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What I Learned From a 30-Minute Conversation I Thought I Would Never Have
Having it all. Living your dreams. Happiness--being who you really want to be. Having the good life. Is any of this possible? Absolutely! Check out what I learned from a conversation I thought I would never have. - photo by Danny Toney
Ron Carson released a book on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. The book is titled, "The Sustainable Edge." In the light of the book's release, Danny Toney interviewed Mr. Carson.

In 1983, Carson Wealth Management Group, founded and led by Ron Carson, began inspiring its clients to achieve true wealth. True wealth, as defined by Carson, is all that we have that money cant buy and that death cant take away. Today, Carson Wealth is one of the largest and most innovative wealth advisory firms in America, with $6 billion under advisement. Despite this amazing accomplishment, what makes Carson unique to me is the combination of the other successes in his life.

Carson is married, going on 30 years, to the love of his life, and they are blessed with three amazing children. As an experienced pilot, Carson flies himself around the country to speak and mentor thousands of financial advisers and entrepreneurs. In his spare time he writes New York Times best-selling books, enjoys hunting at his privately owned hunting lodge, cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and soaking in the wonders of life. When I think of having it all, I think of a life like Ron Carsons. How has he been able to achieve so much balanced success? That is what I want to share with you.

Within two minutes into our phone conversation, I could tell that Carson lives on a different plain than most people. His positive attitude, sincere kindness, epic vision and extreme focus on what is most important make him who he is. I used to wonder how in the world Carson is so successful. After our 30-minute phone conversation, I dont wonder anymore. I want to share with you the amazing highlights from our conversation because I want you to be happy, successful and experience true wealth.

Values, mission, vision

Carson swears by these three things: identify and live by your top values, discover your life mission, and have a vision for the future. Before I took Carsons advice (about four years ago), I often wondered if what I was doing with my day was actually getting me where I wanted to go. I was doing a lot of good things, but I just did not have confidence that I was living the life I really wanted to. An amazing thing happened when I buckled down and figure out my values, mission and vision my confidence and happiness increased seemingly overnight.

When you consciously know what is most important to you, have a specific purpose or mission that you strive toward, and envision what you want your future to be like, you will know how to spend each moment of the day. This is how you live a life by design, rather than default. This is how you reach the end of your life and say Im glad I did, not, I wish I had.

Of course, having these things in order will not eliminate difficulties or trials. However, they can help you stay the course. I asked Carson how he gets through tough times. His answer was simple but powerful. There is nothing that feels better than to cross something of significance off an important list that you know is connected to all of your goals. In addition Ill go back to [my values, mission and vision] and refocus. It is amazing how good I feel in a relatively short period of time.

Important habits

I am always curious to understand the habits of successful, happy people. Who we are is a direct result of what we do. Our habits are what we do. Carsons top three habits are sleep, eat healthy and exercise daily. Dr. James B. Maas, from Cornell University, whom Carson has hired multiple times to speak, teaches that the things that will drive your productivity, longevity and health are your diet, exercise and sleep habits. Sleep is two times more important than diet and exercise combined for both performance and longevity. It is simple most people do not get enough sleep. It can be difficult to rest when you are trying to accomplish important tasks, but remember that life is not a sprint. Sleep and rest are vitally important for sustainability.

Carson is also extremely regimented and takes time to ponder about spiritual things and the meaning of life. During our conversation, Carson brought up what he calls creative thinking time.

This is how he explains it: for every byte of conscious activity there are millions, perhaps billions of bytes of subconscious activity. We use our conscious mind when we are specifically focusing on a task. However, tapping into your subconscious mind is extremely important because your greatest ideas can come from this activity. Therefore, Carsons creative thinking time is structured to tap into his subconscious. So, what does Carsons creative thinking time look like? Almost always it is time by himself when he hikes, exercises or ponders. It is a time when he can relax and set aside the specifics of the day. It is a time when he can clear his mind and fill it with brilliant ideas. Give it a try.

The power of measuring

What gets measured gets done. If you really want to improve something in your life, then measure it. There is a reason why the fields of statistics and data analysis are growing exponentially. Numbers and results teach you about reality. An interesting thing about human beings is that we often incorrectly interpret reality, especially when it comes to ourselves.

Perhaps you are overconfident and think that you are better at certain things than you really are. On the other hand, perhaps you struggle with self-esteem and think that you are horrible at everything in life when you really are phenomenal at a few things. The beauty of measuring results is that you will understand what is really going on.

Measure what matters and identify both leading and lagging indicators. Leading indicators are things that you do to get results, like the number of sales calls you make. Lagging indicators are things that result from what you do, like the dollar amount of business you sold. As mentioned earlier, Carson is an experienced pilot. Measuring information and data are vital to maintaining safety and progress as he is flying. The same applies to business, family and personal endeavors.


"Dont have too big of a network that doesnt mean anything, Carson suggests. Having a great network requires you to be a great person and friend. People will not want to associate with you if you are always trying to use them. It is also important to realize that you have limited resources, time being one of the largest. Therefore, having a network that is smaller and extremely meaningful to you is vital. Also remember to dig your well before you are thirsty. Networking takes time because building relationships takes time. Dont be a person who networks like crazy only after you lose your job or are trying to get into an elite grad school. Network now, whether you have a direct need or not.

Innovation and relevance

Over the last 30 years, the financial advising industry has changed in many significant ways. Technology has been one of the largest disrupters. Carson Wealth is on the cutting edge of technology and innovation within the industry. I asked Carson how his firm has been able to do this. He said, My dad to this day is one of the most innovative farmers in the country. We were doing things well ahead of other people and many people told us it would not work. Carson would ask his dad why they were doing these things when everyone thought that they were foolish. His dad responded, My philosophy is, if it is not broken, break it.

Innovation is not a neat process. It requires experimentation and questioning. It often requires you to literally break things and tear processes apart. Carson does not look at failure as failure. He views failure as learning something. Thomas J. Watson said, If you want to double your success rate, double your failure rate. Carson wholeheartedly believes in that. There are people who will take months to research how to do something in hopes to never fail. This will not provide meaningful progress. Successful, happy people do things and take calculated risks.

Thank you for reading. My sincere hope is that my writing has helped you in some way. I wish you the best on your journey through life.