Deliberate Dad: Making Tough Choices for Short and Longterm Success

I don’t just appreciate Chris Ducker because he personally donated HUGE to Front Row Foundation, or because he’s also generously donated his time and energy to raise even more money for our charity…   

deeply appreciate the life Chris has built for his family, and how he views the time committed to being dad/husband and CEO with more than 350 employees.   

On this week’s show, we’re talking with this self-proclaimed ‘Proudest Brit’ about fatherhood and family life.  

A peek at what’s ahead…  

  • Being deliberate with your time  
  • The killer family calendar  
  • Dealing with divorce  
  • Living abroad and staying connected to your kids  
  • Ending work by 4, and taking Friday’s off  
  • Tips for travel to stay charged and connected  
  • Video games – oh yeah, or hell no   
  • How has Chris’s business made him a better dad  
  • Why work work/life balance is a myth 

More about Chris Ducker…  

He’s serial entrepreneur and author of the bestsellers, “Virtual Freedom (I read this book and loved it) and “Rise of the Youpreneur”, Chris also owns and operates several businesses with hundreds of employees internationally.  

He’s also a trusted international business mentor, keynote speaker, podcaster, blogger, as well as the founder of – the world’s number one personal brand business education company.  

Dang…this man has a full schedule!   

Enjoy the show boys.   


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Read The Transcript

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Jon: Chris, welcome to Front Row Dads man. So, glad you’re here.


Chris: Oh, dude. It’s my pleasure. Are you serious? I’m looking forward to this.


Jon: When you were on stage at Best Year Ever with Hal, I was in the back. You are rocking the room there. People were coming up to me saying, “That was awesome. That was so cool.” You know, I’d watched you professionally for quite some time, but I felt like at that event, I got to know you more on a personal level, especially when people bid like thousands of dollars to hang out with you in the suite and then I got a chance to see you in that moment. One thing in particular I want to recognize you for – and this will kind of set up why I think we’re talking today.


One of the reasons is that there was a moment in that room when there was a guy named Lonnie who is there with his son. And I’ll never forget there was a moment when the conversation provided an opportunity for you to engage with his son, and you jumped on it. I watched you turn your attention to Justin, his boy – and they might be listening, by the way, so, what’s up, fellas? They might be listening. You turned your attention and you engaged with him and I was like that’s a guy who truly understands how to really be a family man with a business, not a businessman with a family. Because your intention there was really serving the individual and I think we miss that sometimes. I watched you do that and I was like, “I’ve got to talk with Chris about how he does his life, how he integrates all this stuff together,” and thank you for showing up big in the world because you’re really an inspiration to me.


Chris: Thank you, man. Likewise, to you as well. I love what you guys do at that event, but particularly with Front Row in general and the fact that you’ve got – when you told me to come on Front Row Dads, it’s about dad, family, maybe a little bit of business but mostly just that stuff, it’s very different for me because, as you know, like in the entrepreneurial space online, you get a lot of interview requests to come and talk about how to do this or how to succeed or what keeps you motivated and all that kind of stuff. That’s great. Don’t get me wrong and I love doing those kinds of interviews but every now and then, curve balls thrown in, and it just gives you that opportunity to really express yourself honestly and I feel like that is powerful. This is why I’m looking forward to this time together.


Jon: Let’s talk about your personal life a bit because your professional life for sure is very well documented and you would have a lot of success in those areas. I’ve read your books and followed your stuff and certainly admire a lot of that. I know a little bit about your personal life but that’s the piece I think that for a lot of guys, at least that I serve that maybe don’t get as much of the conversation. So, take us back a little bit and to set some things up, how we got to where you are now in your 40s and family and business and all that. Go back to the beginning and sort of take us into your life, getting married at 21, and let’s start there with your story and tell us what happened at that stage of your life.


Chris: Yeah. I mean, you’re young, in love. Yeah.


Jon: Been there.


Chris: We all, as gents, right? I mean, I did. I got married when I was 21, much to both of my parents’ dismay. They didn’t think it was a very good idea. I had only been dating my first wife, so there’s little precursor thoughts coming up here. We’re about 18 months or so and, you know, got married, had a kid a year later, dad at 22, working two jobs. Sales guy during the day at a publishing company, mixing cocktails at night, and another couple of years in, another baby comes along. That’s Chloe. First is Chris Jr. then Chloe and it all starts to just fall apart. You get into debt. You start taking it out on each other. It was clear that maybe you did actually get married a little too early. Maybe you should’ve just been with each other for a little bit longer and kind of figured things out a little bit more, but by the time I’ve reached 26, 27, the marriage has fundamentally broken down and we decided to separate and ultimately divorce.


At that point, a couple of other pretty major things happened in my life. Number one, my mother passed away and she was a big influence in my life, particularly very rah, rah like most moms and dads, they’ll give you the confidence, the motivation, the inspiration that you need to kind of further yourself, push yourself, and that sort of type of stuff. And I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my mom and it hit me really hard, very, very, especially because I’ve only been with her about a week or so before she passed away. She had a heart attack and died and that hit me pretty hard to be frank with you and literally, weeks, weeks after we decided to divorce. So, it’s just one blow after another blow and then the second thing that happened after we separated was I got offered a job over in the Philippines, a very well-paying job with very good opportunities. And I just felt that even though it meant that I was going to spend a certain amount of each year away from the kids day-to-day, at that point in my life I have to escape for a bit.


And that might sound a little bit selfish on the surface, but what happened was actually it brought me closer to my ex-wife, it brought me closer to my children, because I’ve been working 15, 16 hours a day in two jobs the whole time I was in England. You know what I mean? And so, I got to the Philippines. I’m working for a big international bank out there and a couple of years contract. After a couple of years, I set up my own consulting firm, and that means that I can now fundamentally not only write my own paycheck but I can also travel whenever I want and all the rest of it. So, I go from three trips home back to the UK each year to as many as I want. And by that time, the kids are a little bit older, they could get on an airplane with the help of cabin crew without any problems on their own. They would come visit me a few times each year. I’d go over and visit them in the UK for a few times each year and every single day I would call them. Every single day I would call them.


So, I’m building the company, building the company, and one of the members of staff and I started to hit it off. You have to understand at this point, I had all but written off the idea of ever getting married again. I was like, “You know what, been there, done that,” and I got two great kids who I have amazing relationships with and I’m going to focus on that and providing a great future for them. Boom. Done. That’s it. And then after three years of literally being under each other’s noses daily, something clicked with myself and who I now call my true bride, my true love of my life and that’s Erce. Many people if they’ve ever met her at conferences, up until recent, she’s traveled very, very frequently with me all over the world with these things and they know exactly why it became a no-brainer for me to start considering getting married again which we did. So, we’ve been together 15 years now. We have two children together so I’m a dad of four, all in. So, let me break it down and show my age and why I have no hair. You, by the way, you have no excuse.


Jon: That’s right.


Chris: You got no excuse, brother, but I do, okay? So, 24 years old, Chris Jr. a.k.a. CJ, 21 years old Chloe, 10½ years old Charles, and then Cassandra came along year-and-a-half ago so there you go.  


Jon: Wow. You’ve been in the dad business for a while.


Chris: Maybe I should write my next book. What do you think?


Jon: I think so, man. I think it’s needed. I would love to read it but sign me up. I want to be on your launch date for that.


Chris: The funny thing is, though, is that, obviously, I mean, when myself and Erce got married, kids was definitely on the agenda. Charlie, and then about I think maybe three or four years later she was pregnant again. She unfortunately miscarried and lost the baby. And we tried and tried and tried for another few years after that and it just didn’t happen and I’ve made the really big decision to start potentially considering the idea of moving back to the UK. It would be better for Charlie’s future. It would be better from a business perspective for us and all that sort of stuff as well. We came to England, found a property after about a week or so searching. We’ve looked up about 25 homes in one week. Beautiful property in the Cambridge countryside here in England and went out, have the offer accepted on the day that we submitted it, and went out to celebrate. Nine months later…


Jon: That’s awesome.


Chris: Cassandra came along. Man, it was that night out celebrating. Boy, did we celebrate that night. So, there you go.


Jon: Man, that’s awesome. You know, one of the thoughts that hit me, Chris, is you’re talking about this timeline and having a child recently and then in your early 20s and the time that’s passed in between. I know for a fact that a lot of guys wrestle with guilt about their role as a dad because things they didn’t do or things they might’ve messed up. I know with my son, Tiger, who’s nine and my son, Ocean, who’s four, my wife and I both talk about the fact that those five years that transpired between when Tiger was a baby and when Ocean was a baby allowed us a lot of growth. We had a lot of change. I mean, actually, when Tiger was born, I was in the midst of like total chaos with my business. They were calling to foreclose on my home. It was really rough and then it worked. The plane did eventually take off, but those early years, there was a lot of hours. I definitely wasn’t as present as a father and I carried a lot of guilt thinking about how much different I showed up as a father for Ocean than I did with Tiger. Is that something you ever wrestled with? And if you have, how did you deal with it?


Chris: I don’t think I’ve ever wrestled with it but I without a doubt with Charlie and Cassie, I have very much been more acutely aware of it. I think there was such a massive difference between becoming a dad at the age of 22 for the first time and then becoming a dad for the third time in your mid-30 and, dude, that’s like 40, 50. That’s a long grade.


Jon: It’s a long time.


Chris: And so, like you say, you go through a lot of changes in that time and even though some people might disagree with this but even though I was on the other side of the world for a lot of the year for a good few years, I know I had and as weird as it might sound, I had a better without a doubt, a better relationship with my two first children, my first one than I did with – than I would have rather if I had been living in London. I would’ve been working those two jobs, man, and it just would happen and I just wouldn’t have seen them, period. And so, I don’t think I’ve wrestled, no, but I’ve been acutely aware of the fact that things could’ve also obviously been much better, but circumstances are what they are and you just get on with life. You don’t kind of dwell on it. You just get on with it. With Charlie and Cassie, I mean, there are certain things like, for example, I wrap up usually, there’s an exception today because I’m speaking to a handsome self, but usually, I’m wrapping up my workday at 4 PM.


Why? Because I know Charles is back from school at 4:30 and I don’t want him seeing me in my home office and I don’t enter the home office in the evening unless there’s a real emergency, if some website goes down or something like that. So, I also know equally that in the morning we intentionally decided to hire a full-time nanny. Erce, by the way, I should say works in the business full-time with me as well. So, we hire a full-time nanny to come look after Cassandra during the daytime but we do it from 10 AM onward. So, Erce takes care of the school run. I spend time at Cassandra in the morning, and then get to work for that kind of 10 to 4 PM and Charlie’s back from school. I spend time with him and Erce takes care of Cassie and it works beautifully. I must also say that as of around about maybe five, six years ago, I haven’t worked Friday religiously. Every now and then, things happen. You have guests come in. You got to go on a speaking engagement or whatever the case may be.


I would say 95% of my Fridays in the last five or six years I have not worked and that time is for me and Erce. That’s our time. We go out away from the weekend and the birthday parties and the archery lessons and the Pokémon Go hunting and all that stuff.


Jon: Hal told me you introduced him to Pokémon Go. That’s so funny.


Chris: Yeah. I’ve used his kids who were crazy about Pokémon Go. So, Hal, if you’re listening in, it’s all my fault. So, we took a balance and it’s happened over a period of time.


Jon: Let’s drill into that a little bit more because that’s our fifth pillar is this integrated living piece and how we balance our schedule. I think guys are always fascinated by what does Chris’s life really look like morning, noon, and night. So, let’s talk two categories here. When you are at home, what are the details of your schedule? And when you’re traveling like what are the details of your schedule? And also, to just be direct about what I’m getting at, I’m thinking about like the little nuances, the things that you might do that are really important to you and your family, the traditions. You know, like Ocean comes down in the morning and one of my favorite things as I sit with him on the couch and I hold him and I try to tickle his back for as long as he’ll sit still, I try to sit there. That’s my game. My game is to tickle his back and keep him on me as long as I can. Even though I’ve got a million things to do, my entrepreneurial brain is on fire already, I’ve got I want to get the task list done, but I’m like this is my chance to be still. I’m looking for like all those little things, both at home and on the road.


Chris: Sure. Got it. Love it. Okay. I love this stuff. Okay. So, whoa, man, there’s a lot but let’s see where it can break down. So, certainly at home, let’s do that first. Like I said, Monday to Thursday is work. Friday to Sunday is pure family. Start work at 10 AM. Spend time with Cassie in the morning, spend time with Charlie in the afternoon after school before dinner. From 10 to 4, get the hell out of my office everybody. I’m working. This is it. I’m making my money.


Jon: Do they really stay away or do they still knock?


Chris: So, Charlie is obviously at school so he’s at school so that’s not an issue. And Cassondra knows that daddy is in here, but the nanny does a very, very good job at keeping Cassondra away. So, for the most part, obviously, I’ll pop out for bathroom breaks.


Jon: Nanny for the win.


Chris: Nanny for the win all the way, right. And so, that’s that. A couple of things. So, about two or three times a week, Charlie will wake me up in the morning and he’ll wake up, he’s very independent, he’ll wake up, he’ll jump in the shower, get dressed, go downstairs, make himself some toast or a bowl of cereal or whatever. Not too much sugar but a little cereal every now and then and he’ll actually make me, get this, an espresso. He knows how to use an espresso machine. I taught him well and he will bring an espresso up. He’s got this little tray.


Jon: That’s cool.


Chris: He’ll bring this espresso upstairs and I’ll have a little espresso and he’ll get into bed and he’ll cuddle with me and Erce and casually wake up and we’ll come downstairs. That’s two or three times a week, little things like that.


Jon: That’s cool, man.


Chris: All the dads, get the kids making coffee, seriously. And then it’s Cassandra time so that changes so quickly. She’s so young so one minute it might just be just hanging out watching some kids TV show or something like the Teletubbies or something like that or the next minute it could be me chasing her. She started walking about a month-and-a-half ago, two months ago, and chasing around all over the house, playing hide and seek. We have a very large mid-17th century Grade II listed property here in Cambridge. It’s a gorgeous home but it’s big. I’ve lost my daughter.


Jon: It’s the only good argument I’ve ever heard for having a really big home. It’s like solid hide and seek.


Chris: Well, I mean, we got baby gates on the stairs so she can’t go upstairs and so she got to be downstairs somewhere but downstairs it’s like two bathrooms and two guest rooms, dining room. It’s a big bloody house. So, I’ve lost her a couple of times, then you hear this sound, “Nya, nya, nya,” and she’s trying to say, “Where are you? Come and get me,” kind of a thing and I go find her. So, that’s the morning and there’s work and then the boy comes back reading 30 minutes every day next to each other on the sofa without fail. He reads his book. I read my book straight out of the gate. After that, we give him 30 minutes of screen time. He can play the laptop. He can watch YouTube on the TV or he can play his iPad or whatever and then we wash up, get ready, have an early dinner, and go to bed. And that’s home life right there. Friday like it’s just me and Erce so that could be a double bill at the cinema. It could be walking around antique shops. It could be – what else? We do couples yoga from time to time. She’s a yoga instructor.


Jon: Cool.


Chris: So, she likes to get me involved with that as much as possible. I’m not a fan of, particularly hot yoga. I mean, I sweat enough as it is. I don’t need bloody heaters in the studio and making me sweat more. So, there’s a lot of different stuff that we do. It’s just us too and we love that four or five hours of just being kid-free and just going out and doing our thing. And then when I’m away from home, things get very, very simple. I like to keep things as simple as possible when I’m on the road, when I’m traveling because back in 2012, I had lower back surgery to repair a blown disc and I find when I’m on the road I’m kind of out of my daily routine a little bit. I find that I do get aches and pains particularly when you’ve been on aircraft for eight or nine hours at a time or whatever. And so, when I’m on the road, it really is I’m in town. Usually, if I’m there for say a two or three-day conference I’ll get in two days before, so I can have a few meetings, that sort of type of thing. And then I’ll usually leave the day after the conference ends, I’m out. Done.


I don’t like to be away from home very often. Some people will say, “Wow. You travel all the way from…” before when I was living in the Philippines, I’d go from the Philippines all the way to LA for like four days and people thought I was nuts but I’d rather just get home and get back into my routine. You know what I mean?


Jon: Yeah. How many days do you think you’ll be on the road this year?


Chris: This year is actually quite a busy one and that is on purpose because this year for the first year in three years, I opened up the US market to my private high-end mastermind which I call The Roundtable. And so, we’re going with the whole King Arthur thing and the knights.


Jon: I like it. It’s good.


Chris: Clearly, I’m King Arthur. I just want to play that one.


Jon: Well done.


Chris: Well, I mean it’s my thing. I should be able to pick, right?


Jon: You got to.


Chris: So, yes, we’ve done that three years here in the UK. We opened up into the US market for the first time this year, which means two-day retreats this year in March and September respectively. So, a little bit more traveling this year, but again, I kind of bolster it on the back of speaking engagements and that sort of type of stuff. So, a little bit more travel this year but definitely next year taking it right back. In fact, actually, I’ve already decided that I will not be taking any speaking engagements at all in the United States in 2020.


Jon: That’s awesome.


Chris: Instead, I will attend two conferences in the United States. I don’t know which ones they’re going to be.


Jon: Front Row Dads Retreat.


Chris: I want it to be very, very high-end and I want to just immerse myself in learning.


Jon: That’s good.


Chris: And kind of just bettering myself. We’ll see what happens, man.  Maybe the retreat is one of them. I don’t know.


Jon: Good. Well, hey, I love to hear that. I don’t know if I shared this with you but so for the last 10 years my primary source of income, my primary focus has been keynote speaking. So, I would do 40 keynotes a year for like the last 10 years, and then slowly three years ago I said, “I’m just going to start bowing out.” So, I went 40, 30, 20, this year I’ll probably be 10 and then my goal is probably two or three, four, maybe the year after that. I said at this point I’ll just triple my fee and if anybody wants to pay me to come to a city I like, we’ll do it, but if not, Front Row Dads is my primary focus. And I was having a conversation with my son’s teacher yesterday and we were talking about my travel schedule and how it changed. So, two years ago I was on the road 150 days out of the year and this year I’ll be on the road probably 50 max and we were talking about how she’s noticed a difference that my travel has made in my son’s life that, you know, “Mom is awesome. Mom’s great. Love mom. Can’t do without mom.”


Chris: Always has been, always will be.


Jon: Can’t replace dad either and I think that’s important for the entrepreneurial dads for us to remember is it’s like we love delegation and we love involving other people, and we should. Like, it should take a village. There should be other people raising our kids, but nothing ever takes the place of you just being there and being involved and being engaged and our friend, Dan Martell, would say like, “Everybody’s homeschooling their kids, whether they realize it or not,” and I love that idea. I love that we think sometimes that we’re outsourcing education, but you’re really not. You’re supplementing education. They’re really getting from you as the parent and it’s just whatever you’re teaching them and what they’re seeing you do and that subconscious brain is really powerful and they know that’s that.


Chris: Without a doubt. Yeah. I couldn’t agree more to any of that.


Jon: When you were talking about at home, you brought up something I wrote down a question mark next to like you said, you know, hide and go seek and then you mentioned like a little screen time. What’s your take on how much screen time and games or play like maybe any philosophies you have around those two subjects and the importance of them, or how you engage with those with your family.


Chris: Yeah. I mean, you know, I was never a big video game guy. Like, I mean, I’m not so sure on my age now, but Street Fighter 2 when…


Jon: Oh yeah. I’m with you there.


Chris: That’s pretty freaking addicting back in the day. But I mean I’m not a big video game guy, never really have been but I’m, dude, you have to have a slice of reality I think at the same time. And video games are an important part of our kids’ culture nowadays, whether it be Minecraft, which by the way I’ve got no problems at all with my son playing as long as he’s not connected to the internet. So, if there’s anything that requires an Internet connection, he ain’t playing it. So, all this Fortnite stuff and everything that’s being in the news features, I won’t allow him to do it. I won’t allow him to do it, plain and simple. So, if it’s video games on his Nintendo Switch which was gifted to him by one of his uncles not so long ago, it’s fine because it’s okay, it’s a videogame. As long as it’s a kid-friendly video game and it’s no longer than 30 minutes a day and that’s saying on the weekend as well. I don’t care whether he’s at school or not.


There are days I should say also as well, there are days where he just doesn’t touch it. He’s not interested. We’re out in the garden shooting Nerf guns together or we went for almost a 2-hour walk on the weekend. He was so knackered at the end of that. He’s got no intention or wanted to pick up the iPad. He just wanted to sleep. So, I think that my take on it is this. It’s okay in moderation. Understand that if your kids always see you on your phone or your tablet or your device, they’re going to think that’s just normal behavior. So, you have to be very careful the way you also act with these devices in front of them as well. And we’ve got a rule really that the phones just sort of stay on the side in the kitchen and if they ring, we’ll pick them up and if we really need to look at something very quickly, there’s a family laptop that sits on the kitchen island. It’s just a cheap old laptop and we just maybe search for a movie that we rent or something like that.


These sort of little things that are just kind of very quick and it might sound a little bit too perfectly true, but it ain’t easy to keep it that way. We just try and instill in particularly in Charles because he’s at that age where it’s not right to be in front of screens for three, four hours a day like some children are.


Jon: Yeah.


Chris: Well, somebody said to me, I was talking to somebody on an airplane and somebody said to me, and I’ll never forget this. He said, “Man, that iPad’s the greatest parenting invention of all time.” And I was just like, “Dude, you got it all wrong.”


Jon: If you go to see my face, I was just curious for what’s coming.


Chris: I know. I was literally, “What did you say?” So, whatever happened to Lego and coloring and drawing and sketching and watercolors and puzzles and all the cool stuff that we did when we were kids? Like, why shouldn’t our children be doing that as well? There’s only one reason why they won’t and that is if we don’t introduce it to them.


Jon: Yeah. 100%. Yeah, no doubt. Chris, I love where all this is going. I love the conversation so far and I know that our time is we got to be conscious of it. We can talk about this stuff for hours and hours and hours, but there’s two other things I really want to get to before we close and one is you kind of decide how much time you want to take on either of these, but one is I’m curious. As a guy that’s been as successful in business as you have been, how has your business made you a better dad? What skills or what’s transferable? How has that investment of time and energy made you a better dad? So, that’s one. And the second one is I want to give you space because I know the story about your burnout in 2009 and when we talk a lot in this group about hard-charging guys and balancing it all if that’s a word, I know that’s the triggering word for people, but how do we get it all done, how do we be excellent in all these areas? I want to give you space to talk about those two things. So, take it where you want but I want to get to those.


Chris: Yeah. Let’s do the burnout first. I mean, I did. I burned out in 2009. We set up our kind of really large company which is a call center business in the Philippines back in early 2008. I had been going real hard on growing that. We had found out literally that Erce was pregnant with our first child with Charlie, literally three months after we opened the doors to the business. And so, I had to go hard. I mean, it’s like anything else, you got to go hard when you’re starting out. You’ve got to chase down every lead. You’ve got to close every bit of business you can. You got to do whatever you got to do to be able to bring in the money to have paid the staff, to ever grow and expand and all that sort of stuff. So, I had been doing about 14-hour days for about a year-and-a-half and looking back, see all the warning signs of burning, skipping my workouts, eating junk at my desk, drinking too much coffee, not drinking enough water, not getting enough sleep. It’s obvious looking back but at the time you’re in the mindset of, man, I got to do it and it’s…


Jon: Get it done.


Chris: Hustle and grind mentality which I call a massive amount of BS nowadays, obviously, but I was not building my business in a smart way. I was just doing it in myself and so I did burn out. One morning, literally, I could not get out of bed. I was absolutely exhausted. My wife was so worried that she had to call an ambulance and they came, put me on IVs to hydrate me properly. I was taken to the hospital. I was fundamentally diagnosed with acute exhaustion and dehydration. A week-and-a-half later I was sitting with a psychiatrist. I was fundamentally diagnosed as very early onset depression and so now I’m on antidepressants and I’m starting to get some decent sleep and all this sort of stuff. And I recovered for all intents and purposes, I actually recovered pretty quickly, to be honest with you.


But with that being said, the lasting effects were already done of me sitting at a desk of 15 hours a day, didn’t know that my lower L5 S1 disc was slowly but surely being macheted out of the two vertebrae that it was supposed to be supporting. And then in early 2012 it completely blew. I had to go into hospital, I had to have a six-hour surgery on it to fix that and so the burnout, it was done, but it wasn’t done, if that makes sense like the results of it all was still there. But the big thing that happened in that late 2009 when I was recovering, we sat down, Erce and I, through a lot of, quite frankly, a lot of tears, a certain amount of wine, some crying, some praying, some soul searching. We decided that I needed to remove myself from the business as much as possible if I was going to continue to build it. And so, in 2010, that was the year I started online. I was blogging, I was podcasting, talking about the journey of becoming a virtual CEO and by the end of the year I’d hired eight people to replace me and I had gone from CEO to a business owner role.


And I was no longer involved in the running of the business day-to-day. I’ll be going into the office two or three times a week for three or four hours at the time and all other time I was working on my online stuff which didn’t feel like work at all and still doesn’t because I love creating this type of content. I love serving other people and helping other people, and now it’s turned into a seven-figure business. So, it was tough. Burnout was tough and I think here’s the thing. Whenever someone says, “Ah, it won’t happen to me,” it will. If you carry on like that, it will. It’s inevitable. It’s going to come and creep up on you. So, when you see warning signs and we’re lucky nowadays. We’re lucky to know the warning signs because everybody is talking about it all the time. So, when you see the warning signs, you have to try and pay attention to it.


Please don’t be blind because it affects way more than just you. It’s your spouse, your partner, your children, the one around you. Even my employees, I mean I was having management team crying, you know, “Please don’t do anything, boss.” In the Philippines, they called the boss is boss. “Please don’t do anything, boss. Just take some time off. We’ve got this, boss. We’ve got it. Get better.” And I mean, I choke up right now just thinking about it because they meant every single word of it and I’m very lucky to have obviously bounced back very, very well from it all.


Jon: Yeah. Chris, what do you say to the guys, this is my last question for you here, and then I’m just going to give you like open space if there’s anything you want to add but my last question is there are young guys out there who are they’re in their early 20s or mid-20s. They’ve got kids one to three. They’ve just started a business and they are grinding to get going. And I can imagine that somebody’s saying to themselves, “Yeah, Chris, I know, take care of yourself, but you crushed it, built something, and then when you hit a burnout phase, you are able to pivot because you had something built and then you could put people in place, but if I don’t grind, if I don’t put in the morning to night long hours then I’ll never build anything to be able to delegate off to somebody else.” Like, how does somebody find balance from the beginning? What’s your thought about that?


Chris: I think you have to be very careful with that word, with balance.


Jon: Agreed.


Chris: And this whole work-life balance thing is a myth. You don’t balance. This is my take on it. One man’s opinion. You don’t balance work and life. If you are an entrepreneur, particularly if you’re working from home, they’re not two separate things. They actually integrate and interweave with each other every single minute of the day on balance. You learn to schedule it. That’s the way, I schedule everything. If you look at my calendar any given day, I’m really, really, really busy, but I’m actually not that busy. It looks like I am because I schedule. It looks like I’ve got no breaks, but everything is on there including time with the kids. So, the saying that I always and I repeat this to myself all the time, as well as my community, my listeners, my clients, and everything. When you say yes to something, you instantly say no to something else. And I guarantee, no matter how hard you might think you’re grinding at least a couple hours of each day, whatever it is that you’re doing at least a couple hours each day is wasted scrolling through Facebook, scrolling through YouTube, scrolling through social media, whatever the case may be. Stop scrolling and instead just hang out with your wife and your kids. That’s it.


Jon: That’s great wisdom.


Chris: Some people say, “It’s easy for you to say. You got it all figured.” I don’t have it figured. I’m not the perfect man, husband. No one’s ever perfect. Life will crap at you all the time and you just got to figure it out. It comes down, just rolling with the punches a little bit quite frankly, but if you can be as deliberate, I think is a great word, if you can be as deliberate as you possibly can with the time that you’ve got in every waking day, then you’re already ahead of the curve compared to a lot of other people. A lot of other people just roll through one life after one box set after another in the weekend, on the evening, whatever. Just don’t roll through life so much. Just start being a little bit more deliberate with it. Actually, it’ll end up being a lot more fun, a lot more happy, and successful for you.


Jon: You know, as much as I know that intellectually, it’s still hard for me at 43 to implement some of that like I was thinking recently about this.


Chris: You and me both. Like I said, I’m perfect.


Jon: Tatyana went to this Dr. Joe Dispenza meditation retreat. It’s a week long, and she’s on fire with this meditation and so she starts a 40-day meditation challenge with our friends.


Chris: I can see where this is going already. Go on.


Jon: She’s doing like an hour of meditation a day and she comes to me and she’s like, “You got to do this,” and I’m like, “Wow. Like I’m all for meditation. I’m more like a 10-minute meditation guy.” She’s like, “We have to do an hour,” and I’m like then I started getting like defensive and a bit angry and I’m like, “You don’t understand how busy I am like where am I going to get the time? You just want me to just sleep an hour less like I don’t think I’m getting enough sleep already.” It creates this little bit of tension and argument. But what I realized is that like most things, now for the record, I’m on day 8 of an hour meditation every morning and what’s interesting is I’m still getting it all done. Everything’s okay. Nothing’s fallen apart. Just really like you said, you have to schedule stuff. You have to then be very deliberate with what you’re doing and that I think that a lot of us can sell ourselves on why something is impossible to do.


It’s impossible for me to take Fridays off, it’s impossible for me to end work at four. You don’t know my workload. You don’t know my job. You don’t know the demands that are put on me. And I’m like, “Dude, you’ve built something really spectacular and if you can figure how to get out of there at four and start at 10 and take Fridays off or whatever and travel back then we all can. And I think that’s what I’m taking away from this show is just a reminder to be deliberate. That’s one of my biggest takeaways, to learn to just be reminded to schedule stuff. And also, for me, I want to thank you for the comment about CEO to business owner because I’m still CEO and I really want to be in the business owner role and I got a lot of room to grow in that space. Thank you for reminding me about that.


Chris: Yeah and that is about as variable of a shift as you can get, I think, from an entrepreneurial perspective because it takes a lot to go from CEO role to owner role, it really does. It takes people, it takes systems and SOPs, it takes money, it takes stability, it takes a whole bunch of different stuff that we can do another hour-and-a-half on these.


Jon: Yeah. No doubt.


Chris: But you must, particularly as a father, you must be aiming towards that because so many more other rewards are out there for you to grab hold of.


Jon: Well, Chris, I want to thank you for sharing some of your minutes with us today as I know they’re so valuable and this has been a great conversation for me and I know for the guys a little peek into your world and your journeying the ups and the downs and things that you’ve learned along the way. So, thank you, man, for sharing your family, your time with us. It was really valuable and so thank you. If the guys want to connect with you, learn more about your world, go see your stuff, where do they go?


Chris: I’m @ChrisDucker everywhere on social and obviously they can go to I wouldn’t be much of a personal brand business coach and mentor if I didn’t have my own domain name, right?


Jon: Yeah. Hey, guys, I really want to encourage you to check out Chris’s work. I saw him speak at Best Year Ever and it was incredible like your delivery, your engagement with the room, your walk in the room, it just was really fascinating, and I know you’ve got an event, a live event in November of this year that hundreds of people go to. We were originally introduced because somebody I know was at your event in the Philippines, your Tropical Think Tank and they raved about it and Hal told me all about that event. He told me how he on a dare went to some evening party with like a blazer with no shirt on.


Chris: That was our closing white party. This is a five-night event in the Philippines, on a five-star beach resort. We would have our closing party where everybody had to turn up wearing pure white. No colors allowed. So, it’s a white party on the beach in the evening and so, yeah, he turned up with a full on suit with a white tie, but no shirt and it was amazing. It was great. And I instantly hate him because he was walking around with freaking abs and everything. And I’m like, “Dude, put them away. What are you doing?” So, he was great. And it was great to have Hal at the event, and he will be actually at the Youpreneur Summit in London this coming November. He’s going to be our closing keynote. He’s going to be closing the show so I’m really looking forward to having him in London. You should come too, man. It would be fun.


Jon: Thanks. I appreciate it. Definitely, you got my attention on that. I’ll look at the schedule and see maybe I’ll just hitch a ride with Hal. The deal is that you’re teaching some really important things for guys to know to build a business so they can get home with their family. So, if you’re out there in our fifth pillar like I said is integrated living which is really making your life all work together and having a successful business, and one that works with your family is such a key thing. So, guys, check it out. Chris, thanks again for being with us, man. Really appreciate your time. It’s been a lot of fun. Looking forward to the next chat, whenever that may be.


Chris: My pleasure, my man, my pleasure.



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