BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

BiggerPockets Podcast 429: Pursuing Self-Sovereignty and Why Life is More Meaningful When It’s Hard with Ryan Michler

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How many times has something happened in life where we blamed someone besides ourselves for the outcome? Didn’t get a promotion: it’s your bosses fault for being greedy! Ran late to work: it’s all the other drivers faults, not yours! Investment property having problems: it’s the tenant doing all the damage!

Ryan Michler, founder of the Order of Man, sees this sort of victim mentality as a massive block to our full potential. He makes the well-put point that all we can do is control our effort, we can’t control others.

This realization didn’t come easy, though. Ryan realized this after a tough fight with his partner, leading him to reevaluate not only their relationship, but the way he shifted blame on others, in an unhealthy way.

Now Ryan interviews the men that he looks up to on his own podcast, all while running his organization/brotherhood of those part of the “Order of Man”.

It’s not easy to stay humble and calm all the time, especially in the state of our current world, but Ryan does as good of a job as any to remind us all that our future is in our hands, and all we can do is try our best, consistently.

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Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 429.

Brandon:
So, sovereignty isn’t about having 100% control over everything that could possibly work in your life; it’s about focusing your efforts on the things that are important to you, and then bringing in the right people to focus on the things that aren’t as relevant or meaningful to you.

Intro:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon:
What’s going on, everyone? It’s Brandon Turner, host of the BiggerPockets podcast, here live in the sea shed with Mr. David Greene. David, welcome to the sea shed.

David:
Thank you very much. It’s always more fun to do this here in person.

Brandon:
Yeah. We’re totally not six feet away from each other. We’re four right now. Our lips are like three.

David:
That’s the part that makes it uncomfortable. It’s like that stare down-

Brandon:
We’re staring each other in the eyes.

David:
… right before a UFC fight where they’re a half-inch away from kissing.

Brandon:
Yes, it’s weird. That always is weird. How did that become the UFC thing? I don’t know, but it’s a thing. Or fighting in general is get really close to the guy. Anyway, weird.

Brandon:
So, what’s up, everyone? It’s Brandon and David. We’re doing this episode here in Hawaii because David’s visiting me, and we just got done recording an amazing episode with Ryan Mickler, and he is a super cool guy who runs an organization called the Order of Man. He speaks to a lot of men. But if you’re not a man, it’s okay; you’re still welcome here in that everything today, every single solitary thing, applies to men and/or women.

Brandon:
But really, really good stuff today about just taking ownership of things in your life, or what you call sovereignty, and what that means in your life, business; how to attract people around you to work with you, to create momentum around you. We talk about raising kids. We actually spent a fair amount of time talking about how to raise kids with the right mentality and the right ownership and the right… all that stuff. Yeah. What do you think?

David:
Mindset, yeah.

Brandon:
Yeah.

David:
This was one of my favorite episodes. Ryan was a very good guest, very articulate, brought up some incredibly good points. I think when he talked about noble obstacles, that one really hit me hard; that’s an amazing concept, and I don’t think that there’s one thing we talked about that can’t be applied to real estate investing. That was another really cool piece.

Brandon:
Yeah, 100%. So, check it out. I think you guys are going to love it, so stay tuned for that. Before we get to that though, let’s get to today’s Quick Tip.

David:
Quick Tip.

Brandon:
I like doing Quick Tip in person. It’s different over Zoom and recording normally. Anyway, today’s Quick Tip is very simple. If you have not yet picked up a copy of the Intention Journal from BiggerPockets, do it right now by the end of the year. Now, you might be listening to this in the future; but if this comes out at the very end of the year, you’ve got a couple days, and start next year off right with a copy of the Intention Journal, BiggerPockets.com/journal.

Brandon:
That was a commercial. That wasn’t even much of a Quick Tip. Do you have a better Quick Tip?

David:
Think about what noble obstacles might be in your life and share them with someone that cares about you, which they will know more about what those are after they listen to the show.

Brandon:
They will find more about what that is here in a little bit. That’s a good Quick Tip.

Brandon:
All right. With that, let’s get to today’s show with Ryan Mickler from Order of Man. You guys are going to love it.

Brandon:
All right, Ryan, welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast, man. It’s been a long time coming. Glad to have you here.

Ryan:
Yeah, man. I’ve been looking forward to this. I know we had a conversation a month or so ago?

Brandon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
But I’ve been looking forward to the follow-up, so here we are.

Brandon:
Yeah. I was on your show. It was amazing.

Brandon:
A coconut literally just fell off a tree next to me; that’s crazy. That’s what you get living in Hawaii. I was like, “What is that noise? Oh, coconuts rolling down.”

Ryan:
Coconuts falling.

Brandon:
Yeah. Coconuts falling. Do you know more people are killed every year by coconuts falling than by shark attacks? True story.

Ryan:
I didn’t know that. Actually, here in Maine we’re worried about snow falling off the roof.

Brandon:
Really? Yeah.

Ryan:
We’ve got snow now, so yeah.

David:
Icicles.

Ryan:
Icicles impaling you from above. Yeah, for sure. You’ve got to watch out for those things.

David:
There’s an Office episode with Dwight and Michael. Do you watch The Office, Ryan?

Ryan:
I’ve watched it multiple times for sure.

David:
Where Dwight’s making fun of Michael because he’ll stand directly under an icicle looking straight up at it.

Brandon:
I don’t remember that at all. That’s funny.

David:
He’s talking about how stupid he is.

Ryan:
I don’t know if I can remember that either.

David:
It’s really funny.

Ryan:
That’s funny. I have no memory.

Brandon:
I guess that gives me a reason to go back and watch.

Ryan:
Yeah. I’ve got to watch it again.

Brandon:
Probably the greatest TV show of all times.

David:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Yes.

Brandon:
All right. Let’s get into your story, and we’ll let people know about why you’re here, in terms of why I’m super inspired by you, and I love listening to everything you’ve got. Your podcast is amazing.

Ryan:
Thanks, man.

Brandon:
So, let’s go into why that is. Who are you? What were you and who are you today?

David:
That’s a broad question right there.

Ryan:
That is very broad. Did you say who was I and who am I today?

Brandon:
Yeah. Who were you and who are you today? Give us your story.

Ryan:
I was a loser. I was a loser, man. I don’t feel like a loser now, although I don’t know… There’s a lot of people who would be more than happy to call me a loser now.

Brandon:
Some people call you that.

Ryan:
Yeah, for sure. But no, I actually viewed myself as a loser. I was really lost. I struggled for a long time as a father, a new father and a new husband, and trying to figure this out. I had my financial planning practice, and that wasn’t going well, and I just floundered. I thought that I was a loser; but looking back at it now, I think I was just immature, and I just didn’t have anybody to really show me the way to do things. So, I wandered and I struggled where I don’t think that I had to, I wasn’t obligated to; but I felt like I chose that path, maybe subconsciously even, because I wasn’t willing to look outwards for help.

Ryan:
Who am I now? I’m definitely not a loser. I don’t have everything figured out, but I get to talk with guys like yourselves, and other amazing guests on my podcast, and I try to be open and coachable and learn. And when I have questions, I ask those questions, I apply the answers, and it’s not any surprise to me that life just continually gets better financially, physically, mentally, the business, all of it; it just gets better as I open myself up and am receptive to what other people have to share.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s cool, man. The Order of Man, how would you summarize what that is, for those who have never heard of it, never listened to you before, never read your book, Sovereignty. That’s what it’s called, right? Sovereignty?

Ryan:
Sovereignty. Yeah.

Brandon:
I want to make sure I nailed it.

Ryan:
I appreciate it. Yeah. The best way I can describe it is it’s a group, an organization, where we equip men with the tools and the conversations and the resources and networks and frameworks that they need to thrive as husbands and business owners, community leaders, fathers. Whatever facet of life they’re showing up, I want to provide everything that I would have benefited from as a young father, a young husband, somebody trying to start my business, somebody trying to lead in every capacity of my life; and so we do that via the podcast, the book. We’ve got an exclusive brotherhood with almost 800 men involved in that now. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of people following along because it’s my hope they’re getting the resources and information they need to thrive, and that’s what we want. We want to serve those guys.

Brandon:
Is this only for men, then? Today, if there’s a woman listening to this podcast right now, they should turn it off?

Ryan:
No, I don’t think they should turn it off. I do talk exclusively to men because “Order of Man,” and the way that I present the information that we share is shared in a masculine way in a masculine perspective, but we’ve got plenty of women who listen to what we do. And look, let’s be honest, too: the principles that I share, although directed towards men, are pretty universal, right? Personal independence, freedom, personal responsibility, accountability, doing the right thing, doing hard things, learning, being receptive to new information: that isn’t exclusive to men; it’s available and it should be available for everybody. Generally, the way that women receive that and talk about that might be different generally than men, but the principles apply all the same.

Brandon:
I’m just thinking a lot of people in our audience, maybe they wouldn’t say the word “loser,” but maybe they would, but they’re struggling. They’re not where they want to be. They’re not the person they want to be.

Ryan:
Yeah.

Brandon:
I’m wondering what was that change? What was that inflection point in your life? What changed for you to get you to where you were to where you are?

Ryan:
That’s a good question, but it’s a hard question, too. Because the way you phrase it almost seems like… and I know this is a question people are asking themselves, “How do I get to this point?” They think it’s just some great leap, right? Like you turn the switch on and then tomorrow you’re a different person, and it’s taken me years and years and years. I mean Order of Man, we’re almost six years into this thing, and the experience I want to share with you was 11 years ago. So, I spent more than a decade, after this experience I’ll share with you in a minute, changing my life. I mean it’s taken me over a decade to get me to where I am right now; it doesn’t happen overnight.

Ryan:
But my wife and I, at the time we had a one-year-old son, and we got into an argument. I don’t remember what we argued about, I really don’t, but I remember vividly like it was yesterday saying, “I don’t even want to be married to you anymore,” and she looked me straight in the eye and she said, “I don’t either.” I left for a training, I was doing some financial training the next morning and I left for that, and I got about an hour north of where we live and I said, “What are you doing, man? Your wife’s leaving you. Your marriage is falling apart. You’ve got your one year old son. What are you doing?” and so I turned around and I went back home, and she was packing when I got home.

Ryan:
I tried to convince her to stick around. I’m like, “Let’s work through this,” and she had had enough, she’s like, “No. I’m out of here,” and she left, and she took my one year old son with her. For months, there was just this vitriol just brewing inside of me like, “How could she do this? Why was she being disloyal? She took my one year old son away from me. Why didn’t she appreciate all that I was doing to try to build my financial planning practice to provide for the family?” and it was just hostility, it was just nastiness, and it was festering inside of me.

Ryan:
I remember, this must have been maybe three or so months into our separation, I was driving down the road. I remember the road I was on; it was Riverside and Riverside Drive, so it was that intersection. I was sitting at a stop light and I remember thinking to myself, “Man, this marriage is over. You messed it up. This marriage is over,” and as much as I didn’t want to wrestle with that thought, it was probably the most powerful moment and transformative moment in my life because I said to myself, “Okay, that marriage is over, so I’m going to be the best catch for the next woman to come into my life.” I vividly remember having that thought; and from that moment, that was the light switch for me.

Ryan:
I stopped focusing on what she was doing and what she wasn’t doing, how she was doing this, “If only she would do this, then everything would be better,” because I thought it was over. I’m like, “Okay, it’s over.” I wrote it off. I’m like, “I’m just going to focus on myself. What do I need to do? What do I need to focus on? How do I need to improve? What do I need to do in my business?” and I started listening to CDs, success CDs. I started reading a bunch of books. I picked up some new friends. I actually brought in two financial advisers who were part of the company I belong to, but I brought them in and starting splitting business with them so they would coach and mentor me how to grow my business, and she responded to that. She responded because she saw that I was somebody who was willing to take upon himself the responsibility of fixing myself, and that’s what I’ve spent 10 years doing.

Ryan:
It's easy for me to look at other things, and outside factors, and what the economy is doing, and the President, and the this, and the COVID, and everything else that I could blame my circumstances on, and some of it might have an element of truth, but I realize there's nothing I could do about my wife. I mean I could influence her positively and negatively, but I can't control her, I can't control politics, I can't control COVID, I can just control myself, and so I spent 10 years figuring out what I need to do to improve myself, and not surprisingly life gets better, and people respond better, and I develop stronger friendships, and I build a more powerful network, and my income continues to go up, and my net worth is building because I'm focused on this, not everything else that's going on in the world.

Brandon:
Yeah. You’re taking care of yourself.

Ryan:
Exactly.

Brandon:
It’s not a selfish thing. It’s having to improve my own life because by doing that, it’s like the whole analogy of the airplane, right?

Ryan:
Yes.

Brandon:
You put on your own mask before you put on your kid’s mask.

Ryan:
Right.

Brandon:
Because you take care of yourself first.

Brandon:
A quick story. I’ve shared this before on the podcast, but I’ll share it again just for context. When I got started, let’s say a year ago, back in January, it was like, “I’m going to do jiu-jitsu.” We had Jocko Willink on the podcast and he encouraged me like, “You’re going to go do it. When are you going to go? What day are you going to do it?”

David:
He actually said, “If you don’t do it, I’m going to send someone to check on you.”

Brandon:
Yeah, exactly.

Ryan:
Really?

Brandon:
I remember that.

David:
That’s awesome.

Brandon:
So, I did it. I went out there. It was awkward and uncomfortable. I went and did it a few times. I went for a few months on and off. I got a little bit into it, and then COVID came down and shut everything down, all the gyms shut down, and I'm like, "Oh, okay. No more jiu jitsu," and so I stopped for four months or five months. Then, I was talking to a buddy of mine who was also getting into it around the same time, just getting started, and I know you do jiu-jitsu as well. Anyway, he said something like, "You want to come over on Saturday? I'm rolling with my trainer, Gerry," and I'm like, "Wait. What?" and he's like, "Yeah, when all the gyms shut down, I just called the gym and asked if they had any private trainers, and he's been coming to my house every Saturday," and was like, "Wait! That's a thing?"

Brandon:
It was such a perfect picture of I let my environment control myself. The environment around me controlled my fitness and my lifestyle and my goals, which I had a goal to be good at this, because I didn’t stop to think for two seconds of, “How do I take ownership of this control?” Anyway, now I hired his guy, Gerry; in fact, he’ll be here in an hour or so, and me and David here are going to roll and do some training again today.

Ryan:
Awesome.

Brandon:
But yeah, it’s an example of where it’s so easy not to take control or ownership, or the words you use in your book, “sovereignty” of your life. You sit in the back seat, and you’re in this cab, and somebody is driving you around, and they’re probably drunk, and you’re just in the back seat, “I don’t understand why we’re not getting there any faster.” When you get into that front seat, things start to change. Am I summarizing that idea of sovereignty well? Or how would you define sovereignty in the way that you use it in your book and other places?

Ryan:
Yeah, it’s liberty. People ask me a lot of the time, “What does success mean?” and the answer I give every time is it’s autonomy. That’s the only answer that generally applies broadly to everybody: it’s autonomy. It’s being able to do what you want, when you want, why you want, and no other factor into consideration; that’s also sovereignty. Look, if you’re up to your eyeballs in debt, you’re not sovereign. You can’t go on a vacation. You can’t take your family to Hawaii for a vacation because you don’t have the money to do it. So, you don’t have success. You don’t have sovereignty. You’ve given that away to a financial institution that would love to see you in debt forever; and it’s not just financially, but it’s physically as well. If you’re 100 pounds overweight, you’re not free. How many prescriptions are you taking? How much do you have to pay for those subscriptions? What do you even know about what you’re putting in your body? You have restrictions that you put upon yourself.

Ryan:
In all ways, what we need to do is to make ourselves completely free and independent of outside factors. Now, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t be able to accept help; we should, of course. I told you I had a couple of guys in the financial planning business who I hired, and we split business together, and they came on and they extended their hand and they taught me: I wasn’t relinquishing sovereignty; in fact, I was developing it and learning how to take control of my own life.

Ryan:
The problem comes when we come up with these excuses and these reasons, I call them “noble obstacles,” to keep us from being sovereign, but they’re legitimate. Let’s go back to jiu-jitsu, for example. I have a lot of guys who will reach out and say, “Well, I’d really like to do jiu-jitsu, but I want to spend time with my family.” What, you don’t think I do?

David:
That’s such a good example of a noble obstacle. I was thinking about that yesterday.

Ryan:
Right. Because if you’re a father you should be with your family; that’s actually right, that’s true, that’s good. But if you’re using them as a pawn for your game of mediocrity, then it’s a problem. So, I go to jiu-jitsu twice in the evenings. In fact, when we get off this call I’m going, and my wife does dinner and things with the kids, and when I come back we spend a little time before they go to bed, and then I do it twice in the morning before anybody even wakes up. I’ve got to take care of myself.

David:
Yeah. Because you look at it like, “I am taking care of my family through doing these other things,” as opposed to the other mindset which is, “Well, if I have to exchange time with my kids for jiu-jitsu, then it’s obviously bad,” and it’s just your subconscious tricking you into not doing the right thing.

Ryan:
Well, if I’m 100 pounds overweight… and I’m not saying jiu-jitsu is the answer, I’m just saying being physically fit. If I’m 100 pounds overweight, and I’m sitting on the couch and I’m watching all of the Netflix series, and I’m eating a gallon of ice cream, I guess technically I’m here with my family.

David:
Right.

Ryan:
But am I really? I remember seven years ago I was 50 pounds more than I am today, and I remember my two oldest boys they came to be after work. I came home and they said, “Dad, dad, dad!” and they were pulling on my pant leg, and they said, “Let’s go jump on the trampoline,” and I had to look them in the eye and say, “I’m sorry, boys. I can’t,” because I couldn’t. I literally was exhausted. So, I was home. Was I being a good father? Of course not because I wasn’t present emotionally and mentally for them. And part of my physical fitness journey… getting up, going and working out, training, getting strong, getting lean, getting fit… helps me show up more effectively as the father that I want to be and I’m proud of being.

David:
And it shows your kids a better example; that’s another big thing.

Ryan:
Definitely.

David:
Because everyone looks up to their mom and their dad. In fact, here’s a really good point for the women that are listening. I’m a real estate broker, I run a real estate team, we have single moms that get into real estate and they typically crush it. One of the areas where they’ll struggle is with mom guilt. They get this idea that, “If I do anything that isn’t directly taking my kids somewhere, it’s wrong,” and what I’m often telling them is, “You’re your kids’ hero, especially if you’re a single mom. You’re all that they have to look up to. They are watching everything that you do. And when they see you taking sovereignty, they see you taking ownership, they see you not making excuses, they think in their head, ‘I come from that stock. That’s who I am. I should be doing that, too.'” Their identity is formed according to the actions that that person is taking, and it frees them from that mom guilt, which is I think another example of a noble obstacle. I love that concept because the things that stop us in life aren’t the things we can see coming; it’s that type of a thing that sounds like it’s a noble thing.

Ryan:
Yeah. Because we have a very powerful ability to BS ourselves.

David:
Yes.

Ryan:
For example, if you went on a five-day drinking binge, nobody in their right mind is going to say, “That was okay. That was for me,” right? “I’m taking care of myself.” Nobody is going to say that, right? If on the other hand you said, “Hey, I’m going to go on this five-day vacation with my family,” or to take it another spin is, “I’m going to go to this leadership summit or this sales training and I’m going to be gone for three days,” I mean there’s some legitimacy.

Ryan:
I remember I just got into hunting about three years ago, and I remember my first hunt. I was walking in the desert of Arizona, and I’m walking around trying to find a deer. I don’t know what I’m doing, it was crazy, and I remember thinking to myself, “What the hell are you doing? Your family is at home. You’re out here by yourself. You spent a bunch of money to go out here. You’re trying to hunt. You can provide food by just going to the grocery store. Why are you doing this?”

David:
Why were you doing this?

Ryan:
Because it makes me better. It makes me better to be in a hard situation. It makes me better to develop a skill set. It makes me better to be alone with my own thoughts occasionally and within reason. That all makes me better. And then when I come back, I’m that much more engaged.

Ryan:
Several years ago, I had Joe De Sena, the founder of Spartan Race on the podcast, and he said to me, “Hey, you should do the Spartan Agoge,” and I was like, “Yeah, sure. That sounds good. I’ll do it,” I had done a couple of Spartan races. He’s like, “Okay, great. Get signed up here. Send me the email. We’ll get you going.” Then, I jumped online after and I looked at what it was, and it was the 60-hour endurance event, and I’m like, “What in the world?” I thought it was a race, like a 20 mile race. No, it was a 60 hour endurance event. But I already said yes, and I try to be a man of my word, so I’m like, “All right. Well, this will be good for me,” so I went and did it.

Ryan:
I’m up there for whatever it is. I think it equates to three and a half days or so. I’m up there, we get no sleep, I’m freezing, it’s raining on us, we’re getting pummeled, it’s just miserable: miserable. And my children, with my wife’s help, right before we started, I get this text on my phone from my wife, and it’s a picture of my kids… I’m going to get a little choked up as I talk about this because it’s that vivid for me still three, four years later… it’s a picture of my kids. My wife had gone to the grocery store and got a bunch of that big poster board, and they wrote on there with sparkly letters, “Go, dad! 60 hours. We know you can do it!”

Ryan:
As I’m sitting there in the hills of Vermont just miserable, tired, cold, wet, thinking to myself, “What they hell are you doing?” that image pops to my head of my kids excited, and when I wanted to throw in the towel I remember thinking to myself, “What’s it going to be like when you get to call them and you said you did it, you actually completed it?” And you know what? I was gone for three and a half days, but I served my kids immensely through me being gone and them seeing their dad go take care of himself, put himself in a miserable situation, improve and get better, and now they’re better even in my absence because I can come back stronger.

David:
That’s really good.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s really good. I did a half Iron Man a couple years ago, about two years ago, a year and a half ago. Rosie, my daughter is four now, she should have been two and a half, she still remembers it and talks about it regularly.

Ryan:
Of course she does.

Brandon:
Yeah. She’s like, “Remember when you were at that… ” and she remembers. She was there with a poster as well.

Ryan:
Yes.

Brandon:
There’s big difference. If we’re using things like, “I’m not going to run a marathon or an Iron Man or a Spartan race or whatever, or go to this conference, and I’m going to get better, because I’m trying to be more of a family man.” It reminds me of we had an interview recently with Greg McKeown.

Ryan:
Yeah.

Brandon:
On Death of Essentialism.

Ryan:
Yeah. Essentialism.

Brandon:
Yeah, right. He was telling us about how the trade-offs we make, go with the lower… I don’t remember the words he used, but the lower-dollar value trade-off. In other words, yes there are trade-offs, but trade-offs like the TikTok and the Instagram and the Facebook, before you trade-off the important things like the Spartan Race or the conference that’s going to make you a better person, but we like our little in bed scrolling TikTok for two hours; we like that stuff, and so it’s easy to not cancel that, and we cancel things that we actually should do.

Brandon:
It leads me to this point I want to make here is I see it in you, and I see it in a lot of successful people, is they run toward hard, and early on I did not do that. If things were hard, I ran away from hard. But like you mentioned, “Why am I hunting? Because it makes me better,” and I know I’ve seen David do the same thing. When you start running toward hard, your kids pick up on it, your spouse picks up on it, or future spouse maybe picks up on it, because there’s something just so admirable in that. I still remember every time my dad did that as a kid, did something that was challenging or hard, those are the moments I remember.

David:
Do you think that your dad’s decisions to do those things made you more confident because you thought, “Well, if my dad does that, when I grow up I’m going to do it, too? That’s who I am?”

Brandon:
Yeah. 100%. On that note then, Ryan, what do you do right now? How old are your kids and what do you have for kids?

David:
You’ve got a bunch of boys, right?

Ryan:
I have four kids. Three boys and a girl. Yeah, I have a girl, too. I’ve got a 12 year old boy, 10 year old boy, six year old girl, four year old boy.

Brandon:
All right. What do you do to instill this sovereignty in them, this idea of taking control of their life and ownership? What are some of the techniques or tactics that you use?

Ryan:
Well, so here’s one example just last night. We’re here in Maine. Yesterday, it was in the high teens, I think. My son, he’s been on this fitness kick right now, so I’m like, “Let’s go outside and work out,” and he’s like, “It’s cold out there,” and I’m like, “Yeah. It’s really cold, actually. So, let’s go outside and work out,” and he’s like, “Okay.” So, we go out into the gym and it’s not heated. The gym is in our garage, it’s not heated, there’s holes everywhere, and it’s just as cold as outside; in fact, it might be more cold. So, we’re in the garage and he’s like, “Dad, it’s super cold in here,” and I’m like, “Yeah, but this is why it’s meaningful. Because how many people would not do this at all, or they would do it in a comfortable environment? And yeah, maybe they’re getting strong, but we’re getting strong physically and mentally,” and so we talked about how much more it counts if it’s harder. I’m not saying it needs to be dangerous or stupid, but it’s worth more because it’s harder; it’s worth less if it’s easier. So, that’s one thing.

Ryan:
The other thing is I really try to involve my kids in the business, so my oldest son he actually manages our entire store; he ships orders, he places orders. Here’s a great example of sovereignty. The other day we got a return, and I had been paying him, I pay him a little differently now, but I had been paying him a dollar per package that he ships out, and we got this return because it was the wrong size or wrong shirt, or whatever it was, and I said, “Okay, I’m going to take that dollar out of your paycheck,” and he’s like, “Wait. What? You’re paying me a dollar to ship it out,” and I’m like, “Yeah. I’m paying you a dollar to ship out the right stuff. I’m not paying you a dollar to ship out the wrong stuff, so you owe me a dollar,” and these are little examples that-

David:
Yeah. I love that.

Ryan:
Some people might hear that and think that’s harsh, but that’s reality. I’m not paying you to do crappy work; I’m paying you to do the right work. And so these are the lessons through running the store, through exercising. That’s actually part of the reason we came up here to Maine is to get away from everything, and the ease, and the people that we’d been around, and it’s like, “Let’s go experience and let’s be on our own. Let’s go do something new. It’s going to be harder. It’s going to be more miserable in a lot of ways, but we’re going to learn so much,” and it’s just been a powerful, powerful experience for us.

David:
Yeah. That’s really good. Letting kids learn and get involved and teach them along the way, I think it’s just so powerful.

Brandon:
Yeah. Anybody listening right now, we talk a lot about real estate here on the show, right? There are so many ways that people can let their kids do little things, even from like three years old. Give them a paint brush. Let them do some painting. Let them show up there when you… Even if you’re managing your own property, I had to go deal with that tenant at eight o’clock at night and go change that toilet; hopefully, people aren’t doing that anymore, but if they are: why not have the kid come with and help hold the tools? They’re going to be terrible at it, but those are the moments that just build that character in those kids.

Ryan:
I remember when I was little my stepfather had a cabinet shop. He had a cabinet shop outside of our home, but then he had a lot of his cabinet stuff and tools and things like that in the garage, and one of the fondest memories… and frankly, I don’t have a lot of him, he wasn’t a great stepfather. There was some moments, some glimpses, but I don’t have a lot of fond memories. But honestly, one of the fondest memories I have is him teaching me how to use a push broom and push up all the sawdust on the floor, and then he would give me a couple of bucks or whatever because he put me to work, and I felt even as a young boy… I must have been seven, eight years old… that I was valuable, that I was contributing, and that I was adding and enhancing to the environment, and I was getting paid, and I felt good about that at seven years old. These are lessons that you can learn at a very young age, but I think will carry you on for the rest of your life.

David:
I think that there is a knee-jerk response from some people when it comes to sovereignty as they see it as a means of controlling others, but what you’re really describing is a means of taking control of yourself; that’s what sovereignty would be.

David:
What are your thoughts on home ownership versus renting? Do you view home ownership as you’ve taken control of your living situation in that asset?

Ryan:
That’s a good question. I hate to just throw out, “It really depends on your circumstance.” But if your goal, for example, is to be location independent, and you’re only going to be in a certain environment for a certain period of time, experiences are more valuable to you, and you like to hop and you like to travel, I would maybe consider… and I’m trying not to look at it just from the financial standpoint, but I would maybe consider renting as a viable option to do that. If, however, you felt like you wanted to own the real estate, you wanted to be there for a period of time, or it had some sort of important value to you in home ownership, then I would say that that’s the route to go. We can punch the numbers and figure that out; that’s easy. You can figure that out pretty easily. I think financially, over the long period, home ownership is probably the way to go, but I think there’s a lot of factors that would skew that and change the way that you might look at that. For me, it just depends on your circumstance and situation.

Ryan:
I’m a home owner. I was telling Brandon, when we talked about a month ago, we own three homes. The first one I bought, and my wife did all of the designing and planning while I was in Iraq; and then we moved there, it was a great starter home, and then we rented it out when we left. Then, we bought another home; and then when we moved here and bought this home here in Maine, we rented that one out. So, it’s happened organically for us, but I think it really just depends on your circumstance and situation. It’s what you want. Again, it’s autonomy. If renting is going to allow you the autonomy, the control of what you want to do, then do that.

David:
That’s really good.

Ryan:
And if it’s not, then don’t.

David:
Yeah. I think I was assuming, looking at that question from a financial perspective, that there are more things. You’re taking sovereignty over your time and your freedom when you’re renting, versus your finances when you’re owning.

Ryan:
Here's another great example. Brandon, you were talking about a second ago with potentially having… I think you were referring or alluding to having a property manager, right?

Brandon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Is that what you were alluding to earlier?

Brandon:
Yeah. Hopefully, we’re not still doing this toilet changing because I have this property manager.

Ryan:
Right. You could say, “Well, sovereignty: if you have somebody else do it, that’s not sovereignty. You don’t have control over it.” Well, maybe, but you also have 20 hours in the month that is now able to be redirected to something more significant and meaningful for you. Sovereignty isn’t about having 100% control over everything that could possibly work in your life; it’s about focusing your efforts on the things that are important to you, and then bringing in the right people to focus on the things that aren’t as relevant or meaningful to you, or could potentially free you up for that autonomy to focus on the things that you do want to focus on, which is securing more property, or looking for new listings, or whatever.

David:
Yeah. That’s really good.

Brandon:
Yeah. I’m the real estate guy on the show. I’m always talking about real estate, everyone knows me as a real estate person, but I’m not actually that big of an advocate of owning it. I own because to me happiness is being able to punch a hole in the wall, and then that’s my hole, nobody can tell me not to do that, right?

Ryan:
Autonomy.

Brandon:
Yeah, autonomy. I don’t like landlords telling me what I can and cannot do. But for other people, if that’s not as big a deal, if you’re not going to punch a hole in the wall, or if you don’t care about remodeling your property or painting it, you’re just good with what you have: yeah, who cares? Don’t buy your house. Go rent. Do what you want. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest. You should still invest, and I like to invest in real estate, but it’s really knowing yourself and not just falling victim to the whole, “Well, that guru online said to not buy a house, but that one said to buy a house.” It’s irrelevant. Look at your own picture and figure it out.

Ryan:
Anything could be a form of slavery; for example, working out. I don’t think anybody would say that working out and taking care of your body is a bad thing, but I know people who are addicted to working out because they’re so worried about their body and their image and the way they’re perceived that they’ve actually become a slave to it. Getting healthy for them isn’t an action of sovereignty; it’s an action of submission to that addiction or to that desire to feel approved. And so anything can be taken in an unhealthy way; it’s just the motive and the way that you’re using it and approaching it in your life.

David:
Yeah. Very true. I know a lot of those people that are in incredible shape, and that’s their identity, and that’s how they find people to date, and that’s where their confidence comes from, and they live in their mom’s basement, and they’re in debt, but they have an incredible body.

Ryan:
Right.

David:
But they can’t break free of it because no one sees the money in your bank account, nobody sees those types of things. They see your biceps and that’s what they focus on.

Brandon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Yeah.

David:
It’s such a beautiful perspective that you’re presenting, Ryan, of looking at the world, mostly because it’s so empowering. It’s just acknowledging you can do whatever you want. You can have whatever you want if you’re taking this perspective of, “How do you take control over those things?”

David:
And I would say, Brandon, in the last two years I’ve seen you take a quantum leap in progress with this type of looking at stuff, so much so… the fact that you’ve recognized where you’re weak so much that you’ll literally say, “Okay, this is something I want. I know I’m not going to do it, so I’m going to proactively put all of this form of accountability around me, without anyone telling me that, ‘You have to do it.'” I know how crazy that is to go against your own nature and say, “I’m going to make my own life harder on purpose so that I will accomplish this thing,” but it’s showing up in every area of your life right now, so I know it works just from looking at your life.

Brandon:
Well, thank you.

Ryan:
David, you said something interesting. You said it’s a beautiful way to look at life. It is. It’s also very scary.

David:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Think about this for a second: if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re not satisfied with some facet of your life, it is significantly easier to say that it’s somebody else’s fault.

David:
Oh, 100%. Yeah.

Ryan:
Right? It’s your wife’s fault. It’s your boss’s fault. It’s the economy. It’s COVID. It’s this. It’s that. It is significantly easier to say that it’s somebody else’s fault. The problem with doing that is that we are voluntarily relinquishing sovereignty when we do it. Because look, David, if the position I am in my life is your fault, let’s just say I’m blaming it on you for whatever reason: I’ve just handcuffed myself because now I just need to wait for you to change. But if you do something different, then that’s going to impact my life better, and there’s nothing I can do about the way you show up, so I’ve just given you authority over my life. Now, I’m just sitting around waiting, and people do this; they’re waiting for their ship to come in like it’s some passive thing, “Oh, well. That guy got lucky. When I get lucky too, then everything will be good.” No. It’s your responsibility. It’s risky because who wants to look themselves in the mirror and say, “You’re inadequate. You’re not enough. You’re not good at this”?

Ryan:
I know I would… and you guys know too, I’m sure, because of the business you’re in… I know people who will not pull up their bank account statements. They know how bad it is, they know, but they won’t pull up the statement because they don’t want to make it real. I also know people who won’t get on a scale; they know they’re obese, they know, but they won’t get on the scale because if they do they have to come face-to-face with the reality of their situation and they don’t want… I get it, it’s scary, but it’s also the foundation for growth.

David:
Four hours ago I posted on my Instagram, “Growth is acknowledgement your current state is not good enough. Therefore, our prerequisite to growth is humility.”

Ryan:
Yes.

David:
Something clicked with me yesterday as I was thinking, and I realized that’s why growth is so hard, because you have to say who I am right now is not enough; and if you have an ego, if your pride gets involved, if you’re insecure, it’s very difficult to be able to admit, “I’m not enough.” In fact, most people spend their life running away from anything that gives them that feeling of, “I’m not enough.” But what makes that beautiful life possible, instead of just saying, “Oh, that’s hard,” is having humility. It’s being able to say, “Yeah, the scale is going to be ugly. I’m not going to feel good when I get on it. That’s okay.” If you’re not humble, it’s almost like there’s a barrier that even you can’t get into that realm; you can’t get into the empowered realm.

David:
I think what you were describing, Ryan, when you were talking about your marriage was that was a gift because that humbled you. It brought you to the perspective of, “What am I doing?” It’s so easy to say, “What is she doing? Does she not realize what she’s got?”

Ryan:
Right.

David:
But that humility opened your eyes, and now you’ve got this amazing movement, you’ve got this confidence, you’ve got all these blessings that came from the life you have, and that’s where it started. I love it.

Ryan:
Yeah. 100%. Absolutely.

Brandon:
Hey, Ryan, what’s one thing that you would pick, if you could teach it in school, that’s not currently taught in school? What’s a topic or a thing that you’d be like, “If I was the President of the US right now and I could implement anything in the schools,” what would you want them to teach?

Ryan:
Man, that’s a really interesting question.

Brandon:
Yeah, it’s funny. I actually have that written down here for every episode of the podcast for the last three years. I don’t think I’ve ever actually asked it, but it’s always here as, “This would be a really good question to ask somebody some day,” but I never asked it.

Ryan:
I think I would teach people to start a business.

Brandon:
Why? I love that.

Ryan:
I think there’s so many lessons about life that come from running a business. You have to work hard. You have to invest. You have to sacrifice. You have to have faith in yourself. You have to believe in yourself. You have to add value to people’s lives. You have to get them to see you as being valuable, so you have to sell yourself and promote yourself. You have to manage inventory and money. I just think there’s so many lessons from running a business.

Ryan:
Also, to go back to I would say is the theme of this conversation, sovereignty, I’m not going to knock somebody who goes into an office and is an employee of an organization. If that fits your needs and your desires and you want to do that, all the power to you, but also you’re relinquishing a little bit of control because now you’re at the mercy of other things that are beyond your control. Having a business, even if it’s a side business, even if it’s rental properties, having a little bit of additional income, or having a merchandise store, or teaching people how to shoot photos or graphic design.

Brandon:
To go to the employee thing real quick, to take back from that sovereignty, is by being really, really good at what you do because now you’ve got the control to go somewhere else. You’re a Web developer and you work for this company, great. Go be the best Web developer there is there because then you have the power to say, “No, I’m going to go to that company,” and they’ll treat you better. If something goes wrong, if 90% of all Web developers in the world go out of business, guess what? If you’re in the top 10%, you still have a job. You have that sovereignty.

Ryan:
I think that’s a good point.

Brandon:
I think just that whole be so good they can’t ignore you applied.

Ryan:
Yeah, there’s that. That’s Cal Newport, right? “So good they can’t… ”

Brandon:
Yeah, Cal Newport.

Ryan:
And then there’s also a great book, I believe it’s by Seth Godin, called Linchpin, Making Yourself Indispensable.

Brandon:
I have it, but I haven’t read it yet. But I heard it’s really good.

Ryan:
Yeah. I read it years and years ago, but that’s also a really good book, and that hits on the concept that you’re talking about.

Ryan:
To go back to what you were saying, I think teaching children how to start businesses would be something I would want them to learn. I love that.

David:
Yeah. When you take the path of, “I’m going to be the best there is,” you’re also choosing the hard route.

Ryan:
Yeah.

David:
It’s the equivalent of, “I’m going to work out really hard every day,” but that’s what your workout is, and it’s always harder to do that.

David:
The other thing I thought you were saying, Ryan, about owning a business is you don’t really have anyone else you can blame. It’s much harder.

Ryan:
Right. Totally.

David:
If you start a business and it doesn’t go well, it’s staring at you. I mean you might try to blame the economy or the President or whatever it was; but when you’re an employee, it’s just so tempting. There’s a million people that you can-

Brandon:
“Ah, my stupid boss. He just didn’t get it.” Or “That marketing department. They just couldn’t figure it out.”

Ryan:
Yeah. And you know what? The market doesn’t care about your excuses either.

Brandon:
That’s true.

Ryan:
You could say, “I have a great product, but people just don’t understand it.” Well, that’s not their fault. That’s your fault.”

David:
That’s because you didn’t communicate it well.

Ryan:
You need to help them understand it or have a better product. Those are the only two things.

David:
Yeah. It’s a great, great point. I love what you’re…

Brandon:
Have you guys heard of those… I know you have because we were at a [GoBundance 00:42:33] event and they talked about it, but those entrepreneurial fairs for kids in a community? Somebody will just start it in a community. It’s not like a school sponsored thing. It’s like, “Hey, we’re going to have an entrepreneurship fair,” and you’ll get dozens, if not a hundred kids, to come, and they all get their little white tents in a park. At best, the end result for three, four months they build a business ahead of time, a product or a service; and then at this fair where everyone has a booth, they just sell it, and the whole community comes and buys all the kids’ products and stuff. I saw a video one time when we were at a GoBundance event in Austin, showing that they do this, and I’m like, “I cannot wait until my kids… ” Now, Rosie is just getting to that age now where she can do that. It’s such a great way to teach that entrepreneurship or that business growth in a kid, so neat stuff.

Ryan:
Yeah, that’s powerful. I like that.

Brandon:
Yeah.

David:
My nephew, Isaac, goes to one of those schools.

Brandon:
Really?

David:
An Active Academy. Yeah.

Brandon:
Yeah.

David:
[crosstalk 00:43:23].

Brandon:
Yeah. I think Active, they’re the ones who sponsored-

David:
It started in Austin. That’s where we were at. You see these little kids who just have stupid confidence. I’m like jealous of his son, Isaac, at eight years old. I could never go talk to a stranger, a grown up, at eight years old, man. I was hiding in the back. I wasn’t even thinking you’re allowed to talk to grown-ups, to walk right up to someone and start asking questions about their life. It does wonders. And he has that mindset of… what he always asks isn’t, “Can I do it?” it’s “Do I want to?”

Ryan:
Great switch.

David:
“I can see the effort I’d have to put into that thing. Is it worth it for me?” Whereas I was always handicapped by, “I’m not good enough to do that,” right? I just went through life thinking, “I can’t. I can’t.” If there was one thing that I thought, “Maybe I could do it,” I was a slave and that was the only road that I could walk.

Ryan:
It’s funny you talk about that. I think the language we tell ourselves, and the language you use, is very important. I used to think, for example, because since we’re on the podcast I would look at Joe Rogan, for example. I think we could agree he’s at the top of the game, right?

David:
Yeah.

Ryan:
And so I would look at what he’s doing, and I would say, “Well, I want to have what he has, but I can’t,” or “This is what’s holding me back,” and now I realize I actually don’t want that because I’m not really willing to put forth that effort at this stage of my life. Like I’m not. I’m not willing to do that because I have other priorities, namely my family. There’s lots of decisions I’ve made in my business where I’ve legitimately throttled the business, but it was intentional, and I didn’t make any qualms about it. I didn’t say, “Well, I’d like to, but… ” blah-blah-blah. No. I said, “No, I don’t want to do that right now,” and that was an intentional decision because I have other priorities that are on my plate that are important to me; and in 15 years when the kids are out of the house, that might change and I might have new priorities, and I can adjust then when that time comes.

Brandon:
That’s such a good point. There’s been a number of times where I’ve wanted to pursue something. For example, I think it would be fun to do a TV show, “Some day it would be cool to do a TV show,” and real estate has a lot of channels, and HTTV, and all that, and I’m like, “Oh, it would be cool to have a TV show.” Then, I talk to my friends who have a TV show, and we have a number of them on the podcast, guys like Ken Corsini who’s on HTTV’s Flip or Flop Atlanta, and he was like, “Yeah, it was eight months of filming. You’re pretty much eight, nine, 10 hours a day, six days a week, maybe seven days a week. It’s a lot of work,” and I’m like, “I don’t want that.”

Brandon:
I think it’s so important, rather than just asking yourself what goals do you want to accomplish, a better question is, “What pain am I willing to put up with?” Do I really want a six-pack? I use that analogy all the time, a six pack. Yes, I want a six pack, and at some point in my life it would be cool to have one, “Am I willing to put up with the pain needed to get one?” Up until this point, I have proven that I am not because I haven’t done it yet, right? Until I make the decision that I’m okay with the pain needed to get the result, I guess that’s the better question, “Am I willing to put up with the pain, the work necessary?” and a lot of times the answer is no. The desire is there, but that’s very different.

Brandon:
I don't want to be a billionaire, it sounds horrible because the pain to get to become a billionaire is a lot, but I was willing to up with the pain to become a millionaire. Yeah, for sure I'll do that all day long. So again, when people are thinking about goal-setting, maybe you've got to think about the pain more than just the results.

Ryan:
Yeah. Very similar to you, I’ve always framed it as, “What’s the cost?” but I think it’s the same concept.

Brandon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
There’s a cost to everything, everything has a cost, and so you have to decide, “Is the six-pack the cost of doing this?” Also, what are you going to have to give up?

Brandon:
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:46:58].

Ryan:
You’re going to have to give up something about your current life in order to have this desire, but I will say this: you do have to be careful because it’s easy to do… my friend calls it “mental gymnastics.” It’s very easy to tell yourself, “Oh, no. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to pay that cost,” and it might just be you’re saying that because you know how hard it will be and you’re scared, so you do have to be careful of playing the mental gymnastics game where you’re lying to yourself and you’re trying to BS yourself.

Brandon:
Right.

Ryan:
You really have to know who you are and why you’re saying what you’re saying. Is that really the case, or are you making it up to save yourself and keep yourself protected?

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s a good point.

David:
Yeah. We find oftentimes the thing that stops people is their ego, “I don’t want to look bad in front of other people.”

Brandon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Totally.

David:
Or, like you mentioned, getting out of bed a little bit earlier. I can easily spend 45 minutes when I first wake up not wanting to jump out of bed, easing into the day, and I’m on Instagram of Facebook looking at stuff that does zero for me before I even know I did it; that’s the thing that shouldn’t be hard to give up. I think when you identify what you want, and then you ask yourself, “What am I willing to give up to get it?” if it’s giving up sweets, if it’s giving up that: heck, yeah. Every time, you should give it up if it’s, “I’m not going to be there for my kids. I’m going to be traveling three quarters of the year.” That’s a different story.

Ryan:
Right.

David:
But you should still always use that matrix when you’re looking at what you want.

David:
The last piece that I love about what you said is you basically described the difference… and Ryan, you’ve done this too between “I want it” versus “I’d like it.” I’d like a six-pack. If the six-pack fairy touched me on the head and said, “Do you want a six pack?”

Ryan:
You’d take it, right? “Okay, thanks.”

Brandon:
There’s a six-pack fairy? How have I never known this? I’ve been doing sit-ups for years.

David:
Yeah, that’s funny.

Brandon:
All right. Other than the six-pack fairy, building the business thing… I want to go back there, Ryan, before we get out of here… what have you learned, therefore? You said the words, “There’s a lot of lessons to be learned in building a business.” Now, let’s go Order of Man. You’ve been building this podcast, this brand. You’ve got this group that comes and hangs out with you. I see your Instagram pictures and you guys doing cool stuff in your barn.

Ryan:
Yeah.

Brandon:
It’s awesome. What have you learned in this whole process of building this thing?

Ryan:
There’s two lessons that really stick out to me this year. I mean there was an infinite number of lessons we got, but there’s two this year. Number one is you’ve got to find the right people to be in the right positions in your organization, and some of those people are going to be employees, some of them frankly they’re going to be volunteers, others are going to be contracted, but you’ve got to find the right people. I’m switching from the whole idea of self-employed to business owner. I’m trying to make that switch for myself from, “I have to be involved in everything,” to my job now and to begin to identify who could replace that, that I’m doing now.

Ryan:
The first one for me was, and this was several years ago, but hiring an editor for the podcast; I didn’t want to do that, I wasn’t good at that, it was a waste of my time and energy, and so I found somebody who really actually enjoyed doing that. We brought on somebody else this year to help me with podcast outreach, so she helps me get introduced to other potential guests, she helps me get on other podcasts. Those were things that I did enjoy and I liked, but she’s so well-connected, and she knows how to network, and she enjoys finding these little angles, and she’s got me podcast interviews to be on other shows and my show better than I ever could over the past five years, so that’s one of my biggest lessons this year.

Ryan:
The other one is a little bit harder to quantify, but what I found is that people want to belong to something.

Brandon:
Yeah. So much, yeah.

Ryan:
They want to belong to something. Especially in the wake of what’s happened in 2020, people aren’t doing sports, they aren’t going out with each other, they aren’t involved in church organizations as much as they were, charitable organizations, so their sense of belonging has been greatly diminished this year. And if you can create, as a business owner, an environment that feel like you’re part of a team, people want to be part of it. Brandon, you alluded to it.

Brandon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
You said, “You had guys over and helping you with your barn”? Let me let you guys in on a little insight on that. I’ve got this barn, it’s roughly 3000 square-feet, it was built over 100 years ago, and it needs some work. So, we were going to do an event, but we couldn’t because of insurance restrictions, we couldn’t get the insurance in place for the amount of guys we wanted to have, and I hand-selected 20 men that I wanted to have out here. I said, “I’ve got 12 spots available, and here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to give you a place to stay, I’m going to give you a bed and a pillow, and I’m going to feed you for three days, and outside of that you’re on your own. You’ve got to get here. You don’t have to pay me anything, but you also have to work. We’re going to be here, we’re going to work our butts off, physical labor for three days, and in exchange I’m giving you food and a bed and a pillow.” And at first I was like, “Nah, I don’t think anybody is going to show up to that. That doesn’t sound like a pretty good deal,” and the response was overwhelming. And I made that post, that I think you’re referring to, on Instagram.

Brandon:
Yeah.

Ryan:
And I’ve got probably two, three dozen other people who are like, “When are you doing that again?” because people want to belong. That doesn’t give me a right to take advantage of them, I want to throw that out there, but people want to belong to something so much so that they’re willing to invest their own time and money and energy; and as a business owner, it’s our opportunity to create an environment where people feel like they can belong to part of something special, and that’s what I’m trying to do here.

Brandon:
That’s really good. That’s really good. In fact, I got a text the other day from… David here is visiting me in Hawaii right now, and we were sitting on my front porch, basically it was on the lanai, and we were talking about what Open Door Capital, which is my real estate team, why we’ve grown so quickly and fast the last couple of years, and just the progress we’ve seen. In that conversation you asked Mike, who is Mike my investor relations guy, “Why did you get attracted to Open Door Capital?” or something like that, “What brought you there?” Anyway, he sent me this letter and he said, “Hey, something hit me this morning. I think another thing that helped you lock-in people, like Walker and I, was your vision. We knew we were signing up for something bigger than just a job, so maybe David needs to clearly articulate vision and share that,” and basically he goes on from there. But the idea of being, when you’re trying to hire people too, people are attracted to people who are doing something. There’s a vision. There’s a mission. There’s a thing.

Brandon:
That’s what drew me to Josh Dorkin who founded BiggerPockets 15, 20 years ago; he had this vision, this mission. He didn’t know exactly where he was going, but he was so convincing in his, “We’re doing this. This is a thing. BiggerPockets is a thing,” and now this thing has grown to millions of members because people love to be a part of something, and I love being a part of it, you love being a part of stuff. It applies in the small areas, like you’re going to go hire your first employee, and I want to go create a movement of people online. It applies to everything across the board is have that vision, have that thing, create something, create movement, and people will follow. People will join. I haven’t any followers; it’s just they join, we’re doing it together, and it’s amazing.

David:
Yeah. They’re part of it.

Brandon:
Yeah. They’re part of it.

Ryan:
We were talking about language earlier, and I think there’s a little nuance that we need to make sure that we’re aware of, because I’ve fallen into this trap, and it’s just a minor little thing. If this appeals to you and you’re trying to do something like this for your employees, and the people who would band with you, get really comfortable with using the terms “us” and “we.” I hear so many people say, “Oh, yeah. I created this. I did this. Me. My. I,” and it’s singular. This thing is greater than myself. It’s us. Maybe I founded it, maybe I host the podcast; but if that’s all it was, it wouldn’t go very far. It’s we. It’s us. The person who just started following our Instagram account 15 minutes ago is part of us. We are doing this. And people who are listening are just as much a part of it as me, the guy who is securing the guests, and making the investment, and putting up the capital, and taking the risk. I think the people who are banded with us are just as important, and so I use the inclusive language of “we” and “us” versus, “I” and “me.” It may seem trivial; it’s really not to me.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s really good. Really, really good. A good reminder I’ve got to start thinking more often how I’m talking about my team. I don’t even know. They’re probably laughing right now like, “Oh, Brandon always says ‘I’.” Or maybe I always say “we.” Do you know? What do I say?

Ryan:
Maybe.

Brandon:
I don’t know.

Ryan:
It’s just something-

Brandon:
It’s something good I’ve got to be think about.

Ryan:
It’s something to be aware of.

David:
That’s really good. That’s really good, man.

Brandon:
Appreciate it. All right. Well, this has been fantastic; I mean really, really good. And of course, if people want to listen to more of our conversation, I was on your show back I don’t even know what episode the number was with you, but they can just search our names and Google and they’ll find it.

Ryan:
Yeah.

David:
They find it easy.

Brandon:
Yeah. They’ll find it.

Ryan:
It was in the last month or month and a half, somewhere in there.

Brandon:
Yeah. They’ll find it. But we go into other topics, and real estate and other stuff, so they could take that [inaudible 00:56:24], and you guys should as soon as you’re done listening to this one, but we’re not quite done yet.

Brandon:
Ryan, we want to throw a final four questions at you here. We call it our, “Famous Four.” The Famous Four are the same four questions we ask every guest every week.

Ryan:
All right.

Brandon:
We alter them a little bit here on the weekend episode to be a little less real estate focused. So, let’s get to the Famous Four.

Brandon:
The first question actually, we’re going to start again little different because the Sunday show here, the weekend show, is not about real estate. I actually got a suggestion from an Adam Scott on Instagram, A-M-L-A-T-H-A-N, who said, “How about that first question? Instead make it,” and I really liked this, so I’m going to do it, “What is one habit,” whether it’s daily, weekly or whatever, “that you’ve recently developed or are working to develop to help you grow personally?”

Ryan:
This isn’t necessarily recent, although I am making tweaks in it. It’s an after action review every day. What we hear about a lot is morning routine, planning out your day, very important, but very rarely do we hear about the recap of the day. I’ve got my planner right here where I’ve written down what I want to accomplish, what I want to do. I’ve got my non-negotiables, I’ve got everything in here that I want to do, and so what I’ll do at the end of the day is I’ll actually go back and I’ll recap this; and for me it’s helped because I dump all of this stuff out of my mind, I dump it all onto here, I plan out my next day and make some tweaks to what I have to do tomorrow, and then I can be fully engaged and present-

David:
Yeah, 100%.

Ryan:
… with my family or anything else that I have going on. If I don’t do that, especially I work at home, there’s no separation between work life and family life, and so that separation through the recap of this day is tremendously valuable.

Brandon:
When do you do that? I have my own journal that we have at BiggerPockets as well, and I also have a spot where it’s end-of-the-day review, and I find that nine times out of 10 I either forget or it’s late at night. I’m wondering, how have you gotten into the habit, and when do you do that, at the end of your workday or end of the day day?

Ryan:
I do it at the end of my workday, like this specific thing, so 10 minutes before I get done. When I get off this podcast with you guys, I’m going to do it, and then I’m going to run to jiu-jitsu, so it’s just the last 10 minutes. And then in the evening what I do, a lot less formal, but I’ve legitimately got notepads everywhere; I’ve got them here, I’ve got them in my nightstand, I’ve got them in the center consol of my truck, I’ve got them everywhere. And so if I think about something at night, I will write it down in one of those notepads; because if I leave it up here, I won’t be able to sleep, I won’t be effective, I won’t be present, so I just get it out of my brain.

David:
100%. Yeah.

Ryan:
And then the first thing I do in the morning is I get all those notes and I’m like, “Okay, put it into here,” which is my official system.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s fantastic.

David:
If people listening, if that’s just the only piece of advice you take from this podcast, that will be massively beneficial.

Brandon:
Yeah. It’s so good.

Ryan:
I think so.

David:
We use a CRM to do the same thing. If something pops in your head, you create a task in the CRM.

Ryan:
Yeah.

David:
And we just found that your brain is terrible for RAM. It is not a good place to store information. You’ve got to get it out of your head into a notebook, into a calendar, into a CRM; and if you don’t, anxiety will build.

Ryan:
Totally.

David:
I think that anxiety is a huge problem in today’s society, and people have it and they never can really pin their finger on where it’s coming from, but a big piece of it is that, is there’s too much in your head and it’s not a good place to store it.

Ryan:
Here’s another little thing I do along the same lines. This is just my Notepad app in my phone, and I’ve got notes for social media posts, for my Friday field notes, which is one of our podcasts, daily tasks, podcast guests I want to have on, t-shirt ideas for our store. I mean if I think of something, it goes in here in a notepad, and it’s all categorized, and then it goes into my official system.

Brandon:
Yeah. I use Evernote for the same thing.

Ryan:
Same concept.

Brandon:
Yeah. I’m such a note-taker. It’s constantly.

David:
We use Google Drive. All different tools; all the same thing.

Ryan:
Yeah. It’s all the same process.

David:
And then later when you’re sitting around like, “I don’t really know what I should work on today,” you pull that up and it’s all lined up, and you just pick whatever you want to go with. That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing that, Ryan.

Brandon:
I like that new first question for the weekend episode; I might even add that into the Thursday episode. I could be the Famous Five from now on. Anyway, go ahead.

David:
Ryan, you’re a groundbreaking vanguard.

Brandon:
[crosstalk 01:00:45]. Okay.

David:
There you go.

Brandon:
Number two.

David:
All right. Second question: what is your favorite business book?

Brandon:
Other than your own, of course.

Ryan:
That’s a given. That should be everybody’s favorite business book.

Brandon:
It is. Actually, I didn’t say this earlier, but I have read it the week it came out, and it was phenomenal, so I do recommend it all the time. It’s good stuff.

Ryan:
Thank you. I actually don’t read a lot of business books as much as it is more self-development. Classic books like, “As a Man Thinketh,” is so, so powerful; I love that book. Wild at Heart is another one.

David:
Yeah. We love that one.

Brandon:
David and I talk about that constantly.

Ryan:
Yeah. John Eldredge just has… that transformed me as a man. That’s not hyperbole for me. That literally transformed me as a man. We were talking about Jacko, Extreme Ownership, which it can be definitely a business book, but that extreme ownership concept is so powerful. Maybe not exactly business, but those are three books that I recommend all the time.

David:
That’s perfect.

Ryan:
Here’s another business book: Gary Keller’s The One Thing. That is a great book. I love that book, too. The One Thing, by Gary Keller.

Brandon:
Yeah. Phenomenal. A phenomenal book.

Brandon:
Yeah. Real quick. You hit on John Eldredge so… That book, Wild At Heart, he has a story in there of his… He’s hiking with his son, or they’re rock climbing, and I think his son was six at a time, and he’s trying to get up that whatever, and he’s struggling, and the dad says something, like John said something to him like, “Look at you. Come on. You’re doing it. You’re doing it. You’re a wild man,” and he said something, and his son changed when he said, “You’re a wild man,” and he just climbed up the rest of that hill, because we all want to be “wild men,” and I named my son Wilder because of that passage in that book.

Ryan:
Really?

Brandon:
Yeah. My kid’s name is Wilder.

Ryan:
That’s cool.

Brandon:
And his nickname… I don’t call him Wilder. The only thing I ever call him is “wild man.” Like that’s it, he’s my little wild man, and it’s because of John Eldredge. Yeah, that book changed my life.

Ryan:
Have you read Iron John?

Brandon:
No. Iron John, no.

Ryan:
Iron John by Robert Bly, I believe, and he talks about the wild man. I think that would tie in nicely. You’d really like that story.

Brandon:
That’s cool.

Brandon:
All right. Next question: what are some of your hobbies?

Ryan:
Jiu-jitsu is a big part of my life right now. I’ve been training for about a year and a half, a little over, and I love it. I love everything about it. I like the physicality. There aren’t many other times where you get to come face-to-face in a confrontation with another individual who wants to do you as much harm as you want to do to that person in a controlled and safe environment, right? So, jiu-jitsu has been big, and archery, and hunting has been big for me as well.

Ryan:
You know, interestingly enough, I was thinking about this the other day, I think the reason I like both of them is twofold. I have to be fully present. It’s very difficult for me to shift my mind off, which is the whole notepad thing and everything, because my wheels are always turning, so it’s very difficult for me to switch my mind off; but when I’m at jiu-jitsu, nothing else is going through my mind. When I’m shooting my bow, nothing else is going through my mind. I love the ability to just focus, hyperfocus on the one thing without anything else distracting me, and the other value that I derive from this is immediate and instant feedback. In jiu-jitsu, if you do something wrong, you’re going to know very quickly that you should not have done that. In archery, if you do something wrong, you look at the arrow, and even if it’s just slightly off you know that it was different from the last shot that you took, and so you can begin to work backwards and figure out, “What do I need to do differently in order to create the result that I’m after?” These two hobbies and then those two lessons-

Brandon:
That’s awesome.

Ryan:
… are valuable stuff for me.

Brandon:
That is really good. I say that actually about surfing a lot. One of the reasons I love surfing is because there are so many things going on when you’re on that board balancing that your subconscious, or whatever, just goes away. Your subconscious and your conscious basically is so busy worried about staying level on the board and getting that next wave that you don’t think about the pile of emails in your inbox. You disappear in the moment. You’re just there.

Ryan:
Same thing. You’re constantly reacting to feedback.

Brandon:
Constantly. Yeah.

Ryan:
If the wave is pushing you this way, “Oh, that’s feedback. I’ve got to adjust,” based on that.

Brandon:
100%. Yeah, that’s awesome. And jiu-jitsu again, I love it as well; in fact, we’re going to go do it in two minutes. Gerry showed up here. David and I are going to go roll.

Brandon:
Last question from me then: what sets apart successful people, in your mind? If you had to really name it, what sets apart successful people from those who give up, fail, or just never get started? In the connotation of maybe an entrepreneurial journey.

Ryan:
I think that successful people find meaning and joy in the process. It’s easy to get lucky every once in a while. It’s easy to stumble across something and have it work out. But if you’re so hyperfocused on the end result, you have a false sense of expectations about what it will take, and you’re going to be disappointed, and you’re probably going to throw in the towel sooner than you should. But if you find joy and purpose and meaning in just showing up and doing the work… and like we were talking about earlier, having faith that if you do that well enough and for long enough, then the results will just take care of themselves, and they will. Whatever you want, it will happen, if you do the right work and you do it long enough.

Ryan:
Here’s how I would say it to reframe it: the win isn’t the end result; the win is that you actually get to play the game. If you define winning that way, whether it’s showing up to jiu-jitsu, it’s not about your belt promotion; that will take care of itself. It’s about the fact that you went today, that’s the win, or that you showed up to work on time, or that you made two dozen calls to prospects and clients. Whatever your thing is, define winning by the activity, not the result that it will produce.

Brandon:
Amazing.

David:
Beautiful.

David:
All right, Ryan. This has been one of my favorite interviews.

Brandon:
Yeah.

David:
If no one’s ever told you, you’re pretty good at talking.

Ryan:
Good.

David:
I appreciate you talking with us.

Ryan:
I’m trying to get better at it.

David:
Where can people find out more about you?

Ryan:
The podcast is a great place. You listen-in to a podcast, so wherever you’re listening Order of Man for our podcast, OrderofMan.com you’ll find our store, our events, our brotherhood; you’ll find it all there. I would say the podcast or the website and you’ll find this all.

Brandon:
That’s awesome. And make sure you guys follow Ryan on Instagram. What’s your Instagram?

Ryan:
@RyanMickler.

Brandon:
All right. Because I really admire your Instagram. I love it when people complain about something like, “Well, I don’t like that,” or whatever, and you’re like, “This is my page. My life doesn’t affect yours at all. Why are you complaining to me?” Anyway.

David:
It’s such a real picture of walking in someone’s house and telling them everything they did wrong when they decorated it.

Brandon:
Yeah. I love it.

Ryan:
Yeah. It’s like, “See you later.” [crosstalk 01:07:38]is there.

Brandon:
Exactly. You’re one of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow, just so you know.

Ryan:
I appreciate that.

Brandon:
Yeah. All right. Well, with that said, phenomenal. Thank you very much.

Brandon:
David, you can take us out.

Ryan:
Thanks, guys.

David:
Yeah. Thanks, Ryan. This was a great job. This is David Greene for Brandon “instant feedback” Turner, signing off.

Outro:
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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Why we all need to practice humility, ownership, responsibility, and sovereignty 
  • The importance of having a “servant’s mindset” even as a business owner
  • How to constantly add value to whatever you do in life
  • Why we should shift our focus to our efforts and not other’s efforts
  • Why having children makes you want to be better and push harder
  • The importance of owning and running a business, even at a young age
  • Dropping the “I” and using the “We” when leading a team
  • Why “the win” is simply “playing the game”
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Connect with Ryan:

Real strategies that work for real people seeking to build wealth through real estate investments. Co-hosted by Brandon Turner and David Greene, this podcast provides actionable advice from investors and other real estate professionals, who chat about failures, successes, motivations, and lessons learned.