“We are all branded. You can allow your brand to dictate your future. Or, you can intentionally develop a brand that will move you from success to significance. Which will it be? The choice is yours!” Kevin McCarthy helps you discover your authentic voice and thrive. And Kevin McCarthy has a story and it’s my honor to have Kevin pull back the curtain and share with us his incredible journey and the success that anyone can have when we make the right choices. Here’s Kevin McCarthy on Straight Talk Radio.
Tired of traditional talk? People pontificating about this or that? The left or the right? Sometimes the truth is just off lost in the noise. Having learned life lessons the hard way, Chuck Gallagher, international speaker and author, cuts through the noise to share truth through transparency!
Nationally known guests talk about what’s important to you – your life, your concerns and your success. So tune in, turn on to Straight Talk with Chuck Gallagher.
Now, here’s your host, Chuck Gallagher.
CHUCK: Hi, this is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and it’s always good to be able to join you again whichever coast you happen to be on or anywhere, Internet, between. It’s always exciting to be able to have a show where you can talk about how to empower people to make the right choices, and today is going to be no exception to that.
Today [chuckles] I connected with this gentleman several years ago and we had a conversation and he had a really interesting title, which I thought was quite catchy, Bare Naked Leadership and I was like, “Sweeeeet! Alright! That’s what I’m talking about,” but we got to talking and part of that conversation came about because of the path that my guest was on. His name is Kevin McCarthy, M-C-C-A-R-T-H-Y, Kevin McCarthy, and first, you can find him at kevinmccarthy.com, just like you can find me at gallagher.pcgdev.com.
But Kevin at this stage of the game has an interesting story. We both have some similar experiences. In that we’ve made some choices in life that weren’t always so empowering, but from that experience we have been able to find ways to not only change ourselves internally but to help other people find the right choices or make the right choices for positive change. So, Kevin, it’s an honor to have you here on the show.
KEVIN: Well, thank you, Chuck, and frankly the honor is actually mine. I’m humbled and honored to have been asked, so thank you so much.
CHUCK: You’re an interesting story. I think this is going to be something that really is going to resonate with the listeners. Often in life I say, and I’ve been told, we tend to make choices and we tend to find ourselves in places in many cases, especially if you live long enough, where you sit back and you look back and you say, “Man, I wish I hadn’t done that. That didn’t quite turn out exactly the way I wanted.” In a lot of my presentations I open and close with words that every choice has a consequence. So, both of us have lived some consequences, but the nice part is being able to come out on the other side and learn and do something positive from that, but before we get there take us back, Kevin. Give us a little of the back story of Kevin McCarthy and how that brought us together to connect.
KEVIN: Yeah. You betcha. So, when I’m asked to go back, I never quite know how far. So, should I start with when I was born? Just kidding.
CHUCK: [singing I saw you at the very beginning…]
KEVIN: There you go.[Chuck chuckles]
KEVIN: You mentioned interesting, by the way, and we can go back there. I was like [04:23] the blind dates’ mothers said about me.
CHUCK: Oooooh! Oooh! Oooh!
KEVIN: Oh, man. So, yeah. It’s been an interesting journey, quite frankly. In my teens I was s what people would say I would have been a natural-born salesperson. I don’t believe in that, but I was just outgoing and I was also very much a sales guy. I was always looking to sell something, make a buck, whatever. Then I got into my twenties, Chuck. I started to formulate ideas to get into my own business. I really kind of wanted to be self-employed, the American dream and just a success and climb the latter and be in charge of my own destiny. All of that, right?
KEVIN: So I did. I started to building businesses. I’ve stumbled my way through a number of small failures when I was young and then I was blessed– When I was in my late twenties, I partnered up with a couple really sharp people and we opened up a real estate office and I was already a licensed Realtor®, so I figured this was a natural transition. You go from licensee and you think you know it all to owning an office, and hey, it’s not the way it works.
KEVIN: [chuckles] We set out and built a plan. We had a business plan. We’ve executed on it. It was probably a bunch of young, dumb luck in some ways and maybe some executions in others, but we became the number one CENTURY 21® office in Arizona and within two years out of all of different franchisees. Within the fifth year we were ranked 13th largest CENTURY 21® franchise in the country.
So here I am in my, at this point, my early thirties, I was probably 30, 31, and I’m thinking I’ve arrived. I’m thinking I’m on top of the world. Man, this is great; national notoriety, recognition by our peers. In fact, I was on the Board of Directors for what’s called the [06:12] County, broker’s council which is a CENTURY 21®’s thing with all the independent franchisees. We get together and we talk. And by the way, not anti-trust stuff. I just wanted to make that clear.
KEVIN: We would talk and just kind of figure out how to empower our individual agencies and such. So as a board member I opened my big mouth and said a really silly statement at the time, Chuck. It was 1994 and I said, “Hey! What’s this Internet thing going to do to our industry?” I had no idea. I’ve never even used email when I asked the question. Everybody was holding on to their real-estate books with your life, the ones where the Realtors® hold on and they show the houses and everything. Anyway, long story short, that success led to getting my first paid keynotes, which then I traveled with the southwest region on their dime and then it turned into a 14-state speaking contract which then turned into a national deal and like I’ve said, I was flying high thinking, I’ve arrived. I’m the guy. I’ve made my way. I’ve climbed the ladder. I’ve got all of this success.
I’ve created a dot com if you will. This is before the term actually was popular, so by 1997, 1998 I created a company that was selling website type products and services and very automated, I won’t bore you with the details, but it was going like wildfire. It was really taking off. Then I was offered an opportunity to sell my company to a publicly-held company. So I mean, Chuck, I’ve got to stop and be transparent here. My office had double doors. I needed that to get my head through, right?[Chuck laughs]
KEVIN: I mean, young thirties and I’m just now being offered to buy my company and become a millionaire for a brief moment. “Brief moment” is the key word there, because now it’s the dot com era, and that bubble bust and that, sort of, burst led us to where we’re heading.
CHUCK: Before the bubble burst, Kevin, there are two things that you said that I thing really from a listener’s perspective we might want to reconnect with. Two things in particular. One, you choose to be a Realtor®. You had a license and you’ve decided that, Gosh, I could sell it. Maybe I could own my own office. But you’ve said two things. Number one, we had a plan and I think that is a critical issue that most– Let’s put it this way: a fair number of young entrepreneurs miss. They have the idea. They have the enthusiasm. They have the talent. They don’t have a plan.
And the second, you said was, you executed. Now, just for folks listening on the radio, that’s a weird word. You have to be kind of careful – executed. It wasn’t like Guido, but you put forward what you needed to do to execute what your plan was and the result of planning an execution was success.
KEVIN: Um-hm, yeah.
CHUCK: I admire, and want to say that on the front side, I admire that because after we go a little further into your story, you are today planning and executing to create success. So the pattern of what needs to be done to create success is the same. It’s just sometimes we get caught up in the needing the double doors because, oh, my Gosh, the success was far bigger and greater that we ever thought and our ego then starts to get in the way.
CHUCK: You caught the early part, which is really cool. You don’t get to talk to many people that have found this, but you caught the early part of, oh, my Gosh! I’m on the internet and people are just finding out what that is, which, by the way, you and I both know is transformative for the real-estate industry and for a lot of industries, frankly.
CHUCK: So, you got to this place. Now you sold your company. Where do we go from there? And we have about three minutes until our first break, by the way.
KEVIN: Okay, perfect. Yes. So I sold my company and the company that bought me was a large company in the real-estate industry. They were publicly-held so they gave me stock in cash. This is my first experience with stocks so it was pretty fascinating. I was a fairly quick study, but I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the barn, if you might say, but I was trying to figure it all out. Again, the big head, the success, now I’m owned by a publicly-held company, I’m the president of new division that they wanted me to start in that company to go out and reach the brokers and so forth. So it was just an amazing journey and I didn’t take the time, although I’ve always believed in personal growth, Chuck, I never took the time to really stop and think about how I was growing, right? So that’s why I needed those double doors.
Then the whole dot com bubble burst and everybody was scrambling. This company started scrambling and they went from 215 employees down to 50 very quickly and my division, yeah, it was horrible. My division was the newest on the block. I had 54 people working for me at that point and I’ve got the call one day and I had to let everybody go. That was a hard, hard day. Then they, basically, the Vice Chairman who I reported to, told me to hang around. They were going to find a spot for me, but they’ve got to weather the storm and they simply couldn’t weather the storm.
The next part of the journey is a pivotal point for me in my career and it’s transformative to use the word used earlier in my thinking. Maybe that’s something we will talk about after the break as we go into that story.
CHUCK: Yeah. I would say that’s probably a great point, a great place for us to take a break. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio. My guest is Kevin McCarthy, M-C-C-A-R-T-H-Y. Now, there’s two websites I want to refer you to kevinmccarthy.com and another which is really the direction for the future is 360narrativegroup.com. 360narrativegroup.com.
We will pick back up with Kevin. And, Kevin, as we start to close out, I have to say one thing to you. You said that you kind of have a neck for sales and I guess I did too. When I was a kid I wasn’t raised wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, lived in the projects when I was in my teenage years, but I made potholders and sold them door to door. I remember I made a record album when I was 16 years old and there was an article in the newspaper long since gone, by the way. The paper’s been obliterated years ago, but it made a comment. It said, “We don’t know if he has a career in music, but he certainly does in sales.” So I have to say as we go to brake there are some and [13:08] things that are just almost D&A and I guess for some of us the idea of selling is quite natural.
In any event, this is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio. My guest is Kevin McCarthy and we will be back in just a moment.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: Kevin McCarthy is my guest here on Straight Talk Radio. This is Chuck Gallagher and let me say this as we pick up into the second portion of our show. Kevin is a dynamic motivational speaker with the powerful message that empowers people to make the right choices for the positive change.
Kevin, we were talking about incredible success you had in real-estate business going from owning a brokerage firm to literally being called upon to travel the United States to teach, to speak and ultimately you sold your company and then the dot com boom hit. The question becomes, what happened then?
KEVIN: And that is the question of the hour. It’s a question and it’s the answer that has actually revolutionized my life. It has changed my life and it’s the passion, now, Chuck, that drives me, gets me up every morning and drives me to help empower others to change. Now, we both know that you can’t change people, but we can empower them to want to change and that’s what drives me, right? So, you’ll see through thread of my story that even today with 360 Narrative Group that is all what drives that.
So, I just had received this great opportunity, just have been bought out by this other company. Now I’m a president. Now I’ve got these double doors and my head is just swimming with ego and then the dot com bubble burst. The company went under. Slow death, but my division was cut first. Then I was actually cut very soon after that, just a few months later.
But in the meantime I had a buddy of mine at church. He came up and said, “Hey, listen. I understand what the situation is that you’re going through and I’ve invested in a friends-and-family round of a company that’s ready to go public.” Now remember, I said I had just learned about stocks and I knew just enough to be dangerous and I learned some hard lessons after this because I went ahead and invested in this company through a long series of circumstances, but I invested in this company. Now, flash forward just a couple months. He calls me back and then he says, “Listen. I told the CEO of this company that you’re in transition and he has an opportunity to snag you…” because I was, what would be considered business development, right? And that’s what you needed.
CHUCK: Right. Sure.
KEVIN: So I’m excited. I’m intrigued because I’m not only investor and this company is not only getting ready to go public and now I got an opportunity to, sort of, be on the inside and kind of see what’s going on and know the real deal, right? So a super exciting moment. So I get this opportunity. He calls me up, he gives me a significant pay raise. I’m already in the six-digit figures and he gives me another significant pay raise and says this. He says, “I just need you for 30 days as a consultant and have you on retainer for 90 days longer and during the transition of our public offering,” and he gave me a task to do and so I did. I thought, this is a great opportunity. We’ve got to come back to this, Chuck. If I forget, you’ve to remind me. There’s a pivotal moment when he offered me the job and I took the job and somebody gave me advice not to. I’ve got to tell you about that.
KEVIN: I took the job and it turned into about a year, under that same conditions. So I was considered a consultant for about a year in that project and it was about half way through that we get a “cease and desist” from the State and apparently this is what we thought at the time, apparently he had been violating security laws and was being told to quit selling stock in this private company that was getting ready to supposedly go public.
Long story short, Chuck, is it was not going public according to the FBI, which raided my house and the house of twelve other people and middle management, upper management, including the CEO of the company. According to my attorney and so forth, apparently this particular CEO had been taking people’s money giving them stock certificates and promising them a return on their investment for about six years.
KEVIN: Yeah. What he was doing is basically selling vaporware. He had a bricks-and-mortar business, it looked good on the surface, but the FBI said something to me in this ordeal that’s always resonated and stuck with me. He said that he used this conman, for a lack of a better term, used kernels of truth stuffed with a lie.
CHUCK: It’s interesting, Kevin. I was asked to speak to a group, sometime back, and in the process of doing that, I got to thinking, there is a pattern of behavior that seems to go through most of these frauds that take place and I call it “the pit”. As I listened to you what you just said, I’m seeing this. Number one, there was a promise. Now, think about it. You have just been, I’m going to call it, downsized or eliminated from the dot com bust and here you are. The guy comes along and make a promise to you. It’s a promise to invest in this organization the “friends and family”. Okay. So, the promise is the pea.
There is an illusion, like the FBI agent said, “Kernels of truth scattered with a bunch of crap.” So, he didn’t say it quite that way. That’s my way of putting it. But it’s an illusion. It’s not all. It’s not the truth, but it’s not all made up. There’s just something that gives you the belief that is really happening and more times than not the impact to someone who is sucked into this is it’s with people that are close to them that will trust and so if I have a promise, illusion combined with trust, I can create what Bernie Madoff effectively created, the largest Ponzi scheme in the United States, and apparently this guy was effectively using his skills to siphon money from people and to offer something that was not illegal to offer.
CHUCK: Now, you were told not to invest. Tell me about that.
KEVIN: [chuckles] It wasn’t even so much about the investment. It was about the offer to come work as a consultant. I was rebuilding myself. I’ve just been eliminated, as you’ve put it.
KEVIN: Wait a minute. When we say “eliminated” and earlier we said executed.
CHUCK: I know. It’s the E words aren’t really working, but we’ll give it a shot.
KEVIN: So, I was eliminated. I was heading in the new direction and I was going to, actually, reinvent another real-estate company this time up in the Northwest. So I was right at that pivotal moment when I got that call. While, guess what. So, I’ll be celebrating my 29th anniversary here this coming month and it was my wife who said, “I don’t have a good feeling about this. Don’t take that job.”
KEVIN: I wanted to bring that up because there’s times when people that are close to you us have some sort of discernment and I didn’t listen and, maybe, we’ll learn why, but that’s the answer to your question.
CHUCK: Got you. So, you didn’t listen to your wife and here you are and all of a sudden there’s a “cease and desist” letter and the FBI is coming up. How did you weave in that issue?
KEVIN: Yeah. That’s a great question. It’s a very long story, so I’m going to give you the synopsis, but anytime you want to chat longer and get more of the details, I’m more than happy to do that with anybody.
The nutshell version is this. I became a very integral piece of the whole puzzle of getting the different moving parts of the companies, because there was three companies involved that were supposedly going to merge and going to this new company that was the beautiful shell that was being promised to everybody and the shell looked really, really wonderful.
But when it came right down to it, we had about 35 employees throughout the companies and I went to an attorney firm at the CEO’s request and help set up what was called “the white knight”. Alright. So, I don’t know how much we want to bore everybody, Chuck, but basically the white knight was meant to be the company that was going to bail out the problems or the sins of the past, if you will, of the company that the CEO started.
CHUCK: Got you.
KEVIN: It all made sense. I mean, it was that pea. It was that promise, the allure that everything was great. So, setting that up became a problem later and what happened is that when the FBI came and raided the company and raided my house, they raided the house of all the other sales guys and managers and so forth. I was one of the managers. When that all came down, then I immediately went and found an attorney. I just watched enough TV to know better, I guess.
CHUCK: Yeah, right.
KEVIN: [laughs] Maybe they found an attorney. I wasn’t arrested. They were searching. They were looking for documents. They were trying to find anything they could that could build the case that they have been apparently working on for about two, three years against the CEO. So, they did what they did. They got out of our house and that’s when I went down and found an attorney.
As it turns out, the attorney made some calls and said, “Yeah. You know what. You’re actually a part of the investigation. You’re a target, is the term.” So at that point he said, “And by the way you can’t afford me to defend you.” I didn’t have a lot of assets at that point. I lived pretty large so, another mistake. So he got me assigned to a public defender, even prematurely, because, again, I never got indicted, arrested or anything like that, so he thought, I’m going to give it a shot. He did, and he pulled some strings. I’ve got a really great public defender and she became pivotal. I mean, she was the one that actually spoke out of her mouth and changed my life, and let me just flash forward a little bit to that.
So what happened is now I’m in shock. I’m completely in just unbelief that this is really going on, that the dream is shattering. Still didn’t even believe it right up until the gavel hit the judge’s bench and what’s called the receivership hearing, which is when the government took over that company. So even up until that point we’re all kind of thinking, well, this has to be a mistake because of that promise. We were just fixated on it and I’ve got a lot of mindset issues we can address, Chuck, and maybe you can bring that up at the appropriate time.
Then I’m fighting with my attorney for about 30 days because she’s telling me that she’s been in communication with the prosecutors. They definitely want to indict me as one of the co-conspirators. They are going to just do a massive sweep and sweep up as many people as they can. They are going to definitely throw the book at the CEO. That was the plan. They built a pretty good case and they were just going to nail him for everything they could and I’m just sitting in her office. Day after day, for weeks and for a whole month just denying it, saying, “Listen. I didn’t have a clue. I had no idea this guy was committing a fraud. I was just working for him and making all the things work to go public. That was the whole intent,” and we were just battling. It was ugly, it was traumatic, it was heart-wrenching.
Then one day she sat back in her chair and she just had this, sort of like, revelatory look and she said, “You know what. I think I get it.” She was like, “I think understand why you and I are fighting. Why we’re at odds. Because I see everything through a criminal lens and you see everything through a moral lens.” She said, “I believe you morally.” She goes, “I think I can even convince the jury, morally, that you didn’t know,” she said, “but it doesn’t matter, criminally. So as soon as you put those envelopes in the mail, you became a conspirator to his mail fraud. As soon as you sent the emails and gave instructions, you were passing on his. You became a co-conspirator and that’s the way the laws work.” Chuck, it was at that moment that my blinders fell off, basically, and my whole mind shifted. I realized, wow! I had no idea that I could be so blinded to so many issues including some character flaws like greed and such. I had no idea I could be so blinded and completely believe what I believed. And that’s the moment right there.
CHUCK: It’s fascinating, Kevin, when the blinders come off. This is Chuck Gallagher. It is Straight Talk Radio. My guest is Kevin McCarthy. I want you to stick with us because up to this point the blinders came off and the reality that so many people live in behind the blinders is now coming to truth. We’ll be back in just a moment.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: What do you do when the blinders come off? This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio. My guest is Kevin McCarthy. Kevin, you can find Kevin at kevinmccarthy.com or he also happens to be the CEO of 360narrativegroup.com.
Kevin, here you are. Somebody comes along and they say to you, “Man, I tell you what. We’re going to have this great new opportunity. I’m going to bring you in. I’m going to promise you something. I’m going to pay you a comfortable salary.” You’re a bit on the rebound at this point in time. We all want to believe that there’s opportunity for us and then all of a sudden the FBI comes knocking on the door. By the way, for those listening or watching on the YouTube channel. When the FBI comes knocking, I’m going to just say it, generally speaking, they already know what they’re there for and the best thing you can do is hire an attorney as quickly as possible because they don’t come knocking just for the fun of carrying on a conversation.
KEVIN: So true.
CHUCK: Now, that said, when you attorney said, “You know, you see things morally,” and she sees them legally and the blinders fell off, you’ve recognized, regardless of your intent, what you did was considered a conspiracy and that is a federal crime. So where from there?
KEVIN: Yeah, and that’s exactly right. As soon as I realized that and understood that I was complicit and this guy’s crime, whether I liked it or not, here I am, the very first thing I did, Chuck, is I basically went back. Told my wife, “This is what they’re doing. They’re offering us a plea,” and she didn’t take but a few seconds to say, “Sign the plea.” So I did. I signed the plea. Shortening the story here for us, I ended up taking a 48-month sentence and I’d like to say 48-month sentence for a crime I didn’t knowingly commit, but I did commit. I’m totally guilty and I was complicit in his conspiracy. It’s just simple as that. Then I ended up in what’s called a federal prison camp.
CHUCK: Kevin, before we go to the prison camp, I want to share a quick story with our listeners because it’s important. You can sit back and you hear what Kevin says and some of you have heard my story, but I’ve got a call the other day from a former CPA. “Former” being the operative word. But he asked this question and, Kevin, you’ll understand this. He called and he said, “Hey, listen,” he said, “you know, I’m a convicted felon and I’m challenged to try to figure out how to put my life back together. It looks like you have. How did that take place?” So I ask him, “Tell me a little bit about your background.” The short version is, he was a CFO of a company. When he began to think that the CEO and COO were committing some sort of fraud, he couldn’t quite put his fingers on it, but when he felt that, he quit. He said, “I’m not having anything to do with it.” Okay, another CFO comes in, did the same thing. Third CFO kind of figured it out with the COO and CEO and all three of them are now in federal prison. Okay, well, so what does that have to do with a guy, the first one that called me? Well, he quit five years earlier, but the federal government said, “But you knew there was something wrong and you did not report it. So if you know there is something wrong and you fail to report it, you are a conspirator for something to be wrong.” And so I say this to say for those on the radio audience, if you think something’s wrong, you can’t just walk away. Sometimes you have an obligation to report because conspiracy is as simple as you know it, but you don’t report it, therefore you condone it and if you condone it, you’re guilty.
KEVIN: Yep. So true.
CHUCK: Now, the unfortunate thing in this particular case was the guy’s now a convicted felon. He had no prison time. He had a year of house arrest, but irrelevant or irrespective to what his prison was, he is imprisoned by the title. Now, you got imprisoned by the title but you actually spent four years in federal prison and while it might have been at a prison camp, I’m going to say this, maybe save you from it, some people were like, “When you went to club fed…” It is a club, that is you’re a convicted felon, so you’re in the club and it is federal and you have to work and typically you’re paid 12 cents an hour and there is nothing fun about it. So anybody that thinks that federal prison, even if it’s minimum security, is easy has another thought coming. Talk to us a little bit about your experience.
KEVIN: Yeah, you bet. As you said, it is a prison camp and that just means it’s minimal security. We didn’t have any fences around the camp. We didn’t have any locks on the doors or windows and you could have walked away if you wanted to at the risk of being caught and getting in more trouble.
CHUCK: [chuckles] Yeah, absolutely.
KEVIN: From that standpoint you’re still confined, even though you have to be there voluntarily if you will. You’re still confined. You can’t do what you want when you want to do it. So, it’s a great opportunity to reflect, although not everybody does. One of the things that when I got in there to set the stage, I guess, Chuck, is it felt like a community college campus in some ways because of the nature of the minimum security. So that gave people like myself gave us the opportunity to have a lot of freedom within the confines, which is an oxymoron, right? But it gave us the opportunity to make a choice.
I saw that there was really two different choices predominately that were being made, by guys like me. One is, I call it the “road-less travel”, to borrow from the book, or the white path. What I found is that a lot of guys that were coming in were realizing that once they got passed the doors, hey, it’s just a party. They could go and they can still play poker, and by the way, not all of the stuff is condoned by the prison, but they could still play poker and a barter with the chips and everything else. They could still smuggle in their drugs and whatever else they’ve wanted to smuggle in. They could still goof off and they can be the same person when they leave that they are when they came if that’s what they want and a lot of people do that and it’s sad.
Then there’s another group of folks and that’s where I went in there like the deer and the headlights and I was like, “I’m not going to back here. Something’s wrong. I want to figure it out.” The other path is what I call the “growth group”, so it’s the people who have growth mentality and they’re there till they want to really be introspective in many ways. They want to learn where their flaws were, those blind spots and they want to grow.
That was the experience inside was making sure that I was making the right choices, hung around with the right association. I ended up with a mentor. I like to call him the Godfather. He took me under his wings. So find a good mentor. People that you respect that can speak into your life and can tell you, “Hey, by the way you’ve got a blind spot. You should think about this,” because I don’t ever want to have those blind spots again, so I surround myself with people that will actually be brave enough to tell me the truth and that’s important. Right?
CHUCK: Before you go on, there’s a lot to be said for that. To find someone that you can connect with who is brave enough to tell you the truth. So many times, especially in business, you connect with people and if they are subordinate to you, they’re not necessarily going to be brave enough to tell you the truth and if you’re subordinate to them, in many cases you’re wanting to put that grand illusion on so that you can manage up and rarely do you find that connection with somebody that’s willing to say, “B.S. That’s not… What are you doing?” and hold you accountable. That’s a very powerful thing to hear and I know something that is relative to some of the coaching that you do today, to help people remove those blind spots.
KEVIN: Yep. Exactly, exactly. You mentioned coming out and the gentleman who called, “What do I do now?” and so forth and the fact that now we have this brand.
KEVIN: Now we have the stigma and you’re a felon. I think it was the Merle Haggard that wrote the song “A Branded Man”. I love it. It’s about a man who basically gets out of prison, now he realizes he’s in a society. He’s got his brand and what am I going to do and how am I going to cope? So what I had to do when I got out, Chuck, is I had to make sure that the principles that I learned while I was in that I actually imply those. So right away I surrounded myself with men that I trusted, men that would speak into my life. I got around the right people. Made sure I hung around the right association. Made sure I started listening to my wife. [38:35]
CHUCK: That’s a really good idea.
KEVIN: Good idea.
KEVIN: Twenty-nine years this August, it’s worth listening to her. So anyway basically, be very intentional about our choices and most importantly, go through the healing process. When you and I connected, Chuck, I was still in the healing process and I was so blessed that somebody said, “You need to get a hold of Chuck because Chuck’s kind of been there done that.” And just like the CPA called you and I called you. You kind of shared your story with me and that helped because I was able to go through this process of just realizing that I didn’t have to carry the shame, that I paid the price for a really bad choice, and that we can move on. It’s a brand, but we can leverage that brand. We don’t have to let that brand leverage us. We’ll not let that brand hold us back and we’re all branded, frankly, in some way or another.
CHUCK: Yeah. It’s an interesting thing, because you and I both, and we’ve got about two minutes to the break, but you and I both would get calls from people who either are going to prison or have been from prison trying to figure out how do you put life back together and the funny part, and I don’t mean funny as in “ha-ha” but the odd part, I guess, is most of all human beings at some point find themselves imprisoned by something.
CHUCK: That doesn’t have to mean that’s a minimum-security, maximum-security, medium-security prison. Doesn’t mean that at all. We can be imprisoned by a poor relationship or imprisoned by a cigarette. I mean, there’s a multitude of things that we can be imprisoned by, but the question is not what imprisons us. The question is what are we willing to do about the choices that put us there? Are we willing to make a different set of choices? And you call it value-based decisions, trying to make sure that the decisions make sense.
KEVIN: Yes. Absolutely. In fact, that was one of the hard lessons because I realized as I was climbing the corporate ladder, if you will, as I was driving for success, my motive was money. That’s never a pure motive. My motive was riches and success and status and all these things. These are never conscious motives, necessarily. I’m not saying day after day going, “I want status,” but that’s what was driving me. The value-base decision is to recognize and go, “Wait a minute. What’s really driving me here? And what are my values? Therefore what are the boundaries that I’m willing to put around those values?”
CHUCK: We are talking with Kevin McCarthy. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and one of the things that is very important for this conversation is what are our values and what’s driving us. Kevin, we’re going to be back in just a moment. I want you and the audience to stick with us. We’re going to talk about a success story. We’re going to talk about what you’ve been able to do afterwards, because how you got there is one thing, but the more important thing is regardless of our brand and what are we willing to do to create true success and something that we can be proud of. Again, Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio. We will be back in just a moment.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: This is Chuck Gallagher. We’re back with our last segment here on Straight Talk Radio. My guest is Kevin McCarthy and he is the president and CEO of 360narrativegroup.com. 360narrativegroup.com.
Kevin, you’ve been sharing with us the story that took you to a place that you never in your wildest dreams thought that you would find yourself, federal prison, but that’s not the story. The more important story is what’s followed and the fact that yet once again you are a co-founder of a company and something that you’re able to bring to people to truly help them. So tell us a little bit about the after your released journey.
KEVIN: Sure. You bet. Getting out, right away it was a transition period to go from this confinement where you got this structured lifestyle and then you get back out and inside the camp I’ve created a pretty balanced life. I exercised. I hung around the good relationships. I studied. I read. I ate healthily as much as possible. So, I created that and then I got out on the outside and realized, “Wow. Life is a little bit faster.” [laughs]
CHUCK: Oh, yeah!
KEVIN: It’s not that’s easy, right? I was really blessed because before I went in, I actually had received another job by somebody else who I want to think of as some sort of angel. He hired me. He employed me. He gave me a leg up while I was in this pretrial mode and before I went in to prison and then he actually gave me the job back when I got out. So, I had another leg up getting out. That helped, but it didn’t help long because it was right after that the economy crashed and basically that job went away pretty quickly.
So, I’m still out, trying to figure out, I’m dealing with my insecurities. I’m dealing with this brand. I’m dealing with just the transition. Flash forward a few years. I find the National Speakers Association. I’m super excited about. Found a family, because that’s what I had done for so many years and so I got plugged into that. I got plugged into my local chapter and you know what I did as I just simply started serving, Chuck? This is who I am today. It wasn’t who I was in my twenties or in my early thirties. So I just started serving. I’ve started serving everybody I could. I started volunteering for things and that led to being asked to be on the Board of Directors and, anyway, I won’t bore you with all the details, but that’s given me a lot of great people to be very close to and be able to speak into my life and me being able to serve.
KEVIN: About a little over a year and a half ago, almost 20 months now I was in my speaking business. I was re-engaging with the full time paid professional speaking. My son, who at time is about 23 and who faired the storm, me leaving him when he was 13 for a few years, he came to me and he was working for me part-time helping me out and then he basically said, “I think I would like to be my own boss.”
CHUCK: Chip off the old block, huh?
KEVIN: Chip off the old block and I didn’t see it coming because he wasn’t heading in that direction. He thought he wanted to do graphic design and possibly work for somebody, but then he realized that he wanted to work for himself. He asked me to mentor him and I was totally blessed by that. So we started this project together. I thought, okay, you know what? You’re a gifted designer. You’ve got a great eye and intuition for what is trending and what’s marketable, but you don’t want to be a website design company. A lot of people do websites. What we need to do is we need to elevate that so let’s leverage my boomer experience with your millennial experience and let’s do something we’re actually brand and help—See, I know a little bit about branding. [chuckles]
KEVIN: So I figured, let’s help other speakers and another experts brand and reposition their brand and then just simply use the technology to deliver that and he thought, “Not sure I totally get that, but let’s do it.” So we did. It started out as a project for me while I’m still speaking and doing my leadership workshops [47:42] helping him. I’m feeding him some leads and he’s helping build some sites and create– And I tell you, it’s just been growing like wildfire. We debuted at the NSA national convention a week and a half ago, as you know, and we were so well received and here’s the thing, Chuck. We weren’t received because we’re this great enterprise that’s multibillion-dollar enterprise and has the solution for everybody’s problem in the world. We were received, I think, because we connect with people, because I’m a different person. My son grew up a different person because of the choices he made while away from me, and because I’m also in partnership now. I’ve also brought in another partner who was doing the same thing, but we’re doing it separately and we’ve known each other for 30 years. Great friend of mine for over 30 years and so now he’s involved.
So, we are connecting with the expert industry. We’re helping them to– We’re learning their voice for understanding, well, who are you? What is your brand? Because when we talk about you and I having a brand in the sense of that past that can haunt us or somebody else having a brand, I mean they might have issues from their childhood that’s just a brand into themselves that’s holding them back, how do we take that, repackage it and then put it out here so that we become authentic in our brand and connect with our, what we call, the tribe? Connect with our tribe. So I’m able to leverage, believe or not, I’ve never thought this would be the case, but I’m able to leverage my experience to be able to help others reposition their brand and it’s an amazing journey. It’s just amazing.
CHUCK: Kevin, number one, I want to commend you. Saw you at the NSA convention in D.C. and the work that you’ve done and, by the way, just so while we’re here and being transparent, I have to assume that your website kevinmccarthy.com has been created by 360narrativegroup.com and it’s awesome! It really rocks, dude. I am very impressed, so I can understand why you’re so well received, but I want to say something to those listening, because this is important.
Kevin, other people recognize sometimes there are barriers and obstacles that we have to face and you’ve got a choice. You can either sit back and look at the obstacle and say, “Boy, that really stinks.” Or, “Doesn’t that suck. Man, sucks to be me kind of thing.” Or you find out what you can do. Now, I’ll say this and it’s not said from an egotistical perspective, but I’m the Vice President and COO of a company that’s part of a public company now and our largest client, great client, does a 100 million dollars’ worth of business with us. They won’t hire me as an employee because I’m a convicted felon. Let’s just be honest. I don’t care! I’d rather do the 100 million dollars’ worth of business.
So, sometimes whenever in life we find that we’ve got some lemons, the question is are you going to make lemonade from it? And as [50:53] that might seem, you have experience in selling. You have experience in creating businesses. Your son is the millennial, but you were at the beginning of the dot com kind of a boom. So to be able to take what you have and make something from it that is valuable to create in living for you and at the same time to give back to others is the kind of thing that I’m interested in here on Straight Talk Radio.
KEVIN: Thank you. Thank you.
CHUCK: Now, I’ve said and you’ve talked about, we don’t have a whole lot of time left, but it’s 360 Narrative Group. Give me just a quick snippet of if somebody said, “Okay, well, I need a website or a social media or I need to figure out how to make my brand sing, tell me what 360 Narrative Group does for me.”
KEVIN: Yeah. Thanks for asking. So, most of our clients, and they’re a little bit all over the board, but most of our clients come to us and we’ve got CSPs, CPAEs and we’ve got new people that are just starting out in the industry and we have a newscaster, 23 years as an anchor woman, who is now going into speaking. So our clients are all over the map as far as their experience level, but the predominant thread that they all come to us and what’s resonating is that they’re saying, “You know what? I need to tweak my messaging, my brand to really portray who I am today and the value that I bring to my clients.”
We had somebody talk to us just recently her comment was, “Listen. My clients tell me flat out that my online presence, which is your website, your social media platforms and everything, my online presence says it in all, resemble the actual value that they feel and the experience that they get when they’re employing me.” So, that’s what we do.
CHUCK: So, you’re pulling that together.
KEVIN: That’s right.
CHUCK: That makes perfect sense. Okay. So, ladies and gentlemen, we’re rapidly running out of time and it always happens on this show when I have such a blast with our guest. My guest is Kevin McCarthy. You can find him at kevinmccarthy.com. That is his personal website or the venture that is helping so many people is 360narrativegroup.com and I would encourage you to go to both, because Kevin thankfully has a journey in his life that allows him to be transparent and allows him to be giving and willing to help other people. Kevin, I have to say to you my hat’s off to you. I appreciated it the first time you’ve reached out to talk with me. I’m proud to call you a friend and know that the relationship is even developed further. Thank you for taking the time to be on the radio show.
KEVIN: Oh, Chuck, stop it. You’re going to make me cry.
CHUCK: No. No.
KEVIN: Thank you so much. It’s been an honor. It’s been a pleasure and I consider you a friend as well and mentor. So thank you for that. Thank you for being you.
CHUCK: Ladies and gentleman, this is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio. My guest Kevin McCarthy and remember, every choice we make in life has a consequence so make empowered choices for your life. We’ll see you next week here on Straight Talk Radio.
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