Catch Deon Stokes on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns: [00:00:10] And it's a wonderful Wednesday and we're going to get it going here on the #PirateBroadcast™. Thank you so much for joining us. If you're joining us live, thank you so much. All the #gratitude in the world. If you're watching in the future, thank you so much. If you're listening on a podcast, thank you so much. And today we have Deon. Good morning.
Deon Stokes: [00:00:32] Good morning. Good morning, Russ. I am so excited about today. I'm super pumped. We're talking about something near and dear to me, I am excited to jump right in to our conversation today. Thanks for having me.
Russ Johns: [00:00:45] You bet. You bet. So for those that may not have met you or don't know of you yet, give us a little snapshot about who Deon is and what we're going to be talking about today.
Deon Stokes: [00:00:57] Okay. Yeah, I think right above my face here, it says multihyphenate and I think that is the absolute best way to define myself. I have severe imposter syndrome around the idea of being a serial entrepreneur. That word just does something to me. However, multihyphenate. It just does it. It is exactly what it is. If you put a hyphen between all of the things that I do it's just a part of what makes me. And so for the past 16 years, I've been a CEO and Founder of Joint Effort. We are a forensic marketing agency. We had an amazing time providing marketing solutions for non-profits, startups and small businesses. COVID, man it tried to take us out. It was trying hard. Oh, but we prevailed. During COVID I started a passion project of mine called the Ambition Planner, which we provide organizational and goal setting support for women of faith. And as a 90 day planner, that is just, I'm proud to say has now revolutionized thousands of women's lives, has helped them to really be able to channel their greatness and organize their ambitious thoughts. And then I have a tech company called Pivot and Pivot is spelled PVT and we're professional wellness marketplace that is powered by Google. We provide professional wellness solutions for anybody that is looking for a life coach, executives coach, a financial advisor and a business consultant on one platform. You pay one monthly subscription and you're able to have access to all of these professionals at your fingertips via text, video, or talk. And so this day I stay a little busy but I always make time to show up for the #PirateBroadcast and all of you lovely listeners. I think I've been invited twice. This is my second time. I love it. Thank you so much for having me again. I really appreciate it.
Russ Johns: [00:02:46] And thank you for being here, Deon, because I know that we resonated a long time ago. I was on a show of yours and we've gone back and forth and stayed in contact. And to really lean into the idea of the conversation today is being accountable to each other and being accountable to the relationships and the growth and the learning and the evolution that takes place in between those hyphens. And making sure that we have an opportunity to actually grow as a community. So thank you so much for being here and participating. One of the things that I think I want to expand on a little bit is we can talk about pivot and we can talk about the marketing efforts cause that's always a topic of conversation. However, I want to talk about accountability and some of the things that you've built into this plan that you've developed and have you expand on that a little bit more for the community here today?
Deon Stokes: [00:03:46] Yeah, absolutely. The Ambition Planner was honestly curated for me personally. It was out of my own need. And I know that everyone says the absolute best products are created out of a problem. I had a problem and my problem was that I was not intentional about anything that I did. Ever. I always showed up for meetings, but I was not present there because I was always thinking, I need to make sure to get this done. I need to get that done. Did I turn off this. Did I remind this person? What time does my flight leave today?
Russ Johns: [00:04:16] How many can relate to that? You're there, but you're not there.
Deon Stokes: [00:04:20] I always felt like I was apologizing for not mentally being there, not mentally being prepared or trying to just always make it up as I go along. And I got tired of that feeling. And one day I sat down at my dining room table and I've taken a professional sabbatical before and where I just said, you know what? I sold my business, my initial marketing firm for a single dollar to my business partner, which is a long story, but I walked away completely after about 11 years of business. And I found myself approaching that breaking point again. So I sat down at my dining table and I wrote out what has now become the Ambition Planner, because I wanted something, a schedule and a goal setting mechanism and an accountability partner that helped me to organize my day to help me focus on my goals, to help me to create realistic goals, because I love creating goals, but they're not realistic. Like I'm going to lose 20 pounds and you never work out. You know what I mean? And you have pizza and tacos every day. So like those two things, you're not going to actually be able to do that if you aren't implementing some real systemic changes in your diet and exercise. So I made horrible goals. And then I needed an accountability partner that I could trust. And I feel as if there are a lot of individuals out there, we have friends and colleagues, we have business partners and associates that are fantastic. But there is something about looking within and being accountable to yourself for yourself. And that just poured into me that day, sitting at the table. So I took this piece of a recycled paper, I think something was on the back of it. I had some colored Sharpies. I took it into my office the next day and my interns who are now employees say that I threw the paper on the desk. I doubt that happened because that's not my style, but they were like, you threw the paper on the desk, make me a planner. For dramatics, let's go with that idea. So I throw this paper at these interns... but I definitely did not throw anything, but what we've developed is a planner that exceeded my expectations. Honestly, it is a daily planner that goes so far beyond writing out your to-do list. And I always talk about accountability. We've created a scheduled to do lists for that reason, because today I knew I was meeting for the Russ Johns #PirateBroadcast. At this time, from this time to this time, after that, I know I'm going to need a break because I haven't had any coffee this morning and I probably need to go outside and breathe some fresh air. That's actually on my to-do list. Because if I say that 11 o'clock, I'm going to do this at 12 o'clock, I'm going to do that and I don't actually build in those breaks, I may not take them. And then my schedule and my time is not actually steeped in reality because now I'm overbooking myself for myself. And so that is what brought me to creating the Ambition Planner. And that was one of the things that I'm most proud of today that we've been able to develop.
Russ Johns: [00:07:15] Is there anything on your calendar that is consistent? Like something that is there every single day.
Deon Stokes: [00:07:22] Yeah. Absolutely. It's meditating and my prayer life having devotion getting in, getting one with the earth is something that is every single day as a part of my daily routine. And I've now started counting the days that I've been able to meditate and we've gotten setting aside time for prayer, meditation, and I'm on my 119th today and. I love the fact that I've taken the time to calculate that. It's keeping me... it's me against me, you know what I mean? And those are some things that are so easy to forget, or we don't take time to do, but they're so important to me. For my mental health and how I show up. So it's a daily part of my schedule.
Russ Johns: [00:08:04] Yeah. I love that. And it's like the#PirateBroadcast™, your 442 episodes in, I haven't missed an episode, even though I've had some valuable reasons that I could have. It's a commitment to me. It's my commitment. And since my birthday this year, I committed to creating a track a day of music for my own sanity. And so I created a track yesterday, however, I didn't post it. I was fried. I was burnt out. I had several nights, very short nights and so I went to bed early last night and I'm thinking, okay, I'll post it in the morning. Which to me is okay, I created it. I'm still living in my commitment and integrity. However, it's not necessarily life happens and things take place. So we have to adjust and make adjustments.
Deon Stokes: [00:09:03] Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I always say that success is inevitable as long as you are consistent. And we find ourselves unsuccessful, unfulfilled, and we want to blame a lot of other things, but if we were just consistent. Shoulda, woulda, this person happened, that happened, COVID happened, but if you are consistent at whatever you're doing for it, that's amazing. 400 plus episodes is outstanding. Because I can't tell you how many things I've started and not have gotten to 20 in or 50 in. And then you look on the other side of it and you wonder, I remember starting a blog site with a good friend of mine many years ago before blogs were like what they are today, they've they take a little ebb and flow. And I just think about, I wonder where we could be if we would have kept it up. You've got that coulda, shoulda, woulda in the back of your mind. But if you are consistent, you will be successful.
Russ Johns: [00:10:02] Here's my rule, kind of my structure of life is the idea that I can wake up with #gratitude. I can learn something new every day and go out and inspire somebody to do something every day. And for me, the show and music, and that is part of that #inspiration thing. And in between, as I'm learning stuff, I'm consistently moving forward in my goals and my ideas and my ambitions. And it's going to be adjusted along the way. We don't know the path to the journey until we start the journey.
Deon Stokes: [00:10:36] Until you start the journey, you never ever know. And that's why I really appreciate honestly, I feel like what was downloaded into me for the Ambition Planner because it's also highly unique because it is a 90 day planner. I worked in the business world long enough to... I live on quarters. Our whole world lives on a quarter system. We have seasons that are broken into four. They happen in quarters and they truly happen between January, March, you have this winter months and then you hit your spring, and so we've created a planner with a 90 day component because truly, we're really being honest and realistic with ourselves. That's about as far out as we can plan. We've got about three months under our belt of understanding these are the things I want to do. These are the goals I want to accomplish. And if I set these short-term realistic milestones for myself, then I'm going to increase the likelihood of me being more successful because life does happen. And because life happens, we have to be able to adjust for that. And and so I love the fact that we are unique in the fact that we only look at life in 90 day snapshots, set goals for the next three months. If you want to lose those 20 pounds, like I said, okay, no problem. How many pounds is that each month? Okay. Seven pounds this month, six pounds. That's a lot easier than just saying I'm going to lose 20 pounds without any milestones against it. And so the concept goes so much deeper into so many facets of life. I try to not leave any stone unturned for our user in that it gets into your finances. It gets into your goals. It operates your day. It helps you with your health and your self-care and your professional goals. All of the things that I felt were lacking personally, I just injected into a very pretty planner that helps you stay really centered and on top of things.
Russ Johns: [00:12:25] I love the concept and it does a couple of things for me, thinking through this, is that it doesn't overwhelm you with oh, the 2021 goal, the big audacious, hairy goal that is like all this looming thing. And you have to put structure around it and then work backwards to say, okay, if I do X, I need to do Y and I need to do Z every single day in order to accomplish that Y in order to get to the end goal. And that is a reasonable accommodation for anyone that has the ambition and the willingness to participate in their own future.
Deon Stokes: [00:13:08] Yeah. Yeah. And it's teaching reality. I love it. You completely get it is that I love that five-year goal. But we give ourselves a five-year goal and not actually put any strategy or parameters around it. You know what I mean? Great, you want to buy a house or you want to move to other Abu Dhabi in five years. Okay, great. All right. Let's move to Abu Dhabi. Now, how are we going to get there?
Russ Johns: [00:13:30] Yeah. How are we going to get there? What steps are required to do that? Deon I want to give a shout out some of the wonderful people in the stream today. Elize, in from South Africa. Thank you so much for being here. Luis, good morning, Russ and Deon from groovy Los Angeles. Fantastic. I love that you're here. Sheila Chamberlains in the room. Thank you, Sheila. Luis says such energy and no coffee?
Deon Stokes: [00:14:00] Not yet is
Russ Johns: [00:14:03] Sheila says, accountable. Yes. Howard Kaufman. Howard. I hope I see you on Saturday. We got the Founders Guild. Appreciate the point on consistency. Absolutely. We've talked about that many times, Howard. Marcia Reece, another wonderful individual here locally. Marcia is watching and smiling. She actually expanded that. Wendy says grateful to meet Deon and learn a bit about how she does her pirate magic. What a wonderful addition to the pirate ship, admiral Russ. Thank you so much, Wendy. And also Deon is going to give away something. I'm not really sure what it is, but we've got a giveaway. So type in hashtag pirate nation and let's let's do some giveaways again today. Let's have some fun. Marcia Reece is watching you full of kindness and smiles one day, one big task finished while listening. Thank you for setting milestones. Marcia, #gratitude for you. And Wendy says, one track a day. Absolutely. I love it. Barbara says, love your hairstyle, Deon awesome tips. And yes, #piratenation. Type in #piratenation into the comments here and let's give away some treasure here. Love you all. So Deon let's shift the focus in on there's internal accountability, internal to ourselves, and then there's also accountability to other people around us. And sometimes we need accountability partners. And like we were talking before the show, I love the idea of a mastermind and I'm going to recruit everybody I can to the mastermind. Five weeks, 10 people, and we're going to hang out and I'm going to teach lessons about Dubb and using video in your marketing efforts and anybody that wants to join me, I'd love to have you join. It's going to be starting up the classes are filling up. Putting that out there. So in your book, in your message, are you doing a class or any kind of support after your 90 day planner? Is there anything attached to that you're supporting your community with?
Deon Stokes: [00:16:12] Yes, absolutely great question. We have an amazing Facebook group that is full of who we've coined as ambitionistas, and we support each other.
Russ Johns: [00:16:23] Ambitionistas?
Deon Stokes: [00:16:25] That's right. We need to TM that one, as I keep seeing it pop up places and I'm like, that's definitely ours, but ambitionistas. So the Facebook group is really just that. We help, we're the outside accountability partners for each other. And what I love is that they've picked up our habit trackers. I actually was completing my habit tracker for this morning, not too long ago. And they're able to, oh, let's see, there we go. Everything zooming into a thing. We read out our goals and then we're actually able to track them together. And it's a lot of fun to be able to see, okay, this morning, did you do any journaling? Did you read for 20 minutes? Clean up something. This is a way that I'm accountable to myself. However, this community of women have come together and have identified ways that they want to encourage and challenge each other to stick to their goals. So they have started their own habit tracker. They did this without me, I want you to know. When they got there, they identify the things that they wanted to be able to break, excuse me, how did they want it to be able to make or break in the next 30 days? And a lot of them are saying, I'm not going to have sweets. I'm not going to have alcohol. I'm going to make up my bed to see some of the habits that individuals are wanting to make or break in the next 30 days is amazing. So we've created a community and that again, got completely out of my control. And in the most amazing way and absolutely love it. So we're making and breaking habits. So we call them make 'em and break 'em.
Russ Johns: [00:18:00] That's fantastic. I love it. And I hadn't thought about it until you just said that is, what you take away, what you remove from your life is as important, if not maybe more important than what you keep in your life. Projects are another thing we were talking about before the show. Okay, sometimes you have to remove projects from your planner in order to fill and pay attention to the things that you need to pay attention to.
Deon Stokes: [00:18:27] Yeah. Yeah. And it's so easy to just pile it on and it feels good to pile it on. We get addicted to... I say I'm addicted to distractions. Anything that's a distraction, I'm going to get completely addicted to it because that keeps me away from that one big, large goal, that I'm supposed to complete. I love the saying by Mark Twain. He talks about swallowing your big frog first thing in the morning and the rest of your day is a piece of cake. And it's just so true, but as long as I stay distracted and I fill my plate with other things, then I feel like, oh oh, well, I'll get to it. But the Ambition Planner and being accountable to yourself and having an outside accountability partner, honestly and truly, helps you to say did I do these things for me? How did I show up for myself today and for others? Because I truly don't ever want to be in that space again. It was a horrible place to be in where I I wanted to be there for individuals, but I just mentally could not because mentally I was everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Russ Johns: [00:19:26] Busy being busy. It's a form of procrastination, actually.
Deon Stokes: [00:19:31] Oh yeah. Huge. It's your mind's way of even protecting yourself. You know what I mean? Like it's hard, you don't want to think about it, you're not prepared, so they're busy doing something else. Let's just say I'm addicted to the distraction and not in a good way. Anything that distracts me is not helping me to actually attain my goal. So you have to figure out a way to remove the distractions in order to truly focus in on what is important and what your intentions are for the day. And this is the method that I've created that I found truly works. It works, if you do it.
Russ Johns: [00:20:03] If you do it. You have to do it. Marcia says, can I join your five-week mastermind? Absolutely Marcia. I would love to have you join the five-week mastermind. I got some international players. I got people in from Canada. I got Germany. I've got, I think I've got Scotland. I've got some people around the world, interesting people and you get 10 people around a single subject and you have some amazing interactions and some build some authority in a unique way and it's just amazing. It's magic is the way I look at it.
Deon Stokes: [00:20:37] Yeah, I love that. I'm excited about your mastermind. We were talking before the broadcast about investing in yourself and what that looks like. And it is truly, we always associate investing within yourself as having a coach or a therapist, but there's so many ways to invest in yourself that you're also investing and depositing into others, as well. In a mastermind, in a group of individuals like what you've created is an amazing way to do... I've been a part of a lot of really great mastermind classes and I was actually going to say some bad ones. But I'm going to actually retract that thought because even if they weren't the best, I learned so much from them, it was like, don't do that.
Russ Johns: [00:21:17] And you can build relationships too.
Deon Stokes: [00:21:20] Yeah, easily. Built amazing relationships, which were lifelong. So it was worth it.
Russ Johns: [00:21:25] Not a downside, really. So where are you headed in 2021? I know that you've evolved. You've adjusted. You've created your planner. So what's in the future for Deon. What's the big, audacious goal that you have planned for your life?
Deon Stokes: [00:21:43] I am a dreamer. I love to dream. I think that's a part of my like standing in the backyard with my bare feet in the grass. That's what I do out there. My husband looks out the window, what are you doing? This is how I dream and part of my 2021 dream is to really be able to expand the amount of individuals who know how to monotask. I've interviewed and hired almost, I can almost say hundreds of individuals at this point throughout my career. And we always ask how do you do with multitasking? And I have just... this year has truly flipped my idea on its head of honestly how dangerous multitasking is. And how mono-tasking is a way that we're ever going to be successful. And so my whole goal is to help women find their north star to create realistic goals, to unpack and dig deeper into creating smart goals. Using the smart goal methodology to plan out my day, to be able to speak more to men and women who are just lost. I do some ambition coaching and I hear a lot of people say, I feel stuck and stuck as a lie. You're always on a journey. You're always in a path. You may be standing still, but there's something magical in that standstill and you really identify what am I standing still observing? What am I learning in this moment? So it is truly to go further than having a paper book that we sell on multiple platforms, including Amazon this week. There's a little promo commercial.
Russ Johns: [00:23:17] Should I highlight it on my Amazon lives.
Deon Stokes: [00:23:20] There you go, please do, I would love that.
Russ Johns: [00:23:26] Just to announce that I'm now an Amazon influencer, so I'm live streaming on Amazon. I actually did a live and I have a few followers on Amazon now.
Deon Stokes: [00:23:34] That's outstanding. Absolutely.
Russ Johns: [00:23:37] We'll have to talk about that, Marcia. We'll have to talk about that.
Deon Stokes: [00:23:39] Yeah, absolutely outstanding. So those are my goals for this year is to grow at a pace that feels natural to be able to expand the amount of women that we're able to touch and to live life with really low expectations. Life owes me nothing. It has given me so much already, but just to live each day on purpose. That's one of my biggest dreams, just live each day on purpose.
Russ Johns: [00:24:02] I love it. Are you ready for a giveaway?
Deon Stokes: [00:24:04] I'm ready. Let's do it.
Russ Johns: [00:24:06] So if you have not typed in hashtag #piratenation into the comments, do it now. Let me put this banner up here so you can actually... the giveaway. We call that a pirate treasure. Okay. This is a pirate treasure happening today. Live Wednesday with Deon. So absolutely Admiral, I want to hear about the Amazon live. Let's talk. We will talk, yes. Wendy says, since I cannot multitask at all, this is exciting.
Deon Stokes: [00:24:41] You're not alone Wendy. No, there's no such thing as multitasking. Our brains weren't built for that.
Russ Johns: [00:24:45] Just make some progress and focus on one thing at a time. Knock it out, finish it, complete it and, or dedicate a period of time for a task that needs to move forward over a period of time.
Deon Stokes: [00:24:58] That's it? Yeah. And you'll find yourself so much more successful and those little endorphins that you release, when you check something off of a box, feels great.
Russ Johns: [00:25:08] I love it. I love it. Okay, I'm going to bring this up. Drum roll please. You ready? Deon.
Deon Stokes: [00:25:14] Let's do it.
Russ Johns: [00:25:15] Slowing down, coming down. Hey, I'm just going to give you a shout out. Neena is part of another network... I actually do a podcast every Tuesday on WinJect Studios network. Neena's part of that crew. Love to have you join us onWinJect Stuidos. There's a lot of things going on and there will be more announcements coming soon. And so you know I'm getting out there. I'm hear and there and everywhere. So Neena, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for being part of this. And I really love the fact that we were able to connect again, Deon, thank you for coming back and I'd love to have you in the mastermind and contribute to the mastermind because I think you're a brilliant strategist and could add a lot of value to the team.
Deon Stokes: [00:26:05] Thank you. Thank you. I am so excited and just feel honored to be here every time. I just felt honored to be on the show. I'm extremely excited about the future. I'm excited about our giveaway. Neena, I will get all of your contact information and I'm sending you over a planner, girl. So I'm excited about that and just thank you. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I just really appreciate it.
Russ Johns: [00:26:28] Everyone, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. All the #gratitude in the world because #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. #Enjoytheday. Take care.
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