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Modern leadership lessons


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"More virtual-signaling sh*t, Curt. Now it's DEI and B. The B stands for belonging. And for me, it stands for bullshit. Because belonging implies someone doesn't. I don't wanna belong. I wanna be welcomed. Because I wanna be welcomed to apply. And should I receive the opportunity to be hired, I wanna continue to be welcomed while I'm there.” JeVon McCormick, CEO, Scribe Media

JeVon McCormick, CEO of Scribe Media, joins us to discuss his latest book, Modern Leader.

JeVon is a CEO, speaker, and author—but his life didn’t begin as a success story.

He was born the son of a Black pimp father and a white single mother on welfare. Poverty, abuse, eviction, and discrimination were a daily part of his life.

Today, JeVon is the CEO of Scribe Media, a multi-million dollar publishing company that helps entrepreneurs, executives, and experts write, publish, and market their books.

Some quick highlights about JeVon:

Raw Transcript of this Episode:

[00:00:00] Curt Mercadante: Hey, freedom lovers, Curt Mercadante here. Welcome to another episode of the freedom media network. Every Monday, we bring you an incredible interview with someone whose life is about freedom, who are helping other people live lives of joy, fulfillment, and freedom. Every Friday is our freedom Friday episode.

[00:00:20] And you're probably sick of me saying this, but at some point you are gonna take action. Take out your smartphone. Now it costs you nothing. Open your message app. Text the word free, man, F R E E M a N to 5, 5, 6, 7, 8. You'll get a link from me in return where you could take our free freedom lifestyle, audio course.

[00:00:41] It costs you nothing. You probably got your phone out anyways. You're texting your checking, social media, all that, put it to use to you. And get that free course. Now we got some other value to throw your way today. We have a wonderful guest now on a personal level. I love JeVon. He [00:01:00] helped bring my book to fruition.

[00:01:03] He's the CEO of scribe media. I share his story. Gosh, a a, just a small part of his story in my book. He's the CEO of scribe media, his latest. Is modern leader and he's the CEO speaker author, but his life didn't begin as a success story. He was born. And by the way, I think this line is like the first line of your first book.

[00:01:25] He was born the son of a black pimp father and a white single mother on welfare, poverty, abuse, eviction and discrimination were a daily part of his life. Today, as I mentioned, the CEO of scribe media, multimillion dollar publishing company that helps entrepreneurs, executives, and experts. Publish and market their book.

[00:01:43] Some quick highlights. Who's named the number one, Austin, Texas CEO, scribe media, number one, company culture as named by entrepreneur magazine. His first book was I got there. How a mixed race kid, overcame racism, poverty, and abuse to, uh, to arrive [00:02:00] at the American dream. JeVon. Thanks so much for joining us today.

[00:02:04] My man,

[00:02:04] JeVon McCormick: Curt been a while,

[00:02:05] man.

[00:02:07] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. You know, the, the last time we. You , you were in your home closet. I don't know if you remember that you were on the way or something to the airport or something. It was the only quiet place

[00:02:20] JeVon McCormick: in your house. yeah. You know, four, four kids, man, 8, 7, 5, and three. And when they know I'm at home, man, I can go into the office and doesn't matter, they're just gonna pound on the door until, you know, I, I let 'em in.

[00:02:30] So. I, I, I literally had to be, be behind three doors. Let me say there was, there was the, the bedroom door, the bathroom door and the closet door.

[00:02:41] Curt Mercadante: that's funny. Well, and I remember cuz I, I had read your book. I knew you through LinkedIn, but also Don Wek. Who's been on this show a number of times and I don't know why I didn't pay as much attention.

[00:02:54] I was more focused on you and less attention. Describe, and then the course of the podcast, I'm like, wait a second. I [00:03:00] have this book. And then you hooked me up and we went through it. And, and as I, as I've mentioned to you since, and you have written the book, uh, I think a described method about yeah. That, that process, and you write about it a little bit in this book, that process that you helped, uh, add onto and change and, and, and massage.

[00:03:19] Um, it was, it was the friendliest assembly line. Let me put it that way. You made it so easy to the point where a month before my book launch, I forgot I was coming out with a book. That's how seamless it was.

[00:03:31] JeVon McCormick: man. The, the, the goal is, you know, how do we, uh, assist authors in, in creating their, their book?

[00:03:37] You know, traditional, you know, has, has made it very. Exclusionary. If you will, you have to be accepted and, and selected to, to be able to do your book. And, and everyone's got a story. So, you know, everyone should have the opportunity to, to share their story, tell their story. And, and even if they don't wanna share, and they just wanna put in a book for themselves.

[00:03:58] Okay, great. But, but everybody [00:04:00] deserves to be able to put their story on paper.

[00:04:04] Curt Mercadante: Another thing last time we. Your name? Well, it was, but you weren't going by JeVon. You were going by JT, which is a big portion of your new book. Yeah. So can you explain why the change back to your original name, JeVon for JT and, and, and how did that come about?

[00:04:24] JeVon McCormick: So, man, you know, current, like I said, man, I'm, I I'll be 51 this month, so we're, we're gonna take a journey back to the early nineties when I was in my, my early twenties and. I was the file clerk, Mel boy, at, at an insurance company, I pushed around my cart was file clerk and, and dropped off mail. And, and I wanted more.

[00:04:47] I, I, I inspired to, to do more. I wanted to be more. And so, you know, this is back in the day, this isn't, you know, upload your resume and, and, and, you know, do it that way. No, you had to knock on doors, make cold calls and, and follow up. You [00:05:00] actually had to do work to get work. And, and so, um, I could not get on people's calendars.

[00:05:06] I, I couldn't get a call back. I, I couldn't get an invite. So one day a nice gentleman, white guy, he, he picks up the phone. And he says to me, he led with, Hey, how did you get a black name, first name and an Irish last name, you know, JeVon black name. Uh, and then McCormick Irish last name. Well, well here's, what's funny.

[00:05:28] Curt is, so my mom got our last name when she was in the orphanage. We have no clue where, why, how we had this last name. We, she has no knowledge of her background. How she got this last name. So when he said to me, how did you get an Irish last name? That was the first time I ever knew my last name was Irish.

[00:05:48] So I was locked in on, yes, Irish. I didn't even know that. And so I was celebrating the, the Irish last name, but then when I hung up, it hit me. I was like, [00:06:00] oh, okay. It's because my first name, I can't get a call back. Mm-hmm so, so my full name's JeVon, Thomas McCormick. So I said, okay. I'm gonna go by JT and I edited myself and dam, the following week, callbacks follow ups, appointments invites, and Curt.

[00:06:20] I can't tell you how many times I showed up to an interview and the people would say JT McCormick. And I was like, yes, well, you're not what we expected, you know, what did you expect? And so, and, and, and from there, man, um, I was JT McCormick all the way up until the, the George Floyd murder and why I decided to reclaim my, my name Javon is after the George Floyd murder, Curt man, there was so much.

[00:06:49] Bullshit. If I can say that, uh, yeah. Uh, virtue signaling, you know, blackout Tuesday on social media, what the hell does that do to, to bring any [00:07:00] change or, or progress in anything? And in Curt, we were arguing over a syrup bottle, a damn syrup bottle. Like again, what does that do? But what jumped out to me? I read an article that said at the time there were only three.

[00:07:16] Fortune 500, there are only three black fortune 500 CEOs. I was like interesting. So I looked them up and I came across their names. Roger Ferguson. Marvin Ellison, Kenneth Frazier, and is a, is a bonus. The wealthiest black man in America is named Robert Smith. so, so for me, I immediately laughed. I'm like, oh, those are four very ethnic free names, if you will.

[00:07:45] And, and so I looked at it and I said to myself, okay, I am not a fortune 500 CEO. But to your point in the beginning, I'm, I'm incredibly honored, humbled and proud. You know, we we've been named the number one [00:08:00] company culture in, in America. Um, you know, we've, um, been named the best place to work in in Austin.

[00:08:08] And, and as you said, I was named the, the number one CEO in Austin. Oh, Curt, I gotta share this with you, man. Uh, a month ago I was named, uh, Ernston young entrepreneur of the year. Nice. And so, you know, I, I looked at all that and I said to myself, I'm gonna reclaim my name and, and I'm gonna go by Jevon, but, but I didn't do it for me.

[00:08:26] I built my whole career as JT McCormick. I, I actually did it for E every kid out there, uh, named Ray VTE. Laquanda Jesus, Juan Rosalia. Um, because those are very ethnic names that when they show up on resumes, you, you don't always get the same look as far as an invite to, to be interviewed. And, and I did it with a goal that, you know, maybe one day when you make it into the business world, you can work next to a JeVon and not just a JT.

[00:08:56] And so that's, that's, that's how Javon came back. [00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Curt Mercadante: Do you, um, and, and in your book you write about, you kind of got a little bit, uh, annoyed at someone who, who, uh, you were at a book reading in Austin, and someone asked you about what? I can't remember the exact question, but it was, it was basically could this work as someone who doesn't have your skills or talent or something like that.

[00:09:21] But, but with that, so you worked hard, you came through and you built your career on J. Now you change it to JeVon. Do you regret having been JT for all those years? And how do you think things would be different if you hadn't? So,

[00:09:39] JeVon McCormick: yeah, I I've been asked that question many a time. You know, what would you do it again?

[00:09:44] Could, you know, do, do you. One to I'll answer the question. There's different answers to it. Yes. I would do it again. Give given the time period of which we were in. Yes, I, I hands down. I, I would do it again. Was it bittersweet? Hell [00:10:00] yeah. It was a bittersweet, you know, it was sweet because I figured out how to get in.

[00:10:04] Oh, okay. If I do this, I can get in bitter because I had to edit myself to do it. Yeah. So it was, it was bittersweet. Now, fast forward to where we are today. Again, the, the whole reason why I reclaim my name is what I realized is I was part of the problem. I achieved success, having edited myself. Well, I don't want people to have to repeat what, what I did to, to find success.

[00:10:32] So what I realized, if, if you're part of the problem, if you are not changing, you're choosing. And, and that goes for all of us at everything in life, whatever you're not changing, you're choosing. So, you know, if, if you're 30 pounds over. and you're not changing to do anything about you're choosing to be 30 pounds overweight.

[00:10:50] And, and so, um, I made the choice to reclaim my name. So it would, others [00:11:00] would not have to do what I did back back then. You know, you, you hear this a lot in, you can go with the civil rights movement. I mean, you can go all the way back to the, the, the first settlers that, that came over in into the country.

[00:11:14] You know, so many people. Things that for the next generation, so they wouldn't have to do mm-hmm . And so that that's really where that, that, uh, inspiration came for me was okay. Don't be a part of the problem. Make, make actual change.

[00:11:32] Curt Mercadante: It's F it's it. It's uh, I. You know, my dad would tell me stories growing up, you know, his dad came off the boat, Ellis island and kept his name, but he would, he would go through, it's almost like that Adam Sandler song where he goes through who's Jewish and you don't know it cause they changed their name.

[00:11:49] My dad would go through this guy ashamed to be an Italian. He changed his name, Tony Bennett. Do you know his real name is this and this. You know, like you said, history has been, been [00:12:00] full of people changing and performing and they probably wouldn't. I doubt Tony Bennett would ever regrets changing his name to Tony

[00:12:05] JeVon McCormick: Bennett.

[00:12:06] But no, I mean, here, here's something that's funny. A lot of people don't know this. It's very surprising that many people don't know this Barack Obama. He used to go by Barry. For the exact same reason as me. He didn't want the Barack, he changed. So he would go by Barry and many people don't know that, but yeah, he, he edited himself as well, but yeah, you go back to the, the, the Jewish people that, that arrived here and they changed their name because they didn't want people to know.

[00:12:37] And, you know, we can look at our country that, that way. And, and, but a again, we're, we're, we're whatever, we're not changing. We're choosing.

[00:12:47] Curt Mercadante: In, uh, I was around and I was still doing some politics at the time when, when, uh, Obama was running for Senate and then whatever. And south side of Chicago had a lot of green [00:13:00] signs with Obama within apostrophe, after the O to make it look like he was Irish

[00:13:08] oh man. Because you know, some of those people on the south side, there was no way in hell that they were voting and, and, um, Which goes to the point of what we're talking about, right? Yeah. So, you know, it's, it's, your book is certainly grounded in your experience, uh, mixed race. Right. And, and, but. I want everyone to know that your book isn't just about race, cuz it could apply.

[00:13:39] And you say this, this isn't just about race. It's not just about L B G D Q. You know, it's not about anything. It's about anyone and diversity. So the common theme in your book is about the playbook. The old playbook of hiring of, of, of not just hiring, but how we provide opportunity to people. [00:14:00] Um, so can you, can you explain what that old playbook looks like?

[00:14:03] Yeah. So,

[00:14:04] JeVon McCormick: so think, think about this Curt. Uh, right now, when I say the, the old playbook it's it was, it was. It's very exclusionary. You know, you, you had to meet a certain set of credentials. You had to be able to speak the language you had to, you know, uh, think of it this way. The old playbook is, is the reason why I edited my name in the first place.

[00:14:27] So, so there are certain things that are just. Factual that that many people don't want to hear, but they're just facts. If, if you look at the fortune 500, uh, companies in America, we started tracking the fortune 500, which are the 500 largest companies in America. We started tracking those in 1955. You did not have a black CEO show up on the list until 1987.

[00:14:56] So 30 plus years before you had a minority on [00:15:00] the fortune 500 list. And, and what I've said to people is yes, it, do we have racism in this country? Yes. And, and, and let me, uh, Follow that with, we always will. You always will have racism. It's not going away. You have black people in Africa that don't like other black people, because some are lighter, some are darker.

[00:15:22] And so you're always gonna have racism. Now, what, what I realized is with this exclusionary playbook is you had to be able to. The criteria to, to get in and have their, the credentials. Did you go to the, the right schools? Do you have the degree? Do you, uh, understand what it's like to, to interview? And, and so in many ways, this, this book was written to exclude a group of people, not just minor.

[00:15:58] A, a group of [00:16:00] people think, think of this a very easy one. If, if you and I see a career description on indeed and at the bottom, it says, you know, must have a four year degree. Okay. Right off the bat, I'm excluded. I, I don't have a degree. I got a G E D I, I can't apply. So, so, but then we have to ask ourselves as a people, let's look at all the career descriptions and job Des.

[00:16:23] Do does every role require a four year degree? If I'm hiring for a, an assistant project manager, what the hell does a liberal arts degree do to, to assist you with, with the role? I still have to teach coach and mentor you into the role. And in fact, if, if I had a person straight outta college who had a liberal arts.

[00:16:48] And I had a person over here. That's been in the fast food industry consistently at the same company for four years. I want that person because they [00:17:00] understand, you know, oh, oh, I've seen the peak hours of fast food at the restaurant. Uh, there's a lot of turnover and this person has managed to be in fast food at the same place for four years.

[00:17:11] That's way more impressive than to me than someone who's outta college with a liberal arts degree. But, but we have created this, this playbook that says, because you have a degree, guess what? You're gonna get the interview. And that's just so broken. Um, so yeah, you, you, you've got so many little aspects like that to where imagine the candidate pool you open.

[00:17:35] If you start taking off the requirement of, of having a college degree, that, that changes the game for a lot of people

[00:17:43] Curt Mercadante: and E even within, you know, I grew up in Illinois and, and it was, you know, the top Chicago law firms. Can they. Looked at, you had to be Ivy league, you know, I went to the university of Iowa.

[00:17:55] So even that old playbook. Yep. You know, and, and, and, and like you [00:18:00] said, whether it's because you're of Mexican descent, you live in Phoenix or you're mixed race from Dayton. Yep. Or you're Korean from Los Angeles or you're black from Atlanta, or you're white from Apalach. You know it. Yep. It we're letting our greatest, you know, it's funny.

[00:18:17] And I'm just thinking about this now, but when, when you talk about, we talk about sports, right? And we think about, I, I, there's always this debate in soccer. We have such a big country, but these small European countries are so great cuz they put everything into it. Well it's because everyone there is welcome.

[00:18:38] Into playing soccer. I mean, with, you know, for, for the most part and, and some of, some of those countries, aren't the most diverse countries. Right, right, right. And here we just focus on this. And so they're like, imagine if LeBron was playing goalie in all this, and what you're talking about is just opening.

[00:18:54] This up and the opportunities up versus something. Some of the things I was gonna [00:19:00] say one thing, but a number of things that you hit out with, which is there's the old playbook. And then on top of that, you add certain things, uh, and, and you write about affirmative action. You write about certain things that.

[00:19:14] I I'm paraphrasing, but it's almost like you took the old playbook, then you popped a virtue signal piece on top of it. which now it's just a different version of the old playbook. Am I? I can explaining

[00:19:25] JeVon McCormick: that correctly. yeah, no, it, it, it's it, you know, it's um, think about this right now. We, you know, we, we've got this big initiative, you know, DEI DEI.

[00:19:35] Well, well, well, first of all, okay, stop turning it into an acronym. The only reason we're doing that is because. It's, um, it makes it easier on us to have that conversation. Hey Curt, what are your DEI initiatives? But if I say, Hey, Curt, what are your, what, what, uh, what are you doing right now to, to work towards diversity in your organization?

[00:19:57] Ooh, that that's, that's a little [00:20:00] tough that that makes it a little, little more raw of a conversation. And, and I get this right now in, in interviews. Someone will come in and they wanna look really sophisticated and professional. And, and they'll say to me, um, what, what are your DEI initiatives during the interview?

[00:20:15] I'll say interesting. First of all, define D. And, and they'll say, well, diversity equity, inclusion. I said, okay, well then just say that. I said, okay, so do you wanna start with diversity? They're like, yes, I go say then what part are you talking about? They're like, what, what do you mean? I said, well, you said diversity, what part?

[00:20:33] What, what do you tell, tell me what you're talking about. And then I hit 'em with this and you, you should just see the blank. Look that comes over. People's face. I said, look, I can be in a room with 10 white guys over the age of 40. Have diversity, some are married. Some aren't, some have kids, some, some are Catholic, some are, are Methodist.

[00:20:52] Uh, some went to college, some didn't I got diversity. I go, we, we we've turned into a culture of [00:21:00] like, we, we love to weaponize a word, you know? So, so diversity and in the, the fact of the matter is when you say the word, now we gotta have a conversation. Are we talking gay? Are we talking transgender? Are we talking Mexican?

[00:21:11] Are we talking Jewish? You know, when's when's the last time someone said the word diversity and they were speaking about a Jewish person. That that's never happened. So a again, when we start going down these, these paths of, of weaponizing words and it, it, it just, it's some of the, just most disgusting virtue signaling that you'll see.

[00:21:35] And even the chief diversity officers, I got love for all of them. We, I did a, a LinkedIn post on this, but I find it very interesting that the great majority of your, your chief diversity officers are minorities. and they are black women and it's, what's sad is. So many companies have done nothing more than, okay.

[00:21:59] Let's check the [00:22:00] box. Great. We have given a C-suite to a, a black minority woman. We're good. Hey, you sit down there at the end of the table. Don't speak unless spoken to we, we were done with that one. Let's move on and, and that's sad be because you know, companies have, have approached diversity as an initiative.

[00:22:21] Curt. Software implementation is an initiative. , you know, there's a start and there's a finish. Hey, we, we implemented the system diversity just because you hired a chief diversity officer hired 13 minorities and started using pronouns in your email signature. You didn't win the game and over like there's no, there's no finish line for diversity.

[00:22:44] And, and so the fact of the matter is when we say diversity, what are we talking about? People? That's it. But we've weaponized the shit out of that word.

[00:22:55] Curt Mercadante: When it comes to weaponization of words, you know, public [00:23:00] discourse is, has become tough enough, right. It's become difficult enough. And, and you, you, oh, you've talked about George Floyd and, and we, we get in these debates and arguments and, and sometimes it's like, why, why do you need to get into debate in argument?

[00:23:13] I'm I'm talking about not as a, not as a society, but it's like an individual, right. People wanna. you have this, this situation where let's say you and I could have a discussion about George Floyd or even meat versus vegan or right. Whatever. Right. Right. And it's like, everyone is right on the facts. Or maybe someone is right on the facts.

[00:23:38] And other person is, is, is, is operating from a place of feeling. But let's say everyone is right on specific facts about what's going. They're still not moving the discussion forward. Totally. Right. So like on George Floyd, it could be like, well, overall, this has happened time and again, and this and that.

[00:23:55] Oh, but I have a stat here over the amount of da, da, da. Oh yeah. Yeah. Well, George, [00:24:00] Floyd's a arrest record, but you're not actually right. You're not bringing it. So that's in the public discourse workplaces. Have become, and I've had the, I haven't worked in a workplace for, for many years, but how. How do you, I guess first, how do you, you know, Bob Berg talks about empathy, you and I can have a discussion.

[00:24:26] I understand that you have a different opinion, but I, I don't have to convince and convert you. You don't have to convince and convert me. How do you deal with that and discourse? In, in a workplace, cuz that's, I can get in a fight at, at, at Thanksgiving dinner and I don't anymore, but people that try to fight with me, but that's far different than a workplace where everyone has to come together day after, day after day and work together,

[00:24:47] JeVon McCormick: you know, uh, uh, much of it for me, Curt is, is really setting expectations of what the culture is upfront.

[00:24:55] So for me, you know, we've created what, what we call a culture of welcome. [00:25:00] And what that is is you, when. Let me back up again, the reason why we created this culture of welcome, uh, mu much of it came directly from me because as a kid, I was being mixed race in the seventies, man, Curt, you know, as well as I do that, wasn't a good look.

[00:25:15] And you know, black people didn't like me because I was half white, white people didn't like me because I was half black. And, and, and some people either don't know or forget. It wasn't until 1967 that I was even legally allowed to be born in this country be because, you know, mixed race was, was illegal.

[00:25:34] Right. And, and so I spent so much of my childhood trying to fit in trying to be accepted, uh, wanting to belong. And so as I got older, I realized damn with acceptance damn with your belonging. Uh, I damn sure don't wanna be tolerated. And, and so I realized, okay, no, we need to create a culture of welcome and, and what that [00:26:00] is.

[00:26:00] I, I, I truly, it does not matter who you voted for. It doesn't matter how you identify your sexual preference. Um, if you believe in God, if you don't believe in God, can you perform in your role drive results? Will you uphold the company values? If so, welcome. Now we establish that upfront. So people know what we stand for.

[00:26:25] And, and what's key to that is if there's going to be some disrespect, because maybe somebody's transgender, maybe somebody's gay. Somebody voted for Trump, somebody voted for Biden. Okay. Then no, if, if we cannot welcome. All diverse thoughts of people then don't work here. And, and we set that expectation early and often.

[00:26:51] So, so again, I don't wanna belong. You've even seen this more virtue signaling shit, Curt. Um, now it's D E I and B the B [00:27:00] stands for belonging. And for me it stands for bullshit, but it's uh, because belonging implies someone doesn. I don't wanna belong. I want to be welcome because it, I wanna be welcome to apply.

[00:27:15] And should I receive the opportunity to be hired? I want to continue to be welcomed while I'm there. So it, it, it's a culture of welcome versus acceptance tolerance, belonging. Uh, and, and that really just goes for, for me, Curt, on, on how you do this in, in the workplace, because yeah. You're gonna have people that don't agree.

[00:27:38] Don't see eye to eye. Uh, but, but here's the thing. It's okay. PE people are shocked by this. I I'll give you this one. Curt. So obviously I'm the CEO. Well, our chief experience officer she's gay and she doesn't believe in God. Well, we all know my first pillar in life is God. [00:28:00] My kids go to private Christian school.

[00:28:03] So what's interesting. When I say to people, yeah. If God forbid something happened to her and she became paralyzed, I'd be the first one there giving her a bath, brushing her teeth, wiping her ass, reading her a book. Albeit it'd be really slow, but I'd still be, be there doing it. And people are shocked.

[00:28:20] They're like how, but your values don't know she is a human. She is a person. And, and, and we don't have to agree on the same things in life that I value this human, this person. And, and that's really for us, what, what a culture of welcome is

[00:28:41] Curt Mercadante: it's the, and you talk about acceptance tolerance or tolerance, acceptance, you know, um, and then welcoming.

[00:28:50] And I've, I've often noticed over the past several years, People have skipped over the acceptance intolerance and welcoming, and they've, [00:29:00] they've either gone right. To, or confused it with compliance. Yeah. meaning, and, and this could go, this could go all ways. A lot of times when it goes one way, just given the, the, the, how culture is going right now, it's more silent.

[00:29:14] Right. So it's it's Hey. Yeah. We're gonna hire more black people. Mm-hmm and they'll wink, but there's there's, you know, uh, or. or, um, you know, we're only gonna hire people who believe in God, but we're, we're not really gonna officially do that. But on the other side, you have to agree with me. I mean, I've had people, um, beg me to know how I voted.

[00:29:36] Yeah. And I wouldn't tell 'em or, or we we're gonna discuss politics. Why? I don't want to, my, my daughter had a situation in 2020 where she had some friends that were so political. My daughter was, uh, at the time she was 14. She just wanted to have fun. She didn't like being locked up with a mask. She just wanted to get on the phone and like watch a movie, play a game.

[00:29:55] And no, we have to discuss this important political issue and da, da, da. And [00:30:00] my daughter's like, I don't, I really don't feel you're letting down. So it almost went to this compliance. And if she had, by the way, if she had communicated how maybe how she felt, then it would take to another level. No, you don't agree with us.

[00:30:11] And so right. You need to agree. And so do, do you ever, I guess maybe, maybe you nip that in the bud, in your playbook, from the very start and it's, is it the setting of expectations?

[00:30:25] JeVon McCormick: Yeah, it's, you know, I, I, I've always said this set expectations early and often, or expectations will be set for. And that, that goes with our authors, our business model.

[00:30:36] Uh, but, but also goes with, with our culture in, in society also, you know, and because here's the other, other piece, you, you, you brought up a good point. Curt, we don't wanna have open and honest conversations. We want you to side with whatever we believe at the time because you, you, you nailed it. We are so caught.

[00:30:59] In [00:31:00] blaming giving the reasons here's why it is racism systems broken. Okay. So we have spent two years now and, and I agree all these things that we've pointed out. Beautiful. Great. So society may not be our fault, but it is our responsibility. So how much longer are we gonna sit here and just finger point, call out all the shit.

[00:31:22] That's wrong. Who's the blame. And when do we take accountability and responsibility? To actually implement and make change. And, and, but we don't want to have open conversations to, to your point. People are shocked and, and they, they automatically assume when, when I give these, these next two examples, they automatically assume who I, who I voted for.

[00:31:50] And I said, okay, it's we have heard many a time Trump's racist. Trump's racist. All right. Fair enough. If you think some of the [00:32:00] things that he has said are, are racist comments. Okay. I could, I could see where you would get that from I'm I'm open-minded enough to see that, but I found it very interesting, especially for me as, as a person being mixed race who struggled mightily to be accepted, uh, to, to belong.

[00:32:21] No one put the same emphasis on Biden being a racist. When he said, if you don't vote for me, you ain't black. That was some for me, that was some of the most racist shit I had ever heard because now I got this old white guy. Telling me what race I am or what race. I'm not based on how I vote. And, and I just found it amazing how we just kind of glossed over that one.

[00:32:47] And, and you know, that one kind of went away and, and, and then, you know, we don't want to, to have conversations, uh, of openness. And so that, that was one where people automatically [00:33:00] assume, oh, he voted for Trump. Here's the other one. We as a society, blasted the hell out of Trump for how he treated the border, building a wall, the things he said about, uh, immigrants coming into that.

[00:33:15] I mean, we let Trump's ass up for, for his approach. Here's what I find interesting. And, and again, some could say rightfully so. Here's what I find interesting Biden ran his campaign on two things. The virus. Immigration, the border Biden. Hasn't been to the border since 2008. And no one says anything. and, and I'm blown away by how we won't have.

[00:33:45] Holistic factual conversations. We just want to gloss over what doesn't fit our narrative at the time. And, and Curt, you gotta gimme this last one here. Here's something that really, really just, it, it [00:34:00] pissed me off. It, it pissed me off. It hurt me. It, it angered me the week of the trial of the police officer, uh, that, that, that murder George Floyd, that week there was a shooting.

[00:34:13] Uh, in, in Minneapolis of the, uh, white lady officer, she thought she pulled out her taser, but she pulled out a gun and she shot and killed that kid. Here's here's what, here's how it was told to us. White cop kills black kid in Minneapolis, the week of the George Floyd trial of that cop white cop kills black kid that over and over white cop kills black kid.

[00:34:44] So I'm watching, I'm like, oh man, Minneapolis. They're just, shit's just going on up there. So I'm watching the press conference. And then I see the kids' mom and dad on TV. The mom was white. The dad was black. No one said [00:35:00] white officer kills mixed race kid. They said white officer kills black kid, but here's what pissed me off and really hurt the most.

[00:35:11] We had just spent two years shoving down our throat as a society to let you know that Kamala Harris was mixed race right. But, but this kid, Dante Wright was his name. Couldn't get the same respect to be called mixed race, but, but we flew planes from the skies to, to tell you that, but Kamala Harris was mixed race, but this kid was being presented white cop kills black kid.

[00:35:42] So, so to your point again, Curt, um, we want to keep complaining. We want to keep pointing fingers. We want to blame. But we don't, we don't want to take the next steps of great society may not be our fault, but it is our [00:36:00] responsibility. And no, one's no, one's looking at the responsibility piece.

[00:36:05] Curt Mercadante: I, I love that line.

[00:36:06] It's one that I've shared. I dunno if you know Dr. Joe Vitali, uh, he's down there. He's in Austin, he's a law of attraction coach. And, and he's shared that with, you know, from a, from a selfcare mindfulness standpoint, until you take. The responsibility. You're always gonna blame it on someone else, instead of saying, why am I attracting these people into my life?

[00:36:24] And why am I having this argument? Why, you know, conflict resolution and, and I, I always, it, you know, it's easier to put on your team Jersey and stop thinking. Then to, you know, it's, it's like, okay, let's say there's a, there's a school shooting somewhere, obviously it's tragic. Right? Right now we're gonna focus all on the school shooting.

[00:36:49] Now every minute, somewhere in the world, there's a tragedy, but we're gonna focus on this. Why are we gonna focus on this? Because there was a shooting at a white school. 60 people could [00:37:00] be gunned down in Chicago, black kids, but we don't get to, but we're gonna focus on this. But put that aside for a second, someone sits there and says, Someone's gotta do something.

[00:37:09] We have to pass a law. What, what's wrong with Congress? And I'm not saying don't pass a law. I'm not saying all that I have positions, but this is separate from that. Or they say what's wrong with parents today? These parents, blah, blah, blah. Yep. So they wake up, they say that they've done their, maybe they put a, a yard sign in for a candidate or something they have now done their duty and made the world a better place.

[00:37:31] And then they come home that night. They have their own kids. They come home that night stressed, anxious. They snap at their kids. They don't ask their kids how their day went and they think they're creating peace in the world. Whereas like most of these school shootings, a lot of 'em you go to Columbine, you go to Sandy hook.

[00:37:49] Some of these kids were building weapons and bombs inside their garage and the parents didn't even know it. Yep. And imagine if more people, and I'm not saying don't lobby, don't push for [00:38:00] this don't vote. I'm not saying any of that. But if, if more people took responsibility, maybe, maybe. You know, I, I don't know.

[00:38:08] JeVon McCormick: Uh, no, you, you, you nailed it Curt. And, and, and when, when you said that too, you, you have so many people, you, you, you see this a lot on LinkedIn and, and people will make comments. You know, one, one that really rubbed me wrong, that, that recently they were talking about kids and. The values and, and not even values the teachings that that should go on at school and someone weighed in and said, well, those are things that should be taught at home.

[00:38:41] Okay. I said, well, here's my problem with that. As true as that may be. What about all the kids who don't have anyone to teach them, those lessons at home, you know? And, and then I, I, of course, Curt, you know, I had to light into 'em like, look, my dad was a pimp. My mother was a prostitute who was going to teach me that, that [00:39:00] lesson.

[00:39:00] And, and so it's easy again, we're going to shove off responsibility, but we, as a society, you know, if we don't bring change, We're we're just choosing to, to continue to do the same thing. And, and, and the more, more importantly here Curt is, people also have to look at kids in, in real lives. No child asked to be born.

[00:39:24] None. We just showed up and, and, and you either won the lottery of parents. Like, like my kids did, uh, like your kids did, or you, you know, you basically were dealt a bad poker hand like me, you know, I got a two, a four, a seven. I got a Jack just because my name's Javon, you know, I got a J in there. So, but, but here here's the thing.

[00:39:48] You can't blame the kids. You can't call the kids monsters. You can't call the kids, you know? Oh, that should have been taught at home. Kids did not ask to be born. So, you know, here, here, again, we're passing off blame. [00:40:00] Okay. Great. Parents shouldn't have had the children. Mom shouldn't have had six kids, five different dads.

[00:40:06] Great. Okay. We got that established. Now. Guess what? These kids are still here. What are we gonna do to take responsibility? To bring change?

[00:40:16] Curt Mercadante: and, and I wanna highlight the fact that you, you know, you're, you, you work with like the li Don Wek, you know, the startup up foundation to help create opportunities for kids who aren't, whose parents can't send them to private school, or we homeschool our kids, you know, people are like, what do you think about this?

[00:40:31] And this I'm like, yeah, I don't like it. But I, I don't ever want to have to go to a school board meeting the lobby. Right, right. you know, and, and then they think, well, not everyone can homeschool. Well, the statistics actually show otherwise, but I'd love to give opportunity to more people. The biggest, uh, Kerry McDonald's written about this, you know, the biggest single increase in homeschooling over the last two years was in Hispanic families.

[00:40:54] Hmm. And you know, a lot of people would know that they don't the average homeschool. [00:41:00] Has a G E D or some, some amazing percentage. Well, how do they teach their kids are dumb. Well, show me the statistics, but if you create the opportunities for those people, and that's why when it comes to politics sometimes, and, and like, it's it's, I was thinking this as you were talking, and maybe this is , maybe this is totally crass, but we've, you know, we've lost the opportunity for nuance in our society.

[00:41:22] I think where. You know, it's, you're either here or you're over there. And I was gonna say, it's black and white. And I said, wait, you you're, you're a perfect metaphor for this. You're mixed race. That's where nuance lives. That's where most things live where you can say, yeah, Trump's an idiot, but he's an idiot.

[00:41:40] And I joke around. I said, I voted for the mediator.

[00:41:44] JeVon McCormick: man. You, you nailed it on, on black, white. I tell people all the time now I, there is no gray area. I said, life is just like, it is for me. It's black or white. . It's

[00:41:58] I would. [00:42:00] I would just, if someone said, well, what, what's the number one thing you would like to see change with within our society? I would like to see us all as a people take more responsibility and accountability versus blaming. We, we, we, we, we got it all out there. Every everybody's blamed. Let let's, let's bring some actual change.

[00:42:18] Uh, let, let's actually do some follow through, listen to one another. There are SI you know, there's shit on the far, right? That they're actually correct. There's shit on the far left. They're actually correct, but we can't seem to say, Hey, how do we do right, as a people and by people, we, everyone's not going.

[00:42:41] I, I, first lesson, uh, greatest lesson I learned as a kid and Curt, you and I talked about this last time when I was in line, uh, for our free handout. Uh, I was eight years old. I was with my mom and we were in the welfare line. It's back in the seventies and you had to stand in line three, four hours. And wait for [00:43:00] your free handout.

[00:43:01] And an older white lady was standing in front of us and she looked down at me. She looked up at my mom and she spit in my mom's face and she called her a nigger lover. And, and I remember one, no one came to my mom's aide. No, my, my mom just stood there and wiped the spit from her face, the tears from her eyes.

[00:43:18] And she couldn't leave the line because she had to feed her mixed race child. But the lesson that I took in that moment was. No matter what you do in life, no matter how much money you make, no matter how many awards you win, no matter how big of a company you, you grow, no matter where you live, everyone's not gonna like you and Curt.

[00:43:40] That was one of the, you, you talk about freedom. That was one of the greatest freeing. Moments, uh, of realization that, that I ever had, because then I, I didn't spend my, my entire life worried about who doesn't like me and it, it [00:44:00] became more of how can I succeed? How can I achieve my, my goals? How can I create my happiness and, and.

[00:44:09] That is where I feel we are lost as a society is we're so worried about who likes us, who doesn't, who picks our side, who, who votes the same way we do that. We we're not even coming together as a, as a people to realize, okay, look. I'm not gonna like everything you believe you're not gonna like everything.

[00:44:30] I, I believe you and I right now, Curt, you know, there's, there's certain things that, that, okay, you may have a belief. I may have a belief, but I'm Curt calls me up. I'm still gonna be there for Curt. That's my man. And, and I don't understand why we can't come together like that as a people and realize, Hey, we're not always gonna agree on everyth.

[00:44:48] Curt Mercadante: Even within families, you know, it's like they reject them because of how they voted or dis invite 'em to Thanksgiving dinner. And that's why I said, gosh, that's one thing. But within a workplace, some of these [00:45:00] workplaces, I hear stories and it's like, oh my gosh, we here's one. And, and I know we're running up on time here, but I, I had, there was a workplace that I was in, they were a client and someone got reported, someone who was a known.

[00:45:15] Because it was in DC, you kind of knew where everyone was from their past experience. Now he was a Republican and came in one day and was reported and had to go through HR training and everything. And I'm not saying that's bad and whoever, but we, you know, you can get into how that HR training goes and all that word training and everything.

[00:45:34] Right. But he walked in and he said, uh, how are my favorite ladies of color doing. right. Well, they didn't like that. And so they reported him now. I'm not saying that's good or, or whatever. Fast forward. A couple years later, we talked about Barack Obama. There was a guy who was a, uh, known Democrat, but he would, he, you know, if you [00:46:00] talk to him for an hour, he came across as like a Dixiecrat , you know, and the same person who reported the other person.

[00:46:08] Who'd you vote for? And he, it was known that he did not like black people. Like he was, he did not like there were no bones about it. Right? I mean, he, he, the black people knew he didn't like them and they, it was weird. They got along. He said not weird. You know, his response was, I voted for Obama. She said, why, why?

[00:46:28] He goes, I voted for the white. Ouch. She laughs goes on her daily day business. Yeah. The team Jersey was right. He was wearing the right team Jersey. He could have said it's like, when Trump said I could kill someone on fifth avenue, people would still vote. Yeah. We we've put on those team jerseys. Totally, totally.

[00:46:48] JeVon McCormick: Oh man. Curt, man, that, that was, uh, Yeah. I, I, I get that, man. I it's funny, Curt, I can't tell you how many times I've had people say [00:47:00] to me, well, you're not like a regular black person. yeah. And, and, and I'm like, well, okay, so regular let's, let's dive into that. And, and, but, but, and, and that's here's to, to go with your, your, your, your story right there, Curt.

[00:47:19] Here's something to this day, I still get asked that just irritates the hell outta me. Uh, when people look at me and they say, what are you? Mm. Now I know what they're asking me. They're asking me, what's my nationality. But that's a different question. If you wanna know my nationality, then you gotta ask that.

[00:47:34] But to say, what are you, I'm human. And that, that right there is the start of the, of the problem. You're, you're, you're trying to, um, box me as a what instead of a, who. And so it it's, we we've just got so much in our country that we should be able to talk about without being offended, without being angry, because you know, [00:48:00] is this racist that if I grew up in an upper middle class, white home, And I lived in gating communities and I spent the majority of my, my life, uh, around white people.

[00:48:12] Am I automatically racist? No, but, but we've got people who will classify that individual as, as a racist and that's just wrong. We've weaponized the word privilege in this country privilege and think about Curt. Here's the thing. We've weaponized the word. We criticize people with privilege, but yet, and still we're all after.

[00:48:34] We all want the nice home to do better for our families, financial security, um, you know, better schools for our kids. Those things are a privilege to have we're all after those things, but yet, and still we demonize and, and we weaponize the word privilege for the people who were either born into it or who have achieved it.

[00:48:57] And, and I live by this [00:49:00] privilege is only a negativ. If you do not use your privilege to elevate others.

[00:49:05] Curt Mercadante: Hmm. I love it. I love that. It's, uh, I have a relative who will watch shark tank and she just knee jerk those fat cats. They have enough money and they're just, they just have enough money and they, and, and she'll throw out privilege or whatever.

[00:49:22] And I said, I just start going from the ones I said, Robert Hirsch. Communist Croatia Fletcher. I said, Damon, John. Yeah. Have you read it? Oh, oh well. And, and it, but it, it, it's almost in the bones. It's her mom saying it it's her mom's mom saying it. Yep. And, and you have this conditioning that is you're on this team or that team.

[00:49:46] And you're either with me or against me. Yep. And I've had people say, well that you just sound like a privileged on LinkedIn and you know, it's like, well, how does that make you. By worrying about my privilege.

[00:49:58] JeVon McCormick: so someone called me [00:50:00] privileged on LinkedIn and, and, and clearly they didn't know my background.

[00:50:04] And, and so, um, again, it's like we just, LinkedIn is fascinating to me, LinkedIn Twitter, all social media is you could make a 100%. True factual comment. There's always one person who wants to just go against it and, and find the negative, or, or try to, to pick a fight and go a different direction. And I, I laugh be because people are just wanting to find a reason to disagree and engage in, in, in anger.

[00:50:39] Uh, my, my wife said this to me. What frustrates a lot of people, a about me is many people can't figure out how it was done, meaning. Okay. If you look at, at Robert Smith, one of my, one of my favorite people in America, you know, wealthiest black man in [00:51:00] America, he's here in Austin, created VI, uh, Vista equity, um, uh, private equity firm.

[00:51:06] But if you look at Robert Smith's background, he comes from a two parent home. Both of his parents had PhDs. Robert Smith lived in Denver at the time of him growing up. Denver was not the hots spot for black people. and, and so, you know, he lived in Denver, two parent home, both parents, highly educated.

[00:51:27] Robert Smith went to Ivy league schools, Columbian, Harvard, Robert Smith, worked at Goldman Sachs it, you know, to take this back to the playbook. If you look at the playbook, the only part that Robert Smith didn't fit was he was black. And, and, and I, I tell people, I, I make the joke. Yeah, you guys lost me a two parent home.

[00:51:48] And, and so when you look and, and, and it frustrates people, I see this now, um, you have a lot of people that I'm in rooms with CEOs, founders, [00:52:00] visit people who have achieved success, and because they followed the playbook. Many people look at me like, well, how the hell did you get here? You're like, you're not supposed to be here because again, pimp father, prostitute, mother, you know, in and outta juvenile, sexually molested G E D, hold on, hold on.

[00:52:20] You know, and, and they then want something, you know, they can't even say, well, damn, he's. He's not even, uh, all black or all white. So we got that. Okay. Shit. He didn't even graduate from high school, you know, hell is no degree. And, and they just ke they can't find one thing to try to hold on, to welcome me into the, the, the playbook, because.

[00:52:40] I don't have any of it. And it is like my, my, my wife has said B, I'm gonna call her. She said, for some people you're America's worst nightmare. and I was like, thanks, honey. yeah.

[00:52:52] Curt Mercadante: Fitting people, putting things in boxes that make sense. Yes. Is easy for people. And it's a comfort zone [00:53:00] and it's. Um, like you said, I mean, you just said, you said some things that kind of were critical to Trump.

[00:53:05] You said some things that are kind of Biden. Wait, whoa, what do you do with that? I right. That doesn't compute in my brain. You gotta, you either gotta be over here, over here, which is funny. I follow a lot of libertarians. I lean libertarian. Um, and it's like, people don't know what to do with them sometimes.

[00:53:20] JeVon McCormick: no, no. And, and, and it's like I said, people, people don't know what to do with it, because like you said, I don't fit in a box. We want everything to fit in a place, fit in its box. And, and that, again, that is our problem with society is we are not taking the time to. Listen, learn and seek to understand it.

[00:53:46] It's okay to not be from a low income community and not understand all that goes on there. You know, that's, it it's nobody's fault. You, you were born, you know, and my kids, my kids were born have amazing lives. Like they don't know anything about [00:54:00] what, where I come from and, and what that looks like. That doesn't make them bad people that doesn't, you don't weaponize privilege against them because their dad broke his back.

[00:54:08] That they, they have a different life. That is what we all aspire to do. Uh, but we, we just wanna be angry.

[00:54:15] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. Well Joon, you certainly do not come across as an angry person. You, you, with, with your background, you could, you could easily have given in to the, what I like to call the struggle porn and the, the being ungrateful and jaded.

[00:54:30] And instead you've, you've used it to help other people tell their stories and share their wisdom. Um, and, and which I believe. It might be your vision statement for the company, right? Your mission statement, share your wisdom with the world or helping. Yep. Which I love. Um, the book is modern leader. The first book is I got there.

[00:54:47] Get 'em both. Uh, the second one is a great follow up to the first one references. The first one, uh, David Goggins, uh, wrote the forward to the book scribe published David Goggin's book as well, which is the only book where [00:55:00] I literally got physically ill reading. It because he was going through it. I felt myself chilled cuz I was reading it.

[00:55:06] Um, Joon. I wanna thank you so much for joining us on the freedom media network today.

[00:55:11] JeVon McCormick: Um, my man, Curt, like, like I said, man, you, you, you, uh, You contact me. You email me, you send me smoke signals. I'm there,

[00:55:18] Curt Mercadante: man. I appreciate that. And likewise, next time I'm in Austin. We'll have to hook up. Oh, for sure. And, uh, thanks so much.

[00:55:25] All the, all the information, the book everything's gonna be in the show notes. Go out now. Get the book. I got mine on I apple books. It's on Amazon. Go to scribe, go to I believe is your website, right? That's it. Go there. Follow him. Get the book. JeVon. Thanks so much. My man.

[00:55:41] JeVon McCormick: Thank you, Curt.


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