Episode 207- My Opinion on the FIRE Movement

I had the absolute pleasure a few weeks ago to speak at a campfire event. It was the Southeast campfire event in Gainesville, Florida. Oh, camp fi is a three to four day event now they’re run by a great guy named Steven barrier. And with the recommendation of my friend Christine Wheatley, I got the opportunity to speak at this great event and I got to spend the weekend with 60 great people having intense fun conversations. And in the middle of it giving a presentation, which is the lead in for the book that I’m writing that will come out next. So we all have different opinions on what financial independence is. So if you read my book and know our story way back, we found Dave Ramsey, we decided to pay off our debt, follow his lead and pay off our house, get completely debt free. And that was all 12, 13 years ago.

But in recent times there’s been this fire movement, not just financial independence, but fire stands for financial independence, retire early. As much as I love the world of financial independence and I preach about it. I am not particularly a fan of the fire movement because I don’t believe in retirement, at least not for myself. And I don’t understand it for young people. Now, if you’ve been in a career for 40 years and you’re burnt out and you’re tired and you’re ready to stop because you’ve been working so hard for all those years, I understand that. But in this day and age, I’m seeing people in their thirties that are looking to retire and I asked them, what does that mean? It means they don’t want to work anymore. And I’m confused by that because I don’t understand. To me, I want to have purpose in my life beyond leisure and purpose comes from the work that we do and the people that we help with the work that we do.

So I try and understand more why people want to just stop working. Cause if you’ve ever stopped working for a month, which we’ve done and you stay at the beach for a month, which we’ve done, you’ll eventually get incredibly bored, especially at a young age when you still have so much to give and to add. So I’m really good at being the contrarian. I’m really good at asking questions that might annoy some people or might challenge some people. It doesn’t bother me at all because I really love deep conversations whether people agree with me or not, I’m not looking for people to agree with me. I’m looking to understand. So I want to ask people about the fire movement and retirement. I heard a lot of answers that sounded similar and I started to see a pattern. And then one day at lunch I got into a conversation with a great woman named Lauren Tang and she runs a podcast called in love and money.

And we started talking about the whole fire movement. And I told her my issues with the whole thing and she cited all these people that retired at whatever, 32 years old and they live on $22,000 a year. And I was like, okay. And, and one of them is this guy named mr money mustache. It’s a ridiculous sounding name, but he’s one of the financial gurus in this space. And she explained how he lives on 20 again $22,000 a year and he’s retired and he does what he wants. And I had heard of them, but I’ve never really followed him very much. So I asked them questions about them because he’s a leader in the retirement early movement and I kind of acted like a six year old like I do when I ask questions sometimes, I’m just curious. And I’m like, so he lives on $22,000 a year.

How do you know about him? And she’s like, well, he’s got a really successful blog. And I was like, Oh well does he write the blog? And she said, yeah, he writes the blog. So it’s obviously pretty well known since, you know of him and everybody knows of him. Oh yeah, it’s a huge blog. He does speaking and all this stuff. I said, does he make money off of this? I just say he means a lot of money. It’s a very profitable blog and platform. And I said, okay, well then he’s not retired. And she’s like, yeah, but he says he’s retired. And I’m like, well, he writes the blog and he speaks and he earns income from it. Correct. And she started laughing. She’s like, yeah, well he’s not retired so it doesn’t make very much sense. And she said, well, you know, he used to do something.

He had a job he didn’t like. He got out of it. So that’s where the retirement comes from. I’m like, that’s great. That’s a pivot. You went from one career to something different. But again, it’s not retirement. And we had a lot of laughs during discussion. That was not a heated discussion at all. We were having a great talk. It was mutually respectful, but I said, this is where I think the movement’s gotten wrong because so many people are looking to retire. But to me it’s a very selfish proposition. Retirement means I’m going to get as much as I can get for myself. I could take in as much money, I can put it in an account, it’ll make me my 4% that I could live off of and I never really have to do or produce anything any longer. And trust me, there are a lot of people in this movement that do not feel this way.

But the overriding theme is how do I get enough money so that I have what I need and that I’m good. So I told her and others my opinion of it, just my opinion is that it’s a very selfish way of looking at life and at money. My perspective on financial independence is this, I want to be financially secure. I want to have all my debts paid for. I want to have my money in my account, making me money, building us wealth so that not only don’t have to worry about money, but that I can be generous with my money and maybe most importantly it allows me to do the work that I want to do because I believe in work. I believe work helps other people and when you don’t need to do it for the money, you get to realize very quickly that all the selfish goals that we have that I’ve had are pretty empty and I’ve had them all and I’ve accomplished them a lot and my happiness doesn’t come from that.

My happiness surprisingly didn’t come from my achievements. My happiness at this stage in my life, not thinking about money is helping other people achieve their goals and their life that they want. That’s why I do all this. So if I was going to pick up my ball and go home and say, I’ve got what I need, let me figure out how I can live on a certain percentage of the money that I have and make sure that I hold onto that money. That to me is a giant wasted opportunities. And I learned some of this from Dan Miller who was a mentor of mine and he was talking to another wealthy person. I won’t name their name, but pretty much they were in that position. They made a lot of money. They were retired and he challenged them. He said, Oh good, you’ve got enough for you and now you’re going to stop.

And it stopped that person in their tracks because the way you said it in a smart but challenging way was you’ve made enough money for yourself. Your life is going to be good, your life and your family is going to be happy. You’re no longer going to use your skills and your talents, the gifts that you’ve been given to create more wealth, to build more money, to enrich your community and to use the things that you’ve learned to make yourself better, to make those people around you better. And I can tell you it had a profound effect on that person. So we’re all in different communities, different groups. But it doesn’t mean that we always have to agree with everything that’s said in that thing that’s more like a cult. And that’s what was so refreshing about this conversation this weekend where that people were open to being challenged on what the norm is.

And even to the point that Jonathan and Brad from choose FI, they don’t say fire in their name cause it’s about financial independence, not necessarily about financial independence, retire early. And what I told them in my own way is I think the acronym fires would hurt people because it was so catchy and it was so clean fir a fire that some people might’ve lost. Focus on what it really means to retire early because I don’t believe in retiring by, I believe in pivoting where if you don’t like what you’re doing, get yourself financial independence that you can pivot out of one thing into the other thing that you really want to do. Cause I told them when I’m 88 I’m still going to be creating, I’m still going to be making things and helping people and earning income. And I don’t plan on fading away.

I plan on keep doing this too. I’ll be making more money when I’m 75 than I am now. I’m not about to slow down because when you slow down, you start dying to so many of the people ask me, they want to hear my opinion on the fire movement. And it came together in this weekend that was packed full of awesome people, interesting conversations and wonderful friendships that had just started. So if you have a chance to ever go to one of these, I highly recommend it. Go to camp.org they’ve got events this year in Virginia, Colorado, Joshua tree, California, which I really would love to go to cause I love campfire. And I also love Joshua tree and in Texas and Minnesota. So check it out if you’re interested, campfire.org and until then, we’ll continue on a life of financial independence, but not retiring. Talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 206- Why Money Is Always Abundant

Just yesterday I had a long conversation with a friend who was telling me how much he was struggling financially. Now I’m not going to say his name because this show is not about him, but according to him, no matter how hard he tried, he was struggling to earn income. If you know me, I’m not a woe is me type of thing. I want to figure out solutions. I want to find out ways to make things better. And I kept running against a brick wall in terms of ideas and things that he wanted to do or things that he didn’t want to do. And I get it. I don’t want to do work that I don’t want to do any more. And fortunately for us, after years of struggle, we’ve had a nice run for a long period of time where we can do that. But when times were tough, I couldn’t say those things.

I couldn’t look my kids in the eye while I was struggling. And while I knew we had no money to even contemplate not doing work that would have made us money, even if I didn’t wanna do it. Plus you button, make the money, create the freedom and the time and then go do the things that you really want to do. But this wasn’t getting through in that conversation. And this wasn’t a paid coaching call. This is a friendship call because I cared and at times they’re in the conversation. I wonder why I was still on the call cause he wasn’t really listening and ironic because I have people willing to pay me and when I give suggestions or advice they go and do it. And I have somebody that’s not paying me. It’s a friendship call. He’s not taking any of it really serious. And you finally get to the point where you kind of realize maybe he just wants to live in this land of excuses.

I dunno. But I came back after that conversation and I was on a call and our total life freedom community and Courtney wisely was a mastermind member. I was leading a call about automation and she is a wizard in automation. She runs a service called rescue my maids and she helps cleaning business owners, automate their services, automate all the things in their world. And in their business that they shouldn’t be doing or they should be doing more efficient and she helps them optimize their business. And she’s amazing so much that a couple of months ago she wasn’t getting paid for any of this consulting. And we joke around because when we first interviewed her for the mastermind, she said, I’m not a consultant. But three months later she’s getting $1,500 per person for these 10 person retreats. She’s doing them once a month, almost instant six figure income and beyond.

And on top of that, she’s being told that she could charge at least three times more than this. And then her and I got off of a call and brainstorm and the potential is much higher than that. So I got on this call to facilitate with Courtney as she teaches our community how they can automate their business in their life. And she described and explained so many different examples, apps in businesses that we can use, including clickable, which we’ve dove into and what she’s a master of, to automate so many of our systems and processes. But the one that hit home in our house that day after Elizabeth watched the call was how she automates her grocery shopping. And to me this seemed like one of the most ridiculous things. I mean, you really can’t go to the grocery store and buy your own groceries. I mean, how lazy are we going to get?

But when I saw my wife’s eyes light up as she went through the website and started seeing the options that were there and how convenient it was and how the price was and how much more valuable our time would be if she didn’t have to lug the kids to the grocery store and spend all that time back and forth, or we could just pay somebody to do that for us, because Elizabeth is heavily involved in his business, she does a lot of the backend work of our business. So what’s more valuable in my life, her taking care of the kids or teaching them while we homeschool or building the backend of the business or dragging the kids to the grocery store or a couple of hours at a time and she moves quick. So by the time the evening was over, she had an order placed and she was able to do last minute changes on it.

So she was pretty excited about this. And then two hours later, a nice lady showed up at our place with all of our groceries and we paid her a fee and we gave her a nice tip, answer quickly unloading all the groceries. Our collective thoughts were, wow, what other things can we do to make our lives more efficient and to eliminate the things we shouldn’t be doing to do the things that we should be doing. So some of you might already be doing this, but this was new to us and we loved the breakthrough. But that night I went over to the pool. I was on the phone talking to my friend Ken, and I hung up. I started walking back and I thought about my friend that I had the conversation with earlier in the day about how he was struggling and he couldn’t find work and money was always so tight.

And then I thought about Instacart, I thought about this woman that pulled up and did our grocery shopping for us. This woman that, Oh by the way was deaf, but she was making it happen and it made me realize that money is abundant. It’s flowing in the hands between people all the time. And it made me realize why, and it was perfectly explained what this interaction between us and this nice woman delivering groceries for us and what makes the economy go around and why there’s always money to be made is that somebody somewhere wants to do what you don’t want to do. And if you could swallow your ego in your pride at certain times in your life when you need the money, there’s always an opportunity for you to do what somebody else doesn’t want to do. If you have a podcast and you like doing the podcast, but you don’t want to edit the podcast, somebody somewhere is really excited to do that and get paid for it.

When your tree needs to be cut down in your yard, you probably shouldn’t do that. But guess what? People build businesses to do those things that you don’t want to do. So if you’re in that spot where you’re struggling for money, realize that maybe it’s your pride in your ego that’s preventing you from getting that money because everybody has the skill and the ability to at the minimum do something for someone that doesn’t want to do that thing. And I’m not sure if my friends listening to this, this might not get through to him, but maybe it’s going to get through to you or somebody that you know, it’s just a matter of are they willing to do that work. Understand I’m not just talking about small tasks like delivering groceries. There very, very successful people doing things in business that require an expert touch, that required technical and mental knowhow that either they don’t want to do or they don’t know how to do and they are willing to pay for it because by allowing you to do that work so they could do what they’re really good at, it makes them even more successful, which in turn will make you even more successful.

So remember out there, there’s always someone who wants to do what you don’t want to do, and you can always make money doing something for someone doing what they don’t want to do. By the way, if you knew the show and you haven’t gotten it, if you’d like an audio version of my book, freelance to freedom, I’ve recorded it and made it for free for anyone. So if you go to our website, total life freedom.com/f two F book, you can go there to download. It’s the entire book. And I hope you do it and I hope you love it. And I’ll.

Episode 205- Sushi And Kombucha

Sushi and Kombucha. So I thought, what’s the most obscure title I can come up with for a podcast? And there you go. It seems like it’s meaningless, but it’s not. I titled it that because last summer I had one on one time with my son, Nolan, and it was fantastic. There is nothing that our kids appreciate more than one on one time with one of us and we love it just as much. It’s the time that we get one-on-one uninterrupted without any of their brothers, without any distractions, without conversations between me and Elizabeth. It’s just face to face and they often don’t even care what we do. They just want that time. So on that day, Nolan and I went to go get sushi and sushi is his favorite. If he ever has the opportunity to choose, we’re going out to lunch or going out to dinner.

It’s always sushi or seafood. That is his preference. So there’s a sushi restaurant in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, which we’d never been to and I’d wanted to try it. It was called itchy bond and it sounds like it would be terrible, but they’ve got all you can eat sushi. My first year that I think about a gas station sandwich, but a lot of friends of ours loved that restaurant, had raving reviews. So I trusted that it wouldn’t be just crappy sushi. So we went and we ordered the all you can eat sushi. But earlier in the day Elizabeth went shopping and she bought two giant things of the trilogy. Kombucha. It was kind of, we both enjoy and we generally get the smaller bottles. But this time she got these giant jugs of kombucha. So I was so excited to see the giant supply of kombucha, but not just for the amount.

It’s generally $4 a bottle. This was like $8 for this giant jug. It’s like what a score. So I learned something this day about sushi and about kombucha. Cause normally when I get sushi I generally get one or two rolls, maybe three but I savor every bite of it. And you do that because you know it’s running out and I’ll use like the right amount of wasabi. And the right amount of soy sauce and ginger and I’m very aware when I’m eating it. I know I’ve got a couple of pieces left and I’m really careful of not just scarfing it down and making sure I enjoy it. It’s the same thing with the kombucha. When I open up that 16 ounce bottle, I know there’s not that much in there and it’s like four bucks for that thing and I’m going to savor every sip. But what I noticed that day was completely different.

No one, I both ordered the all you can eat sushi and I didn’t think the same way cause normally there’s a scarcity of the sushi and I’m enjoying every morsel of it. But instead as I was eating, I was eating, thinking there’s no end to this. I can always have more. So I wound up not enjoying it nearly as much. I wound up eating it, but while I was eating it I was thinking about the next one that I’m going to order. So I kind of just rushed through one thinking, yeah that was pretty good. But I was wondering what this one was like. And then I ordered the next one and try some of that. And it was much more about, volume was definitely much more about getting as much as I possibly could instead of just enjoying exactly what I had. And the same thing happened with the kombucha and it was real interesting because I’d walk into the kitchen, I open up the fridge, I’d pour a big glass of kombucha.

I wouldn’t even think about it, but I noticed as I was drinking it, I wasn’t even enjoying it. I noticed the same thing with the sushi. I wasn’t enjoying that either. I was just consuming it and I was consuming it in that way because I knew that there was no end to it. I knew that there was another giant jug in the refrigerator. If I want some more and with sushi, I knew there was someone on the other side ready to make me another role if I didn’t like this one or if I wanted something different. And it became a thing of just about abundance. And I wrote it in my book. When I recorded the audio book, it hit me and I thought, and I wrote that you can abuse abundance but you can’t abuse scarcity. And I’ve thought about that with the sushi and the kombucha because I abused the abundance and not only did I abuse it because I wound up having more than I should have because that never turns out to be a good thing.

But the thing was, I didn’t even enjoy it while I had it. If there was less, I would have savored it more. But when you have too much, when there’s always more there, it’s very easy to not appreciate that. And I see that in this world and oftentimes the people we talk to and work with, you see people that make good money, who don’t appreciate it because the Bund and it’s always going to be coming. You see a lot of people with their health, people who don’t have health issues, take it for granted when nothing’s going wrong. You don’t even know where the pain would come from. So you wind up taking it for granted how good you feel. And I see it a lot often to be honest with employees, not as much with entrepreneurs because the money to the employees is supposed to be there every two weeks.

That checks can have a certain amount of money in it and you expect it. You know, if you make 130 grand, you’re expecting to get 130 grand and you’re going to spend that money and I’m going to spend it all on, still not going to be enough. Now I need to earn more and I need to work more as opposed to appreciating what we have. And I’m doing this as a warning to me and to you to not take for granted what you have now and to enjoy what you’ve got. Enjoy this time that you have with your kids, enjoy the money that you’re making, enjoy your health that you have and to use it wisely and appreciate it. Because what happened to me was with the sushi and kombucha, I wound up not appreciating it and I learned what the kombucha that I would have enjoyed that one 16 ounce bottle weigh more than that large 64 ounce bottle that I went up consuming and I’ll enjoy the sushi more if I have known it was just three rolls because I had a greater appreciation of the scarcity of it.

Now this isn’t against ambition. We’re always going to strive for more. We’re always going to look to get better. We’re always going to be pulled by the challenge of achieving and attaining what we haven’t done yet. But I want to warn against getting fat and lazy and ungrateful, and if we don’t appreciate what we have in front of us while pushing to get more and to get better, and I don’t know why, but I’ve got a sudden craving for sushi. So maybe some one on one time is in the cards coming up. I’ll be back with you tomorrow.

Episode 204- Where Are The Medals?

Back in November, I got to spend a couple of days in Lambertville, New Jersey doing some deep learning at the public, speaking with Michael and Amy port and 70 of my newest friends at heroic public speaking. And now I am set to kick off their grads program, which will be an intense six months. But I don’t want to talk about that today. I want to talk about somebody I met there and something she said in passing that really hit me at the end of the second day, about eight of us gathered for an amazing dinner at a New Orleans style restaurant called Marcia Brown. And we had a private room and we were so loud and boisterous even though there were only six or seven of us that we really needed it. Cause I’m sure the noise was blasting out to the main part of the restaurant. But one of the people, this woman named Indrani, I could see how much energy and passion she had during those two days at core.

And during that conversation she mentioned casually how she would be in Rome and a couple of weeks and meeting the Pope. And I was stunned by how casually she said this. I was like, really? You’re going to go meet the Pope? It jarred my memory. If you haven’t heard episode six of the total life freedom podcast, go back and listen to that. So of course I had to tell my story about wanting to shoot the Pope. And if you haven’t heard it, it’s not what you think. So when Johnny told us about the Pope and we’re all so intrigued and excited for the conversation, got really deep and we started talking about family and at times, politics, speaking business and everything else. And we’re talking about our kids and how we raised them. They were asking me questions about homeschooling and it was truly a special night. But I remember a conversation with Indrani that stuck in my head and she was talking about her and her husband and their relationship and how much better it is now.

But she talked and looked back on all the times when it wasn’t so great. And she talked about how much they fought and disagreed and how strong willed she was and she was going to have to fight and get her way. And they both did that and they argued back and forth and often it would happen in front of the kids and just how there was so much pride involved. And she looked back on that and she looked back on the arguments and the disagreements and the time and the frustration and she had a sense of anger inside of her. She said, we fought so much and we fought so hard and we always tried to win and she shook her head and her lip curled up and she said, we’re all the metals. And I kinda was like, what? What did she just say?

She looked in my eyes and the intensity was real and she said, where are all the metals? When you fight for something and you want to win, there should be a metal. But when we fought with each other, there were no metals, nobody won. And I had truly never thought of it that way. Where are the metals? It really made me think like what do you get out of fighting with the people that you love? And I think that’s what she was trying to say. There was no reward for it. And I thought about it later as I was going back to the hotel. When you fight with your spouse or somebody that you love, when you win, do you really win? And if so, what did you win? And as somebody who’s a notorious fighter, somebody that grew up battling, cause I didn’t feel like I got respect, I didn’t feel like people took me seriously and I felt like I had to prove somebody wrong.

So I fought at times physically, but most of the time, verbally and mentally and I think of all the fights and all the disagreements and all the heartache and all the hurt feelings and the damage or destroyed relationships. And I thought about what Indrani said. Yeah, I want a lot of those fights. But where are the metals? Where are the awards? I realized I got my way often, but not only did I not get any reward for it, I actually damaged something because of it. And it’s hard when you’re a fighter to just stop fighting. And I had to think about that a lot and I had to think about why I fought, why I felt the need to go into battle so often and to look back on some of the relationships that were damaged from it, including my parents. Which is interesting because in childhood and as an adult we’ve had our battles, but it really made me think as much as I thought I was right in so many of these situations, what metal was I winning?

That conversation truly had an effect on the way I approach something that generally was natural to me. And what it did was it allowed me to view my relationship with my parents and other people a whole lot differently. Because before that, when I would win those arguments, I would self righteously believe that I actually won something. And what I realized about myself in the short time from that dinner to now is that I had a really hard time giving in. I felt like when I give in, I’m being taken advantage of and that was within me for years, maybe for most of my life. So as I look back on it, it was either a habit or maybe some sort of defense mechanism where I felt like I needed to fight to win something in her statement. That night really made me think that I never really won anything during those fights aside from short term pride, but the collateral damage from that was it times devastating because it turns out that the more that you fight, the better you get at fighting.

And deep down I knew I’m going to win. And it’s kind of weird saying this right now because I’m recording a podcast and sometimes I forget I’m recording a podcast and that somebody is actually going to listen to this, but that’s what I know. I’ve got to put it out because what she did is allow me to realize that I wasn’t winning anything and I needed to change the way that I thought about fighting. It’s been only a little over a month since that dinner, and it’s allowed me to view it completely differently to where there’s already noticeable changes in my relationship with my parents and even Elizabeth and the boys, because I didn’t notice how much it could seep into every area of my life and even worse. So I started teaching these habits to my kids without even realizing it. So I know relationships can be tough, friendships can be tough. And if you’re a fighter like me, you’ve got to make sure for your own security and your own safety that you win. But I want you to think about that and try to rethink it and ask yourself, what exactly did I win? Where are the metals? Although in the short term and the adrenaline, it felt good to win those fights, but in reality it led to more damage than it did accolades. So Indrani thank you for the awesome message that you taught to me. I truly appreciate it. I’ll talk to all of you tomorrow.

Episode 203- Why I Want Certain People To Fail

It probably sounds pretty cruel when I say that I want people to fail. There are friends of mine that I want to fail. And when I say that in a variety of different ways, it might appear that I’m heartless or maybe I’m being jealous or vindictive, but it’s none of that. I want them to fail because what they’re doing isn’t working. Now, a lot of us have things that we’re working on that also aren’t working. So why do I want some of them to fail and others not to fail? And here’s why. These people that I want to fail, and as I’m talking about this, I can picture their face specifically and there’s more than one. But the reason why I want them to fail and why they need to fail is because they’re either too prideful or too arrogant to change. If you’re banging your head against the wall and you think that you’re so smart and this is the best idea to get to the other side and you are not willing to listen to other advice, you’re not willing to listen to the people that are going to tell you, stop banging your head against the wall and go around to the door on the other side or maybe ask and see if somebody has the key or possibly it’s not even the building that you want to get into.

But yet with all this information and all these people looking to help and all the history about how banging your head against the wall, it’s going to do nothing but cause you pain and you continue to do it. You’re going to have to have your head split open to understand. Now we’ve all met them. Maybe we’ve been that person, but there are people that need to bang their head against the wall again because they still don’t learn. And when you are this person, you’re generally too prideful to listen to advice. You’re often too cocky to seek out counsel and you’re probably too arrogant to change, so you need to fail. And that’s why I welcome that failure for me or for you when we’re that type of person. See all those years of school taught us incorrectly, that failure is a bad thing. The big F that came on top of that paper that I didn’t prepare for didn’t come in a happy color with glitter all around it and a smiley face.

It was a big red F and it was often written with very little compassion because failure was made out to be bad. So we did everything we could to avoid failure. Some people decided that memorizing everything and questioning, nothing would get us that grade that we desired, but realizing that we learned nothing in the process. Well nothing but memorization. Some of us didn’t even care about what we were studying, so we wound up getting poor marks, reprimanded and being meant to feel like we weren’t smart as the other ones. Some of us knowing that we were going to fail and be reprimanded for it cheated so we didn’t have to do the work or the punishment, but either way, the only thing we were trying to do was to avoid failure. But what if failure was looked at as a good thing? What if we embraced failure because it meant that we’re not there yet, but I absolutely believe that failure does way more positive things for us than success does.

Failure rarely makes you arrogant, but I can’t even tell you the amount of successful people that I know that have become arrogant and big headed with that success. These were people that were very hungry for knowledge. They were humble, they were curious, they truly were looking to help and be helped and the content failures and the uncertainty of it kept them on their toes and kept them relatable. But then success happened and now all those years of failure, they were able to push back against. They were able to use that success to try to prove other people wrong and show others that they really were smarter than everybody said they were. And with that came the arrogance and it set the scene and it’s something to protect yourself against if you’re going there because it’s absolutely true and proven over and over again that the pride comes before the fall.

So those people too, for their own sake, I root for failure because more success will not make them more humble, more success. It’s only going to fuel that arrogance. Failure I’ve learned brings humility. It brings perspective and it brings the understanding that something needs to change. Why is it so hard to repeat as a champion? Because the drive to succeed and to learn is so much greater when you’ve lost the previous time than when you just won. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this and maintaining and keeping what you have is less motivational than getting better from where you were. So these people that I was talking about earlier, the ones that I want to fail, I wanted the fail for their own good because it’s the best thing for them. Having fluke victories or getting ahead because somebody gives you something that you didn’t earn, that’s not success.

That’s a bandaid and it’s covering up the fact that you’re not learning or getting better. Failure will allow them to see differently. It will allow them to make adjustments and to pivot and to try different things they weren’t doing when they thought they were right. Subconsciously, I root for my own failure. There is no time that I’m less motivated than when everything’s going really well. It was a primary factor why we killed our photography business. I was bored and it was too easy to just do enough for everything we needed without a huge challenge. To me, that sounds like a job, a job where it’s guaranteed there’s little risk of failure and it’s simply just not inspiring to me, so I want failure for you as well because you’re going to learn more from it. You’re going to get better because of it, and it’s going to keep you humble and grounded so that when you do win, you can have pride that you earned it from the things that you learned and grew from.

And you get to realize that when you finally get there, it didn’t do what you thought it was going to do. And it allows you to just enjoy the journey so that you can keep taking small steps to consistently get better. But knowing that you always need a challenge ahead of you, one that is very likely to fail because certainty is nothing if not boring. Oh, by the way, I haven’t mentioned it in a while. For the new listeners, I wrote a book called freelance to freedom two years ago, and I recorded the audio book and I give it away for free. So if you’d like to head over to our website, total life freedom.com/ [inaudible] book, sign up, download the book, enjoy it. And if you do, please let me know what you think. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 202- A Bad Day For Your Ego Is A Good Day For Your Soul

Have you ever had one of those days where you’re just feeling pretty confident, you’ve got something important to do, but you’re really not stressed about it. You feel just fine and you have something important to do and people are counting on you and you know you need to prepare for it, but you really just don’t take it seriously enough. Now, I try my best to have as few of those days as possible, but they still happen. There are those days where your ego gets the best of you or hitting too close to home for when my ego gets the best of me. Now, last year, Elizabeth, me and the boys were strolling around Santa Fe, New Mexico, and we’re taking in all the play below buildings and site. It was something I’d never seen before. I’ve been to New Mexico, but we’ve never been to Santa Fe and I love the city. From the moment that we pulled up and we went and got a great lunch, we saw the history and the artifacts.

If you’ve been there, we went through the church with the famous staircase. That still isn’t explained of how it’s being held up. And we went to what I believe is the structure of the oldest home in the United States and outside of that home, I got a message on my phone from Jared easily. Now Jared and Dan Franks run the incredibly successful podcast movement conference. And I had been a couple years in a row and it’s one of my favorite conferences to go to and Jared asked if we could have a quick talk. So I said, sure. I scooted out of the old house while Elizabeth and the boys kept looking around and I gave Jared a quick call. He surprised me by telling me that he wanted me to be on a panel for podcast movement. Now Jared, I have gotten way back not way back a couple of years, but we’ve got to know each other pretty well.

And I was surprisingly, because at that point I didn’t have a podcast. Well, it’s not technically correct. I had a podcast for my mastermind. It was an inclusive podcast, very much like what you’re listening to today, but it was only to those people that were in the mastermind, so I was curious what I could add to a panel on podcast movement. He said to me, you’re great at networking, you’re great at connecting. I want you to lead the part on networking for the new attendees coming to the conference. I said, yeah, that’s beautiful. I’d love to do it, and I agreed to it on the spot. So with any other presentation, I would then start working down what am I going to talk about, figuring out what my role would be, putting all the pieces together to make sure it’s a great presentation. And I got together with Jen Bryony who was the host of the congressional dish podcast and Donald Kelly, who hosts the sales evangelist podcast.

Now they’re both veteran podcasts. They both been on the panel before and they knew what was going on. I went through a Jen and we went through my role, what I would talk about and after what I said, she seemed really confident in what I was going to talk about and I was confident as well. I talked on the subject before, I have teach on it. Part of it is content of my next book coming out that I’m writing now. So of all gigs I was going to go up on stage for. I was not stressed about this one and Jen and I connected a couple more times. We went over what our roles would be, we went over the details of everything, everything I needed to know and she had it all down. Having been through this before and I continue to be very confident on this, got the podcast movement and I did what I normally did.

I connected with my friends, I met new people, have lunch and coffee and conversations and all that and I roomed my friend Jordan Peterson the first night and I said, you know, I really should start preparing for this. And I took some notes but I didn’t do much more than that because I know there’s like the back of my hand. I showed up that morning. I still felt good. I met with Jen and met with Donald and we sat on stage and the room filled up. There was probably close to 300 people in there and I had the mic in my hand and Jen was ready and Donald’s ready and Donald goes up and with his charismatic personality just starts wowing the crowds. Got everybody going on, everybody engaged and he was no more than two minutes into his presentation. When I looked up at him and I realized I am not remotely prepared for this.

Do you ever have one of those moments where all of a sudden you feel your body temperature rise? Like immediately? That was one of those moments and there’s nowhere to hide. There’s 300 people in front of you and you’re about to start talking for 20 minutes. How they can network during this conference and really being the one that helped them out that they’re looking towards. And then Donald finished and Jen got on and she did just as a professional job as Donald did and she talked about all the technical aspects of the conference using the app, all the things that I’m glad I didn’t get that gig. And before I knew it, Donald took over, grabbed the mic, introduced me as this networking expert that I’m going to give them all this wisdom and knowledge. And he introduced me and when I went up on stage, it wasn’t 30 seconds in before I realized this might be a disaster because it’s plain as day.

It was obvious that I was not prepared and I couldn’t wing it and I did my best. I had certain lines and certain stories to tell and different tidbits, but I can tell I was on shaky ground the entire time. And there was one moment I looked out into the crowd, I saw my friend Ken Carfagna, I saw Jordan and I felt like a complete fraud and I put my head down and I stopped and I said out loud into the mic, just so you know, I’m totally bombing here. Nobody nodded their head in agreement and nobody laughed. And there was truly no embarrassment from the crowd to me with empathy. They just kind of looked on at me and waited for me to recover. I took a deep breath and fortunately Jen saw what was going on and she stepped in and she stood up and she made a couple of points.

She got it going again. Then she handed it back to me and I was able to finish relatively smoothly. And what I was amazed by that actually had a lot of people coming up to me, asking me questions, telling me that they liked it, but I did have a few people that came up to me and said, what was going on there? And I was shaking my head and not sure how to answer. I saw Ken Jordan right afterwards and I was like, man, that was brutal. And Cal was like, no, it wasn’t. He was very supportive. I told him what it felt like for me and he’s like, that was probably two or three seconds. And to me it felt like a minute. So as much as I thought I bombed, which I still think I did, the response wasn’t that terrible at least to my face.

But here’s the tricky part. I had a second panel in four hours. So guess what I did, I didn’t go out to lunch with everybody. I didn’t go for a drink and I didn’t network. I went back to my room with a pen and paper and I decided to take it seriously and I thought about what they needed to hear and I thought about what I knew that can help them. And for three hours I crafted what I was going to talk about and I rehearsed it and I didn’t talk to anybody between that time. And I walked into that room around two 45 and I wasn’t smiling and I wasn’t schmoozing. I went over my notes one last time and I took a deep breath and I walked up on stage and I knew that if I bombed again I will have let Jared down cause he came up to me after the first one.

He said, great job. And I really thought he was joking with me. And he could be sarcastic, but he didn’t seem sarcastic, so I’m like, okay, I dodged. I might’ve dodged the bullet here, but I’m not playing with fire twice. I walked up on stage after Donald announced me and I was prepared and I did 20 minutes straight through and I didn’t pause and I’m stuttering, I’m stop and I really didn’t even sweat and around three quarters into what I said something in the entire crowd laughed and I looked over at Jen and I looked over at Donald and I saw them both nodding and they both had their lips purse while they nodded their heads in agreement. It was a great feeling because I felt like maybe not totally, but at least partially I had earned their respect back. I got off on stage and I did some Q and A and I went back to my room for about an hour and just collapsed in the bed and I realized that I let my ego get the best of me.

I allowed my ego to let me walk up on stage unprepared because I thought that I could just wing it. It’s one thing to think you can do it, but it’s another thing to be prepared for whatever comes at you. And taking an ego hit is not fun. But every failure in life comes with a great lesson. If you listen in that day in Orlando was a bad day for my ego, but it was a really good day for my soul. And those blows to my ego are now welcomed because I know there’s something to learn from them. I’ve heard it said that pride comes before the fall. And my pride, my ego allowed me to go in unprepared and allowed me to go and thinking I could just handle it as it happens. And it’s not until you step out on that stage and you disappoint people, disappoint them simply by not being prepared to bring your best for them. Our egos need that kick in the pants to tell us you’re not as good as you think you are, but how good you think you are, you better come prepared. So that bad day for my ego was a good day for my soul. I will talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 201-The Real Reason Why I Do This Podcast

Do you know why you do what you do or realize? It might be a difficult question because it could be related just to your career or to your family, but like a lot of us, you do more than one thing, but a lot of times we do things and we don’t know why we do them. It’s just expected of us or it’s because we chose something in the past and we no longer want to do it, but we feel the need to continue for one reason or another and often we do something but the meaning of it changes over time. And that’s why now more than 200 episodes into this show, I now have a greater understanding of why I do this podcast. It is much more clear to me now than it was 200 episodes ago. And even though it’s considered a business or a lifestyle or career podcast, the truth is it’s kind of disguised as that.

But I didn’t know when I started and I’m going to tell you today what drives me to do this podcast and create it every day. And it might make more sense if you follow closely why I don’t do certain things. And why do others cause to a lot of people when they start a podcast, the podcast is a lead generator for their business alone. And yes, there is an aspect to that within the show. Naturally by putting myself out there, by giving my insights, giving my predictions, telling my stories, it garners interest in the work that I do, whether it’s speaking or for our membership community or for coaching or whatever. There’s no denying that I’m not blind to it and not going gonna pretend like it’s not a part of it. And I’m really proud of that part and it’s exciting to be able to have a platform to be able to sit here and get those thoughts out and then realize all over the world people are taking the time to listen and then even more incredibly, they’re taking the time to listen and then reach out to me.

And I don’t think that’s ever going to get old. At least I hope not. But there’s a deeper reason why I do this. See if you know me well enough. You know that I love history. It’s the one subject in school that I really love diving into and most, especially before we had kids. When I started winding down from my party days, you’d find me often declining to go out with my friends for a night of partying and even when I was single, staying home and reading books about history and I had all sorts of topics that I love diving into. At one point, the whole culture of the 1960s consumed me. I read so many books on civil rights on Woodstock, the Vietnam war and the Kennedys. That whole culture shift that happened from what seemed like an innocent part of this country, the early 1960s to the late 1960s where everything had changed.

I went through a period of time of mafia books. It was so intriguing to me, especially in the 1970s and 1980s and the mafia families in the New York city area. Obviously I love sports, history of music history. That’s why I love as a family, we get to travel around the country often and visit so many areas, the museums, the actual spots where things happened in terms of the history of this country, both good and bad. And I’m so fortunate that either through brainwashing or a boss, some wife that teaches our kids this, but our kids are so interested in it as well. And then with that I think about my family and the older I get, I realize I don’t know nearly as much about my family as I wish I did from their past. And our 14 year old now studies world war II.

He’s intrigued by the history as well by the tanks. Everything that went into it. And what’s interesting is he studies more on the European side, but my grandfather fought in world war II and I knew very little about it when I was a kid. But I distinctly remember a picture of my grandfather looking so young, huddled together with other soldiers and in celebration were holding up a German swastika flag. And the enormity that did not hit me at all in the moment. But that picture still burned in my mind. And it wasn’t until almost the end of his life that I realized that he fought and was part of the feeding the Nazis. And that picture was in Germany after that victory. And now almost 70 years later, it’s not just his story, it’s American history. And then I hear the story of my other grandfather, my dad’s dad, who died when I was four or five.

I barely got to know him, but I still remember being in the backyard of their little house in Queens and him taking me behind the garage, holding my hands so gently because that’s where they kept the sand for us to plan. So he would bring me back with the bucket and it would help me scoop the sand in there. It’s one of my only memories of my grandfather and the only one I really remember is walking into their bedroom and him laying in bed, obviously sick and giving them a hug and give him a kiss and walking out. My parents driving us home. And it was the last time that I saw him. I think about all those stories, all the untold stories, and I remember trying to talk to my grandfather, the one who was in world war II about his story there and he never wanted to talk about it and I couldn’t understand.

And now I understand there was so much trauma, so much involved left his wife and his only son at the time to go fight in a war. Well, he didn’t know if he’d ever come back. It’s hard not to think of what would’ve happened if things went differently. He came back in a year or two later, my mother was born. So if anything went different during that war, which was very likely, I wouldn’t be here today and neither would my kids. And when you start thinking that way, it’s pretty deep and heavy and there’s so much more I can go there, but this is why I do this podcast. This is why it’s not strictly business or business tips or money or anything iPad. This podcast is my life. And people ask me, do you ever worry about running out of content? And there was a point early on before I realized my purpose of this podcast.

It kind of worried about that a little bit. Am I going to tell the same stories, my decent, same lessons? I mean, how much do I really have to share? There is a total imposter syndrome when it comes to that, but it’s shifted somewhere along the way and I don’t know when, but I started thinking about my wife, Elizabeth and our boys at the same time. I thought about the people that come after them, their kids and then their kids, and I say to myself, I don’t care about things like inheritances. I truly don’t care if I leave our kids one and I don’t care that my grandparents didn’t leave me one. They struggled financially most of their lives and money wasn’t something that was going to be passed down, but the one thing that I wish was passed down or the stories, because I don’t have very many of them and the ones I do know the same ones that have been told over and over again as I think about it.

Yeah, there’s still a chance to talk to the living relatives and get some of them. But man, would it have been nice to hear the stories in their voices. So that is what this show is about. Not about the total life freedom podcast, even though that’s what this is. It’s not about how many downloads or how much money I can make off of this or how popular I become. This podcast is my accountability to put these stories into the world for my kids and grandkids and beyond. This is my audio history because I’m fortunate that my kids love me and sometimes they listen to me sometimes, but we’re not sitting around talking about this stuff. But I know someday these lessons and these stories and the people in my life who’ve helped me, taught me might be a benefit for them in their life. So they don’t listen now and I don’t blame them.

They hear enough me. But one day, this might be valuable to them. One day when they’re 26 or 34 or 48 and they want to hear from me or they want to hear a message from their dad or they want to hear the story about my past or my parents, our history or somebody that helped or even hurt our family, they’ll know where to hear it. So when I think about that, which I don’t do every day cause I get caught up in the day to day activities or when I really sit back to think about what this is about. Like I said in episode 200 it does not matter how many downloads I have. It doesn’t matter how popular show is or how much business I get from it. This is an audio history of my life and our life to hopefully be passed down to them as a gift.

Because if I’m driving tonight and I get sideswiped by a car and they never hear from me again, someday they’re going to have this to listen to. And by teaching other people through the podcast about how to live their life to the fullest. Hopefully if they’re in a spot where they’re struggling a spot when they’re confused, when there’s a day that they feel like they have nobody to talk to or turn to, I want them to know that this will be there for them. And so many people tell me like, I can’t believe how honest you are and open you are in your podcast. And this is why I’m not trying to sugar coat anything and I’m not trying to impress people to get clients. This is my audio history for my family in the future. So if you haven’t thought about that, I would consider thinking about it.

You don’t have to put it out as a podcast for other people to listen to. But man, there’s nothing I would want more from my grandparents. Nothing I could find more valuable than hearing their voice talking to me about what life was like as they were growing. What interesting stories went on? What was life like in that era and what could it possibly teach me about my family and about the world? So if this inspires anybody else to start an audio history for their family, then my mission here is accomplished. So to my kids, if you’re listening in 2046 or whenever this is for you, I’ll talk to everybody tomorrow.

Episode 200- Do What Others Are Afraid To Do

So you’re listening to episode number 200 of the Total Life Freedom podcast 200 which is crazy. You think about the fact that the average podcast stops after eight episodes and they stopped for a variety of reasons. So many stop because the allure of it, what was exciting beforehand turned into a job and a series of tasks wanted started and it wasn’t nearly as fun as they thought it would be. Other reasons I’ve heard, they see they couldn’t find a way to monetize it. And if after eight episodes of a podcast, you’re already struggling with ways to monetize it, and that’s what you’re thinking about and that’s what your focus is on, you’re going to quit. And there’s a lot of other reasons that people stop. And another big one is they get frustrated because not enough people are listening and they figure what’s the point?

Why keep doing this? Nobody’s listening anyway. Nobody cares. I’m sitting here in my office by myself talking to myself and it’s not resonating, so I might as well just stop. Nobody’s going to notice anyway, and they quit and they fade off into the distance. If you go back into the archives of this podcast, way back to episode four the title of that was, it’s not about who didn’t show up. And the premise behind that was I did a blog years ago, and I won’t go deep into the story, but I allowed the fact that I wasn’t getting the same amount of comments and feedback like I used to when it started to allow me to quit. And that was five years ago and I really regret it because so many people came up to me afterwards and told me how much they loved that blog and they always wondered why it went away.

They never asked me why it went away. They just accepted it. And I faded away with that project and the lesson I learned from that, from that pain, from that failure. But I learned from that lesson that even if it’s only a handful of people that are listening and that are enjoying it, and if I’m enjoying doing it, that this time I won’t stop. So they touched on briefly in episode 100 that allowed me to tell myself, do 1000 episodes, 1000 in a row daily, and then do an assessment and pay attention. But what I needed to do was continually do this, create the habit, do it daily to get better and not worry about the numbers and what’s beautiful about that method that I didn’t make up. I learned from many others, but it allows you to learn about yourself while you’re growing. I’m not sitting here telling you that I’m the podcast expert or that you should do things exactly the way that I do things.

I don’t think that’s the case, but what I learned is that by doing and by doing consistently, new lessons are taught to me all along the way. It hasn’t. You might’ve noticed by listening to this, you might’ve pointed out that I don’t like to do things the way that I’m supposed to do them or the way that others expect me to do them. I’ve got to do it my way and doing it my way comes with some good and it comes with some bad, but I can guarantee you that I learned more about myself doing it this way than by following somebody else’s orders or following somebody else’s step-by-step process. So I took some podcast courses before I started this and it was a lot of good information in each of them including Pat Flynn’s. But the reason why I hesitated is because they all seemed to in many ways have a very similar format.

There were interview shows that his introduction with this cheesy music that made the host seem like this hero with his, like this anticipation of this special person showing up any moment once the introductions over within are going to be other products from other companies that are going to be pitched so that they make ad revenue. And now the trend that drives me crazy are these interviews where there’s mid-roll advertising and you’re listening to an interview and you’re getting into it. And right after questions asked, they stopped to go to the advertisement. Now I get it. They want to make money from it. They want to recoup the money that they have to pay for their podcast production. But I had no interest in any of that. So I had to decide am I going to follow along because this is what everybody does and this is what people are telling me to do or am I going to do something different.

And when I talked to people about the idea of doing a short solo show with no music, no ads, not even an introduction or an outro, which is the prerecorded bit at the end of a podcast, I was waiting for all the people telling me that I was crazy because generally when I have a new idea that’s kind of what they tell me. But that’s not really what I heard. What I heard was more in the lines of this, I would love to do that. That’s really what I want to be doing is something quick and short like that without all that other crap. But they said, I’m afraid to do it because I’m not sure how I make money from it. Or my cohost doesn’t like that idea or that’s not the way the people teaching me want me to do it. So it’s what they wanted to do because they love the purity of it.

They really enjoy the idea of the straight content right to the point. No fluff, exactly the way that they’d want to consume it. So I asked them why they weren’t doing it that way and a few of them said that they’re afraid because of the reasons that I mentioned a minute ago. So I’m so glad that I’ve been doing this for the last 200 episodes for so many different reasons. I’ve connected with so many amazing people. Those of you that just reach out out of the blue, I’m walking here in the morning on the beach of St. Augustine. We’re spending the month of January. I got a message from Kristen Hernandez telling me how much she loved the hitting singles podcast episode or Ronald Durbin. He’ll just message me out of the blue on occasion that tell me about an episode that really hit him and I’ve made connections with these people, sends them, they’ve become friends.

I talked to Kristen’s husband John, he has also become a friend and a listener for an hour last week and we got to dive into his career situation and some really exciting things that are possibly on the horizon. And I go, wow, this never would have happened if I didn’t stick to this. And each of them have mentioned the format of the show was what they really love. So I thought about what allowed me to do this and start it this way and what stops so many others from doing it. And then what was the lesson to learn from that? And the lesson is quite simple and it’s to do what others are afraid to do. And I hope you understand is no matter what you’re doing, there is always a hole in the market. There’s always something there that somebody else isn’t doing that you can do to fill in that hole.

And it doesn’t have to go big or huge or become an enormous success. All you have to do is create something that other people find valuable. And I sit here with this daily podcast that’s a little over six months old and I still don’t know promotion. I’m terrible at posting on social media about it. I don’t do gimmicks or scams to get the word out and because it’s resonated with some people, it’s been shared and shared again, and this little podcast just what over 70,000 downloads, which to me is kind of crazy and a big deal, but the best part is thinking this. That’s great that it’s 70,000 downloads, but if it was 7,000 or 700 to still do it my way with the same intensity and energy and that compounded over time is how success happens. So thank you to every one of you have listened who have shared this.

And I will ask that I don’t do a whole lot of asks, but if you like this, if you like this podcast, please find somebody to share it with, even if it’s one person. Because as I preach, word of mouth is the best way to build anything. And when I hear people telling me that they found my podcast because a friend of theirs told them about it, it’s the most amazing feeling. So for those of you who have done that to Jennifer Harshman, Ken Carfagno, Andy Storch, you constantly are sharing this podcast with others. And the many of you that do that, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. At the same time, we’re just beginning because this is episode 200 of the thousand that I’m going to do. I can promise you it won’t end there. So thanks again. And like always, I will talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 199- Not Just Another Day in The Neighborhood

So it was a Sunday night and I was sitting on a subway train in Pittsburgh, they call it a trolley, but I was exhausted both physically and mentally. It was a little over two years ago, and I was headed home. My camera gear in tow from photographing a devastating Steeler loss to the New England Patriots. It was a game where if the Steelers won, not only would they win the division, but they probably would have locked up the number one seed in the AFC over the hated Patriots. And the game was heartbreaking because the Steelers had the game won at the end. Jesse James caught a touchdown pass, I got the picture of it and he crossed the goal line diving and then the ball came loose afterwards and it was called a touchdown, but by replay they called it back. So instead of taking the lead, they’re still behind a couple of yards from the end zone.

As luck would have it. A couple of plays later, Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception in the end zone and the game was over crushing the Steelers hopes for top seed and again unfortunately propelling the Patriots to another Superbowl. But on that train surrounded by a bunch of drunk, tired and angry football fans was a well dressed gentlemen that didn’t quite look the part. He was well-dressed and was in deep contrast to all the fans are all bundled up with their football jerseys on. And he looked at me and asked a specific detailed question about something that happened in the game. I told him what had happened. They looked at me and he said, did you get the picture? And I nodded my head and I said, yeah. And it turned out that he was a writer for ESPN and he introduced himself as Tom. And I told him my name and he got off the train at Station Square.

And I went to my phone and I went the social media and I looked him up and I connected with him on Facebook and LinkedIn. So the next day I posted my picture on social media of Jesse James and the touchdown that didn’t happen. And one of the people that commented was this guy Tom. And he made a joke about this being the Zapruder film for this game, comparing it to that famous film of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. And then about two minutes later, I get a message from my friend Jacob Bennett and he said, how the heck do you know Tom Junod? And I said, I met him on the train last night coming back from the Steeler game. Really nice guy. I said, why? And he said, do you know who he is? And I said, he was a reporter for ESPN. And he said, no, he is one of the greatest writers alive.

And I said, really? And then he starts linking to all the different articles. And I saw that he’s the one that for Esquire magazine wrote the infamous Falling Man story, if you’ve heard of it from 9/11 about that one iconic picture from Richard Drew of the man falling from the Wall Trade Center upside down was, you know, wrote that incredible story. So of course now I look into his bio and his background and I’m amazed by everything I’m reading. But then it all paled in comparison to what I saw next. All of a sudden I’m reading this article about Tom Junod and there’s a movie being produced as about his life. It’s not just about his life, it’s about his life and his friendship with Fred Rogers who we know as Mr. Rogers from Mr. Rogers neighborhood and this movie that had just cast Tom Hanks was going to be called a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of big time stuff that other people have done, you know, working in the media and working in journalism. But this encounter just seemed completely bizarre and random. I mean, how often do you just run into somebody, strike up a conversation with somebody on a bus or a trolley, which is even more ironic because if you watch Mr. Rogers neighborhood because Rogers was from Pittsburgh, filmed the show in Pittsburgh and the trolley was a part of his message. So here I am on this trolley in Pittsburgh exhausted meeting the guy who Fred Rogers befriended and now that friendship is being made in a major motion picture and the star is going to be one of the biggest actors in the world. But as I dove into the story, it was quite amazing. She, you know, was hired as a young journalist to do a piece about Mr. Rogers about heroes.

And from that one interview they struck up a friendship and they continued to talk. They continued to get to know each other, but you know, turns out had a hard time believing that this was really him because he says like the nicest guy he’s ever met. And you noticed that later on that Rogers turned out to be exactly off camera as he was on camera. This piece was about heroes titled, can you say hero by Esquire magazine? But Rogers pushed off the talk about him being a hero and instead was more concerned was going on inside Juno’s life. And I won’t go deep into the part of the movie. I want you to go see it. It’s been critically acclaimed, but Fred Rogers had a positive effect on so many people during his career. Me being one of them, I still remember vividly watching his TV show and I remember how kind and nice he seemed.

And to me as well, it almost seemed like it couldn’t be real. It seemed the same as you know, thought that he can’t be the same off camera as he is on. And it turned out that that’s exactly who he was and that’s what made him so remarkable. And that’s why this movie in this message is so important now because there’s so much divisiveness in this country that this type of a message is what we need, what our kids need. I wish there were Mr. Rogers on TV now as opposed to some of the garbage, a lot of the garbage that’s on there for them to watch. But what’s so interesting about this story is that, you know, came into this to write a story. He didn’t want to do a puff piece about some quote unquote hero. So he went in skeptical, you know, he’s already a writer for Esquire is already very successful.

And Fred Rogers brought something out of him, something beyond the friendship that was built in this movie. And Juno said something while being interviewed for this after the movie was done. That to me was very impactful. She knows, said that Roger saw something in him that even he didn’t see in himself and what that done for his life, his family, his career, the people that he’s affected has a lot to do with what Rogers did for him. And this message is for me, as much as it is for you or for anybody else. So often we’re so driven by success or influence or money or the status that comes with it. That’s not what influenced or drove Roger’s making other people feel special was what drove him. Kindness, listening, caring, and concern. And these are things so many of us can lose sight of in the name of success and this story and this movie goes to show that we need more Fred Rogers in this world, that we need more. Tom Junos in this world. And I never had the pleasure to meet Mr. Rogers, but I was fortunate to have that encounter with Tom’s, you know, on that trolley on a cold Pittsburgh night. It gave me the incentive to dive deeper into a story and a message that I’ve long forgotten about. I hope that you take the time and do the same. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 198- Why Most People Fail

Unfortunately for you, I’m going to be a bit of a jerk today. If you remember on a past episode, Vinny The Jerk, he’s coming back cause I’ve got to address something that most people aren’t acknowledging. There is more information out there than ever. There’s more speakers, there’s more content, there’s more courses. All the information that you need to succeed is out there, but yet why are so many people struggling? Why are so many people struggling with money? It’s been said that if an unexpected $500 expense hit every adult American, that more than 50% would have to borrow the money to pay it. There are more books on financial literacy and financial freedom where you can fill your house with them and it’s really not even that complicated. How does Dave Ramsey say- live on less than you make? If every person did that one simple thing day in and day out, there would be no financial issues.

You can go across the board on so many different areas. Why do so many marriages fail? Why do 80% of people dislike their jobs? Humans crave relationships and friendships. And I saw a crazy study recently that says the average American has not made a new friend in the last five years. Now I need to study that a little bit more because that sounds absolutely insane, but in general, people are broke, unhappy and dissatisfied and that drives me nuts cause that is not how I would want you to go through life. But why is that? And I’m going to give you an example before I give you what I think is the answer. Tony Robbins is one of the most successful personal development gurus, if you want to call him that. And he does these live events. They’re four days long. Some of them are two days long, they’re very intense, they’re very expensive.

People give up four days, possibly a whole week when you consider traveling, spending four days of the event, traveling back, recovering. They spent all this money, they spent all this time because these things are not cheap and we all know how valuable your time is. And they go to these events that are supposed to be life changing. And the people from Tony Robbins did the research and they said after these events, with all that money and all that time invested, 70% of the people that attend do not even open up the information that was given to them after they leave 70% and these are for people that actually invested in it and took the time. So this is why more content and more information isn’t the answer. So what is the conclusion? The reason why this is happening? And here’s the sad answer. Most people don’t do the work.

A study by academics at MIT found that online courses have a dropout rate of 96% and I’m starting to believe that people not doing the work comes down to a culture where we are okay, not accepting responsibility. I proclaimed myself the King of Excuses. I was able to make an excuse for anything. And like I said in a different episode, the more excuses you make for yourself, the better you get at making them. But this is the culture that we’re becoming. Look no further than politics. When was the last time you saw a politician say, that was on me? This is my fault, why this didn’t work? This was my responsibility. That’s why something Harry Truman said when he was president in the 1940s still stands out today when he said the buck stops here, and I’m not talking Republican or Democrat here in 2020 it’s both sides.

Everyone is blaming the other person for their problems. And when was the last time somebody said the buck stops here and that saying came from the expression pass the buck, which essentially means pass the responsibility on to somebody else. And this is a main reason why I believe so many people continue to fail. When I passed the buck, all those times of my life, I deferred responsibility off to somebody else, which made it not my fault if things went wrong. And when you do that, there’s no reason to do the work because in your mind it’s not your responsibility anyway. So we blame our spouse or we blame our coworker, or we blame being busy, or we blame the weather, or we blame our parents or what’s happening a lot now we blame a different generation. It’s the president’s fault. Why my life sucks. No, it’s not the president’s fault because if we did the work, it wouldn’t matter who the president is.

There are people who are incredibly successful in hard conditions with terrible presidents and there are people that got nothing done under great conditions with amazing presidents. And it simply comes down to most people don’t do the work that they need to do to make their life successful. And one of my favorite books on this written by a man named John Miller is called QBQ, which is the question behind the question. And it’s simply about practicing personal accountability at work and in life. And this is the book that we have our kids read often because when you realize that the buck stops with you and you take the blame off of everybody else, you will succeed. And more important than succeeding is you will actually do the work. And I record these episodes and I kind of feel like I sound like a broken record cause I’m talking about this so often, but in an era of passing the buck and blaming others, it is essential that personal responsibility comes back into the conversation because nobody will be impressed by your life, by the people that you blame, but they will be impressed by your life, by the work that you do.

And we actually stopped blaming other people and we put that time into doing the work that we need to do. I think we’re going to see the success individually as a country and as a culture start to turn around. There you go. Rant over and I’m going to talk to you tomorrow.