25. Interview with Jeff McGregor (Business Developer, Musician)

Jeff McGregor has achieved success in many areas of his life. After being an insurance agent for six years, he launched an agency in 1989. Jeff and his wife Jan also built or purchased multiple companies over the years.

Jeff McGregor is an expert in business development and also a certified financial advisor. As a spiritual leader, Jeff served as an elder at his church and has a passion for sharing the Gospel.

Jeff is an accomplished drummer who has played in rock, country, and gospel bands. He has performed with Steve Gaines from Lynyrd Skynyrd and bands like Wild Horses. He played with West Yellowstone Philharmonic and Elvin Bishop as well as groups like El Chicano and Leon Russel. After years of successful business ventures, Jeff has retired, traveling the country with his wife, and is now free to resume his music career.

Below are some insights from Jeff McGregor. Enjoy!

What is your definition of success?

I think success comes in many forms, it’s not always just financial. There’s the spiritual side of things. It has to do with the quality of life and how you can learn from your mistakes. I would say there are successes in the ongoing effort.

When did you consider yourself a success?

That’s something I don’t think we get to do in this lifetime. I don’t have the last say. I try to serve people, and if I can impact their lives in a way that brings them to a better place, or maybe see an improvement in someone else’s overall experience, I consider that success and move on. Always take the next challenge. As an entrepreneur, there’s always another step to take.

What steps do you take daily to improve?

I try to improve my prayer life, and that feeds into the rest of my life. When you’re reading Scripture, God’s talking to you. When you’re praying, you’re talking to God. You just have to keep that in mind and know that it’s a two-way conversation. You may not understand what you receive, so you have to be open. I try to look at things from a fresh perspective every day, and I think that’s the only thing you can do.

What have you recognized as your greatest strengths, and how have they impacted your success?

Strength comes from overcoming your weakness. In trying to defeat shortcomings in life, you learn how to deal with them better and not make the same mistakes. You still make mistakes. You just have to make new ones so that you can move forward. You have to analyze everything as it comes in and ask yourself, “Is this something I want to be a part of or not, and can I impact it? Can I make it better for someone else through my involvement?”

Tell me about a weakness or personal character flaw, and what you’re doing to overcome it?

Judgment is a tough thing for me. You have to make decisions based on what you believe. How do you not judge others in that process? Hopefully, I can overcome that in my life. Sometimes I jump to conclusions through that judgment issue, and I think that’s dangerous.

How do you make important decisions?

I pray, and I try to analyze what God’s telling me. I don’t ever want to misinterpret that. After you come to what you feel like He’s telling you, stick your toe in the “water of the Jordan” and see if the water stops. You have to initiate it. Test it. Decide whether you can go forward and make an informed decision about what God’s telling you.

Was there a pivotal moment that set you on the path to where you are now?

I think the pivotal moment for me was at a conference in Phoenix with an insurance company. I had just gotten back home, and I got a phone call that my dad had an aneurysm, and he was on life support. I immediately left to go to where he was. The drive took me about 12 hours, so I had some time to think. At that point, I realized that life was more significant than anything I would experience. We all have to face death at some point and understand that we’re here for a certain time, and we don’t know what that is. Make the best of it.

We need to try to follow the truth and make sure that’s what we’re doing. So I guess it was when my father passed. I think that’s probably when I just said, “Lord, I know I need you now,” and He was there.

Are there any books you’ve read more than once? Why?

I’m not a big reader (there’s another weakness). I tend to get my information verbally. I like to read, but my commitment in time usually won’t allow me to focus for that long. So I find myself thinking about something else right in the middle of whatever it is I was trying to absorb. I can take it in doses that are not long. Sometimes that’s the way I have to approach it. Audiobooks would probably help, but I just have never gotten on board with that whole setup. I should do that!

Tell me about a difficult commitment you’ve made, and would you make it again?

I was an elder of the church. I did that for about ten years. It’s like painting a target on your back. I think Satan looks at that as a vulnerability.

I would say that making spiritual decisions that affect people’s lives is a huge responsibility. You have to keep your interest out of it. You’re trying to figure out what’s best for them, without interjecting your own opinion. It’s a fine line, and it does tax you. My situation turned out to be one that I felt wasn’t fruitful in the long run. I hope I had a positive impact on people in their lives, but I don’t know if that’s what occurred. Some issues within the congregation were difficult.

Would I make that commitment again? That’s a good question. I don’t know if I would again. I think I decided that I can serve better in other ways. You know, there’s a time and a place, and I did my time in that place.

What character traits do you value most in others?

I value honesty, courage, and compassion. I think those are the traits that I look for in people, to see what relationship I can have over time with them.

How do you push through your worst times?

Faith and prayer, that’s the only way. You have to have a desire to make it work for everyone involved, no matter what you’ve taken on. You can’t let people down. Knowing that I have that responsibility and that I have an obligation to the Lord, that’s important to me.

What keeps you awake at night?

Not much keeps me awake at night. I try not to do anything that would make me stay up because I didn’t deal with it. Take care of problems as they arise.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired the most by the sacrifice of those who go into the military. It takes someone willing to invest who they are and what they are. They put it on the line for everyone else. It’s an incredible thing to do.

How do you manage and prioritize opportunities?

I deal with a lot of different issues, sometimes very quickly. If it’s a project that I have to prioritize, I will usually evaluate the requirement of my time, my energy, and my ability to impact the situation. Then, I decide which ones are more important.

I think you pray about those things. All those that aren’t opportunities that affect who you are, or what you need to do, seem to fall away.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

When I turned 18, I pulled up to the gate of Caribou Ranch Studios in Nederland, and the gate was wide open (which I’ve been told was never the case), but I felt like I didn’t have enough to offer. I just told myself, “You know what? You’re not going in.” I decided that I needed to diversify my background to be valuable. I felt like I had more work to do. You can’t finish the house if you don’t have enough material.

I don’t know if that’s a wise decision when you’re faced with an opportunity that will change your life, but that’s how I dealt with it. I kind of regret it, but it served a purpose. There’s always a silver lining to even the wrong decisions. You just have to be willing to look at it from that angle.