Going All-In w/ Joe & Julia Langton

Success is never guaranteed. But if you never even try going after what you really want, you’re pretty well guaranteed never to get it. Today, Joe and Julia Langton, the father-daughter team behind the podcast Automating Success, are here to tell you not to listen to the people you say you can’t do it. Join us to explore how, if you find your passion and run with it, truly go all-in, doors will open up and you will succeed.

Highlight Reel:

1:40 Automating Success

3:30 The person I am today

12:40 A bad communicator

18:20 Don’t tell me I can’t do it

21:40 Finding your superpower

24:50 Going with your gut

29:30 Do it all-in!

35:10 Julia’s perfect world

44:20 Joe’s perfect world

Adrienne MacIain 0:01

Hey, everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess, Dr. Adrienne MacIain. And today we have Joe and Julie Langton, please introduce yourselves.

Julia 0:13

I'll go first because I know you'll go more in depth. I'm Julia Langton, I'm COO of Automated Outdoor. And I don't know, I know you take it away more, so you'll go more into depth.

Joe 0:23

Yeah. So Julia and I, we're a father-daughter combination that has the privilege of working together on a daily basis. And I like to think that we both elevate each other equally. She lets me see things from a younger, female perspective, I see things from a middle-aged businessman perspective. I think I add an element of being able to kind of go and take over a room, but she adds the element of kind of keeping that in check right now. I think that's kind of how we work well together. We have a podcast that we do together called the Automating Success Show that is one of my greatest joys every week to do with her. I think it's a great learning experience for her to talk to some of the CEOs and thought leaders that we talk to. We are running a, like she said, robotic automation business where we help other people in the industry learn about automation and implement it. And then we also run Langton Group Landscaping. So.

Adrienne MacIain 1:37


Joe 1:38

That was a mouthful. I know. But that's us.

Julia 1:40

See, I knew you would take it for me. There you go.

Adrienne MacIain 1:42

Yeah. So I actually help support the the podcast that you guys do. And so I have the privilege of getting to listen to the footage before anybody else does. And so I just want everyone out there to go and take a listen to one of their episodes, because it's about so much more than just, you know, automated outdoor equipment. It's really-- they have a wonderful kind of banter between the two of them, a great kind of relationship. And also, it's just about leadership and success and all kinds of different... what's the word I'm looking for...themes here, that are really just wonderful. So.

Joe 2:21

It's just, it's success stories. I think it's about, you know, interviewing people that have or are achieving their dream and their best life. And in, I think, like how you said it, you're right, it's not only about outdoor automation, it's, you know, we have writers on the show, and authors, just all sorts of different people just doing what they love every day. And it's meant to inspire people to pick your passion and run with it.

Adrienne MacIain 2:53

So what do you think when you say 'automating success?' Why do you think it's important to automate success?

Joe 3:01

Well, I think you could almost say it's more like replicate success, right? So, you know, to us, we wanted to say automate, because we're using automatic lawnmowers. But the reality of it is, I think if you look at the majority of successful people, they've figured out a way to replicate or duplicate themselves as easily as possible.

Adrienne MacIain 3:24

Sure, yeah. Alright, so I'm going to go ahead and ask the fated question and see what happens. So what story is the world not getting?

Joe 3:38

So I think the story that they probably wouldn't get is what turned me into the person I am today. Okay. So, I'm a six foot four, 275 pound, well-spoken man. And people probably look at me and think that I've always been this way. But there was a period of my life, when I look back on it in high school, really, where I was not that person. I actually, looking back on my childhood, we were somebody not right. I went from being in a school and having friends up until about third grade, and my mom and dad, we moved into a new house, we went from the Schaumburg area, the Elgin area, in Illinois. And my experience in grade school was not quite the same when I went to the new school, as it was at the old one. Unfortunately, I gained weight very quickly, as a younger kid, once we did that transition, and you know, there were some pretty lonely times as the kid on the playground getting bullied, getting called fat and you know, it's kind of rough. And then the thing was, I kind of hit a day where I grew into myself and realized I didn't have to take that anymore and started to fight back. And kind of went through that evolution. And then I hit high school, started playing football, and everybody wanted to be around the really big guy that, as I would say, the man amongst boys, you know, the one 240 pound sophomore in high school. But what's always been funny to me is, when I talked to my friends that I still know from high school now, and a lot of them have actually worked for us at some point in time. Some days, I'm surprised that I wasn't always the captain of the football team, or I'll be surprised that sometimes my coaches didn't believe more in my leadership. And one of the things that my friends have always said was, they're like, Joe, you were not this in high school. But my memory, in my memory, I feel like I've always been this person. And I suppose the story that's never told, is, I was not always this person. It probably took me, almost till I was 30, to truly realize I see things differently than other people. I don't have to stay in their lane or their way of seeing things. And what do I have to lose? I'm just going to be myself. It kind of took a divorce for me to realize that, I suppose looking back on it in life also. And yeah, so I guess that's the story for me that is something that, maybe people when they're watching our podcast or whatever, don't realize that I had to take, there was a lot of I don't want to say pain, but a lot of not great times that turned me into the person I think that I am today.

Adrienne MacIain 6:57

You said so many interesting things in there, so let's see if I can parse some of this. So what I love is, so first of all, I can completely relate. I went through this awkward phase, where I was chubby, and nobody wanted to be around me. And you know, especially in junior high school, I think I was a very, I was just very me, I had a really big personality. And that didn't always go over well. And so I was very open about certain things, like, I liked boys, and I liked girls, and I let everybody know that. And so, you know, back in, like, the early 90s, that was not something that you talked about, right. And so what I found is that once I started being open about these things, other people started coming to me and telling me all their secrets. And I suddenly became sort of like the Dr. Ruth of the school, where everybody's coming, talking to me about their weird problems. But what I loved about that is that I found my kind of, I found my niche. And it's funny how, you know, in one context the big guy is awkward and embarrassing, and then another context the big guy is the guy that you want to be around. And so in different contexts, what we think of as a weakness suddenly becomes a strength.

Joe 8:16


Adrienne MacIain 8:16

And so I wanted to point out too that one thing you said is that you don't think about that anymore. It's like, you know, I feel like I've always been this person. Well, the funny thing is, when you change a belief, you can actually change your past. Do you see what I mean? It's like, we have these stories, but how we view them changes depending on where we're standing, what our perspective is now. So you could have seen that as like, Oh, I was bullied as a child, and I was a victim. Or you can see it as I went through this phase that taught me humility and then made me into the person that I am now.

Joe 8:55

Yeah, totally. Well, and something that I think I need to expand on is, you know, when you hear me tell it from one perspective it seems like I was the victim, but I'm sure, and it's something that I always am like, when I'm seeing things like on Facebook or Twitter, you know, now with all the social media, I find myself getting defensive sometimes because people will assume the big person is the bully.

Adrienne MacIain 9:20


Joe 9:20

And, and I have to say, it's something that bothers me to the core, 'cause the big person is only seen as the bully because, when they finally decided they're not going to take it anymore, they inflict harm at a greater rate than the person typically bullying. And it was the next thing I had to overcome. It's like, what I found was, you know, as I was that big guy that all the guys wanted to hang around with, all the girls were almost like, What's wrong with that guy? That they didn't understand it was me just making sure that those guys that used to bully me in seventh and eighth grade, don't ever do it again. So I think that it's, it's funny, it's not it's not funny, it's actually kind of sad when you look at it, how you kind of sometimes have to build yourself up, and then you have to almost keep yourself shelled off until you reach that point of security where you realize you don't have to fight anymore. Like you don't have to protect yourself anymore, and you can just open up and allow people to actually know you.

Adrienne MacIain 9:20

Yeah. Well, and I think the psychological aspects of bullying are really under-noted, if that makes sense. I think that, you know, the physical aspect of like, you know, oh, well, I was afraid for my physical security. People understand that, but most bullying happens up here (in the mind).

Joe 10:55

Yes. Totally.

Adrienne MacIain 10:56

And Julia, you know this, girls can be just as mean.

Julia 10:59

Yeah. Absolutely.

Adrienne MacIain 11:00

Just as mean.

Joe 11:04

Yeah. Well, and the thing about guys, usually when you're mad at each other, it's like, for three minutes, you know. The majority of fights that happen last about three minutes, you both exhausted yourself, and then you're like, Man, that was really dumb. Let's go play kickball. You know that's the one difference with boys and girls, I'd say.

Julia 11:20

And guys do a lot of physical arguments, maybe not physical, but they're very upfront. With girls, it's very passive aggressive mind games, which I think is a little bit worse.

Adrienne MacIain 11:30

Oh, yeah.

Joe 11:32

Guys are definitely the chest pounders, want to look really big, half the time we don't want to do anything, we're just trying to set our position of dominance. I think there's definitely more of an intellectual level with girls, you know. So...

Adrienne MacIain 11:47

Yeah. I'm actually writing a book right now on emotional abuse called Enough. And so one of the things that I talk about is how emotional abuse leaves all these scars that nobody sees. And so in some ways, it's much, much more dangerous, over a long period of time to be exposed to emotional abuse than physical abuse. Because when you're, you know, when you get hit, it's like, Well, that sucked. But then, you know, you recover. And it's very clear that like, you know, somebody hit me, and that sucked, but like, you know, that's not my fault. Yeah. Whereas with emotional abuse, you internalize it, and you think, Well, I must be causing this, this must be me that's doing this. And I think that's a lot of how bullying scars us as a kid, that we take this shame on, on top of the bullying.

Joe 12:39

No, that's great point. Should be a good book.

Adrienne MacIain 12:40

Well, I'm working on it. So when would you say... so it sounds like the tide kind of turn for you at a point where you kind of grew into yourself and started doing football?

Joe 12:54

Yeah, and you know, even football for me was kind of, kind of rough. Because, you know, I look back, you know, so the some of the main people I still talk to in my life are all people I played football with. I mean, I have to say, when it comes to sports, those are just bonds that that are made in stone. I mean, there's just that, that's just the way that it is. I I'm a big advocate and believer in sports. I think that people should definitely do it. I think it's one of the reasons I'm successful today is because of what I took from any sport I played, but you know, I had a coach that was pretty hard on me also. And it took me a long time, speaking of the story that's never told, it took me a long time to grow up and realize that even though I was really mad at the coach, I just realized he wasn't a good communicator. So you know, to break that story down a little bit, you know, we had a game that we lost pretty bad and the coach really took it out on me. I had walking pneumonia at the time, I had a doctor's note to prove it. He took me out, never really let me start again that year. None of my teammates understood why. And then my Sports Awards night really embarrassed the hell out of me by saying that, you know, Joe's a guy we moved up sophomore year to varsity, expected big things out of them, but has never turned his boy-fat into some real man-muscle. And what really, really upset me, and anybody that knows and lifted with me is, I was bench-pressing 320 pounds as a junior in high school, okay. There was no boy-fat left to change into man-muscle. But he said this in front of an auditorium of parents, and, you know, it's another thing that's always stuck with me, right? But talking about learning from it, now that I'm a leader, his form of poor leadership is, in my opinion, what makes me a better leader. Okay? What he should have actually told me, looking back on it was... you know, we didn't come from money, I am a literally a self-made person. My mom and dad were very hard working. My mom used to work at jewel and deli. My dad was a union labor, they both ended up working for the city. So it's not like somebody gave me a bunch of money and said, Go and start a business. Right? But what his issue was, in order for me to have a vehicle back then my mom and dad said, You have to have a job if you want a car. So I would work out in my study hall, for weightlifting, and then go to work, still able to lift 320 pounds. But what he wanted was my leadership in the building, lifting with the team after school. Now what I've, it's taken me many years, I'm 41, to realize he's just a bad communicator. What he should have just said to me was, Hey, Joe, you're a strong kid, this comes easy to you, I need you to be here to show the people that it doesn't come easy to that you're dedicated and committed to the team. Instead, he took it out and just said really mean things in front of other people, thinking it was gonna motivate me. But I'm not somebody that's motivated by anger. I'm someone that's motivated by communication. Okay? So if somebody needs something out of me, I want them to just tell me, Hey, Joe, I really need you to do this for me, because I need you on my side. Then I will, I'll give you, I'll give you everything I have. But when somebody just tries to get me angry to do it, well now my defense mechanism, which is probably something that got built in eighth grade, is I fight my way out of it. So now it's like, No, no, no, you don't yell at me. I, I'm, I'm a 280 pounds, six foot four guy. Absolutely not. Right? So looking back on it, you know, now I'm mature enough to understand myself now and catch myself in the moment. Okay? And I think even my own daughter, probably just, just like I see her grow right next to me and mature, she probably sees it in me, just in dealing with people everyday. But yeah, so I don't know. Man, I'm really off on a tangent here. I, I told you, I was just gonna roll with it.

Adrienne MacIain 17:38

I love it. I love it. No, I just want to point out something so cool that you just did naturally, which is an exercise that I actually walk people through all the time, which is so you have this traumatic experience, right? Now, I want you to insert yourself into that as an adult and intervene on your child self's behalf. And you just did that. You just kind of went back and said, If I had the capacity now, I would explain to him like, Hey, anger doesn't work for me. What works for me is communication. Just tell me what's going on coach? And then this is what he would have said.

Joe 18:13


Adrienne MacIain 18:14

So that's beautiful that you just did that naturally. That's awesome. Yeah. So what do you think has blocked you from sharing this more often?

Joe 18:31

Sometimes it's really not a part of my life that I want to remember. It's one of those things that you kind of ball up in your stomach, and you throw it down there and let it stay there. And you know, I always tell people, I tried to play college football, I didn't do any of that. And some days, I say that I regretted it. And then I catch myself in saying it, because had I played college football, my favorite part of my life that's sitting right next to me, wouldn't be sitting here. So, you know, 'cause my whole life would have changed, and I might not be sitting on this podcast with you right now, because my entire life would change. But, you know, going back to what you said I kinda do naturally, I also always used to say, I didn't play college football, because my coach was an asshole, and I didn't want to play because of him. And then also because I met her mom