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The Hidden Agenda of Digital Media with Todd Gongwer

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About:
On today’s show, Ray is joined by author and leadership expert, Todd Gongwer. Todd is passionate about shaping the heart of leadership through his company, Kardia Transformation Group, and he and Ray tackle the issues facing young people who will become tomorrow’s leaders.
 
Bio:
Few leadership experts get to work with current NCAA National Champions in football and basketball simultaneously, but Todd regularly speaks to Clemson University football and Virginia University basketball teams, working closely with their head coaches. In addition to these opportunities, Todd travels the country as a sought-after speaker and author, addressing numerous high-profile universities, sports organizations, and businesses.
 
Quotes:
“Live your life in alignment with your ultimate purpose.”
 
“God loves you; He made you for relationships. Don’t ever pursue anything at the expense of those relationships, first with Him, and then with others.”
 
“The number one constraint to love is an unwillingness to forgive.”
 
Key Takeaways:
1. The most foundational aspect of leadership is purpose.
2. Don’t underestimate your influence.
3. Leadership applies to all of us.
4. Success is an other-centered thing.
5. Be intentional to surround yourself with people.
 
Kardia Transformation Group
 
Full transcript:
 
Ray: Well, hello everyone, this is Ray Hilbert. I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith. We’d like to welcome you back to another episode of the program where we love to bridge that gap between faith and leadership in the marketplace. If you’re a regular listener, welcome back. If you’re a first time listener, welcome to the show and we have had the opportunity here at Bottom Line Faith to interview some of the most amazing and godly leaders who are living out their faith in the marketplace. We have these conversations for you to help you grow in your faith, to help you live out your faith on a daily basis. And the speakers, they teach us how they’ve been through the ups and downs, the difficult seasons of their life and in their leadership, but most importantly, how their faith continues to shape, mold and guide them on a daily basis.
 
Today I am in Wakarusa, Indiana. Now for those of you who are not familiar with Wakarusa, Indiana, we’re just a little bit outside of South Bend, the home of Notre Dame. And so if you’re a regular listener here, you know I am a big Notre Dame football fan. We are speaking to Todd Gongwer. He is the founder at the Kardia Transformation Group. Todd, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
 
Todd: Thank you, Ray. It’s great to be here.
 
Ray: Well, Todd, we’ve had a chance to get to know each other over the last few months and let’s just to help our audience understand a little bit, let’s start with what it is you do here at Kardia. How did you start the organization? What are you’re trying to accomplish, that kind of thing. And then we’ll get into your personal background.
 
Todd: Well, it’s kind of an accidental process all along, but back in 2009 felt really called to write this book. Felt like God had kind of laid the title of Lead for God’s Sake on my heart, and when the season was right to actually begin to put the pen to the paper, so to speak, as that book became a reality and began to kind of move throughout, you know, different pockets around the country kind of organically. I, you know, again, was asked to speak a lot and was asked to begin to work more and more with organizations, with teams on the topic of leadership, the topic of, you know, really character development within that context. And then ultimately cultural development in the broader sense, around that subjective leading in the right ways and ultimately for the right reasons. So that’s kind of the heart of how Kardia came about was I guess out of necessity more than anything else. I needed an organization to operate all of these things through.
 
Ray: Well, and the word Kardia; let’s talk about that just for a second.
 
Todd: The root of that, the origin of that is, the Greek. It’s the Greek term that Jesus used frequently in reference to the heart. And really his use for the most part was this all encompassing thing. The really the will, the emotions, the soul, all of that. When he spoke of Kardia often that’s what he was talking about though, the whole heart. And so I love that term.
 
Ray: And you mentioned a moment ago the book that you wrote that God put on your heart. Tell us the title and what’s the theme that’s the message that you want your readers to get in your book.
 
Todd: Yeah. So it’s a parable called Lead for God’s Sake. And it’s a parable for finding the heart of leadership. And interestingly, I thought, again, when I set out to write, I thought I was supposed to write this whole cultural transformation process. And thankfully God had a different plan. And so the theme for this when really I had planned on, again going in this broad journey, this, you know, step-by-step process. And what ended up happening was, is as I began to write, as I began to feel called to write it as a story, which again, I had no clue how to write fiction before this happened. But as it came out, it became very clear that this was supposed to be a story about the most foundational aspect of leadership, which is purpose. Why do we really do what we do?
 
Why are we here on this earth? And so the central theme more than anything else, begins there. You know, begins within leadership, coming from influence, from your words, attitudes, behaviors, and all those other things. But ultimately being founded in this, you know, why am I really here? Why I’m on this? Why am I on this earth in my living, in my pursuing all of my pursuits in alignment with that. The other thing I’ll tell you really quick is, again, when people ask me about it, it’s about pursuits and pursuits that all of us battle. You all are pursuing something in this life. Challenges. Can we stay focused on pursuing the great things in life and not at the expense of the best things in life?
 
Ray: Yeah, and since the writing of this book, the Lord has really opened up an amazing platform for you and you know, particularly in the world of athletics and business. And I’m just taking a look here at some of the teams and the schools and the organizations that you’ve had a chance to speak to and coach and minister through your book and speaking. Just a partial list. Ohio State, Oklahoma, Baylor, Virginia, Ol Miss, Clemson, UCLA, Indiana, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, on and on and on. And then of course, professional teams, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, the Indianapolis Colts, Home Depot, Farm Bureau, Thrivent Financial, Tyson Foods, Chick-fil-A, on and on. How did you get into this, speaking into this, so your background, you are not like a corporate trainer. You walk us through prior to writing the book, what you did professionally and then how has this journey been for you to now have this amazing platform that God’s opened up?
 
Todd: Yeah, it’s such a cool part of the story, is for years and years and years, all I really ever wanted to be was a coach. I’m a basketball coach. In fact when I was probably 14 or 15, that was my main goal in life. I was going to become this big time, you know, final four college basketball coach. And I had the opportunity at a young age to become an assistant basketball coach at NAI level Bethel College. And then that was all through the nineties. At the same time, I grew up as a part of a family business. And when you’re assistant coach at the NAI level, you typically keep your day job. So the cool thing for me is I had to do that. I had to do both.
 
I had to run parallel in both those worlds for you know, 11, 12 years and now it wasn’t a good thing for my balance. Thankfully I kind of opened my eyes to where it was a big part of the story and me learning the hard way of getting out of balance. But the equipping part of that, God’s plan is to really give me a cool perspective in both the sports world and the business world at the same time. For a long time from that when I really felt called to walk away from the sports world in early 2000 from that point I was brought into a large organization by the CEO that really had a heart change and wanted to see the cultural change. And again, this was one of those things where I had been obsessively studying the subject.
 
I had been writing on the topic of leadership and cultural transformation a lot and applying those things in both my teams. I was influenced in sports and my teams in business and now this was a chance to take it kind of to another level and really flesh those things out and come up with new opportunities. And as I did that, that was about a three year period with this company, which was a private equity owned company. Eventually it was bought by our largest competitor, which was a public company. And so for another couple of years there, that was kind of the opportunity to really, you know, solidify a lot of these philosophies that I felt God had laid on my heart, which again led to Todd write this book, which I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. And we did that again. Didn’t plan on writing as a fiction that was God, you know, got a different plan.
 
Thankfully wrote it as a fiction and as it started going out again, I self published it at first. And so it really was a word of mouth thing. People just began to hand it out. And as more and more people began to read it, began to give more copies, their teams, more and more people began to come to me going, Hey, we want you to come in and talk to our teams. We want you to work with our teams. And again, both in the business and sports world. So kind of an accidental author and an accidental founder of this company, both ways and an accidental speaker in a lot of ways to use.
 
Ray: Well, an accident may be in your mind, but God, no surprises there, right? He didn’t wake up and hit himself on the forehead and say, how did this come about? Right? So take me back. What was the very first speaking opportunity you were given that it was like, Oh my gosh, I’m going to go speak to, and it like blew you away that you found out that’s where you were going. Do you remember who that or where that was?
 
Todd: Oh man. I’m trying to think. I know the final four, which was way back, it was back in 2012. Spring of 2012 was a pretty, I mean I spoke to you, you’re not going to remember sitting on stage. They actually did a panel where Ernie Johnson hosted the event and Tony Bennett and Buzz Williams and a number of other pretty successful coaches were on stage all talking about my book. And you know, I can remember sitting there with those guys looking out at Emma, like Johnny Dawkins and like a bunch of my childhood heroes, some of them that are coaches now that were in the audience and thinking, wow, this is crazy that I’m not supposed to be, felt a little bit like an imposter. I was like, I don’t know that I should be up here. But it was really, that was a cool experience. And then all the teams have been great and Clemson and Virginia and like those, those teams were great. But the other one, it was a really cool one. I did an event where there was John Maxwell and I were both speaking. And so it was cool to be, a little intimidating obviously, to speak with him sitting on the front row listening to me. So that was kind of cool too. Cause obviously I’ve read a ton of his stuff.
 
Ray: So God’s brought you down this amazing journey. We learned a little bit about your corporate background, learned a little bit about what led you to write the book. I’d like to now transition our conversation to really the heartbeat of what you’re about is leadership. So as you get a chance, you’re talking in athletic settings, you’re talking in business settings. What do you see as the bridge in the world of athletics and the world of business? What’s common around the issues of leadership and then are there any distinctives that come to mind? Cause our audience, primarily business leaders that check out the program here at Bottom Line Faith. But what are some of the commonalities in leadership or maybe there are no differences. I don’t know. Just kind of talk to us a little bit. You’re in the sports world, you’re in the business world. What do you see?
 
Todd: People; that’s the biggest commonality obviously. No, I think, you know, leadership is, and again, I’ll go back to my days even as a coach and in the visceral, probably about 1995, I went on an obsessive journey to read. I mean, my goal back then was to read 500 leadership books, and I did that. I tell people all the time out of necessity more than anything else because I saw the common thread of okay, here we are as a group of people and every single person in here has an influence. Some of them understand that they have that influence and value that influence. Some of them have no clue to the extent to which they have the opportunities to influence. And yet they’re all influencing. And how do you broaden that reach of influence within an organization? Same thing with a team.
 
You’ve got a freshman that comes in or a red shirt or somebody that’s an intern. And again, their tendency is to go, well, I’m not a leader. I’m not really a leader because, and they underestimate as a result of that, they underestimate the impact that they can have and the great teams. And especially now as I can look back on my journey and working with some of the greatest teams. So most successful teams in athletics especially, you know, they got it from top to bottom, they got it. That this leadership thing applies to all of us. And the sooner we can all grasp the role we play, the fact that we all have an opportunity to influence with our words, attitudes, behaviors, and shape our culture in some way, shape or form. The sooner we’re going to pull together and become that team that we’re striving to be.
 
Ray: So I see that that’s so applicable, whether it’s from the CEO to the line worker or everybody has a role in it. And man, we need to start there first and foremost, I think as much as anything else. So what are some of the traits that as you study, you’ve read hundreds of books as you just described, you’re talking and working with some of the best athletic programs at a college level, professional level, top corporations. What are some of the traits that you’re seeing or that you have learned that are always consistent with the top and best leaders?
 
Todd: Well, I, for me personally, I think there’s a, and I’m going to talk about the, I believe the best of the best, success is in the eye of the beholder. You have to define it, right? And there are a number of ways to be successful as our culture defines it. So I’m going to kind of give you a little bit of a preface. My thing with, I define success done in a way that brings, not just happiness but joy and peace. And it’s deeper, it’s about relationships. It’s about what we’ve accomplished together. It’s not a self-centered thing. When I start there, I will go to, and again, you know, we can talk about, because it’s recent, Clemson is a perfect example. When you listen to Dabo Sweeney and you’ve had the opportunity to be around him and spend time with him and watch him with his coaches, watching with his players and interact with those guys. And there’s a deep sense of peace and joy that he carries.
 
Now you and I know this is a faith podcast, you and I know where that comes from. Yeah, he knows ultimately where that’s found. He has that. And again, I believe that that’s a separator. I believe that when you watch him, doesn’t mean he’s going to win every game. But how he goes about his day to day is amazing. And you see the peace in his heart when he wins. And you also see the peace in his heart when he loses. And Tony Bennet’s, another example that we can see from a basketball, the head coach at Virginia last year. They went through, you know what will be arguably, it’ll go down in history as one of the most, you know, infamous losses of all time. One versus 60 and one was the, it was the top one versus the bottom 60 I mean, it was like, it was a story book thing.
 
And yet, yeah, I know Tony well, I know the peace in his heart and I know, you know, if you watch him and Mo and in America basketball fans, and we saw how he handled it. And there was a foundational piece that he walked in that was the same in that moment as it would be, you know. It doesn’t mean deeply disappointed and hurt, but a peace nonetheless. And I think that that is really a great separator when we’re leading with a genuine desire to impact the heart in the ultimate way. And we know what that, I mean, not just an earthly perspective, but an internal perspective. When we are leading with that genuine desire, it interestingly brings about a peace that surpasses all understanding. Now recognize where that came from.
 
Ray: That’s exactly right. Well, could we, let’s just talk about that for a second because there’s probably someone listening to this conversation right now. Maybe they’re a business owner, they’re an executive. They’re a leader for that matter. They might even be a student, they might be a student athlete. We have a pretty diverse audience here, but let’s just say that they’re really discouraged right now and they’re just not seeing the results. They’re not getting the wins. Their business isn’t growing like they would hope it’s not as profitable as they would like. Maybe they’re just not getting the results, whatever. What encouragement would you have for them as a leader through the word of God? What encouragement would you have for them as they’re listening to this conversation?
 
Todd: Well, a couple things that I’ve experienced in my own life and you know, one that jumps out first and foremost is Paul, when he talked about a thorn in his side and ultimately that discussion that he had, please take it away. And that the powerful statement and that was my strength is made perfect in your weakness. That’s such a hard thing for us to grasp. But ultimately God is in control. His ways are higher than our ways. And you know, often there are seasons I believe, where he wants to allow us to go through those times where we truly understand how great, how much greater his strength is when we can come to grips with our own weakness. And that’s not always fun.
 
I’ve just not too distant past, gone through some really difficult times in my own life. And I know that was one thing that I really had to cling to during that time and remind myself that, you know what, Todd, you’re going through health problems or financial problems or relational problems around you, his grace. I mean, he’s there for you. His grace is enough. And his strength is made perfect in your weakness. I think that’s a huge one and been a big encouragement to me. I think another one that I always talk about Philippians. I love Philippines, but Philippians 4:4-13, not just Philippians 13. We love every athlete, everybody has that on their shoe cause they think it’s going to help them get a touchdown. Or they, I always say, look, you make sure you understand the full context of what that’s talking about. Because when you back up, and even going back all the way to verse four, Paul talks about being joyful in everything. He talks about be anxious for nothing in everything. And then he talks about Thanksgiving being thankful. And then he talks about the peace of God, which passes all understanding.
 
If you’re heading that direction, you’re going to experience that peace. Then he goes into contentment and he goes, I’ve learned the secret. I learn what it means to have a lot and have nothing. And I found it right there. I mean, it’s him. And then through all things I can do all things through Christ just makes sense. I mean like that’s the culmination. But make sure you read the backstory process because he was talking about contentment and not just this is going to help me. There’s not a slam on, you know that scripture is powerful and we should use it. But I always encourage people, man, what was he really talking about? And that was an encouragement to me in tough times.
 
Ray: That’s fantastic. And as I’m listening too it even reminds me so often we, one of the other most quoted things we hear is out of Jeremiah 4. I know the plans I have for you, plans for a hope and a future for prospering and not to harm, and those, but we forget to read the context that he is speaking to the Israelites when they’re in captivity and bondage. It’s not a winning season, so to speak. They’re 0 and 16 and they’re holding onto God’s promise. And that’s what you’re talking about is, yeah, I can do all things through Christ, but there’s thanksgiving and there’s patience and downs and all that.
 
Todd: And even in that Scripture that you know, he says, you’ll find me when you seek me and you seek me with all of your heart. Where are we with that? Especially today. Where are we with that mean? That’s a challenge for all of us. So yeah, it’s tough.
 
Ray: So Todd, if someone wants to learn more about you, your organization, get a copy of your book, Lead for God’s Sake, what’s the best way for someone to find you?
 
Todd: Well, you visit the website, obviously it’s KardiaTG.com Kardia the Transformation Group. That one, you know, will direct you to almost any place, the book you can get. It’s in most bookstores throughout the country, so you can get it almost anywhere. Again, it’s Lead for God’s Sake. And I got a book website for that too, that you can find stuff. And of course Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m pretty, there’s not a lot of Todd Gongwers out there, so if you just look up that name, you’ll find me on most of those social media platforms too.
 
Ray: Yeah. So Todd, I want to just vicariously live through your eyes for just a moment. Let’s just imagine that you, well recently you’ve spoken, you know, like I said, Clemson, Oklahoma, some of these different schools and programs, but as you are in front of these young leaders, these young, amazing high capacity human beings. What are some of the challenges that you’re seeing? I know you talk a lot about like digital and social media and some of those things, but we’ll talk about that, but what are some of the challenges you see facing our young emerging leaders?
 
Todd: Well, one of the big ones right now, and I think this has to do with a broader cultural, and I hate to call it a trend because I think this is just, it’s flows from human nature. But we are so inundated and I think young people are seeing this a lot and it’s, this is related to some of the digital media stuff that we can go into, but we’re inundated with a world where people are responding to tough stuff. People are responding in a bitter hate, anger-driven way in a lot of cases. And the issue of forgiveness I believe is just, and we’re leaving it behind the issue of taking responsibility for your own contribution to issues. We’re losing all of that. And because all of you know, again, the majority of digital media wants to, once you’re to see the fight and as they show the fight, they show the blame game.
 
Nobody wants to take responsibility for anything and nobody’s talking about the root of that which ultimately that blame game that fight in a lot of cases, there’s so many valid issues at stake and those issues are coming from a deep place of hurt in any issue that you can see our broader culture dealing with. Right? They’re coming from a deep place of hurt where there was wrongs. The answer to that we know is forgiveness. And for all of us it’s forgiveness. It’s a choice. The number one we love even as a broader culture, not right now. We love to talk about love out. The answer loves the answer, loves you and I totally agree with that. What we don’t talk about is the number one constraint to love being an unwillingness to forgive and you’re not going to be walking in genuine love if you’re unforgiving.
 
So you can say all you want on your Twitter account or on any of these other places and love’s the answer, love’s the answer, love’s the answer. But if you are walking in hatred to somebody and carrying bitterness and unforgiveness, you are not genuinely loving. Period. And again, and we need to teach young people that. And so I’m glad you asked that because that’s it. And it’s interesting because the last year, I think the first time I was talking to it was Arkansas football team. This year, the first time where I just, I went off, I mean just completely went deep into that topic because I just felt like this is such a huge issue right now and we’ve got a lot of young people that are out there just going, this is it. What’s the answer to deal with it? Hate, anger, revenge. And as long as we go down that path as a broader culture in our country, we are never going to solve anything.
 
And so again, my challenge, whether I’m in high schools, colleges, you know, wherever I’m at, and again, 80% of the time in public settings I’m still challenging them. You have to forgive. It’s the weight, you know, and I love to use the example carrying the weight. I can run pretty fast with this weight in my hand and I can jump pretty high. I carry the rest of my life. I have to, I guess, but I’ll never run as fast or jump as high as long as I’m carrying that way. Cause that’s unforgiveness. You’ve got to let it go. You got to learn to like, and that’s a challenge. That’s a process. We know as you know, we’ve all been hurt, but there is a process out there that you can follow and there is for, you know, there is healing and forgiveness that can take place as a result of healing. I’ve been there, done that. And it’s a great need in our culture right now.
 
Ray: Well that is really powerful and we know biblically why that is so critical and so sound and yet to your point, we live in a culture that’s not real quick to go there. You know, social media, it’s all about getting your voice out there. You know, it’s my voice, my brand, my image, my followers and so forth. And forgiveness is letting go of what I’m trying to hold onto. Right?
 
Todd: It really is.
 
Ray: So would you just speak a little bit more, I know you’re passionate about this, you talk a lot about this, what young leaders are dealing with. You talked about forgiveness and so forth, but you’re really passionate about the impact of digital and social media on our young people. Can you speak to that and share a little bit about that?
 
Todd: Yeah, I think it’s interesting because again, I think as I said at the beginning, one of the reasons what I just spoke about is such a serious issue is because digital media now with the smartphone is, it’s a 24/7 thing. It didn’t use to be that way. They were just there. You know, when I was growing up, there were so many opportunities to be away. I mean you still watch TV, you still watch movies, still played video games, but it wasn’t with you everywhere you went. Today when a kid finishes a practice, for instance, the minute he gets into his locker or her locker, they check their cell phone. The minute they walk out of the locker room, they’re looking down at and they’re in there in a DM there, another conversation in another world somewhere else.
 
And the danger, the real danger in that is what I like to, you know, is talk to groups about, as you know, every form of digital media has, you know, driving it an agenda. It’s either to monetize, desensitize, polarize, or politicize and sometimes all four of those. And I think those really sum up. Now there’s a lot more that are, you know, that drive these platforms. But if you look at, you know, again, especially social media, but video games, they all have to make money and I get that. Unfortunately, what we’ve done is, and that’s one of the guys that helped create Facebook has recently come out and confirmed this. One of the founders of the smart farmer, one of the guys that developers have the smart phone done. And one of the developers is an article where he talks about waking up in a cold sweat at night because he said his comment, this is one of the guys that helped create the smartphone. He said we were a bunch of 20 somethings in a room that didn’t have any kids.
 
And so when we decided to go to, you know, take advantage of this, of this social validation feedback loop, that becomes very addictive because of the dopamine release. When we decided to do that, we were just thinking eyeballs. That’s what sells. We’ve got to have eyeballs. Well, how do we addict? How do we lock them into this thing? Now we’re thirties and we have kids and we’re seeing it firsthand and we’re going, what did we bring to the world? And it’s pretty telling when you got guys and gals from some of these major technology platforms that, you know, it was all about the dollar. It was all about the dollar and how can we, and now they’re going, what do we, and it’s the same thing when you look at those agendas, you know, those four main agendas that I said come from that, Hey, you know, desensitizing you, we want you to think everybody’s doing it and draw you in to is something a little more edgy.
 
That’s our human nature, sometimes to be drawn to those things. Polarizing, fight. Everybody wants to see a fight. That’s our human nature. And politicizing is the biggest fight going right now. But man, when will we wake up as a sign and go, wait a minute, this, what are we doing to the next generation? Yeah. I mean, let’s for a second, can we just pause and say, is it really worth the monetization that this is causing for my platform, for my news outlet, whatever it is. And like I said, when I’m speaking to young people today, I’m saying, listen, I’m not here to tell you how to think. I can’t tell you what opinion to have when I have an agenda too. But what I am telling you is you’d be wise to learn what the agenda driving the platform is.
 
Chick-Fil-A has an agenda. It’s very clear. It’s up on their wall, and if you don’t want any part of that agenda, then you see it. You don’t expose yourself to go in and eat that delicious food and get that great service. The scary thing is, is most people don’t know that Twitter has just as strong of an agenda. And so does Apple and so does Facebook. And all you have to do is look behind the curtain to see who is really running these companies. Who have they hired to really run the algorithms within these companies? What message do they want to be most prevalent? And so the thing I tell kids all the time, the thing that says trending in the USA today and what’s news today is not necessarily what’s trending to 330 million people. And it’s not trending news to 330 million people. So just don’t be deceived. Just know where the source, what the agenda driving the sources. You can tell, right? This one gets me, this is such a powerful thing happening to our society right now and we’ve got to educate our young people.
 
Ray: Absolutely. And you know, we’ve got business leaders listening to this who have new emerging leaders coming into their company. What advice or encouragement could you give? You know, I’m 53 so you know though, let’s say the the old guys and gals like me, the 35 to 60 year olds that are in those senior leadership in businesses and how do we combat this? How can we be wise about this? Because minds are literally being captured.
 
Todd: Absolutely. You know, the same thing that I tell teams and coaches to do a lot. I advise in businesses, I say you create B Zones, and what the message behind that is, you know. We’ve never had more of an opportunity to not be where we are. So B Zones is an area in the organization, a boardroom where we say, you know what, there’s no sign. There’s no cell phones in here. We know you all have an important job, but for the next hour, you’re going to sit in here and this assistant’s out there, or this person’s out there that if there’s an emergency and somebody needs contacted, they can contact them. But you don’t need to be checking your phone for the next hour and just let’s be with each other.
 
And even in, in social, creating social opportunities with the organization to build teamwork again, creating B zones and B moments that, Hey, you know, in this particular dinner, let’s put them away and let’s be with each other. So I think I encourage organizations to do that. I also encourage them to talk about and begin to educate. Like even what I just said there with teams all the time. I tell them this sports teams, I say, you have to educate the kids and you have to educate the parents with a lot of what I just, you know, that’s just a short, small version of it. But they need to know the social validation feedback loop is a human nature thing that can lead to very, very addictive behavior that all of us – every, every person is wired with that desire for social validation. So this, we’re not messing with something that just 10% of the population has, you know, has a tendency that they could, you know, be in danger. About 99%. So, you know, educating and in some of those things I think are very important to you.
 
Ray: That is really, really fantastic. And I think that right there is a very practical takeaway. We’ve started this in our home with our kids, you know, we’re going to have conversation all technology away from it and not allowed at the table. Those kinds of things. You know, we’re here to connect, we’re here to connect and I think we have to be very diligent and very intentional about that. So I really appreciate you sharing that. And so tell us the website one more time, Todd.
 
Todd: It’s KardiaTG.com.
 
Ray: KardiaTG.com. Todd, we’re in the home stretch of our conversation here. I kind of call this kind of the advice section. So this is always the last part of the conversation. So I’d love to hear, if you could think back, what’s the best advice you were ever given and how’s it impacted you today?
 
Todd: Hmm, that’s a hard one for me to answer because I feel like so many books impacted me so deeply. You know, I think the advice, and I’ll just go back to my upbringing and my parents put Christ first in your life, you know, and that came, that advice came over the course of years, but was a consistent piece of advice to me that supersedes everything else. And if that’s the foundation, everything else is secondary to that.
 
Ray: Absolutely. So put Christ first and then now I want you to go back to when you first started your company first started your organization. What do you wish someone had told you about that first year of being in business?
 
Todd: Oh man. Let’s see. That’s a tough one. That’s a tough one. Don’t do it. No, I’m just kidding. Partner up with somebody from the very beginning. You know, that’s a cord of three strands is not easily broken, you know, having, that’s been probably the biggest challenge in this thing. And again, like I told you, it was kind of an accidental process anyways, but that’s been also the toughest part is in a lot of cases it’s felt like being the lone ranger in a lot of times. And I think you have to be intentional surrounding yourself with people no matter what it takes. And so I grew up as a part of a family business, so I experienced a lot of horror stories my whole life and family, you know, and businesses and stuff. So starting it, I kind of knew, I kind of, I went into it knowing, you know, you’ve seen the sausage. This is a tough road. I was almost 40 when I founded this one, so I’d been through it, knew it was going to be tough. So not easy.
 
Ray: Yeah, I appreciate the honesty. That’s really, we’re hoping that’s an encouragement to others. Right? Cause we love that question because it’s always what we know after the fact that becomes so the most things that we learn and can pass along. So we are at the end of our conversation, I’m so grateful that you’ve been with us here at Bottom Line Faith. I’ve been blessed and encouraged. I am quite confident those who are listening to this have been as well. So the last question Todd, and it’s based out of Proverbs chapter 4 verse 23. This is another advice question. You know where Solomon writes these words, he says above all else, guard your heart for from it flows all of life. And so Todd, I want you to just imagine that you have a chance at the tail end of your life on this side of eternity and you have a chance to gather your family, your friends, your loved ones, those who are most precious to you. And you’re going to now pass along the single most important advice that you want them to remember after you’re gone. And that’s the advice I want you to pass along to our audience here. So finish the sentence for me. Above all else…
 
Todd: Live your life in alignment with your ultimate purpose here on this earth. God loves you. He made you for relationships. Don’t ever pursue anything at the expense of those relationships. First with him and then with others.
 
Ray: That’s solid. That’s it. That’s perfect. Thank you. I don’t know how to add to that.
 
Todd: Well, there’s a lot to that. That’s easier said than done as we all know in our pursuits, but that’s, yeah, that one came to my mind.
 
Ray: That’s, yeah, that’s good. Todd, thank you for being our guest here on Bottom Line Faith.
 
Todd: All right. Thank you for doing what you’re doing, for sharing the messages that you share and really, really appreciate the opportunity to be on with you today. Loved it. Had a blast with you.
 
Ray: It’s an honor, folks. There’s another episode of Bottom Line Faith, a program here where we love to bridge the gap between faith and leadership in the marketplace. We trust and pray that you’ve been encouraged by our conversation with Todd today and that, Hey, if it’s the first time you’ve listened to program, check out the website, BottomLineFaith.org you can see dozens and dozens of interviews. They’re featuring top CEOs and celebrities and athletes from around the country where we, every time, we just love to learn how their faith is impacting their leadership. Just like the conversation today, and these are highest level leaders impacting culture for the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you’re not a subscriber, we’d encourage you to become one on your iTunes, on the Google Play, Stitcher, all that podcast platforms. The number one thing you can do to help the program is give us a review. That’s how we can increase our exposure and awareness of the program. The more of you who are out there talking about the program, the more people get exposed to it. So until next time, I am your host Ray Hilbert, here at Bottom Line Faith, encouraging you to live out your faith each day in the marketplace.

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