He’s a born leader whose work in progress is a complete commitment to helping others.
His name is Duane Cummings and this former military serviceman, turned pro athlete, turned pro coach, turned salesman, turned inspirational leader has made it his professional mission to serve and make others the best of themselves.
Cummings boldly pivoted a professional soccer career into a life as an entrepreneur that quickly led to becoming a CEO, not once but twice!
Host Kraig Kann chats with the man who admits he struggles to sit still and yet had a calm leadership style that will have you listening for tips you can put into motion. Cummings has authored books and empowered many from the stage as a sought after speaker who also leads a company he founded called.... The Sensational Group.
You’ll walk away from this episode with a whole new outlook on your life and your professional career. Learn success and leadership “the Duane Cummings way” right here on Tracks To Success!
Welcome to tracks to success brought to you by presentation partners. This is the podcast that brings you inspiring people and they're inspiring stories. How did they find their way to the top and how can their path help you do the same? Here's your host network, broadcaster, executive and entrepreneur. Craig can
Right now on this edition of tracks to success, you'll hear from an entrepreneur, an author, a speaker, a coach, a consultant, and a philanthropist all wrapped up in one energizing package, put the titles in any order you want, but each has had a lasting impact. His track to success might've started as a serviceman for the U S army or maybe it was as a professional soccer player and then coach winning championships learning with every step. He pivoted from sports to the business world where sales became his calling until he jumped off the tracks and became an entrepreneur, a clothing company, and then to a lead role with an oil and gas service company, which led to a spinoff to many other things, CEO of Leadercast.
2 (1m 25s):
And now the CEO of this sensational group, he's also, co-founded the speakers Guild of America, and now speaks inspires and writes having authored multiple books. So how does a man who can't seem to sit still and find something new to share with each audience, find the time to keep strong to his singular mission of serving others. His name is Dwayne Cummings, his inspiring story. And this addition of tracks to success starts now.
0 (2m 2s):
2 (2m 5s):
Well, this is a true pleasure, Dwayne Cummings. Thanks so much for the time today. The simple question is just, how the heck are you? I'm looking forward to this.
3 (2m 13s):
Yeah, I'm doing great with the exception of a little bit of facial hair and linked, you know, going on. I haven't been grooming as well as normal, but I'm doing great. Thanks for asking. It's a privilege and honor to be here today.
4 (2m 23s):
Well, it's great to have you let's tell our audience the true shall we. We met through some social media connection. That's how it happened. That led to a meeting that you and I had in Atlanta. I have followed you ever since. Always impressed by one word that I would say my opinion describes you and that word is serving. Is that a good word? What word would you use?
3 (2m 47s):
You know, if that's the only word on my headstone, when this is all over, I would be very, very humbled and happy. Yeah, for sure. Servings a perfect word. Thank you for that. That's a very nice gift. Well, I want to start today
4 (3m 1s):
With where I think I'm going to end up anyway. If you look up Dwayne Cummings on Google, or you do a search on social media, any of the platforms that you're on, you're going to see a sensational life. Now that covers a whole lot of things, right? That could be topics we talk about for a long time that don't just apply to you, but apply to other people, boil it down for us. What does that mean?
3 (3m 25s):
I think it's different for every person, right? So it's kind of like the definition of success in anyone can have a sensation of life from the person. That's just a gardener and happy with what they do and fulfilled and filled with joy to the CEO of a large fortune 500 company or a great athlete or celebrity. Anyone can have a sensational life. It's really not about my sensation life. It's about you finding your own cessation of life.
4 (3m 49s):
So let's back up then let's back way up. Does the sensational you, Dwayne Cummings begin at age five or six or, or when did that all take place? Take us back. Where did you grow up and tell us about your family.
3 (4m 3s):
Wow. Okay. So we're going to dig deep. So to this day, yeah, to this day, this is kind of like a sit on the couch session. Yep. So this day, I don't know who my real father is. So my mom was married to a guy who was in the military. So I was kind of a military brat as a child was born in Augsburg, Germany, but mainly grew up West coast. So Cal and Arizona and bounced around a lot of single mom working hard, that kind of thing. I did end up with a stepfather for a while, but just kind of bounced around. And I think that's where I developed my outgoing personality. Cause you're always trying to fit in, right? You have people like you, and you're always trying to make the best of a bad situation.
3 (4m 46s):
Hence why I kind of over time just developed this mentality of you can make the greatest life you want. Even if a lot of it is a kid was in my own head, you know, when we used to do free fun Fridays. So we would take a coat hanger, go down to the laundromat and dig for quarters under the machines. And I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. I didn't know I was poor. So I really think I put it into context and into words as an adult. And when I, when I had my own two children and I realized that you're going to have ups and downs and everything comes in kind of seasons, but you can make your own sensational life and the word sensational. So sometimes it's not used in the greatest of terms, you know, sensationalized this or whatever, but it was a word for me that no one else was really using it.
3 (5m 31s):
It just fit. So I liked it. I kinda just stuck it on what I do. And I believe we are, you know, the words that we use. And if I just said, Hey, I'm going to have a good life. There's nothing wrong with that. But a sensational life makes you think a little differently. So yeah,
4 (5m 48s):
We're going to ask some questions maybe of each other who knows where this is all gonna go, but I always ask leadership people and speakers who, you know, motivate, inspire and power. If they or others, might've seen something in you at an early age that might've said, yep, that's what this guy or this woman is destined for. In other words, if we did a little poll of all your friends at an early age, would they have said, ah, Dwayne Cummings, he's going to be that guy. He's going to be author. He's going to be entrepreneur. He's going to be speaker. He's going to be motivator, CEO, all that stuff. What would they have said?
3 (6m 26s):
Right. It's really funny that you say that because I I'm still connected with like people I played kickball in fourth grade with and yeah. And we still see people from my whole lifespan. Good, bad and indifferent. And they always say like, I didn't know what you were going to do. I didn't know if you were going to be a big time comedian or an actor or a politician, but I knew you were gonna do something with other people of some kind of magnitude, because I had a kind of an evolution early on in my life. I was always trying to please people make them happy. So I would go way overboard. And then in the middle of kind of my life, as I started maturing, I focused myself. I was like a survivor and I got to make it about me.
3 (7m 7s):
So I was trying to, you know, those eighties and nineties grabbed what you can and go as far as you can. And then I really started settling into my own and made it about other people. So I think if you polled pretty much everybody in my life, they wouldn't be able to put their finger on what I was going to do. But now where I'm at in my life they'll go, Oh, that makes total sense. Yeah.
4 (7m 26s):
Yeah. People pleasers sometimes if you're like reflecting on yourself and I've been told that that that's me almost to a fault. I put other people first. A lot of times, I don't think about myself. How do you look at that? I mean, we want to help other people at the same time, we can't get lost in who we are, what we're trying to do and give ourselves any love.
3 (7m 48s):
Right. So you said we might ask each other questions. I'll ask you one real quick. Do you think you can please other people too much?
4 (7m 55s):
Yes. Yes. From a time commitment standpoint from a saying yes. All the time. Yes. Oh, okay.
3 (8m 1s):
Yeah. And so I believe the same thing. So it's about not compromising your own vision, your own plan and what you're doing, but it can't be at the expense of other people's Liberty, freedom, et cetera. Right? So that's the balance we're always walking is w is what's good for me, detrimental to other people, neutral to other people, or could be also good for other people, but everybody uses that same adage. You get on the plane. They say, if it starts going down, put your own mask on. I'm very blessed and fortunate to work with a lot of aging care workers from CEOs on down. And one of the things I find in that industry is they're so concerned with taking care of the elderly, that they let themselves go in a lot of instances, their own mental health, physical health, et cetera.
3 (8m 43s):
And that's not going to help anybody because if you run out of gas at the end of the day, you're not gonna be able to help anyone anyway. So, but my wife might say that I can always please her more. No, I'm just kidding.
4 (8m 58s):
They always do that. You're always going to have that. Never ending struggle with that. Let's, let's talk about your resume, your bio a little bit. It includes soccer at a professional level. I think even more interesting. And we'll get to that. It includes the military. How'd you get there? What did you learn from that?
3 (9m 19s):
Well, the, the fact that, you know, tracks is in this podcast title is, is interesting because some people get on those two rails and you know, I, I think you had a guest. My Terico is a good example. I think you mentioned that he was, you know, announcing into a spoon as a child. He knew like he was on those two rails and that was his track. I think I had a lot of switch people, men or women in my life that moved me from track to track. And in my teen years, I, I was really, I played five sports in high school. I was outgoing, you know, in a lot of the clubs, but I kinda got out of control a little bit and got a college scholarship to play soccer and spent more time at the beach and in class. So I got those four mazing choices, army air force, Navy, and Marines by my mom.
3 (10m 2s):
And yeah, so she said, you're getting, you're the alpha male in the house. I can't control. You need to go have somebody else sort you out real quick. So I, I went in the army and I went for the least amount of time and it was fantastic for me. And when you have to sign your name on a piece of paper that says, I'll lay my life down for my fellow countrymen, it's really eyeopening. And then of course the training they put you through, et cetera. So thank you for asking about that. I, I respect all veterans, no matter what branch and, and veterans, families, and spouses and that kind of thing. A lot of people think it's because the guy that was on my birth certificate as my father, who wasn't was in the military, that's where I went. But now really I went to get my butt out of trouble and I was fortunate to be able to play like on the all army soccer team.
3 (10m 45s):
And I did other things, but I also got to continue my soccer career.
4 (10m 49s):
So professional soccer, right? I mean, you kinda got whipped into shape a little bit in the military professional soccer. Do you whip everybody else? Were you the aggressive guy? Tell me about your soccer career because it wasn't just a plain career. It was, it was a coaching career as well.
3 (11m 4s):
Yeah. I I've been very fortunate. I spent a lot of my life in that sport. I never thought it would be the sport and I'm in the eighties there we were after the NASL and the MLS and really boomed. So there was these weird independent leagues and like, some of it would be considered AAA, the USL, which is still around now had started then. And so you play indoor maybe in the winter time, cause the MSL was going on. So you put in during the winter time and outdoor in the summer and spring, and I was just going to hodgepodge in a career together. I'd tried to go overseas and play a little bit. Yeah. In Japan had an okay league. And you just, weren't gonna make it as an American, like in England, you know, it wasn't gonna happen.
3 (11m 46s):
And the money wasn't fantastic. Like they can make good money nowadays. So I did that played, I had had a few knee injuries along the, and then I had one when I was playing in the USL for the Oklahoma city slickers, they just kind of ended my career. And I was very tight with the team as a player. I was not the best player. I've always been a student of the game. They really understood the technical aspects I played. And I put in my minutes, but I was not a star by any means, but I think it helped me transfer to becoming assistant coach and then a head coach and then a GM. And then, you know, I was so into it that we owned Louisiana, indoor soccer arenas, and the new Orleans rage indoor team.
3 (12m 28s):
And then I moved from coaching pro to college, which has kind of a weird shift. Some people do it, football they've done it. But yeah. So then I was an associate ID to st. Gregory's university and I've been very blessed to still stay involved. I've got literally hundreds of players and youth high school, college pro that played for me and now I've gone on and coach. So,
4 (12m 49s):
So did you go back to the college ranks to coach because you felt like you could deliver more longterm. In other words, make a bigger stamp on someone's life. And it would seem to me based on everything you've done, that that would have been the mindset.
3 (13m 3s):
Yeah. So that's very, very intuitive of you because I thought I had already arrived like the year before I went to coaching college, we lost the national championship to Atlanta. And so I was really peaking as a professional coach and trying to figure out where I was going to go. And a guy that was our captain had gone out to this st Gregory's university. And he, he called me, he said, Hey, we got basketball and baseball. It's off on all these sports, but we don't have soccer. I want you to come and start the programs here are men and women. And I want you to put that zest and enthusiasm. And it's going to be your way now to kind of give back to all these younger people and, and really mold them. And I had coached high school, a couple of seasons. So I liked that, but I didn't like the fact that you didn't get them for the whole year.
3 (13m 44s):
So it just became intriguing that I was going to get these athletes for four years and I could kind of mold them and I could pour into them and show them all the things that I might've done wrong that they might be able to do right. To stay on those tracks. So, yeah, it was amazing. And I did it for almost seven years.
4 (13m 59s):
Yeah. The opportunity to influence kids at that level be at high school or college is, is it's inspiring. You know? I mean, you see it in their eyes. You're giving them experiences. I love it. I get a chance to do it as well. I could totally see why you would want to go back and cover that age bracket. So this, this journey, you talked about the tracks and the switchers, if you will, post-military post soccer. How in the world did you just switch gears and go into big business or business at any level who steered you that way? If you will.
3 (14m 34s):
Wow. So yeah, this was a defining moment in my life. At the time, my, my now 30 year old son was about nine, I guess. And when you're a college coach, you're recruiting and you're in season and you have your off season and you're traveling and doing camps around the country, et cetera. And I was on these panels for, you know, Adidas, et cetera. And one day I was getting ready to miss his birthday, which is in June for like the sixth straight year. Yeah. And so Jay, he says, dad, when are you going to love me and my brother, as much as you love your players. And that silence that you hear now, that was, I had no words. So I went in, I talked to the guy that was our vice president or provost that next day I said, we're going to transition is going to be my last season.
3 (15m 21s):
I got to pour into my family. I'm pouring into everybody, else's family and I've forgotten mine. So that thing about we talked in the earlier part of this podcast about giving too much of yourself and pleasing other people. I had forgot about the ones that were most important that were around me. Not that other kids aren't important, but you, you get one chance to raise your own children. So, yeah. So there was a guy that I had coached in college. His dad was a owned, a big building manufacturing material, supply company. And we had become friends over those years. And he said, man, I talked to him, he was a mentor. I confided in him and he said, man, you know what, with your skills and your talent, you could be my sales director instantly because you can coach a team and you can get in meetings. And if, if you talk to me into having my kid come to your school and paying all that tuition, you could talk anybody at anything.
3 (16m 4s):
Right. So I moved into building material sales was that first jump right off the bat. Yeah. And, and I moved through some different companies, Hunter Douglas, I don't know who your sponsors are. So I apologize if I mentioned names, I shouldn't mention, but a couple of different large companies. And I had some early success there because of my probably background in military and pleasing people and athletics. And so I, I garnered companies like home Depot as accounts and lows as accounts. And so I just, I got these executive headhunters that are calling constantly and I moved through that rank as fast as I could. And along the way, and I don't know if you want to jump to this, but I was having my own clothes made because I'm going to meet these topics X, which turned into a clothing company.
4 (16m 46s):
Yeah. I had read about that. That's you know, you're good. The synergy is great. Cause that's one of my next questions. You know, I want to say this. I can totally relate to the, all of a sudden silence you had about the comments from your kids because I have twins. They're 22 and they were born the week of the U S open, which also happens to be father's day. And last you knew if you worked at the golf channel, you were pretty busy during the week of the U S open. And I would miss birthday parties. And I would miss father's day. And after a while, you know, talking about sales, you're trying to sell the concept of why you have to do one thing versus another.
4 (17m 28s):
And it just becomes Taren at your heartstrings. It's not easy. And you want family first. You also have to make a living. You've got to figure out what you do. So I totally understand that. And I'm now in what I do. I have that flexibility. It can't get those other years back, but, but we always adapted. We always tried to figure it out. And so in your sales world, right. Clothing company, very cool. And then also oil business. Now you were an equity partner in an oil company. So you're not like the guy from Saudi Arabia or, or the chic you're, you're working hard and you're doing what exactly. Cause I haven't bumped into a whole lot of guys that said I was an equity partner in oil.
3 (18m 11s):
Yeah. Well you got to move to Texas or Oklahoma or someplace like that to bump into people. But yeah. So through that whole building a private label clothing company and selling it off and just my adventures and, and having communication like this with people like you, I was asked to speak all the time and I had a consultancy that I started advising people on scaling businesses. And so I was consulting. These two guys had began a company. They were from West Oklahoma. They borrowed like $5,000 on some cattle and an old truck. And they had run it up to like $50 million valuation pretty quick. But it was, you know, cousins work in and out of control and 10 checkbooks. And they weren't, you know, nothing personal. That is, let's say the same thing.
3 (18m 51s):
They weren't as organized probably as I needed to be. And so, because I had scaled my clothing company, I'd learned a lot of things along the way, what to do what not to do. So I was consulting them, which turned into, I thought I was going to be like for a month of meetings. And it turned into becoming a partner and being the active COO and preparing us to sell, which took about three years. And then we did sell to a publicly traded company for like a couple hundred million.
4 (19m 19s):
I was going to say big dollars. I know.
3 (19m 21s):
Yeah. It's kinda crazy. And so, yeah. So
4 (19m 25s):
Are you the guy then who look, there's two ways you could, you could go with this, you could have this conversation. There's there's the guy or the woman that that's a part of a company that sells right. Big dollars, as you mentioned. And then all of a sudden you've got this money coming your way and you're afforded the luxury of basically doing nothing. If you want, you don't have to work. And then the other people that say, I can't be that guy. I can't be that woman. I've got to go do something meaningful, et cetera. So I know which guy you are because your give back and your tracks have taken you into another way. But in other words, how did you decide you wanted to be the giveback guy instead of the person who could say, ah, I'm going to take a break.
4 (20m 8s):
I don't have to do anything anymore.
3 (20m 10s):
Yeah. So there are two ways you can go, you can go down that road of I'm going to sit around or you can go down that road or I'm going to do something. And I've just always been wired to do something, being active and being within, you know, around people. I'm a people person. And so, you know, even after the clothing company, I had the opportunity to sit around, but I didn't, I, I that's when I picked up golf actually was playing 36 a day. I was around people playing bridge and bunko, but that wasn't gonna work for me. So then I just got back into it. My consultancy picked up, I had written a first book. I just, yeah, I just, I'll never be that person to sit in the mentors along the way of my life that continue to tell me, you got to give back, you got give back, you got to give back. Those are the people that are always in the back of my head saying, you know, what are you doing for other people?
4 (20m 53s):
Okay, perfect transition mentorship and the topic of entrepreneur. So I talk a lot about business cards because you know, we get so excited about it, right? And when you run your own company, you can kind of put whatever you want on there. And if you're working for somebody else, you're actually excited about getting that first business card. We all go back to when we got the first business card, but you know, at the beginning of the day, to me, this is me. Those titles are almost meaningless because we, while we fight for that, if we take an entrepreneurial mindset, in other words, if that business card says Craig can entrepreneur or Dwayne Cummings, entrepreneur, those are the people that at the beginning of the day, whether we're working for somebody else or working for ourselves, we have this concept, this idea in our head that we're not afraid to fail.
4 (21m 41s):
We're going to push our ideas at all costs. We're going to try to convince people and we're going to, we're going to have no fear. We're going to go for it. And we want to make a difference. How important is that entrepreneurial spirit? Not just to you, but in perhaps what you share with other people that they should carry that mindset.
3 (21m 58s):
Yeah. I, I, I do think there are some people that aren't built for that, you know, they're risk averse. And by the way, the person that's been delivering our mail for years and they're comfortable that route and that lifestyle, I'm very grateful for them. But I think for me and my personality and for a lot of people, if they want to accomplish certain things, they want to create the new iPhone or whatever it is. You're going to have to have that mindset. And you use the F word that we can use in public. It's a four letter F word that ends. It's got an a and I in the middle of the incident L that I don't use very often. I know it's weird because I just look at it as I got, I got a result, like, you know, I just got a result and you do, in my opinion, have to push the boundaries. I had a mentor one time that said, Hey, go back and look at all your business cards that you've had if you collected them, which I did.
3 (22m 42s):
And he said, now turn them over. And I want you to write the names down of all the people that you impacted. And I want you to write down all the things that projects you were involved that were significant. And for me, it was like, Oh, okay, well, and that was a shift for me. So when I moved on to being an entrepreneur, I tell people all the time, I apologize. I hope it doesn't seem arrogant. I don't carry a card. I'm really easy to find. My life is so different than my title's different every day. And I think there's no way I could accomplish the things I accomplished. If I didn't get up every day, take those risks. You go to bed with these amazing ideas. A lot of people get up the next morning and they shoved them to the side. They're like, Oh, that's not really possible. I don't know why I was thinking that I don't.
3 (23m 23s):
I take those ideas and just go for them. And I think to have the kind of life that I live, and then a lot of people are dreaming about you pretty much got to go at it.
4 (23m 33s):
So for the people who feel trapped, some of our listeners might feel trapped, right? Do I work for somebody else? Or do I work for myself? What would you tell people who have their guts saying that I could really be my own boss, but in their mind, their mind is telling them, take the safer route. I've got a kid, I've got multiple kids. I've got a family. I just need to work for somebody else where I know what my paycheck is. What do you tell those people?
3 (23m 59s):
Well, our, our beliefs drive everything. So if they were raised in a mentality that says, you gotta be responsible, right? You gotta have, the job has got to have the insurance. It's got to have all those, you know, comes every two weeks. But you know, those things can change in a heartbeat. You just never know what can happen. So I tell those people, if that's, you've got a heart leading you in one direction, like something's tugging at you, you've got to acknowledge that, right? Otherwise, you're going to have regret as you get older and you can say, Oh man, I wish it would do that. But you also can't just tell the family, Hey, by the way, w we're getting rid of everything because I've got this dream and we're going to go do it, and we're gonna roll the dice. Cause they want somebody may be consistent in their life. So you start with one foot in your solid place. And then you start inching that other foot over. It's kind of like if you have one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat, but once you decide to put that foot on the boat and it starts moving away, you're going to end up in the water.
3 (24m 46s):
If you don't make some decisions. So you do have to plan and you, you've gotta be a good communicator with those people around you that are going to be impacted by your decision. But I believe that, you know, you're going to stay on the dock until you put a foot out there on a boat, you know, until you step out and go. And then once you step out and go, you get to this point where you've got to be committed or you do just fall. And I think that's what happens with most people. They get, they get so far extended that then they can't get back to their safe place and they can't go forward and they end up falling. So start with a safe place, take a step in the direction. You want to go have some people around you, some safety nets. So people that have made those mistakes before they can mentor you, right?
3 (25m 26s):
And then when you make the decision and you commit just fully commit and don't go back.
4 (25m 33s):
Dwayne Cummings is our guest on this edition of tracks to success. Tracks to success is brought to you by presentation partners, visual storytellers, passionate about connecting presenters with their audience. You and I met at leader cast in Atlanta on Fridays, you would bring in a speaker, an outside speaker, and you gave me that opportunity. I'm grateful for that. That's where we really got to spend some time together. You were the CEO. So tell me not just about the company, but what was your mission in helping others through Leadercast?
3 (26m 7s):
Well, it was really nice because we had sold a oil and gas company. And I knew I had been involved in that company. It as a host of their Leadercast labs. And I was in their library of videos as a leader. And their mission is to, you know, help leaders of all levels, be a leader worth following. And I felt like, even though I didn't have to have the word leader in there, I wanted to help other people be their best selves. I know that sounds cliche. Cliches are there for a reason. I want to help other people step into their best selves or chase their dream or whatever it was. So it just really aligned when they asked me to be CEO there. And that first word you started with serving, I have always kind of believed in serving other people.
3 (26m 48s):
And as a CEO, I wanted to redefine it a little bit. So nourishment Fridays, which you were involved with, which I'm still very grateful, you came, people were impacted and still to this day, talk about you. We, we were pouring in and, and I kind of believe in that inverted pyramid versus the normal pyramid. So as the CEO, I, I kind of relabeled it, constantly elevating others. I sit at the bottom and if I do a good job about giving people, the tools, resources, what they need to accomplish, what they are supposed to accomplish, and they feel good about it, then we're probably going to do really well as a company. And I learned that from people that were around me, that kind of pour that into me. So it wasn't like this, you know, apifany I had one day I'm going to show up and be this kind of CEO, but that atmosphere really allowed me to do that.
3 (27m 31s):
And because we were serving other leaders around the world, it just like was the perfect fit. Yeah.
4 (27m 37s):
Yeah. It was, you're a connector by the way. I was nourished by that opportunity as well. How important is networking in your mind? So, so let's, I don't care whether we're talking to college students who are about to graduate and, and need to learn the importance of doing that before they ever take off into the real world or somebody who's already in the professional arena. And they're trying to continue and continue that climb up, how important is networking and how should we really use it in your mind?
3 (28m 6s):
Well, I believe that it's incredibly important, right? So there's, there's different things like your network is your net worth and all those other things that are said, but the people that you meet are the people that are gonna impact your life. And they're going to be the ones that, you know, open doors for you or you open doors for them. And so it's about your mentality. My mentality, after getting to know a friend of mine, Bob Burg, he wrote a series, the go giver series, go give her influencer to go give herself more. He is about giving to others, giving without this expectation of return. And so in networking, I'm always helping people. So I might go somewhere and somebody says, I'm an actor. And somebody else says, Hey, I'm getting ready to do my own commercial series for my car dealership.
3 (28m 48s):
And I'd say, Hey, you guys, you should get to know each other or you girls should get to know each other because there might be an opportunity there. And then I just leave it. I plant that seed. I give to other people show up when I can pour into other people when they're needing it, whether it's, you know, helping them launch a company, social media, et cetera. And that seed always comes back and germinates in my favor. And I don't do it. So that, that will happen. I mean, there are people that I met 20 years ago that are still actively in my life. There's people that I met two years ago that I introduced to somebody else six months ago that they've got their own thing going now. And they've got something cool going, just because I made an introduction. So I think it's priceless because whether you want to believe this or not, if you're into AI, artificial intelligence, doesn't matter.
3 (29m 35s):
People are what makes our world go around? What makes business work? And so if you are with people and connecting people and finding out what their values and strengths are and what their desires and their dreams are, and you're helping move that along in any way, shape or form, you are doing the right work. I mean, we're in a technology age right now. Try to have anything happen without a networks.
4 (29m 58s):
Right? Right. No, no doubt. Your network goes down. You're in big trouble. I always kind of preach or talk about the importance of, of not meeting people for what they can do for you, but hoping to share what you might be able to give to them, which requires listening and learning at the same time, before you can ever lead to help them. Now you founded the speakers Guild of America, co founded it, which gives people a chance to be found if you will, there's a directory, top speakers, et cetera. So what's separate and you are a speaker and a very good one. And I'm learning stuff, just sitting here right now. I'm taking notes by the way, what separates the great speaker in your mind from the good to average speaker?
3 (30m 45s):
Well, that's a pretty loaded question. I'll try to I'll, I'll make it simple. Speaking is just one form of communication is nonverbal, et cetera. But if you can get a message into somebody's head and heart to where it resonates with them, they can be empathetic with you and they can take it away. And it impacts their life. That's a great speaker. We've all gone to conferences and heard people speak. And then two days later, we're like, I really liked that person, but I don't even remember what they said. I don't, I don't remember if they give us an acronym or three points, but right. But then the speakers that, you know, I have a dream, you know what Martin Luther King was talking about, right. When he said I have a dream and he shared that dream and you bought into that dream.
3 (31m 25s):
And so great speakers have a way of, of, I always say they take who you are apart and put you back together in a different way when you're done hearing them.
4 (31m 35s):
Mm. Yeah. I think they think about outcome. How can I impact people walking out the door and don't talk at people, but talk with them, give them something that they can not only remember, but repeat and share with other people to create a following. Now you've traveled the world speaking, but pride yourself. I've heard this, I've read this. Never giving the same presentation twice. How in the world do you accomplish that?
3 (32m 4s):
Well, yeah. And I got to put a little bit of an asterisk. There, there are things that I will share or stories that I might share in more than one group. Like it's not all original works, but I think it's back to that initial word of serving. Right? So whatever audience I'm in front of, whether it be big, small, huge, whatever, I'm going to do my research, I'm going to find out what it is they need. Right. So what problem are they trying to solve? What are they afraid of? What are their dreams? What are they working on? What value can I bring to them through either my personal experience or using other people's stories? And then I craft and tailor something that hopefully hopefully resonates with them because everybody has language in their business. You know, CPAs have certain acronyms. They use and doctors and, you know, sales, people, entrepreneurs, business people.
3 (32m 49s):
So if I go in there with one canned speech, it might land on a few people, but it doesn't have the same opportunity to serve people. And if I kind of think of it, like the restaurant business, if I went to a certain country, I would try to cook their food. So they would, you know, it would be in their taste. Their taste buds would be used to it. They would have that same emotion. And if I went to another country, I'd cook that food. And if I went to another country, I cooked that food. So yeah, I just, I do the research and I figured out what those people need and do a lot of, you know, preproduction questioning of the people that are going to attend if I can and the administrators and the industry. And then I just show up and try to serve.
3 (33m 29s):
0 (33m 30s):
1 (33m 34s):
In addition to hosting this podcast, Craig leads the cannon advisory group focused on elevating communication for companies and individuals, company consulting and powering team and individual workshops, mind altering webinars. And Craig's inspiring keynotes for your conference or company meeting. They're all on the menu of services. Can advisory helps companies clarify their message, helps professionals build and showcase their brand and helps everyone present their best selves. So if you're the leader of a team or company looking to give your employees a game, changing one, they experience, or an individual who wants to become a speaker and presenter that gets other people talking visit Ken advisory.com.
1 (34m 24s):
And when you do connect, make sure to mention the tracks to success podcast, to receive a special discount on any of the can advisory services. That's Ken advisory.com. Now back to the interview,
2 (34m 42s):
We're talking with Duane Cummings, also author, and you've brought that up before. So tell me the why behind the, what, which is the books and why you decided to write one and then another one.
3 (34m 57s):
Well, I never thought I'd be a writer by any means. It was another one of those switch on the tracks, but I was sharing my stories and the lessons that I had learned and experiences, and my wife actually challenged me one day. She was like, well, so what if your kids don't remember? Why not? Why don't we leave them something? And it started out as a journal. And then it was like, why don't you tell them the story? People love to learn by stories. So all the books in this series I'm on are written in parable form, but they include real people. And you can kind of figure out who I am in the book or who my wife is in the book and it's just lesson. So the first one was kind of me falling on my face 30 plus years ago, making the mistakes and kind of get my act in order. The next one was kind of leadership journey.
3 (35m 38s):
The spouse one is getting ready to come out, which is about relationships and then parenting and mentorship and entrepreneurship. It's just the arc of my life. And it's, it's really not about me. I except for my name on the front of the book, you don't know it to me. There are other real people in these books that you could Google and you'd know, but it's about like what we need to leave behind the legacy, the legacy and the legacy originally was just for my kids. Like, here's what I learned in case we don't get to talk. And for my grandkids, I have two granddaughters. Now, like if we don't get a chance to share this information here it is in print form. Yeah. So was there a hurdle that you had to overcome to say, you know, I'm not so sure that anybody really cares what I have to say or wants to read my story because a lot of people, you know, they don't love talking about themselves.
3 (36m 24s):
They're not really comfortable with storytelling about themselves yet at the same time. That is how we connect with people. That is how we influence people. So was there a hurdle for you that somebody might not want to buy or read your book that you had to overcome? Well, it's interesting because, because that, wasn't the motivation for me to write the books. I probably didn't see it that way. Although I was still apprehensive and I was like, you know, this is, this is crud. This is not very good. I can't believe anybody. You know, my grandkids, my wife, anybody gonna read it. And my wife would be my first proofreader. And she was like, Hey, this isn't bad. And so then my friends were like, so, you know, let me read something, you know? And they were like, Hey, this is a bad, I was like, really? You guys are just saying that you still haven't bought into it yet.
3 (37m 5s):
Right? Because you just don't have enough evidence. I'm not an attorney, but evidence or validation or proof. And then when I got some arc readers and some betas out there and some publishers and agents and people were like, Hey, you're doing this pretty well. Not because I was a great writer, but because I had other people in my life that were great storytellers and knew how to write. And so they gave me guidance. Then I was like, okay, maybe we're onto something. So after the first book came out and the sales were crazy. And to this day, people are still buying that book and sharing it and giving us gifts. I've got some crazy ambassadors that, you know, email me and go, Hey, do you remember when you said this and that chapter? And I gotta go back and read the chapter. I'm like, man, I forgot. I said that, you know, it it's been crazy.
3 (37m 47s):
Yeah, it's crazy. But there are to answer your question, the hurdles, if you're going about that traditional route of getting an agent, getting a publisher and trying to be a New York times bestseller that industry's a tough one. It's a tough one for hurdles. Yeah. Yeah. I promised I'd get back to where I started a couple more things before I let you go with living a sensational life. That's your company. If you look on your website, that's what it's all about. So what is it you want to do with that longterm? You said legacy. So I'm using that word right now. Longterm legacy. Is this your thing moving forward? Are you open to doing new things? If somebody came to you, are you, are you committed to this? Well, yes, I'm committed to that.
3 (38m 28s):
I'll do it until the day I die. And I don't think it has to be this, or it can be a, this and right. And that's, what's always happened in my life. I don't say no to a lot of things. If they're congruent or in line with my purpose. So I don't care. If somebody says, Hey, I'm going to start a ditch digging company and this is why we're doing it. And we're going to make an impact. And we're going to, you know, we're going to be a triple bottom line company. Are you interested? I'm going to listen because I don't, it's not about ego anymore. It's not about can I get to the CEO level, climbing a ladder achievement. You know, now it's about giving back serving others. And, and so I'll do that to the end of my days. And I'll do it with multiple different people.
3 (39m 8s):
Every time I meet new people, I'm learning things. I'm understanding new things, understanding different cultures. When I get to be around people like you, that have been in my life for a number of years, I'm always reinvigorated and I'm, you know, inspired you. You helped me sharpen my saw. So yeah, I think it's a, this, and I'll do it all if I can, you know, by, by making sure that I also take care of myself and the people around me
4 (39m 32s):
Flattered by that, this is not my final question, but let's, let's put this out there. Where can people learn more about you you're missing and your business.
3 (39m 40s):
Okay. I always jokingly say I'm Google-able, but you've got to spell it, right? Cause if you don't spell it, D U a N E as in Dwayne coming, see you in my mind. Yes. You're going to get it wrong. But Dwayne cummings.com is my website. All the links to like Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn all that's there. I write blogs sporadically. They're there. I do YouTube videos. There's channel. So pretty easy to find. You'd get books there. And I, although I have social media managers and handlers and people around all the time, I do my very best to answer directly. It might take me a few days, but if somebody sends me something, I'm humbled that somebody cares enough to talk about me.
3 (40m 21s):
You know, early on in people's rise. You just hope somebody even wants to buy your book, recognizes you. And, and then sometimes when you gain a little bit of success, you forget where you came from. I'll never forget where I came from. So I'm accessible, reach out.
4 (40m 34s):
Okay. Perfect. Segue to this. This podcast is called tracks to success. You know that what's the biggest lesson you have learned along your own professional journey that you can share with others already do share.
3 (40m 47s):
Yeah. The easiest one for me is just not about me. You know, it's hard because we're always trying to take care of ourselves. Take care of our family, fight for the next promotion to come up with the next great idea. You know, speak in a meeting and say something meaningful, come up with a great marketing campaign, whatever it is. We're trying to prove ourselves in most of the world. But when I realized it's not about me, like if I shine the light just on me, one person gets lit up. If I shine a lot on everybody else, I lied up. Everybody. You figured that one out your life will change dramatically. You all the things that you ever dreamed of wanted will almost just fall at your feet. It's almost like you're in the matrix, right? It's kind of weird, but yeah, it's not about you.
3 (41m 28s):
It's about other people. You still have to take care of yourself as we spoke about earlier, but it's not about you
4 (41m 33s):
So much advice
0 (41m 34s):
For our listeners. They're about career, about purpose, about helping others about give back and, and then not forgetting yourself super stuff. Dwayne, I can't thank you enough. It goes all the way back to giving me that opportunity to stand in front of you and, and all the folks that you worked with. And you've inspired me and, and been a great mentor. And I appreciate the time on this podcast. I know our listeners had to have loved it. Well, I'm humbled honored, and it was a privilege to be here with you, my brother, anything you ever need? Anything your audience ever needs? Just let me know. Appreciate it. Have a wonderful day. Thanks so much. You too. Bye. Bye.
0 (42m 11s):
2 (42m 20s):
In our conversation. Dwayne talked about his purpose to help others and never giving the same presentation twice. And that leads me to my one last thing. If you want to be an influencer, realize that every audience values something different and staying authentic to them is critical consulting or speaking or leading. Isn't about a handbook that tells you this is exactly what you have to do. It's actually about compassion, concern, care, commitment, and conviction wrapped up to deliver a custom experience for everyone you see in your audience in coaching people to become a better public speaker.
2 (42m 60s):
I never talk about making them the best public speaker. We focus on making them their best public speaker because everyone deserves something special and unique from an experience with you, not the same cutout. So think about what the experience you deliver to others actually is no matter what it is that you do make them feel special. Make sure you focus on the feeling they get from the time they spend with you. I hope these thoughts and the things we discussed in this interview will help put you on the track to success. And if you have a guest, you think belongs on tracks to success, share it on our Twitter site at tracks to success.
2 (43m 43s):
We read them all and I can't wait to hear from you until next time I'm Craig can. Thanks so much for listening.
1 (43m 55s):
You've been listening to tracks to success, brought to you by presentation partners, visual storytellers, passionate about connecting presenters with their audience. Don't forget to subscribe to the show for more great interviews and thoughts on reaching your highest personal and professional summit. You can follow Craig on Twitter and Instagram using the handle at Craig can and for exclusive tracks to success, content and news about our upcoming guests, you can find tracks to success on Twitter. It's at tracks to success.