Andy McDowell of Generate Your Value on Finding Your Purpose TV
Welcome, everybody. This is Jane Gardner at Finding your Purpose TV. And today on our show, we have Andy McDowell. Andy is an engineer, so I have something in common with him. We know all about the same challenges of being engineers and being a technician, but he’s also creative. So this is surprising because I know many engineers and they’re not creative, so I’m going to be looking into that, really and he spent 22 years with the Boeing Company, where he always felt more like a life coach than an engineer and a boss. In 2002, he began his journey into entrepreneurship within a corporation when he was asked to develop an Aerospace design consulting business from scratch, wow, that would be hard, that would serve the global government market. Andy has a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech in electrical engineering and a Master’s degree in computer information systems from Georgia State. Naturally, his aviation work took him around the world and enabled him to work on many high profile projects like the Beijing and Sochi airports for their respective Olympic Games. So we’re really excited to talk to Andy about basically his purpose and his journey from getting from where he was to where he is now.
So, first of all, I better welcome you. Hi.
Great to be with you today.
Andy, maybe you could tell us. I’m really excited to find out how an engineer can become into the business that you’re in. It sounds like your business actually did help you with Finding Your Other purpose. So my husband, he’s never really a true engineer, but right now he has to work in engineering. So it’s really exciting to see how you manage the journey. Just maybe I can help him get into his retirement. So Andy, please. How did you manage that?
So I always had a love for airplanes, built the plastic models as a kid, was fascinated with the fact that such a heavy piece of metal could stay up in the air from that perspective. So I had the opportunity to coming out of grad school and got into a couple of companies that were aviation based, and the last one being that the United States largest exporter, dollar wise company called Boeing. True joy and passion in my life came to be, to be able to work for a company so involved in the aviation community however, it had little to do with electrical engineering. So everything that I learned how to do with airspace design, simulation, modeling, the work that we did was all on the job training, using my technical computer skills at first to help the smaller entrepreneurial company that I work for become digitized and help reduce their expenses by 75% in their delivery time to customers from about two weeks to a couple of days from that perspective. But it was along the journey, 22 years for the Boeing Company, come to find out about the part of the work that I did as I moved up the leadership chain that I enjoyed the most was the engagement with my team members and helping them to grow as individuals as well as growing their position in their careers giving me the most satisfaction and what got me out of the bed every morning regardless of where I was in the world. Because I was spending close to half of the year outside the office and somewhere in the world helping the government bring GPS technology into their flight and ground operations was what we were basically doing, trying to help them be more efficient in their operations using the GPS technology.
Wow. Yeah. That’s really important. Yeah. That’s very exciting that you work for the Beijing and Olympics and everything like that. It must have been high pressure, but you like working with your team members instead of the high pressure. I’m sure. Yeah. So how did you evolve into another business? Obviously, there were certain changes in your position, but maybe you could tell us that. How did you get into coaching?
Well, my goal, a career with the Boeing Company was to work for them for about 30 years, I made it to 22 when I, along with thousands of other employees, were laid off because of the Boeing 737 Max crisis, right, that the company went through. So my goal was shortened by eight years. So I decided, instead of doing what originally playing part time, to fully engage with it full time and follow my true joys and passions, as opposed to getting back into the corporate world or the aviation world, I thought I could make a more lasting impact on people’s lives doing that, as opposed to sticking to aviation.
Right. Yeah. So you did it part time while you were working in aviation, or you felt that working with your team was really a lot like coaching? In a way, because you have to make sure they’re all working and doing what they need to do. So you just sort of started in life coaching?
Well, I just took the philosophy and mindset, let me take a step back, I feel like there’s a lot about life that overlaps business. And so I developed some methodologies in my head about how to approach the whole conversation with either my teammates that I was leading and directing, or others within the company that sought me out as a mentor. I had some comments made by people about how good I was at doing it, and even had one gentleman say, why are you still here? You’re so good at this, why don’t you leave the Boeing Company and go do this full time? And I said, Well, I still have some things I want to try and push and accomplish within the company that still haven’t been realized yet. So I’d stick around and try and get those accomplished before I go out and do this full time. But a different decision was made for me?
Yes. That was the same decision on why we went into our home office, our own business too. We had no plans back in 20 years ago. You’re actually a business focus coach. And what’s the connection between when you’re working with a client, finding their purpose and their business? Because I feel that you’re always happiest when you have your purpose business rather than purposeful business rather than just picking what’s the hottest new subject sort of thing. So how do you approach that kind of idea with your client?
Well, my ultimate goal is for business owners to live a life of joy, happiness and success and your chance of achieving that is at its greatest when you’re in a business that you have a love and a passion for, right, and a sense of purpose in it. So that’s where I usually like to start the conversation somewhat centered around with, okay, why are you in this business?
Do I get an answer that’s more like, well, this particular industry seems to be very profitable and growing and so forth and so on where they’re sort of looking outside themselves and what the market is doing versus any kind of introspection and thought and mindset behind it to say, No, this is what I really enjoy doing and Yes, I want to make some money and be successful at it but that’s secondary to my joy and happiness in life.
Right. Oh, wow. Yeah. Because what would be the process? Do you decide at some point, oh, it looks like they’re okay when you’re working with them, it looks like this is going to be the direction that will work for them and it’s purposeful and might make them happy or does it take like two or three sessions? How do you do that? Do you have exercises? Sorry, I mean, I don’t do it myself, so I’m always interested to find out how you’re able to help them define how happy they are going to be in their business, sort of thing.
I generally like to start with them in a workshop that I offer that’s based on the Do Have model. So society in Hollywood likes to sell the model of Do Have Be. I go do these things in the world that’s going to go make a lot of money, and then I get to have these things in my life between homes and cars and airplanes and villas and so forth and so on and then that enables me to be a certain way in the world. But research has shown that the true path to joy and happiness in the world is to do it in a Be, to have that’s good timeline, so to speak, where you discover who you are and the being part how are you going to be in this world? In a workshop, they have to do some homework ahead of time to get some feedback from people that they trust in their life.
And so we do that exercise to discover who they are in this world and then, okay, what do you want to do that aligns with your being in this world? And we take those inputs and then we start putting in a methodology I developed that’s based off of the business strategy that enables you to develop a life strategy for yourself. And then once we have your life strategy, we can start working on the business. The pieces around your business plan and those things to make sure that the work you’re doing is going to make you successful in business. But Be is aligned with who you are in this world so that you can maximize the potential of achieving joy and happiness and success in your life.
Wow, that’s really exciting. I didn’t know that you could actually do that because I always, so that’s really interesting, because that’s why I do this show, to find out the different ways that people find their purpose and that’s really a good sort of driven way and focused way in finding your purpose. Because I mean, a lot of people wander in terms of finding what they’re happiest at.
It’s great for people that likes a lot of structure in their life or need some kind of path or plan to focus on, to get themselves where they are. If you’re a fly by night kind of person that seems overly burdensome and we try to tone it down to a certain degree to sort of help you out and give you more guideposts or swim lanes, so to speak, as opposed to a real hard life strategy plan. But at least something that you can do some focusing on to get yourself to where you want to be.
Oh, wow, that’s great. That’s very exciting. Do you run this on is this just as part of your system or is this a workshop that you run every four months of pandemic? You don’t do it?
Yeah, at the moment I do it sort of on an on demand basis. I like to keep the numbers small so I can give personalized attention as the workshop is a little bit of instruction and then a lot of working by the participants, thinking about things and reading the inputs they got from other people and putting some thought to it. And I can go from person to person and provide some guidance as they’re going through their thoughts and so forth. If I got a dozen people in the room, it’s difficult to do that.
Yeah, for sure, and with a pandemic, we’re not doing too much of that now.
Let’s go through your whole process then. Once you put together their business plan and then you follow through with them as they go along in their adventure or is that where you just sort of monitor.
Yeah, it just depends on what the client wants. Some people feel like, no, I got it, I just needed something to work off of, and I’ve got it and they might ring me up once a year or something and have a conversation on a particular issue. Or I have a Mastermind like, group that they can join where we meet once a month for half a day and be a member of that where they’re getting monthly feedback from not only myself, but the other participants in the group as they’re going along, working on their business plan and their business.
It just depends on how much guidance or how much hand holding, so to speak, do they want?
Yeah, Mastermind would be great for anyone, for sure. So let’s talk about your creativity and how you feel that developed your business and your purpose, because engineers are not known for being creative, usually. Were you creative before you became an engineer? That’s sort of my husband, really, in a way, he’s an engineer. He sort of went into engineering because he loved math. I don’t know. How did it happen for you? And creativity
The beginnings of it started in my personal life and with my hobbies. So, as a teenager, I begged and begged my parents to let me get a camera, and they hopped on a train, I grew up in northern New Jersey and they hopped on a train one day we went into New York City to one of the big camera stores where you can get the best prices. And they bought me a camera and a couple of lenses and so forth, and ultimately became the sports photographer for the high school yearbook and newspaper, as well as the local paper. Developed my own black and white film and prints and so forth, taught myself how to do all that. And that’s where my creative journey started. I’m still an avid photographer today.
Working on my craft throughout the years and then as a young adult, I got encouraged by my wife at the time to get involved in choir at a church. Next thing I knew, within about six months of starting out, I was up in front of the congregation singing the solo from a major church piece and the name escapes me at the moment from that particular point. So music. I became very active in music from a young adult on. And then five years, six years ago, I went and bought a guitar and started teaching myself how to play guitar, now a rhythm guitarist and singer in the praise band at my church. So I always see creativity as a muscle that we’re all born with. I get a little bit wrapped around the axle, so when somebody tells you, they’re not a creative person, I’d like to push back and go, no, you just don’t practice creativity. It’s a journey and it’s a muscle that you got to keep exercising. You just need to find something that’s creative that you enjoy doing from that perspective. And I found myself going through my career that my strengths were in strategy and with strategy, you’ve got to have some visionary skills. You got to be creative in nature, the ability to think out of the box, per se, and look at possible different avenues for your business that might bring you some success. And so I think doing all the photography and music pieces on the personal side to keep my creative muscles per se going helped and enabled my career on the strategy side.
Oh, wow. Yeah. We could wander off on creativity as well because I’m an artist, but we won’t do that because we’re talking about business. Business is creative. So I can certainly agree you can put that into your business strategies as well. But one of the topics that you want to talk about was intentional living. And I think that’s very exciting because I feel that’s also one of the important things to do in your life. And so I’d like you to talk about that as well, please. Yeah. How do you feel that intentional is better than random living?
Well, the example I like to use in my coaching when it comes to intentionality is the imagery of you being in a life raft or a rubber boat or something of that nature that doesn’t have an engine on it. You might have ,at best, have a couple of paddles in it, and you’re sitting out in the ocean somewhere. And if you’re not living your life with intentionality, then the ocean is just pushing you around. You’re just sort of going with the flow and sort of letting life happen to you and sort of hope for the best kind of attitude, so to speak. Versus, if you’re living with intentionality and you’re being introspective and thinking about what you want out of your life and how am I going to set a path, so to speak, to achieve that? For myself, it’s more like you’re in a sailboat or a motor boat with a rudder on it that enables you to get yourself to the port of call that you want for your life. And you may think one port of call is your spot at the moment, but then as you’re on your journey in your motorboat or sailboat to that, you might learn some things or have some second thoughts or see other people doing something that changes your mind and so now you want to go to a different port of call. Well, you just take your rudder and adjust your heading and start moving in that direction. So eventually you get to the port of call that you’re trying to achieve. But it’s very difficult to do that in a river boat with a couple of paddles getting pushed around by the wind and the ocean.
Right. Oh, wow.
That’s the kind of analogy I like to throw on the table when I talk to people about living an intentional life.
I’m also interested in that and self awareness, especially that’s in one way, why I do Finding Your Purpose, being intentional is so important that it took me a few years. So you’re being intentional can take some time and I’m glad you have that analogy of going from one port to the next like you can change your intention. You don’t have to always be having the same intention. Yeah.
I developed a life plan for myself, I don’t know, dozen years ago and I revisit it. I take time between Christmas and New Year’s every year and review it and see if I want to make any adjustments or so forth based off of life circumstances or something I learned about myself or about the world or something of that nature that makes me want to tweak certain things within the life plan. So by doing that, I’m slightly changing the port of call.
Great analogy. I love that. So I thought maybe we would have a look at your information on the screen so people can take notes and maybe you could talk about what your free consultation may be and what it is sort of like, the schedule for that, or not the schedule, but what do you guys chat about on your free consultation? That kind of thing would be great. Andy.
Sure. So my company name is Generate Your Value, and my contact information is at the bottom of the card to include my website, which is the best way to find out about me and get a hold of me is through email. What I offer potential clients is a free consultation at the beginning. If you’re in town here in Atlanta, where I’m from, I’ll meet up for a cup of coffee, and if not, via zoom call or phone call. But in that first hour spending time with you I like to just get to know who you are and start discovering, peeling onions back, onion layers back ,so to speak, about where you think your joys and happiness is in your life and a little bit about your history. Who you are as a person, what you want different about your life, kinds of things, to try and gather enough information to decide whether I’d be a good fit for you. I’m not going to be a good fit for everybody.
And be, what might be a good strategy or path forward in terms of my services to generate value in your life, which is where I named my company.
But I did.
Can we have a brief chat about your podcast? I’m sorry, I didn’t know about it. Otherwise we’ll put it up on the end card. So you have a podcast that you do?
I have a podcast. We generally release episodes every Tuesday afternoon. It’s called Generate Your Value. It’s available on all the major podcast platforms. You can also get to it on my website. I have a co- host, Zach Levy, who’s in the financial services business. So I have a business coach with a business owner, we are a couple of weeks away from finishing up season number two. We’re going to take a break July and August to get ourselves ready for season three, which will start shortly after Labor Day in September and we talk about all things relative to life, leadership and small business trying to illustrate why we feel there’s a huge overlap between life and business. Develop an intentional life like we talked about and be introspective and take some of the tools of life, then you can easily translate them, it takes a little bit of translation, it’s not a one to one, but translate it, into being a very effective leader in your business, whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or have a team of people that you’re leading to do it in a way that you get high levels of engagement from your team and be successful in your business.
Yeah, that’s so important, Andy, especially for the future now with the challenges that we’re going to have to have a successful team and that’s great that you guys talk about that on your podcast as well. Of course. Probably ,you probably go into a business, if they’re having issues they want to talk about. I assume that’s also one of your service, you’re not just looking at individuals, I would assume. Maybe I’m assuming wrong.
Well, our first season was a lot of conversation about concepts and a lot of it was just Zac and myself, having conversations on particular topics. But in season two, we started bringing in folks for interviews and I really like to talk about and fascinated with people’s stories as entrepreneurs. And so I like to try and highlight stories to be inspirational for people to say, it may seem to be scary, but in the end you’ve got resources out there to, include somebody like myself, that can help you along the journey. What it’s really about is your mindset and your grit and tenacity and ability to get after it are key ingredients that will ,a lot of times, not all the time, but a lot of times overcome the challenges you face along the journey.
Yeah, I totally agree. Perseverance is one of these really important things for entrepreneurs. Yes, for sure. Well, Andy, I think I’ll let you go now because it sounds like you have a very busy, busy life, what with the podcast and everything and obviously you can be a guest if anyone is interested or wants to talk to you. I’ll put the end card up at the end, but do you want to just mention that you’re traveling podcasting or whatever we call it? What is that? Interview Tour. We’ll be here. I put this up for years, but I’m sure you’ll be available for anyone to be interviewed at any time.
Yeah. If you’re an entrepreneur and you feel like you have an entrepreneurial story or journey, you feel like it could be inspirational to others or instructional or some kind of nature, I’d love to hear from you. Just reach out to me at my email address, and we’ll see if we can get you on in season three. Our seasons run September through June season, right?
Yeah. No, I’m sure you’ve got season three planned, and I’m sure you’d be welcome to talk to any entrepreneur, I meant yourself. If anyone’s interested in interviewing you on their podcast, you’re obviously always available.
No, I’m always available. If you feel like my entrepreneurial story or what I talked about in my podcast or my expertise can add value to your listening audience, I’d love to have a conversation with you about coming onto your podcast and see if our conversation, I like to call them golden Nuggets, lay some golden nuggets on the table for people to help them out in life, leadership, or in business.
Yeah, for sure. Right now, as an artist, I’m thinking I’m going to have to draw a boat going on, but I won’t steal that analogy. I will use it, but I won’t.
If people are interested in my photography, I’m out on Instagram at Airspace Dude.
Airspace Dude. I got to write that.
It’s also my Twitter handle. If you’re on Twitter, want to engage with me, please do.
Yes. I’ve looked at all of you, had a lot of connections, so that’s great. Yeah. Very exciting. Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Andy, for coming on to the show and we’re hoping to get this up really soon, and certainly it will be there for the summer. So hopefully you’ll get some more entrepreneurs contacting you once I put up the end card again. And thank you very much, Andy.
Thank you very much for the invite, Jane, and for the conversation. Yes, I’m a little jealous, particularly this time of year that you’re out in Vancouver and I’m here in Atlanta because I’ve had the luxury of going to your city a number of times in my business career, and I absolutely love it. It’s one of my favorites in the world.
Yeah, we’re very excited. We’re going up on the Alaska cruise this September. so beautiful in September here, so you come on up.
I’m trying. Alaska Cruise is on my list.
The greatest one is through the Georgia Strait. Awesome.
Anyway, yeah. Particularly as a photographer, I’m just dying to get up there.
That would be great. I’d like to thank Andy McDowell for being on the show, and if you would like to have a free consultation with Andy about your business, you can go to Generateyourvalue.com or contact by email at andy @ generateyour value.com in order to have a chat about your business. So thank you very much.