[00:00:00] Kevin Stafford: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Conversations with Coaches podcast. I’m your host, Kevin, and today I am in the midst of having the pleasure of meeting Derek Johnson and I get to share him with you a little bit today and I’m really excited about that. Derek is a U. S. Army veteran, life coach, and trainer who has helped over 500 clients and 50 companies go from, and I love this phrasing, just surviving To thriving through his coaching modalities and marketing efforts, Derek, I know we’ve only talked for like a couple of minutes.
I can already tell you the real deal. I know it’s just a zoom window, but the energy is coming through loud and clear. So it’s great to meet you today. And I’m glad you’re here to share some time with me. Thank you.
[00:00:38] Derick Johnson: I appreciate you having me, Kevin. It’s a pleasure being here.
[00:00:41] Kevin Stafford: Let’s, let’s go back to the beginning.
Not the beginning beginning. We don’t have that kind of time. But let’s go back to your sort of superhero origin story as a coach in particular. Um, I’ve often found that a lot of coaches have a, they have a moment. Maybe it’s not a singular moment. Maybe it’s a moment that occurs over the course of months or years or.
A certain person or a mentor had the right words at the right moment that just sparked that realization that coaching is what I want to do or maybe coaching is what I’ve been doing and I just didn’t know what the, what the vocabulary was for it. So how did you, how did you realize and or choose to become a coach?
How’d you get your start? Great
[00:01:18] Derick Johnson: question. So it actually started with the upbringing. So my father’s U. S. Army. My mother is a teacher. So she was a teacher for 40 plus years. They’re both successful in their fields, but they went through their own traumas as Children and their careers and all that. So alcoholism was very prevalent in our home and it would only happen at night.
So like 9 p. m. to 1 a. m. So there’s a lot of screaming, yelling, mental, physical, like yeah. All the things. And it started when I was 11. So I was the skinny kid and a mixed, my father’s African American mother’s German, so I was getting bullied at school because people didn’t know what I was getting bullied at home.
And I said, enough is enough. So I chose fitness as the outlet. Because extremism runs in my family. So fitness and faith were my outlets. So at first it was about building the body to build the confidence. And then within about two years, I transformed, I went from the skinny kid to the built teenager, but then I was just much calmer and my teachers would say, wow, you’re, you’re just something shifted, you’re so calm lately.
And from that moment. I was excited to help others feel that power. And I feel like what we lacked as kids or as teens, we like to give. So I lacked, quote unquote, the I love you and the affection and all that. So I gave that to people in a supportive way. So I was always that friend that would literally ask the question, What wins have you had this week?
And they’re like, huh, you’re not asking me how’s the weather and these basic fluff questions. And I would always ask direct questions and make people think. And then also on a fitness standpoint, I was the one that would like pass the finish line. If we ran for basketball or ROTC, I would run back. And I love pushing the person that was struggling.
I’d come back and I’d run with them. They’re excited. We’re like throwing up on ourselves and just like pushing past all limits. But I always noticed. I was like, okay, in the classroom, I can help him in fitness. I can help them in sports. I’m helping the guy that came last. I just love seeing people push past that threshold where they have that aha moment.
They’re like, wait, I did finish that mile in less than 10 minutes. Wait, I was able to finish the speech without stuttering, like whatever the thing is. So I just knew deep down. I didn’t know it was gonna be life coaching, but it started as fitness. And then what got me into life coaching was Years or months after working with someone, I saw that some of them would start to go backwards slowly and I felt like I let them down and I took it personal.
So I said, I didn’t give them the mental tools to shift their mentality and get rid of traumas, limiting beliefs, etc. So that’s. What got me into alignment. So I went from the fitness guy to them, the life coach. And then now people are like, dude, you could work with anybody and like, get them off anything, like whatever their advice is.
So it all started at home, building myself, healing my inner child, helping build up other people. And then from there, I realized that I could do it on a higher level. And that’s what always inspired me to create a positive ripple effect.
[00:04:08] Kevin Stafford: I, I really love that. And also the way that you tell that story, the way you frame it, because it really, it’s, it’s so, it’s so brightly exemplifies the real core values of coaching.
I love that first, it came from you. You found it in yourself. You were essentially like evolving as a coach, like long before you even understand that modality, that approach. Exactly. And I just love that, that, that persistence towards. Sticky change towards consistent, persistent, like change that lasts, change that actually takes effect and doesn’t just recede like a tide.
And I love that your, your realization of that is like, I want to be of the greatest service I possibly can, and I want that service to last. And so you’re just, you’re looking, you’re not just going out and like, just helping as, as best you can. Because that, that in and of itself is fantastic, but you also, you have your eyes open.
And you’re like, I’m seeing some of this change not sticking in the way that I, I wanted to and that, and that this person that I have a relationship with wanted it to stick as well. How can I change my approach to better help them? How can I evolve my approach to help them arrive at and stay at and continue on the journey of becoming the person they want to be?
I just, I… And you said it quite frankly, best yourself. I just wanted to basically reiterate that. I just, I really like in my chest respond to the way that you present that story and how I appreciate it. I got to say, it’s like, it’s all the, all of all the best coaches I’ve ever talked to. It comes, it comes to that.
It comes to that, like steel, that bright steel core of, I want to be of service and I want that service to stick. And I just like, exactly. It’s so beautiful. It’s a powerful too. And it really does like, I love the way it just kind of radiates out from your life story too, because that gives people something to lock into to respond with.
It’s like, they understand your journey and you can share that with them in a way that’s going to connect with them. Not just you telling your story, but you offering your story to them as a way to help Tell their own. It’s just beautiful. Yes,
[00:06:00] Derick Johnson: exactly. And I feel like we’re all connected. We’re once we learn somebody’s story, we don’t see them as the superhero that they might be perceived as we’re like, Oh, he’s blessed.
His father was military and his mother’s this and this and that. And then they’re like, wait, you guys had a beautiful house in Florida and all that madness happened there. Okay. Nobody even knew. So whatever the backstory is to someone, it’s always interesting. Cause then you’re like, yeah. Oh, they’re not just blessed.
They were not just this or Kevin’s not always been this way. Like I didn’t realize he went through this and ebbs and flows of life. So just being raw and authentic, I feel is the best thing because too many people play a character online or in person or corporate and like whatever past jobs or career somebody had, where they’re always like, I hate the fluff where people are just putting on these masks, but then you meet individuals that are just raw and authentic unapologetically themselves.
And I feel like they’re the best at what they do. Cause people are like, wow. It’s a real person. I don’t feel like a number around Kevin or around her or him. It’s
[00:06:56] Kevin Stafford: a skill too. A lot of times people will understand that they want to show up authentically, but they show up authentically like a dump truck where they just kind of like, and here I am.
It’s like, okay, thank you. Let’s let’s talk about what we can do with this. Let’s maybe like take these building materials and see what we can put together. Let’s maybe find some architectural blueprints and see how you can show up authentically in a way that doesn’t just, you know, dump your mess out on somebody else’s lawn or something like that.
And I feel like One thing that coaches really excel at both in themselves and in helping other people to understand is not just the value of showing up authentically and making yourself vulnerable, making your story vulnerable to other people’s perceptions and also helping them to open up and discover their stories and share their own stories, but also how to do that.
Like there’s real skill. In showing up in that way in people’s lives without making any of the mistakes that I’m sure we’ve all made plenty of times when we were young and still sometimes make as we attempt to be the best people that we can be and be a part of our community that’s actually helpful because you never know some sometimes you get into that overshare undershare or centering your own story to the exclusion of others or having your voice in the exactly heard.
Your voice to get too loud and the quieter voices just as valuable, just as important sometimes get drowned out. And there’s so much I feel like I learned. I don’t feel like it. I know I learned more every day about how to do that. And it’s just it’s such a such a great journey to be engaged in. And I just love that there’s there are people like you, you specifically who are Engaged in that kind of guidance.
They’re just like, you know, this needs, this can get so much better. I want to help as many people as possible get here and beyond. It’s just, it, it, I get the warm fuzzies and I start to like, my hands creep up into the zoom window. I don’t know if you could see where I just get really upset about it. It really is.
It’s, it’s contagious in all the right ways. I feel like.
[00:08:44] Derick Johnson: Oh, yeah. And I feel like people that have been through trauma, whatever level of extent that was, we’re all given a gift. And I feel like most people that went through trauma, they’re given a gift of discernment or reading a room or some people would call it consciousness.
There’s five other variations on how you want to name that, but they can read an individual and they can meet them where they’re at. Because they can see the pain, the darkness, whatever it is in their eyes and their body language, because they relate because they’ve been there before and they can see it.
And then that person feels comfortable and they’re like, wait, this is a complete stranger. And then they’re not judging. It’s just a neutral conversation where they’re not pushing anything, anything like that. But it’s usually because they can identify what the person is going through, even if it’s something totally different, but they can read their energy and they just meet them at a normal level and then slowly build them up.
And I feel like that’s a gift that many people that have trauma have is discernment. They can just meet them at their level and then go from there where it’s not. It’s not like some people that just have the IQ, but they’re missing the EQ. And they’re just like pushing, pushing salesy. Hey, click my funnel.
Click that. And you’re just like, all right, are you going to be a human? Like, let’s tap out of your scripted thing.
[00:09:51] Kevin Stafford: No, don’t reach out and grab somebody by the lapels and shake them and pull them in. There’s, there’s a, there’s a bridge building there. And I just, I love your identification of the fact that there is a, there is strong foundation to build bridges between traumas without those traumas being identical or even related at all.
There’s a recognition. Of, hey, there’s a bridge to be built here. I don’t have to understand your trauma. I don’t have, like, I, and in fact, I very likely never will fully understand it. But that’s not, that’s not the calling. The calling is the connection between your traumas. The connection in those wants and, you know, possibly kind of scarred, overbroken places in us that allow us to grow.
I know it’s kind of corny, but I so frequently find myself drifting towards the analogy of building muscle. And how what you’re doing when you’re building muscle is you’re tearing it and it’s growing back stronger. And I know that’s a, that’s a very over, overly simplistic way to talk about the physiology of muscle growth.
But it’s, it’s true. And I find it to be such a powerful analogy for how we grow both individually and together. And how we connect and bond in those broken places, those torn places. And become, to find ways to become more and find ways to connect even more strongly.
[00:11:02] Derick Johnson: Oh, yeah, 100%. And just being able to connect with others is what it’s all about.
Because at the end of the day, every human just wants to be heard and understood. If you can make a stranger, your customers, your client, whoever, whoever your friends or family are, make them feel heard and understood, even if we don’t necessarily like them. And then we can miss any of the uncomfortable negativity, where that person just feels heard and understood, you feel good.
And you’re like, All you had to do was ask good questions. Cause sometimes we might have a day where we don’t feel like talking. And I challenge people in those moments just to ask better questions and let the other person just talk. And they’re like, and then they walk away. They’re like, I don’t even know that guy’s name or what he does, but I like that guy and they just ask good questions and that’s a little trick they can do.
[00:11:45] Kevin Stafford: Nice. That really is the soul of it, isn’t it? Better questions. Like that phrase comes up so often on this podcast, better questions. That seems like one of the great, one of the great, uh, Pursuits of a coach. It’s just the constant, constant pursuit of a better question. What’s the next best question to ask?
And what’s the next one? And what’s the next one? And answers are great. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good answer, but I really, I get up in the morning for the good questions. Awesome. Good, good. Let’s, let’s talk a little bit about how your business looks today. Like, let’s get, let’s get into the specifics a little bit.
And you can approach it however you like, but I like to kind of ask this as a two part question. Um, who do you coach and how do you coach them? The who being, if you have any particular focus, whether it’s a demographic or profession or, or whatever it happens to be, who do you coach primarily? And how you coach them being more, more or less your approach or your framework, whether you do a lot of one to one coaching, if you have group coachings or masterminds like that, if you do any like keynote speeches, um, run seminars, offer courses, write books, plural, singular, however it goes, all of the above.
So how do you coach them today?
[00:12:50] Derick Johnson: Great question. So I help professionals that feel stuck and they can’t get to the next level. So they’re doing well in business. They’re doing well in sports, but they just feel stuck. Whether that’s stuck physically can’t hit that new PR in the gym, whether that’s stuck mentally.
And they’re like, Hey, financially, I’m doing well. Relationship is good, but I’m just not fulfilled. And I’ll just feel blah, like family’s happy from the outside. People like you made it. And internally, they’re just like, I lost the fire. I don’t know if I went the wrong path or the individual who just dominates it in sales.
But he or she has had three or four divorces and binge drink, drug, et cetera. So if that individual allows their vices to control them, so anybody that just feels stuck and can’t get to the next level, not just total beginner, but somebody that’s been doing well, but they just feel stuck. They don’t know how to.
Get to that next level and penetrate that. So that’s number one. And how I do that is two ways. One is one on one coaching, and then two would be group coaching. And what both consists of is one day they have access to my training app, which is all fitness and nutrition. They have their calendar. They have the tutorial videos of me in the video, not just some generic dude online, everything is two, we do strategy sessions, which is via zoom.
And that’s where we dive deep into why. Did this happen? What is the experience of that? And we have those powerful conversations to pinpoint exactly what it is. And then through our conversation, do we work on that? So like step one with anybody is to create an eliminate. Page. So a one pager of just things that they need to eliminate.
So for one, it might be late night snacking for somebody else. It may be intrusive thoughts, limiting beliefs, the way that they see money, the way that they see success, whatever it is, or placing happiness on an end goal, a dollar amount, or what’s on the scale, or if this finger has a ring on it yet or not, like whatever it is, people put the happiness and emotion on that thing.
So we first Try to list out what can they eliminate first, before we change a routine or anything, the intent is not to add to the routine, change your routine is first. Hey, what are some things that you’re doing that aren’t serving you that we could either get rid of or replace with something better, but that’s how I do it two ways.
One in the coaching app, two is all conversation wise. That’s where the quote unquote magic happens. I really,
[00:15:08] Kevin Stafford: in my head as you were talking, I was like, I summoned up a room that was being remodeled, and I was like, what’s the first thing you do? Do you just, do you slap a fresh coat of paint on it? No, that’s, that’s a step that happens later on.
Do you start furnishing the rooms? Like we’re, we’re coming in here to do some deeper work. Let’s, let’s check the foundations. Let’s let’s actually look and see, maybe we have to, maybe there’s some plumbing work that needs to be done. Maybe this, this wall isn’t, you know, it’s kind of rotting from the inside.
Maybe this wall needs to be removed. We can build a new supporting wall. And in my head, as you were talking, I was just like seeing this and getting those, getting those things, those actions in the right order and how so often we’re afraid to do that. Which I think why I think that’s why it makes a great first step.
It’s because we’re kind of afraid to really, really put some meat on those bones and talk and say like, this, this is something I could definitely, and maybe need to eliminate, need to make some room, need to clean up some of the mess, need to identify it. Maybe it’s a small thing that you can get a quick win out of.
Maybe it’s a big thing that’s going to be on that list and it’s going to be, you’re going to keep coming back to it throughout the entire process, because it’s going to be a real big process to eliminate, to digest it and get it out of your system. And I just, we’re often so scared. To take that first step, because once it’s there, once it’s on a list like that…
It’s real, and not just something that exists in our head or exists in this nebulous place where we can kind of pretend it doesn’t exist when we don’t want to, but then use it as an excuse when we do want it. It’s like, you can kind of make it into whatever you want, and like a great coach does, pull it out of that nebulous space.
Get it down. It’s with, by asking a good question, what can you get rid of? What can we eliminate? That’s a good, that’s a good question. And it leads to better questions. I love that you start there because it’s just like, and then it’s to start talking about it. Cause man, a little light, it’s great medicine.
It’s great medicine.
[00:16:57] Derick Johnson: Everything is just designed to give somebody clarity. I come from a simplistic approach in the army. We call it dummy proof, like my intents. I don’t use even about tutorial videos. I’m like, exhale here. Breathe, flex. I could use contraction, eccentric, concentric. It’s, I’m not here to confuse anyone.
If you, as a coach, whoever it is, if they just give people clarity, it’s the best thing that they can do. They can get better results, faster results, more effective. And then once they’ve had results, then you can do the lawyer speak, the science speak, whatever language you want to use. Because at that point, they’re like, Oh, I’m interested.
What did I really do? Well, technically you did this and this. And then you can teach them that once they’ve had some results. But I feel like. Too many people, they overcomplicate things, or the individual that is very intelligent but lacks the human portion, they try to make it seem like they have the secret sauce, the golden nugget, and they’re like, I have this secret and nobody’s gonna understand it but me, and I’ll just make it so straightforward, and they’re like, that’s it, I’m like, yes, we’re gonna stack these wins.
We’re going to be consistent and we’re going to go from there and they’re like, Oh, I didn’t miss this. I grabbed the water instead of the sweet tea. I did that. I did that. I spoke up in my Monday meeting with the group. I all these little wins when they’re like, wait, this is what it’s all about. And like, yes, creating the who we’re creating the who it’s not about the how and the what it’s who do I need to become along the process because we could have the perfect formula.
And then they could follow it, lose the 20 pounds, get X amount, a dollar amount. But if they didn’t improve the who, then they’re still not going to be fulfilled. So that’s what I focus on is the who, who they are. And would they even listen to themselves? I really, I really,
[00:18:31] Kevin Stafford: really, really love that and I really respond to that too because it’s just, it is, it is so tempting and I’ll, I’ll speak personally because I know this is tempting for a lot of people but I know it’s a tempting thing for me is to get hung up on the vocabulary, to get really excited about the book.
And buy the book and maybe even read a little bit of the book. But then it gets on the shelf and it starts collecting dust because I bought the book, or I learned the words, or I, I like, I really like, I’ve adopted the vocabulary and I can, I can quote unquote, speak intelligently about it, which I’m putting that in big scare quotes because are you really saying anything at all,
Because if have you built the foundation And I just, I really, I, I find myself saying this a lot to you. I really, really, really love your approach in this, in this way. ’cause you’re just really like, look. We’re going to keep it super simple. It’s just, it’s because it’s not just because you need it to be simple.
You’re smart enough to understand any and all of these words, all this vocabulary, I can teach it all to you. But that is not why we are here. That is not why you are here. We are here to do this work. And then once you identify that, again, simple clarity, then you can really truly begin. And I just, yeah, I love the power in that.
I appreciate it.
[00:19:43] Derick Johnson: Yeah. So just going back to it is simplicity wins long term complexity makes things harder, but simplicity is just stacking those wins, starting with what we can eliminate, slowly building that morning routine and then going from there. But going back to your original question is those professionals that feel stuck.
So it’s a one on one group is they still get access to the training app, but the zoom calls, it’s a group Q and a. They can ask anything that is related to the topic. So everybody is getting value from it, because some people, they may, they may be introverts and they don’t want to ask the question and they’re like, Oh, he asked the question.
Okay. It helped them as well. They’re taking the notes. So, and that approach, everybody’s winning. So yeah, so that’s essentially what I do is group or one on one and just helping people break those old patterns. So they feel like they can breathe and they’re not just crushing it in this area and kind of neglect this, slide it under the rug, push that in the closet until next Monday, until next year, January 1st.
And they repeat the process. So we nip it in the bud quick. We face it. We push pride and ego out of the way, and then we could take action.
[00:20:43] Kevin Stafford: I love it. Stronger together. I, I did the thing that I told, I warned you I might do before I hit record. I looked up at the zoom clock and realized we’re getting, we’re getting close, we’re getting close to that 30 minute limit, um, before I let you go.
Um, first of all, I’m going to say it one more time. Thank you for sharing some time with me today. I really, really do love your approach. Your, your enthusiasm is, I mean, to call it authentic is almost, it is capital a authentic, and I love where it comes from and how, how readily you share it. Um, and how clearly you share it.
Before I let you go, where, I know, I know people are going to want to know more about you. They’re going to want to find out like, you know, more about your story, more about your approach. They’re probably going to want to talk to you. If, if they were like me, they’re, they’re going to, they’re going to click over to your LinkedIn immediately.
Um, where can people find out more about you, you personally, your coaching, your story, just anything about you, if you had any questions they want to get. And then where can people best connect with you? If that’s different, like you have a, a, like a zoom link there, you just like have a little chemistry call.
Do you like to do direct messaging on LinkedIn? Um, and you’re all of the above. So yeah. How can people find out more and find you?
[00:21:47] Derick Johnson: Great question. So they could find me on any app. It is fit with Derek too, or just my name, Derek Johnson. It’s the same picture. It’s the head shops. Me and Sue, it’s the same thing on everything.
They can message me on any of the apps and with the coaching. My website is fitwithderrick, D E R I C K, fitwithderrick. com. And on there, I like to show real people, real results. So pictures and videos, they look the same. In the fitness space, there’s a lot of, uh, Photoshop face tune, et cetera. So I like to have videos and pictures so they can speak about it.
And it’s always better when somebody else speaks about their own journey rather than me just selling it. And especially in the deeper portions where yes, they might look fit, but this individual was not on a first date in years or was very depressed. And they’re talking about it and you can see them radiate that positive energy and that confidence.
That’s what I love the most where they’re like, you can’t fake that. She’s not reading a script or he’s not reading a framework or whatever. So if somebody resonates with that and the last but not least, I’m not for everyone. You’re not for everyone, but if people resonate with it, it is what it is. So I’m just like blunt, open and honest.
And that’s what I love about it. And people, they appreciate that when they’re like, dude, you’re the same one online as you are in person on here. And then. I’m just that way. And some of my friends or clients are like, I don’t like that you drop the F bomb sometimes. I’m like, Hey, I’m going to be the one that tells you how it is.
If you’re gaining weight, I’ll be the one to speak up. I’m not a bully, but I’ll be the one to speak up. Cause I want to see you win.
[00:23:13] Kevin Stafford: I like, I like Frank language. And every once in a while that, that particular effort is the best one for the circumstance. So I don’t mind when that gets sprinkled in from time to time.
It reminded me too, as you were speaking, I was just thinking about another F word. That’s obviously core to everything you do fit. And how fit has two different definitions. It’s a fitness, it’s short for fitness. And it’s also about how you connect together, how you fit together. And I may have just stumbled on, on that particular like turn of phrase, but that feels like that exemplifies everything about your business and your coaching approach fit.
So thank you for fitting today to extend beyond it being actually funny.
[00:23:53] Derick Johnson: I appreciate
[00:23:54] Kevin Stafford: you having me, Kevin. And to the audience, you know exactly what to do next. I’ll make sure that links to his LinkedIn profile, his socials, the website spelled correctly with one R, not two. Um, that’ll all be in the show notes.
Do yourself the favor of connecting with Derek, learning more. And if you’re, if you’re down, if you find the fit to be delightful, get started. And here on the podcast, thank you for listening. We will talk to you again very, very soon.