Growing Leaders at Home and in Business with Zach Thomas

US Army Ranger gets launched 50 feet in an accident, then goes on to living an amazing life of abundance like few others have. You can do the same, with or without the tragic accident.

Meet our Feature Guest

Today’s guest is Zach Thomas. He is an entrepreneur, published author, coach and speaker. As a West Point graduate, Zach served his country as an Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer before launching multiple successful companies. Today, Zach is the owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A franchise in Rockmart, Georgia. His Leader Farming strategy – Growing Leaders to Grow your Business – has resulted in top 20% performance metrics and the development of multiple Chick-fil-A franchisees from his restaurant. A self-proclaimed “Lean 6 Ninja,” Zach has cultivated a culture of continuous improvement in his organization. His pioneering efforts have led him to serve on the Lean Operator panel for Chick-fil-A, Inc. and co-create the Lean365 program that helps other franchisees build a culture of empowerment, engagement, and excellence. He’s been featured in Newsweek and on Good Morning America, and is here today to share what he’s learned along his journey.

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Transcript
Zach Thomas:

In this example, I talk about my leadership transition and for me, I was literally walking across the street one day and it was a new road that had opened up and I was hit by, I was a pedestrian and I was hit by a car going about 35 miles an hour. And I was thrown up into the air. I came down and landed head first on the windshield and was projected about 50 feet forward. And I hit the curb. So I had three impacts the front of the car, the windshield, and then the curb. And. I don't remember that at all.

Narrator:

Welcome to men of abundance, the podcast for those looking to level up their lives, by hanging out with some of the greatest leaders and established professionals in our community, living a life of integrity honor, and the abundance mentality repair to pay it forward with your host, former army medic turned lifestyle entrepreneur, Wally Carmichael.

Wally Carmichael:

What's up, what's up men of abundance. I am Wally Carmichael, your founder and host of the men of abundance podcast. The pay it forward community proving to you that you can in fact, live a life of abundance and family, faith, finances, and fitness. And in my mind, quite frankly, you have a responsibility to live a life of abundance. Being successful is great. I love it. Living a life of success as I have been for several years now. Is very liberating. One of the, this is a conversation that comes up quite often in my circles. I see it all the time on social media and it is, you know, what is your definition of success or how does a man know he's successful? How does a woman knows she's successful? How does anybody know they're successful? Or if you're asking that question, you're probably not successful because you have not yet defined what success means to you as a person, as an individual. And, and until you define what success means to you, you will not be successful. That's just my personal opinion on it. That's how I've lived my life. And again, being successful is great, but living a life of abundance is taking it to the next level you see, in my mind being successful as personal it's about you. It's about your own little circle of influence, your tiny little circle of influence, usually yourself and your family and maybe your business. Living a life of abundance means taking that success and sharing your resources with others, sharing your time, your treasures and your talents. Because in my mind, if you're successful, then you have time. You have treasures and you have multiple talents. And if you are sharing that with others in your community, with your family, with others around the world, Then you are an abundant leader. You're living a life of abundance because you're paying it forward. And that to me is what living a life of abundance is about, is taking that success and paying it forward to others. Rather you're getting paid for it or not. Some will say, well, you should, you know, give your time treasures and talents away. I don't entirely agree with that. You shouldn't give some of your time churches and talents away. There's no doubt about it. When you want something give of that and you will receive, that's just been my experience. However, we all have to make a living and we deserve. Do compensation for paying it forward and sharing your time and talents with others. And I'm telling you right now, our feature guests today is a true abundant leader and very successful and truly paying it forward to others in a huge way. Now, before we get into that conversation, I want to give you the opportunity to be abundant in your actions today, by paying it forward to others, share men of abundance with others, get creative about it. You can have so much fun by sharing with others, and you never know who you're going to impact by sharing men of abundance on your social media. Take a picture of your phone, take a screenshot of your phone and post it onto social media. Hashtag men of abundance, make sure you tag me in it as well, so that I can reach out and thank you for it and make a comment, check out what you're doing. I would love to do that and take just a few minutes to jump over to iTunes, leave a rating and review, or at least leave a rating and review on whatever podcast player it is that you're listening to this on. Even if you're listening to it on YouTube in case you didn't know this podcast, when it gets posted out, it gets posted. Pretty much everywhere. YouTube is one and you can listen to YouTube. Now I says, I say, listen to YouTube. Most of the time when I'm I'm on YouTube, quite a bit, there's a lot of information we're getting into the RV lifestyle. So I'm studying a lot of stuff about full-time RV years, part-time RV years, different types of rigs and all that kind of stuff. Most of the time, I'm not even watching the video. I turn it on. Shut my phone off, the audio stays on and it's in my pocket or I'm driving down the street and I'm listening to OD to videos. So YouTube is a very popular place to go and listen to these podcasts and get information that you need. So I just do that out there because that's one way that I consume content, but get creative on it and have fun with it and share these conversations with other people and go and comment. On the YouTube channel, going comment in the Facebook group. And by the way, if you're not hanging out with us on Facebook, men of abundance has a Facebook group, as well as a Facebook page, just search men of abundance and it'll pop up, go ahead and like the page and request access to the men of abundance Facebook group. So we can continue these conversations over there. Our featured guest today is Zach Thomas is an entrepreneur published author, coach and speaker as a West point graduate, Zach served his country as an airborne ranger infantry officer before launching multiple successful companies. Today. Zach is an owner operator of a Chick-fil-A franchise in Rockmart, Georgia, his leader, farming strategy, growing leaders to grow your business has resulted in top 20% performance metrics and the development of multiple Chick-fil-A franchises from his restaurant, a self-proclaimed lean six Ninja Zack has cultivated a culture of continuous improvement in his organization. His pioneering efforts have led him to serve on the lead operation panel for Chick-fil-A incorporated. And co-create the lean three 65 program that helps other franchisees build a culture of empowerment, engagement, and excellence. He's been featured in Newsweek and on good morning America. And is here today to share what he's learned along his journey. Men of abundance. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Zach Thomas, Zach, welcome to men of abundance, brother. How you doing?

Zach Thomas:

I'm great, Wally. Thanks for having me on the show.

Wally Carmichael:

Oh my pleasure, man. I'd like to start out with an attitude of gratitude. What do you have to be grateful for today?

Zach Thomas:

Well, honestly, I'm, I'm grateful for a lot of things. I'm grateful for my family most right now. You know, we're I'm sure we'll get into talking about this, but we are in an unprecedented time in history and, you know, I have been able to spend a lot more time with my family than I am used to spending with my family. So as a result, I'm incredibly grateful with the time that I'm getting to spend with my seven kids and my wife.

Wally Carmichael:

Well, seven kids. You threw me back on that one. I've got three in one of them, some right now. So the other two were out doing their own thing. They're all, they're grown kids now. So grown, man, I guess I should say. Yeah, my,

Zach Thomas:

my oldest is 15 and my youngest is 10 months.

Wally Carmichael:

My goodness gracious. Wow. Good for you. Thanks. Where are you at in the world?

Zach Thomas:

So I'm in Rockmart, Georgia. It's about an hour Northwest of Atlanta. And I I actually, my, my business is here in Rockmart. I'm a Chick-fil-A franchisee have have a restaurant here. My home is in Cedartown, which is a neighboring town and we're about five minutes from the Alabama line. So we are right on the Georgia Alabama line.

Wally Carmichael:

Very cool. Very interesting. You know, it's interesting how things happen because I had heard your conversation. I had heard your story on somebody else's podcast. It was a military based podcast. If I'm not mistaken. Okay. And then interview valet introduced you to me. I was like, I need to have a conversation with this guy. And then all of a sudden I'd get a message from interview valet that says, Hey, you got to have a conversation with this guy. And I said, yes. As a matter of fact, I do. That's great. Yeah. I think that was the case if I remember right. But anyhow, Yeah, it's good to have you on man. And I'm looking forward to getting into all of that because you have an amazing story in that regard, which I absolutely love. I totally geek out on leadership and especially when it has to do with business and, you know, you're, we have a similar background. I was in, I was an army medic for 25 years, 82nd airborne division, special ops, all that cool stuff. And you have a similar background. In that regard as well, but man, that's absolutely amazing. And I've been out to the Atlanta area. I like it out there, obviously airborne school. And where's it at? I know it's in Georgia. I forget the name Fort Benning. What does it Columbus? I think it is Columbus. And then Atlanta, I spent some time in as well, which is really cool. Back when I was at, in El Paso, Texas, we used to go check on our war trace units. And the reserve units and the reserve conferences always in that land every year. So I got to go down and hang out down there for a week with all those cats, which was a good time. But, you know, we talked a little bit about what you're doing professionally here, before we got started, but here are men of abundance. We like to get to know the man behind the abundance. So if you would, how would you describe it?

Zach Thomas:

Well, I am more than anything. I'm a man of faith. I am. I like to say that I'm a, I'm a follower of Jesus without all the BS. So, you can interpret that however you want. But that's my you know, that's, that's what I say when I talk about my faith. I don't, you know, ascribe to a lot of religious things, but I'm a devout follower of Jesus. So that's, that's most important. Secondly, I'm a family man obviously with seven kids and I met my, my wife, my high school sweetheart. I was 15 and she was 13 when we met, we've been married over 20 years. And we live on a family farm. My grandfather established in 1957 raising the kids on the farm. I'm a homeschool dad. We, we do homeschool. Our family. One of the primary reasons is because we want to be able to spend more time together. And secondly, I want my kids to to be able to think like entrepreneurs. Now they may go to school and, and get jobs, but. You know, they're, they're being raised in a an environment and a culture where after a couple of weeks we may see unemployment, you know, go through the roof and realize that having a job is not always as secure as it sounds. And so I want to raise my kids to be entrepreneurs, thinkers, even if they do decide to go out in the workforce and get a job. I am an entrepreneur at heart. I have even though I served in the military for 10 and a half years, I've always been an entrepreneur thinker and in the way that I, that I just handle myself and, and my life is very entrepreneurial. And so I think that that pretty much sums it up. I'm a business businessman. I love my people. And, and the thing that I love honestly, most about business is the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives and and you know, through business and to be able to, to steward the lives of those that. That I feel God has entrusted to my care as there as there. I don't like using the word boss, but you know, some of them refer to me as their, their good boss. And so that's that's me.

Wally Carmichael:

No, I dig it. It's absolutely amazing. And I'm just reflecting back on, you know, What you're talking about now and what I heard you talking about before as well, I'm real excited to get into this conversation, man. You know, one of the things I don't really like to get into the military side of this, but I'm really interested in what was your transition like? Because, well, actually before we get into that, one of the thought processes I was having is I wanted to have a conversation with you about was I love that you're raising your kids to have an entrepreneurial thought process. And a mindset because I've heard this term called intrepreneur, which is basically an entrepreneur mindset that works for somebody else. They make the best employees. I mean, they're the ones that if the boss allows it to happen, if they're a smart, Leader then they will allow their, their staff and their employees and their team to come up with innovative ideas because they're the ones that ground-level doing the work. Right. And, you know, so I just think it's amazing to have an entrepreneur mindset and an entrepreneurial mindset, even if you're working for somebody else. And then obviously. I've been screaming at the top of my lungs for many, many years, to have some sort of a side hustle, have something you can fall back on because who could have called this a Corona virus, a virus taking out the entire world. I mean, I would say things like a family member gets ill and you have to take care of them or you get laid off or something happens to your health or something like that. Who could have never called this one, but you just never know. Right. Right.

Zach Thomas:

Absolutely. Yeah. So yeah, that's, that's kind of where we're at right now. In fact, I'm, I've got a couple of business ideas in my head that I'm planning on working through with my kids and we're. We're very much into you know, homeopathic type remedies and things like that. And so we're using this as an opportunity to, now that we got a lot of time together to study and learn. And, and so my kids are you know, learning how to make herbal remedies and things like that. And it, it may end up turning into a business. I have no idea, but just that thought process of taking them through that. And, and looking at whether, you know, it's something that they want to pursue and take a little further and help other people learn how to do the same thing.

Wally Carmichael:

Yeah. Yeah. And that's an education that is absolutely priceless. If any education was process it's that to be able to have that and specifically to be able to have that from their dad, a parent that can, that's got such experience in this area that they can, you can continue to mentor them. And in that regard, so good on you, man. That's absolutely amazing. So now when you were transitioning out of the military was it, did you initially pursue the idea of entrepreneurship or w w what were your, what were your plans with that?

Zach Thomas:

Yeah. So the, the short version of the story was I left active duty army to pursue the chaplain candidate program. And I was, I was planning on going back in the army as a chaplain, after I left active duty. I was going to go to seminary. I, I did, I did go to seminary. And of course for those that no, some, some people do most people don't, but you know, the military will pay for a doctor to go to medical school and a lawyer to go to law school, but we'll not pay for a chaplain to go to chaplain school or seminary. And so. It was somewhat out of necessity and need that. I needed to figure out a way to supplement my income while I was in the chaplain candidate program. So I was working at a church as a college and singles pastor, but I thought about my just desire to one day, be an entrepreneur. And I had some ideas. I literally had a filing cabinet with a folder in it. It just was labeled ideas. And so I w I remember going back to that folder and pulling out this, this idea that I had to create a hyper caffeinated coffee company. And I, I'll never forget when the idea came to me. I was sitting in an aircraft hanger getting ready to jump out of a, of an airplane. We had been I was in the ranger community. And infantry community, but then at the ranger school was a ranger instructor and we'd been planning the operation all day and it was a training mission and we've been you know, just, just working on it all day long and drinking a lot of coffee. And then, you know, it's eight or nine o'clock at night. We're sitting in an aircraft hanger getting ready to go jump out of an airplane. And I had to pee really bad and I thought, man, you know, If I could get more caffeine and one cup of coffee, I wouldn't have to pee as much. And so that was kind of the inception of the idea behind ranger coffee company. And we created a, I had a friend of a friend who roasted coffee and I went to him with my idea and we came up with a way to infuse additional caffeine into the roasting process. And we created a hyper caffeinated blended coffee, and we ended up it was, it was, you know, right after nine 11. And people were deployed all over the world. And so we ended up sending coffee and selling coffee all over the world and Newsweek magazine somehow found out about us and did a featured article on us. And then right after that, we got a phone call from good morning America. They came to my house and did this This segment and it just kind of exploded from there. And he, you know, here it is, it's like the entire company is me and my wife and we had subcontracted the majority of the workout. I had a roaster that was doing all that work for me. And but we were, you know, the advertisers and the fulfillment and everything else. And so we were staying up till two, three o'clock in the morning, shipping coffee, all over the world and. You know, I, I loved being an entrepreneur and being in business for myself, but what really was tough was being in business by myself. And, you know, we were at the we, we didn't know it at the time, but kind of at the beginning of a global or a finance, not necessarily global at the time, a United States meltdown in 2008. It's weird. You know, now we have to define the financial crisis of 2008 and there'll be a financial crisis of 2020. But but you know, it was the financial crisis of 2008 and. People stop buying expensive coffee. And at the time I was working for a ministry called life impact. We'd transitioned up to North Georgia and I'd taken a role as operations officer for life impact ministries and that our funding dried up as a result of that financial crisis. And, and then that's when I started looking for other opportunities and ran across the Chick-fil-A franchise opportunity. And got selected to, to open or actually take over an existing restaurant in Atlanta. And so that, that's really kinda how I got where I am today and the whole entrepreneur journey, and then have done some other things along the way. But but that's the short version of the

Wally Carmichael:

story, man. I want to get into the, the whole, Chick-fil-A how you ended up with the franchise, because I know that's not an easy task with most franchise, but specifically with Chick-fil-A because I happen to know that they're very selective about who they bring on as franchisees, but before we do that, one of the things I'd like to get into is a kick in the gut moment. And I know you mentioned a few things there that could certainly qualify, but if you would share with us a kick in the gut moment, And normally make us fill that, then we're going to unpack that a little bit more.

Zach Thomas:

Yeah. So I've had a couple of, I've had some, some kicks in the guts and kicks in the groin too. So yeah. You know, the I would say probably one of the, the biggest kicks in the gut was after I became a Chick-fil-A franchisee, I was in my restaurant and this, this in this. Example, I talk about my leadership transition and for me, I was literally walking across the street one day and it was a new road that had opened up and I was hit by, I was a pedestrian and I was hit by a car going about 35 miles an hour. And I was thrown up into the air. I came down and landed head first on the windshield and was projected about 50 feet forward. And I hit the curb. So I had three impacts the front of the car, the windshield, and then the curb. And I don't remember that at all because I had a pretty significant concussion, but I do remember the days following that. And a lot of things going through my mind in terms of, you know, what is really important in life and what really matters. And so prior to that, I had really drawn on my military experience and my background as a military leader and being a ranger. And if you imagine this, this pendulum. That my, you know, let's say so on the, on the left side of the pendulum was my military leadership style where, you know, if you just put the fear of fear of God and people as a ranger instructor, you make someone cry for your mother. That's a good day. Right. And so, you know, so fear-based leadership and then. As I mentioned, I left active duty army to go in the chaplain candidate program and pursue ministry. And I was a college and singles pastor. And so in that transition, I swung the pendulum all the way over to the other side, to the say the right side. And I became somewhat of a passive leader. And I just developed this philosophy that if you just love everybody enough, they'll do it the right thing. And so as a, as a Chick-fil-A operator, I'd been an operator for a little over two years. At the point I got hit by a car and it was a, it was a struggling restaurant. And believe it or not. I mean, everybody thinks it all Chick-fil-As are just, you know, crazy, booming. And I was a low, this restaurant that I took over was the lowest volume freestanding restaurant in the state of Georgia. And it for various reasons, but it had had some significant financial challenges. And I did the math one time. I was working 80, 90, a hundred hours a week and I was making after everything was said and done, I was making a dollar 50 an hour. And it was, it was pretty rough financially. And it was rough on me personally and my family. And I would. I would oscillate back and forth. This pendulum would swing back and forth between what kind of leader I was. Was it the moment. And when I feel like I was getting taken advantage of financially, I would, I would swing the pendulum all the way back up to the draconian side of, you know, military leadership. Not, not that all military leaders are bad, but just that I think we got some, there's some great military leaders out there, but just in terms of, of draconian command and control style leadership, I would default back to when I got frustrated or angry and felt like somebody was taking advantage of me, but then I would realize like, I don't want to be that person. So then I would swing the pendulum all the way over to the, to the right side and become somewhat passive in my leadership approach. And then, you know, so my team was experiencing this Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde type leadership and. I'll never forget. I overheard one of my team members one day say, I wonder which Zack we're going to get today. And it was, it was kind of an eye-opening moment for me. And after the accident, which occurred shortly after that I really spent a lot of time, you know, thinking about life and what really mattered and what was most important and, and and made some pretty big decisions. On my own personal leadership journey and how I was going to lead going forward and found a balanced leadership approach that was able to. Have freedom, but within boundaries and really help people grow and become the best version of themselves. And not, I unpack that a lot more in my book leader farming, but but that was really the big moment. And that's really when I actually started writing my book was because, you know, I wanted to tell people about that, that journey that I think so many people struggle with. And so that was, that was probably my biggest gut punch.

Wally Carmichael:

Yeah, no, that's a big one. That is definitely a big one. I mean, I think back on the leadership that I had coming up throughout my time in the military and, you know, everybody watches the movies and to anybody out there who's never been associated with the military. They'd just look at everybody like major pain or something like that. Every leader in this night, you got the gamut all the way across the board. I've I've personally had that. And I've been that I've been exactly where you're talking about the leaders that. You know, it constantly berate us and everybody else and curse and the whole bit, I just honestly didn't have any respect for them. And quite frankly, those are the ones that seem to not really know their job very well. They just knew how to yell and carry on it and stuff. But others that really knew what they were doing, the same thing. But again, It seemed like a lot of guys fall into that hole. They're trying to find themselves if you will, as they're coming up in the military, because many people in the military I believe are put into leadership positions that either don't want to be there or, and, or aren't ready for it. So they, they have to find themselves in that regard. So, you know, good on you for being able to make that, you know, Probably one of the blessings you had out of that whole bit was overhearing one of your employees say that and then having the time to unfortunately lay in bed and, you know, recover and be able to you know, think back on some of the other things that you've learned through seminary through following Jesus and the other leaders that you've dealt with over the years. So I'm sure all of that made a big impact. Absolutely. I want to back up and I'm going to uncover kind of discover how it is that you changed over from, you know, what you're doing with your, your mission as a, in a seminary and working with the other organization. And then you ended up getting the opportunity to be a franchisee for Chick-fil-A. How did that all come about? Well,

Zach Thomas:

So my, one of my first jobs as the operations officer of life impact ministries was to meet my CEO and president at 5,200 Buffington road, which is Chick-fil-A corporate headquarters in Atlanta. And I'll never forget, like he just said, Hey, meet me here. I didn't even really know for sure where I was going, but he said, meet me here. We're going to do a thing called it's called wisdom hunters. It was a. Kind of what we'd call today as a mastermind group, but it was in person and it was a group of CEOs and business leaders, round table type thing. And and we would, we met there and my job that day was literally just to be the PowerPoint clicker and the paper hand or out, or that day. And I I'll never forget. We were, at the end of the day, we were getting on the elevator, getting ready to go up to the true its office. And a lady steps on the elevator as our group was, was already on there. And she was smiling and I looked at her and I said, is, is everybody here? Always this happy? And she said, yeah, pretty much. It's kind of like Disney world. Of course, everybody in the elevator last. And I look at my brand new boss, Andy, and I said, Hey, if this doesn't work out, I'm going to work for Chick-fil-A. And of course, everybody laughed again. And so fast forward, that was in may of 2007. We'll fast forward to December of 2007. And of course we know the stock market crashed and real estate bubble burst and all of that. And I found myself sitting in my basement, my head on my desk, you know, just. Praying and asking God, okay, well, what's next? And I just remember not necessarily an audible voice, but just hearing a voice say, well, you know, you said, if this doesn't work out, you were going to work with Chick-fil-A and I'd read Truett's book and just loved his philosophies and leadership and his story. And so. I not knowing any better. I mean, just really in, in honestly in ignorance, I was like, okay, well, I'm just going to fill out an application and, you know, become a franchisee. So I did, I went to Chick-fil-A dot com and pull it up and just apply to apply, to be an operator. And things went really quick. It was, and I tell people this all the time, they asked me, you know, for advice that are applying to be operators and. And my advice is always this it's, if it's, this is what God wants you to do, you'll get selected because it's 30 times harder than getting into Harvard is what the latest statistic is in terms of becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee. So my, my thing is like, I can't explain it other than this is just what God wanted me to do. And so. I put in my application process really quick. And I got selected to take over an existing unit in the Atlanta area back in, in 2008. And I took over in August of 2008, ran that unit for nine years to the day. In fact, the, the location was Macklin crossing in Marietta, Georgia, and it was, it was referred to as the, the re the dud store. Some people called it the dud store. Some people called it, the, the store that chewed operators up and spit them out because I was the fourth operator in less than 10 years. And I made the statement. When I, when I took over, I said, I'm gonna, I'm gonna stay here. And my plan was always, my goal was to relocate and open a restaurant in my hometown, which is where I am now. And I had no idea exactly when, you know, Chick-fil-A would build one here, but I, I, I said, well, I'm gonna, I'm gonna stay here longer than any other previous operator. And it's, it's amazing that I stayed nine years to the day, which is the sum total of all previous operators combined. And and so I, I took that store and grew it from. We, we were, like I said, the lowest volume freestanding restaurant in the state of Georgia and we more than doubled the sales and the time that I was there and became a, an, an average, just above average freestanding Chick-fil-A and just through really just developing people. And we did have a, a road, like I said, that opened up that really helped the traffic flow. And unfortunately I got hit walking across it. No,

Wally Carmichael:

but there's a blessing and a curse. It was goodness. That's crazy. So, yeah, it's, it's very interesting. Chick-fil-A has always been, I've always been a fan since, you know, long as I can remember back when they opened up in the malls and Phoenix And then I lived in Hawaii for 10 years and we didn't have a Chick-fil-A there, which was really upsetting. Paradise has, does not have a Chick-fil-A ladies and gentlemen or all of garden for that matter. Anyhow, that's a whole different conversation, but what an amazing, just an amazing story. This is guys, this is, has a lot to do with. You know, the right place, the right time. And, you know, gumption and preparation is there's just so much going on here that a lot you to get, get that up opportunity. You know, I mean the meeting at the location, you know, just insurance and by the way, those of you who are wondering who's true at Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A was he actually in the office? Was he still there at that time? He was there that

Zach Thomas:

day? Yes, absolutely. In fact, he was in the office all the way up until a couple of weeks before he passed away. He was he was there a couple of days a week. And, and I've met him on multiple occasions and he was just phenomenal, man. My greatest memory of true. It was getting to go to his house. A friend of mine was really close to him and he called me up one day and said, Hey, do you want to. I'm gonna ride down the truths house on our motorcycles. And I was absolutely. And so my dad and I both have Harleys and we jumped on our bikes and met up with Kurt and we drove down to Truett's house and just spent the whole afternoon sitting on his back porch, talking to him. He took us around, showed us all of his old cars and his, he had a bunch of car, a cut bunch of barns, full of old classic cars and true. It was not a. He did not collect cars for the sake of like, you know, really expensive trophy cars. He got into that by an opportunity that he had to help someone. And if I understand this correctly from the guy that that really helped them a lot with the cars, he told me the very first car he ever bought was from a lady that called him up. Her husband had passed away and she wanted to sell his old classic car. In order to be able to send their son to college. And the way the story went was true. It being the, the negotiator that he was, he negotiated the, he got a great deal on the car. I mean, he, he negotiated the deal way down and got the best deal that he possibly could. And then after the deal was done, he, you know, he slid the check across the table for the. For the car. And he said, now how much is it going to cost to send your son to college? And she threw out this number and he said, well, here, this checks for the car, this checks for your son to go to college. And he paid for the kid's entire college. And, you know, it's like, he just, he had to get the deal on the car because he's, that was the kind of person that true. It was, he was a deal guy. And then, you know, Way more money than he saved in the deal. He gave her another check for the kids' entire college and just just a great story of, of Truett and the kind of man he was. And I'm very fortunate. I w when, when he passed away, they auctioned off a bunch of his cars and I was able to purchase one. And I just, there's so many memories from. You know, just that one day of getting to spend that time with Truett and, and seeing his cars and talking about his car. And so I've got a, I've got a 58 Corvette that belonged to true. And I get a ride in parades and we have our cow, you know, rides in the back of it sits on the back of the car with a top down like the prom queen, you know, waving at everybody. And it's just, it's it's such a, a blessing and an honor to be able to. To have that and share that with my community.

Wally Carmichael:

Yeah, for sure. Wow. What a blessing, what an that's just absolutely amazing story did not expect that. I appreciate that, man. That is so amazing. Well, brother, we are at the point, we're going to pay it forward to our abundant leaders. Ready to do that. Absolutely. Excellent. Share one to three actionable steps that men of abundance can take today.

Zach Thomas:

Yeah. So I just recently in, in the wake of this. Epidemic that we're dealing with pandemic. I I shared my thoughts with some leaders and I shared it on my social media platforms and everything. And so here's, here's my advice to all leaders out there first and foremost care for your community. And the people around you and demonstrate that you care by going above and beyond during this time of need. That's what we've done as a business. And we are continuing to do everything we can to, to help our community right now. Secondly communicate. With your, your team. And for me, I have almost a hundred team members, a hundred employees. And so communicate with them as often as possible with positive messaging to try to keep them You know, out of this, this fear of the unknown. And so we have an every other night we have a conference call on zoom where I just kind of share, keeping them informed as to what's going on and what we're doing and what the plan is and how I plan on taking care of them is as long as I possibly can. And then thirdly, be willing to take a financial hit. Even if it, if it digs into your overall wealth and your long-term wellbeing, like I'm going to do everything that I can in my, my financial means to take care of every single person that works for me for as long as I possibly can, even if it destroys my, my my longterm wealth. And I know that sounds crazy, but. I'm gonna, I'm just going to take care of people. I've told them time over and over again. And every other call that you know, I don't know what the future holds, but if you have a need, you call me and I will do everything that I can to take care of it. And so, that's my challenge to leaders, you know, in times of crisis. And as you understand Wally, from being in the military, You know, when, when the poop hits the fan, as we used to say it it's, it's when true leadership has to rise to the occasion and, and that's the day and the hour that we've found ourselves in as leaders, are we going to step up and lead in a time when leadership is needed? Most.

Wally Carmichael:

Yeah, no, I totally agree. Now is not the time. One of the headlines that I'm putting out there is now is not the time to be greedy. We really have to, and I'm in the process of doing some stuff for my community as well. So thank you for doing that for sure. What rituals make the biggest impact in your life?

Zach Thomas:

So. I have recently become a proponent of some, some habits and rituals that have really, really helped me. So first and foremost, this is kind of how my, I can just explain it and how my day goes. So I get up. First thing I do when I get up out of. The bed in the morning is I stretch. I spent about 15 minutes stretching now I'm 42 years old now. And I spent a lot of I went down a lot of hard roads in the military as an airborne ranger. So my knees and back and joints are not the norm for a 42 year old, but I have to I do that helps me really kind of get moving in the morning and really helps me start my day. Off well, so after I stretch, I I go spend some, some quiet time. I have several different things that I read. I, I read a proverb proverb of the day corresponds with the date. So, you know, today is what the 2024. So I read Proverbs 24 today, or is it the 23rd? You know, and And then I have a couple other devotions that I, that I read and I just, I spend time in prayer. I have a rocking chair on my front porch that I sit in and, and just spend time, not necessarily, you know, always just reading, but just time quiet and just listening in and praying and asking God for wisdom and direction for my life. And for those that are entrusted to my care. And then and then I exercise, I have daily exercise that I do. And I have yeah, you know, I have my routines of, I have this, this power shake that I make every morning. That's full of all kinds of crazy nutrients and ingredients that really helps me stay healthy. I eat healthy. And then I, you know, I try to get a good amount of sleep. And then in the in-between you know, as a, as a leader, I I try to delegate everything that that I'm not good at doing. I have no shame in saying I I'm terrible at that. So, I will delegate those things that, that I'm terrible at and and really just do the things that I'm gifted to do, and that are most beneficial with use of my time. And so in my business, I feel like that the only thing that I can't really ever delegate is vision casting and encouragement because you know, for me as the business leader, I have to continuously cast vision over and over and over again, and then encouragement. I can, I can ask people to encourage others, but nothing. No encouragement is the same as encouragement coming from the owner or the business owner. And so, those is really the only two things that I can't ever fully delegate. And so I make those a priority in my daily work habits.

Wally Carmichael:

That's excellent. I absolutely loved that. Some of that stuff is so simple yet extremely powerful. When you're saying that you can't delegate, you know, the encouragement, I'm thinking of the, the businessman who senses assistant down to the baseball field to cheer his son on or something like that. It just doesn't go over very well. Very good point. What are you reading or listening to that you would recommend to our abundant leaders and why?

Zach Thomas:

So right now, I am reading a book called get your life back by John Eldridge. John is with ransom, heart ministries, and many men have probably heard of wild at heart. He wrote a book recently, his latest book is called get your life back. And it has been an absolute. Breath of fresh air and really, really helpful in what he calls graces, developing, you know, graces that help us. You know, get our life back in the grueling pace of life that we've been living now, everyone has, you know, has come to a pretty much a screeching halt right now. But you know, I'm sure that in time we will forget and we will go back to living a life of, of craziness. And so. You know, this is, it's just been very helpful for me to me. And it, it would be great to develop some of these these, these habits that really help us nurture our soul and take care of our, our weary and worn out souls and in this busy, crazy. World that we live in today. And so that's been really good for me. I'm almost done with that book and of course I'm not necessarily reading it because I wrote it, but leader farming it's several people have come back to me very recently and said, Zach, you know what you said in there about seasonal growth mindset and about this idea that. You know, God created the seasons for a reason. And that spring, summer, fall, and winter all have their purpose. And I think that we, as a nation have been living in a perpetual harvest season for so long, we just didn't really see winter coming. And so, you know, as a farmer does, like, what do you do in winter? And rather than like, just balling up and being depressed about it and frustrated that, you know, the markets have crashed and, and the economy is gonna be sluggish for a while. You know, what do you do? What do you do in winter? You know, there's opportunity to begin to ask questions, you know, spring currently outside right now, it's spring. But if a few months ago, or a few weeks ago, I could literally look outside and see that the trees. We're bear. And from a onlookers perspective, you would say, you know, those trees are dead, but they're not, they're just dormant. And there's things going on underneath the surface. The root structure is deepening. There are things that are happening that are creating a more. Nourishment and nutrient, like, you know, the leaves that fell off the trees in the fall, fell to the ground and died and decayed and produce nutrients for future growth. And so we're in a season where we can say, okay, what is it that that was part of my life pre COVID-19 that needs to fall to the ground and die and decay to provide nutrients for future growth. And, and during this time of dormancy and potentially not externally looking like. Growth, what can I do to deepen in my root structure and prepare myself to weather, future storms and future winners. And so that's what I've really challenged folks that have been following me and leader farming over the years is that, and they they've really seen that seasonal growth mindset come to life in the last couple of weeks. And so. I would, I'd love to share that with your listeners as well. All right.

Wally Carmichael:

Great. I appreciate that because the answer to that is different for pretty much everybody, but guys, you have to explore that question and I highly encourage you to get ahold of Zach's book, liter farming so that you can. Get a little bit more insight. I'm guessing a lot more insight to help you make that decision. But because it's extremely important, it's just like out here in Florida. One of the things we prepare for on a regular is hurricane season, but nobody was prepared for this. And hurricane season, everybody buys up all the bread. I don't know why I still haven't figured that out, but this, during this pandemic, everybody bought up all the paper products and left all the hygiene products on the All the toothpaste and toothbrush and, you know, I think they're taking care of the wrong end, but anyway, that's a whole different conversation. But no, thanks for sharing that. That's a very, very good recommendations. And thanks for sharing that about your book as well. What do you feel holds most people back from living a life of true abundance?

Zach Thomas:

Well, you know, the opposite of abundance is scarcity and so. Usually it's a, it's a scarcity mindset. It's a I've got to take care of number one. You know, I've got to take care of, of myself and, and not put others first. And I think that's what tends to, you know, really hold people back. And when they finally realized that the abundant life and living with an abundance mindset, Saying that, you know, and realizing and understanding that there's, there's way more out there than any one person could ever consume. It's, it's a different mindset that takes you to a place where you're willing to give and just trust that it will come back and it will come back to sometimes threefold. And so, you know, I think it's that initial hurdle. Of worrying about being taken advantage of, or just taking care of number one that you've got to say, look, I'm gonna, I'm going to extend myself and be willing to give, even if I don't get anything in return, I'm willing to give and I'm willing to live an abundant life. And I think that you find that. Rewarding over time, you realize that life lived with an abundance mindset is so much more rewarding than living in scarcity and worrying about taking care of, of yourself.

Wally Carmichael:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I always find it interesting that the people that say. I don't do that because I always get taken advantage of, or something of that nature. And that's always been their mantra. Therefore they get taken advantage of yeah. It's self fulfilling prophecy. Yeah. You know, you just expect it, therefore it is. So what does being a man of abundance mean to use that.

Zach Thomas:

You know, for me, it's, you know, I, I, this is kind of my little spiel that I share with folks as I look back and think about life I've and I've been fortunate enough to be in this position where I've had to think about my life lived and not really knowing whether I was gonna continue to live. And so I've been put in this position more than most people my age, but I, I think about when I'm. You know, 85, 90 years old sitting on my front porch in my rocking chair. What am I going to be thinking about? It's not how much money's in my bank account because my kids will probably spend all that. Especially with seven of them. It's not. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. It's not what kind of car I drive because I probably won't even have a license at that point. And it's not, you know how big my house is because I may be living in a nursing home. It's going to be. And what did I do with a time, money and resources I was given to make a difference in people's lives. You know, that's really all that's going to matter. And so being a man of abundance is someone that, that says, you know what, I'm going to be a good steward of the time, money and resources I've been given and entrusted to make a difference in the lives of those who've come across my path. And who have been entrusted to my care.

Wally Carmichael:

Absolutely wonderful. I love it. Very good points as well. Whether we are going to close this up, absolutely amazing conversation. I greatly appreciate it. What did we not talk about that you want to ensure that our men of abundance gets out of this conversation and how can we get more of you?

Zach Thomas:

Oh, so well you can visit my website later. farming.com and I actually created a dedicated site for your listeners. It's leader, farming.com/men of abundance. And on that site they can learn a little bit more about me and there's a few cool offers for them as well. And yeah, as far as what we didn't talk about You know, I'm not really sure. I think we, we pretty much covered it all. I'm just grateful for the opportunity to be here and to share with your listeners and look forward to connecting with you again. And anyone else that's interested. They can definitely reach out to me on my website, liter farming.com. Oh,

Wally Carmichael:

absolutely. Man. I definitely look forward to keeping in touch with you and just. Connected with you on social media, a couple locations. So, make sure you Go ahead and take care of that as you see fit. Yes, sir. All right. So man, you know, we're going to get through this. All right. Everything's going to be okay. Have faith in our maker, Jesus Christ and God, and just pleasant go out and live your life of abundance and make sure to pay it forward because you are in fact making a huge difference, a huge impact. And I absolutely love it.

Zach Thomas:

Thank you so much while it's been an honor and privilege to be here.

Wally Carmichael:

Absolutely. Now it's time for you to take action. And if you are listening to this podcast, if you're listening to these conversations, chances are you want to be an abundant leader. So decide how you're going to do that. Decide how you're going to pay it forward. I suggest that you first sit down and take inventory of your skills. Take inventory of how much time you have throughout the day. Make the time. Put it on your calendar. If it's not on my calendar, it's not important to me. I've got everything on my calendar from conversations, with prospects, coaching sessions, with clients and family time. Yes. I'd put specific family time on my calendar at blocks off time so that nobody else can schedule during that time. And when somebody says, Hey, can you meet during this time? And it happens to be family time. The answer's no I'm booked during that time. If it's not on my calendar. It's not important to me. So it should be the same for you. That's my suggestion. Anyway, so take inventory of your time. Take inventory of your treasures and your talents and decide how you are going to pay it forward in your community. That is how you get on the journey of becoming an abundant leader. Like our guests today, Zach calmness now go out, live your life of abundance. And make sure to pay it forward.

Zach Thomas:

That's all for today. Abundance leaders for more about our guests and the powerful information we shared with you today. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list@menofabundance.com. We appreciate your time and look forward to hanging out with you on our next episode. So until then be sure to pay it forward and live your life of abundance.

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