With all the responsibilities you have on your shoulders, you want to succeed and have financial security. You were taught to study hard, get a job, and then that’s life. But you have to hear another perspective about this. John Solleder talks with his co-author of Leave Nothing To Chance Foster Owusu about the concept behind firing your boss and hiring yourself. Foster discusses the paradigm shift and the power of your why, so you can accelerate and grow personally and professionally. Learn how to reach your goals and achieve financial independence.
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Foster Owusu: Fire Your Boss And Hire Yourself
It is a title that I think resonates with probably 100 out of 100 people. When you hear that title, it’s like, “Who doesn’t want to fire their boss?” Certainly, that’s something you and I did. I never had one and you had very few in your life but let’s talk about that. Foster, what inspired you to write this book?
That is a very good question to begin this interview because I was always fascinated by what I call generational wealth. This is something that I believe, with all due respect, traditional jobs are not able to offer that generational wealth. I have a lot of friends who are professionals. Sometimes I’ll look at a friend of mine who’s a dentist, who has invested years in his education, has an established practice but tomorrow, God forbid, if something happens to this gentleman and none of his kids is a dentist, that is the end of the business. There’s absolutely nothing to guarantee that his business will be pass on to another family member unless perhaps they sell it and cash in. I’ve always been fascinated about this generational wealth.
A good example would be without mentioning specific competence and all of that. In 2020 alone, the very first company that I started within this industry, although it has been gone since 2018, the co-founder of that company has been gone since 2018. Of course, his original partner left before him but when I say gone, he has left this planet. In 2020 alone, his business and the family business had revenue of $8.5 billion, John. I get fascinated about this type of business concept that, even after you’re gone, is to live on. I’ll tell you a quick story.
Many years ago, my wife and I were driving to Raleigh, North Carolina. Somewhere in the hills of Pennsylvania, she could tell that I was very quiet. You know me very well. When I’m quiet, you know that I’m thinking. She looked at me and said, “What’s going on? Is everything okay?” I said, “Yes,” but somehow, I am fascinated about people that are currently 6 feet under and yet the estate is still cashing millions of dollars. That is ingenuity. Whatever they did, whatever they came out with, a business model that is able to live beyond a person’s lifetime, again, I’m fascinated by this concept.
It’s great what you’re saying that what it brings to mind is something that Dr. Jim Collins talks about in Good to Great or Built to Last or probably both of them. You think of Walt Disney. Disney’s been gone a long time. That business has grown. You think of Walmart with Sam Walton. He’s been gone. I only remember this because he died the same day my father did, April 4th, 1992. He’s been gone for many years. The same thing, their business has grown because I think the concept you’re referring to is to be building a timepiece versus a watch. A watch wears out. A timepiece goes on forever. Big Ben in London is another example. Great versus great stuff. What was the main objective of the book?Traditional jobs are not able to offer that generational wealth. Click To Tweet
The main objective of the book is almost like something that you and I do on a daily basis. It’s like waking people up. You were talking about the watch, the clock. Being able to wake people up, for me, it’s almost like the notion of this thing we call job security. For me, it’s the thing of the past. You know I am an optimistic person so it’s not like I’m trying to be negative but it’s almost like people need to wake up. They need to understand that once upon a time when you and I, our parents, had traditional jobs. You are skilled at what you do and you’re not lazy. You are showing up on time. Play your part. You can retire. Nowadays, show me one job that if you are now the captain of your ship, there is a built-in contract that says your job is secure.
Give me one employment that has a guarantee statement that says, “Your job is secure,” then I will say there is job security but job security if you look at it, should be something that you have only a probable small chance of you losing it. Now, the mindedness is huge. If you can sleep knowing that there’s always something that could take that job away. It’s difficult to live in the present like that.
We’re living in unprecedented times, needless to say. Everybody who’s reading this interview has that same question. If they were in a position to read your book and to fire their boss now, what’s the most important chapter that they would read?
Let’s look at what you and I have done. At least 100 years from now, people would know that we were here. I’m looking at the title of my book, How to Fire Your Boss and Hire Yourself. It has an aggressive title for people that, for some reason, need to make this a plan-A by making this paradigm shift. Remember, the start, of course, is changing because what used to be is no longer what it is. Before it was, go to work, get a good education, get a job and you have your meal ticket. Nowadays, there’s no guarantee that that’s the way to go. For me, the best chapter, though, is the one that I call the power of your why. As much as I am enthusiastic about firing your boss, this is for a person who has a hunger. A built-in hunger. Something that you’re not going to be casual about.
For example, you teach this a lot. Our second book is there to guide people who are looking for a plan B. Those fifteen principles are powerful. You can’t fail but this particular book is for a person who needs to survive like yesterday. This is the aggressive one. You are going to fight the boss because you are willing to do whatever it takes. Now, the power of your why is the only thing that is going to keep you in the gate. If you don’t have a strong reason, the example that I use in this particular chapter, using the gazelle and the lion’s story, coming from Africa, from the West, being married to somebody from the East, I’ve had the opportunity to go on a safari many times.
I’m telling you when you watch a lion and a gazelle at play, when a gazelle wakes up, he knows he must run. When the lion wakes up, he knows he must run. Both of these animals have an emotional reason to keep running. You and I are so blessed that we live here in North America. We are not being chased by gazelles, trying to be on the loose and be chased by a lion. That’s not what it is. That is an extreme case. You and I have a responsibility to all families and to our country. The things that you always talk about are what keeps you up awake late at night thinking. Those things could be the lion. You’ve done extremely well. I admire that. There are a lot of people out there that if that extra $1,000 doesn’t come in this month, they are in trouble. That should be your lion.
I believe once you have an emotional reason, I’ll give you one good example of an emotional reason and you can relate to this. Imagine your kids and my kids are the age where they’re around their college years. Assuming that there’s no program to support them in their college education, that you are the sole provider of their college education. They have done everything they were supposed to do. They have good grades and all that. They’re ready to go to college. You look at your child straight in the eyes and say, “I’m sorry. You can’t go to that college,” and the child asks, “Why not?” “I’m sorry to tell you but there’s no money. We did not save enough towards that.” Imagine that emotion. That’s what I talk about having an emotional reason. Something that will cost you. If you are not able to succeed, what would be the emotional outcome? Most people like myself cannot live with that. Hopefully, I’ve made the case.
Let me ask you this. You’re a student still. I get into your car. When I come to see you in Toronto, you always have a new book to give me. You’re always reading. We established a long time ago that all readers are leaders. All leaders are readers. I think it’s synonymous. Why is it important to be a student?
Every student has to learn from somebody, either a teacher, a master or whoever. A good student needs to know that somebody who’s going to teach you has already been to where you want to go. Somebody who’s going to teach has already been to where you want to be. Number one, being mentored by somebody who has already done it, it’s going to save you what I call the two most important commodities, precious time and money. Being a student, a good one because you could be a student but if you are not a good one, they sit warming the seats up and all that stuff.
I believe a good student is somebody that is willing to get schooled in a way that is going to maximize their result rates and minimize their failure rate. You can get into the right program like our business or any business but if you’re not a good student, willing to learn about your industry, your particular company, your particular product, whatever it is, people who have already gone through that are willing to mentor you. I’m telling you. You talk about a former President Reagan mentioning mentorship.
We’ll probably expand on mentorship but specifically being a good student because, first of all, you’ll feel empowered. I believe that when you become a good student, you’ll learn the secrets of the trades. Now you feel empowered because you know what to do. You can go out there because everybody wants success. What hinders success is when a person is feeling inadequate. Here’s something that I honestly believe. I’m not the smartest person but I believe that there’s not a single thing that somebody is able to do that cannot be learned. I honestly believe that. It takes somebody who is willing to learn to become successful. No secret.
In finding a mentor, what are the characteristics somebody should look for in finding that mentor to teach them exactly what you described there?
Here’s something that I believe. The list can be a very long one but we don’t need to go that far. I like to keep them very simple. Who has what you’re looking for? It should be that simple. If you’re in your 40’s, 50’s and somehow you are concerned about your retirement options. It only makes sense to look for somebody who has been able to turn this around. Somebody who’s done well in that particular field. You want to become an accountant, be mentored by an accountant. If you want to become a lawyer, I would say find a good law firm and sit under the leadership.
For me, I believe when you start looking, particularly at the fruits of the tree, it will give you a hint because once you know what you’re looking for then find somebody who has what you’re looking for. You are a prime example of this. You don’t have the solutions for everything but if somebody comes to you for a problem, you always say, “We’ll figure it out.” In other words, you are resourceful enough to know that if it’s not you, you’ll find somebody. I think that’s what good mentors do. That’s what a good mentor should do for somebody who’s looking for a solution. For me, it’s easy. If I see the fruits of the tree and it’s what I like, that’s what I’ll go for.You have to change now. What used to be is no longer what it is. Click To Tweet
How do you know when somebody is committed? What’s your litmus test for a commitment from somebody that you’re going to work with it, you’re going to roll up your sleeves, lock arms with spend time with, invest in not only financially but emotionally?
The way I look at commitment is 100%. When I say 100%, I like to explain because sometimes people think that you have to do everything full-time. I did not start full-time. Even if you’re doing something part-time, for me, it’s either you are all in or out. I always talk about it’s not so much about the quantity of time but the quality of time. The quality of time can be 100% even if you’re doing it part-time. I’ll tell you this. I don’t like, “Look, where am I” attitude. I can’t stand people who are indecisive. I can’t stand people like that. It’s either you are 100% in or out. To find out whether a person is committed or not is by their actions. By their actions, you would know.
You can’t tell me that you are committed, you are serious about becoming financially independent and every time there is a training, you’re not there. Every time there is a meeting, you’re not there. Every time there is something that is going to help you to advance, you’re not here. You can give me all the lip service. That’s not commitment. Think about it. Who would you rather be with? Someone who is committed to having your back or somebody who’s not? I always look at the extreme case. If I’m somewhere and I need somebody to cover my back, I wasn’t a committed person on my side for sure.
I remembered several years ago. I won’t mention the country but I think some people will figure it out. You and I had the opportunity to travel to a particular country. It was at a time when things were rough and it was in the news and all that. We both said, “We’re not taking our wives with us. At least for us, we’re big boys.” It would be difficult for somebody to take us down when we’re together. At least we’re confident to know that if we have to wrestle, we’ll wrestle. It won’t be easy. They may probably do what they have to do but it won’t be easy. That’s the kind of commitment I want from anybody.
Let me ask you this. Tell me a little bit about self-belief because I think you talk about this in your book quite a bit. How does somebody get that self-belief?
The self-belief part for me is what I call the inner strength because others can boost you up and all that stuff but at some point, you need to start having this in a conversation. You need to say to yourself, “If Bob can do it, I can do it. If John can do it, I can do it,” especially when it’s been proven without a shadow of a doubt that an average person can do it. In other words, there’s nothing to convince me otherwise if another human being is able to do something and you are telling me that it cannot be done.
I have a problem when people tend to say to others, “It’s good for John. It’s good for Foster but not for you.” Those people are dream stealers. They can try and steal your dream. The only person that can stop them is you. Unless you have that inner strength, it’s not something that happens overnight. That’s why there are books, all of these seminars and being educated. We’ve talked about becoming a good steward. You’ve been doing this going for decades. You’ve seen enough. You can tell stories from people that were construction workers, to people who are professionals, to people who had finished college like yourself. You’ve seen it all.
We finished a book club and the stories in this book, it’s enough to convince me and anybody that if those people can do it, I can. Maybe it’s also because of my personal faith. I believe that the good Lord created all human beings equal. If somebody else can do it, I have the same DNA in me to confirm that I have what it takes. I may not have the skills yet but I have what it takes. That is something you cannot lose track of. You can’t let somebody take your power away. That is what I believe so I believe it does.
What is it mean when you say become a go-getter?
When I was writing this particular chapter, normally, when we talk about the goal, we spell it goal but I put it as a go-getter. This is where sometimes it’s like the only option is what we call do-or-die. This go-getter attitude doesn’t give you another day, week, or month. It’s one of those do-or-die attitudes. You know my story, how far I have come. I’ve been in places in the forest where that is not a time to say, “Let me call 911.” You better rescue yourself. There’s no 911. This go-getter attitude can also be used in our business. For example, you remember when you started your own career. You realize that you need to go fast to build a foundation.
Now you and I can kick back a bit. I’m talking to you. You’re in your pool and taking calls. You’re still working but what I’m saying is it does not have the same level of intensity. However, if a person is serious about firing your boss, this is not playtime. I refer to it also in the book as I got to. When I was writing that chapter, it was fascinating because I started writing the book in May 2014. I was setting goals throughout the remainder of 2014 when the book was written, including taking my entire family to Kenya because my wife’s grandmother was turning 90. Everybody who was related to her was going to go and celebrate with her.
Let me put it this way. It’s not cheap having five of your family traveling with you to Kenya. In our case, we spent six weeks doing trips but we made the decision before I even finished writing this book. I wrote about the fact that I’m going to go to Kenya with my family. Think about the pressure. I got to go to Kenya with my family by December of 2014. It happened. This I got to attitude, becoming a go-getter, you have to have this I got to. One of those I got to is almost like now. Let’s look at something as trivial as your cellphone. Knowing you, your cellphone is more important to you than your wallet. I know you well enough to know that you live on your cellphone. Every information, every contact is on your cellphone. Let’s look at a scenario of this becoming a go-getter.
Let’s say you receive a phone call. You’re far from this trip but let me use it as if it’s going to work. You receive a phone call from your phone company saying, “John, we realized that you are behind with your bill this month. We realized that you owe us about $500. You have 24 hours to pay us or this line will be disconnected for good and your number will be given to somebody else.” If they tell you that they’ll replace your number and you pay a small fee of $25 or $50, no problem. You can wait until tomorrow. Think about this. This number of yours will be given to somebody else. This is where you become a go-getter. You’ll find that $500. I know you will find that $500.
I did training in Mexico a few years ago. I was speaking with somebody that we knew who was senior platinum. When I used that example and I said, “Imagine that your phone is being disconnected within the next 24 hours. Would you come up with the money?” They said, “You bet you I will.” That is what it does. Here’s one final story. I wrote about my original mentor. That is Mr. Rich DeVoss. When I mentioned that I got to, I’ve been quoted some water. He talks about something that most people tend to overlook. He talks about high expectations are the key to everything. Here’s my story. I was going to participate in this challenge that if I was able to qualify, I get a chance to have dinner with Mr. Rich DeVoss. That was that I-got-to moment. I became a go-getter and I had the opportunity to meet him. Hopefully, I made that clear.What hinders success is when a person is feeling inadequate. Click To Tweet
Let me ask you this. You and I are both familiar with this terminology but talk about the excuses that you term in the book, the disease of failure.
We all have reasons. Now, I have reasons not to do certain things. I have reasons that we can call excuses, whatever and those are valid. If somebody is reading, let me be the first person to say this, I have an accent. I have been living in Canada for so long but I have an accent. It’s a beautiful accent. It’s an African accent. Some people may not even understand some of the ways I pronounce words. I could use all that as an excuse not to have this interview. I tell people, “Excuses are valid but they will never guarantee you success.” If you have a reason why you cannot do something, I understand. It’s valid.
The question you should ask yourself is, “Do you want to make progress or not?” If the answer is, “Yes, I want to make progress,” then we cannot keep hammering these excuses. Let’s face it. I’m not as good as a reporter. That is not going to change. It’s like saying to somebody with a British accent, “Your accent is different from a North American accent.” If the person has been living in the UK all their life, that’s the accent they have. Assuming that person is using that to prevent them from making progress, that’s where I say excuses are the disease of a failure. That would definitely cause you to fail. No doubt.
Let’s talk about the most important thing that comes about from any self-development book whether it’s this particular one or any of the classics. Going back to Think and Grow Rich or even before that, to Wallace D. Wattles’ great work on how to get rich. Any of these books that have been written for a hundred years or so. At the end of the day, what are they all trying to do? Build leaders and leadership. What is leadership to Foster?
This is a big one because when you look at books that have been written on leadership, there are so many. One that I would say helps to explain what leadership is, is perhaps let me even talk about something that Margaret Thatcher said in her particular situation. She said, “Being empowered, it’s like being the lady. You have to remind people that you are or you are not.” Margaret Thatcher said that. Of course, the younger generation may not know who she is but she was a Former Prime Minister of Great Britain. Being a leader, obviously, will be something that John Sumatra said. He said, “A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” It is very important.
There are so many people that can talk. You often describe this. You’re talking about theory versus application. There are people who are so eloquent. If you had them on your show now, by the way, John, you’re doing a fabulous job because every time I go back at night, I read your show and the caliber of people you’d be bringing on this, you and I started, if you read my first interview, I was not a probably as energized as I am now because that was our first show. I did not know where John wanted me to go. I didn’t want to be over the top and all that. The point is since then, I’m reading to other speakers and the wealth of wisdom and the depth. I’m thinking, “Do people know the caliber of people that this industry has produced?”
You asked me a question about leadership and when you read carefully whether it is in your country, in the US, my country in Canada, a leader someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. I will follow any leader that has these three characteristics anytime because I want to make sure that’s where I end up. It’s a place that I’ll be very comfortable with because at the end of the day, when this life is over and you and I have more time to kick back and perhaps mentor, as you have already begun, you don’t want to have regrets there. Do you have faith in that? Yes. You and I, we’ll look back that we were not proud of that. Regrets should not be one of them but those things can be avoided only when you start making good decisions. It can only happen when you make sure that you are not following a blind person because when you do that, you know where the destination is going to be.
Foster, wrapping up. This is your first book and of course, we had our second book together, Leave Nothing to Chance. How do they get the book?
The easiest way is to go to FosterOwusu.com. When you go there, that’s the best way to get a book. We are doing some amazing things that very soon will be available. This book was written in a way that was supposed to support my immediate network and to wake people up. Now the demand has been so great that we need to make sure that people get to read it with a platform like this. I’ve given the exposure and people are going to read this. We’re already making an impact. Sometimes we think only after we’re gone, that’s when there will be a legacy but we are impacting life now. You are a true living legend, John. I’m very proud of you. I love our relationship.
Likewise and thank you. Let’s point out also, the book’s available in Spanish. I know a lot of the audience of our show have downlines in Spanish. You may not speak Spanish but you have downlines in Spanish. They’re always looking for tools in the Spanish-speaking market as well as the English-speaking market. Foster, what I love about this too is that you’re from the field. We know a lot of people who write books about multi-level and they’ve never cashed a distributor check and their good books. They might even make sense but they are theoretical. They’re not from living like you and I do, sit across from other human beings and asking them for their time, money and investment.
Kudos to you for taking the time to write a book as you and I both know and anybody who’s reading. We have a lot of other authors that are reading the show, some of which have been on it, some of which will be on it. It’s a labor of love. You’re never going to get rich writing books unless you’re Stephen King or somebody like that. You write books because you got something to say and something to share. I’m going to give you the last word to sign us out from the Leaving Nothing to Chance Show. It’s up every Tuesday on Spotify, Apple iTunes and from www.LeavingNothingToChance.com. The last word is yours, my friend.
John, thank you for having me on this show. I truly appreciate this. I want people to know we are here now. John has introduced me as an author. I was not formally trained to be a writer, a communicator like John but I can also tell you that I have learned. In closing, I would say that when you learn something, you teach. I have also received. I’ve received a lot of counseling and I’ve received a lot of love. I received a lot of mentoring and all of that. When you receive, you give. Every single person who is reading now, when you learn, teach. When you receive, give. If you can apply this to principles, this world will be a better place, definitely better than the way you and I are funded. Thank you, John.
Thank you, Foster.
I appreciate you. Thank you.
About Foster Owusu
Master motivator, coach, mentor, speaker and an educator with a passion for leadership development.