The Proximity Principle with Ken Coleman

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The StartupCamp Podcast with Chris Graebe
The Proximity Principle with Ken Coleman

How to surround yourself with the right people and find your sweet spot

For much of his young life, Ken wanted to work in politics. But when the opportunity finally arose, he realized—that’s not what I’m passionate about.

His passion had been awakened years before when he stood on stage as the lead in the high school play. The audience gave him a standing ovation, and that was it. It took some more years of searching and refining to define his passion and mission exactly: it wasn’t just the performance, but the pressure of performing live and impacting others… that was his true calling.

Now, Ken focuses on helping others discover their strengths and passions. He hosts The Ken Coleman Show, a daily national radio show and podcast. He’s also the author of The Proximity Principle, where he explains the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people.

Ken Coleman reminds us that pursuing our passion isn’t easy; it means facing our inner demons on a daily basis, no matter how much success we achieve. Listen now.

“Each person was created to fulfill a unique role.”

Ken’s ultimate mission is to help people find their sweet spot—where their talent meets their passion. When people call into his show each day, he doesn’t know what he’s getting. That’s his passion: the pressure to perform live and deliver wisdom to a real person who needs it to move forward.

But it took self-reflection, pursuing careers he wasn’t passionate about, and the humility to learn for him to arrive in a place where he can perform each day.

It also meant learning to recognize the voices of fear and doubt.

“A chain, a rope, can render a powerful animal powerless.”

If you go to the zoo, Ken says, you might see a lion or a tiger chained up or locked behind a fence. We walk by and we yawn because we are safe. But if we see that animal in the wild? We run.

We tether ourselves with the chain and ropes of fear and doubt. How many times have you thought, “I don’t think I can do this”? How many times has a loved one told you, “Take the safe route, stay in your nine-to-five”? Fear chains us to where we are and doubt makes us question our abilities.

That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with the right people—the five archetypes Ken mentions are the professor, the mentor, the producer, the peer, and the professional. These people aren’t afraid to tell you when you are wrong and will support you when you’re right. If you seek them out, they will teach you what you need to know so you can move closer to where you want to be.

“It’s not the awards. It’s not the rewards. It’s the significance.”

Once we find our passion and turn it into a career, it can sustain us, but it’s not about us. What we create through our passion serves others. You want to go bed every day asking, “Did what I did today matter?” and “What can I do better tomorrow?”


Chris Graebe


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