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Going From High School DROPOUT to MILLIONAIRE | Stephen Scoggins | The 2%

Eric Partaker

How can one man go from homeless to owning 6 businesses, generating well over 9 figures? Join Stephen Scoggins (Best-selling author, award winning entrepreneur and motivational speaker) and Eric Partaker as they share tips on how to reach your full potential!


Run Towards the Bull! – If people are looking to sell during a down market and it is a bit of a frenzy then maybe you should be looking to buy. Find the right opportunities to go against the grain and invest when it really matters.

Save Money, Secure Your Future – Put money away, save It! Make sure you have always got 20/30% of your money being put away for a tough time.

Everything is a Return in Investment! – Don’t waste time and energy in areas of your life that won’t give return on investment. This can be true in all areas of life, from financial, personal, and romantic.

What’s Holding You Back? – Limiting beliefs will hold you back. Take time to work out what limiting beliefs you possess, uncover the root of where it comes from and work to find a solution.

Climb Out the Safety Net! – Limiting beliefs that are taught to you generally come from a place of love. The person projecting them upon you does not want you to get hurt or experience some level of pain that they themselves have experienced. It’s your job to figure out when these beliefs are holding you back and break free!

Work On It! – Identify the areas of your life that you need to work on, so that you can grow and become something more.

If Money Was No Object… – What would you do? If you could do anything in the world, what would be your purpose? If you desire a life of fulfillment, you must first discover what is going to make you happy.

Listen to the Signals! – Often, we get off track when working towards our goals. Most likely because we have got distracted and not listened to the signals along the way. Remove distractions until you reach your ultimate outcome.

Stop Hesitating! – Just take a giant step, and then learn from your experience and adjust. There is no such thing as failure as long as you’re learning.


Stephen Scoggins: Most people don’t actually do the work to uncover the root of where the limiting belief comes from. I knew my leadership wasn’t great. No one trained me how to use finances. No one trained me how to lead people. No one trained me how to scale anything and I was terrified my people were going to find out. By that time, we were a top-line $15 million company, which is a big deal for a homeless kid. All of that stuff came from the limiting belief of, “I don’t want you to find out how scared to death I am that I’m not enough.”

Eric Partaker: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of ‘The 2%’ where we have amazing conversations with peak performers from all walks of life to help decode excellence so that you can hopefully pick up some strategies, tools, tips and techniques that you can use to close that gap between your current and best life. I’m super thrilled to have as a guest on the show today, Stephen Scoggins. Welcome, Stephen.

Stephen Scoggins: What is up my brother, man? Dude, it’s so good to see you again. I loved our show that we did and I’ve been itching to get back on camera with you, man, for sure.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, likewise. Yeah, we had a great conversation two months ago or something.

Stephen Scoggins: Absolutely. I’ve got your book here. It’s become an actual reading for my team.

Eric Partaker: Oh, nice. All right.

Stephen Scoggins: Yes, sir.

Eric Partaker: That’s certainly a recommendation and you’ve done quite a lot right as well. So you’re the founder and CEO of over six companies. Tell us a bit about those companies.

Stephen Scoggins: Yeah. So all the companies that I have range from existing flagship businesses that have been in business for over 20 plus years to early startups. I’m a serial entrepreneur, so I can’t help myself. When I get bored, I just create a new business. Well, not really, but it kind of feels that way some days. It’s been an interesting journey. I obviously started with very humble beginnings.

My earliest onset was actually being homeless and have managed to kind of go from that to owning six businesses, generating not well over nine figures in revenue top line. I’m a person of faith, so let’s just say God’s been good to me. And as I’ve been trying to figure my own life out and stuff like that. So hopefully I can add some value today.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. So I actually wasn’t aware of the homeless piece. I mean, that’s interesting. That’s not something you hear every day. You’re typically homeless and nearly nine figures in revenue. Help us connect the dots there. What happened there?

Stephen Scoggins: It’s funny. Growing up, my parents were two broken people who decided to try to create a whole relationship. And as you and I both know, that just doesn’t work, right? They both leaned into their limiting beliefs and limiting factors and they stayed there far too long. As a result, as I was growing up, I went to go live with my grandmother while they were chasing their own struggle places, if you will. At nine years old, I had a GI Joe on one hand and Transformer on the other. My grandmother sat me down and told me she had cancer, and she needed me to help her around the house.

As a result, I began learning how to basically cook food. Anything that you could boil water. So macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, ramen, noodles, oatmeal. Pretty much anything that milk and water could do, she taught me how to do. So I’d pull a little chair up to the stove and I’d make essentially a meal for myself and my grandmother at the time. My little brother who was three years younger than me. So I was nine, he was six and that was my first taste of, “You got to grow up fast, you got to grow up fast, you got to grow up fast kind of thing.”

Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away around 11 years old. My father came back into my life. I immediately went into the construction industry where I met my first amazing mentor guy by the name of Steve Mark. One of the first things he ever asked me after he watched me kind of work on my dad’s job sites and stuff like that. I guess he saw something in me that I didn’t really see in myself, which I think is important.

He asked me so what’s the difference in a rich man and a poor man? I was probably a teenager by that time. I was like, “Well, duh, money, man. What are you talking about?” He’s like, “Absolutely not.” Almost like offended. Almost like he could slap me in the back of the head or he wanted to thump me or something. He said, “No, it’s the way they think.” Then he said, “Do you want to think like me or do you want to think like your father.”

Now, my dad’s a good guy. Even now, he’s a great guy, but when it came to business savvy economics financial matters, he just wasn’t gifted. He had never been properly trained and as a result, my family upbringing was always spend more than you have, borrow more than you ever attend to repay and kind of live life on the edges, which I think a lot of folks do because unfortunately they don’t know any better because they don’t really teach life skills in school.

I kind of learn along the way. Steve put me in business for myself and I went from not making any money as a teenager to by the time I was 19 years old, I was making well into the six figures. But I had never been taught how to train or use money. So I bought all the stupid crap to show off to people that probably didn’t really care I existed to begin with, and I went through that whole thing. Within about a year’s time, I was introduced to someone who I referred to as the great humbling, which was a girl and she proceeded to basically take everything that I owned. And through depression and anxiety and some other stuff, I unfortunately lost everything that I had owned, everything I worked so hard for, and became homeless.

I was probably in that predicament for probably 60 to 90 days. It’s all like a blur. It’s almost like a bad dream kind of thing in my life. I slept and borrowed a friend’s car. I would crash on couches where I could. I would crash outside if I had to. Some days were difficult to find food. Unfortunately, I never got to… I was never in that season long enough where it became my reality permanently. Instead what it did was challenge me to think differently. And a lot of the things that Steve taught me along the way when I was a teenager that he would pour in flipping real estate, business evaluates, like stuff you wouldn’t normally teach a teenager, right?

Eric Partaker: Right.

Stephen Scoggins: That stuff started to kind of click and started to come back almost like little bits and pieces. Then that one comment about thinking differently popped back up in my head. Between that and the suffering that was already in place. I said, “I had enough is enough.” And my father got me back on the framing crew doing a general day labor essentially. I had an ultimate moment where I got to see Steve after you know kind of hiding from him as he would drive around the community.

I would kind of go hide behind the house until I overheard people who took over for me complaining about how Steve was mistreating them and not paying them on time and all this kind of garbage which was totally fabricated. In the construction industry, I’m not sure, you may be familiar with this, because I know you have a lot of business ventures that you’ve had. In the construction industry, you have this draw scenario. So let’s say there’s $10,000 is the top line that you can actually draw against. If you were 50% done, you could draw out $5,000. So that’s kind of a draw schedule. These guys were 70% drawn on a 30% complete project.

Eric Partaker: Wow, okay.

Stephen Scoggins: So Steve already given them a lot of grace, right? So as he’s going through that, I see all this. It’s very clear to see how far behind they are. They’re ultimately talking about how much money they’ve already drawn out and I began getting incredibly angry on the inside like really fired up. How dare they treat him like that? And then something in my spirit as I’m walking back across the yard to the other house that we were working on said, “Well, didn’t you do the same thing?”

It caused me to stumble and be like holy cow, like man. But that gave me the fire that I needed. So when Steve came back around the street, these guys had already taken off for the day because this is Friday at 2:00. I’m not sure about the UK but over here in America, it used to be that at 2:00 people would knock off early to have an early weekend, right?

Eric Partaker: Yeah, yeah.

Stephen Scoggins: Most of those people would be broke by Monday, but that was my life. I grew up in that environment. I went to Steve for the first time and he rolled his window down and I said, “Hello.” He said, “Well, how’s your head now,” because he knew I’d suffer from depression and some other… I had just avoided suicide maybe three weeks earlier and just kind of get my life together. I said, “Well, it’s getting better.” He said, “Well, what can I do you for?” which is country boy talk for tell me, what’s on your mind, right? So what can I do you for kind of thing, right?

I began to kind of say, “Well, I overheard this, and this, and that.” I said, “Can I take back over for him?” He goes, “Well, what? You don’t have tools. You don’t have people. You don’t have enough cash for payroll. You don’t have insurance. Boy, you ain’t even got a tool belt on.” And at the time, I was wearing this nail apron thing, which is two pouches with the word load written across the front, right?

Eric Partaker: Right.

Stephen Scoggins: So my little pouch is here and I said, “You know what, just give me a chance. I’ll figure it out. First time, I’d ever taken a deep leap off a ledge not having any kind of safety net, not having any kind of answers, not having anything to fall back on,” I was just like, “If you just give me a chance.” It’s kind of funny because now I can look back and see that it wasn’t just that I needed to earn a higher level of income and put myself back in stability and stuff like that. That was definitely present. But more importantly I wanted to prove to him that he hadn’t wasted his investment in me.

Eric Partaker: Right.

Stephen Scoggins: And that didn’t dawn on me until like five or 10 years later. But he said, Well, I’ll tell you what. I won’t promise you I’ll put you back in business or whatever, but if they don’t come back, Monday, you can finish the house they’re working on right here. Just finish the house, and then we’ll go from there.” I said, “Done.” He drives off, my dad’s walking this way. I’m walking that way. My dad’s like, “What have you done?” He just got me back on the crew, right? It’s first time that I actually stood up for myself in my own life was in this moment where I said, “You don’t understand. This is something I have to do.” I was on fire from my gut to my head. I was mad on fire.

As I’m going through that, my dad sees that I’m serious and for the first time in my life my dad showed up. He walks over to a beat up work van that Steve owned, pulled out some equipment and some tools like a nail gun and some saws. And I was like, “What are you doing?” He’s like, “Well, do you remember when you were growing up as a kid working with me and your grandfather, working for Steve, what did we make the scaffolding out of?” “Wood.” “What do we make the ladders out of?” “Wood.” “How about the walk boards? “Wood.” “How about the braces?” “Wood.” “Start pulling stuff by the trash pile, we have stuff to build.”

And we did. We pulled out all the lumber we needed over the course of the week and it took me all weekend to build it. I took the only paycheck that I had had in months and spent it on renting a machine called a brake machine which is a tool used to bend metal, which is we use it here in the states to do trim details. I think it’s very similar in UK. And as we’re trying to go through this, Steve comes back Monday. I’m sitting on the curve waiting to get started. He comes around. I’m like, “Can I go yet?” He’s like, it’s not 9:00 yet. I’m like, “Okay, so it’s like 8:50, whatever.” 8:56 he rolls up, “Hey, what can you do? Can you can I go yet?” “No, it’s not 9:00 yet.”

He comes back around at 9:05, 9:06, rolls down the window, looks out the window and said, “Boy, what you waiting on?” Sure enough, I went back and I got started and that was the first day of a company called Custom Home Exteriors that now employs 400 plus people across three states and does almost 60 million top line revenue just in that one business.

Eric Partaker: Wow, amazing. And you talk-

Stephen Scoggins: That’s my story.

Eric Partaker: That’s awesome. You said something interesting about what’s the difference between how those who essentially create wealth think versus those who don’t create the wealth that they’re after think. If you were to newspaper headline that today through all the experiences that you’ve had, for those that create wealth, how would you say… What are the headlines? How do they think differently from those who don’t?

Stephen Scoggins: I would say when everybody else is running with the bulls, know there’s a bear coming. Obviously, in the stock market, in the investment world there’s this terminology of the bull market. And when the bull market is present, everybody is super excited. Everybody’s making money, and theoretically hand over fists like. They just don’t think anything bad can happen, right?

Well, one of the things that I learned through not only from Steve, but even prepared me to go through COVID, because all my businesses are debt-free. We don’t owe anybody anything, which took some time to do, but because I was forced to start off in humble beginnings, I was forced to do it off of cash and as I did it off of cash, it taught me that I really didn’t need a lot of leverage or if I did need leverage it was for a minute. It wasn’t something to do.

Steve taught me to always know that business is a life of seasons, right? There’s a winter. And in winter, you can’t grow much, you can’t plant much. You’re just trying to hunker down and kind of hold on, right? You’ve got the spring, which is like, “Okay, things are starting to bud. Things are starting to open up. You’re starting to get some momentum and some traction.

Well, then you got summer and things are like going like gangbusters and that’s your bull market. Everything is rocking and rolling. But a lot of people forget about fall, when things do take a dip, when things do take a slow down. In the states, the political environment can change the economic environment. The emotional fortitude of the people can change the economic environment, the marketplace. And Steve taught me a long time ago to always be living in a perception of ratios, right?

Call it 70 to 60% and operate. Put money away. Put your cash away. Make sure you’ve got 20 or 30% always being put away because one of the biggest things that I see the wealthy do really well versus people who struggle with money and finance, and it’s only mentality. The only thing that separates them two is mentality, is someone with wealth, buy stuff during a down market. Someone who’s more of a lack of wealth mentality, always sells stuff in a down environment.

Eric Partaker: So they’re doing the opposite.

Stephen Scoggins: They can lose their home. Exactly. And people with wealth understand that business life, your personal finances, all of that stuff is a resemblance of a season. So when everybody else is, “I’m on the boat. I’m buying the house. I’m buying that other business. I’m doing all this.” If they haven’t taken the time to do their due diligence, then that purchase over here, that purchase over there, that “small” investment over there for personal enjoyment or whatever can literally take the legs out from under them and the next thing you know the other businesses that they have, or potentially they could have, can fall apart.

Steve taught me that so much so that when COVID happened, I was able to have enough capital to operate all of my businesses for six plus months while we figured stuff out, while I waited for my customer base, my client base, some of the other things that we were looking at to make their decisions, right? To understand do we need this? How are we going to survive this environment? No one really knew how long it would last, what the impact would be.

In the building world, fortunately in our area, the building for the most part kept going. Call it essential business, call it whatever, but it really kept the economy going, but no one really knew that at the time. I was able to go to my team in the moment and say, “Team, I know you guys heard on the news that our local governor shut down the state effective 5:00 pm today. I want everyone to know, no one’s losing their job. We have X number of dollars a month to operate. We have these trip wires and these trip wires are blank, blank, and blank.”

The first one was like, “Okay, we’re going to pull back unneeded expenditures. The next trip wire was going to be, “Okay, we’re going to pause our profit sharing plan as not to shell out cash not knowing what we need.” Right? All the way down at level six or seven was, “Okay, now we have to consider tightening up our team and possibly layoffs and stuff like that.”

But I was able to go to the team in the moment and say, “Team, there’s no reason to be scared. We’re not there yet. I will let you know. You’ve got my word. I’ll let you know if there’s a change and a challenge and something we’ve got to be aware of. And as a result, because I expected a bear to one day come or for winter to follow summer, which happens, right?

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Stephen Scoggins: We were in a position to take advantage of a down market. I was able to buy new equipment and buy vehicles and trucks and things that we needed to better run our business and I was able to buy a lot of that including real estate on sale. That to me, that’s how the thinking kind of happens.

Eric Partaker: I’m hearing a couple of things there. So one is just having that counter-intuitive approach like when people are all going in one direction, that’s your opportunity to start looking in the other. If people are looking to sell and it’s a bit of a frenzy, “Well, then maybe you should be looking to buy.”

Stephen Scoggins: Yeah.

Eric Partaker: Then there’s this point you’re making around cash and it sounds like you’re saying, it’s a combination of having that buffer to protect against the downside, but also that reserve, it’s a buffer and it’s a reserve so that you can capitalize on these counterintuitive upside moments where you can go in and okay, I’m going to buy when others are selling or vice versa. Who do you think does this really well in the world?

Stephen Scoggins: I think there’s a lot of folks. I mean, Warren Buffett comes to top of mind. If I’m not mistaken, he’s actually had quite a bit of capital that’s been undeployed now for a while. And I think he’s just now recently started to deploy more capital because he sees a correction coming just like I do. I mean, in our economy there’s a forbearance thing that’s going to happen, that’s actually going to hit us probably the last quarter of this year.

Again, we’re technically still in spring, but I know that if those forbearance hit the housing inventory in our local market, there’s going to be a surplus of housing and not like a lack of it, which means everything changes, the pricing environment changes, right? Prices go down. I learned those those bits and pieces from people like Warren Buffett, from people like Tony Robbins, from people like Dave Ramsey, who I consider a friend. These folks just handle money differently.

It’s funny how their handling of money also parallels their handling of life. Well, they never get really weighted one way or the other. So on the financial side, they always have this little bit of reserve or this cash stockpile. Yeah, they can have some other investments that they deployed to make some interest and get a gain on here or there, but for the most part it’s almost like set it and forget it, for the most part, once they do their due diligence to get the deal they’re looking for.

Well, on the life side of things, you don’t see Dave Ramsey being overly flamboyant and buying this and buying that. He invests in his business constantly. He has a nice home. He’s got nice vehicles and stuff like that. He does have some toys. But they weren’t the first purchase. They represent a very small percentage of his income. You know what I’m saying?

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Stephen Scoggins: Instead what he did was he focused on how many lives can I transform? Right? What is my new campus? He’s got a massive amazing campus he’s building that’s about a third of the way finished, which is really a reinvestment because he gets the equity pick up in his property that he’s building. Warren Buffett doesn’t shop at Gucci and all these different places. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, if you have the income to do it. But if buying a Gucci belt takes up 90% of your income, you’re doing it backwards.

If it’s a 2% of your income, then okay, you can afford a Gucci belt. Basically, you see the people that have the most steward it the best. They’re not wasting time and energy in areas that aren’t going to give them another return on investment. So in the financial world, everything they invest in gives them return. In their personal lives or romantic lives, everything they invest in gives them a return on investment. I think it’s how the successful entrepreneurs are wired is everything’s a return.

Eric Partaker: As you’re talking too, it reminds me… Do you remember the book, The Millionaire Next Door?

Stephen Scoggins: Yeah.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. Basically, for someone watching/listening, they basically talk about how the vast majority of the millionaires in the US wouldn’t even know it. They’re living right next to you and they’ve lived rather frugally and they’ve minded their pennies and made wise decisions and they got that compound effect over time, which created the wealth. Rather than flashing the pan like, “Oh, I made it overnight.” That doesn’t really happen. And it takes discipline consistent effort as you’ve done across not just one, but six businesses.

Another interesting thing that you said… Well, I mean, there’s a couple of threads that I want to pull on, but one is you talked about limiting beliefs, which is a big thing for me. I mean, it held me back for the whole first half of my career and I think it holds so many people back. What are the most common ways that you see that people cage themselves and how would you recommend for one or two of those ways that they best set themselves free?

Stephen Scoggins: So there’s a concept that I teach during live events called the Seven Levels of Life Mastery. And the first step, if you will, the first stage is awareness. Here’s the best example I can give. This one recently started coming up all the time when I was doing some other interviews. When I was growing up around the age of 11 when my dad first came into my life like on a full-time basis that I can actually remember. Because he was in my life early when I was a toddler and I just didn’t remember a lot of it.

We were on a job site and I was making a comment about how Steve seemed amazing, because I’d watched Steve slide $1,000 bill under a napkin, or not $1,000 bill, but $1,000 under a napkin for a single waitress that he didn’t know and walk out the door and not say anything to her. Then I’d watch her melt. I got to see that stuff physically with my own two eyes which was a gift.

I remember asking my dad, I said, “I want to understand how come the Myric’s get to travel and do all this stuff and we’re always here working.” They took the holidays off. They went to the beach. They’d go to Hawaii and stuff like that. For us to go to the lake was a big deal. Right?

Eric Partaker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Stephen Scoggins: The local lake, maybe 40 minutes away would be a big deal. My dad said this. He says, “Because Scoggins don’t get ahead, they get by.” And the reason that sticks in my mind is because that is the definition of a limiting belief. What I didn’t know at the time was when my family came from Wales, all the way over to United States in roughly in the 16 to 1700s, they did so as part of a penal colony.

So my family came here because they shot a deer on a Lord’s land, got arrested, got into trouble and they were sent to United States to basically become an indentured servant to work off their time at one of the farm and they became sharecroppers essentially. Okay? That mentality all the way from Wales, all the way to United States over seven generations all the way to me was, “Scoggins don’t get ahead, they get by. Scoggins are destined to be poor. Why try? Scoggins are destined not to accomplish much, so why try?”

That comment when he said it, I know he meant it out of love and I think a lot of times the limiting beliefs that are put our direction are said theoretically from a place of love. That person doesn’t want us to get hurt or experience some level of pain that they themselves have experienced, my father included, okay? The problem was is that comment didn’t sit right with me. It didn’t feel right and maybe that’s because I had Steve Myrick pouring into me, and pouring into me, and pouring into me. The reason I bring that story up is because most people don’t actually do the work to uncover the root of where the limiting belief comes from.

Eric Partaker: [inaudible]

Stephen Scoggins: Yeah. And I’m a big believer that if you’re going to change the fruit of your life, right? So the stuff that you can tangibly see your relationships, your finance, your lifestyle, stuff you can tangibly see, you have to change the root. You can’t get an apple from an orange tree and you can’t get an orange from an apple tree, right? So if you’re tired of living a life of oranges and you want to live a life of apples, then you need to plant apple seeds, which means you have to go rip up the root of the orange tree so you can plant an apple tree.

I think far too many people aren’t taking the time to uncover why do I think this way? Why do I feel this way? My biggest tool was a pad and a pen. The biggest question I ever asked myself in my life was, “What does it take to change the essence of Stephen?” Now, what I actually wrote on my iPhone, it was change the essence of a man. I knew my leadership wasn’t great. I was scared to death that my team was going to find out that I didn’t have any freaking clue what I was doing and I was winging it the entire time. By that time, we were a top line $15 million company which is a big deal for a homeless kid, right?

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Stephen Scoggins: No one trained me how to use finances. No one trained me how to lead people. No one trained me how to scale anything. No one trained me about systems and processes, and balance sheets, and P&L’s, and I was terrified my people were going to find out that I didn’t know what I was doing. So I would overcompensate with, “What are you talking about? Of course, I’m right,” kind of stuff. All of that stuff came from the limiting belief of, “I don’t want you to find out how scared to death I am that I’m not enough.”

Eric Partaker: Love it, love it.

Stephen Scoggins: Where does it come from? It comes from understanding where people get it from.

Eric Partaker: I haven’t thought about it in that way before. I’ve just thought of limiting beliefs as they’re originated within you and something has happened to you and you’ve had that belief. But it’s really, really cool what you’re saying because you’re basically saying, “Well, you need to do almost a sense check,” and say, “Hang on. Have I inherited this? Is this even me? Or how might this be the past reality of someone around me, that it was their life.”

Now, it’s kind of been infused in me, but it’s not my life, right? So many people may be going through their lives and their businesses not realizing that they’re making decisions or not taking action because of something that their parents or a colleague or something experienced that has nothing to do with them, right? That’s quite liberating to realize that that’s happening. Another word that you said earlier was transform. I know you’ve created this transform you, this university, I guess, right? It’s like your life mastery program.

Stephen Scoggins: Yeah.

Eric Partaker: That’s exciting. That’s very different from a construction business, right?

Stephen Scoggins: Yeah, I get that all the time. It’s funny. One of the biggest lessons… All right. I’ll just show you the biggest business mistake I ever made, okay? It cost me millions of dollars and I did it repeatedly for a number of years. The biggest mistake I ever made in business was building a business without building myself. I didn’t see it as important. I thought customer acquisition was important. I thought retaining team members was important. I thought watching my cash flow was important. I thought having processes and systems were crazy important.

Then when I had all those things kind of bumping and doing their part, I uncovered in a very big way that the greatest deficiency that I had within my business was actually myself. And once I owned that, now I set up myself to change that. So here’s why I mention that. I’m a firm believer that when it comes to business specifically, entrepreneurship, doesn’t matter if you own six companies, one company or anything in between. I’m a big believer that every single business initiative if it’s done properly, if you were the owner or the C-suite executive or whatever is taking the time to build yourself.

Then what you’ll quickly discover is that your business will mimic my business, and that’s this. I discovered a long time ago that my construction business was actually a personal development company masquerading as a construction company.

Eric Partaker: Nice.

Stephen Scoggins: Because the very same things that I’ve been teaching myself, and teaching myself, and teaching myself, lo and behold, I discovered that my team members struggled with. Self-worth issues, honesty issues, leadership issues, fear of failure, fear of success. Limiting belief, self-sabotage. All of these are different twigs on the same tree. And when you begin to understand that, then it’s actually not that hard to begin to basically take your ultimate outcome of where you’re at now and work backwards.

I mean, I’ll show this on the screen. If you have a key moment in life or business and that represents a dot, most of us think we’re living in like a linear life, straight ahead. So I’m just drawing a straight line and then we have this moment, business failure, business success or whatever. And what we choose to do with that knowledge determines do we get to continue the growth curve or do we get to fall behind and start to dip down?

When you start looking in all those things, parts and pieces, you understand that the moments in which you got to level up, there’s something powerful. Some kind of principle. Some kind of promise that you find in that moment. Then you identify what that is. You’re like, “You know what, I’m living by honesty from now on. I’m living on I’m going to spend less than I make. I’m going to be on a principle of I’m going to save a little, I’m going to invest a little, I’m going to spend a little, and I’m going to give a lot. You see what I’m saying?

Eric Partaker: I do.

Stephen Scoggins: You start identifying principles.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. So what was the toughest lesson you learned and the principle that that created for you?

Stephen Scoggins: I think the toughest lesson I learned was no amount of things was going to bring you happiness and the principle that I used was, “I’m going to live a life of service no matter what comes.” My experience has been while getting started in that modality is difficult sometimes to get going especially if you come from a place like I did where I felt like I was nothing unless I had something. So that’s a self-worth issue. Right? Sometimes that comes because mom and dad, parental figures, sometimes you’re bullied in school and the jocks have all the stuff and the cars and all this kind of stuff, and you’re walking to school.

There’s all kinds of ways that that can be shaped, but when you learn that your life is more about service and the greatest purpose in life you’ll ever have is actually serving the person that you used to be, then you understand where meaning and purpose is actually found, which means you stop searching for stuff that distract you from actually living your best life or building your best business.

When I take the best of me and I apply it to grow my team or any of the businesses on a consistent basis, and I leverage their strengths and gifts and backfill my weaknesses, I’m creating an environment where personal growth is automatic. When you do that, by service and learning to serve other people, I know this is something you and I both agree on hardcore, but when you go to the service side, it’s like everything else is like a magnet. It comes to you. You know what I’m saying?

I don’t have to think about is my light bill going to get paid anymore? I mean, I’m in a fortunate situation like yourself where I can choose to invest. In some cases considerable sums of income, in different places to watch it grow and to watch it bless. But it’s not just that I’m trying to scale a business, I’m trying to create opportunities for people who are in those businesses.

I want to see them reach their fullest potential. I want to see them by buy the house they never thought they could buy or send their child to school with cash because they actually had it because they did the right things at the right time. I mean, my daughter is a perfect example. My daughter is not biologically mine. I met her when she was 19-years-old and she was pregnant. She was my waitress at a restaurant. My wife and I met her and she shared her life story.

It so resonated with ours, my wife and I’s that within about six months we started spending so much time together that we finally started calling her daughter and she started calling us mom and dad. I’ve worked with her. She actually works in the county department with one of my businesses right now. I’m so incredibly proud of her because she just bought her first house, not even a year ago. Her first property, had money to put down, did all the right things, did all the hard stuff.

And there was a lot of limiting beliefs. There was a lot of things that she had to overcome to get there and I would say, “Just keep going. It’s worth it I’m telling you, just keep going.” You can only say those types of things where they’re believable by somebody else if you’ve experienced those types of things. And as she bought her first house, I’ll never forget this, she signed all the dotted line, she closed on her house, she got her key. She came back to the office and sat in my office and cried.

Eric Partaker: Wow.

Stephen Scoggins: Because she never thought it would ever be possible. She was in her 20s.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, that’s amazing. Absolutely, spectacular. So going back to transform, transform you, I’m curious, can you share one of the biggest transformations that you’ve seen within the program?

Stephen Scoggins: The biggest ones I’ve seen… So we teach a… I teach a piece… [inaudible] talk. I teach a piece of signature content called the quadrants of conflict. It never dawned on me that my little simple piece of… It’s literally drawing four squares on a box and then ranking of your emotional life, your financial life, your spiritual life and your physical life. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a key indicator that would be about where your mental health is and your emotional health is.

I had a US marine that was sitting in the audience along with hundreds of other people. We were having an amazing event. I wasn’t even thinking about this, but I began to teach that content and something occurred to me while I was teaching it, and that is you can take that same ranking. And let’s assume that person A has an eight in all areas. Okay? Well, they’re doing good. Maybe they got a weak spot. Maybe they got some growth that’s fantastic.

The vast majority of people that I’ve seen and work with it and doesn’t matter if… And I kid you not, if they’re billionaires or if they’re barely getting by paycheck to paycheck, it doesn’t matter, right? Life skills aren’t necessarily relative to your financial wherewithal. And in this particular moment, I had this epiphany. I was like, “Okay, well if you have a seven here, and a six here, and a four here, and a nine here, you probably feel anxious.”

I said, “By show of hands, everybody raise your hand.” Yeah. I was like, “Okay, cool. All right. Now, if you have a three here, a three here, a two here, and a one here, there’s a chance that you’re probably where I was several years ago and you’re probably contemplating suicide.” A guy stood up and started weeping because what we didn’t know was in that moment, he had actually contemplating taking his life the night before and decided to hang on for the event just to see if there would be any hope.

Eric Partaker: Wow, amazing.

Stephen Scoggins: That’s one of many. But it’s one of those situations when awareness meets a renewed hope and expectations. Literally any miracle is possible.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, beautiful, beautiful. Let’s talk about service for a second because one of the common ways to find your calling, to find your purpose, to find that deepest sense of fulfillment is to connect what you’re doing, how you can serve others with your… Well, that becomes like your primary wealth creator and life just becomes a lot easier as a result when you can fuse those two things together, your wealth creation with your service to the world.

But for someone who’s listening and they’re thinking, but how do I find what my unique thing is. How do I find what I’m meant to do that others can’t. What advice would you give them?

Stephen Scoggins: One of the best questions I’ve ever heard asked is what have I earned the right to teach or where have I earned the right to serve? Which is directly tied to a level of adversity or suffering that you overcame. I’m a firm believer that that can happen in a courtroom. It can happen in an art studio. It can happen right now on a podcast where you and I are hanging out, having a great conversation. It can happen at a live event. It can happen while writing a book.

I mean, one of the parts of your story that’s so beautiful is this three alarms concept that’s been amazing for my team and myself is you had learned the hard way that you weren’t prioritizing correctly, right?

Eric Partaker: That’s right.

Stephen Scoggins: Now, you’ve created a piece of service, a piece of service that can help people not have to go through the same level of struggle. I’m a firm believer that if we took the time to identify the areas that we need to work on, so we can become something more, that will eventually lead us to the person we are going to serve, whether that’s at scale, whether it’s one or two, or whatever that capacity is. And again, it could be a math teacher. It could be a business owner. It could be an entertainer. It can be a sports person. It doesn’t matter.

I’m a big believer that your purpose and calling is directly connected to the person you’re uniquely best suited to serve, whether it’s in word, or deed, or action, or whatever and the five or six things that you’re most passionate about. The things that you would do for free any day of the week and not… If money was no object, what would you do kind of scenario.

You ask those questions and you literally just start looking for intersecting pieces. I had a young man that I was working with not long ago that’s doing very well now. He was actually managing a gym for a large gym chain. He says, “Man, I just don’t know what my purpose is. I don’t know where I’m going to go. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I mean this is okay. I mean, I’m making 18 bucks an hour. It’s decent money. It’s not bad.

I’m like, “Well, okay. What do you love about it? Why are you still here? Well, I love people.” “Okay, awesome.” I said, “What else?” “Well, I love the fact that I get to sell stuff. I get to sell drinks. I get a little commission if I sell a drink or if I sell a smoothie or whatever.” I’m like, .”Okay, cool. What else?” “Well, as you can see, I’m not super healthy in fitness myself, so the fitness side is not really for me.”

I’m saying, “Well, okay. If you could choose something different to sell, what it would be?” “I think I’d like to sell houses.” “Well, why?” “Well, there’s something special about making sure that somebody’s getting a shelter and roof over their head.” “Well, why is that?” “Well, because when I was growing up, my mom and my dad really struggled to get their first house and I was so proud after 25 years they were able to finally buy their first house. I want to give that hope and opportunity to someone else.” I said, “Really? So tell me what?” Fast forward five years, top rated agent in this area for selling residential homes and has a checklist or a 98% customer satisfaction list.

Eric Partaker: That’s awesome.

Stephen Scoggins: He’s living now a lifestyle that he can now have fulfillment and he can do vacations. He’s creating opportunity. It all starts with some simple questions and just being open-minded to the answers.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, and that’s very cool too, because he’s doing something which can seem quite ordinary, but because he tapped into a deeper why behind it, it makes it a lot more fulfilling.

Stephen Scoggins: Exactly.

Eric Partaker: It reminds me when we were building up Skype in the early days and our tagline was the whole world can talk for free.

Stephen Scoggins: I love it.

Eric Partaker: We weren’t paddling voice over IP software. It was like, “No, we’re democratizing communication so the whole world could talk for free.” Right? Totally different thing.

Stephen Scoggins: That’s right.

Eric Partaker: Very, very cool. I mean, there’s so many facets to you, Stephen. You’re also an author. You’ve written the book, Journey Principles. You have a business around live events as well, right?

Stephen Scoggins: Absolutely.

Eric Partaker: What’s that all about and what’s saved that business?

Stephen Scoggins: I mean, I’ve got the Journey Principles Institute, which is the business organization, but everything’s connected to Stephen Scoggins. We have a suite of tools and strategies and things that we use that we effectively call Transform U. I got it trademarked. I made it proprietary a few years ago. But one of my favorite events is actually Transform U Live. And of course COVID reared up and bit us in the butt last year. Luckily, I was in a good position so everything was fine. But I’m excited because we’re bringing back Transform U Live, aka virtual plus this year.

I have this affinity where I like to bring national thought leaders from around the world and I like to pick their brain. I like them to share their experience with other people. Then what I do is I’ll partner that with some of our curriculum so they can have a transformational experience. So you mentioned with Skype connect the world free, right? For us, it’s increase hope and decrease pain.

I want to help people increase hope, decrease pain and level up their life. So what we do is we have a three and a half day live event. This year, I’ve got Tom Bilyeu, Evan Carmichael, Anthony Trucks, Mel Abraham, [Adrian Lago]. I mean, I got a whole host of amazing people that are going to join me here live in our live event center to transform some lives. It’s a secret so far.

We haven’t actually opened it up to the public. It’ll be like June before we open it up to the public, but I’d love to have anybody that’s looking to level up and looking to increase hope and decrease some pain. Come on out and check it out.

Eric Partaker: If somebody’s interested in that, where do they find out more about that?

Stephen Scoggins: It’ll be With a U. Not Y-O-U but the letter U.

Eric Partaker: U like the one right behind your head.

Stephen Scoggins: That’s right. That’s our emblem. That’s our shield battle cry.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. Very cool. On this show, it’s called ‘The 2%’ because we’re interviewing peak performers and people have reached the top of their game. But I also like to make sure that people listening watching can see that the people that we’re talking to on the show that they also have to think about failure, anticipate it, be ready for it. So on that note, I want you to do some live imagination with me right now.

Stephen Scoggins: Okay. Let’s do it.

Eric Partaker: I want you to picture, it’s 12 or 18 months from today. Suspend your disbelief. Everything you’re doing or whatever is most important to you has failed. It has failed. So there’s no, “Oh, no. That’s not possible” answer. It has failed. Now, if that were the case, what would have most likely happened in the context of you in your reality to lead to that failure?

Stephen Scoggins: To lead to that failure. I probably wouldn’t have listened enough.

Eric Partaker: So is that something-

Stephen Scoggins: My experience…

Eric Partaker: … really switching to-

Stephen Scoggins: Yeah, I think my experience has been that the directional keys like a navigational system with a GPA, you get sometimes the right and the left and the wrong. The right turn, the left turn, make a U-turn kind of scenario. And oftentimes, think about it like this way. You’re going as fast as you can, doing as much as you can, but maybe you got some in the car seat beside. Your GPS is over here and they’re talking in between the GPS talking and they’re talking and then you somehow missed the turn, and you end up way over here somewhere.

I’m a big believer that a lot of times if we get off the markets because we haven’t been listening to the signals. So I’m a big fan of removing distractions as much as possible until you reach the ultimate outcome that you’ve been striving for. I think that if I get to the end of this journey, in the next 18 months and some of these amazing things that we’ve got coming down the pipeline are not reality, I will have to assess how well I listened, what can I learn and then get my butt in gear to try again.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. Fall down seven times, stand up eight. Right back at it, right?

Stephen Scoggins: That’s right. That’s right, that’s right. I know it worked for both of us.

Eric Partaker: Totally.  I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been knocked out. Cool. So I’d love to wrap this up with… Again, for someone listening who wants to break free from that 98% join the estimated two percent of people in the world who are operating at their full potential. What’s the number one piece of advice that you can give them, something practical that they can implement for immediate benefit?

Stephen Scoggins: Stop hesitating.

Eric Partaker: Explain.

Stephen Scoggins: I think intuitively we have an internal barometer if you will that says, “Do this,” and you’re like, “Well, I don’t really want to.” Case in point, my people have been after me to do Facebook lives and Instagram lives. They’re like, “Your videos are great. Your social posts are great. Your weak spot is you don’t like to do lives.” It’s because I’m running businesses. A lot of times I’ve got a live scheduled and then I have to run and go do… I would get a run up. I have to go to a meeting or whatever, right? So it’s real world. And then I finally discovered that I was hesitating because I like to have a controlled environment before I present.

As a rule of thumb, I feel more comfortable there. And again, I think so much of becoming the two percent is being comfortable with being uncomfortable and not hesitating. One of the young men that works with me, Connor, one of the things he always says is, “I don’t understand. I was thinking I had all this different stuff planned and strategies for over nine years. I didn’t get where I wanted to go. And here you go. I accidentally created a new revenue line last week. Here you go, you put something together in three weeks. I never would have done that because I didn’t have this answer. I didn’t have this answer. I didn’t have this answered.”

I’m a big believer and just take a giant step, and then learn from your experience and just adjust. There’s no such thing as failure as long as you’re learning, so why not keep learning?

Eric Partaker: Love it. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, John Burroughs, “Leap, and the net will appear.”

Stephen Scoggins: That’s right.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. Stephen, pleasure speaking with you again. Really, really enjoyed it. For those listening, you want to learn more about Stephen, definitely head out to And keep an eye out on the Transform U coming up. He’s also got a great book called the Journey Principles, and I’m sure he’d be happy to chat if you reach out to him by his website. So thank you so much, Stephen. I really appreciate you being on the show.

Stephen Scoggins: Dude, it was such an honor. I always love hanging out with you, man.

Eric Partaker:  Awesome. All right. See you soon.

Eric has been named "CEO of the Year" at the 2019 Business Excellence Awards, one of the "Top 30 Entrepreneurs in the UK" by Startups Magazine, and among "Britain's 27 Most Disruptive Entrepreneurs" by The Telegraph.

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