Episode 136: 50 Years Of Wisdom: The Elite Team Celebrates Brett’s Birthday With Lessons Learned
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Great leaders don’t just teach lessons; they inspire legacies. Today’s episode is being released on March 16th, 2023, which is Brett’s 50th birthday. But surprise! In this episode, Brett’s assistant, Kallie Simons, and some other members of the Elite Team, have come to the show to celebrate their friend and mentor. In this episode, Kallie and the elite team join us to share the 50 lessons they’ve learned from Brett. We’ll hear personal stories and insights from those who have worked with him and gain valuable lessons from his leadership style and character. Join us as we celebrate Brett’s life and legacy through the eyes of those who know him best. Happy 50th birthday, Brett!
There is a new sheriff in town. I am Kallie, and I am Brett Gilliland’s assistant. I have hijacked this episode along with some other fugitives here with me. We have our entire Elite team and some extended Elite team members on this episode. Let me start by introducing them. We have our Marketing Director, Miranda, Master of Events, Cassie, David who is Brett’s brother, our Member Success Leader, our newest elite business coach, Jon, and then our extended team, which most of you probably know Mr. Dan Ralphs and Stephanie Hitchins. Brett, we got you. Surprise. If our readers are wondering why we’re all here and Brett’s not here since he is the host of this show, it is because this episode is being released on March 16th, 2023, which is Brett’s 50th birthday.
Happy birthday, Brett.
We wanted to do something special for you, Brett. We put together a little surprise birthday special episode to celebrate a man we all love. We’re going to be talking about the 50 lessons learned from our dear friend, Brett. We’ve called in some reinforcements for this also. We reached out to our Elite community and asked them to give us a lesson that they have learned from Brett over the years of knowing him or working with him. We have some responses from them. We have some personal lessons learned from all of us. We want to share that with all of you and celebrate Brett in a special way. Without further ado, I’m going to hand it over to Stephanie and you can start us off.
Thank you. I want to emphasize, Brett. We love you so much that we wanted to do something that might make you feel how you are important to us but also secretly, I wish I was a fly on the wall as you’re receiving this because I know how nervous and uncomfortable you will be receiving it. That’s part of why we’re doing this because we want to make a big hurrah for how much you have impacted our lives. The best part is this isn’t just your team. It’s the community members in our Elite community. We get to hear from them. I’m reading some of these and I’m like, “It’s so great,” and all of it is so true.
This is from Greg Schuster. He is with Schuster Physical Therapy, and that’s his company. He said, “Brett and Elite came into our lives at the right time in our business growth journey. The Elite Method was instrumental in helping us articulate and align our organization around measurable goals. More importantly, we took the time to step back and define our purpose and values. While we always lived our values, we recognized the importance of communicating these values to our team more clearly as our organization has grown.”
“The articulation of our values has aided us considerably in the recruitment and screening of new employees. Through Brett’s show, I have learned so much from various leaders across various industries that are different from my own. We are all in this small business world together. Finally, I’d like to commend Brett on living his faith and being a model of leadership for us all. Happy birthday, Brett.”
Kevin Day from Trumpet said, “One thing I learned from Brett is to lean on my team when things feel like they’re falling apart. I found that our core product was being recreated by a platform provider and would be offered for free. This was an existential crisis for our business because it effectively killed a significant product line for us. I was so stressed out about how we could possibly respond. I called Brett because I couldn’t think of anything else to do.”
“After listening to me describe what was going on, he asked, ‘Have you talked with your executive team about this? Do you know what they think?’ I have now. In the depths of my despair, I had convinced myself that this was my problem to figure out. Once I brought the executive team into it, they attacked the challenge and engineered a huge pivot for the company that brought us into alignment with our purpose in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. It’s all because of that simple profound question that Brett asked me when I was at my lowest point.”
The first one I’m sharing is from Mike Hanbery at Webolutions. He says, “One of the many things I’ve learned from Brett is why everyone at our company was stretched like a drum, working like crazy and yet the company wasn’t growing. We had bricks stacked up but no mortar holding them together. I’ve learned more meaningful and relevant ways to approach culture and how to strengthen it through positive interactions. I am experiencing the benefits of this as our team grows stronger and more cohesive.
Michael Kunzler from Kunzler Financial said, “I learn from Brett that you can be incredibly successful while still staying humble and true to your values. This shows up in every interaction, meeting and everything.”
My first one is from Ray O’Donnell from TotalRewards Software. He says a lesson he’s learned from Brett is, “One can be caring, compassionate, effective and a down-to-earth leader. He’s read a lot of autobiographies of some inspirational leaders, such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and others. However, I struggle to emulate them as they tended to be unreasonable and a-holes to their vendors and employees. Frankly, that is not who I am but in working with Brett, I realize I could be compassionate and caring to my team while also being a reasonable, respected and great leader. This is a better model for me and I learned this from Brett. I emulate Brett now instead.”You can be compassionate and caring to your team while also being a reasonable, respected and great leader. Click To Tweet
Preston Stapley from Expert Level Automation said, “The biggest thing I’ve learned from Brett is to dream big and be kind. Brett was launching the Dream Manager program at the time that I was hired at Keap or Infusionsoft. He opened my mind to thinking up and dreaming bigger in all aspects of my life. Brett has also been a prime example of a kind person. I love being around him. I loved working with him. He makes me feel like being a good and better person is what you should be by being around him.
Mine comes from Tia Geurts at Trumpet, “One thing I have learned from Brett is the power of a problem well stated. After finding a ton of benefits from our mastermind sessions at Elite, quarter after quarter, year after year sometimes when we didn’t even have a known problem to solve, we debuted the concept of our company. We rebranded it as an open mic because I love a good musical theme and embedded it into our quarterly rhythm.”
“Now, every quarter, everyone in our company participate in an open mic. This has drastically improved our communication and created a mindset that we don’t have to always know the answer. We don’t even have to always have a clear understanding of the problem. We can lean on our team to ask probing questions, provide alternative perspectives and offer advice. As a bonus, team members are exposed to challenges and other areas of the business that they otherwise would never know about. It’s become an ingrained part of our always-improved core values, all thanks to Brett exposing us to an alternative way of thinking about problems.”
We’re going to jump into a round of sharing how Brett has changed or impacted our lives. I’m going to lead with mine. Brett, you have pushed me to recognize that there are always options in this abundant world and that there is never a need to fold under pressure. Your commitment to living this value daily has changed my life in the way I see and live in this world of ours.
You and I were the two that spun the business out and started in Infusionsoft. We spun it out to stand on its own two feet, the Elite Entrepreneur’s business. You saw every situation, good or bad, as an opportunity instead of succumbing to what most might feel fear. You explored with curiosity and now I move in every area of my life seeing that there is always a way through. I get curious about what the possibilities are. I am so grateful to you for this.
Mine’s simpler than that but that’s me as a brother. Brett is deeply committed to his beliefs, his family and the growth of the people around him. I’ve seen his commitment directs his actions more than fleeting feelings or risk of personal loss. It is so easy to work with a brother and a leader who solidly lives his values.
The first personal one that I’m sharing is that I have learned from Brett the power of believing in people. I’m sure you’ve heard that idea before but the way that Brett does this is so magical. It’s hard to even say. On my first day at Elite, Brett believed in me and my ability to serve this community. It’s almost hard to articulate how he supports me in taking on things that I’m not even sure how to accomplish. It’s an unspoken magical thing that he does in assuming I will figure things out. His belief in me has enabled me to grow so much over the short amount of time that I’ve been a part of this team. He would probably say that it’s no surprise at all.
Brett has shown me through his actions the power of a team and what a true leader looks like. He truly lives the Elite Leadership Model of setting the vision, building the team and delivering results. Most importantly, he shows our team each and every day that he truly cares about all of us.
The first one I want to share about Brett is Brett taught me how to trust. Right from the start, when I joined the team, Brett made it clear that I was an essential part of the team and he truly meant it, like from day one. His unwavering trust and openness were incredibly impactful and created a sense of warmth and belonging that made me feel truly welcomed. It’s powerful to be embraced with such genuine enthusiasm. Brett’s approach to having me be a new team member inspired me to work harder, collaborate more effectively and strive for excellence in all that I do.
This is rough. Brett taught me that people come first. Every time that I’ve interrupted Brett and it has been thousands of times over the years, I have never felt like I was a bother, problem, annoyance or frustration but every time, I have felt Brett’s response of care, love and concern. He has taught me that that is the way to lead. As a result, I feel an undying loyalty to Brett Gilliland.
A lesson I have learned from Brett is that if there is a will, there is a way. Brett is always so optimistic about pretty much everything he truly lives our value of. We face challenges with optimism. I’ve quite honestly never had a boss who doesn’t fold under pressure, who continually seeks to find a way to make things work and who understands that if it doesn’t, we will find a new way to make it happen. He makes me want to work harder and trust more in the process of things and not necessarily always the outcomes.
Byron McBroom with Measured Results said, “My biggest takeaway from Elite Entrepreneurs and Brett has been the higher fire and discipline to the core values. Many years ago, I had an accounting firm where I felt that I was at odds with almost the whole team. I had my whole team leave at one time. It was brutal. We now hire and fire and discipline to the core values and what a difference alignment makes. Thank you, Brett.”
Nathan Sweat from Royal Engineering said, “A key lesson I learned from Brett is the three main roles of a CEO, to set the vision, build the team and produce results. That has helped me provide a framework for what I should focus on. He’s always talking about these three things so I know it’s integral to his beliefs in practice.”
Jeromy Wilson from Niche Academy says, “The one thing I have learned from Brett is the power of approachability. Each time that I interacted with Brett, whether online or in person, he made me feel welcome. Not only welcome but he was excited to interact with me as a person and not just as a business owner. He shows true empathy and altruism towards everyone he comes in contact with.”
JoAnn Keller from Hands for Living said, “Emotional and intellectual independence from the business proceed geographical independence. One of my intentions for the development of my very local hand therapy clinic business is to design it in a way that allows for geographic independence for me, the owner. I’ve continued to wrestle with how to make this work well for everyone. Brett pointed out that there is more to it than just logistics. That is an amazingly helpful observation and has adjusted some of my thoughts in preparing for this shift. Thank you, Brett, for your dedication to owners of the businesses you serve.”Emotional and intellectual independence from the business proceed geographical independence. Click To Tweet
Next up, we have a message from Chris Prefontaine from Smart Real Estate Coach, “Out of the three key areas that owners and leaders should never let fall off the radar because of Brett, one, in particular, has saved the company while helping growth numerous times. The importance of staying ahead of the capital requirements and never running out of fuel or cash. Thanks to Brett, I’ve stayed ahead of the team in requirements. A paragraph is not enough to highlight the lessons from Brett as a person, a leader, a family man and a friend. You are amazing Brett and thanks for all you do.”
Damien Sanchez from Sterling Lighting said, “One thing I’ve learned from Brett has been setting the expectations for myself at each stage of business. Knowing businesses can stall at very predictable points has been extremely helpful when we hit the plateau at each stage. I have the tools to reflect on ways that I am the bottleneck and also critically look at the systems, processes and people at each stage. I’ve had confidence in deciding what things to change, implementing new systems, improving the efficiency of our processes and strengthening our people. When necessary, bringing in new talent that can help navigate the stage of growth that we’re in. Since we first did our training back in 2014, we have used what Brett taught us every day.”
We have one from Eric Sparrow with Milkhouse Creamery. He writes, “I’m always inspired by Brett’s unwavering commitment to helping people realize their potential. He is always striving for our collective success above and beyond anything else. It’s amazing to see his dedication. I have been so fortunate to learn from his example. It seems he’s always curious to know how we are doing in our business and how we can help us get to where we are going. He is as selfless as they come. Janet and I love that guy.”
We’re back to a round of personal things that we’ve learned as a team from Brett. Brett, you see the individual and their potential and treat them like they already have arrived there. You live our leadership model of genuinely caring, both about the individual and the cause of the business in a way that most of our leaders that we coach can only dream of. I’ve been on the receiving end of this with you as my leader.
You have often pushed me because of what you could see I was capable of when I was uncomfortable. It expanded me in ways that have changed my life and I will never be the same because of it. I am more deeply loyal to our team and tenaciously devoted to our mission and purpose. Thanks to this, I have spread that in coaching all of the other businesses that we’ve worked with. Your ability to model that with ease, gentleness and kindness is the thing that has impacted my life. Thank you.
Brett doesn’t stop working. He works as hard when he steps away from work as he does when he is in the middle of growing his business. There’s always someone to serve, a house to clean, a child to support and a spouse to love and he keeps doing it. He doesn’t stop working to bring value to others. A great reminder of why we do what we do.
Brett taught me what it looks like to teach something and truly let the other person adopt it as their own. I had many conversations with Brett while learning the Elite Business Growth Method. I often came to those conversations with a new angle on what we do. It’s something that I saw differently from my perspective. He always honored what I was seeing, even if it wasn’t exactly how he saw it. He would go out of his way to understand my perspective before helping me see his. This practice empowered me to quickly step into a more advanced understanding of what we do. I see him do the same thing with each of our members and everyone that he comes into contact with. It’s such a beautiful way of teaching. As I see it, it’s such a beautiful way of showing love.
Brett lives out of the box with each of us on our team. I’ve never once felt like he saw me as anything other than a capable human being with great potential. I feel that that is the way he sees everyone that he interacts.
From Brett, I’ve discovered that businesses can truly embody and uphold values and that every team member can wholeheartedly embrace those values. Brett’s example demonstrates that when a business operates with a strong moral compass, it can create a culture of trust, respect and purpose and elevates everyone involved. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to dance in the magic that he has created here. His lessons have forever transformed the way I approach both life and business.
I need to be the one to say it. He taught me the Elite Business Growth Method. The reason I’m saying this is because he taught me this practical way to live with both head and heart, strategic and cultured. As a result of my ability to understand that model, I can share it with companies across the country and he has shared it with companies across the country. There are tens of thousands of lives that have been impacted by working in a company that is both highly productive and also a great place to work.
A lesson I’ve learned from Brett is that proper grammar is like food for the soul. We can all agree on that. I’m going to out myself. I sometimes write his LinkedIn posts. I’m more nervous writing things for Brett and making grammatical errors than I ever was in college. My professors don’t worry about it. They’ll figure it out. Brett’s going to see it. I’m not afraid because he’s going to get upset. I don’t even know if he has that emotion inside of him but he’s going to notice. The real lesson here for me is that attention to detail is imperative. It shows your willingness to take the time to do things the right way. For all of us, this elite team of ours, doing things the right way is the only way.
From Micah Mitchell of Memberium said, “One thing I learned from Brett is how to switch into a higher gear of business growth.” He likened growing your business to riding a bike and how in the beginning, certain gears work fine but if you keep pedaling in those gears, no matter how hard you pedal, you’ll only go so fast. He said, ‘Instead, switch to a higher gear and talked about how leadership and the lessons about mission, vision, values and teamwork. It’ll help you go into higher gears with your team instead of pedaling harder.’ Thanks, Brett and Happy Birthday, bro.”
From Jeff Mask of MASK Principles, “My lesson learned from Brett is the power of consistency in every aspect. Consistency in energy management, not too high, not too low. Consistency in doing the little things in leadership and life that end up paying dividends. Consistency in meeting rhythm. Consistency in daily personal practices and morning routines. Consistency in kindness, generosity and learning. I was lucky enough to work with him, learn from him and benefit from Brett’s leadership for several years. I’m a better man and leader because of Brett’s influence. I love that man. I affectionately call him Brett with rolled Rs because it sounds awesome and it emphasizes his awesomeness.”
Marci and Carlos Hernandez at Keepers wrote, “When we started with Elite, it was the summer of 2020. We were experiencing growing pains as we grew during the pandemic. I explained our org chart and team structure to Brett and he immediately knew that Carlos and I were carrying the majority of the leadership load. I remember in a conversation I had with Brett, he told me we needed to build a leadership team to support us.”
“In theory, I knew we had to bring on more people but his insight that we needed a leadership team was something that I had not thought about. I didn’t know at the time how to build a leadership team but it was always in the back of my mind. Over the last few years, little by little, we have created a leadership team that has allowed us to let go of some areas of the business. This has been so helpful and created the ability to step away a little more from the business. Thank you, Brett, for your wisdom. We can feel how much you care about the success of those you coach and wish you all the best on your 50th birthday.”
David Blatner with CreativePro Network said, “Here’s a Brett teaching that I love. Keep showing up and making incremental progress. You don’t have to do it right, just keep getting better. Brett doesn’t just teach it. He lives it. Incremental, persistent progress and not by straining or stressing but with a smile.”
Joseph Kirkpatrick from KirkpatrickPrice, and this one is fantastic, said, “The lesson I’ve learned from Brett is never stopped buying cookies from the place that discontinued the ones that had the coconut. In the first few elite meetings, there were these cookies and they had coconut. They were soft and flavorful. They were chocolate chip cookies that were dipped halfway into the chocolate so half of it was covered in chocolate and they were so good.”
“There was something about the additional ingredients of the coconut that made the coconut once extra special. During COVID, the restaurant stopped providing coconut cookies but Brett was not deterred. He continued to buy the chocolate chip once, even though they screwed us over with the coconut once. It is true that you should continue to give people a chance even when they disappoint you like that.”
Clate Mask at Keap said, “Where do I start? From the very first meeting with Brett, he taught me how strategic HR is when done right. He helped me see why it’s a problem to have HR report to a CFO. He helped me understand why training and development of people is the best ROI we can ever get. He helped me see how real the saying is that people are our best asset. He spent many years with me through countless little experiences demonstrating how strategic HR is and how he showed how much he values people.”
That’s a special one. This one comes from Amy and Neil Trickett with Practice Promotions. They wrote, “Happy 50th birthday, Brett. We appreciate all of the gems of wisdom and high-level perspective feedback you have always shared with us over the years we have worked together. All of your teachings have always come from a place of caring about us and wanting us to succeed.”
“It is very hard to give one lesson learned from Brett that is more impactful as we embrace so much of what he has taught us. I hear him in my head frequently saying things like, ‘You need time away from the business to work on the business. The best time to plant a shade tree is several years ago,’ which is a Brett teaching, train your leaders now before you need them as it takes a long time to develop leadership skills.”
“Also, lead by caring about people first. Get your meeting rhythms in and when they fall out, put them back in. Many things that Brett has taught me have been instrumental in my development professionally and business growth. If I had to choose one thing, it is vision including mission, purpose and core values. We use that from job ads to hiring criteria to one-on-ones and performance reviews. We use it to make decisions at all levels and for setting goals and expectations through the process of terminations.”
“Set the vision and lead by the vision. This is foundational to business success. Having a strong vision and leading with the vision has led us to be able to create and develop a cohesive and productive team. Our growth is at least partially due to our vision. It is so much fun when onboarding new team members when they see the vision for themselves. If they align, they are certainly working for the right company. We have it ingrained in our business. Thanks to Brett and the fabulous team at Elite. Wishing you a very happy and healthy 50th year and many more.”
That connects to my personal one. Brett, you have taught me the power of truly being authentic to who you are in your beliefs and your business and living our core values as you show up for your family, our team and our clients. I see this in Amy Trickett’s share because it shows up in him living true to the vision of the business but it’s not just within the four walls of the company. It shows up in all areas of his life multiple times.
Brett, you have slowed me down in my work to pause, reflect and refocus on what matters in life and why we’re doing what we’re doing, which is to stay aligned with our purpose, values and mission. The impact of that has been incredible because it’s extended into me wanting to get clear about my life and what matters and creating my values and destination of where I want to go and how I want to get there.
Brett has an amazing ability to bring in good talent and then support his team members as they grow. To my knowledge, he’s only made one serious mistake in whom he invited to his team. One moment of poor judgment. I could be wrong but I know one. I’m glad that he let me slip through the cracks and get to work with him and the rest of the team. We always wanted to build a business together. Now, we finally are. I love working with him and I know that I can always trust him to have the best interest at the heart of all around him.
Here’s my emotional one. I’m going to try to keep my act together. To say that 2022 was a challenging year for me would be a wild understatement. Somehow through all of the personal things that I had going on, I still hit my goals and meaningfully contributed to the growth of Elite. I can confidently say that I would not have been able to handle all of the things in 2022 the way that I did if I had been part of another team. Brett taught me through his example, how beautiful it can be when you honor what he calls the sacred obligation of leadership.
We’ve spent a few one-on-ones with me in tears. Truthfully, not that long ago, I texted him right before our one-on-one saying that I was having a tough day and asked if we could skip the personal check-in because I didn’t want to be a mess for the call that I had to do following. He jumped on Zoom and started telling me a hilarious story about him and his dad doing some work at his house. It seems like such an insignificant little detail but it’s the exact opposite. He knew that caring for me at that moment needed to be a lighthearted distraction and he made it happen. I went on to help lead training that went seamlessly and what Brett did that he was such a beautiful example of is he cared for the person and therefore the cause was taken care of in return.
Brett has shown me the power of living our core values in every aspect of our lives. Through his stories and examples, I found myself more connected to our values and find myself making more of an intentional effort to live them in all aspects of my life.
Miranda, you made me cry a little bit. I’m going into my more personal one. I’m starting with tears. Brett taught me that it’s not only okay to ask questions and be curious but it’s welcomed. I am naturally curious and ask a lot of questions. He’s never once made me feel bad about asking questions. In fact, he encourages me to ask lots of questions. He has told me that’s being authentic to myself. Excuse me if I ask lots of questions when I’m with you. Brett has encouraged me to do so because I like clarity and understanding. Thank you, Brett, for allowing me to be me.
Brett was the original dream manager. Not only was he the original dream manager but he is also the best model for helping others to identify, articulate and accomplish their personal dreams. I was the recipient of Brett’s dream management. When I was the Dream Manager at Keap, I called Brett the Dream Manager Manager. He was the one that helped me to pursue my dreams. I remember the day when I told him that I was going to pursue my dream and was going to leave Keap. He said and I quote, “It’s about time.” His willingness to sacrifice on behalf of others’ dreams is what makes him to me the ultimate dream manager.
My personal one for Brett. I’ve been with Brett for about several months so a short amount of time but in that time, the biggest lesson for me that I’ve learned from him is that we are all here to serve one another. Showing up and supporting each other is such a fundamental aspect of human relationships. It helps foster a sense of community and belonging. Brett has taught me that people remember how they feel when they’re around you.
I watch Brett interact with members of the Elite community and just anybody. The way people light up when they’re around him and talking to him, people feel good when they’re interacting with him. He shows a level of care that goes beyond what most people can even imagine. With this lesson from Brett, I continue to strive to show up and serve those around me.
Aaron Matheny of CSG Planners said, “I first met Brett when he and his family became our next-door neighbors years ago. I have learned much from Brett way before Infusionsoft and Elite Entrepreneurs and even more since my involvement with Elite. His patience and kindness have always been virtues I have respected. One characteristic that stands out to me about Brett is his ability to focus on a task, challenge or misunderstanding and not only tackle it but genuinely seek clarity of understanding. I have seen him exemplify this virtue when it is a task that needs to be completed but more impressively when it is a human relationship and understanding one another is the goal. Thanks for being born, Brett.”
Lori Sitko of Budget Blinds said, “Brett has helped me understand that the clearer we can be, the easier the world becomes. Clear equals kind. Brett also is truly present and his presence is a present. It’s a real present to have connected with such an incredible human. Happy birthday to you, Brett.”The clearer we can be, the easier the world becomes. Click To Tweet
Abigail and Edward Olaya said, “Brett knows what he’s talking about. He knows people and organizational behavior. Brett is filled with wisdom and expertise. Regardless of what the issue is presented by any entrepreneur, he always has a brilliant angle for addressing it. I remember one example where as an early seven-figure business, we had sales and events combined in one job. As we were growing, we were experiencing performance and turnover issues. He pointed out the two were different job types that required different skills and strengths and suggested separating them into two different areas.”
“At first, we resisted thinking it was an industry-specific challenge. Long story short, Brett was right. We finally separated the two and the issues were resolved. In fact, we gained an increase in the effectiveness of both activities. This is one of the many impactful things he’s had a positive impact on their business and how he’s contributed to their growth.”
Johnny Luo from Doctor’s Choice said, “Aside from being good-looking, Brett has taught me that it is possible to have a big family and run a successful business. More importantly, Brett has shown me the framework to integrate life and business through a clear set of values and to know what’s truly important. Here’s to the next 50 years of success.”
Sam Bradford at Dutch Bros says, “I don’t know if one thing that Brett has said that has made the biggest impact on me, rather than a life well lived. Watching Brett run an incredible business, lead people well and be a great dad and husband have inspired me to keep fighting for my dreams and not give in to the temptation to sacrifice my family life for success or settle for something less than incredible. Happy birthday, Brett. Keep up the good work. You are making a massive difference in people’s lives.”
Bruce Boeko from Nashville Craft Distillery said, “One thing I learned from Brett is the importance of company culture. I grew my first big business to eight figures by brute force. It was grueling, long hours, firefighting, personal issues, family sacrifices and more. I heard about the importance of culture but thought it was keeping employees happy with perks.”
“I was taking the same path with my new company but then came the teachings of Brett. Brett made a nebulous concept concrete for me. It meant getting rid of half of my employees and rehiring our PMV. That was tough but I can now say that I have an amazing team. We are all on the same page in alignment with our PMV. Working with the team is a joy. It makes me want to be a better leader for the team. This has changed my life. Thank you, Brett, AKA Yoda.”
I have one from Tera Garcia with Keap, “One thing I’ve learned from Brett is to believe in myself, have confidence, and stay the course. That’s three things, sorry. Brett leads by example. I have always admired that about him. I often think when faced with a challenge, what would Brett do in this situation? When tapped on the shoulder by Brett to present, speak on a topic or ask your opinion, it instantly boosts your confidence level since I view him as the master and SME of all things. He is the true definition of a multiplier and knowing he believes in me makes me want to better myself and perfect my craft to make him proud. Thank you for being a great teacher and mentor, Brett Cheeto, Happy 50th.”
Before I share my final one, I want to say that I know all of these people personally sharing their thoughts about Brett. For those that are reading that don’t know him, none of this is made up, which is the coolest part. It’s so cool to know Brett. Happy birthday to this man that has changed our lives. A few of us have been sitting here trying not to cry through some of these. Not because they’re so beautifully written or well-said but because we were there in some of their hardest hours with them and watched Brett help them through it.
Speaking of my hardest hour, you saw me through some of my darkest hours as I navigated through years of infertility. I have been affected by your commitment to lifting those around you and leaving them far better than you found them. I’m going to share a story where there was a moment when I was having a rough day with infertility and navigating my life. I didn’t tell Brett. I continued working throughout my day. Brett left and had planned to call me in 30 minutes for our marketing meeting. I was in a big office at the time and there were a few empty desks. I needed a space to be alone. There wasn’t a lone space in the building. I found an empty desk and crawled underneath to shed a few tears and get my emotions out.
I had lost track of time and I saw him calling on my phone. I pulled myself together and I was like, “How is it going?” as though I had not been in one of the darkest hours of my life. He said, “I’m good. How are you?” I said, “I’m great. Let’s do our meeting.” I don’t know how he knew. This is the Yoda that Bruce Boeko is talking about but he said, “No, Stephanie. How are you?” I hesitantly unfolded some things to him. He used the entire hour to talk me through and see me for who I am and what I’m capable of.
I’ve shared that story many times but I know everybody in this room has had a moment like that with him, including all those that potentially have shared that aren’t here that we’re speaking on their behalf. Brett, you have changed my life. I am grateful to you for so many reasons. I am humbled to know you personally and most importantly, I am proud to call you my friend. Thank you. Happy birthday.
Happy birthday, Brett.
Stephanie, thank you for sharing that and being vulnerable enough to let people know about that detail. I want to close out this episode by thanking first off everybody that wrote in responses. That’s going to mean so much to Brett. He’s going to feel very uncomfortable which I love, honestly. I hope that this episode, Brett, shows you how much we love you and care about you. The people that you’ve impacted have truly been changed by you. 50 is an awesome year and you’re going to have another 50 after that. Thank you to our Elite team for joining this episode. One last time, happy 50th birthday, Brett.
- Kallie Simons
- Miranda Daigneault
- Cassie Eagar
- David Gilliland
- Jon Talbot
- Dan Ralphs
- Stephanie Hitchins
- Schuster Physical Therapy
- Michael Kunzler
- TotalRewards Software
- Preston Stapley
- Tia Geurts
- Measured Results
- Royal Engineering
- Niche Academy
- Hands for Living
- Smart Real Estate Coach
- Sterling Lighting
- Eric Sparrow
- Elite Business Growth Method
- MASK Principles
- CreativePro Network
- Practice Promotions
- CSG Planners
- Budget Blinds
- Abigail and Edward Olaya
- Doctor’s Choice
- Dutch Bros
- Nashville Craft Distillery
- Tera Garcia
About Kallie Simons
Kallie recently joined Elite back in May of 2022 and is Brett Gilliland’s new assistant. She has a strong desire to help handle the smaller details of the day-to-day business operations. She has assisted other business owners and collegiate Head Coaches and has grown an interest in helping to accomplish what it takes for those individuals to run a successful company/program. Being behind the scenes is her jam and helping take tasks off of those who feel buried underneath them is something she thoroughly enjoys.
About Cassie Eager
Cassie is a master at intentionally planning events that wow her customers. She joined Elite Entrepreneurs in 2019 and is passionate about small business success. She enjoys creating experiences that design an inviting learning environment that help make each attendee feel special.
About Miranda Daigneault
Miranda loves challenging entrepreneurs to raise their sights and dream bigger. She leverages her passion for coaching and leadership to help our customers grow their businesses. For much of her career she was the ‘right hand’ to business owners just like our Elite Entrepreneur customers. She knows all too well what things hold them back and how amazing it can be when they step into being the leaders their businesses need.
About David Gilliland
David Gilliland is a business leader who understands the power of people and teams to deliver exceptional business results in both small and large organizations. He helps executive teams align their efforts to deliver exceptional results through leadership, vision, strategy, clear metrics, and effective meetings. He has the ability to address the elephant in the room and get it out of the way of the team’s success and applies his trade in individual companies consulting with the executive team and coaching the CEO. He also trains through large group executive training and key note addresses. In 2020, he joined forces with Elite Entrepreneurs to build a solution specifically focused on helping businesses and practices to grow to well over $10 million in revenue with the teams necessary to sustain the growth.
About Jon Talbot
People and Operations Enthusiast – Devoted Husband and Father
About Stephanie Hitchins
She has a gift for connecting with customers and helping them take needed steps to improve themselves and their business. Stephanie has coached 100s of small business owners on growing their business. She has a passion for helping small businesses succeed. Her passion stems from her large family upbringing with a lineage of entrepreneurs that own and operate multiple, diverse, successful small businesses. She grew up experiencing first hand the grit, courage and tenacity it takes to grow a small business.
About Dan Ralphs
Dan is one of our favorite Elite Forum Instructors! He has a gift for teaching and knows our Elite Forum material really, really well, having spent 6 years at Infusionsoft living what we teach. Dan also played a key role in developing leaders at Infusionsoft.
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