Building Others Up Makes Us Stronger (Featuring Michael DeLon)


All too often, we make life about the numbers. Whether it’s a revenue target for our businesses or how much money we’ll need to retire, we obsess over where we would like to be in the future. And we lose focus on what we can be doing right now to live a life we really love. Allowing us to make a difference to the people and causes we care about and most likely accomplish more than we may have thought possible.

In this week’s episode of the Truest Fan Podcast, you’ll meet Michael DeLon, a servant leader who loves to encourage others to be their very best. Michael is the owner of Paperback Expert where he helps thought leaders tell their stories and bring their credibility to the marketplace. Many of his clients are financial advisors.

To listen, click the play button above. Or click the “Subscribe” button to go to your favorite podcast player.

Our conversation was packed with great wisdom and a ton of energy. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Show Highlights

Connect With Our Guest, Michael DeLon:

Podcast Transcript

Rob  00:05

Hello friends, no sleeping through this episode of the Truest Fan Podcast. Frankly, you won’t be able to because I’ll be talking to Michael Delon, who is the founder of Paperback Experts. And Michael is a high energy guy who brings a lot of energy to the work he does with his clients, a lot of financial advisors, helping them bring out their expertise and share it with lots and lots of people on a regular basis. So they get results. Michael’s awesome. I hope you’ll listen in.

Announcer  00:42

You’re listening to the truest fan podcast. And now here’s your host, Rob Brown.

Rob  00:50

Okay, welcome, everybody. Welcome to the Truest Fan podcast. Rob Brown here with you again, it’s so good to have you back on the show. I’m very excited today because I get to have a conversation actually another conversation with somebody that I’ve met through my truest fan journey, who has also had me on his podcast. So, this is kind of an encore presentation, so to speak. But with us today is Michael Delon, who is the owner of paperback experts. He helps folks like us take those great words of wisdom and ideas that we have and put them in writing and actually get that book done. So, we’ll talk a little bit about that as the show goes along. But as usual, I want to start off by asking my favorite question, as most of you know, but listen to the podcast. The true is fan idea is built around the concept that or not the concept, but the fact that I am a huge Cleveland Indians guardians baseball fan, and that has taught me lots of lessons about being a fan. And so, I like to ask my guests who’s your favorite team?

Michael DeLon  01:57

Well, Rob, that’s a great question. And I as I told you, oh, that’s the hardest question that I that I been asked for a long time, because I’m not a big sports fan. I live in Little Rock, Arkansas, so I didn’t really think about it. And I went back to my childhood because I grew up in central Indiana. And I remember watching the cubbies and listening to that iconic voice of Harry Carey. Right. And I would say that’s probably if I had to choose a favorite from my childhood, it’d be the cubbies and then today, it probably be the Arkansas Travelers, which is a minor league team, because we can take my family go to the ballpark and enjoy a fun evening in a kind of an intimate setting and a great ballpark. So but probably the cubbies.

Rob  02:34

Yeah. Okay, well, that’s, that’s fair. I was actually going through customs last week and in Canada, and the agent saw it the customs agent at the gate saw that I had a Cleveland shirt on and he goes, is that a C for Cleveland? And I said, Yes. And he goes, Well, you probably won’t want me to tell you who my favorite team is then. And I said, Well, you’re saying it like really kindly the way that you’re asking it. So you must be a Cubs fan and your your you don’t want to be speak too loudly like a Yankees or a Red Sox fan because of that heartbreaking World Series in 2016. So it was the first Cubs fan that I felt was like, he gets how hard it is not to have to win the World Series in your lifetime. But anyway, enough about sports. But that’s a great story. And Harry Kerry I love Harry Carey that’s an iconic voice from growing up with you know, the Vin Scully’s of the world those voices that just bring you back. Yeah, they bring you back to the past and remind you why you why so many people are fans of the sports. But let’s, let’s switch gears because one of my favorite questions to ask on this podcast and attends to carry the whole conversation is like my guest to think about great advice you’ve gotten over the years. And is there one nugget or a couple of nuggets that really stick with you so that as you go about your life, you know, raising your kids running your business that you kind of remember those lessons over and over again?

Michael DeLon  04:13

Yeah, it’s, it’s woven through a couple of things. Obviously, Scripture is big with me of being a follower of Christ and the teachings that I’ve gotten not just from the Bible, but from mentors in church and different things, but in business, as well as it’s the mentality, the philosophy of serving, and I went through a leadership program one time years ago, and it was talking about servant leadership, and they had a lot of principles. And then I read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits, and he talked a lot about serving and, you know, obviously, you know, Jesus said, I’ve come not to be served but to serve. And as I was raising my sons, I’ve got four kids, you know, and two boys who have grown out of the house, I would, I would instill in them Rob, that service is in our DNA as Delon. And so we’d be walking through the halls of church or something and I’d see a piece of paper and I’d stop and say let’s pick that up. And they’re like, Well, why I’m like, because we serve. That’s what we do. And I think in life in business, I’ve tried to come at it with a servant mentality to say, I’m here to help you get somewhere. Now, I’m not going to let you walk all over me, because that’s not what that’s not the definition. But I’m here to put your needs above my needs, so that we can get it done that and that’s really the philosophy that we that I that I try to implement through life, whether it’s with my family, in business at church of being a servant, so I can help you get where you need to go and do the things you want to do. Because I find I find great joy in serving, and it’s just how God’s made me. So that’s probably the concept that has woven through my life. And it probably you know, it’s funny you asked that I go back to my dad who was a fireman for 20 some odd years. And I remember him being around the house, cooking dinner, cooking meals sometimes because at the fire station, they would cook but he’d come home and cook I remember him vacuuming the house. I remember him doing dishes. I remember him taking out the garbage. I guess I saw servanthood growing up and never really connected all those dots until you just asked that question.

Rob  06:05

Yeah, that’s fascinating. Because you know, when you mentioned your dad and just kind of guessing your age that wasn’t his generation wasn’t necessarily the stay at home dad generation, the one that would make the dinner, vacuum the carpet, clean the house and but he displayed that to you and it’s in it and it stuck.

Michael DeLon  06:26

It did you know, and being a fireman, you know, he’d worked a day in an off day work a day off today hit a weird schedule. He had a part time job on the other days, but when he was at home, yeah, he was serving he was doing stuff and it dropped into my heart, I guess, you know, I more things are caught than taught, I guess. Right. And so I definitely caught my head.

Rob  06:43

Yeah, you know, because, you know, that’s a that’s a great a great point. I think sometimes when we think about that nugget, and I tried to be careful how I asked that question is because sometimes you just like, what are those two words, or that one sentence that somebody said to you that just stuck is opposed to? And there’s nothing wrong with that, because sometimes that’s like a cheer that’s like, you know, over and over in your mind, you just remember that, that mantra that comes from those words. But sometimes maybe it isn’t the words, it’s the actions, the way that you watched somebody do something that stayed in your heart, and now has carried over into the way that you serve others. And in thinking about that, though, one of the things that really dawns on me is that idea of being a servant in this world that is filled with so many big egos that, you know, I couldn’t I can’t call myself a servant. How do you how do you think that that squares up? You know, does that how does how does that person who really feels empowered to be the leader and maybe does even do a decent job of serving, but would never consider themselves to be a servant leader?

Michael DeLon  07:48

Yeah, that’s a great question. Because I think, the mindset of a servant, you know, I go back to Jesus, right? In my mind, he’s the greatest leader that ever lived. And he was the greatest servant of all time. So he was able to mesh those two things, servant leadership in the life of Christ, and I look at him. And what I find is too many leaders are out there are too many people who become arrogant and self-centered because of their abilities. And they start lording it over people. And those are the people that rub us the wrong way. But I’ve been around a lot of great leaders who are super successful in business and life. And they’re the humble people, they realize it’s not about the money or the title, or the whatever. But they’re always looking around encouraging people really being a Truest Fan. You know, you gave me that, that that name when you when you sent me your book, and we met, and I thought, I love that, because that really defines how I’ve experienced great leadership through the year, they’re encouragers, they leave you notes, they pat you on the back, they say well done all of those little things, because they’re secure in themselves. And I think that’s really the key factor is a phrase that I use, Rob is I want to be content with what God’s give me where he has me, but I don’t want to be complacent. I don’t want to just sit there because I think God has more things for me to do. And he’s equipped me in certain ways. And what I find is when you find a leader who can be content with who they are, then you find somebody, hopefully, who has more humility, and who can be that Truest Fan to those around them. Because we’re always trying to lift others up. We had one of our key employees leave us this in the last month to get a different position that’s more fulfilling for her more in line with where she’s wanting to go. And you know, we took the news hard, it’s like, oh, no, but then we’re like, Great, how can we support you in that, right? Because we want her to thrive in whatever she has in the future. And I think that it’s little things like that we should always be looking to raise people up. And so in the midst of a world that tends to be negative and downcast I think it’s our mindset of I’m going to be different. I’m going to lift you up and believe that good is going to come when I do it. I’m going to feel better anyway, that answer that

Rob  09:53

yeah, no, you did a great job of answering that. I think you shared a lot and I love that. It is okay to be content, but not to be complacent. I think that’s a great rallying cry for the world that we live in today where we can get really frustrated, because we want things to move kind of fast and furious and get a lot of stuff done. It’s like it’s okay to stop and say, Hey, we’re doing great right now, let’s just be happy with what we have. But keep focused on the future. And I think that is an awesome way to go about living. But the other thing that you said, or something that you said that really resonated with me also is the idea of cheering other people on. And obviously, that’s a big theme and true as fan, but I can’t think of a situation ever, where rooting for somebody else to be successful actually hurt me, you know, because, you know, even if I wish my competitor in business, you know, the best and they do really well. There are enough people out there that I can serve that we can exist in the same world. But if we are always rooting people on around us, whether they’re working for us, and they’re on our teams, and we want them to be even stronger, better members of our team with more and more responsibilities, or they say, you know, I’ve hit my plateau here, there’s something else I want to do. And instead of secretly going out the back door, they can come to you and say, Hey, I’m thinking about going on. And you can say, we’re going to hate to leave you and maybe even try to talk them out of it. But ultimately say how can I be your continue to be your fan to serve you and reach you on to that next opportunity? That’s it?

Michael DeLon  11:34

Yeah. And it does come back to you, you know, we I’ve had that multiple times in my life, when I’ve, I’ve encouraged somebody in the next level, and I’m telling you about three or four years later, they’ll refer somebody to me for business or ministry or something. And the only reason is because I didn’t burn a bridge, because I was an encouragement to them. And in all of life, life, just really relationships. You know, we were my wife and I were missionaries for a decade here in America. And we have, we have supporters all across the nation, people who sent us money every month that we could serve at this ministry and those relationships we build. And you know, we had to cut those relationships when we left the ministry to start my business, but only in a financial aspect, I can still pick up the phone today and call people all over the United States and say, Hey, I’m driving through, can I sleep in your couch, and then the House is open, right? Because we’ve built relationships. And I think so many times, especially today, we elevate the transactional nature of our lives instead of the relational aspect of our lives. And I think because we live with a the world tends to live in a non abundant mindset. I’m not sure what the right word would be. But a lack mindset versus an abundance mindset that you talked about, there’s plenty of business out there, there’s lots of opportunities, let’s encourage let’s build each other up. And when you do that, I mean, it’s kind of weird things get attracted to you. And I’ve, I can tell you, and you’ve probably had the same source, you’re running down a pathway to build your business or hit a goal or something. And God brings business from like a 90 degree angle, and you’re like, I didn’t see that one coming. But thank you, right. And I think it’s because of our attitude behind all of it. How are we living our lives? God takes care of us.

Rob  13:08

Yeah, he absolutely does. And, you know, as you were talking through that, and I was thinking about the big part of the audience for this podcast, are financial advisors, financial professionals, and in my coaching work with advisors, one of the things that I find is a momentum changer is when they stop thinking about their business as the next transaction. And not that they’re necessarily selling products for commissions. Because most of my, my advisor clients don’t, but when I stopped thinking about it, I’m counting the number of clients I’m adding, I’m counting the number of assets under management that I’m bringing in, and they start to think about, I’m adding a new ideal relationship, somebody that I can work with and serve over time, their again, momentum changes, their business becomes much more meaningful, because they’re, they’re working with folks that they really enjoy working with. And those clients are the ones that tend to spread the word for them.

Michael DeLon  14:07

Yeah, it’s very much that what you’re building, you’re building those deep relationships. And you you’re understanding that that family at a deep relational level, you understand, hopefully, their anniversary dates and their children’s names and their birthdays, and you start sending cards or gifts to them. And nobody else does that. Right. But when it’s done, and it’s coming from the heart, and it’s very relational. It’s true. It makes all the difference in the world. And it takes care of a lot of the business growth goals and objectives over a long period of time. And you find yourself in a business that becomes generational, not just for the families that you’re serving, but for you because you’re able to pass that business on to your children or somebody else because you’ve built such deep relationships. There’s that word again, right? But that’s really where it starts and where it ends is understanding who we’re serving.

Rob  14:55

Yeah, I’m trying to think of how do you how do you bring that together? We’ve talked about a lot of stuff in a relatively short period of time we’ve talked about the importance of being servant leaders we’ve talked about being content but not complacent and building relationships there’s something there that I’m just it’s escaping me is a way to frame that even better because

Michael DeLon  15:16

Yeah, well let me frame it was this way and I don’t know if this is good better and different but it’s how we live our lives is I see too many people Rob and I’m, they’re working for the number for the almighty dollar, I’m trying to get to that number. And that’s they’re all consuming passion, okay. Hence the transactional aspect, that counting appliance, the Aum is all of that to get me to that number. And I really encourage people to kind of flip that on its end and say, let’s stop worrying so much about that number someday, because I’ve known a lot of people who hit the number retired and died the next year, live your life today, give more of your money away today, there is such joy in giving supporting ministries or the local community, whatever it is, use what God’s given you now and start giving away and invest and make a difference in other people’s lives as you’re growing your business. And I think what you’ll find is you’re going to be a lot happier, you’re going to grow your business more prolifically. I mean, God will do amazing things. But I find so many people are so consumed with retirement, and that number that age, and I’m like, Okay, I’m there, too. I’m looking at it. But it’s not my all consuming obsession, I want to make a massive difference in people’s lives during my life, because I don’t know when my life is going to end. We I mentioned my dad earlier. So on June 29 1987, my dad was killed in a motorcycle accident on June 28 of that year, I was on a motorcycle with my new girlfriend who’s not my wife, you know, in front pocket at the stoplight in front of the fire station he was working at right and I thought in my head, I should go in and introduce them. And then the next thought was Nana will always be another time to do that. She never met my dad, I never saw my dad alive again. So we know, we don’t know when we’re going to die. So why are we so focused on a date somewhere in the future? And I think that I think that plays into this whole mentality we’re talking about is if you want greater joy, do more with your money. Now be a Truest Fan to those around you today. And when you retire, guess what? You’re going to have a stadium filled with Truest fans who are rooting you on? I don’t know if that makes sense. But that’s what was hitting me.

Rob  17:28

No, I’m glad you I’m glad you took that turn. Because I think that really is important. And again, just thinking about the work that I do as a coach to advisors when I can help my clients understand what their big dreams are, that are not just their financial goals for their business, not just the succession plan that they have when they one day retire. But think about what can you be doing right now to make a difference in your community or to the causes that you care about? They live differently, because I guess that’s just an extension of servant leadership, right? Because part of being a servant is being a big giver and not holding back. And, and that can be so so rewarding.

Announcer  18:18

Are you ready to discover your true purpose, live with impact and build an ever greater legacy? Then you need to make time for what truly matters most? Go to truest To begin the free, truest fan seven day QuickStart?

Rob  18:43

So let me let me flip gears tell me who is an ideal client for your business. So you’re in the business of helping others write books and you have your company paperback expert, talk about your ideal client?

Michael DeLon  18:59

Yeah, thanks, um, business owner, entrepreneur, thought leader, somebody who has a message that needs to be proclaimed. They’re in a very competitive industry. So your audience would fit that right is very competitive, and they’re looking for a way to elevate the status, their credibility in the mind of their audience. And what we do is we know that you’re an expert at what you do financial planning, helping people deal with, you’re an expert there. The problem is there are about 40 other experts in your same city. How do you how do you separate yourself, you tell your story, who are you because at the end of the day, people are buying you more than the products and services you offer. So we have a unique ability to tell your story. Sometimes you have a process that’s unique to you. It’s telling that so that you can have a two or three hour conversation with an ideal prospect or client when they’re reading your book. So we look for financial advisors who are successful already there, aren’t starting, they’ve been in it for a few years, and they’re wanting to make a larger impact to communicate a message more clearly to preconditioned prospects before they hire them to answer questions to inform, to educate, to tell your story, so that it can be passed on to families to generations to centers of influence. So we love working with people who have a passion to serve, have a message to share, they just don’t know how to get it into a book, we got that taken care of.

Rob  20:27

Right. That’s awesome. And as an author, and someone who’s actually helped a couple of clients of mine, who are financial advisors write books, I can honestly say I wish I knew about you before we met so recently, because it’s it can be a lot of work, because some people ask me, Well, when do you know, the right time is to write a book? And my answer always is, the minute you start wondering whether or not you should write a book is when you should write a book. And it doesn’t have to be a crazy years long process. When you have somebody like yourself, who can walk somebody through it and make it make the hardest part for your client is probably just getting them to share what they naturally share just making him stop to do it. If they weren’t writing a book, they’d probably be telling that same story in some other way. Anyway, right?

Michael DeLon  21:19

Yeah, we and we do so no, go ahead.

Rob  21:21

No, I was just gonna ask. So what’s the best way for somebody to connect with you who might have an interest in writing their own book?

Michael DeLon  21:28

Yeah, they just go to, that’s our website. From there, they can find everything they need to know about me and about our company. So there’s all kinds of information, testimonials, free resources, a credibility calculator we’ve created that you can take to give you a credibility score, there are videos or ways to schedule a call with me. So paperback is the place to go to start understanding how do we help people like you, Rob or one of your clients create a book without writing a word and guide them down the process that very quickly they can go from being Wow, I’d love to do that. I don’t know how to. I’m a published author, and then teaching them how to use their book in their business to actually grow their business. Because that’s, you know, at the end of the day, we’re a marketing company, we want to help them grow their business, make a larger impact and serve more people.

Rob  22:18

Right. And that’s, that’s some great info. And, you know, in the world, Michael, that both you and I work in our best tool for understanding if we can serve a client well, is an introductory conversation. And unfortunately, those quote unquote strategy calls have been turned by too many folks into sales pitches. But I feel confident if you’ve if you’re listening this podcast, you think you have a book in you go to to learn a little bit more about Michael. And if you’re intrigued at all to schedule that strategy session, do it because whether you move forward with a book or not, and I’m sure Michael you’re not going to try to twist somebody’s arm is probably not the way to get a book written to twist an arm is not going to happen. It’ll be time well spent. So I just want to emphasize that because it bothers me sometimes when I will get a referral and I asked my clients when they refer somebody to me just ask them to schedule a 15 minute call with me so we can get to know each other and they’re like I don’t want to do they just going to try to sell me I was like no, that’s the last thing that you want to do. So it will be sure to include that info in the in the show notes. But I have two more questions to end our conversation. So my favorite lesson in truest fan is a smiles and kind words go a long way. I believed so strongly that the simplest way to be a Truest Fan is to make somebody else smile. So, I’m curious what makes you smile? And what do you do to make other people smile?

Michael DeLon  23:52

So I think what makes me smile the most is when I see the light bulb come on, come on in somebody’s mind through something I’ve shared with them. And so what my mission statement in life is to facilitate growth in organizations and individuals. So as long as I’m doing that, I’m smiling. So when you and I have a conversation and you go Oh, I love that content, but not complacent. Okay, there’s a light bulb moment I love it that makes me smile. And then how do I make people smile? Well, I use a program called loom L O O M and it’s just a short video. There are bomb bombs. There’s all kinds of them out there but to send people little short video messages that are really personal 20 minutes or 20 seconds. 40 seconds just saying Rob thanks for a great interview. That was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed being on your on your podcast can’t wait to stay in touch. Doing those throughout the week. Last year. I think loom sent me at the end of the year, how many looms? I did and I think I was in the 390 loom mark and so I sent more than one a day on average I make I try to make people’s lives better by touching them by being really personal but very short. I also do a lot of video text messages. A dear friend of mine self is celebrating 35 years of marriage today. First thing I did when I got in as texted him his wife, congratulations, way to go. Little things like that. That brings me joy, but it brings them joy as well.

Rob  25:07

Right? Yeah. That’s powerful. And that’s, that’s a big part of that truest fan lesson is, you know, what, what can you do every day just to make somebody smile, whether they happen into your consciousness or you know, it’s their 35th anniversary, or you have a conversation with somebody in business or life, you say, you know, I just want to follow that up. I want to I want to kind of memorialize that a little bit. Because it’s, it’s worth it’s worth that extra effort. Yeah. So, to close, Michael, just last question. Is there any, I feel like you’ve already shared so much great wisdom with the audience, but is there anything that you’d like to leave behind in particular for, for the Truest Fan audience?

Michael DeLon  25:47

You know, if one piece of advice that I was given that I tried to live by, be yourself, and what I mean by that, Rob, is that for the first few years of my business, I was trying to be who I thought you wanted me to be. And I would avoid video because I didn’t have a great studio or lighting. And I wasn’t, and I finally gave that up a few years on just became Michael. And now I’m me, it’s changed everything about our business about my sales calls about just, it’s, this is who I am. If you like me, then let’s talk and see how I can serve you. But if this offends you, then please don’t have a conversation with me because this is who I am. But it’s really just chilled everything out for me. And I don’t have the pressure to produce anymore. Because I know that when I show up authentically, as me, I’m going to attract the right type of people and everything. So stop trying to be who you think your audience wants you to be and be yourself. Build relationships, have fun, smile.

Rob  26:42

Yeah, what a great way to end this. And just to put a little extra exclamation point on that all I can think about is that, you know, we are made in the image of God. So, I think it’s okay to be ourselves when we’ve got the imprimatur of the of the Creator of the Universe has put himself into us so that we can be the people that we are.

Michael DeLon  27:08


Rob  27:08

And that’s what he wants us to be. So, I think that’s just a great way to close this out. So just as a reminder, in case you did listen to the beginning of the show, we’ve been with Michael Delon, the president or the president or founder of paperback?

Michael DeLon  27:22

I go back and forth.

Rob  27:26

Paperback expert, great guest. Michael, thank you for being on here and sharing with us the importance of servant leadership, the idea of being content, but not being complacent and then wrapping that with a bow of being yourself. And all of those things are ways to be a truest fan but also to live intentionally and be the best version of yourself. So, thank you so much.

Michael DeLon  27:52

You’re welcome, Rob. It’s been a joy. Thanks for having me.

Take care.

Rob Brown

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