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The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk

Episode #400 with Keith Hawk & AJ Hawk


  • I sourced questions from members of my Leadership Circle, friends, listeners, and colleagues for this episode…
  • How does Keith continue to feel impactful after retirement?
    • KH: “It’s like I have a paper route. I work a little bit in the mornings, get my work done, and then I can go have fun with my friends. I work on a few boards, do voice over work, and know how to hit the post.”
  • What has AJ learned from working with Pat McAfee?
    • “I learned to trust my instincts and not try to be somebody I’m not.”
  • What’s the best way to make introductions? AJ: “Text (message) intros are so much better. They are more personal.”
  • From Leadership Circle member, Amanda Wilson: “What habit do you admire the most in each other/best attribute?”
    • Pistol about AJ: “He’s an unbelievable teammate. He has earned the respect of all his peers. I respect his intensity to prepare.”
    • Pistol about Ryan: “A huge preparation guy. His focus on other people. He has more of an outer focus now. And a huge intensity around growth.” “Gotta change, Gotta grow.”
    • AJ about Pistol: Consistency. He wakes up early. I never saw him asleep. He never made us do anything. I want to live up to that standard. I don’t want my kids to see me asleep. And universally, everyone loves him.”
    • AJ about Ryan: “You’re a mini-version of Pistol with your consistency. So detail oriented. Such a leader and not afraid to hold people accountable. People have confidence that you’ll take them where they want to go.”
    • Ryan about Pistol: Absolute selflessness. Reminds me of my wife, Miranda. A willingness to always help others succeed and will do anything for them.
    • Ryan about AJ: A relentless work ethic. A drive to be there for the people who depend on him. Whenever I talk with teammates of AJ, they all say the same thing, “That’s my guy. I know he’ll be where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be there. I can depend on him.” He shows up to work everyday and gets it done.
  • Being selfless: Pistol – “My success is better and richer if it follows other people’s success.”
  • From Jeff Leung (Sr. Engineer at Facebook): “As the father of two young boys, I would love to hear how you and your brother AJ grew up in a way that you cheer for each other more than compete?”
    • A mutual love and respect for each others work. An appreciation for what the other does.
  • From Doug Meyer, Co-Founder/CEO of Brixey & Meyer: “What was your reaction when you heard Ryan was  leaving a high paying job at a large company to take a substantial pay cut to start a Leadership Advisory practice at Brixey & Meyer?”
    • Pistol: “Joy, fun, fulfillment. I was so excited for him.”
    • AJ: “Of course. He’s gonna kill it.”
  • Give an example how you handled when one of your kids wanted to do something but you thought it was a mistake?
    • “When Ryan was at Miami, I probably pushed him too hard to transfer so that he would get another shot to be a starting QB after losing the job to Ben Roethlisberger. I sometimes have thoughts that he could have moved positions and become Julian Edelman.”
  • From Nate DeMars (Founder/Owner of Pursuit) – “You guys have all moved onto what I guess you could consider second careers recently… How do you approach starting over as a novice in a new field?”
    • “There is no excuse to not learn everything about what you want to do. There is so much out there to read and watch and people to talk to. If you don’t learn it, it’s your fault.”
    • Find something you care about, that you’re passionate about, and pursue that.
    • “Deal with imposter syndrome when you’re new. There’s never been a better time to learn something new.”
  • Life experiences that have shaped you. Pistol, what experiences shaped AJ/Ryan?
    • Playing for the legendary Bob Gregg and Ron Ullery. They molded you and helped you:
      • Faced the requirement to prepare a lot
      • Learned how to be a great teammate
      • Learned to compete hard
      • Learned to take tough, critical feedback, became coachable
      • Learned how to be a leader
  • How to deal with great teammates, but bad coaches?
    • AJ: “It doesn’t help to complain and be negative. Be quiet. Do your job.”
    • And strive to learn from those who aren’t good at their job so that you don’t repeat what they do.
    • The Rex Caswell exercise: When you’re new, write in a journal in two columns. One is for the great actions of your boss and the other is for the not helpful behaviors. Keep it with you and review it as you continue to get promoted.
    • Pistol: “Wrap yourself in the mission. Don’t wrap yourself in negativity.”
      • “It’s the duty of the leader to be in a good mood.”
  • We conducted our first draft. The topic: Our favorite sports movies (listen to hear who we picked).

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