there they're fueling themselves with and asking them themselves. The question, is this a match for me or not? Gets them to look at what it is they're putting in their body in a very, very different way. So it's not in terms of this is this food is good for me or not good for me in terms of like, oh, it's got sugar or whatever it is. How does, how do you feel about this thing that you've put in your body? And then it also gets them to connect with themselves on a deeper level in terms of understanding what, what does it mean to for something to be a match for me or not. You know, is it a vibrational match? Is it, you know, an emotional match? Is it whatever kind of match.

MP: 26:15 I love it. I mean I think these are things that as adults, as adults, I mean we're not immune to it. It's like just waking up and thinking that the way it was done yesterday needs to be the way that it was done today. Is it working and ask the question, is this a match for me? I mean I love it with food. It's just a match for me. Is the thing I'm doing right now a match for me? Or is it not a match? And just thinking about it can apply to food, comply it to the things you're doing, the you're doing, their strategy around your business. What a great question.

SM: 26:48 Yeah, thank you. I, and that's actually where it's going. Where you starting with food, we're expanding out from there.

MP: 26:53 Beautiful. You really building some, some strengths in these young people that is going to make for great communities that they live in in the future. It's such a fantastic story and that's just one piece of what you do. You also work with, uh, and transition really professional athletes into retirement. Tell us a little bit about that and how that came to be.

SM: 27:17 Yeah. Well, how that came to be, it actually started through a podcast that I had, I felt in, you know, oh, I need to be doing a podcast. It was one of those things just felt right to do one day and it bounced around a little bit until I started interviewing some friends who are athletes and it was like, wow, there's some, there's a connection here. There really is a very strong connection. I'd been a life coach for several years before that and it's, you know, when the, when life lines up in a particular way, it, the doors start opening and the door opened on these athletes and when I started hearing their stories of these retired athletes and what it is they went through in retirement, my heart just really went out to them essentially like an existential crisis. They that the loss of identity, the loss of purpose is, is huge for anybody to go through to all of a sudden be in your mid twenties or, or, uh, maybe even early thirties and be standing there and you have no idea who you are because you're not, you're not a pro athlete anymore and now you have to hang your hat on something else.

SM: 28:28 Like, well, who am I? That's a big hard question for people to answer and to not have anybody there to support them with, with that is, um, doesn't sit well with me. It really doesn't sit well with me. I feel like that I just need to do something about it. Like that's sort of the end of the story. My why in it is it's because I need to do something. These people are hurting and I just need to be that person to do something.

MP: 29:07 Well, we love that around here. Our why are of our listeners love doing the bookkeeping for small business, small, medium-sized businesses and the, and they, they, they love it. And that's their why. And they do it. And it makes a big difference for those business owners. Some of them listening right now don't realize how valuable it is and we're helping them realize that. But if there's parallels, I see between the work you're doing. So I really wanted you to come on the podcast and share your story with our listener. I see parallels all the way along, right? You have a really strong connection to your why and, and the people that you serve, you're just tread channeling that into the people you serve. And they're very, very different. But they're very similar, uh, from the athletes and the students. And, and so I think there's messages all throughout this, this conversation around, you know, being clear about why you're doing something and, and clear about the value of it and, and just taking the action and learning from wherever you're coming from.

MP: 30:07 Just absolutely love it. I nominate you for the order of small business. It's a, it's an award that I'm just made up and uh, I can't nominate you for the order of Canada that, uh, I don't think, but I will nominate you for the order of small business in terms of the work that you're doing for students and as well for the work that you're doing for, for people that are going through transition from professional athletes into, into the next part of their life. Well, thank you very much. Absolutely. Now Stewart, if, if people want to get in touch with you, if they want to consume more of the interesting and radical ideas that you're up to and we'll likely invent and do tomorrow, what's the best way for them to do that?

SM: 30:51 You can reach me through my website, which is StuartMcConnell.Net and a social media. I am that head coach.

MP: 31:03 Beautiful. Well, we're going to have those links on the show notes for sure. And Stuart, I just want to thank you for generously giving us your time on behalf of our listener. I just think thank you greatly.

SM: 31:15 Well, thank you for having me. This has been a pleasure. Awesome. Well, that wraps another episode of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. To learn more about today's guests and to get access to all sorts of valuable free business-building resources, you can go to Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com until next time,

MP: 31:35 goodbye.