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John Gallagher
Growing Champions
Balancing Work & Life To Maximize Impact
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Growing Champions is a consulting and coaching organization started with the purpose of equipping organizations and leaders to succeeds in business AND life so that they can have a lifelong impact on those they serve. In essence, Growing Champions who Grow Champions.

John Gallagher is founder and CEO of Growing Champions, LLC where his mission is to Grow Champions that Grow Champions. Over his 25+year career, John has coached executive clients in Healthcare, Manufacturing, and other industries. John has spoken, written, blogged, coached and taught on many current Healthcare industry topics, including: Digital Health, Population Health, Cancer Care Transformation, ACO , PCMH, Primary Care, Specialty care including medical and surgical specialties, and Leadership Development. John has provided professional advisory/coaching at the C-suite, executive and director levels as well as facilitated change management through all levels of organizations looking to change.

John also designed and implemented leadership development programs for 300+ employees through its TTS University and the first Leadership in Manufacturing (LIM) development program. The LIM program was designed to introduce and develop high potential employees and college recruits into business and community leaders. After 14 rewarding years in manufacturing, John made the decision to leave Tuthill at the height of its performance and take his knowledge in and passion for lean, continuous improvement and leadership development into real estate sales and construction for four successful years and then entered the executive coaching consulting world in 2010. as a member of Simpler consulting until 2020 when he launched Growing Champions.

In this episode

John Gallagher of Growing Champions observes that too often, leaders fail to believe that success can be achieved in business AND life. Their definition of success, and thus, their personal worth, is limited to the title they have on their business card or the speed in which they climb the corporate ladder.

John argues that executives should consider eternal impact as their measure to success. Leaders should recognize, design and deploy a life that has purpose. He discusses many objective and emotional benefits resulting from this mindset. John provides a clearly defined 6 step process you can use to implement what he calls the Greatest Story Ever Told for yourself and/or your business. Listen to the end for a very generous gift John is offering our listeners.

Balancing Work & Life To Maximize ImpactJohn Gallagher
00:00 / 29:14

A glimpse of what you'll hear

02:48 The trap of defining your success by only your business accomplishments.

04:55 The burden of loneliness.

06:37 Game plan on how to make a difference and find meaning.

09:19 The impact of legacy.

11:10 The benefits of leading a purposeful and impactful life on your business and yourself.

15:23 6 steps to implement this approach.

20:13 Learn about John. Email John at

Episode Transcript
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)

00:00:04:13 - 00:00:22:18


Welcome to the Best Kept Secret video cast and podcast from Centricity. If you are a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business.

Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co-founder and CEO of Centricity, jokingly.

00:00:43:01 - 00:01:10:14

Jay Kingley

I'm Jay Kingley, co-founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to our show, where our guests share their provocative perspective on what their target market is missing out on. I'm happy to welcome to the show John Gallagher of Growing Champion. Growing Champions is a consulting and coaching company that helps organizations and leaders succeed in business and life so they can have a lifelong impact on those they serve.

John is based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Welcome to the show, John Jay.

00:01:16:05 - 00:01:19:17

John Gallagher

Thanks for having me on the show. It's great to be here. Looking forward to our conversation today.

00:01:19:23 - 00:01:55:13

Jay Kingley

John, I have been blessed to be in the business world at all levels from entrepreneurial start up all the way through some of the largest multinational corporations that exist. We all lionize that hard charging executive that executive that takes the bull by the horns and wrestles it to the ground and keeps marching forward. But what I have seen, if you will, behind the scenes is so many of these folks make their entire life and identity about their business.

So they are all in all the time, 100%. And while there are certainly positives to that, you know, from the outside, when you get up close that my identity is now subsumed only into my business persona. I have found causes difficulties in people's personal lives with their family. And not to mention at some point they will hang it up.

They will move into that retirement phase. And I think we've all heard the stories of that former executive who actually has no idea what to do with their time because they've never had a life outside of their business. So, John, I know that this is a space that you spend a lot of time with working with executives on how their business and their life come together.

So what is it that executives and others are getting wrong about how they are seeing themselves?

00:03:00:17 - 00:03:24:18

John Gallagher

Okay. Thanks for the question. I think you leave that out there. Very laid it out there very well for me to understand that there is once you get into this formal leadership role, there is an opportunity to be consumed by that success and to have your success only be defined as to how much you grow your business, how much profit you make as an organization, or how much you are able to make in an individual contributor role.

And when you lose sight of the other areas of your life, there's things there are things that start to crumble down, including, as you say, your personal life, whether it's relationships outside of work and sometimes even even in a more detrimental way, is your own health. And as you get to that age in life afterward and you realize that at some age when I decide to retire, then I'll start to take care of my own health.

Then I'll start to pay attention to those relationships. You may not get another chance to do that, and it's something that I try to point out on a regular basis with executives who are going through that, that there is an opportunity to be a more whole person in your approach.

00:04:05:18 - 00:04:33:10

Jay Kingley

John I wonder if there isn't even another dimension to this problem. Human beings are social. We do not do well in isolation, and we know that loneliness is behind a lot of very serious mental health problems that people wrestle with. One of the things that I've always experienced in the business world is that while you're around a lot of people, it is at the same time incredibly lonely.

There's all the politics. There's Who do I trust? Who don't I trust? Who can I really open up to? And I think a lot of people would say you've got to keep all those issues inside to yourself, which creates a sense of loneliness. Now, when you then look at your personal life, these hard charging executives have divorce rates that are through the roof because they sacrifice that part of their life.

They alienate children so that the children don't want to have anything to do with them. And you are now very lonely. Could you comment on that aspect of this situation, of losing your personal identity inside of your professional?

00:05:15:08 - 00:05:31:04

John Gallagher

Well, you point something out, that loneliness where it is, it is a critical one. And a lot of people say, especially once you get to the top of the organization, that it's lonely at the top. And the fact is, if it's lonely at the top, you need to turn around and bring some people with you. And again, at times, those are the leaders in your organization.

But more importantly, at overall success, that is where we are. Where is my family in this situation? Where are my friendships in this situation? To understand that I just can't walk away from those types of activities and believe that I ultimately can be successful in life. And again, you pointed out as well about the afterlife also. When you don't have those relationships built all the way through.

You have to understand that you're not going to have that long term impact that you want, that your name or that your story will go on for a long time as well.

00:06:07:16 - 00:06:52:06

Jay Kingley

John One of the things that I've always felt is that as an adult, through all of your prime years of adulthood, when you think about your waking hours and you think about how many of those hours you're spending on the job that you're spending working, it's probably the single biggest component of how you use your time. And I can't imagine what it would feel like to get to, if you will, the end of your days to reflect back on your life and to realize, you know, that it was lonely, that you sacrificed the things which I think at that stage you would feel are the most important things all for your career.

So my question to you is understanding the magnitude of the problem, understanding how it manifests itself in many different directions, what do you do about it? How do you tackle this?

00:07:04:02 - 00:07:31:13

John Gallagher

First, things make a choice that I want to be different than that persona or that idea that's put in place that to be successful in business, I have to focus all of my energy on business. One of the things that are important to me, I've heard a story before, as people have said, is that, you know, at some point in your life, when you look back, you're not going to remember who was on that journey with you with regards to the people that won and the things like that.

What I've said is that most one of the most important things that can happen for you in your journey is that people will write your name on their list when they're asked who has made a positive impact on my life. To me, the greatest story ever told is when somebody writes your name on their list, they don't necessarily represent or remember who the last five NBA MVP's were, who the last five Pulitzer Prize winners were.

But if you ask somebody to say who's had a positive impact on your life and you look back over the course of 50, 60, 70 years, oftentimes those individuals come back really quickly to you. And when somebody is going to write your name on their list, now you've made a long term lasting impact, one that's going to continue to go on over and over again.

People are going to think about, hey, when I was in this situation before John Gallagher said this to me, it had an impact on my life. And I think that's important. It's not going to matter many people. It's clichés to think about it, but it's not going to matter. The money in your account or the success you had in your business as much as it is the legacy, your impact, your life.

00:08:36:23 - 00:09:04:17

Jay Kingley

John That is so impactful and speaks so strongly to me just to share a little story with you that I think 100% supports what it is that you're advocating. Unfortunately for me, a number of years ago, I lost my father and he was very important person in my life and that caused me to reflect on what a legacy meant and why we are here.

What is what is our purpose to be here? And what I come up with is that your legacy is the product of two different things. It is the impact that you have on the people that you touch and that impact could be positive, hopefully, but it could also be negative. So you have to be really careful times the number of people that you touch.

So sometimes people touch a few and yet they can have an outsized impact. That's a tremendous legacy. And sometimes you are in a position we have the ability to touch more. But think carefully of the impact that you are having. And I know that I used I have used that to drive my life forward in thinking through decisions always in that context.

And, you know, it sounds to me that that aligns very much with what you're saying. Just give me your take on that.

00:09:58:20 - 00:10:20:13

John Gallagher

Sure. I think it aligns perfectly, Jay, one of those stories just to go along with that so I can talk about a teacher who is my fifth grade teacher, sister Nick Idema, who made an impact on my life when she said, you're really smart and you're going to make a difference in somebody's life. And that was 40 plus years ago and remembering that impact.

And so as I talk with other leaders and understand that it's them remembering those people who have had a positive impact on their life, just like a story, a lot of times I'll ask people stories of who has had an impact on their life and who they are today. And they'll talk about those family stories. Their father, a teacher, a coach, who someone in their life and often finish that with, especially with executives to really make them think and they get them going forward is now who's going to write your name on their list at the end and when you can get them to start thinking about the legacy?

I love your definition in terms of impact times. The number of lives touched, they can be more intentional about creating that space, and it's not always with the people that they work with, but it's the people in their life who are most important to them that they want to write their name on that list. So I think that can be pretty powerful going forward from there as well.

00:11:18:05 - 00:11:57:21

Jay Kingley

I think that's such a critical point that can really serve as each of our North Stars that we use to guide us. But let me bring it back down to the nuts and bolts of business. So when you have an executive that embraces this philosophy, that finds balance, that is driven really on both sides, both their personal and professional life, to be be that person that others are going to write down on their list, talk about, which you've seen, how that impacts the performance of the organization that these leaders are responsible for.

00:11:58:02 - 00:12:19:12

John Gallagher

I actually think that when you have that balance overall, the model and the example that you leave for other employees, that it is important to have that balance. You don't see the burnout as a result of that that you might see in today's world. I mean, there's that's a big topic and certainly mental well-being or, you know, taking care of yourself from a fitness standpoint is very important.

But your mental well-being as well, your wellness in your mind is very important also. And when you can provide a good role model or example for others to follow, when they see that you've met, you're making a positive impact on others. They can't help but start to grow now again, that comes back to the theme when you develop others in that they're going to make an impact on more people in their lives as well.

When I talk about it from a business standpoint, the people are going to be more engaged. So people as a domain people, engagement is a domain that becomes very important when you can create that environment as well as take care of your employees. I believe that the profit side to a certain extent will take care of itself. That's the outcome of creating a very positive environment for your employees and understanding the impact that they make and treating them as such.

I think that there there have been stories in my experience, both personally as well as others that I've coached, where we've seen 500% improvements in profitability over the course of one or two years because they're starting to think about really what they can control and not worried about the things that they can't control both in their personal lives and in their business.

And when those two things came together, you start to see results like that. You start to see results in growth, where you look at 20 to 30% revenue growth over the course of a year because of the impact that you're having on those individuals. So it can have an impact on the business when you focus on the things that are outside of your business as well.

00:13:53:09 - 00:14:19:08

Jay Kingley

So the impact on the business, the top line, the bottom line, that is all very important. But I want to sort of shift a little bit and get your thoughts on what I think creates that sense of urgency. And that's the emotional impact of making this change on the leader themselves. And talk a little bit about the emotional benefits that go hand in hand with the business benefits.

00:14:19:20 - 00:14:47:09

John Gallagher

How would you feel if you got a note card as a leader from the spouse of someone that you've coached that says they have changed? They are such a better father, such a better husband at home that they've made a tremendous impact and tremendous change. And thanking you as a leader for helping them to get there. Again, that legacy, that impact, you're not just having that impact on that individual in the room.

You're having impact on their family members, you're having an impact on their friends and on the external things that they decide to do. So I often think the emotional impact is not hurt enough. But when when you get to experience, when you're out at a social event with them and a spouse comes up, says, thank you for the impact you've made.

And that's happened for me. And that's been told to me by other leaders who have experienced a change where they do start to think about, I don't like to use the word balance, but again, there is a focus on all of the aspects in life. There's the friendships, there's the fun, there's the family that is very important. There's our personal finances that they care of as well as their career.

And when they can look at all of those different domains, the impact, I think emotionally is powerful. The stories of leaders specifically having a change can be dramatic as well, sometimes to the point of once they realize their purpose, once they realize their alignment and what they want to do, that impact they want to have, they'll change career paths totally.

They'll go from being the leader of an organization to a leader of a nonprofit, or they'll start to volunteer more on the outside to have more. That impacts of their emotional impact on both the leaders and their families and friends is can be really powerful.

00:16:09:19 - 00:16:32:16

Jay Kingley

There aren't many things in this life that are truly no brainers, so I don't know if what you're talking about is exactly that, but if not, it is very, very close. So let's shift to I think the next thing on our audience is mind, this is all wonderful. Give me a roadmap to implement what it is that you're recommending.

00:16:33:02 - 00:16:53:06

John Gallagher

Sure. J And one of the themes that I use on the front end is that excellence only happens on purpose. So this is not something that's solved by serendipity. You've got to be rigorous in the approach to make that happen. And the steps that I recommend individuals go through is really a kind of a six step process. And then it's a it's a cycle that you go through more than steps, and I'm done.

First of all, you get to outline your why. And for me, understanding why you want to do what you're doing is so critical at the start. And problem solving methodology, whether it's an organization understanding why they're in business or an individual understanding why they want to be a great leader, those are two very important steps and one, you can understand that y and understand what your purpose is.

The rest of it can be pretty powerful and you can line up right into that step once you understand your why, then you've got to do a diagnostic. Where am I today and where do I want to be? And you can look at it again at different areas of your business, whether it's the customer service, whether it's growth or profitability, or in your personal life or where you are with your family, friends and relationships that you have, you know, giving yourself a score where you are, where you want to be.

A third step is to design a solution. Understand that there are barriers that are keeping you from doing that today. If you were if you knew how or what was getting in your way today, you would have already done that. So understanding where the barriers are and then designing or creating hypotheses to eliminate those barriers are very important.

Fourth step, excuse me, is to implement them. Now I've got to go take action. I've got to put the disciplines and habits in place from a leadership and from an organizational standpoint, again, whichever one it is that you're going forward to make sure that I am able to move toward that. I often refer to the steps of leadership in the work is doing what you need to do when you need to do it, even when you don't want to do it.

So putting those disciplines on your calendar and holding yourself accountable or finding someone else to hold you accountable to those disciplines is very important. That's step four. Step five is measure got to keep score again one way or the other. How do I know I'm winning? And am I am I moving toward my target state? And so creating a scorecard and looking at that on a regular basis, a weekly or monthly basis to understand, am I moving toward that?

And then the last step and for me, number step six and the most important step is reflection. How am I intentionally looking at how I'm doing, what's going well and what isn't going well? And how can I course correct when things aren't going in the direction that I need to go forward with? So sometimes I encourage leaders to use a process called What do I need to keep doing?

What do I need to start doing, and what do I need to stop doing to start to get in the right direction again? So that quarterly reflection or annual reflection as to how I'm doing and moving toward my objectives to me is one of the most important steps. And then ultimately it's steps four through six, wash, rinse, repeat, doing those over and over again, not being happy with the status quo and always looking to improve.

00:19:37:09 - 00:20:28:01

Jay Kingley

Having purpose for what you do and for who you are is what gives meaning to your life and having passion for that is what makes your life so worthwhile. And I think, John, you have pointed out the importance of not losing who you are, your identity only in your business, and to start to think about the impact that you have on others in your ability to influence and change their lives as a key yardstick of how you're doing that is very thought provoking point of view that I think we all need to borrow your step six need to reflect on as we move forward so we're going to take a quick break.

When we come back, we're going to learn a bit about John.

00:20:32:09 - 00:20:55:03


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00:21:30:20 - 00:21:46:01

Jay Kingley

Welcome back. We're talking to John Gallagher of Growing Champions. Let's find out a bit more about John. Talk to us about the pain points that you solve for your clients. And why do your clients need you to get rid of that pain?

00:21:46:09 - 00:22:11:03

John Gallagher

Jay When I look at a couple of the big pain points that I hear, you know, one thing's for sure, while they are six steps and they feel like they're ones that you can go through in an easy format or a simple format. They're not easy. They take a discipline that most individuals are not ready for. And so the pain points that they think about, well, I don't have enough time to set up the plan or to go through that process.

And the second pain point that they really think about is that I believe people get so focused on the outcomes that they're looking for, that they lose sight of the process, they lose sight of the disciplines or habits they need to create that make that happen. And my task as a coach to them or to hold them accountable, it really is to hold them accountable, to call them on their excuses that they make, because we all have the same amount of time in a day and we all have the same ability to prioritize our lives in those important areas to get to make that be successful.

And so one of the ways that I really do that to challenge them is talk to them about what do they need to delegate what they need to do. Select, just stop doing completely as they go through that journey. What do they need to deconstruct or to tear down? Or what do they need to defer? Sometimes they have to say no to things today that are not forever, but it might be something.

They may be talking about a vacation they want to take, or they may be talking about a business trip that they need to do. And when you're starting to think about those different areas of your life that get out of balance to get out of kilter, you may have to defer some of those things as well. So those those four days that I talk to about delegate, defer the select or deconstruct, break it down into smaller pieces.

And if they can't do one of those four things, then they got to figure it out. Figure out how to do it in their time. I make that happen. So that's what I, in essence, work with them on, on a regular basis, on a regular cadence, a couple of times a month. To go through those habits, I need to create.

00:23:42:09 - 00:24:04:12

Jay Kingley

I don't know, many executives and leaders who are looking to work with a coach who say there's got to be someone who's average out there or all I really need is someone who's mediocre at this to get me where I need to be. So obviously people want to work with the best people, want to work with people that are great at what they do because it's ultimately a reflection back on them.

So, John, let me ask you directly. What is it that makes you great at what you do?

00:24:08:21 - 00:24:29:00

John Gallagher

J I think that's a great question. And, you know, sometimes people say they don't want to talk about what makes them great. There's a humility, there's a pride that gets involved there. But for me, really, it is trying to live some of those things that I preach. So it is the drive that I have for continuous improvement, never being really satisfied with the status quo or where I am today.

And and understanding again that that motivation I should always be getting better is out there. There's I have a drive for disciplined execution, so I try to live some of those disciplines that I talk about with regards to health and fitness and wellness, as well as the disciplines required to daily and weekly to grow my business that go along with that as well.

And there has to be a drive for coaching and mentoring. It's a passion of mine that goes all the way back to when one of my leaders gave me a book to read for the first time, and he invested in me to make a difference. So you have to, as a leader, be willing to say I need to develop others, because if you have to do it all on your own, you're not going to be able to balance that out anyway.

Those are three things that are really disciplines, if you will. But I think the fourth thing that really separates me from that group is to makes it makes it uncommon is that capturing the hearts of the individual as well. So it's not just about those disciplines. I don't just talk about the rigor of exercising for the sake of exercising, but I talk about the discipline of doing those things and getting them done so that the most important part you can achieve your why all the way back to step one again that I care for them and that I'm constantly pointing them back to their true north or their purpose that they're trying to live out

in life and make a difference. And I think that's where the difference in and me comes forward is that I'm truly working with them to capture their hearts.

00:25:58:19 - 00:26:20:13

Jay Kingley

I encourage our listeners to get a even a deeper sense for John's experience and background. Go to LinkedIn and connect with him and learn all those factual things that back up what he is saying. But John, I've got a slightly different question for you. I'd like to understand what's happened in your life that would most explain why you do what you do.

00:26:20:14 - 00:26:39:10

John Gallagher

There are so many things and again, it goes back to those people have made the impact on me and going forward. So I'll start out what what truly ignited the fire in me. There was an experience that I had in a performance review where I was getting feedback from a supervisor and it was truthful. It was hard for me to accept.

I was young in my leadership journey and I wasn't ready for that type of feedback. I remember sitting there across from this I'm a grown individual in my early thirties receiving this feedback, not able to say a word at all in tears. Physical tears are rolling down my cheeks because of the truth that that leader just poured into me.

And there was a moment in that performance review where I said, I need help and I need someone to help me through this journey. And I would like to get a coach to help me go through this. And my supervisor, my mentor, said, okay, let's make that happen. And I remember that someone investing in me to give me the opportunity to get that coach, understand how I could close the gaps that I had in a performance review like that to make that difference.

Once I understood the value of a coach, I understood that that truly gave me a passion because I saw some of the improvement that was done to help others do that. Hence the name of the company Growing Champions. I want to grow others so that they can grow more champions. Champions that succeed in business and life. But that performance feedback was a huge breakthrough for me early in my career and people need to hear that feedback.

00:27:50:12 - 00:28:05:16

Jay Kingley

John, you've talked about some really critical and important things for all of us. I am sure that we've got folks in our audience that would love to reach out. Continue the conversation with you. What is the best way for people to get in touch?

00:28:06:02 - 00:28:16:16

John Gallagher

Sure. The easiest way is via email. It's And you can also see more about me on my website.

00:28:16:22 - 00:28:43:14

Jay Kingley

Great. And I will put that in the show notes and then certainly the video make it easy for everyone to reach out to you, John. This was a tremendous conversation. I think that anyone who does what I do is blessed to have you as a guest. You know, we talk about what makes you a little bit different. One of the things that makes me a little bit different is I have ridiculously high expectations.

And where everybody else would declare victory and, you know, do a little dance and say, I'm a rock star. I'm sitting here saying on behalf of my audience who I advocate for. What else, John, can you bring to the table? Surely this isn't all of it. So I am going to challenge you right here, right now. Can you put a little inducement?

You know, let's call it a gift on the table for our audience as a way to say we are relentless in the value that we j.

00:29:18:00 - 00:29:36:05

John Gallagher

I appreciate that challenge. Well, let me first start with this. While I wasn't ready because I like to give me time to think about it and go forward, you are a gift as well, Jay. And I say that while I haven't got a chance to know you that well, I know that what you're doing here with the Best Kept Secret podcast is making a difference.

As you talk about those who are moving from the corporate world into this role as a as a consultant or individual contributor. So keep doing what you're doing. I appreciate what you're doing. Okay, but I've stalled long enough. Let's get back to what you really asked me for was what gift can I provide? And I do believe that I'd like to add more value to those listeners that are that are in on the best kept secret podcast and see what they can do to learn more about me.

So I'm willing to offer a free 15 minute coaching call to those that are listening that want to reach out to me via email coach Sean Gallagher at And if they put in the subject line best kept secret podcast inquiry, I will set up a time with them, get them a link to do a 15 minute introductory coaching call to see if growing champions might be something that could work for them.

00:30:22:04 - 00:30:45:15

Jay Kingley

All right. AUDIENCE You've heard his challenge. You've heard his gift. I'm going to tell you, this is worth that 15 minutes because it could actually change your life. And who wouldn't want that? So, John, I want to thank you. I love the perspective that you brought to us today. A lot to think about, a lot to reflect on.

But most importantly, after we've done that, let's act on that to my audience. Let's continue to crush it out there until next time and.

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