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“Whatever you resist, will persist.” – Jeff Cohen



This week we talk about a man who began his journey of entrepreneurship at eight years old. Over the years he had highs and lows. Some of them in business, and some of them in his personal life. Throughout it all this, this week’s guest is going to talk about learning from failure, the importance of good communication in our home lives and in the workplace, and being real, kind, and not being a “Richard”. (You’ll understand that comment once you watch the episode.😉)  So get out your pen and paper and be ready to absorb great quality content that’s going to help you flourish in life. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Jeff Cohen story!



Developing leaders and teams with an ownership mindset is the key to market leadership. Jeff Cohen, founder of six businesses, now presents Count-On-Able as the new and rapid success framework that guides CEOs and their teams to make this happen.  Jeff is a seasoned Executive with over 20 years as CEO and has worked with over 300 CEO’s, Business Owners and Executives. He is a sought-after Coach, Speaker and Mentor. He embraces failure as the key to agility, growth and accelerated success.





Guest Contact Info:

  • www.countonable.com
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffcohen/
  • https://www.instagram.com/jeffgcohen/

Remarkable People Podcast Listener Special Offer(s):

  •  Go to Jeff’s website at www.countonable.com to download the first chapter of the book “Grand Theft Auto” and all of the tools available that will have you and your team be Count-On-Able.

Resources Mentioned: 

  • Team management leadership program link IBM that changed his life
  • “The measure of a man is not how many times he falls, but how many times he gets back up.” – Robert Herjavec



  • Don’t be a Dick, entrepreneurship, entrepreneur, selling, sales, independence, unexpected events in life, losing a parent, losing your dad, live life to its fullest, failing, learning to fail, failing up, failing forward, iterations, baby steps, ADP, IBM, triggers, depression, pushing people away, Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary, radioactive, effective communication, clarity of purpose, mission, leadership, leaders, CEO’s, vulnerability, honesty, restoring relationships, empowering others, being empowered, people resist accountability, growth



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While we are very thankful for all of our guests, please understand that we do not necessarily hold or endorse the same beliefs, views, and positions that they may have. We respectfully agree to disagree in some areas, and thank God for the blessing and privilege of free will.

Full Episode Transcript

Learning from Failure, the Importance of Good Communication, & Not Being a “Richard” | Jeff Cohen

Hello friends. Welcome to this week’s episode of The Remarkable People Podcast. This week we’re gonna talk about a man who had entrepreneurship at eight years old, and he had highs and lows and highs and lows, and some of them were in business and some of them were his personal life. But throughout it all this week’s guess is gonna talk about.

Learning from failure. He’s gonna talk to us about the importance of good communication in our home lives and in the workplace. And then he’s gonna talk about being real, being kind, and not being a Richard. You’ll get that once you watch the episode. So at this time, get out your pen and paper, be ready to absorb good quality content that’s gonna help you in your life flourish.

And if you have any questions, stick around to the ends. You can contact the guest or myself, and we want to help you in any way that we can. So ladies and gentlemen, this time, welcome to the Jeff Cohen.

Copy of EPISODE Jeff Cohen Learning from Failure the Importance of Good Communication and Not Being a Richard: Hey Jeff, how are you today brother? I am great, David. Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate your time and that of all of your listeners. Oh, we appreciate you.

I just took a couple minutes and told the listeners and our audience what to expect, just a piece of it. So at this time, let’s unpack the episode forum so they can hear what they’ve been waiting for. And before we start, I wanna ask you one question to help [00:02:00] our listeners really tune in. If you had one message.

To deliver something that you wished people told you or yourself as an older gentleman told yourself as a younger teen, What is it that we’re gonna get in this episode? Now, I know we’re gonna get a bunch of things, but if there was one main message you want the listeners to walk away with, what would that be?

Don’t be a dick . That is a great message. Unless your name’s Richard, then it’s okay. . All right, so let’s do this. We are all who we are because of how we were raised, the decisions we make, the people we hang out with, the content we consume, and God’s grace. So where did Jeff begin life? What were the circumstances?

Life in childhood, good, bad, ugly. And then let’s just progress chronologically through your journey. So where did Jeff start off? So first off, I just wanna [00:03:00] say thank you for that first question because it really reminds me about how easy it is to fall backward, and I say fall backward because like success often causes people to do that in, in my life, you know, and in writing my book Countable, what I, what I noticed along the path was there were experiences that I had very, very early in my life that shaped me from that moment forward.

And when you really, really do the digging, I can remember experiences back to when I was five years old like they were yesterday now because I’ve done all of that work. But what really started shaping me was I looked up to my dad so much. My dad is he passed about 40 years ago. I was 15 at the time, and I, I just, [00:04:00] when I was eight years old, I wrote all of the professional sports teams and I asked them to send me stickers.

I just figured I’ll get a sticker or two from each one. That would be amazing. Instead, I got a stack of stickers. It was ginormous, like a, a stack that would choke a horse. And you know, when you get a windfall like that, you wanna do something fun with it. So for me, what that was is I said to my mom, I said, Mom, that’s the wall.

I’m gonna put all those stickers on that wall right there. And she immediately turned at me and she said, No you’re not. And having been shut down like that, I didn’t ask her if I could put them on the car. Instead, I decided to put them on my notebook. And, you know, when I brought it to school, my friends started asking, Do I have anymore, Can they buy them from me?

You know, questions like that showed up. And the answer to that was, Sure. And I made 50 bucks. My dad said, Wow, [00:05:00] Jeff, you’re an entrepreneur. And I said, That’s amazing. What is that? And he started sharing with me how, like an entrepreneur, cuz my uncles were entrepreneurs, my dad had that mindset, but worked for play techs.

He was one of their senior executives in the sea level at the time. And He said, as an entrepreneur you’ll have your total freedom. Like you’ll be able to call the shots, you can do what you want, when you wanna do it. And I heard that like it was the next coming. And I said, Oh, that’s what I want. I am totally an entrepreneur.

I’m gonna go from making 50 bucks selling stickers to millions. And that’s how my life started at the age of age. That’s a good lesson to learn too. And I remember when you got baseball cards and the gum and stickers, that was like serious currency back then. It was. So these stickers from the [00:06:00] teams were like, The Saints had this amazing sticker.

I remember at the time it was black and gold and silver and everybody wanted that one. And you know, just all the teams had whatever. Special secret sauce was, it was it was really fun to be wanted by people for something like that. Nice. Now let’s go back a little bit too. Were you an only child? Did you have brothers and sisters?

Did your parents have a pretty stable relationship? What, Cuz again, like you and I said, everything that happens to us doesn’t chain us to a destiny, but it does form us and gives us highs and lows to overcome or enjoy. So what was your home life like? Yeah, so my parents had a really a, very stable relationship.

I have two sisters. One of them is a year and a half older and the other is four years younger. And we all have great relationships today. Our families get along with each other. It’s, [00:07:00] it’s really great. And I love my sisters. And my mom is still around. She’s 90. You look at her and you’d say, Oh my god, is, she’s more like 75 right?

Like she is in great shape and you know, like I said, my dad passed when I was 15. And for 18 years my parents were married. It was a it was a big, you know, impact in our life and you know, when things like that hit, it can cause you to go one way or another. My mom had the foresight to identify ways we could support each other.

And so when my sister went off to college, when I went off to college and we were out of the house, she was masterful at keeping our family unit alive and well. And I just am so grateful for having that my whole life. Yeah. And that is huge. [00:08:00] Now, between eight years old where you discovered entrepreneurship and 15 when your father passed away, is there anything in that time period that was significant and forming in your life?

Or do we wanna start talking about from 15 forward? You know, I did some fun things when I was a kid, you know it’s funny, you know, a lot of kids, they have newspaper routes, right? I had one of those and then a friend of mine says to me, I lived in Los Angeles at the time, says, Hey Jeff, I’m doing this thing.

It’s really fun. You wanna come join me? I’m like, What are you doing? Goes well, I’m selling Maps to Stars homes on Sunset Boulevard, nice. I’m like, You’re selling maps to Stars homes. Really? So I said, Sure, I’ll, I’ll check it out. So, you know, I found the bus that I could take at the age of 13 from our house to where everybody met up at [00:09:00] to meet the guy that had the maps.

And you know, my first day there, he’s like, Hey, it’s great to meet you and everybody’s over in this area here. How would you like to start a whole new section of Sunset Boulevard? I’m like okay, sure, why not? Like, so he threw me in this area where literally there were no other sellers for blocks, like six, six blocks in either direction.

And he drops me off with some maps. He goes, These ought to be more than enough for you for the day. And you know, he always came back every two or three hours to check in. How’s it all going? And I’m sitting there. And he drives up and I’m waving, you know, people in and I’m no longer holding a map. I was holding a bag.

He was like, Where’s your maps? I said, I sold ’em all . [00:10:00] He goes, Wow, that’s amazing. So he gave me another bigger stack maps. So I, I really learned in that instance that I loved selling, I loved sharing things with people. I loved helping people get what they wanted. Cuz what I did was, there were a bunch of tourists that were coming up to me right.

And saying, We wanna see where the stars live. And I had literally the map, Here is the map, here’s how you go find the stars. Yep. And that’s, and it’s a legit map. You had one of the legit maps that helped people and you were, sales wasn’t swindling, sales was serving Correct. Absolutely. I mean, come on. Back then people would spend $3 for a map.

It was a lot of money at the time. Today they’re probably charging 20. Not to date myself for anything, but yeah. Hey, with today’s economy, I mean, that could have been two years ago, so don’t worry about it. [00:11:00] So we’ll move forward from there. We got listeners from all over the world. Some know what I’m talking about.

Some don’t, but we’ll just move forward. So now you’re enjoying sales, you’re learning skills real quick. I learned massive life skills from jobs I had early on as a child, so I don’t want to discredit. What life lessons did you learn from that? Maps job independence. I think, you know, one of the things are, you know, you’ve gotta think about is at 13 years old, I would hop on the bus travel like eight miles by bus to get to where I was going.

Some of the areas that I went through were not so good. Right. And you know, when I had that job I would be on the corner on my own. And there were times that someone came up and they would just steal a map. Like I’d be showing them the map and they’d drive off. [00:12:00] And you just learn how to deal with the unexpected things that life, life shows you, right?

Like life hands you something and you have a choice. You can respond to it or you can re react. And you know, I learned, hey, you know, the, there was a small, small impact to me at the time and it helped me develop the confidence to deal with any situation today. Awesome. So now, serious situation, now you’re 15 and your father passes.

What kind of direct impact did that have on you then? And as your story progresses, what impact did that lead with you throughout life that you had to face? So You know, it’s funny, it’s, it’s over 40 years ago he passed and every time I think about it and I talk to him about him, it, I just feel it in my heart.

Cause he really, really [00:13:00] was such a caring and loving and amazing dad. And I remember when he passed the hundreds of people that came to his funeral because he just had an impact on so many people’s lives. And I remember that one of the things he always shared was live life to its fullest. He had a heart condition and he was always managing to that.

You know, he couldn’t go out and play ball. He couldn’t play catch because he, you know, would have an issue with his, with his. He could take a walk, but he couldn’t go too fast. You know, he could take a walk, but he couldn’t go uphill. But he, he managed with those limitations to be able to make an enormous difference for other people.

[00:14:00] He went from being one of the senior executives at Playtex in New York City to when they said, Hey, would you like to be president of our French division? He said, No, I’m gonna move to California and become a stockbroker. . And he was in New York, which was the primary stock exchange, right? But no, he wanted to live in, in la So we moved to Beverly Hills and he became a stockbroker there, and all of his clients were in New York Nice. But no, we built a great life. He was someone I looked up to tremendously. He was always there for me and was a great role model, a great example, and someone I wish my kids would’ve gotten to be with. And he had three brothers and one of them I became extremely close with my Uncle Herby. [00:15:00] And my kids got to know Herby before he passed a few years ago.

And and like I actually got to have a relationship with my uncle that was more like being business partners cuz we wound up doing some of the same things together and it was really fun. Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah. So now where did your life go from when your father passed? You know, start in the journey to today?

You know, I took the path that we had always been talking about. I went to college. I started working for you know small companies, then large companies, then starting my own company and, and building more than one. He’s always just been there in my heart. And I can say that the thing that I, I noticed had always been missing along the way was having, having him there to [00:16:00] share with, having him there to advise me and give me his counsel would’ve been really enormous.

I don’t know that I always would’ve taken it cuz I mean, let’s face it, I’m a little bit of a rebel and I resist. And whenever you resist something it will persist. So, you know, maybe we’ll just call that a little hardheaded at times. Right. But I think that’s also where I took on being Being someone that is very, very willing to share my failings because I can share a lot of the things I’ve succeeded at with people and I’ve had a lot of success.

But it’s just when I share how I failed and what happened next and where that took me, I think it often gives people something they can grab onto and get, Hey, you know, it’s [00:17:00] okay to fail, In fact, if I’m going to let me do it quickly so I don’t waste time, money, and other resources that are really important to me and let me go find what I’m really passionate about and what I really wanna do.

And I think those are some lessons that I took on by watching the transition my dad had when we moved to la. By watching the transition our family had, as you know, he Built his career and made the shifts he made. Let’s stop there for a second, because a lot of people have a false belief and terror of failure, and they don’t recognize that it’s an essential part of life.

Not just something that will happen, but something that’s healthy that should happen. Not a moral failure, but when we’re, you know, striving for goals and achievements, failure’s gonna occur. If it doesn’t, we’re not doing something right. Right. So what tips do you have for our listeners to fail? Well, [00:18:00] to learn from their failure?

Well, I, I would, you know, I’ve heard the term failing up, failing forward, failing, failing, whatever with the other term. On the other end is, I really would just invite people to consider that you know, it’s not black and white. You know, I have this mantra that I use with everybody that I work with. When we get to a point where we’re 50% complete on a project, is the time to start testing it.

Because what you really wanna do is you want to iterate a process. You want to iterate a program. You wanna see how does something work? Is it working, is it not working? Is there a tweak we can make here? Is there a tweak we can make there? And if you wait until you’re a hundred percent, you’ll never get it done.

You know, one of my, my first company that I grew very quickly was a software company. We helped Fortune 500 in [00:19:00] global 2000 companies implement agile software development processes in the early two thousands when it was hot. And companies were going from collect all the data, which would take a year, right?

The software would take another year, test it and deliver. It would take another year and three years out. The requirement that they were fulfilling with that software had changed. So what Agile did was it said, try something, do it small, then try something else. Do it small. Put the two things together, see how that worked.

Add something new, and now we’re six weeks into a project and we’ve got some value from something that we’re doing. That’s what I espouse to people every single day. Take baby steps. Don’t wait until your project is 80 or 90% complete before you start testing it out. Start putting things out [00:20:00] there and checking in with people and trying it as early as you can and know that it’s never gonna be right the first time.

If it is, it’s a miracle. And listen, I believe in miracles. I just don’t believe that we manufacture them. And that’s what happens whenever you go down the path of, I’m creating something. , you’re trying something, you’re seeing how it works, and you wanna ensure that you’re in a position to have it move forward in a way that’s effective.

Awesome. So now you finished college, you’re out there, you’re starting companies. You even had the privilege to work along with your uncle. What’s your journey like, look like at that point in life, Jeff? So it was really interesting. I pigeonholed myself outta college. I I went, I was working at a bank and I decided I would start a management [00:21:00] training program with them.

And the very first place I was in was in their auto finance unit. And at the time I was making a manager trainee bank salary. So basically what that meant was I could almost pay rent and And so very quickly I noticed that all the car dealerships I was working with, like those people were making real money.

But I was the one that was out on the lot at six in the morning counting cars to make sure that all of the cars that the bank was financing were still there. It was not a glamorous job. And, but I became friends with some of the people in dealerships and they were making decent income and having fun, and I’m like, I should do that.

And what that did was it got people not to look at me for what my potential was. They said, Oh, you [00:22:00] sell cars, . Yeah. And I, and just so to our listeners, there’s a stigma within America that a car salesman is dirty, liar, corrupt. Sadly, there’s many like that, but not all. It’s just a, it’s a stigma because of the stereotypes from the past.

And the industry’s changed a lot, you know? Yeah. Since I was involved and I was working in the finance department at the time because that was where, you know, I was connected to was finance. But what I found was I worked long hours. It was hard work. I liked doing what I did and was successful, helping people get the cars they wanted and financing them and all that.

And then I had this opportunity come around ADP at a division that focused on had a system that to manage car dealerships. And I got hired selling software and hardware systems to dealerships to run accounting [00:23:00] and finance and sales and parts and service. And, and I was very successful at that and I loved doing that.

And yet I was still selling the car dealers. So again, pitch and hold. But about the time the internet came around, IBM came calling. And I took a job with IBM and in fact, just wish my former manager there, happy birthday yesterday. Cuz both she and the manager that I had had at ADP I’m still friends with and talked to Jack A.

Little while ago, but I, I got the opportunity to really start noticing when I was pissing people off. And I did a really, really good job of that with her. You see, there’s something that we all have, it’s called a trigger, right? If you’re reading my book, chapter one is called Grand Theft Auto. It’s about a time I stole a car.

But through that [00:24:00] experience, I developed the number one trigger that I’ve always had in my entire life. And it doesn’t take very much to cause me to go down that path. When I do, I’m gonna waste 20 to 30 minutes of your time telling you why I did something or why I didn’t do something. And all you really wanna know is I’m committed to do it or not.

Like, will you do it? But I, I learned how to recover from that cuz I’d gotten to the point where I really think that my boss was gonna let me go. And I noticed that just in time turned that relationship around, it got to where I actually became a really highly valued member of her team and she got me rehired at IBM and a time I really needed it years later.

But I, out of that, you know, the internet bubble was, was blowing up and I decided I was gonna go for money and I went to an internet startup and I was tremendously successful. [00:25:00] And then I went to another one and was tremendously successful. And we got bought by a little company at the time called Bland Software.

Some of the listeners may remember them. They made a lot of application development tools. And when I was there the very first thing they did when they acquired the company I was working for was they let go of all of the professional services staff. And I knew that in doing that there would be a gaping hole that needed to be filled.

Now, at the same time, they bought our company, they bought another company. Both companies really required professional services to implement the software, and b, let go of all of the professional services staff. So I went to a friend of mine who was one of the key services people, and I said, Hey, you wrote a book on this.

What do you think about [00:26:00] starting a company? He said, Sure, I got nothing else to do. Why not? He became the accidental entrepreneur and I funded the company and got us off the ground, and we grew from zero to 50 people in under two years. Wow. That’s huge. All of, Yeah. All of our customers were companies like Fortune 500 and Global 2000 accounts.

Some of the marquee accounts we dealt with were Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo, the state of California, Bank of America Lockheed Martin, the federal government, like we were doing work all over. And then in 2007 there was this you know, little impact from the financial crisis. And a lot of our clients were, were finance companies at the time in the finance industry.

And I got within a three month period, [00:27:00] As we were going to renew contracts, what we got was, Hey, Jeff, we love you guys. You are amazing and you’re fired. And it was very humbling. But what came out of that was you know, a strong dose of reality for me. I lost everything. My partner lost everything.

My other partner was able to get a job right away. In fact, I helped just about everybody in the company get a job while I was busy shutting it down. And it was tough, really, really tough. It, it caused me like so much heartache because I had a, like a controlled shutdown of this company. But every payday I would wonder, will I have the money to make payroll because of the way things were going?

And I got no. And I wound up being very, very depressed and I didn’t [00:28:00] notice that. But when you sit in front of Star Trek for eight hours a day, watching the same episodes over and over and over and it doesn’t matter. That’s a signal. There’s something you probably wanna address. But I couldn’t hear people when they said to me, Jeff, you know, maybe you wanna go talk to somebody.

Is there anybody you can think of that can help you work through this? And all I could think of was, I did this, it was on me. And it doesn’t matter whether it was on me or not, that was just myself talk. And it had me literally push my kids away. It had me push my wife away. My other family members, my mom and my sisters that were so amazing at the time.

Like they wouldn’t let up. And finally, you know, I had a friend come over one [00:29:00] day and I was making these energy bars for for my family. It was the one thing that people liked that I was doing. And he said, Hey, these are good. Can I take some to work? And I gave him a box with some bars and he says, Hey calls me up the next day. And he, he says, Hey Jeff, can you come down here? I’m like, Why? He goes, Well, they wanna buy them. I’m like, Dude, I don’t wanna start another company right now. He goes, No, really just come down. So anyway, I went down and before I knew it I was selling energy bars to 20 TV shows and movies on the Warner Brothers lot.

And then from there, my sister who was in real estate at the time, Said, Let’s get into Whole Foods. So we did that and then she found out about auditions for this new show that was starting called Shark Tank. And I got on [00:30:00] Shark Tanks first season and like we had this company again, I went from, you know, the pit to like, okay, we’re growing something again.

This time I had no money to grow it. Like it was really hamstrung, but we were doing it and we were having success. And before the Shark Tank episode aired and people could see Kevin O’Leary call me Radioactive we had a national arrangement with Safeway and we’re rolling out to thousands of stores.

So it’s really was a real roller coaster that period of my life, and it gave me a chance to, to work on rekindling my relationships and also reevaluating like where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. Yeah, we just unpacked a lot. So let’s back up a little bit. When your company, you went from the top a high to these contracts got [00:31:00] canceled, you’re outta low, we saw the depression, the pushing the family away.

Were there any steps you took with your conscious mind to get out of the depression? Or was it just that friend brought you into this opportunity at the engineer energy bars and it was almost like a forced catalyst, You know, it was like snapping you out. You know, I would say I was catatonic at the time.

Yeah. You know, when you don’t sleep well and you, you know, decision making sucks. And I just really resisted making decisions. I know that caused way more problems than it needed to. And I’ll just say, you know, have friends in your life have people that care about you, that you care about. Cuz truly what comes around goes around.

And those people are the people that will have you. They’ll have your back. [00:32:00] They won’t give up on you, and they know you’d never give up on them. And those were extraordinary circumstances in my life. We all have extraordinary circumstances that show up whether we cause them or whether something happens and they, they just occur.

Those are things that happen and I honestly think, like my belief that there’s something more out there, something that I was destined to do for people. It helped me get over like the really lousy way I treated people. When things were going great, it helped me make it right with as many people as I could.

Along the way, even today, I still, I still owe people because I [00:33:00] never was able to fully complete those relationships. And you know, in my book I even say, Hey, look, I’m sorry I never intended that people get hurt from what my actions were or weren’t. And I just, today I can own it. But back then I couldn’t own it.

I ran away from it. I hid from it. Like if there was a pillow I could put over my head, like I would’ve just walked around like that. Having that friend come over when I said, No, I don’t come over, it’s a bad day. He said, No, I’m coming over. . Yep. Like, you know, don’t give up on people. I guess that’s the main thing that I will share out of that.

Yeah, no, it’s a great lesson and something we not only need as humans, but we need to be looking out for people in need to give as humans. Now, what about, you mentioned you drop the nugget, so I’m gonna go after it. You stole a [00:34:00] car. Was that at a high or was that at a low point in your life? What was that story all about?

I’m gonna give everyone a chance to read all about it, because that’s, that’s really a hook. Okay. Go to the, go to the count honorable.com website and download the first chapter of the book. Okay. But at what point in your life was that? Just so we know? Early, early. I was a kid. Oh, as a kid. Okay. So I just didn’t know at what point of your life.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, and, and it’s, it’s not what you think. That’s why you gotta read the chapter. All right. We’ll say this, it, it. . It was, Im, it was more impactful to me at the time that I did it than many things that have happened in my life since. Gotcha. Okay. So now your friend kind of pulls you out, your doing energy bars.

Your sister says, Let’s get into Whole Foods. [00:35:00] You get on Shark Tank and Kevin O’Leary calls you radioactive, and I’m guessing that wasn’t a compliment. Yeah, no. His words were, Jeff, you went bankrupt to me. Your radioactive, you’ll never get a bank. I’m out. And then Kevin O’Leary was confronted by Robert Heric and you know, God bless Robert.

He is such an amazing person. He stood up to Kevin on my behalf and he said, Hey, you can’t do that. This is a guy that’s working his tail off to come back. The measure of a man is not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up. And that’s exactly what Jeff is doing. And I gotta tell you, those words have stuck with me over the years and I’m really grateful that, you know, Robert did that and [00:36:00] said that.

And they only aired a couple of minutes of what he said to Kevin on the air. But you know, Robert went after Kevin for about 15 minutes. Wow. That’s awesome. And that gave you that inner, that inner confidence and strength too. I mean, how did you feel when that happened? Well, you know, they didn’t invest in me and in my business, none of them, even Robert.

But we were the very first company that they did a success story on in the history of Shark Tank. And what that did for me was it gave me the validation that we’re all looking for that really, I was on a journey and they missed out. Yeah. Nice. That’s very good. All right, so take us from there. You’re on Shark Tank.

You get the negative [00:37:00] feedback from Kevin. You get the positive feedback or encouragement from Robert. Where does your life go from there, Jeff? Well, it was, it was still tough. And it’s at I don’t know, a couple of years later I realized how, how hard I was working for how little I was seeing in the food business.

And I contacted a, a former manager of mine from IBM, Pam and whose birthday was yesterday, so happy birthday, Pam. And she helped me get back in at a time I really needed it. And it was like getting this really warm, big blue hug and I was so grateful. And I was, you know, back to working with, you know, like Kaiser and Intel and Cisco and other big accounts that I had worked with in the past and making money again.[00:38:00]

And it was during that period that I got divorced and my kids stopped talking to me and it was a two year stretch that I went through like very limited communication with my kids. They had a lot that they were dealing with at the time. and it was tough for them, and I really wish I’d been able to find a way to get through.

And eventually I did. I I took a program called a team management Leadership program, and it was a two year program and it gave me an opportunity to really initially do an evaluation of me. And when I went and I did that self-assessment, there was a lot that I saw. Probably the biggest thing that I saw was I was a shithead, pardon the language, but I was really a schmuck.

I wasn’t nice to people. I didn’t treat them the way I wanted to be treated. I was [00:39:00] cocky. I was arrogant. When things didn’t go my way, I didn’t look for a way to build people up. I tore them down and it wasn’t effective. And it was in that program that I wondered. Who else experienced life like that in their career?

And I created sea level, round table, my net, my company today, and I got 50 CEOs, executives and business owners together. And we started looking at what doesn’t work in our businesses. And what I found was there’s really one common thread, and that one common thread is effective communication. We all have a perspective about communication and the notion of effective communication is often [00:40:00] got a different definition depending upon who you’re talking to.

So, you know, with that, with that in mind, what shows up is I realized like what I was here on this earth to do, I got in that two year period, I was here to create an environment where people can work well together and they get to do the jobs that they have strengths in, that they love doing and that they’re good at.

And I went on a look, it was, it’s my mission to identify. So if that’s the experience that employees have, how do we get leaders to create that? And with this group of 50 CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and alike, We [00:41:00] actually went on that journey and identified how to do it, and it became this very simple and easy process.

It’s really more like a path you go on that has you identify on a regular basis how to have people be at their peak so that they never wanna leave. And all of the companies that implement this, like the people are really happy, their turnover is really low, and the executives get to have a vacation where they’re not working two to four hours a day.

And that to those people is a miracle. Yes. For anybody who’s run a company that’s enormous, and to those of you who work for companies you might not fully understand, but think about what makes you unhappy in the workplace. And that’s what Jeff’s thinking about. And explaining. He [00:42:00] helps resolve. So when you’re happy and you feel like you’re tied to the company vision and purpose and you’re not just wasting your time, you give your best and you feel fulfilled.

Correct. Yeah. There’s another angle to it that a lot of people overlook and it’s not overlooked for like purposeful reasoning at all. Mm-hmm. , it actually occurs because, you know, there’s this, this, this thing that a lot of people have where they wanna maximize whatever their opportunity is and they’re always looking for like, how can we fill this extra gap?

So a leader, when they go to hire someone new, they’ll have a job description they’re looking to fill and you know, HR goes and they find resumes that fit that. So you know, you have someone that’s experienced and when you’re about to make a job offer to someone, you’re looking at that person, you’re saying, That is my A player for this job.

and you’re about to make them the job offer. And [00:43:00] then they realize, you know, there’s this one other thing that they also need, and they’re with you. You want the job, they want you to have the job, but they also want this one other little thing done. So they’ll say right before the offer comes to you, Hey, can you also do the laundry for us?

And you want the job, you’re ready to say yes to the job. You’re like in that euphoric stage, right? And they’ve just landed something in your lap you hate doing, but you’re a team player. And what are you gonna say? Sure, I’ll do that. And it happens all the time. And the thing that gets missed by management, and this is where management gets to own the impact of doing things like this.

When management does that, they take someone who’s their A player doing their a job and now they’ve given them a B job. [00:44:00] And what that’s gonna do is it’s going to have that person go and begin disappointing them from day one and suddenly they’re gonna be a B player and then they’re gonna start looking for something else to do cuz this is just not the right place for me anymore.

Really invite people to look at people optimization as flawed and look at like people have strengths and things they love doing and things they’re really good at, but companies also don’t manage that very well over time. So like when I was at IBM the second time, what I really wanted to be was CEO again.

And after two years I noticed it was I wasn’t gonna get where I wanted to go there. My performance dropped, right? But no one actually was curious about what that was about at the time. [00:45:00] Like that was just the way management went. So I went into another job someplace else and that’s what occurs in this world.

So all of the cultural experience, all of the stuff I knew about what was going on, all of my abilities and strengths went somewhere else. And what I’m preaching to companies, what I’m saying is, Hey guys, you have the perfect resource, the perfect people. They’re right there. All there is is you wanna begin to manage promises people.

Because you’ll never be able to manage people, cuz people don’t wanna be managed. But when they say, I can do this, I will do this. This will get done by whatever date it is a whole different game plan. Now, shifting gears a little bit, there’s sadly so many of us listening to you [00:46:00] who have had the heartbreak of not only a broken marriage, but having those severed relationships with their children and family members.

It’s a long, hard journey and nobody can put a time on it, but what steps did you take to go from being depressed and pushing your family away to restoring those relationships with especially your children? Like what advice would you give people listening in the same scenario? Well, first off, you gotta get straight with yourself about who you’ve been.

And who you plan to be. And if you are living from the way you’ve been and the things that you’ve caused in the past and not living from who you see yourself as in the world, then it’ll be really hard to restore relationships with people because it’s hard to own [00:47:00] and own up to the crappy things you did in the past.

They don’t wanna hear everything’s gonna be great until you can say, Look, I’m really sorry I treated you badly. It’s not the way I would’ve wanted to be treated like until you can actually have a real conversation. And believe me, it took a long time for me to get to a point with my sons and my ex-wife.

Or I could have a real conversation. I took a lot of coaching. It took a lot of conversations with other people. For me to get the courage up to do that and for me to realize that looking bad is the new looking good.

I mean, seriously being vulnerable and honest, like that’s the new [00:48:00] looking good. Cuz I don’t care whether it’s your family or your company or anybody, until people see you as a real person, they’re always gonna question whether they, whether or not they can trust what you’re saying. And if, if that exists, you’ll never help anybody get what they really want, cuz you’re usually only out for you and they know it.

So now in your life, in your journey, you went back, you work for the companies, you get this group together with the 50 CEOs and you kinda crack the code of this leadership between there and today. Where does Jeff’s journey go? Well, so we met for well over a year. Those 50, that initial group of 50 in, in small groups of [00:49:00] seven and eight.

And they helped me really, I create and refine the count honorable method and process that I’m happening right now. And then I, I, I had this amazing opportunity to start giving back. Cause now I actually had something to give back to people where it could make a difference for them. And I started working on a volunteer basis with.

The Valley Economic Alliance here in the San Fernando Valley, and we started a program for minority women in business to help them launch their businesses. And we, over the three or four year period, we were funded by Coer Bank and, and Union Bank. I’m really grateful to those banks for making sure that there was funding to [00:50:00] get everything that we needed for those women.

And the close to 40 women that were in the program over that period have had just amazing, amazing successes. But, you know, the give back part came from what all of those executives and the clients I had worked with, even during that period, helped me create, which was a 90 day program. That helps you level up every 90 days.

You can level up to whatever the newest level is, right? And there’s always a new level people want, but they don’t always know what it is. But they’ll often have a dream that’s way, way out there. And visioning like being a billion dollar company is a dream. So what are you gonna do in the next one to three years that gets you on a path to that?

And what are you gonna do in the next 90 [00:51:00] days that sets you up to hit your business objectives for one to three years? And that’s what I did. And these women are really extraordinary women. One of the first successes I had in that program was a woman who was homeless. She was living in a, in a shelter with her eight year old son.

and she was a marketing, marketing executive, like from corporate America, and she was just really down. And she, she came in and had like, I’m gonna start a marketing company and do marketing. And I said, Great, I’m gonna help you. And she went, she had just been scraping together enough money for rent at that point.

She was taking the bus to get to the center for our [00:52:00] meetings. Like she was like, her son would come, Oh my god, this, this kid, just amazing kid. And and such an amazing mom. And so in 90 days she went from a, an idea of a business to generating $10,000 a month, month over month, over month, over month. Like still growing?

Yes. Building teams and teamwork with other people, building her business. She is super successful and I am so proud to be in her life today. I have another client who God what, truly a visionary that came up with this idea about how to help people through coaching. And she built her surf first software product [00:53:00] and got it nearly complete in that first 90 days.

And I kept working with her. And what showed up was investors that wanted her to shift a little bit what she was doing. And just last week she announced a hundred thousand dollars grant from Google to take her bi coaching business to the next level. Nice. Now I’m just so, No, I just wanna say I’m so grateful today to be able to call these women my friends, and that I, I was able to create a space where they could generate that is such a, like, that means so much to me, sometimes more than things I do with customers that already have it all together.

Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And there’s something special about helping a startup or a small business grow, rather than just [00:54:00] helping a large corporation make more profit. I, I love working with the small businesses and the small business owners. It just gives you a lot of fulfillment. So for the people who are out there, our community, who they are, Entrepreneur, they are that small business owner or want to be small business owner.

They don’t have the center to meet with you, or they’re in a different part of the country or the world. What kind of advice do you give them, Jeff, to start on their journey? Read this book. All right. If you’re not watching, he held up the Count Honorable book, and we will put a link in the show notes. So explain to them what is that book gonna do for.

So first off I recognize there are a lot of people like my wife that are not book readers. I will come out with an audible [00:55:00] version, I promise at some point. So I wrote the book in little bite sized chunks. Like every chapter is three to four pages long, so you can pick it up in five minutes later.

You’ve got something you can use right now. And the first roughly, you know, 20% of the book are stories about me and my life and why it is that I found writing this book made sense. So what you’re gonna get, there are stories you’re gonna be able to relate to and look at your life and say, Oh yeah, I went through something like that and yes, I did something similar to that to shift or, Wow, that would’ve been really helpful.

And people are telling me it’s so easy to connect with the book because of the personal stories. Cause I had a lot of people say to me that we’re educators, Jeff, you need to go right to section two where you’re teaching people this process. So if you’re one of those people, feel [00:56:00] free. Go to section two, read a couple of chapters, at least in section one.

So you’re, you’re there. But what you will get from it is a mindset about how to be empowered and how to empower others. There are a lot of great systems in the marketplace like the Entrepreneur operating system and scaling up that are really, really good systems. But what Geno Wickman and what VER have done is they count heavily on the idea that you have to be accountable.

And whenever you force something on people, you’re likely to encounter resistance. People resist accountability. The last time they heard that word was on the news at six o’clock last night when someone was going to jail because they committed a crime where there was a politician that somebody wants to hold accountable.

It [00:57:00] does not get good press. However, if you think about you and you think about the people you work with, we take tremendous pride when we know what we have strengths in, what we’re good at and what we love doing. Those things always make it to the top of the list. And if you’re just starting out, you wanna create a culture in your business where you can have the kind of integrity without penalties to allow people the freedom to say, You can count on me for this.

You can count on me for this. What you can’t count on me for is to do the laundry. That’s not my jam. I. When you have that, that will give you access to people that will work for you for way less than going to a Fortune 500 company. Excellent advice, my friend. [00:58:00] So between your birth and today, is there anything else we missed in your journey or significant lesson you wanna share before we transition to where’s Jeff today and where you headed?

You know first off, I love the word journey because that’s what we’re all on, right? We have this path. Some of us know what it is, some of us don’t, but we know it’s there, right? And every step we take, we know it’s on that path. No, I would say, I, I would love to share a little bit about where I am today.

I, I think. Everything that I’ve had in my life from the past to the present has been great ground for growth. And I’m a firm believer that you actually get to declare where you wanna be cuz that gives you the power to live [00:59:00] into it. So let’s go there. Yeah. So where’s Jeff today and where are you heading and how can we help you get there?

You just helped us for just over an hour. How can we help you now, Jeff? Well that’s great. Thank you, David. First off, I wanna make a declaration. And now the visit viewers that can see me, can see I, I’ve been around for a few years, right? I have the gray hairs to prove it. But even with that, my wife and I, my current wife we are foster to adopting.

And we have a 15 month little girl. We’re not sure if she’ll be the one that stays with us forever. Or if she’ll go back to her parents, what we’re we’re creating is the space where she gets love and she gets security and she gets to have a life that she owns and, and gets to live her best life. And whether it’s her or another child or another child, we’re just [01:00:00] committed that kids in this world get cared for.

So I just, I want people to know that, like, that’s part of the coming of my age. There were a lot of things I wanted to do with my kids, and this is fulfilling a lot of the things that I, I did not own up to when I was a young dad. So where am I going? Well, the life my wife and I have created is one where we can do what we do from anywhere in the.

And so I’ve written this book called Count Honorable. It’s a practical guide to enable leaders to create an environment of leadership in their companies. So just imagine for a minute, as the leader of a company, a leader of a division or department, you actually get the opportunity to create leaders and leadership for others.[01:01:00]

And I’m happy to participate with you along the way. So I would invite you to come to my website, countable.com. Look for me because I’m, I’m pushing out my public speaking career again, so that I do a lot more public speaking and I’d love to, to do that in your environment with your people and your team.

There are workshops that we hold to get teams on the same page so that it’s possible to be count honorable. Like you don’t have to feel like the hammers coming down all the time and, you know, come join our mailing list. Like you can come to the website and you can sign up to get the first chapter.

If you’ve got the book and you wanna look at implementing the program yourself on our resources page, we have all of the all of the forms that you’ll fill out there. And we’re coming out with software to [01:02:00] help manage the process. Soon. So that’ll be announced. And you’ll wanna you’ll wanna know when that comes out so you can engage if, if this is a program that you’re interested in.

And finally, I also have this little button that will give you an opportunity to get on my calendar. If you think that you like to shift your culture in your business from one where people are accountable and you’re constantly nagging them to be accountable to one where they’re countable and you’re able to check in and see where things are at, and they’re delivering on what they’re great at and what they love doing, and it’s the last job they’re ever gonna have in their life.

If you want that, click the button, Get on my calendar or someone from my team and let’s start a conversation and see if that’s really a fit for. Awesome. And we will put links in the show notes to all of this on our [01:03:00] website and then to kinda wrap everything up in a pretty bow and connect the dots. We started the episode with Jeff saying, Don’t be a dick.

And then we went through his life and he talked about the failures of, in his professional personal life, he was being a tool, but then after the lows, he was able to recover, to learn these techniques, to engage 50 other executives. And together they put on count, honorable. And now he’s sharing that knowledge with you so you can grow and thrive personally and professionally.

Is that a good summary, Jeff? That’s amazing. I really . Just laughing at how we started. Yes, that was a great, great line. And one thing for everybody I just wanna make sure you get is Count Honorable is spelled C O U N T O N A B L E, and there are about 2 [01:04:00] million Jeff Cohens in the world. So you’re unlikely to find me easily that way.

But if you put the word countable in and I own the URL and I’ve trademarked the name and I’ve trademarked the process or patented the process, you’ll find me that way. I promise. Look for me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, like all the social media sites, engage with me. Like we’re putting content out there all the time.

I really want to hear like what your experience is with, with your life and your business, and create the environment where you get to have the freedom that you started your business with. And I just want people to know who the book is dedicated to. So, The book is dedicated to entrepreneurial freedom fighters, and I want you to know that I’m in it with you to create your freedom for your business in this way.[01:05:00]

Awesome. Well, Jeff, it’s been a true pleasure having you on the show today through our loyal listeners and our community. Thank you for being here today. We love you. We don’t get to see each other and talk face to face, but we get to dialogue and know each other through these episodes and through remarkable men and women like Jeff.

Well, man, like Jeff. But what I’m saying is take the content that Jeff brought forward. And like our slogan says, don’t just listen, but do the good parts that you need each day. Repeat them over and over again so you can have a great life in this world. And more important than that attorney to come. So I’m David Pasco alone.

This was Jeff Cohen and we can’t wait to hear your success stories. Okay. Apply it. Reach out to us for help. Write us and let us know your success. [01:06:00] And we wish you sincerely, only the best in life in the future. And if there’s anything we can do to help, just ask. So to our listeners, thank you. And Jeff, thank you as well for being here today, my friend.

Well, what a pleasure. I just wanna acknowledge what a great time this was for me. Really enjoy the space you’re created for me to be able to feel vulnerable. And I’d like to leave everybody with just one thing. Stop just being accountable. Be countable. Amen. Great words of advice. So with that, we’re gonna conclude this episode.

We love you. Have a great day, and check you out in the next podcast Chow.



Jeff Cohen Learning from Failure
Learning from Failure, the Importance of Good Communication, & Not Being a Richard | Jeff Cohen