So, the next topic I wanna discuss is, personal growth. Does anyone in here, not wanna be a better person? (audience laughs) I hope not. I was thinking of something I could share personally, and on the vulnerability side, to talk about personal growth and I wanted to share my story of divorce. I think the big D-word, nobody wants to talk about. Has anyone had been in a divorce, or know people that have been divorced? Yeah, probably most-- Everyone's nodding their head. Okay, so, I got to the point where, we were, I was trying to work on my marriage. I told you the high-level version of what happened, right? We had just realized that, through counseling, that we had different life goals. The moment we decided to split up, we chose to redefine what divorce was gonna be for us. We worked with a psychologist, and I thought that was extremely an important moment for us, because I feel like the general narrative is, screw that person and screw that, and the families kinda take sides, and it ...
ends up just being a complete mess. If there's children involved, the children end up suffering. So, we decided that we're gonna have the best divorce ever, and that we were gonna work on that, and also, work on our parents. It took us, I would say, two years, for us to kind of communicate and set the example for our own parents. What that has done is, our kids are happy. They know mom and dad talk, that mom and dad love them. I don't have a traditional parenting role, the kids, in my case, live with their mom full-time. We decided to do that for stability reasons, and in the beginning, 'cause she wanted to go up to her family's ranch, which is not where I was working at the time. She's since remarried. Last Thanksgiving, I made Thanksgiving dinner for her husband, and she's had two daughters, beautiful little girls, with her husband Bob. I made Thanksgiving dinner for everybody. Like that's the kind of relationship we have. But we made a choice to not accept the bullshit narrative that exists in many cases in the U.S., and elsewhere, about divorce. We said, no, we can do this and get along, and raise really happy kids. My oldest son, just got a letter from Princeton. He's a sophomore, and they're already-- I don't know what they're tracking those kids, probably on his phone somehow. (audience laughs) But he got out a scholarship offer from Princeton, as a sophomore. So, it's just I can't emphasize enough. That's an example of, in the whole positive psychology stuff we were talking about earlier, in the lessons, that you really can define your own reality. And that's just an example. I have people come up to me all the time, and like, I don't understand why you don't see your kids every other day. I'm, like, yeah, but this is coming from somebody that, just five minutes ago, you're telling me about how much you hate your ex-wife, and a bunch of other stuff. So it's just, the time that I do have with my own children, is high quality, incredibly special, focused... So learn from the best. In my experience, if I wanna be a better skier, I'm gonna try and ski with people that are a little bit better beyond my skill level. If I wanna be better at business, I wanna hang around with the kind of people that, seek out mentors that are performing at a level I wanna perform at. I think that, it doesn't matter what you do, in life, that if you wanna grow and excel, and you wanna be the best, you have to hang out with the best. Hanging out with-- It's find to have a peer group, and hang out with your peers. But, to push yourself beyond that is super important. So, always strive to obtain knowledge. Like I talked about in the previous lesson, whether it's taking courses online, reading, listening, mentors, professional groups... I was in this group called Entrepreneurs Organization, it's a excellent group to belong to. I'd grown the business enough to now I qualify for YPO, which is a Young Presence Organization, and I'm now in YPO and I'm tapped into, I think, over 20,000 business owners and C-level executives, globally. Belonging to a group like YPO, we have a thing where, if we reach out to somebody, our, kind of honor code, is that we'll get back to 'em within 24 hours. There are some really incredible people that belong to that YPO group. We hold learning events, I'm doing a three-day Harvard University coming up, through YPO, where we do case studies with some of the Harvard Business School professors. So, that kind of stuff is extremely important to do. I always get back, oh how do I get a mentor? I remember my friend, James Altucher. James is a great guy. He's kind of a legend in cryptocurrency now, and finance, like investing, like he's unconventional, crazy, wild hair. (laughs) But, he's an awesome guy. He had a fear of public speaking, so he went to be a stand-up comic in New York. I'm like, you're crazy. (audience laughs) But he is a awesome guy. He was telling me... I think he built the first website for HPO, and he got into that, when we were talking about the situation awareness in the previous lesson, he got into that 'cause he saw, okay nobody knows how to build a website, so now I can charge outrageous amounts of money. People used to pay millions of dollars to build a website, now it's pick your third-party app, and go build it in probably a day. He said, I need to pivot and do this, I wanna get into finance and investing. He knew he needed to mentor, and he reached out to Warren Buffet. His thought process, which I remember him telling me the story, I really identified with, because I see so many people-- It's like, well I don't-- How to I get 'em in, or how do I, what do I do? And what they do oftentimes, they end up approaching it at, I almost wanna say it's at a-- Almost at a disrespect level 'cause they're asking questions that-- Look you don't wanna waste these peoples' time and ask questions that could easily be researched on Google. The other thing is, there are plenty of people out there, myself included, that are dying to give back, and help people. 'Cause we all had help along the way. But, you have to reach out. James said, he's like, "How I got Warren is, I thought, okay I know this about websites, what can I show him, or give him, that would provide some sort of value." So thinking of it that way, because people, they always wanna take. If you think of it, it's like, okay I wanna reach out to this person, what can I give back? We all have something, even if it's knowledge. I remember one of my mentors, Leo, used to run all venture capital of Lehamn Brothers, and this guy, I won't even guess what he's worth. But, he joined our entrepreneur group, I'm like, "Why are you hanging out with us?" And he's like, "Well, it's like all the young, scrappy entrepreneurs, I wanna soak that up. I miss that." So, don't discount that when you're thinking about how do I approach an entrepreneur. Think of it as, how do I deliver value. My friend, James, sent, I don't know how many emails to Warren Buffet, and was like, I got this idea for you, this is happening with the internet, and this is-- Finally, he got a response back. So, don't be afraid to reach out to people, but don't be-- I would just caution, be respectful, think about how you could give back value on the reach-out, what could you offer in exchange. Sometimes, it may just be lunch. I wanted to touch on that. Even in the SEALs, nobody would, when I was outside the military, would've had any clue that I used to be the sniper course manager, and was consulting with somebody that coached the PGA Tour guide. But that's because we're always, had this thirst for knowledge, and to surround ourselves with the best. So, I've taken that with me outside. In my own life, I know that whatever I wanna do, whatever career I'm going to be in. If you wanna be the best, and push yourself, you have to surround yourself with people that are up here. You know, if you're down here, you gotta hang out with the people that are up here. It's just the way it is. So, like I said, professional organizations and alumni networks are extremely powerful. I went to school on the GI Bill, took night classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and studied aeronautics. (chuckles) Yeah. I was interested in it, but not very useful to me today. My point is, I don't belong to a big alumni association, like Stanford, or Harvard, but at YPO, it's pretty powerful. Alright. So my story, how I got to eight figures. It really was focus. In my network, I would say the network I was in, which was EO at the time. We have a thing called, forum in EO, where we get together with a group of about eight to 10 people every month, and we share the best 5%, and the worst. Nobody wants to talk about-- You can't go to your mom, or your friend, and have coffee with your girlfriend or boyfriend, and talk about how you're getting sued, right? Or this employee said that. How do you have that same conversation on upside with... I remember the first time, I think I was three years in the business, we got offered, unsolicited offer for 15 million dollars to acquire my company. I didn't know who to talk to. That, actually, that moment in time, is when I joined EO. I had a good friend of mine, Brian, and I said, "Brian, what do I do? You're the one guy I know I can go to, to ask these kind of questions, and get help." He's like, "Well, have you thought about joining a group like EO? You can get access to people that are in your similar situation." That's how I joined EO. So I got in EO, and I was meeting with my forum, and we're sharing once a month, and I had this new concept for E-commerce. So I was paying attention to what was happening in my own business, and watching the ad industry. When I first started my company, we had content, and a lot of traffic, and we sold ads. We sold ads on the Google exchange, direct, and we sold direct to agencies and brands. And it was great for a couple years. We were getting paid a lot of money to do crazy concepts, video-- And then it stopped. I said, "Wow, something's going on here." This thing called Facebook came along, and completely disrupted the ad industry. Mainly because, today, this month, I'll spend over 300 thousand dollars on Facebook ads, and we'll make back, probably four times that. Maybe more. When you can advertise that way, and get a return, like extremely measurable return, you think twice about putting a million, or whatever it cost, to do a Super Bowl commercial, right? 'Cause I can reach probably, myself, reach an audience that's twice the size of Super Bowl audience, with an ad campaign on Facebook, 'cause I can track. So, we saw our ad rates go down, and I wanted to launch this box I talked about earlier. It's almost like a Birchbox for guys, only we call it the Crate Club, it's this James Bond box of gear, but I new nothing about the subscription box space. One of my EO forum members, Curtis, who's one of my closest friends, said, "You know what? I got this company I invested in called Little Passports, and they make these really cool kits for kids, and she's selling to moms and grandmoms online, like puzzles and journeys. I can introduce you to Amy. She doesn't care, you're not gonna compete with her, and she'll tell you everything, 'cause I'm investor in the company, and I can help you out." So Curtis set up that phone call, and she saved me, I would say, she doesn't even know this-- But I would tell her today, probably hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in just mistakes that she made and learned from, in probably an hour phone call. I was lucky enough-- Back to what I said about trying to be valuable to other people, I said, "Hey, you've got young, like a young son, right? What is he into?" She's like, "Oh my God, he loves the Navy SEALs!" One of my books, they converted to a young adult, called, Making of a Navy SEAL. I was like, "Alright, I'm gonna send your son a bunch of stuff." So, I signed a book to him, and sent him all this cool Navy SEAL stuff. She was ecstatic, and would then, take a couple more phone calls down the month. So, that conversation, I realized that shipping out of my buddy's warehouse in San Diego just wasn't gonna cut it, that I need to hire a agency that really knew performance marketing-- All this stuff that I would've never known had I not been in this group, like EO. In two years, we went, I think we were doing about, just over two million in revenue, and we grew it, it was 300% growth, to eight figures, and it's been that type of growth since. Then, I got to the point where I realized, alright my business is this size, and I've kind of outgrown my network, what's the next biggest thing. And I found YPO, that way. I just joined YPO. Alright, there's my Little Passport story. Recommended reading, I would say, this has been the most-- Chris asked me at CreativeLive, what was the most influential book I've read that I can think of, and this is probably it, The Tree of Knowledge, by Humberto Maturana. It's probably one of the hardest reads. I would encourage you, if you're gonna read the book, read it with a friend and meet up, and talk about it. 'Cause there's a lot of language in the book, that you're gonna have. You got to read this one with a dictionary, 'cause there's all sorts of stuff in there, like, what is that word... But, it's the most incredible book on personal growth that I've read, and it just has to do with-- They talk about, environment, and even on the single-cell level. You put these cells in different environments, it changes the form of the cell, and affects the growth from health and nutrition, to just our environment that we surround ourselves with. It matters so much. The temptation of certainty, and what I mean by that. There was a time when, it was popular to believe that the Earth was flat. If you believed you were gonna sail around the world, people thought you were crazy, right? They're like, you're gonna fall off the edge, and sail over the side. People, literally, think about it, not too long ago, that you would've been crazy and under house arrest, like Galileo, right? For saying that his little heliocentric theory... A lot of incredible stuff in the book, but those are kind of what comes to mind, the temptation of certainty-- And so I'm really always cautious of being fixed on my ideas, and I got it from this book. I will never be so hard-fixed in my ideology that I won't look at other things because historically, that hasn't worked out well for people. (chuckles) But it's a great, great book.
Brandon is the founder and CEO of the Hurricane Group, a Global Media to commerce business focused on military and outdoor entertainment (news, digital tv, & podcast), subscription based clubs and products.
I had the pleasure of being in the live audience for this course, SO much content, I actually got the book as well and took lots of notes. With Brandon there is no fluff, it's all real actionable steps and strategies to get you focused in very specific ways. we talked about goal setting, team work, vision statement, and that's just a taste, there are so many different categories that we got into. I'll have to go and study my copious notes.. I'm glad CreativeLive added a course on FOCUS! Man I need it as a small business owner it's so helpful to have an expert help me Focus! Brandon was a high level Navy Seal but he's really down to earth, funny, smart and packed this course with massive content.
I thought that the course had a lot of helpful and interesting information. If your a person that relies on the presenter to excite you with presentation and not listen for the content, you may have some challenges. He should be applauded for what he has accomplished. We should all celebrate that.