The power of authenticity in your life and business
This is an excerpt of a recent taping of our new You Tube Show and podcast we call The Solution Point – where, with our guests, we reveal solutions to everyday problems in life, business and law. In this taping we met with Emmy Award Winning Director, Producer, Country and Pop Song Writer, Author and all-around cool guy, Nick Nanton, where we dive into the biggest problem he sees in brand marketing today.
JMD [00:00:05] Welcome to The Solution Point, where we have solutions for your life, your business and the law. And before we get into it, remember to click the subscribe button below or subscribe on your podcast here and make sure you like this like this video and to get started. Let me introduce my co-host, Catalina.
Catalina [00:00:40] Everybody, it’s a pleasure to be here. And it’s also a pleasure to introduce our guest today. Nick Nanton is a gentleman we met recently. We go every quarter to Arizona to meet up with other entrepreneurial attorneys and we get together and meet other fantastic folks and the last time we went to Arizona we had the pleasure of meeting Nick Nanton, and we asked him to join our podcast. Nick Nanton is a twenty-two-time Emmy Award winning director and producer and a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. So, yes, we were super excited that he came to join us here at The Solution Point and to give us solutions to problems he’s discovered. And so, again, welcome, Nick Nanton.
Nick Nanton [00:01:30] Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
Catalina [00:01:32] Nick, tell us a little about yourself to our listeners and audience.
Nick Nanton [00:01:39] Yeah, I am an attorney also. I don’t practice law, but I have spent most of my life as a songwriter and now directing, producing documentaries. And I have an undergrad degree in finance, so I am more of a business guy than a filmmaker; but film has been a really fun way to see the world meet great people and share stories that impact people. So that’s me. I’ve got a wife of 19 years this month and three kids, 16, 13 and one turns 10 this month.
Catalina [00:02:12] So fantastic. Congratulations.
JMD [00:02:15] And we’re running in parallel. So, Nick, the name of the show is The Solution Point, so I know you probably have a whole bunch of different solutions that you could share with our audience. But tell us a little bit about what solutions that you tend to provide. And I’ll let your kind of free form it. But I know one of the things that has been on your radar lately is helping people tell their story and the importance of making sure that in one’s sales pitch and in daily interaction with clients, you speak about the importance of telling your personal story. And if you want to talk about that or anything…the Emmy Award winner has the floor.
Nick Nanton [00:03:19] Totally fine. So, yeah, I mean, the biggest problem or the thing that I see the most is that people are really confused by what branding is. There’s all sorts of branding consultants and whatever else. And I just tell everyone it’s super simple. Your brand is simply your story. Like, that’s really the best way I can explain it. And a great brand is a story other people want to share for you. So, the problem that I found the most is that business owners in the marketplace are trying to stand out. I mean, we’ve all been there, and we know we could be doing more. We say to ourselves, we could help more people if they just knew who we are and how we can help them. So, I spent the last 15 years helping nearly 4,000 business owners across the world share their stories with different types of media. I use media because media is simply a medium for sharing your story. And there’s lots of different ones. Different people are arguing about which ones are better, which one is the best, whatever. But at the end of the day, you know, it really is just what’s the one that your ideal target market is going to consume? And for most of us, we consume multiple types of media and there are certain types of media that we are just not in love with stuff. We use all sorts of different types of media to reach our clients’ target audience. So that’s really where I have spent the majority of my time and of course, for the last 10 years, making I think close to 70 documentaries now, and so that’s allowed me to get like way deeper into storytelling for non-profits, causes and entrepreneurs. I get to tell the stories of some amazing entrepreneurs like Peter Diamandis, the founder of The X Prize Foundation, who put the first private spaceship up in space. There’s been Jack Canfield, who created the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and sold five hundred million books. Rudy, the football player, I’ve told Larry King’s life story. Those are Larry King’s suspenders behind me. It’s a gift from the King family. So, it’s led me on a journey. So that’s me.
JMD [00:05:21] Yeah. Well, you know, and I think one of the things that is important to also remember when telling your story is having authenticity because people will see through fake really quick. And if they don’t see it really quick, they’ll see it at the most inopportune time for you. Can you expand upon that a little bit?
Catalina [00:06:41] Yes! How do you get to that sweet spot of authenticity so that it really communicates across many levels?
Nick Nanton [00:07:26] Perfect. So, most of us start out with thinking our story is not a big deal because, you know, thankfully most of us don’t have raging huge egos. However, our story is important and our journey in life is what led us to this moment right now. And so, what I try to help people understand is that people don’t know your story and where you came from or what you’ve been through, including your successes and failures. And the more you are willing to share those things, both sides them, the more your authenticity will show through. And from a business perspective, the more your ideal client will know that you are the perfect person to help them. Oh, they’ll understand me because they’ve been divorced, or they’ve owned a company, or they’ve been bankrupt, or they’ve also been married for 30 years. If everything you say aligns with someone 100 percent, they’re never going to look anywhere else because they think you’ve been living their same lives and will think, “Oh! You get me.”. It’s sort of like when two strangers meet and they could be 30 years difference in age, but they’re from within three blocks of each other. They trust each other for no good reason other than you live around the corner. There’s no other reason for trust other than having one thing that’s foundational to them in common. The more we share, the more people we find that do align with certain things. So, like I said, I’ve been married for 19 years. Well, most people would gather from that and think I’m pretty good at long term relationships. There’s going to be people who are hate marriage and that’s just going to go over their head. Or if I talk about my dog that I got out from making a movie for Canines for Warriors, where they take rescue dogs and turn them into service dogs given to wounded warriors with PTSD which helps stop suicides. Well, there’s a lot in there. My dog failed out of the program, and he was one of the ones that didn’t make it and was a “flunky”. I adopted him, and now he’s been with us for several years now. People who aren’t pet people probably won’t care, but people who are dog people or have a military interest or have dealt with PTSD will have a different point of view. It’s like a dog whistle, it’s something that makes them stop and say, “Wait a minute. That’s like me and he or she understands me. They get me.”. So, it’s really about sharing your story authentically, the ups and the downs. And you have to try it a few times to make sure you’ve got it right. I mean, you don’t want to talk about every girlfriend you had and every car tire you changed. Focus on the pretty pivotal moments. I would say for the most part, if you break people’s lives down, it’s sort of like adolescence, probably college or maybe even high school and college, early career, depending how old they are. And then, like career 2.0. If I were to ask you to write down your five or ten best and worst experiences in each of those three- or four-time frames and most memorable things, it can be funny. It’s like therapy. Maybe something has been sticking in your head from third grade, and you don’t even know why, but it stuck with you for a reason. If you take the time to do that exercise, you’ll find it’s very informative of why you’re doing what you do right now. But most people never take the time to look at it. So, I try to help my clients celebrate their past, the good and the bad, because it is what made you who you are. And that is authenticity. The more I share with you who I really am, the more you’re going to either vibe with me or not, and it’s a Dan Kennedy quote, “The rate at which you repel is the rate at which you attract”. So, it’s OK if not everyone’s for you, that’s great. Actually, the more you share, the more you have people who really align with you, the easier it is to be friends with them and do business with them.
JMD [00:11:35] Right. And so just to plus one, I think what you’re saying is you want your clients to tell their story authentically and to tell the good and the bad, because the people who are going to resonate with that are going to really want to connect. And the people who are put off by it are people you probably aren’t going to want to be in business with anyway. And then there’s some of the people in the middle that they may not hear half of what you’re saying, because only one or two points resonated with them, but that’s enough for them to set up an appointment as an example.
Nick Nanton [00:12:21] The secret is, if you don’t have a lock on your foundational values, then you’re going to be wishy washy. You’re going to sort of blow in the wind and I don’t care who you are, you’re going to come across as a salesman. The more you have your foundational values down masterfully, at every fork in the road, there’s still only one path, because it’s very obvious which one to take. For instance, I was offered a documentary deal about a month ago, and it was a half million dollars-ish. It was with some celebrity people and a big athletic program, and they said we have this reunion thing going on these days and you need to film
these days and I said, “I have to stop you right there. I know I can pull this project off and I’d love to do it with you. It sounds amazing, but if the requirement is I’ve got to be there on any of those three days for the reunion, I can’t. Those dates fall on my daughter’s dance nationals, and she is nine and I’m not going to miss it. So, I know I can pull it off for you, but I don’t want to string you along if that is important to you.”. And I end up losing the deal. But that’s OK. Now, look, if my family wasn’t eating, I’d have to make a different decision, right? So, family eating would be a foundation value above the other, right?
Catalina [00:13:49] Right.
Nick Nanton [00:13:51] Exactly right. It would have been great gig for me, great revenue and all that. But because of my foundational values, I’m not going to miss the important things in my kids’ lives. Right. And so, it’s just all those things. And so, I think the more you can nail those things down and be strong… it could be your political affiliations. That’s not really my thing. But it could be your faith. That is one for me. I mean, so just what are your foundational values and what are you unwilling to waver from? And if you focus on those things, you’ll find that you’ll be pretty magnetic to the right people.
Catalina [00:14:28] And I guess it reminds me, right up right above my shoulder is the cover of Mike’s first book called The Roadmap to Rich and it’s about how he used his real estate addiction and grew and shared with folks how you can get rich basically through real estate investing. But after the book, years later, was the “second half” of the story and after letting go all of that real estate and he talked about needing to share that story because it was the fall after the rise. It was, you know, losing all of those properties, the reasons why and explaining that part and the saga continues. And that brings me back to thinking about that authenticity and how that book is waiting to be written to bring it all together and then the rise again. I love the point of this of the authenticity discussion and basically you have to show the good and the bad to make that come full circle with trust. I like that.
Nick Nanton [00:15:41] Yeah. And also, the other thing that people get nervous about all the time, it’s funny, like I’ve had several people who either I have gifted a documentary to on their life or someone else hired me and gave a documentary as a gift. They were super nervous about it because their story wasn’t over. To borrow a Dan Sullivan term, you know, they had a belief that their futures would be bigger than their past. So, it’s like we are telling ourselves, “Well no, I’ve got to accomplish this thing first!”. But I’m a big fan of telling your story-to-date. Then, of course, if you just bring in your past and we’ll tell another story when that segment is done, or we’ll cover that as it goes. But it’s funny, there’s a lot of analysis paralysis when it comes to sharing your story, because, you think, I’m not done yet. Well, the good news is you’re not done yet. And when you’re done, then you’re done. Like, that’s not a fun day and that’s a game over day. So, I highly encourage people to not overthink it, just share where you come from. I guarantee you, there’s stories in your past that could shift people’s lives, but you have to choose to tell them no. I mean, no one else can do it for you. If you don’t look, there are people scouring the earth looking for someone who looks, sounds and acts just like you. There’s only one of those people on Earth. If you don’t do a good job helping those people find you, it’s going to be lost. Every business owner, every entrepreneur, every coach, every whatever, every lawyer has a perfect ideal client. The more you share your foundational values, your goals, who you really are, the things you support, the things you’re against, the more you are going to find that perfect customer. You’re never going to have that customer that you’ve got to fire. I have a no a-hole rule, like it’s just a rule I have in life. I don’t care how rich you are, how famous you are, how much money you want to give me. If I think you’re an a-hole then I’m out and I’m like, it’s not even going to happen.
Catalina [00:17:41] And how long does it take you to find that out? Do you have any particular questions you ask?
Nick Nanton [00:17:49] It usually comes out pretty quickly. I mean, there’s a few times and it’s really the way people treat others around them. So, it doesn’t matter if it’s an assistant or we’ve all heard the waiter story. It doesn’t matter. You can tell pretty quickly the way people treat other people around them. I think it’s probably the fastest way to tell.
JMD [00:18:07] Going back to avoiding having to fire a client later… It’s one of those things where sometimes having your priorities of, “Hey, I need to eat and feed my family”, you might take a case that you don’t want, or you might take a job that you don’t want. My lesson that I that I’ve learned over time is to try to, as much as possible, not go there. For example, if you can switch to rice and beans instead of steak for four times a week, it’s worth it, because what always happens is it leaves a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.
Nick Nanton [00:18:54] For your staff too. For your team. If it’s a bad fit, you’re actually going counter to all your core values as a team, like you’re basically selling your team out. I am an impatient person, I just actually did an assessment not long ago and someone said, you’re not impatient. It’s just that everyone else just works at about, you know, a tenth of the pace you do, sir. You’re not impatient. They’re just too slow for the way you work like to work. I told them that I liked their spin on that. I’m not sure if it’s right, but I like it. I was so impatient about things not working out fast enough. A deal would come on my plate that wasn’t quite right. But, man, revenue wasn’t looking very good, you know. And it’s you know, it’s one of those things where, as a business owner, we all do it. It’s the third of the month and revenue is not looking good. And we’re freaking out. Right. It’s like we’re not on pace or it could be the fifteenth or the eighth month. And my business partner, said you have your Christian faith. If you want God to answer your prayers, you probably need to give him elbow room. Give him some space. Like it’s not known. I write a lot of country music and pop. And one of my favorite lyrics ever is from a guy named Eric Church. And it’s, “Momma ain’t a shrink, Daddy ain’t a bank and God ain’t a wishing well. I don’t know if there’s any truer words spoken. So anyway, that’s of that story.
JMD [00:20:29] All right, so, Nick, I know your time is very valuable and I don’t want to abuse it, but one of the things I want to make sure that we also cover is talking about a core value that our guests have and what they use to kind of guide their decision making.
Nick Nanton [00:21:28] One of the things I think we all take for granted, even when we think we don’t, is we all know that time is the only thing we can’t get back. It’s not going to come back, yet, we all do it even in a sort of a helpless or an unintentional way. We’re sort of wishing the week away to get to a vacation or wishing a meeting to be over so we can get to happy hour or whatever it is. Yet, we all wish, certainly in our last days, wish we had it all back. Brian Tracy told me one time, assuming you’re treating people well, your family and everything else, your kids are going to judge your relationship with them by the amount of time they had with you face to face. And that’s not face-to-phone, it’s often the amount of time you had face to face. And so, I would just like to encourage people to make time in their lives for those people who matter, because no matter how busy you are, that’ll come and go. Anything that’s important, you make time for. We just happen to have created a hierarchy that’s usually around professional responsibility. We take in money, and we take that more seriously than personal familial relationships. I can remember, my mentor and business partner and I were working years ago, and we were talking in a meeting and my phone rang. I looked down and said it’s my mom and I can call her back again, and he goes, you know how much I wish I could get that call right now? He said to take that call because one day, you won’t be able to take that call. I just encourage people to just sort of think through some of those issues and spend the time with people you love because everything else comes and goes.
Catalina [00:23:15] Yeah, I love that. And if I if I can share on that, because it’s recently been on my mind, but I have two full time jobs. I work here and I work at home and also with the kids and stuff. And sometimes I have a little more time here at work and then I get to have a little more time at home and it’s a sliding scale. I have been spending more time with my littlest one, the three-year-old we have (we have we have seven kids total, five older boys, and then the two girls at the end). I’ve been spending a lot of time with her because our five-year-old has been going to kindergarten. When I got home yesterday, the three-year-old was half asleep at almost six o’clock. I told her to go ahead and take a little nap. I could tell she was exhausted and the five-year-old was raring to go and I don’t get enough one-on-one time with her. We got to spend a good hour just by ourselves. We did whatever she wanted. We tickled, we danced, and we played horsey. I found that time just with her so valuable. Right? Like after the workout in that workout glow where there are more healthy benefits. That’s how I felt all the rest of the evening. Even this morning, she’s giving me more hugs. And so, I completely agree with you, Nick. And sometimes it’s not a matter of, yes, spend time with them, but spend time on what they want to do, not, oh, mommy wants me to do this, or I don’t want to do this, but she’s spending time with me. We have to break down that ego or like you said, and even if it’s forty-five minutes of straight up what they want to do, get messy playing on the floor or whatever. It keeps paying forward.
Nick Nanton [00:25:47] Spend the time, you won’t regret it later.
JMD [00:25:51] Yeah, and just to plus one, having lost both of my parents, you know, I can totally relate to that statement of, you know, always, always pick up the phone when mom calls.
Nick Nanton [00:26:07] My parents just brought my daughter back from a day of baking. So, they’re outside the door. So, I’m going to see them for in a few minutes.
Catalina [00:26:13] Thank you so much for your time and wish you all the best for the rest of the summertime with your kids. We hope to see you soon again in another meeting.
Nick Nanton [00:26:26] Thank you for having me on.