Flow Over Fear: From Receptionist to CEO

From Receptionist to CEO: How Damon Lembi Overcame Imposter Syndrome to Build a Powerhouse Business

Struggling to say no? This inspiring convo will have you feeling motivated to focus on your strengths and say no to distractions. 

In this episode, Adam Hill sits down with ex-pro baller turned CEO, Damon Lembi, to discuss his journey from the baseball field to the boardroom. Damon gets real about facing rejection from the draft and battling depression after his baseball dreams were dashed. But he didn’t let that hold him back – hear how he worked his way up from receptionist at his family’s business to transforming it into a leader development powerhouse.

Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation:

  • Damon’s path: sports to business
  • Facing rejection from the MLB draft and dealing with depression
  • The hedgehog theory
  • The Big Three and power of gratitude
  • Learning how to say no
  • Prioritizing partnerships over pennies
  • A learn-it-all vs. a know-it-all

Episode Highlights:

[08:44] Overcoming rejection and depression to find new purpose

Damon faced rejection from the MLB draft despite his success and battled depression, but was able to overcome this adversity by finding a new purpose leading his family’s training business.

[13:10] The choice to move forward and dive headfirst

Facing challenges, we can either let the past hold us back or muster the courage to dive headfirst into new opportunities and not dwell on what could have been.

[19:28] Applying the hedgehog theory

To best serve clients, companies should thoughtfully consider client needs but also maintain the discipline to focus on their core strengths rather than chasing every request.

[25:03] The Big Three

Damon credits Michael Hyatt’s productivity method of setting a “big three” that involves identifying the three most important quarterly goals to focus on achieving.

[30:11] There’s power to saying no

Saying no to opportunities that do not align with your priorities is important for maintaining focus and balance in life.

[31:56] Prioritize partnerships over pennies

Damon believes it’s best to work with clients who treat you as a partner rather than just focusing on money. That’s why sometimes, it’s necessary to refer smaller, difficult clients to competitors.

[33:36] A learn-it-all vs. a know-it-all

As a leader, Damon believes it is important to maintain a learner mindset open to new ideas rather than thinking you have all the answers.

[35:19] Overcoming imposter syndrome in three steps

Damon discusses three ways to overcome imposter syndrome: identify your fears, work hard through preparation, and learn to let go.

[38:06] Be willing to surround yourself with people that are willing to tell you NO.

Invite feedback by directly asking others if they watched your recent work and how you could improve.

[41:48] Hire for potential over experience

Damon believes in hiring for potential over experience alone and valuing the right cultural fit above all else when building a top performing team.

Resources Mentioned:


Good to Great by Jim Collins

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