Episode 76

April 15, 2024


Episode 76 - Clayton Hicks - Rising Above: Clay's Journey from Adversity to Authentic Success

Hosted by

Drew Deraney
Episode 76 - Clayton Hicks - Rising Above: Clay's Journey from Adversity to Authentic Success
From Caving In To Crushing It
Episode 76 - Clayton Hicks - Rising Above: Clay's Journey from Adversity to Authentic Success

Apr 15 2024 | 00:25:59


Show Notes

This episode:  Rising Above: Clay Hicks' Journey from Adversity to Authentic Success. 

Here’s what you’ll learn about:

Resilience, perseverance, and networking. (0:03)

  • Clay Hicks shares a defining moment from his past, where he became divorced and had to transform his life.
  • Clay recounts the challenges he faced after his transformation, including losing his job and struggling to pay bills, and emphasizes his resilience and determination to move forward. 
  • His spiritual journey led to increased resilience and perseverance.
  • Clay overcame imposter syndrome, pivoted to strategic mindset for growth.
  • H7 Network is a word-of-mouth marketing community focused on connecting, serving, and asking.

Overcoming imposter syndrome and finding authenticity in business. (11:49)

  • Clay shares his journey from introversion to practicing extroversion, embracing calculated risks and overcoming imposter syndrome.
  • He reflects on personal and professional challenges, finds solace in meditation and authenticity.
  • Clay shares personal growth journey, emphasizing self-forgiveness and new beginnings.
  • He advises young entrepreneurs to prioritize self-care and balance altruism with personal needs.
  • Clay emphasizes the importance of asking for help and support in business and personal life.


To learn more about Clay’s mission, go to his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/claytonrhicks/

Or his website at http://www.h7network.com/


Clay’s Bio: Clay Hicks

Clay Hicks is a dynamic entrepreneur who has successfully built a diverse portfolio of five thriving companies. As an accomplished author, speaker, and trainer on professional relationships, Clay Hicks founded his first venture, H7 Network, in 2008. His unwavering mission is to empower underserved entrepreneurs and sales professionals, revolutionizing the way business professionals connect, serve with purpose, and ask for support from their peers on a global scale.

H7 Network, a visionary franchise, serves as a leading national B2B networking platform, both in person and virtually, enabling professionals to cultivate their own audience and cultivate advocates for their businesses. As the esteemed CEO/Founder, Clay Hicks is dedicated to spearheading innovative programs, expanding into new international markets, providing comprehensive training and development, and implementing cutting-edge processes to enhance retention, business growth, and overall relationship development.

H7 Network currently has members in 47 states, as well as Canada, Australia, England, Croatia, El Salvador, Columbia, Philippines, Italy, Ireland, and India.


Fun Facts: 

Author & Speaker

Over 7,400 1:1s since Aug 2014

Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) Specialist

Bourbon & Cigar Connoisseur

Married with 5 Children & 1 Grandson

Clay's Purpose and how H7 plays a role in it: H7 Network is a vehicle for my purpose in life. My purpose in life is to value others while lifting them up, uniting them, and taking no credit..


About your host: I'm Drew Deraney, the proud father of three children. For most of my life I've been concerned with what people thought of me and how I was supposed to act. I learned not to be my authentic self and instead became a people pleaser, a man wearing a mask.

In a 9-month span a few years ago, I endured four faith-shaking life events that caused me to question my existence.

I became determined to find a better way to live. Through intense self-reflection and awareness, I realized that in order to be happy, I must adhere to my standards of honesty, integrity and truth and needed to break free from the belief system that was anchored in me for close to 50 years.

I found my purpose and my mission in life. I've now become the man I know I am meant to be. My mission is empowering men ready to make a change to do the same.

My men's group and one-on-one coaching provide a safe space for men to share, without judgement, and transform. My male clients learn to release their inner greatness and stop self-sabotage, the #1 roadblock keeping them from reaching their goals.



Website: https://profitcompassion.com/

Email: [email protected]

Free Webinar: Overcoming Self-Sabotage Registration


Men’s Group Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/771474359577?aff=oddtdtcreator

Book a Coaching Discovery Call: https://link.mavericksystems.online/widget/bookings/netweaving/connect30

Pick up a copy of Drew’s book: https://amzn.to/40dsbyR

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Speaker A: Welcome to from caving in to crushing it, the podcast for those who find themselves immersed in adversity and choose to write their story instead of having others write it for them. I'm Drew Duraney, and I'm your host. Today's guest is Clay Hicks. Clay Hicks is a dynamic entrepreneur who has successfully built a diverse portfolio of five thriving companies as an accomplished author, speaker and trainer on professional relationships. Clay Hicks founded his first venture, H Seven Network, in 2008. His unwavering mission is to empower underserved entrepreneurs and sales professionals, revolutionizing the way business professionals connect, serve with purpose, and ask for support from their peers on a global scale. H Seven Network, a visionary franchise, serves as a leading national b two b networking platform both in person and virtually enabling professionals to cultivate their own audience and cultivate advocates for their businesses. As the esteemed CEO, founder Clay Hicks is dedicated to spearheading innovative programs, expanding into new international markets, providing comprehensive training and development, and implementing cutting edge processes to enhance retention, business growth, and overall relationship development. H Seven Network currently has members in 47 states as well as Canada, Australia, England, Croatia, El Salvador, Colombia, Philippines, Italy, Ireland and India. Here are some fun facts about Clay. He's an author and a speaker. He's had over 7401 to ones since August 2014. He's a word of mouth marketing specialist, bourbon and cigar connoisseur, married with five children and one grandchildren, a grandson. Clay's purpose and how h seven plays a role in it H Seven Network is a vehicle for his purpose in life. Clay's purpose in life is to value others while lifting them up, uniting them, and taking no credit. Enjoy the show. Clay Hicks, how are you, my friend? [00:02:30] Speaker B: Good, how are you doing, Drew? Thanks for having me, man. [00:02:32] Speaker A: Oh, this is a pleasure, man. And you and I wanted to have you back. I think you were it on like back in November of 2022, and I wanted to bring you back because, you know, before we hit the record button, you and I were talking about, you know, where you are now with age seven, and you've come so far, and I'm proud of you, man. So, you know, on this show, Clay, we talk about how we're taught that life is linear and we know it's not. And we talk about defining moments. And I would love to have you tell the audience as far back as you want to think. Grab that defining moment that was either tap on the shoulder or the two by four upside the head that, you know, made you realize, I hate Clay. There's a better way to live and I will walk walk through your whole life's journey to where you are now. [00:03:22] Speaker B: Okay, cool. Yeah, that was. That was. That was a very. This is a very defining moment. It was back when I first got divorced and became a single parent. And so I was just sharing with my wife a couple weeks ago about this story. So if you could just picture a father with a child's hand in each hand. So I had two little girls, and everything behind us was on fire. Right. Not. Not literally, but figuratively speaking, you know? And so we walk out of the house together into a third floor walk up apartment with no washer and dryer, and it's time to figure out life. And in that singular moment, a very defining moment for my future. I needed to transform my. I needed to be transformed, and they, along with my faith, transformed me. Now, it was a rough road. Of course, that was not a easy path. Meaning, like, just one day, I was like, ooh, I'm different now. Um, it wasn't that, but it was definitely lots and lots of moments after that that, you know, from, you know, not being able to. My electric was turned off, you know, two months later, and my church helped me to pay the electric that night and did all the work to that to make that happen to, you know, losing my job a month later. And my apartment complex owner, I happened to have a relationship with them to where they let me skip paying my rent in November, December, and Jane, November and December without any problems. Just my parents paying for our food every night for us to go over there and eat dinner, just. Just very, very rough, very emotionally rough. And I was really numb through the whole thing, but I just kept moving and moving and moving and always tell the story like this, where January 7, I got paid, and I caught up all my rent for those last three months, I made, like, seven grand. So I was able to catch up on my rent, which was 750 a month at the time. And my credit card, debit cards worked ever since kind of thing, you know? [00:05:52] Speaker A: Beautiful. Yeah. I know you're a spiritual man. And did that ever waver in those difficult, challenging times? [00:06:03] Speaker B: So spiritual wavering. I will not say it that way. I will not say I wavered. Like, do I keep moving forward? Kind of thing? It was maybe wavering with trusting him, meaning that there were doubts or whatever. Like, oh, my gosh, you know, can this get any worse? You know, I got on my knees. You know, there was a lot of moments right then, and, you know, I can't. I can't say that I really wavered from that. It was more detailed around, you know, am I. Am I doing the right thing? Am I. Am I doing what I should be doing? There was a lot of questioning there. [00:06:48] Speaker A: Right. [00:06:49] Speaker B: Trusting that I was being led in this. That direction, I guess, is probably a better way to say that for me, but. [00:06:54] Speaker A: Right, right, but, yeah, well, it seems like you're really. Your faith in God did not waver, and that's what. That's what's really important, because I recall that I. When all that stuff ended up happening to me, I blamed a lot on God. I was in that victim and blame mindset, and that was a very dangerous place to be. It doesn't seem to me that you ever fell into that blame and victim mindset. You had a more facing forward type. [00:07:21] Speaker B: It was. That's true. Like, I never really blamed him for my choices. Yeah, that's very true. So I didn't have, like, I didn't. Didn't feel like I was being, like, victim, whatever. No, the answer is no. I just didn't. [00:07:36] Speaker A: I mean, that's. That's a. That's a huge thing, because many men, we shun our support systems when the things go poorly. Like, I shunned my. My God, he helped you forward, and because you didn't lose faith in him, and he did guide and direct you. And that, I feel, is the difference between the victim mindset and somebody who had a true, solid belief in what God had in store for you. And I think we all need to be tested like that, Clay. Otherwise we're not going to be as strong as we are. So tell me what you think about being tested and how it made you stronger as a man. [00:08:14] Speaker B: Well, now, I didn't figure this out till later. [00:08:17] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:08:18] Speaker B: Like, a few years later, that I was one of the most. Like, I had become one of the most resilient, perseverant, not give up. [00:08:31] Speaker A: Person. [00:08:31] Speaker B: That I've ever met. So I. I kind of rest my hat on that, and I don't. Literally don't know how to turn that off anymore. [00:08:42] Speaker A: Okay. [00:08:42] Speaker B: So it's hard to, like. It's hard to, like, explain this. Stick to it. I've miss this. It's hard to explain, but, yeah, it's kind of what it was. [00:08:53] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah, that. The resilience, the perseverance, the persistence. I mean, I definitely see that in you now. And what I remember is when we. When you were on one of the earlier episodes, I recall you tell me that you used to be ready, fire, aim, rather than ready, aim, fire. So how did that change over your lifetime. I mean, I'm assuming now you're still. You're not still. Ready. Fire. Aim. Not as bad at all, as successful as you are with age seven. So tell me how that. How you changed it and you reversed those words. [00:09:28] Speaker B: Yes. So a few years ago, when the pandemic hits, it was the pandemic moment that it. That was so, so bludgeoning on me, I guess, or whatever, however you want to say it that way. Like, it was just so hard. [00:09:45] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:09:46] Speaker B: That when I got a grip around what was going on around me, this was just recently where I realized that I really had a. I was gonna have a lot more success with a strategic mindset and being much more methodical. So I had practiced that a few times and realized that was much better for me, is what I learned, that my strategic mindset. There's nothing wrong with my brain, I guess, right? There's nothing. This is who I am, and I need to embrace that, and I have. And it's really, really been beneficial almost to the point where my coo was finally leaving me alone about it a little bit. [00:10:36] Speaker A: There you go. There's progress. Celebrate, my friend. Celebrate that. So before COVID was age seven, and we'll get into age seven. I want the audience to know, because it's a big part of you as a human being. Was it all in person before COVID-19 so there's your silver lining in COVID is you had to pivot. Now you are growing at a huge pace outside of the state in which you live. And where are you now? You live. I'm in dayton, ohio now. [00:11:09] Speaker B: But where do we have members? [00:11:12] Speaker A: Well, no, here? No, I'm gonna let. I'm gonna set you up now. So you are now a stronger human being. You now do. Ready, aim, fire. You are very persistent. You've had challenges of. I know we've talked about challenges of imposter syndrome, and I believe if you haven't overcome them by now, play overcome them, because you are not an imposter. You are the real deal based on everything you've gone through. Tell us about h seven network. And I specifically love how you talk about connect, serve, ask in term of networking, because the way some people are teaching networking out there, we got to throw it away. And I'd say, forget everything. You know, everybody, and just talk to clay. So give me that whole transition and how you've turned h seven into what it is today and what h seven is, I guess, to start. [00:12:07] Speaker B: Yeah. So h seven is a really. It's a word of mouth marketing focused networking community. Okay, so simple. You know, it's a little oversimplified, but the culture of our community is based on the foundation of we will connect with each other, serve one another, and ask of one another. Okay. [00:12:37] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:12:38] Speaker B: So with that being said, connect, serve, and ask being that nexus point, it is the culture, it is everything about how we operate. It makes us easier to help each other. And so when you take like minded folks like in our community, we have our in person, which is in four states, which is more for your real estate focused people like insurance and mortgage and things and professions like that, to our b two B community, which is more focused around the b two B professional. So with connect, serve, and ask at the center point in the culture, what we're trying to accomplish is supporting members, being aligned with other like minded members. [00:13:23] Speaker A: Right. [00:13:23] Speaker B: As often as possible. [00:13:25] Speaker A: Okay. [00:13:25] Speaker B: Right. So, so leveraging connect, serve, and ask, a b two B member that is a fractional chro can now do business easier with a fractional CFO or CRO or consultant or business coach or whatever, because they've become more empowered around being in authentic, in selling themselves. [00:13:52] Speaker A: Okay. [00:13:53] Speaker B: Not their services, always. Right. So now they get a chance to be genuine authentic. They can be themselves, and they can kind of drop that whole facade of perfection thing or whatever, so they can just be who they are authentically. [00:14:14] Speaker A: No, I love, I love that. And I know that in the past you have told me, and I didn't realize that you're really an introvert at heart. [00:14:21] Speaker B: I'm a practicing extrovert. Yeah. [00:14:23] Speaker A: What's that exactly? [00:14:25] Speaker B: I'm a practicing extrovert, practicing extra. [00:14:27] Speaker A: And I love that because I think a lot of us are practicing extroverts. So tell me about, have you always been an introvert, and how have you become less of an introvert or your practicing has made you a better extrovert? [00:14:42] Speaker B: Yeah. So as an introvert, I grew up an introvert. I was an introvert when I was in my twenties. I still am. But that moment where I didn't have a choice. Right. Either I had to take action to do something or do nothing. And so that was right around the time of all the story I told her earlier and all that. I just always felt like I didn't have another choice. And I still feel like when I'm backed into a corner, like I got to make a choice. And it doesn't matter if I'm afraid to be a practicing extrovert, I got to do what I got to do, and I kind of live my life that way. Not that I'm by no means perfect in not being afraid or anything like that, but there are certain things I just. It doesn't matter how I feel. I still got to do it. [00:15:34] Speaker A: No, I love that. Now, a lot of us call that doing it scared, and I think that's the way you got to do it, because fear is always going to creep into our heads, and it's. Sometimes it's good to be scared because it's challenging us. And you've taken some calculated risks. I guess their risks now are more calculated and tactical than they were when you had the ready, fire, aim. You're a lot more strategic, as you said. So that's another progression as a man, that you've done. I want to talk a little about the imposter syndrome and how you are slowly getting that out of your system. [00:16:20] Speaker B: Yeah, that, that's a, that's a good question. So I. I'm going to answer like this. I've realized that I've had some personal challenges and professional challenges that I deal with, and I'm still dealing with them. One of them has found myself meditating over. This is who you made me to be. Do I appreciate that or not? And I need to begin taking ownership over who I am, whatever he has led me to be in this moment. And so I have to. So how I did it was I. Every Sunday I spend time meditating, reflecting over who I am, what has happened, who I and my wife will attest. It's a two hour, sometimes just one, but mostly it's an hour to 2 hours of reflection time after church over his word and what is saying what I think is happening and really just nailing down, spending time meditating over who it is, talking to myself, talking to him. I know he's being really vulnerable, but reflection is a very key element to this battle to overcome, if that makes sense. [00:17:45] Speaker A: No, it does. Certainly does. And, and I've still struggled with imposter syndrome also. And especially, I mean, I've changed three careers, career, you know, so, so many of us, many we entrepreneurs will leave one industry, right, become an entrepreneur and think we were high up on that industry, and then we're an entrepreneur, and all of a sudden, like, reality hits and it's like, oh, I'm not up on that where I was high up on that mountain because no one knows who the hell I am now. And, yeah, it's a battle every day. And I think being comfortable in your own skin. So you are one of the most authentic people I've met, and I believe this world is craving authenticity, Clay. And I believe one way to overcome the imposter syndrome is to be your authentic self. You know, because once you're your authentic self, you're not getting in your own way to self sabotage as must as much you're trusting the process or the path that God has you on. And I have an affirmation up here that I say to myself, it's up on my ceiling. It says, as I let go of the need to arrange my life, the universe brings abundant good to me. [00:18:55] Speaker B: Yes, yes. Yeah. [00:18:57] Speaker A: And I think that's important for we. We are reforming imposter. Impostor syndrome people, because it's. [00:19:07] Speaker B: Yeah, so, so it doesn't help, though, that we're our worst critic. [00:19:12] Speaker A: No, it doesn't. [00:19:13] Speaker B: It doesn't help. So, no. You know, nobody can be more harder than I'm gonna be. But I also. There's a level of responsibility that we take. I'll just say, as a man, to me, in my opinion, that we take over our family, over our things, whatever those things are, that we need to be responsible for. [00:19:32] Speaker A: Yes, yes. [00:19:33] Speaker B: And so sometimes, being our worst critic, we will criticize ourselves from doing that wrong, but never really forgive ourselves for doing that. And there's got to be that careful balance. So that's what I wrestle with, you know? [00:19:44] Speaker A: Yeah, no, absolutely. And the whole thing about, yeah, you gotta. The beating ourselves up. I mean. Yeah, you gotta get that voice out and say that, hey, there's a new sheriff in town, and the forgiveness. The forgiveness is the new sheriff in town. And we realized that when we make a decision, perhaps at that time, we just don't have the tools. We're not equipped right now. God hasn't given us those tools or equipped us with those tools to make a different decision. So we made our decision based on the tools that were provided to us at that time. And you're right. Yeah. Give ourselves a break, man. Yeah. So, that's awesome, Clay. I mean, I'm so happy you're in my life, man. And we gotta get together more often, and. And I know we will. So the audience has now gotten a. Have grabbed the essence of Clay Hicks, I believe. And, folks, I want to promote Clay. He's unbelievable, especially h seven. Get on that website. And the best way to connect with Clay, and he's going to put your connect, serve and ask to the test. Find him on LinkedIn, Clayton Hicks and ask for. Message him there. Ask for a. He initially mentioned, said one on one to one. But I told him you have some great phrase he will put in front of the one to one. So it's a connect, serve, and ask one to one. Very different from all these other one to ones you've heard in some of these other organizations and from other people. So definitely get in touch with Clay. You will. He'll enhance your life. Just that. That short conversation play. I could talk to you forever, but I know you have a business to run that's exploding. So I want to help you get back there and take care of it. So, two final questions. My friend Clay, you are sitting down with seven to ten year old Clay, and you want to give him advice about life. What are you going to tell him? [00:21:46] Speaker B: It's okay to be different. It's okay to be different. [00:21:52] Speaker A: It's okay to be different. All right. And you might give the same answer for this question. Different hat. Now you're sitting with Clay, the young entrepreneur. Young businessman. And what kind of business advice you gonna give him? Clay. [00:22:07] Speaker B: It'S okay to not be altruistic. [00:22:11] Speaker A: I love that. Okay, a little deeper with that one. You got me on that. You threw me a curveball there. Okay. [00:22:17] Speaker B: All right. [00:22:18] Speaker A: Explain that one a little bit so these seven, to the young businessmen, can understand what you're talking about. [00:22:25] Speaker B: So when I went into business and decided to do the things I was doing, I was doing it from a narrative of being altruistic. [00:22:36] Speaker A: Mm hmm. [00:22:38] Speaker B: Because I had gone through a lot to become more humble and altruistic. And that's a deeper conversation. Okay. Yep. Um. But I would tell them it's okay because, um, you also need to make sure that you are also taking care of yourself. [00:22:54] Speaker A: I love that. [00:22:55] Speaker B: And your family. And I got into a real freaking tornado of being altruistic for so long that it was affecting my family. It was affecting me, and I didn't realize it. And that's okay. I forgive myself for doing that. I learned a lot. I was able to give to others because of it. But I just. You know, I may have gone a little faster, further faster if maybe I had. But, of course, timing exists, too. But I'm just saying that it did hold me back for a while. [00:23:30] Speaker A: Thanks for clarifying that. And thanks for being vulnerable with there. And I totally get what you mean, because we need to have our buckets full in order to continue helping people. And if you are too altruistic, again, just like, everything in moderation, right? If you're too altruistic, you end up with an empty bucket, and you can't dive in there and take anything out to help others. So you got to get your bucket filled in some way, shape or form. So there needs to be that return. And I guess it's all about surrounding yourself with people who aren't just takers. You gotta surround yourself with the givers gain mentality. And if you give in service, it will come back to you if you ask for it. If you ask for it. And that's that, guys. That third. [00:24:17] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:24:17] Speaker A: When you're on the call with him, connect, serve and ask. People aren't gonna volunteer to give you business. Sometimes you guys gotta ask for it. Clay, thank you. In many ways, I'm grateful for you in my life. Thank you for being who you are. Thanks for being a friend. You know, when I reached out to you again, I'm like, maybe he's too big and vip and famous to come back on. And now he's, he's the same humble clay I met two some odd years ago. And you're a great man and you're a great role model. Keep growing age seven. The way you're doing it. Don't, don't change the way you're doing it, man. You're great service and I love you, pal. [00:25:00] Speaker B: Love you too, man. Thank you for having me, brother. Thank you. [00:25:02] Speaker A: Absolutely great to have you. All right, be well, everybody. Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed the episode, please subscribe and give us a review to help others find it. I'd like you to answer this question. Are you living the life you want to live? Or are you living the life others want you to live? I'd like you to think about that for a second because I strongly suggest you live the life you want to live. If you want to learn more about what I stand for and my services and how I'm able to help many men get out of their own way, please go to my website at www.prophetcompassion.com. Feel free to also email [email protected] dot I'd love to have a conversation with you. Take care of yourself and choose to write your own story instead of letting others write it for.

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