In his 20s, Jordan Montgomery was a hard-charger.

“I was a young man working really hard and going really fast,” said Montgomery, one of the featured speakers at the American Supply Association’s recent Emerging Leaders EMERGE event in Denver, Colorado.

“I was almost obsessed with goals and numbers and success.”

But something was missing.

“What I wasn’t doing was stopping to pause for growth. I was missing it. If someone would have asked me what I was learning and how I was growing, I don’t know if I would have had an answer,” he said. “What was I really learning and where was I really headed? I was a man on a mission, but I had no idea where I was headed or going.”

And then Montgomery got to the educational punch line.

“I was confusing goals with growth,” he said.

Montgomery, a performance coach, urged Emerging Leaders attendees to focus on their personal growth. “I had to slow down a little bit and focus on the process of who I was becoming,” he said. “If I did that, I knew I had a better chance to reach my potential. (Author) John Maxwell said if you focus on goals, you will make it to your goals, but it doesn’t guarantee growth. If you focus on growth, you will grow and you will hit your goals.”

Montgomery added in a growth journey, sometimes simple is better.

“You go to these conferences and you think about strategy and concepts and ideas and how we are going to revolutionize the game,” he said. “But if we do the simple things well and get serious about the fundamentals, we’d go to the next level.”

Montgomery also stressed the importance of being focused in a society where constant distractions are in abundance. “There six million apps out there for phones and the average person spends 4 1/2 hours a day on their cellphone,” he said. “That’s 145 hours a month. In that time you could go get your pilot’s license. Distractions like that pull us away from conversations and priorities. Gary Keller (another author) said the art of success is the art of going small. Not all things matter equally.

“As you narrow your focus you can have extraordinary results. What do you need to do to become more focused? What is your window? What’s the highest and best use of your time in your role? “

Montgomery relayed an anecdote about a seminar where Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were on the stage together and were asked to write down one word on a whiteboard that defines their success.

“Both wrote down focus at the same time,” he said.

Attendees also received leadership advice from Colonel Matthew Dillow during the event’s networking breakfast. Gene Marks, who has spoken at previous ASA events, was back to share his thoughts on the latest technologies, trends, services and tools that every business needs to know.

This year’s Emerging Leaders event was hosted by Viega. Attendees were taken to Broomfield, Colorado to tour Viega’s brand-new state-of-the-art training center and get a look at the company’s adjacent state-of-the-art corporate headquarters.

Next year’s Emerging Leaders event heads to Nashville, Tennessee May 4-6, 2020.