Podcast Ep. 74 – Finding Opportunity in Adversity

Larry Olsen November 2, 2021

Looking to move from what you don’t want to what you do? Vikram Deol is a serial entrepreneur passionate about business, scaling businesses, growing businesses, starting businesses and learning why some grow and others fail. He loves helping owners and managers scale and reproduce themselves. His current business is a coach to coaches, small business owners, and those in the services industry, he sees himself as a conscious leader who is always looking to give back to his community. He has realized that the missing link in moving from failure to success often isn’t more strategy or more sales pitches to practice. It’s, as he says, pulling the rug out or filling the hole left by an external force that holds each of us back. For more information go to: https://coach.vikramdeol.com/free-webinar 



Larry Olsen: Welcome. I’m Larry Olsen, and what’s on your mind? Once set, it delivers your life. To change the outcomes we want, we must change the plays we’re running. Join us at Mindset Playbook with Real people – Real talk for Real insight.

Narrator: Today’s episode is sponsored by Aperneo, An Achievement Acceleration Company, whose approach to professional development enables clients to gain insights and perspectives to live, work, and engage with more success.


Larry Olsen: I want to welcome everyone to Mindset Playbook. And our guest today, I’m very excited to have is, Vikram Deol. Vikram is a serial entrepreneur passionate about business, scaling businesses, growing businesses, starting businesses, and learning why some do grow and others fail. He loves helping owners and managers scale and reproduce themselves. Vikram has owned and operated over 11 businesses. His current one being a coach to coaches, small business owners and those in the services industry, he sees himself as a conscious leader who is always looking to give back to his community. Now, as a business coach and consultant, he has realized that the missing link often isn’t more strategy or more sales pitches in practice. It’s, as he says, “pulling the rug out or filling the hole left by an external force and then creating a new strategy with his clients that serve them and their long-term future”. He’s realized that business is not separate from life. He believes in a more holistic approach to coaching his clients and helping them work through childhood traumas. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to read a bit about your journey, and I want to start our conversation with the question you mentioned: Vikram, the importance of working through childhood traumas, which childhood trauma has been the most difficult for you and what benefit has it provided you in being a better person as well as businessman and welcome.


Vikram Deol [00:02:09] Wow, Larry. It almost sounds like I would have wrote that introduction myself. That was amazing. I appreciate being here with you today. We’ve had a couple of conversations. You got a great funny personality, but you provided such a quality service. And to answer your question, what childhood trauma was the one that affected me most? I mean, there are so many things that, so many limiting beliefs that our parents put on us, there’s so many things that your aunts and uncles say that hold you back. But I think the one that kind of stands out to me the most right now is in sixth grade, my parents sent us to boarding school in India and they sent us there to learn the language, learn the culture, become more attuned with who we were, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But what happened was the school they sent us to was a, it was very corrupt. And instead of it being an experience that changed our lives and the better at which it did, it was an experience that I held on to like if I go to India, I get PTSD and I become deathly ill and the minute I get on a plane and I leave the country, it’s like, oh wow, all the cold sweats are gone, all the barfing and diarrhea has gone. Like he can hold down food and people don’t. Sometimes people understand PTSD, but parents don’t want to acknowledge that they can be the catalysts of their own child’s PTSD. And so, for me, when I came back from that first boarding school where we were, you know, I was traumatized. My older brother said it was like the greatest fear in the world, but he was really popular, and he didn’t see the kind of the external environment. He didn’t care about the food having maggots and worms and bugs in it, or the toilets like full of what goes into a toilet, you know, and being in sixth grade, you’re really young. And we grew up in a really nice neighborhood right. My parents did not. They did not struggle financially as children. And so, to go from one area of the world where you’re on kind of like the top of the food chart to the bottom of the food chart was really, really crazy. I mean, it was so bad, Larry, that when my uncle came to finally pick us up, he brought the chief of police. This is and what, 19, 1993 to 1994. He brought the police chief, and they pulled a pistol out at the gate guard, saying, we don’t need it. We don’t need to have some principal who’s an a**hole sign a paper. These are my kids. We’re taking them. And the police chief just turned his back, and the gate guard was like, “Oh OK, bye”. (Larry Olsen: You’re kidding) And so, in sixth grade, I started to see life. How it really was, right? Like, life is tough. Life is difficult. Life is going to throw you weird obstacles. Life isn’t going to be always easy, and you get a participation award like schools give out, nowadays. I mean, it was real life. Like, we saw the world for real life at a very young age, and that shaped a lot of my resilience because I realized, OK, if I don’t fend for myself, even the people who love me the most can screw up and make mistakes out of good heartedness. They can make mistakes and put us into really bad situations. So, my situational awareness and my resilience became very strong, you know, in sixth grade as a little kid.


Larry Olsen [00:05:47] Mm hmm. Yeah, and you know, you, as well as anyone that we’re not born with attitudes that they derive based on our experiences and not so much our experiences, but we how we talk to ourselves about our experiences. And here you are in the sixth grade and just very much in the developmental stage, club is still pliable. And attitudes have a hundred percent on performance, so that carried out through your whole life until you decided to change the attitude. But what attitude do you think you mentioned limiting that you got from that experience?


Vikram Deol [00:06:27] Well, I think that experience for me. I don’t know that it limited me as much as it showed me the way the world really was, right? At a very early stage of our life, we saw the world for what it was. It’s a mean place it can be. It’s not a mean place, but you can have mean situations. You can have situations where people mean the best, but they do the worst for you, unfortunately. You can be put in situations where you think everything’s going to be amazing. I mean, the brochures that we saw as kids, this is pre-internet for all of you, all of you young folk that, listen, this is pre-internet. So, the experience that we were sold was, you know, these luxury buildings, these lush gardens, these big playgrounds, right? You know, each. It sounds weird to say in America, but each bathroom stall had a hot water little generator right on top of the shower. I mean, these were five-star accommodations. You had somebody doing your laundry every day. You just put your dirty clothes in a bag. It comes back folded, again things that we take for granted. What are the things that I’m so appreciative of is that I went there because I see the world differently, because people run around this country and they’re like, “Oh, it’s all right, it’s so bad”. You guys have no idea what it’s like to be in another country. When you go to other countries, you don’t see the country for what it is. You see the country for the five stars resort you go to, you don’t see the poverty, you don’t see how most people in the world actually live and going from growing up in the back of a Benz to going to a school where you were really, you know, I mean, I would get these boils. They call them boils. I don’t know what they were, but their infections on my butt cheeks that were this big that they had to drain, and they were so painful. You couldn’t sit out here. You couldn’t sit like you couldn’t go to class and then the teachers would beat you so they would smack them. And you’re like, oh, you know, like in tears and just all these experiences, just, you know, my parents have limiting beliefs that they put on us. But this showed me that, 1 I was a fighter. 2. I could create anything. We had the village kids bringing us food. We throw the money. They would throw us little dumplings back up, right? Things you take for granted, like a breakfast in the morning with some eggs and some bacon and some toast or whatever non-existent the principal was a total scumbag. Like the things you take for granted, you just start to question. For me, it’s made me start questioning schools and places of organization because I said if there’s so much corruption at this level, it stems from corruption at a higher level. And so, I became very wary of organized institutions at a really young age, and I’m still wary of large institutions that try to teach and control people because it just makes me go, Oh, so my mindset grew at a young age that you got it, you got to fight. You always got to worry about yourself. First and foremost, it’s good to help other people, but you can’t help other people if you’re hungry or sick.


Larry Olsen [00:09:49] Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Well, as you’re talking to us, you grew up in, easily top five percent economically in the world. And so, you have a little reverse paradigm where most people grew up in the ninety seven percent and thought that the luxury had it all (Vikram Deal: right) you grew up having it all and then had an experience of being dumped into a very, very traumatic experience, it sounds like. (Vikram Deal: Yeah) and you know, we’ve all had traumatic experiences to a degree. Some hold us back, others accelerate us. What do you think it was about you as a human being that caused it to create the resiliency and to create 11 businesses and to not allow that experience, no matter how traumatic it was to hold you back?


Vikram Deol [00:10:46] You know, I lived in the back of a cell phone store for about a year while I was doing my MBA and I had an air mattress. There is no shower, but it was a huge office. It was, you know, an 800 square foot office. I was like a little baby apartment. I remember people be like, why do you live in the back of your cell phone store? I said, I need to save money. I was engaged at the time. I said, I want to save money for my fiancée lives in a different state. I live in a different state. I’m going to school in a different city. It’s a two-hour drive. I still wanted to have my beautiful car that I was always adding accessories to and fixing up and modifying. I still wanted to live my life with my buddies, but I was starting a new business that I had just purchased. And, when you go through such traumatic events, when you put when you’re either put are placed or put yourself into difficult situations. You see that things either make you or break you. Well, India didn’t break me. So, if living in a school where my cousins that were at, and their parents took them out of the school because it was so bad after a month, and we watched our cousins leave with all of their stuff and I was like. I know my parents love me enough to take me away. They just didn’t think it was that bad, right? They didn’t see it. They didn’t understand. And you know, my older brother would say, No, it’s cool. It’s awesome. And I was like, Give me the hell out of here. When you go through something where you feel like your life is almost on the line every day. And then somebody says, oh, you got to sleep in the back of a store on an air mattress with a fan and air conditioning. Sure, you don’t have a shower. Sure, there’s cockroaches every now and then that get in there and you know it’s on a dirty, nasty alley by a bunch of, you know, food restaurants. So, you get some cockroaches that show up, right? Your employees leave food. It stinks in there. You’re like, whatever does it? This is the worst. This isn’t even this is this is luxury compared to what I had gone through. So, when you’re not cuddled at a young age and you experience what the 90s eight, ninety nine percent of the world experience is ninety seven percent, whatever we want to call it and you realize that you can find ways to a, we made it fun, 2. We got away with a ton of stuff. 3. We found ways to get other people to work, to keep us alive. 4. We got to see like, OK, there, even though you might be in a bad situation, there’s still people that love you and care about you. You know, my uncle who just recently passed away, unfortunately, when we would go to his house, he would just lay out this spread of food and we would just savage it like animals. But going into a business where it’s tough, OK, sure, there’s some financial issues. OK, it’s not going to kill you. You might kill yourself, but this isn’t going to kill you, right? And so doing tough things regularly conditions your mind to see the world in a better light. We see the world in a rose-colored light because we don’t do hard things. You know, people aren’t conditioned to do hard things. I remember when my little brother was in school, and they had the backpacks and went from the back to the ground because the books were too heavy. I said, oh boy, this is bad. This is bad is bad, I mean, I’m not I wasn’t a strong kid, but we love those books around with our bikes and our backpacks and the locks. And, you know, we put our lunchboxes in and we lug those backpacks around as heavy as they were may not have ever opened the books, but you had to take them home. And then you see the kids with these roller backpacks, and I said, oh, this is bad. And then you get, you know, I was in the telecommunication industry for a few years. So, then you see the kids that start texting and they’re on their cell phones all day. I say, oh, this is bad because the kids don’t want to go outside and play, you know, they get a little bump and they start crying for 45 minutes and their mom’s, it’s okay, it’s okay. Here is the ball. Just be quiet. I said, oh, this is bad. And I think we see it playing out now where people don’t want to start companies anymore. They want to go work for a company because they never had that experience of having success on their own. They didn’t get to win, right, Larry, like they didn’t get to win. Your generation is different than my generation. You’re probably I’m twenty, I’m twenty-one, you’re probably twenty-nine. And so


Larry Olsen [00:15:29] a few times,


Vikram Deol [00:15:31] you know, our generation, you know, I saw my grandpa working on the farm at two o’clock in the morning to fix a broken levee to keep the water and right. He didn’t ask for any help. He just got up. Two o’clock, went out, came back, went to bed, woke up at four o’clock, went back out, did this thing. You never complained. He never asked for anything on my grandpa. Aren’t you tired? He’s like, I don’t have time to be tired like, I’m a farmer? There’s. It’s not like I can be tired, so I see young people now that they don’t want to start businesses, they don’t want to take over mom and dad’s business because they want to have this balanced lifestyle where they go to work. And then they come home, they go to happy hour, right? They live this luxurious life, but they don’t want to create outside of their job because they don’t want the responsibility. They’re so scared of failing. They’re so scared of failing. And they’re so scared that if they fail now at this age, it’s going to cause them to feel like they’re a failure at life or they’re going to die or they’re, you know, they’re not going to be loved anymore. And it’s like, Man, but we fail all the time, but we do it within a structure that makes them feel safe and contained.


Larry Olsen [00:16:40] Gotcha. Gotcha. Now, from your perspective on life and you’re doing your coaching with businesses. Do you? You talked about filling the hole and you talked about recreating new futures. What is the hole you’re talking about when you’re working with business leaders?


Vikram Deol [00:17:02] So the hole is not something that I create, it’s just something that I bring awareness to. A lot of leaders that I work with that are there are successful, but they plateau. So, they’ve been doing a million dollars for 4 or 5, 6 years in a row. 850,1.1 900, 1.2 you know, 600, 650 maybe 700 and then back down to 600. They just kind of like go up and down and they get to a certain wavelength where they are just I just can’t get through that wavelength. And there’s something that a lot of for most of the people I work with, it’s something that was instilled in them at a young age when they were still children. 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. Something that said that money was a lot of money. Or something was said to him that they are not worthy of making more than that amount of money. And so, they get to that point where they think that that’s what success is. And they stop. They start pushing, they stop. They get to that August, September, and they’ve made 900,000. And they start to self-sabotage. Right, so we got to figure out why are they, you know, a lot of people have health issues that you coach. And if you don’t look at the round circle of life where it’s relationships, finances, career, health, family, fulfillment, right? If you don’t look at all the circle, then you only coached them on, hey, let’s make more money. Let’s make more money. Let’s make more money. They get to a point where they get burnt out. They get to a point where they don’t want to continue with anything. They get to a point where their families don’t want to have a relationship with them. And so, I talked to him about the circle of life, right? The wheel of life. And I say, how would you rate yourself and each one of these buckets? And business, it’s a 7. Finance, it’s 8. Health, it’s a 3. Relationships. It’s a 5. I say, take that wheel and put it on your Lamborghini and see how fast you’re going to go. And they chuckle because they, it clicks. I said, so maybe we don’t need to spend the time right now in the business because it’s not the business that’s slowing you down. It’s the fact that you and your wife fight every single night, the fact that you and your wife haven’t had a date night in 6 years. Right? You tell me you guys don’t even have sex and you. But are you attracted her? Yeah, she’s hot. But you guys don’t have sex. We are. Because she’s sick of me and she doesn’t want me around. The kids are like, Oh, dad’s home. I wonder how long he’s going to be home for today. So, it’s not necessarily creating more business at the beginning of it. It’s filling the hole of why they’re not happy with their lives. Because I mean, what’s the difference between a million and $2 million eight hundred thousand nine hundred thousand three hundred and 400, right? Once you get to a certain point in your, your needs are met. What’s going to make a big difference? So, it’s now getting fulfillment. And then once we get that, that’s some people, it’s really quick, some people it takes a lot of digging because they’ve never had anybody really dig in emotionally with them. They don’t trust sharing their emotions with somebody. They weren’t told that that’s OK. So, once we kind of dig in and dig through a lot of that gunk, then we can refill it back up with the positive things we start to work on their schedule. OK, put a date night in there. If you don’t do date night, you got to give money to the political party you hate right now. That’s a big thing because people are really polarized. And so, we get people to start to refill those holes, right? We work on the relationships, and the challenging part for entrepreneurs is that they don’t realize that once trust is lost, it’s not given freely again, it comes with the great expense, so they have to work exceptionally hard to rebuild the trust with the wife, the kids, the team members, the employees, their friends, their aunts, their uncles, their cousins, right? Even the dogs like, Oh, they’re home. Like, who cares? Like, we’re not going to give them any love anymore. We’re going to go to the kids that always play with us because you used to. But now you’re, you know, you’re too busy for me. So, we have to share with them that it takes time to fill that back up. And once the joy comes back into their life, it’s like, Oh my god. And it’s funny because I say this to you and I know as I grow my business like, I’m always in a growth mode, right? people are like, oh, Vic, you’re growing your business. I’m like, I’m always growing, like, I always feel like I’m a startup. No matter how big we get, I’m always going to have that startup mentality. And my manager reached out to me, and she sent me a 20-minute video yesterday about things that she needs me to do to be a better leader for our company. And let me tell you, it’s not fun receiving those, but its fun seeing the team grow when they know that you actually received it, you responded to it. You accepted it. You acknowledged it. And she said, you know, we’re going to have to build the trust back up with the team. But I can see that you’re willing to do it, so I got your back and it gives me goose bumps, Larry, because I’m like, damn, you know, like we sometimes get so focused on what we’re trying to build that we end up pushing everybody away that we’re trying to build it for.


Larry Olsen [00:22:32] Yeah. Great. Excellent point. Can happen in every area of our life, like you say. So, you talked about trust, don’t we? We all know that trust is such an important element, and when it is broken, it’s nearly impossible to regain. You’ve really got to have somebody forgiving on the other side. How do you develop trust with your new clients to be able to get them to even do the wheel of life or to answer the questions that you ask? Because one of the questions they ask themselves is Why should I trust you? So, can you share a little bit about how you create the trust?


Vikram Deol [00:23:11] Yeah, Larry, it’s asking a lot of questions. And it really starts in the vetting process. Right, so when we sit down and I talk to somebody, I’m going to ask you, hey, Larry, tell me where you’re at right now in life. Tell me where you want to go. What’s the gap? What have you tried, right? I mean, we’ve I’ve had people cry on the calls with me, and I tell them, hey, you’re not a good fit, let me send you somewhere else. Are they telling me, Vikram, we really like you and you opened up our eyes to a lot of things? Your strategy and style are in our fits. Do you have somebody a little bit more like this or a little bit more like that? And I used to be a person who was all about making the sale. And then I realized my goal in life wasn’t to make a billion dollars, it was to serve a billion people. And when I flipped my mentality that, when you serve enough people, the universe just reciprocates what you want with finances. And so now it’s not about getting as many people onto the pipeline, it’s about getting the right people into the business and then sending the other people to where they need to go so that they can get the help that they need to grow their business. [26.9s] And when you come from a place of honesty and integrity, you know you ask for. You ask for trust. Hey, Larry, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions real quick? I want you to know that even though this is being recorded, this is a safe place. The reason I recorded is because I want you to be able to have access to it and for training purposes so that I can be better. I’m going to take notes. These are my personal notes, so I won’t share them with you. But these are my personal notes how we work together. I will be taking notes on our calls, and I will share those notes with you. But these ones, you know, it’s from my it’s for me to help you. And it’s for me to see if I can actually help you. It helps me formulate my thoughts. Is that OK, Larry?


Larry Olsen [00:25:13] Sounds great.


Vikram Deol [00:25:14] So when you’re genuine, it’s like a dog. People’s intuition in their gut is actually their first brain. Their gut will tell them like, you know, your nonverbal brain will tell you what’s going on, and it’s going to say, Oh, now that’s genuine. Flagged down. Oh! Red flag, red flag, red flag, red flag. And when the brain gets enough red flags, people are going to be like, I just didn’t like that guy. Hmm. When I first started, I got a lot of people that were like, Oh. Something’s not right here, and it’s because I was always thinking about the money instead of what I really care about, which is helping people. And so when I stopped worrying about, OK, you have credit card bills, you had a, you know, your last business during COVID didn’t do what it needed to do. And me and my partner, who happened to be my father, had a pretty nasty relationship. And so, we just parted ways where I basically just gave him the business. I didn’t try to sell it. I didn’t try to bring an investor and I just said, it’s yours or we can sell it. If you want to sell it, you know, split the money with me. If you want to keep it, it’s yours and I’ll walk away with basically, you know, not asking for anything. And I was in this mindset of scarcity because I was putting money into the business. A couple of times, you know, COVID hit, we got some, we got money from the government, but I didn’t put that into paying down the bills. I put that into the people. I kept our employees on board. I put that into new structure, new technology, new training, new coaching. Right. Because I wanted my team to be prepared for this new world that we are at. And so, your trust comes from people by being a person of integrity and doing what you say, hey, I’m going to be on the call at two o’clock. Open the room at 1:59 if you’re going to run late, hey, I’m running a few minutes late. I’m working with somebody. I’ll be on at about 2:05. Is that still, OK? Sure. Little things like that build trust. If you onboard a client and you tell them that your team’s going to reach out to them within 24 hours, your team needs to reach out in 24 hours. Aren’t just, say, my team going to get you in the next couple of days. But if you say you’re going to do something and it’s the same thing how you build confidence in yourself, if you say you’re going to do it and then you do it, it’s like red flag down, right?


Larry Olsen [00:27:41] Self-esteem up.


Vikram Deol [00:27:43] Yeah, trust up. This guy’s good at what this guy says, he’s going to do something, he does it. Boom, boom. And so those are it’s there’s so many it like when people, you know, I live in Miami where everybody seems to be running late. For some reason, it’s like, you know, Latin time. The same thing is Indian Standard Time. People show up four hours late and I say, why don’t we just say, come at nine o’clock? Like, why do we have to have this Indian standard time or this Latino time? Like, why don’t we just say what we mean? Because I don’t want to show up at an event now on time because it’s going to start late. But then I have this like integrity thing where I say, I’ll be there at 10:00, but then I don’t want to sit around until 11:30 for the event to start.


Larry Olsen [00:28:28] Yeah, yeah.


Vikram Deol [00:28:29] They just give me the schedule. 10 o’clock networking, 11:00 O’clock Coffee 11:30 lecture. Perfect. I’ll be there at 10:45 because I don’t want to sit around for 45 minutes talking and twiddling my thumbs because I get anxiety in situations because that’s just where I’m at in life. Like, I just get anxiety.


Larry Olsen [00:28:52] Yeah, I gotcha. I gotcha. Very well set on the building of the trust and in how essential it is and to be on. That’s not even so much to be on time, but to have your word means something. Yeah. And what’s what is what you’re saying? (Vikram Deal: Yeah.) You know, speaking of time, time has flown by. And first off, I’d like you to share how do people go about getting a hold of you?


Vikram Deol [00:29:19] Yeah, I am probably the most active on Instagram. You can find me. Coach Vikram Doel, Coach V I K R A M D E O L, I have a podcast as well called V-Real, and it talks about mindset. It talks about how people have overcome their adversities in life and then you can find me on LinkedIn as well. But if you really want to get a hold of me quickly, go to Instagram and drop me a DM.


Larry Olsen [00:29:45] Beautiful, beautiful. And with the time we have left, what would you like to leave our audience with? In something to think about.


Vikram Deol [00:29:57] Yeah, that’s a great question. I’d like to leave the audience with what the thoughts of. If you could create your own perfect life. Like, if you could take a pen and a piece of paper and say in the next 10 or 15 years, I would like my life to look like this, like this, like this, with this with this, with this with this and don’t have judgment around it. Just be audacious with your planning and be detailed. I want to live in a high rise building on the 60th floor with five bedrooms and a game room that overlooks the whole bay. Just ask for it. And go out and do it and don’t have any judgment around these things.


Larry Olsen [00:30:50] Yeah, very nice. Very nice. I think that’s one of the most limiting things when we’re developing any kind of vision is second guessing ourselves or, like you said, not feeling worthy of. So, you’ve given us a lot of great insights. I appreciate the time that you’ve taken, and you people will be able to find out more about you when we go and publish this. And we’ll also send you some links and opportunities to connect with your people as well. And I want to just thank you again, Vikram, for having the caring enough about others to share your valuable time with them. And I want to thank our listeners who could be anywhere doing anything to have chosen to spend this time to invest in yourself. And it’s our responsibility to make sure that we give you a greater return on investment in the time that you spent. And the only way that’s going to happen is if you use it and put it in place. So, remember, wherever you are, you are exactly where you need to be right now to write that vision that Vikram just mentioned to you and to get the kind of things in life that you’ve got to stop waiting for. And just go out and get. So, thank you all and thank you Vikram.


Vikram Deol [00:32:19] Appreciate you, Larry, thank you.


Narrator: Thank you for listening. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, we ask that you please subscribe and share with your friends and associates.  Larry’s next guest on the Great Automotive Experience is Doug Eroh. Listen and hear what it takes to be the number one Toyota Dealership in the country since 1967, and what its leader and General Manager Doug Eroh states is the ‘how’ behind staying on top, year after year.










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