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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Henderson

Beyond Conventions: Insights from Zachary Parker Harris

Updated: Oct 28, 2023


A new model for success
Beyond Conventions

Navigating Life's Adventure:

We are diving into the remarkable journey of Zachary Parker Harris. As we unfold the pages of his life, we discover a narrative rich with entrepreneurial spirit, resilience, and a commitment to holistic success. In this blog post, we'll explore the key insights and wisdom shared during the podcast, shedding light on Zachary's unique approach to life and business.


The Genesis of Junto Global: Beyond Conventions

Zachary's journey commenced in the corridors of a Fortune 100 tech giant, where he thrived in operations and strategy. However, a pivotal moment led him to question the existing reality. Inspired by Buckminster Fuller's wisdom, he decided to build a new model, one that made the old obsolete. This birthed Junto Global, a transformative mastermind dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs to forge connections and actualize their inspirations.


Childhood Roots:

Reflecting on his childhood, Zachary reminisced about growing up in a loving household with values and a strong work ethic instilled by his parents. His father's advice, "Plan A is to survive and have a good time; Plan B is to survive," set the tone for a survival mentality that propelled him toward a life beyond mere existence. His early interest in finding alternative ways of living and a desire to contribute joy to others laid the foundation for his future endeavors.


A Reset Moment:

Life took an unexpected turn when a car accident at the age of 20 prompted a reset in Zachary's path. The incident shook him out of a lifestyle driven by external validation and led him to curate a circle of genuine connections. This reshaping of his inner circle became the bedrock for the community now known as Junto Global.


The Benjamin Franklin Influence:

Zachary's entrepreneurial spirit found resonance in the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, who, in his early twenties, formed a club for mutual improvement. Inspired by Franklin's approach, Zachary adopted the name "Junto" for his mastermind, creating a space where like-minded individuals could gather, share insights, and collectively grow.


The Suffering Conversation:

Delving into the concept of suffering, Zachary shared a profound perspective. Instead of viewing suffering as a negative aspect, he advocated for embracing it as a catalyst for growth. Passion, he suggested, is not just about what we'd do if we had everything but what we're willing to suffer for. This perspective, rooted in authenticity, guided Zachary towards the endeavors that truly mattered to him.


Holistic Approach to Masterminds:

What sets Junto Global apart from traditional masterminds is its holistic approach. Beyond discussions on business strategies, Junto explores philosophy, science, marketing trends, health, and relationships. Zachary emphasizes personal development as a core element of success, encouraging members to evolve not just as entrepreneurs but as better human beings.


Life as an Adventure:

Zachary's favorite quote, "Life is not a problem to be solved, but an adventure to be lived," encapsulates his outlook. He encouraged listeners to move away from the paradigm of problem-solving and embrace the adventure, where discomfort becomes the breeding ground for growth.


As we conclude this journey into Zachary Parker Harris's insights, it's evident that his story is one of authenticity, resilience, and a commitment to making a positive impact. Junto Global stands as a testament to the power of genuine connections and the transformative potential of embracing life's adventures. Let Zachary's journey inspire you to navigate your own adventure, embracing the paradoxes, finding passion in suffering, and charting a course toward holistic success.


In the spirit of Junto Global, let's continue to build a community that empowers and uplifts, making each day an opportunity to live a life of purpose and inspiration.




Episode Transcript:

Michelle Henderson (00:12):

Hello everyone. Welcome to Michelle's inspiration Hour. I'm thrilled to bring you an episode designed to infuse your life with newfound inspiration and joy. As Buck Minister Fuller wisely said, you never change things by fighting the existing reality to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. So our special guest, Zachary Parker Harris, embarked on a remarkable journey, initially thriving at Fortune 100 Tech giant in operations and strategy. He took an unexpected turn after uncovering golden advice from the company's executives realizations struck, leading him away from convention channeling Benjamin Franklin's essence. He birthed a transformative mastermind. Now his life's mission, presently Parker, super headss Junto global, empowering countless entrepreneurs to forge profound connections, actualize their inspirations and craft lives of holistic success. So now tune in for insights that could reshape your path. So I am really excited about hearing about his entrepreneur journey because we all want to be on this. All right, so I'm bring him on. Hey, Parker.

Zachary Parker Harris (01:37):

Hi, Michelle.

Michelle Henderson (01:38):

How are you doing?

Zachary Parker Harris (01:40):

I am excellent. I love your space.

Michelle Henderson (01:44):

Well, thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Hopefully it's inviting and you feel I always want to have a good space because that way my guests feel comfortable and feel welcome because we are celebrating your journey. But I want to really think back of when you were a child, because whenever I read your bio and I found out that you were a young entrepreneur at 17, you were a board member for nonprofits, which when I was 17, I had no idea what a nonprofit was. And so whenever I imagine you being even younger than that, I can imagine you with a little briefcase pretending.

Zachary Parker Harris (02:29):

I Love briefcases.

Michelle Henderson (02:33):

Yeah. I can see you as a child going, okay, what can I do to make the buck, that kind of thing, and organization and everything else with the briefcase. So kind of describe how you were as a youngster and how it led you into this business world that you found yourself in.

Zachary Parker Harris (02:55):

Yeah, it's interesting to think back, and I almost wish I could talk to my younger self, but I grew up in a really loving household with two amazing parents who taught me values and work ethic. Also, my dad's advice to me growing up was plan A as to survive and have a good time. Plan B is to survive. And so it was very much a survival mentality, and I don't know if it was just natural intuition or just seeing on television that there was another way of living. I was very interested in finding it and understanding what more than surviving looks like. And it was very apparent to me that I was going to have to work for that. I had to do a lot of chores and had to work as a young person. And I threw that journey, found a lot of joy and positive emotion of adding value to other people.

Michelle Henderson (03:59):

Right? Oh my gosh. And that is really, it's so interesting what we go through as family members, and I agree. I think that it shapes us and then it not only shapes us, but it's always like, okay, I'm going to do something differently than what my parents went through. But we have to go through that. Now at 17, you worked on as a nonprofit for the board member, and then you had a car wreck at age 20, is what I read in your bio. How did that change the pathway that you were going on?

Zachary Parker Harris (04:39):

Yeah, so speaking at leadership conferences, being on the board of nonprofits, starting my own business, it was actually a pretty lonely journey. This was before Facebook and social media and even YouTube. And so I felt very alone in that. And I responded by surrounding myself with people that I had a good time with a lot of partying and living a fast lifestyle, but not necessarily things that I'm proud of today. And I gave up on a lot of the opportunities that I had both in the nonprofits and in my business, and really sought acceptance for my peers. And that car accident shook me out of that and helped me realize that I surrounded myself with a lot of people that were taking advantage of me, and I was on a bad path, and it caused me to walk those people out of my life and start fresh and be very careful and curate the people that I brought into my inner circle moving forward. And those people became the foundation for the community that we know of.

Michelle Henderson (05:46):

It's almost like God, the universe was saying, wake up, Parker. You've got things to do. You've got things to learn, and you need to really, and I think that is that statement that you really need to look at the people who are in your life because a lot of times, yes, we get a lot of narcissistic personalities or personalities that want to try to control you and try to lead you astray. So good for you. Defining that. So now you have created this mastermind business approach, and I know that Benjamin Franklin and I was so curious that you really like how Benjamin Franklin ran his business. So can you explain that? Why did you go towards the model that he had?

Zachary Parker Harris (06:37):

Yeah, so I started organizing speaker events when I was in college where I would bring in an entrepreneur, an executive, an investor to speak to students. And then that created a lot of opportunity for me. That was actually my gateway into the Fortune 100 technology company that I started my career. And then when I left, I continued to organize those speaker events, and over time I started getting less and less value. I think part of it is there's just so much great content online, and so if there's something that's really relevant to me, I've learned to go find that. And I can hear from the world expert that would cost me a hundred thousand dollars to have a conversation with, but I can absorb all those secrets for free online. But the part that was more valuable to me was the peer-to-peer interaction at the beginning and the end of that event where I'm like, Hey, I'm living this successful independent lifestyle. I'm really busy. I'm working a lot, I'm working out, I'm dating and I'm grocery shopping and cleaning, and I just don't have any extra time. What are you doing to get more time? Or how are you using your time differently? And it was just authentically relevant to where I was at then and there at the same time, just serendipitously, how do you ever say that? I understand serendipitously that I was reading Benjamin Franklin's autobiography. It was actually the first autobiography ever written,

And I think it was one of the starts of personal development literature. He was very into personal development and living a moral life and doing good for other people. And

He decided to form a mastermind. He called a club for mutual improvement in his early twenties. And I was like, what if we just use this model, this name, and we do it today for this group of people that we've curated together? And I'll never forget the first meeting, we had four people attend. We had invited 30 people and the four showed up and it was so impactful. And the next meeting we had five and then six, and it just started to grow organically. And I just saw so much benefit and value created for myself and for the other people involved and realized it was something I was willing to suffer for.

Michelle Henderson (09:10):

Well, let's bring on. I was on your Facebook, I have to admit, and I love this picture with you sitting next to a statue of Benjamin Franklin because you just seem like, Hey, I had found myself. It's almost like if you had lived during the time of Benjamin Franklin, y'all would be best friends.

Zachary Parker Harris (09:35):

I hope so.

Michelle Henderson (09:37):

Yeah. So it's awesome that you've learned it. I'm going to also bring up a picture that it's so interesting that you're talking about your meeting. Is that you in the middle of the table talking?

Zachary Parker Harris (09:49):

It is.

Michelle Henderson (09:49):

Okay. So you said that you started out with four people. And so look how, like you said, you had your vision and it just grew and it just grew and it just grew. And I absolutely love this how you bring all entrepreneurs together in the mastermind.


Michelle Henderson (Break: Please Share)

Hi, if you are being inspired by this episode, please share with somebody that will also be inspired. We are here to change the world. All right, let's get back to the conversation.


Michelle Henderson

So what I really want to know, because as you were growing up, you said that you had to work for things. It's almost like your belief system that you're really having to work now. It's kind of moved to suffer. Okay. I've heard that in your vocabulary a couple of times. So what does suffering mean to you?

Zachary Parker Harris (10:47):

So I had to work, and then I actually really enjoyed it. I enjoyed adding value to other people you mentioned, and I shared this in my bio, that I had the opportunity to speak with some of the executives at the company that I worked at and basically understand how they saw the company, how they saw the industry. And then I started asking 'em like, Hey, what do you do every day? Do you like it?

Would you recommend it to me? And I was shocked by the percentage of times that people said no. And I was like, that's really interesting. They were like, yeah, I wish I was asking these questions when I was your age. I was like, well, what advice do you give your kids? And they'd be like, that's a really personal question. I'm like, yep. And they were like, I tell them to look for what you're passionate about. And that was cartooning and music and just these different things that I had never even considered. And then I was in a junto meeting and this idea of passion came up and it was the other member was like, it's not what we would do if we had a million dollars or a billion dollars or what we do that we're willing to love. What passion is, is what we're willing to suffer for.

And I was like, that's really interesting because I am an entitled young person that has some narcissistic tendencies, and I think there's a strong desire for comfort and removing suffering from life. And so I looked at my life of what is it I'm willing to suffer for? And it was really two things. It was Junto, which is this thing that I was doing every Friday night when I was tired. I didn't have any extra time, but I would still show up and put it together and make it happen. And then it was making good food and good drinks for my friends and people that I loved. And so that led me to go in on Junto, and then I also became the COO of a mixology company and raise some money for them. And eventually just realized Junto was the most authentic thing to me. So I think that's part of the suffering conversation. And I think in college I studied finance and Eastern Studies, and on the eastern studies piece of it, I think it was Buddha that's like, or it's a yoga principle, one of the other, it's just life. Life is suffering.

And the more that we accept that and embrace it, the easier that it's going to be. Versus I think what happens a lot of times today is there's a escape escaping and numbing and hiding from that suffering that I think can negatively impact intuition and our relationship with ourself and our awareness of ourself and the people around us.

Michelle Henderson (13:52):

Oh, I love it. Oh, well, thank you. That was a great explanation. Awesome. Okay, so let's get back to your mastermind business. And so what makes what you do differently from another mastermind?

Zachary Parker Harris (14:09):

So first thing is I think a lot of things get called masterminds that aren't actually masterminds. Oh, I gotcha. A lot of events these days are conferences get called a mastermind, but it's really people on stage talking to people in the audience. And really what a mastermind is, is a round table conversation of peers where there's no hierarchy and we're all bringing value to each other, in my opinion. We have each other's best interests at mind as well. And we're setting the agenda together. This is our agenda, and we are going to talk about the things that are most valuable to us. One of the things that I think makes Junto different than a lot of other business masterminds or entrepreneur masterminds is that our focus is not just around making more money, it's about becoming better human beings. We talk about philosophy, we talk about science, we talk about marketing trends and business trends, and we also talk about health, we talk about relationships. I think personal development is a core piece of success in any area of life, that growth mindset. And so I think the conversations can be a little bit different in that holistic approach versus if we're just talking about the tactics and strategies of making more money.

Michelle Henderson (15:32):

Right. And I love that, that you're bringing in all aspects of life because a lot of businesses, they don't care about your health, about your personal development. So that is really awesome that you're bringing that in. Okay, so a question I have for you now, this is a little bit different. So if I came to you and I'm going, Parker, I'm having a hellacious week, I need some type of inspiration. So what kind of inspiration can you give just anybody? Not only entrepreneurs, just anybody.

Zachary Parker Harris (16:08):

I would say that the hellacious weeks and that darkness, that those fires that trigger, if we are willing to lean into that and really explore that the diamonds and the golds are underneath it and really in direct proportion to the hellness that we're dealing with. And so to examine it, figure out the story that we're telling ourselves based on this darkness or this hell, and choose that story wisely and potentially rewrite that story.

Michelle Henderson (16:45):

Oh, I love it. And I'm telling people all the time, you are the artist of your life story. You have a blank canvas and you are able to create whatever you want to in life because a lot of people get hung up. A lot of people, especially when they start businesses for the first time, they get frustrated. They're going, okay, I put that on my canvas like a vision board, but it's not happening, that type of thing. So what do you tell people that really want to move forward but are not moving forward, if that makes any sense to you?

Zachary Parker Harris (17:32):

I think entrepreneurs are people that you can't tell what to do. A lot of times you couldn't even make them stop if you wanted to. What would I tell someone that's not moving forward? This might be not inspirational, I don’t want to be too direct, but it's like we get to choose between being the victim and the hero. And I think life starts, the hero's journey really starts when we're tired of being the victim. And so things as an entrepreneur, it doesn't get easier. It's almost like after school people are like, school is so hard. And it's like, well, let me tell you that after school is just harder. And this is a preparation ground for dealing with the future tests that are going to come up. And the way that we do anything is the way we do everything, the first and last rule. So how are you going to handle this so that maybe not only you're proud, but that your children are going to be proud of you? And what is the impact that you want to have? And is it being the victim or is it being the hero?

Michelle Henderson (18:47):

Oh, love it. It almost reminds me of the Nike commercial where it says, just do it what move forward, get those Snickers on and just get the fire underneath you. Because I absolutely love that because I think a lot of people do tend to play the victim when they could just move forward or find people like you that can move them forward and say, like you said, be direct with them and say, you got to move forward. Is there anything that we did? Oh, go ahead. I'm sorry.

Zachary Parker Harris (19:19):

Real quick on that. Yeah. Is one of my favorite quotes and ideas that I've read is that it's like a weak person allows their emotions or feelings to determine their actions, and a strong person lets their actions determine their feelings.

Michelle Henderson (19:37):

Can you say that one more time? I love it.

Zachary Parker Harris (19:40):

Yeah. It's from OG Manino who's an amazing author, and he's written a lot of amazing books like The Greatest Secret in the World, the Greatest Salesman in the World, the Greatest Miracle in the World. And it's one of his lines, it's a weak person lets their feelings determine their actions, and a strong person allows their actions to determine their feelings.

Michelle Henderson (20:06):

And I think that is something that people need to write down and recite every day. It's kind of one of those mantras that sound, it sounds beautiful.

Zachary Parker Harris (20:18):

Well, I think the challenge, Michelle, is there's a difference between knowing and doing. And that difference is everything. So we can intellectually know something. And I think this is where masterminds come in too, is it's not telling someone something they don't know. It's, it's more about activating the knowledge that they already have and activating that truth into wisdom, into application.

Michelle Henderson (20:44):

I love it. And I think because you're not them, you're not telling them to go like what we talked about earlier, you're not telling 'em to go down a different pathway that they are not passionate about. You're kind of looking at where they are and being authentic about where they are and to move forward with that.

Zachary Parker Harris (21:04):

I think it came up at some point in this conversation, or maybe it was before this when we were talking earlier around narcissism narcissistic people, is those people don't, a narcissistic person doesn't think they're narcissistic 90% of the time. It's a blind spot. And so how do we see the truth? And like Mark Twain said, it's like it's not what you don't know that's going to hurt you. It's what you know that isn't so right. And so that's why I think even personal development is not a personal journey. It's not an individual journey. Our personal development involves our community and our success team and creating a space where we can be vulnerable with each other about what it is we really want and have people on the other side that have our best interests in mind and can challenge us around what we know that isn't. So

Michelle Henderson (22:05):

I love it. Absolutely love it. So is there anything that we did not want to talk about that you want to make sure that you get into this episode?

Zachary Parker Harris (22:18):

The only thing that comes up for me with that is my favorite quote is, life is not a problem to be solved, but an adventure to be lived. And I'm a problem solver naturally, and I like to find problems and solve them, but my life really changed for the better when I stopped approaching life as a problem to be solved and instead embraced it as an adventure or journey to be lived.

Michelle Henderson (22:44):

Oh, I love it. I love that you said adventure. It is, each day is an adventure. You don't know what's going to happen, that kind of thing. Are you ready for?

Zachary Parker Harris (22:54):

Well, and we can try to control that as much as we want, but I think even trying to do that can limit the joy and the growth. It's like the comfort. It's like often if we wanted to control it and plan the day, it creates a comfort that where all the growth comes from in the discomfort.

And I guess one other thing I'd like to throw out there is I see a lot of people, and I think it's just a societal thing right now, at least in the West, where there's this desire to be right. And there's this thought that I'm right, and maybe the other person's wrong. I think this happens a lot in politics like Left first, which I think is just such a lame way of seeing things. And one of the most powerful ideas that I heard was around paradoxes. And I am at the point now where I think truth is often paradoxical. And what a paradox is, is it's too conflicting ideas that are somehow both true. And I think as leaders, we need to stand in that paradox and understand both sides and not judge either side, but help people communicate this paradox and that it exists and how it exists in this situation or this complexity in this reality, and bring people together. Because I think most people want the same thing. And there's just different ways of going about it. And it's really hard if we're on one side to see things from the other person's point of view. And I think less and less curiosity is being used to really try to understand the other person's point of view when they disagree with the way that we see the world.

Michelle Henderson (24:53):

Okay, Parker, I'm going to ask you the last question of this interview using the wheel. So let's go ahead and spin it and see what we get.

Zachary Parker Harris (25:09):

Believe in aliens, huh? I think the short answer is on different experiences that I've had in things that I've seen. I remember being in Catalina and just seeing something that I definitely cannot explain. I was actually with my wife too, but I go back and forth on it. It's not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about just because it's not directly related to the impact that I want have and my circle of influence. But I think that the evidence just keeps on coming out, and I don't know if it's a distraction. Sometimes it feels like a distraction when I go down that rabbit hole, I come out and I'm like, I might know more, but there's nothing I can do with that knowledge. So that's where I'm at with that conversation.

Michelle Henderson (26:07):

You have it here. Parker just explained what Alans are all about. I love that question that you had to answer, Parker, and I want to thank you for being a part of the show. I know that my audience is absolutely going to love you because you have so many inspirational quotes that I loved hearing. Now, the one that I want to finish up with everybody to remind them about life. Alright, so life is not a problem to solve, but an adventure to be lived. I'm going to repeat that one more time. Life is not a problem to be solved, but an adventure to be lived. I hope that this helps you for this coming week, and I will see you next week. I'll see you soon.


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