Kristopher Kluver is a former serial entrepreneur and the founder of Life on Your Terms, a coaching consulting firm that helps people redesign their life based on their definition of success. We talk about the four main pillars of a successful life, why you need to be unreasonable to be extraordinary, and how businesses can protect their primary asset.
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Protect Your Primary Asset with Kris Kluver
Our guest is Kristopher Kluver. Kris is a former serial entrepreneur and the founder of Life on Your Terms, a coaching consulting firm that helps businesses protect their primary asset, the business owner, by helping them identify success on their terms, streamline communication, create partner champions, not saboteurs, and obtain their ideal life. Kris, welcome to the show.
Wow, thank you so much, Steve. It’s great to be here, and I’m humbled that you asked me. Thankyou, man.
Yeah, well, I’m glad we have you here, and I’ve got a lot of good questions that I’m very curious about, and hopefully our listeners too. The first one is, you started your entrepreneur life at the age of 19. You told me you had something like 15 companies at one point or another. So how does a teenage entrepreneur travel through life and end up founding a company called Life on your terms?
Well, I actually, I started my entrepreneurial journey before that, shoveling sidewalks and driveways and mowing lawns and all sorts of silliness. But my first company was at age 19. And you’re correct, I’ve had 15 companies over that time. I have built them, bought them, sold them, wrecked them. You name it, I’ve been there. But through the process though, I look at learning a little differently than most. And in the 1990s, or when I was coming out of college, right in the late 80s, entrepreneurship was kind of a dirty word. You know, now entrepreneurship is very much vaulted as a great experience. But then, if you were going to, if you decided you were going to be an entrepreneur, it was almost like you were going to be a pariah.
But I realized that I didn’t truly fit in a lot of the other places. And I could see things, I could connect dots. And the unfortunate thing, the good thing, bad thing, was that I realized there were a lot of things I could do. And so I could do this, or I could do that. And I bounced around quite a bit with different businesses, which was great. But I think the real thing is when I started realizing what it is I really wanna do, not what I could do, and what is gonna be highest and best use and really lighten me up. And it was through that whole evolution that I eventually got to that point.
So what clicked for you when you actually realized what you want to do? I mean, how is it different from it pursuing your financial goals perhaps, or career goals? What’s the kind of the quality, different quality about registering, okay, this is what I want to do.
I think the idea is, does it really light you up? Do you get excited to do it every morning? And I know people literally who are in the demolition business that are the most, it’s the most exciting thing in the world for them to get up and go to work and drive a big dozer or go tear something down. I know other people whose head would split with that. And for me, a long time, I was able to make pretty good money and I had a couple exits because I could do it, but it wasn’t necessarily what was sort of my calling. And it didn’t fulfill my why.
And when I started thinking about what is really that? Why do I do what I do? What is my intention? Where is it? It’s got it’s, I created something I call a life-changing goal or LCG, but it’s kind of like a personal beehive. And if you can have, what is it you really want in life? What does amazing look like for your life? And then build the business around that instead of, oh, I could go do this business and then I’ll go build my life around the business. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s, it’s putting, it’s putting into finding what success is first. And then defining what is the best way to achieve that.
I’m just curious about what triggered this desire in you to look for that, as opposed to just chasing a success is defined by most of society, which is financial success, visible business success or other career success. What was your trigger, your personal trigger?
I think it was probably when I learned about moving the goal posts. There’s a phraseology or the psychological term is called hedonic adaptation. But what it means is in essence is that we as human beings have the ability to adapt to things that we’re uncomfortable with. And so if we said, because I can remember at one point in my life I thought, man, if I could make 100 grand a year and take a month off and travel, I’d be in high cotton, that’d be great. And I was right and I could have absorbed it. But as soon as I got to that 80 90,000 I started moving the goal put yeah but you know it’d be really nice about 150 and I’ll give up two weeks this year because I can get to there and then you know and and we keep adapting and adjusting to those next levels versus if we can.
Finally my wife got mad at me. She said alright. What’s it gonna? Take it? She made me write it down. She said give it to me and Then when we hit that, and I started hemming and hawing, yeah, but suddenly she goes, hey, here’s what it is, remember? And it was just like, ah. And it was at that point that I realized, and I also had a pretty big event about seven years ago that really impacted how I was looking at it. But it was the hedonic adaptation, and then there was another time I had my hip and my knee replaced. And oddly, this seems crazy, but I had to have forced downtime. And I love running around at a hundred miles an hour with my hair on fire.
But I had forced downtime, couldn’t read, and I found myself watching daytime television. And through that process, which is scary, I discovered what a Kardashian was. And to be very candid, it scared the pants off me. Because here was a group of people that had a lot of money, fame, success, great businesses, notoriety, and yet it seemed like all they did was complain. And I have to tell you, Steve, I felt a little dirty inside when I realized that a lot of the measures of success that I was using at the time were the same as these people.
So it really threw me into a head spin on completely changing how I looked at success in a different way. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my BMWs. I love having multiple homes. I love doing well, but I think financial success is not the only way to measure success. And when we can look at it differently, when we can start to look at ourselves as the true asset on a holistic level, the whole world changes. Everything starts to expand. I rambled a little bit there, but does that go where you want?I think financial success is not the only way to measure success. And when we can look at it differently, when we can start to look at ourselves as the true asset on a holistic level, the whole world changes. Click To Tweet
No, that’s good. That’s where you want? So the hedonic adaptation, so you became aware of you having that, or you’re experiencing this, and plus, you’re having a partner who kind of stops you and makes you reflect, and then you see the Garnetias, and do you really want like that? Maybe you want to have their wealth, but do you want to have their life? And then you kind of discover that there’s another way of looking at success. Now, I really love your quadrant. So you created this quadrants, four quadrants of life on your terms model and, you know, and what is the sequence of actually strengthening each of these quadrant elements.
Okay, love to. So, so there’s there’s four quadrants and each quadrant has three separate segments within it.
Traditionally, I would say, old guys, I consider myself an old guy at 55, we would define success primarily in a financial and business world and stuff related. You know, oh, he makes a million bucks a year, drives a Ferrari, you know, that guy’s very successful. And we would be right in certain aspects, but if that’s coming at the expense of other places, perhaps your relationships and health, then I would argue that that person may not be very successful at all. So, it was when I started to create this tool and if any of your listeners are interested, they can go to lifeon-yourterms.com and they can download it for free, just have at it. But there’s a – it’s professional, relationship, resources and health are the four quadrants.
Okay, so we have these four quadrants, professional, health, resources, relationship, and resources or assets, you call them.
So what do we do then? We discovered, okay these are four quadrants. So how do we strengthen these? Is there an approach that systematically goes about improving life around these quadrants or how does this work?
So it’s my opinion that every organization, leadership team, individual, couple, whatever it may be, is that one of four phases, stabilize, visualize, strategize, and execute. And when you do the balance wheel, it takes about five minutes and it’ll give you immediate results, give you a visualization. And it’ll show you areas that you have opportunities for growth. So the first step is how do we start to think about what would amazing look like? How can we transition? So if we know, for example, oh, we know our physical is not where we want it to be. Fair enough. Creating the awareness and visual awareness that sees it.
Okay, what are we going to do about it? How do we transition from a reactive state to a proactive state? What’s one small thing we can do? I was working with the CEO this morning who we’re really working on helping him manage his sleep a little bit better and also start off the day with a 30 minute walk. It sounds really simple and basic, but that one thing he said, he’s been doing it just for a short week. He said, I can’t believe what a difference it’s making. It’s starting to put intentionality on getting stronger with that. Same thing with our partners. Maybe we have a date night. I have one couple, it’s great, they’ve got young kids and they weren’t able to have date nights so they do a Sunday date breakfast where they bring in a nanny to watch all the kids and they cook for the week.
I was just working with a gentleman a little bit ago who wants to be great family. You know, really, really wants to be the best dad he can. So he’s putting some intentionality around trips and what are the things that he can do to incorporate his kids to help with a trip so that they have great memories, but they’re empowered to be the best kids they can be. So it’s gonna be unique for everybody, but it’s the kind of thing that if we have that awareness, then, well, celebrate where you’re strong and where we’re weak, okay, what are you gonna do about it? Fair enough, how can we then focus? And then what are two or three simple steps to get started?
Okay, So when you look at the four quadrants, you know health professional relationship and resources Do you then have? Like a BHAG a be carry-over dishes goal for each or where you have one for your life Is this part of, you mentioned the CLS, what was the acronym for your life goal, the big hairy auditions goal for your life. How does that fit into the four quadrants?
So in the life-changing goal, as far as the journey goes, traditionally people need to stabilize and that’s where the balance wheel starts. What are two or three things we can do to start getting a little bit of breathing room, start feeling a little bit healthier, start taking a little bit of proactive approach on our life, that’s it. Then the second thing, and Steve, I’ve seen this, I can’t believe how much with really heavy hitters, how they’ve lost the ability to visualize, really define where they wanna go in life, because they’ve hit all their default goals. They’ve hit all the goals that, they abdicated what the narrative around what success looked like.
They gave that away to the advertising industry, the TV commercials, or maybe a scarcity mindset of their parents or peers. And when they hit their financial goals, like, well, what the hell’s next? So, and they’ve forgotten how to dream. So, having that tool, the next step, once they’ve stabilized, is to start listing out for each section, maybe it’s a year from now, maybe they have an event that’s happening that says, but list out three to five things for each quadrant. What would amazing look like for my partner, for my family and for my friends? What would amazing be for my physical, my mental and my spiritual health?
But that starts to get the brain thinking about how we’re looking to visualize, where are we looking to go? And then once we do that, then we have a very specific process to help people go through and learn and define what is their life-changing goal, their personal B hag. The intention being the proof with people, and I’m sure your listeners are well aware of Collins and the BHAG, but the organizations that had a BHAG consistently outperformed other organizations in their industry, consistently, because they had one single rallying cry, this is where we’re going. It put purpose and focus on where everybody was going.
And then it helped them make decisions around that. So as an example, I’ve seen a small one, I had one with somebody who helped me do writing way back when, her first one was to fly in a hot air balloon over Sedona. Now, Steve, for you and I, that might be a weekend to do. We could just do that and say, that’s what we wanna go do. But for her, it was a big deal. She was gonna have to save, she hadn’t traveled, she was by herself, it really made her nervous. So she had a lot of pre-work to do and think about. Now, for others, some people have created, they wanna create billion dollar non-profits. I personally, my life-changing goal is to introduce a million people to a new way of thinking, impacting countless lives.
I can honestly tell you that the first time I wrote that, I was literally, my hand was shaken and I cried. Because I thought, who the hell am I to think that way? You know, it was so audacious. But with some of the work I’ve already done, I’m close. I mean, I haven’t introduced it to a million people, but I know I’ve blown way past helping a million people already just because of the knock-on impacts with some of the organizations that I’ve worked with. But it helps drive my decisions. And it goes back to your original question, just because I can, now I can say, is this going to help me achieve my life-changing goal?No.OK.Great idea. Not going to work on it. The state focused on this other stuff.
So that’s a good segue to the next question I have, which is, is really about this quote that you said last time we spoke and it really stuck with me. You said that extraordinary lives in the unreasonable. So what did you mean by this? And, and how does that work? I mean, do we have to be unreasonable to be extraordinary? Please explain.
Well, the way I look at it is… So I came up with that years ago when I did a quote or did a talk at an international conference for a bunch of collegiate kids. And the idea of extraordinary lives in the unreasonable. And I think I used an effing be unreasonable. Because I think so many of us are taught to think small, shoot low, be attainable, be reasonable, be safe. And it’s in the extraordinary, in the bizarre, in the holy smokes, are you kidding me? That amazing things can happen. You know, if you think somebody would have come to you and said, you know what, I’m gonna take on Walmart and IBM at the same time and I’m gonna destroy them.
And I’m gonna evolve way past them in a business. I mean, that is completely unreasonable. And yet that’s what Bezos did. When he did, when he redefined what retail could look like and what he’s done with the web servers and the service space in the world. When you look at Musk, there’s a reason that you walk into SpaceX and there’s two giant visions of Mars. One, the way it is now, and the one way he sees it. That is completely unreasonable, but that is his driving force. Now, is he gonna get it done? I don’t know. You like him?I don’t know.
But it is unreasonable and it is driving what could be. And as a result, it pushes in those other things. You know, the old Henry Ford quote, whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t, you’re right, is something I live by. And I think the more audacious we can live, the more audacious that we can dream and shoot for. So that’s what I – that’s the intention behind sometimes extraordinary does live in the unreasonable. Don’t be afraid to be unreasonable.
Yeah. I mean, it’s pretty simple. Unreasonable is something that’s not reasonably expected to the average mind. So it’s outside of the ordinary. When you’re outside the ordinary, you are going to maybe step on some toes, you’re going to ruffle some feathers, right, because it’s not something that normally is done so it’s unreasonable. It’s not, not logically that’s logical it’s not straightforward. So really it’s just about thinking about the meaning of the word. You have to be unreasonable. Otherwise, you’re just going to be ordinary. So but anyway, I love that quote.Unreasonable is something that's not reasonably expected to the average mind. So it's outside of the ordinary. When you're outside the ordinary, you are going to maybe step on some toes, you're going to ruffle some feathers, right, because it's… Click To Tweet
The other thing that you talk about going back to the wheel and to the four quadrants and to the relationship piece of it is that you have to create partner champions, not subverters. Now I think the listeners, we can all see what you’re talking about there, but how do you actually do that? Is it possible to transition a subverter into a champion or it’s a question of replacing subverters with champions? So how does this subverter go from subverter to champion? Is it reasonable to think that this is possible?
I think 90% of the time plus, it’s more of a communication issue. Because reality is we’re all crappy psychics. But if somebody can say, hey, if they can define this is what my dream is, this is where I want to go with this, and they can be clear on the expectations around why they want to do it, and how they want to test it and where they want to start creating a plan to achieve it. And they can talk to their spouse or their partner and say, hey, this is what I’m dreaming about, and this is why it’s really important to me. And I’d love for you to be able to help me with this.
It’s the kind of thing where if you weren’t going to say, all right, if you were going to tell your wife, okay, you know what, I did this new thing, I have a life-changing goal, I want to live in an ashram, here’s the keys, I’ll be back in a year, see you, honey, you are going to have nothing but saboteur all over the place. But if you say, hey, honey, look, I’m kind of into this idea, I think it’s something that’s important to me, I’m going to explore it, and I’m thinking maybe in a year or two, I’d like to be able to go over for a month or two to live in this space. But I want to understand where you’re at and how you feel about it.
And what do you need to know to feel comfortable? And what are the process? And what do you need to know for me? But then we’re creating somebody who’s going to help us, champion us in achieving that, rather than going, no, just disregarding it. I worked with an entire leadership team and did life on your terms recently. And one of the people said, well, my wife and I would really like to live in Italy for a month. And they looked over at the owner sideways and they’re like, huh, what do we need to do to make that happen within the next two years? You know, it’s not gonna happen now, but you’re gonna have to get your team built up.
We’re going to have to raise our revenue to here. You’re going to have to have it to where you’re completely comfortable because when you’re there, I don’t want you having to answer the phone. But it’s that kind of thinking where we have the communication on why it’s important. And in that particular case, you’ve just guaranteed you’ve got a rock star employee for at least two or three years, which you look at the retention ability of those things and helping people champion what are their goals and how they want to achieve it.
So I love how this concept can be applied not just to your personal life but also your business life because you can then look at your employees and try to understand what they are trying to achieve, what is their extraordinary life-changing goal is, and then how can you actually enlist them or enlist yourself to be the partner in that while in return have them help you achieve the goals of your business?
Yeah, I worked with a construction group a week ago and 20% of their population are legal immigrants. And they just set a new one that said, we’re gonna help anybody that wants to buy a home, buy a home, we’ll match up to $20,000. Anything you can save over the first eight, seven years, up to 20 grand, we’ll match it, provided you also do these credit things and these other pieces. And we’ll help you find the realtor and the whole nine yards. And that’s for somebody who makes $20 an hour. But you think about the retention value of somebody like that, the growth value of somebody like that. It’s off the charts. So helping people identify what are their dreams and then how can we empower them doesn’t mean that we’re not gonna benefit as well. A lot of times we do, but it’s creating that communication and really embracing a spirit of curiosity. Help me understand what you’re looking for and how can I be of service?Helping people identify what are their dreams and then how can we empower them doesn't mean that we're not gonna benefit as well. A lot of times we do, but it's creating that communication and really embracing a spirit of curiosity. Click To Tweet
That’s awesome. So Kris, I have a couple of questions about this program, the Life on Your Terms. So first of all, who is the target market for Life on Your Terms? Who are the people that would benefit the most from doing this work with you or themselves? And secondly, how can people access this and how can they even figure out what the first step is? Is there a way they can contact you or they can download something to learn more about it?
Well, thank you so much for teeing that up. That the ideal people are people who are in points of transition in their life. I’ve worked with college students that are getting ready to go out of school. I’ve worked with people with health scares, people who are in a business transition. The majority of the people I work with are my tribe, which are business owners. 55 business owners starting to look at an empty nest. That to me is my total no-brainer, but I have other coaches that focus in different areas depending on where somebody’s at. And the best way to reach us is start with that balance wheel. Again, it’s at www.lifeon-yourterms.com and you go down, I think it’s about three quarters of the way down the first page, but it’s called the balance wheel. Click on that, it’ll give you immediate results. It’ll get the juices turning and thinking. And you’re always welcome to reach out to us and contact there. Or feel free to connect on LinkedIn as well.
Fantastic. So Kristopher Kluver, the CEO founder and founder of Life on Your Terms. So definitely check out the balance wheel, lifeon-yourterms.com. Download it, check it out where you are and reach out to Kris. Kris, thank you very much for coming to the show and sharing your wisdom and your framework as well. I look forward to see you around in the circles of the Pinnacle Business Guides. And for those of you listening in, stay tuned. We’ll have another exciting entrepreneur with an exciting framework coming up very soon next few days. Have a great day. Thank you, Kris.
Right on. Thank you so much, Steve.