Mental Toughness – What It Takes To Keep You Moving Forward With Chriss Smith

BYW 43 | Mental Toughness


What would it take to complete a 3,000 mile rowboat race across the Atlantic? It’s way more than just the sheer physical strength and stamina. You have to have the mental toughness to deal with the wave of self-doubt and other negative emotions that will overpower you. And that’s if physical fatigue doesn’t get you first. Chriss Smith joins the show again to share his experience at the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, dubbed as the world’s toughest rowing race. Chriss is the owner of Trident Mindset. He believes that the psychology of sport, fitness, and fun play a vital role in the success of a healthy lifestyle. His mission is to help others overcome self-doubt and perceived limitations by developing the mental toughness to unleash their warrior within and solve their happiness. His WHY of Better Way fuels this mission to make himself and other people better. Find out how that helped him overcome what would possibly be the hardest thing he had to do in his whole life!

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Mental Toughness – What It Takes To Keep You Moving Forward With Chriss Smith

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of a better way, to find a better way and share it. If this is your why, you are the ultimate innovator and are constantly seeking better ways to do everything. You find yourself wanting to improve virtually anything by finding a way to make it better. You also desire to share your improvement with the world. You constantly ask yourself questions like, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?”

You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto, “I’m often pleased but never satisfied.” You are excellent at associating, which means that you are adept at taking ideas or systems from one industry or discipline and applying them to another with the ultimate goal of improving things.

I have a great guest for you. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now. This is a revisit of somebody that I had on the show a couple of years back. Since then, a lot of crazy things happened to him. He’s accomplished a lot of things, and we’re going to talk about that, but let me tell you his bio first. His name is Chriss Smith. He is a former Navy SEAL with decades of experience in the SEAL teams and other special mission operations.

He’s the CEO and Cofounder of Trident Mindset, an online Mental Toughness Training Course. He’s the Founder and Co-Owner of Trident Athletics, formerly Trident CrossFit, one of the largest CrossFit gyms in the country. Chriss is an entrepreneur, extreme adventure athlete, husband, family man, and dog lover. He says, “It’s not just about becoming a SEAL but also about the journey once we leave the SEAL teams.” Chriss believes that the psychology of sport, fitness, and fun play a vital role in the success of a healthy lifestyle.

His mission is to help others overcome self-doubt and perceived limitations by developing the mental toughness to unleash their warrior within and solve their happiness equation. Now a competitive ultra-endurance athlete, he completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000-mile row boat race across the Atlantic Ocean. He was also part of team Shut Up & Row, the fastest American team ever that beat the previous record by fourteen days. They finished the race in 33 days, 17 hours, and 38 minutes. You are also part of the world’s toughest race as you can see on Prime television. Chriss, welcome to the show.

It is good to see you. It’s been way too long since we’ve talked.

You’ve done a lot of stuff. I was following you on a line when I saw that you were rowing. Let’s talk about that. For those of you that haven’t read Chriss’s first episode interview, please go back and read it because you’re going to learn the fascinating and mind-blowing story of how he went from an engineer to joining the Navy and becoming a SEAL then everything that happened after that. It’s a fascinating story. You went through it twice.

I’m a little bit of a skinny guy, hyped out all the good stuff, but made it through going up to a special missions unit, graduated from that, worked out for a while, back in the civilian sector, trying to change lives and make the world a better place. That’s my mission.

During that interview, you couldn’t talk about what you were doing because it hadn’t aired yet.

Back then, we’re reasonably sequestered for World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji. It was a race on primetime TV. The Bear Grylls put it on for us. I raced with a team called Team Onyx at that time, which was the first ever all-African American team to ever race an adventure race. It is an eleven-day adventure race in Fiji, and it was incredible. Like most things in life, things don’t go as planned. You have all the ups and downs that came with that as well. The last time we chatted, I wasn’t able to discover that, but the show’s been aired for a little while, the team did okay, and had some challenges, but I’d love to talk about that if you want to.

How long was the race? What was the race? What were the events in the race? I was blown away by what you guys had to do and what it looked like the toughest one was. Tell them a little bit about this race.

If you’re unfamiliar with adventure racing, it is an amalgamation or accumulation of a lot of different sports like running, trekking, rocking, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, rope climbing, descending, rappelling, and all these different things. What made Fiji exciting is we use a lot of native Fijian craft. The race started with a native Fijian outrigger sailboat, which was by a canoe with one outrigger on the right side, and a sail made of canvas. Local tribes made all 50 or 60 boats for the race. Race started with that. Another exciting event there was called Billy-Billy. Imagine a stand-up paddleboard that is made of bamboo and uses the bamboo stick board. We had 70 or 80 miles to go upriver on a Billy-Billy. That was long and exciting.

What was amazing to me was how far each race was. This was not like jumping in a little outrigger and going a couple of miles, which the person would be mind-boggling to go that far. How far was the first event?

The first event was a beautiful day. Everybody’s got online to see what’s going out. It was supposed to be 50 miles. Remember, I said native Fujian outrigger sail. There was zero wind. It would turn into a canoe battle. That first event took us twelve hours to get to the other island. To put these encounters, it took my team, which is a beginner team, and newer athletes. Part of our mission for that race is to bring this sport of adventure racing to minorities or people that don’t usually do adventure racing. The number one team that finished the race was a team from New Zealand who crushed these events all the time and finished that thing in six hours. It took us a 12-hour battle and took them 6 hours.

Imagine for the readers what it’s like to paddle for twelve hours. That doesn’t even seem fun but doable in any way.

This is an eleven-day race. That’s just the first day you’re paddling for twelve hours. Jump off the boat, do an 8 or 10-hour trek around an island, and back in the canoe for another 12-hour paddle back. Welcome to day one.

What was going through my head as I was watching it is you got a lot of airtime, which was great, but I was blown away by the distance that you did everything. You do the 24 hours of paddling and running, then what?

What was cool about this race also was because of a junction between different events, you had to find treasure. Separate from that, we had to dive maybe 25 or 35 feet down to get a nice little bouillon to move forward. That turned into a traditional inflatable stand-up paddle board, which that event was 12 or 14 hours long, followed by a mountain bike leg that was 27 or 28 hours long, falling into another foot track that was 15 or 16 hours long, which follows the Billy-Billy that was 12 or 14 hours long.

Nothing is short, but everything is exciting. It’s long enough that you feel pressure, fatigue, suffering, tiredness, and all the things that make you not want to finish on that particular day, but short enough that you want to go fast to get it done quickly. There is a lot of team building there, a lot of negotiation itself, mental work, and a lot of finding a better way to get it done quicker. That’s a super exciting race.

You did not mention what I thought at least based on what I saw on the TV what the hardest event was. It was absolutely brutal.

What did you think?

It’s the swim up the river.

It was a freezing river. Here’s the sad part of this journey. It’s an adventure race. Good and bad things happen. Our team didn’t get to that point because we had a massive bike crash. Our team tapped in, crashed his bike, and got a concussion. He didn’t get that far in the race. We didn’t complete that race, but that’s okay because what we set out to do was expand the idea of adventure racing for different types of people. We did that. We went to work on team building. Team Onyx started with five members. Now we have 64 members on teams doing adventure races around the world. That was super hard, but I didn’t get to experience that.

It’s probably a good thing.

It was swimming up a river. After a storm, I heard the water was absolutely frigid. It was the breaker of many teams. The entire team suffered badly on that day. It was super hard.

One of the things we talked about the first time that we had you on and what became evident was your desire to never ever, no matter what, quit. You talked about the one time that you did quit and how it messed with your head. It became obvious when you had to stop. Does that bother you?

Our team captain crashed the bike. Before that, our team captain was also the primary navigator. It’s map and compass navigation, no electronics. He comes to me and goes, “Why don’t you captain right now? I’ll just be the primary navigator,” literally before the bike crash. Maybe 25 kilometers before the bike crash, I was taking over as team captain. I’m super excited to do that for the team. It was awesome.

A bike crash happened. I’m responsible for finding a way to keep the team moving forward after a horrific crash. It was super challenging for me to manage people, try to be safe, and try to make the right decision to do the right thing for the right reasons. All that was on my plate now. By doing the right thing, we didn’t get a chance to finish the race, but it was the right thing to do. Inside, I’m not finishing the race. I’m feeling like I’m quitting the race. In reality, sometimes, we don’t get to finish races.

Sometimes you just don't get to finish races. Click To Tweet

Like you said, “We were doing this. We’re not quitting no matter what.” We can see when you were resigned to the fact that, “If we don’t quit, make it.”

Life over finishing, first and foremost. It’s a super hard decision to make emotionally and physically. Had a super strong race. We had a night’s sleep, super engaged, crushing the bike, and ready for the next day. It was not in our favor at that particular moment. You can always rest on it. Did you make the right decision for the right reasons at the right time? Yes, I was visibly disappointed and in emotional pain that we weren’t moving forward, but it is still the right decision to make. Cliff and I are still friends. We still do things. It’s nice. He’s so much into this growing or expanding the knowledge of adventure racing. He’s doing great. He’s a professional chef, which is crazy.

That gets back to why you guys crashed because the tires were full of mud.

We got new packs on. Literally, we had a couple of hours of sleep, and we were blind. The passing teams were feeling super good like, “We struggled on some of the water events, but we could ride bikes.” We’re catching up making places, road goes downhill real fast, and takes it to a big return, misjudges the turn, and off we went. The bike gets smashed all over the place. His helmet gets a big crack, and it falls off his head. It’s so painful.

Did you stay there to watch the finish?

We did because these kinds of races are not just about how your team does in the event. It’s a community. There are maybe 50 teams. People are finishing all the time. People are still, “Tough break for you, but we’re still part of this whole thing.” We are making the sport nice. We’re putting on a good show for TV and everything. It’s nice to be part of people who want to move forward, get past adversity, and keep doing our things. We stayed until the end. I got smaller bike rides and a couple of walks. We took it easy a little bit. It’s been two days in the hospital. There were a lot of things there, but we’re still there to support the race.

BYW 43 | Mental Toughness
Mental Toughness: It’s really nice to be among people who want to move forward, get past adversity, and just keep doing hard things.


What are your interest and excitement? Why the heck do you do these? Why do you do an adventure race? It looks excruciating and a nightmare to be out there. There was nothing that looks fun at all at least from the perspective of somebody watching it on TV.

There’s a lot of suffering involved, but after a while, it takes a little bit more to look inside to see what you’re made of. First, I was an athlete. I remember 5k was a long distance. Now, 5k isn’t a long distance. After the 5k, a 10k was a long distance, half marathon and 100-miler. Three-day race is exciting. I get pushed out a little bit. You can’t go too far, but it’s the excitement of looking in and talking to yourself or having that mental toughness to keep moving forward when everything is trying to tell you to stop.

What’s it take for you to keep moving forward? You have to move forward fast all the time, but keep moving forward. I am a huge proponent. I love these team sports where the suffering isn’t just about you. Can you be a beacon? Can you inspire people? Can you mentor people? Can you galvanize your team to keep moving forward?

When all the things are going bad and nothing’s going in your favor, are you that person that people can lean on? Are you that person that can find a better way to get something done? Are you that person people can count on to keep moving the team forward? I got the chills right now. That jazz’s me up so much to be part of that. Not just being a leader of that, but also being a good follower of that. Being on the team is super important to me.

How do you do that? I’m on your team, four of us on the team, and all hell’s breaking loose. What goes through your mind? Why do you step up?

The good thing about the team is you don’t have to be the only person that steps up. As the race goes on, you may have your high or low days. Not only are you there to support your other teammates, but they’re there to support you as well. It’s understanding relationships and communication, when somebody is crying and whining for no reason, or there’s an actual reason why they’re crying and whining. You don’t have support.

BYW 43 | Mental Toughness
Mental Toughness: The good thing about being in a team is you don’t have to be the only person that steps up.


Being able to understand people and to find a better way to make sense of things to understand what their problems are and work through that with them is super liberating. It’s super exciting for me. It’s having the wherewithal to want to communicate, keep that relationship for the right reasons, and move forward there. It’s good listening skills, good communication skills, sometimes not good listening skills, and all the things inside. It’s like, “We’re just going to keep moving forward. Let’s go.”

It’s being part of somebody’s comeuppance. They are in a very low. Their feet hurt and whatever is bothering them. You are in that dark, shallow part with them. You are able to give them and encourage them something that made them come out of that trough. Hours later, they’re feeling good, and whatever’s bothering them is not happening. You have to be a part of that with somebody. You’re talking about deepening relationships and making connections with people. Listen first and talk later.

There are a lot of good lessons in there for us in the business world.

Sometimes we think about ourselves. We forget that the team is as important, if not more important than whatever you’re trying to accomplish. Maybe put all your jazz behind you and say, “What’s important for this person? How can we make this person better so that we all can move forward?”

Let’s go to the next thing that I heard you were doing. You sent me this text, “I’m about to do this row across the Atlantic.” How do you come up with this? Who thinks of these things? Why are you doing this? You love to row. It’s the worst. It’s not even a sport.

Rowing is always challenging. I’m a storyteller. I like sharing stories. I found myself a few years ago being in a place where I felt I was regurgitating past experiences, past stories, and nothing new to contribute. Had I not experienced anything new in my recent time that’s exciting, worth sharing, and inspiring for people, am I talking to talk and walking the walk? Am I sitting back in my rocking chair telling, “Back when I was this, I was that?”

I wanted a test. I wanted to stay engaged and stay involved. I tell people all the time, “Sometimes you got to choose hard things. You have to choose the wrench to do hard things that make everything else easier.” I found myself in a place where I wasn’t doing that. I was doing things, but I knew when I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t doing the things that I should be doing to keep myself spirited and inspired. I was looking for a challenge that was going to scratch that itch. You have to be careful what you put in the universe because it comes back at you fold fast.

Sometimes you have to choose the wrench and do hard things. That makes everything else easier. Click To Tweet

I’m hearing you were feeding others because I’ve seen you at your CrossFit. I know that you are constantly feeding other people. You can’t tell it from reading, but Chriss has a very loud voice. There is nobody that doesn’t know he’s in the gym at that moment because you are encouraging, yelling, and harassing everyone everywhere you go. That’s your thing.

That’s my whisper voice. That’s who I am. I love what I do. It just comes through in races. It’s who I am and what I do. It’s not changing. I love it. I’m looking for stories and experiences and wanting to walk the walk. We give advice to people all the time. Do we listen to our own advice? Do we do the things we ask people to do? I asked you to do hard things all the time. Well then, go do something hard, son. This was it.

What came through your mind when somebody asked you, “How did it happen that this is what you guys chose to do?”

This was a third-party experience. Our team captain, Brian Nicholson, and his buddy, James Hein, work together. They started to do this race a few years ago. It’s very unheard of race. There have only been less than 1,200 people that ever do it. For some reason, that race didn’t go, but it was on Brian’s mind for a long time. Brian was looking for people to make a team of four. I reached out to a friend of mine, Dan Cirilo, and said, “Do you know any person who would want to row the boat across the Atlantic Ocean?” He’s like, “Nobody would even entertain this crazy thing.”

Dan and I have a good relationship. He’s like, “I know the two perfect people.” It was myself and Brian Chontosh. Brian called us and said, “Does it sound exciting?” I’m like, “It sounds exciting to me.” No research, no nothing. I talked to Tosh. He’s like, “If you do it, I’ll do it.” We said, “Yes.” That was a few years ago.

You’re not somebody that rows all the time.

I am 5’9” and 165 pounds. I’m not even built for rowing. You’ve seen rowers. They’re gigantic. They’re 6’7” and 240. They’re huge. This was totally not up my alley. That was also exciting for me. If you asked me to ride a mountain bike, I’ll ride a mountain bike. I can go faster or slower. If you ask me to run, I can run faster or slower and paddle a kayak canoe. I have done all those things before. I’ve never rowed a boat or a rowboat, and never even had a boat in the ocean. Everything was new and exciting. Everything, I had to learn. That jazzed me up. It fired me up so much. I’m like, “This is going to be awesome.”

Was it more excitement or more fear? Was there any fear?

In the beginning or post?

Probably, in the beginning and during. If I was thinking about doing that now, it would be petrifying to me to think, “I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. I don’t even know I have a concept of what I said yes to.”

I felt exactly the same way. That was exciting for me. I’m like, “This is completely new and exciting. I’m capable of many things. Let’s see if I’m capable and can do well in this event that I know nothing about.” That was a few years ago when our training first started. I remember that I broke my neck. I had to get four new vertebrae in my neck. I didn’t get a chance to train for six months but then started training again. I get the two-year mark concept for weightlifting. Our team got a coach to help guide us through this experience of what we’re supposed to be looking for later on. It was nerve-racking. You know me very well. I’m an excitable guy like variety will. Rowing is not variety.

Let’s go to race day. I remember I sent you a text. I said something like, “What are you up to this weekend?” You said, “I’m going to do a little trial run or something for a trial row.” What does that mean? You said, “I’m going to go out and row for twelve hours.” Who rows for twelve hours?

We did some 72-hour rows in a garage. We’ve done lots of rows. We rode from Florida to Georgia. We did a lot of rowing. Other than that, we didn’t even compare to what we experienced on the ocean.

BYW 43 | Mental Toughness
Mental Toughness: We trained in Florida and did a lot of rowing. But all the rowing that we did didn’t even compare to what we experienced on the ocean.


That takes us through the start of the race. What was the start? How many boats were there? What was going on? What was going on in your head?

Forty-two boats in this race come in different classes. You have single people doing the whole 3,000 miles by themselves who are still out there rowing. You got singles, doubles, and 4s and 5s. We’re a four-person boat. All the boats are lined up. The Atlanta campaign runs the race. They do a good job of making it seamless from showing up in Spain, to getting your boat prepped up, to starting in the row. All the boats have a two-minute start separation. Our goal was to be the first American team ever to win first place. That was our goal. Our team manager is like, “We’re going to start. We’re going to do three-up,” which is 2 hours of rowing, 40 minutes of rest, and 2 hours of rowing. We’re going to do that for 3, 4, or 5 days.

I’m thinking, “Who came up with that? Is that even possible?”

It is possible. It’s crazy. That worked out well for us. We got out front quickly and maintain that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for a long time. We got in the first place. We’re 12 or 14 days into the race right around Christmas time. It was us in another boat, neck in neck, on the big ocean 500 to 600 miles off-shore racing, which is insane to think about.

In my mind, I would be trying to picture, “What the heck does this boat look like? It’s not like a little kayak.”

It’s 26 or 27 feet and has a small cabin in the stern about 6 feet long or 3.5 feet high. You can sit up in it. You can almost lay down flat in it. In the front of the boat, the bow of the boat, you have about a 6.5 to 7-foot cabin about 3.5-foot high. You could almost lie down in it. It’s about 4 or 5 feet wide. In between those two flat halls, there are 3 sliding seats and 6 doors. That’s it. There is some whole space put food and a watermaker on board, poop and piss in a bucket, a full ocean-going electronics package, full electronic navigation AIS, all the things I have, it’s all that was there as well.

It only had three seats because only three people are rowing.

Typically, most people row 2 hours on and 2 hours off, 24/7. That’s the typical way most people are doing the race. You get two hours of rest of which you have to make food, cook food, eat food, and clean your body. Make sure your body was recuperating at that time. Sleep, recover, get back on ore, rinse and repeat, 33 days, all night long, just rowing.

What is the ocean like out there in the middle of nowhere on a little 26-foot boat?

First of all, Mother Nature does not give a heck about you. She is going to do what she is going to do. She wants to give you a storm, and you get a storm. She wants to rain, and you get rain. She wants hot sun, and you get a hot sun. There’s nothing you can do about it. You fill your place in the universe real quick. You are a very tiny boat in a gigantic ocean where as far as you can see, is as far as you can see. There is nothing is in your way. You don’t see any other boats in the race. It’s very awe-inspiring, where you have the entire majesty of the sky, where you see every star that you can see. There’s nothing in your way. You can see through the galaxy. It’s crazy. The nights are dark as dark. The days are hot.

What’s the temperature like out there at night?

It was gorgeous. We roll without shirts on at night and short pants. It was nice. When we got closer to Antigua, it got a little bit hotter. A lot of guys row naked. I wore some sleeves to keep the sun off my skin during the daytime. Some guys had no shirts on. The temperature couldn’t be better. There are storms out there all the time. It’s Mother Nature, with high winds, big water, big seas, 30-foot swells, and 35-knot winds. You’re out there like a little cork in the big ocean floating around, going 3.5 to 4 knots.

The biggest challenge you ran into was what?

We had a myriad of challenges. We had some boat mechanical issues, which other boats didn’t get to experience.

What do you mean by mechanical issues?

There are solar-powered boats. The boats have two lithium batteries run by solar power that allows us to run all of our electronics and watermaker. The water desalinator is on board. We make the water that we use to make our food then all the electronic package is run on solar power. For some reason, we lost our batteries or solar power wasn’t working. The boats are auto-steered. It’s a GPS rudder. Without power, you don’t have a GPS rudder. You have to hand steer. You have to move your rudder with some lines, which is super challenging. That hung us up a lot, not just physically but also emotionally.

You’re in the first place, and all of a sudden, your boat shifts the bed. Now boats are starting to pass you and you’re trying to rectify or problem-solve. Our team did a fantastic job of navigating the 6 or 7 relatively major problem sets that we had on the boat, mechanically fixing things, and managing things. We did a fantastic job with that.

How did you keep going with no water?

Every boat has 15 days of emergency water and 15 days’ worth of food. We were allowed to drink some emergency water. One of our solar panels came back up. We’re able to make 20 liters or whatever for the team during the day. I had to ration stuff a little bit, which is cool. The boat still going to rows to get to Antigua. You make different decisions. If your car has got one wheel flat, don’t drive fast. You have to get to where you’re trying to go and manage that emotionally, mentally, and physically. Keep moving in the right direction. I keep having this thing in my head, “One more stroke closer to Antigua.”

There are some things you can’t control. Mother Nature, you can’t control. You can give the same amount of effort every single stroke. For 2 hours, you’re going 4 knots, and for the next few hours, you’re going 1.2 knots, the same exact effort. You have to manage a lot of emotional and physical management. It’s a lot. It’s a long race.

There are some things that you just can’t control. Click To Tweet

How many total miles was it?

It’s 3,000 miles. We did 2,970-something miles. There’s a point when you’re like, “I am 1,500 miles from the nearest land, and there’s as a bird. What?”

What the heck goes through your mind 1,500 miles in and you got 1,500 more miles to go? Did you ever want to quit?

No, I 100% emphatically never wanted to quit. I can honestly say that I’m not trying to be egotistical or braggadocious or whatever. There wasn’t a time when I didn’t want to get to row. Rowing was way more manageable than the two hours off. You have to manage many things, your emotion, sleep, food, your body, and all these things you have to do in a very short time. When you’re rowing, all you had to do is row. There’s not much else you can do but row. I made a goal of mine. You’re rotating every hour with a partner. You’re like, “My partner’s not going to roll one of my minutes. I’m going to do my 120. They’re going to do 120.” In our team, we did well with that making sure that everybody is participating as much as they could. It was awesome. I took rowing and resting seriously. That was my little idea.

Were you wearing gloves or no gloves? What were your hands like during all this? What was the part of your body that broke down the most during this event?

Me included, but most people have three contact points that wear out. The first one would be your butt. You’re sitting on a seat no less than twelve hours a day. You are sitting on the same bones, the skin starts to shake because you’re wet. In most of the races, either with sweat or salt water. To your skin, it sloughs and erodes off. It’s miserable. You’re sitting in the same spots over and over again for two-hour blocks. Even when you get off the row seat, you go back to your cabin, which is literally half a step away, and you’re sitting again. You’re sitting for 23 or 24 hours a day. Your butt takes massive trauma.

Secondarily, and surprisingly, your feet. I don’t know if you’ve been on a concept to rower with a strap that comes across your feet. Your hands are used to working and being tough, but your feet are always in shoes, and it’s relatively soft. That strap creates a lot of blisters on top of your feet. Unexpectedly, that tricking my brain a little bit is like, “I didn’t expect that to happen.”

The third thing would be the hands. Most people use either gloves, grips, or bare-handed. Bare hands is probably the best choice. Since your hands are in the same position, they blister. The blisters dry out, create callus and your hands are good to go. That takes about two weeks or maybe 10 to 15 days. My wife is like, “Do something with your hands because they are like 60 grit sandpaper. Don’t touch me.”

You rowed straight for 33 days. Did that beat the record by quite a bit?

The American record is by fourteen days. I was doing some research the other day. We wanted to hit first place. That didn’t happen. We took 5th place in the 4-man boats and 6th place in the overall race. Emotionally, you want to row hard. You want to the first place. That was what we were telling our sponsors and everybody. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. When you’re racing things, sometimes they happen, and sometimes they don’t. It was emotional that we didn’t do that, but people kept telling me like, “It’s not being in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. You rowed from the overall accomplishment.”

BYW 43 | Mental Toughness
Mental Toughness: When you’re racing, sometimes things happen, sometimes they don’t.


I’ve been trying to come to grips and wrestle with not hitting the podium but still what a magnificent accomplishment. On the Talisker Whiskey site, they have every race since 2015. I put our score and our time in there. Before this year, we only lose 7 or 8 boats forever faster than us since 2015. This year was a fast year. They’re obviously 4 or 5 boats faster than us, but still, that’s a huge accomplishment. The last American boat that finished was fourteen days longer than us.

Can you imagine fourteen more days than what you did?

There are still people rowing. I wake up every morning looking at the app that shows people are still rowing. How freaking awesome is that? I’d be bonkers by this. We talked about mindset and different ways to attack the problem. We wanted to race fast, so we didn’t take some things. We tried to stay hard and committed to our goal. Our experience was different. Some of them know they’re going to take two and a half months to finish the race. They’re attacking the beast and the race differently. Maybe not rolling as hard, taking more sleep, eating better, and all the different ways that you can tackle a race.

I’m like, “There’s no way I want to still be rowing.” If that’s what you set out for, it’s probably an amazing experience. Sunsets, sunrises, moonrises, and all the different things that Mother Nature throws at you are mind-blowing. It’s inspiring. You feel your place in the universe. You feel the sense of time and your space in the universe. It’s a gift I want to say thank you for because, before that, I was racing through life, not aware or paying attention. Now I’m like, “I’m going to be me right now.”

Was the hardest part of the race mental or physical?

The hardest part of the race was mental because the physical became routine. I got a row. With the intensity of rowing, how hard I row or how hard I don’t row is modular. It modulates a little bit, but you’re still just rowing. The mental thing of fourteen-hour nights, “I can’t do it again. I can’t eat this food. I need water. My butt hurts. This hurts.” All the things that get in the way of people accomplishing goals are there and don’t go away. They’re coming back every two hours and slamming you in the face, “My butt hurts. This hurts,” or whatever kind of thing is bothering you. They don’t go away, and they don’t get any better. You got to create a different relationship with them.

Take us to the finish line. You’re half a mile from the finish line. What was it like to see the land and then get to the finish line?

I’ll talk about scale for a second. What was it like to finish and see land? You can see land about a day before you hit land. For this race, what I love about what Atlanta campaign is they celebrate every single finish like it’s an awesome finish. You’re in contact with the race coordinators. You’re like, “I’m eight hours away.” They’re like, “Here’s your last bearing. Take this direction.” You are rowing. When you get close, they send out a jet ski and a video boat. Every finish for this race is live on Facebook.

Your last 20 or 30 minutes of crossing the line are filmed. There are flares and all this chaos. The boat is spinning around. You’re videoing. What you don’t realize is that you’ve been sitting down for 33 days, and you haven’t taken more than five steps. They are like, “Stand up and put your flare up.” You’re like, “I don’t even have any legs.” You finally finished. They get the photos and everything in the video. They’re like, “You got to get to the pier.” It’s another mile away.

You do the mile. They pull you up to the dock. The race coordinators are there, announcing your time, and telling it to everybody. Your family’s there. My wife and my sister were there. Other teammates’ families were there. You haven’t seen people in 30-plus days. You see nothing or talk to anybody for 33 days. It’s overwhelming. You hold the American flag. You’re on the boat still. You’ve got your sea legs and stuff. They’ve given you your plaque, you’ve done all the photos, and ask you questions, and then you take the first step off of the boat that you’ve been on for 33 days.

You haven’t stood up. You got no muscle. I’ve lost 17 pounds, and the world is rocking. You’re talking about sea legs. You can barely even stand up. Everything is wobbling around, and people are trying to give you hugs. It’s a lot. You’re trying your best not to man cry, but you do it anyway. Your wife loves you so much. She gives you a big hug. She’s like, “You stink,” but still gives you a kiss and hug. It’s amazing. Talk about eating real food for weeks. There is food and drinking beer. I don’t have the words to describe how surreal it is. It takes you days to realize that when you wake up, you don’t have to row.

You are rowing in your sleep. You can’t sleep more than fifteen minutes because when you’re on the boat, you’re like, “Is it my turn to roll?” You take 15 to 20-minute naps because you don’t want to make your partner wait for you. That doesn’t go away immediately. I didn’t stand up to take pee or poop for 33 days. I couldn’t even stand up and pee. I get out of bed and wobble, hit the walls, try to get to the bathroom, and sit down.

It’s overwhelming that 3 or 4 hours after you finish and all this stuff starts to settle down. We go back to the hotel. I’m taking my first shower in 33 days. Hot water hits me. I broke down, crying, sobbing, and overwhelmed that part of the journey is complete. I literally sobbed in the shower. I couldn’t even stand up and take a shower bath. I had to lie down in the water because it was overwhelming because your emotions were all over on the boat. You find like, “I’m done.”

Are you happy or sad?

I don’t even know if it was happy or sad. It was such a release of something like everything, “I don’t have to row. Look what we did. Could I have done better? Could I have done worse?” All I ever did was, “Was awesome, lifting, demeaning, or all the things?” It floods out of you. I’m speaking for myself. I don’t know about my other teammates. Tolerance for people is very short. Everything is different. Time is different. Everybody is like, “Let’s do this.” I don’t want to do anything, and I want to do everything. It is exhausting. You have no land muscles, all your land and leg muscles. I didn’t push anything for a month and a half. Everything was wobbly. I’d walk five steps and take a nap.

I was trying to get you on the show even sooner, and you were avoiding me.

I couldn’t process it. I won’t stop wobbling. One of the couples is like, “Let’s get on the podcast.” I’m like, “I don’t even know what I even say to the podcast because I can’t even process enough yet.” It’s like the reintegration into the world about all things. We rowed hard, ate food, and we finished. It hadn’t come. I’m still having trouble articulating. There are so many lessons to learn, “What could you do better? Would you do great?” All the things, “You didn’t hit the podium but still did a fantastic race.” It is taking time to intellectually and emotionally bubble to the surface to share.

What was it like walking into your Trident Athletics for the first time?

I secretly came home for two days and didn’t tell anybody because it was a lot. It was overwhelming support. The gym put up two rowers in the back of the gym where people rowed for the whole month, which is awesome. We raise a lot of money for our cause, Big Fish Foundation. There is a two-part story here. I didn’t share this, but I had a bit of a sweet finish because my dog died six hours after I got off the boat. I don’t think he was diagnosed with DCM. I’ve been gone for two months, rowing. He has been taking care of my wife and doing other things.

I laid down that first night, try to get some sleep, popped up and had a visceral conversation with my dog, wobbled to the bathroom sat down, peed, got up, hug my wife, and the phone rang, “Your dog died.” I got a bittersweet thing. Here’s what’s super crazy. Another teammate’s dog died the day before the race. It’s weird how this was bracketed in with sorrow, emotion, relation, depression, excitement, and all the emotions. You put four Navy SEALs in the boat, and what they can do well was row really hard.

Can you handle other stuff that Mother Nature is going to throw at you? It’s been more than a rowing race for me. Personally, it’s been it’s a journey of all these different emotions. You’re talking about coming back to the gym. There is much support. I’m so excited. It’s awesome. It’s hard to receive everything at one time. It’s someone petering in a little bit because I want to show my appreciation for your support as much as you’re supporting me.

BYW 43 | Mental Toughness
Mental Toughness: It’s been more than just a rowing race. It’s been a journey of all these different emotions.


I’m doing a little bit. If 1 or 2 people come up, I’m like, “I want to let you know that I’m gracious and grateful for you. I appreciate all the stuff that you’ve helped with my family and my wife when I was gone. I want to show appreciation for that. I’m still taking it slow.” I can do ten push-ups right now in case you wondered.

You’re used to giving so much. You’re used to being such a giver and encourager, and then it’s probably hard to accept it.

It is. It’s new. Everybody is excited. They see some things that I am learning to see now. What a great adventure and accomplishment. Half of me is still like, “We didn’t make it to the podium,” but they helped me with that, which is good. I’m a blessed man. I’m grateful.

At least for me, I’m thinking not a chance in hell I will ever try something like that. I’m happy to know somebody that did. That is never going to be me.

My wife was doing a little research. She’s like, “There’s data out that says over 25,000 people have summited Mount Everest. Less than 1,200 have done this race.” I was like, “That’s pretty awesome.”

What’s next for you now? Have you ever thought of that?

It’s interesting because, in my whole life, I’ve always had something out that I’m struggling with or working for some kind of goal out there, which is one of the reasons I chose this race because I was missing that for a little bit. On the boat, me and my BFF promised each other that we’re never doing anything harder ever again, “I’m never suffering again.” I’m off the boat. I’m like, “I might have lied to him.” I don’t have a specific event in mind, but I know I want to have fun during that event. I want to do it with people I care about.

Now I’m telling myself, “I don’t care about how I finish or whatever.” That’s the truth. I’ve already signed up for 4 or 5-mile trail hikes in my local area here because I need to do something to get my body strong again. I’m going to walk those. I’m pretty excited about that. I’ve got a little small half marathon scheduled at the end of March 2023. I’m going to walk that. I might run and walk that mostly.

I’ll just do it. It’s hard for me to train with nothing. It’s challenging. I love training. I need something to kind of, “That’s on the books. I’ll go and fiddle through that.” In my dark soul, the angry and the dark Chriss you were talking about quitting earlier, I don’t remember but I didn’t finish arrowhead 135-mile, middle of the winter sled pool. That’s on my mind. I don’t know about that yet, but that’s where I’m at. I’m not in a rush to do anything. I’m in a rush to support my family, be a better human, have relationships with people, share experiences, mean my hugs, and say, “Thank you,” and mean it. I’m in a rush to stay in touch with my emotions.

Here’s the last question. When you’re doing all those that rowing and it’s got to have been monotonous, are you guys talking? Are you quiet? When you’re quiet, what are you thinking about?

I can say that our boat had a lot of challenges. Two and a half to three weeks into the row, the two Bluetooth speakers that we brought were destroyed by saltwater before we listen to music on the boat. For the last three weeks, no music. You guys had ear buds or whatever. You have music or you’re listening to a book, but it’s weird on the boat because it’s not like this interaction or this collaboration anymore. Sometimes we did that. While we had music, it was great. You stay in tune and play.

Once that was gone, it added another complex layer of like, “This challenge is not about rowing a boat. It’s way more than this,” but it also gave you a chance to get in touch with self, be open with your teammates and talk about man crap. It gave you an opportunity to be a good listener, encourage when people are down, express your suffering, and not be judged for it. It gave you all these different opportunities that we don’t normally take in alpha males lives. They gave you plenty of opportunities to express yourself.

What’s the biggest thing you learned about yourself during that 33 days?

It’s okay to be quiet.

It is hard for you.

Our team is Shut Up & Row. I’m a better way guy. I like to share my ideas. I stepped on the boat with the intention of doing more listening, contributing, then sharing my better way. We got a team captain. We got four strong alphas on a boat, “You don’t need another chef, but you needed somebody to be the yes man for a while.” I took that role on, which was illuminating for me how much more I heard. It was illuminating for me like, “I have much to say right now, but I’m not.”

It was exciting for me to go like, “I would have done it differently.” This problem happened, “I could have done it faster and better,” but not and be okay with that. That was a big takeaway for me. It is a big learning experience for me. Now in the real world, I’m like, “I don’t have to always share my better way. It’s still better to not get crazy.”

If readers are like, “I would love to have Chriss come and talk at one of our events. I’d love to follow Chriss, learn more about him, and see what he’s doing,” because I know you have a whole program on the mindset. Maybe spend a couple of minutes talking about what you teach in Trident Mindset because you live it on top of just teaching.

Our program is called Trident Mindset. It’s an online education program that helps people develop mental toughness. The rub is this. Most people think that mental toughness is about being physically hard and only doing hard things. It’s not. It’s about being in choice because when you’re in choice, that’s when your happiness starts. Trident Mindset is an app that helps you discover how to be happier, how to remove some anxiety, relieve stress a little bit, and ask for the things that you won’t need so it empowers the mental toughness that gives you an opportunity to be in choice for the things that make you happy. People forget about that.

Most people think that mental toughness is just about doing hard things. It's about being in choice. When you're in choice, that's when your happiness starts. Click To Tweet

We have twelve tactics that have a lesson every single day on how to employ some of our tactics in your normal everyday life. It’s not rocket science but some tactics that you may build upon your life to relieve some stress, reduce anxiety, and increase your happiness. That’s what it’s about. You can reach me at I’ll answer every single email, not timely, but I’ll answer it.

What’s your website? is the website for Trident Mindset and the same for Instagram.

I had been looking forward to this. I’m still glad we are talking to catch up. I’m sure we’ll talk more soon. It’s amazing stuff you’re doing. Those are things that the rest of us wouldn’t even consider. Thanks for pushing through, completing those, and making it happen.

It feels good to be home, and thank you.


Important Links


About Chriss Smith

BYW 43 | Mental ToughnessNavy SEAL, Entrepreneur, Extreme Adventure athlete, Husband, Family Man & Dog Lover. I have the unique ability to relate to people from all walks of life. It’s not just about becoming a SEAL but also about the journey once we leave the SEAL Teams.


WHY Of Better Way: Enhancing People’s Quality Of Life With James Schmactenberger

BYW S4 36 | Quality Of Life


Are you constantly seeking better ways to do everything? Join today’s guest, James Schmachtenberger, as he demonstrates how he embodies the WHY of Better Way. Through a lot of scientific research, James, along with his company, Neurohacker, is constantly trying to enhance people’s quality of life. His supplements, like Qualia Mind, help people become more motivated and effective at what they’re doing in life. He wants everyone to become increasingly adaptive to their reality. For James, if you want to live a longer and happier life, you have to start at your foundation. Join Dr. Gary Sanchez as he talks to James Schmachtenberger about how he started Neurohacker. Learn how he was able to buy the college he studied in at 18. Discover how a monk led him to his journey of self-discovery. Find out how supplements work and how they affect your body as a whole. Start hacking your body to find enlightenment today!

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


WHY Of Better Way: Enhancing People’s Quality Of Life With James Schmactenberger

We’re going to be talking about the why of better way, to find a better way and share it. If this is your why, you are the ultimate innovator and are constantly seeking better ways to do everything. You find yourself wanting to improve virtually anything by finding a way to make it better. You also desire to share your improvements with the world. You constantly ask yourself questions like, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?” You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto, “I’m often pleased but never satisfied.”

You are excellent at associating, which means you are adept at taking ideas or systems from one industry or discipline and applying them to another, always with the ultimate goal of improving something. In this episode, I’ve got a great example of that for you. His name is James Schmachtenberger.

He is a successful serial entrepreneur with a lifelong focus on using business and innovation to affect large-scale change for the benefit of humanity. James is the Cofounder and the CEO of Neurohacker Collective, a company focused on making groundbreaking products for health and well-being through complex systems science. His area of expertise includes new nootropics, anti-aging, regenerative medicine, sleep, and fast-acting, fast-paced entrepreneurialism. James, welcome to the show.

Thank you. It’s great to be here.

This is going to be fun. Tell everybody where you’re at now.

I’m San Diego based, at least most of the time. I travel a decent amount, but always nice to be home, which, fortunately, I am now.

You and I connected through an event that I was speaking at with JJ Virgin. I heard about your products. I use your products but didn’t know from that bio that they were your products. What is the most famous product you have created that people might know about?

Our flagship product is one called Qualia Mind. It’s a broad spectrum cognitive enhancement designed to do a lot of the things that people traditionally look for when they go towards cognitive enhancement and improvements in focus and memory, but we take it many steps past that. We are working on those things. The goal was how you increase all forms of intelligence in a sustainable and holistic fashion. In addition to things like focus and memory, we’re looking at things like critical thinking skills, improving discernment, decision-making, better visual reasoning, etc.

It’s pretty much the whole gamut. Part of optimal cognitive function is also your state, how good you feel about yourself, and your outlook on the world. In addition to trying to enhance brain function, it’s also working to enhance mood and outlook so that not only do you have more intelligence but more drive and capacity to pair with that enhanced intelligence.

I want to dive into that. I’m sure that’s fascinating to everybody who’s reading. Before we do that, let’s go back a little bit. Let’s go back to your life. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school?

The majority of my life has been in California. My family moved here when I was nine. I’m originally from Iowa. I didn’t do high school. I was homeschooled off and on throughout the younger part of my life. My parents did want my brother and me to experience traditional school for a few years. We had social interaction, but also a connection in the sense of what everyone’s experience is. A lot of early life was homeschool. I ended up skipping over the high school experience. My last time in school was in seventh grade, and then I essentially took a year off to watch TV.

Hold on. What was that you said?

My last time in school was in seventh grade. After that, I was supposed to go back into homeschool. I just became disinterested. I was working with a tutor at the time and didn’t relate to the style. I essentially slacked off and spent most of the year watching television. From there, I ended up essentially faking a diploma to be able to start going to college, much younger than normal. I ended up hopping into community college at fifteen and did a couple of years of college before realizing that that wasn’t my orientation. I loved learning and studying, but I didn’t love the traditional structure of studying.

Depending on the topic, it was either too fast or too slow, but also generally not that interesting. I was more of an immersive learner. After a couple of years, I stepped out of college. My family always jokes because right after I went out of traditional college, I started in a vocational college studying Psychology and Alternative Medicine. About a year into that, as I was graduating, there ended up being an opportunity to buy that school. Shortly after my eighteenth birthday, I raised some money, bought out the college I was graduating from and spent most of the next decade running that. It was a bit of an abnormal life experience.

I don’t know many people that buy a college at eighteen.

I don’t recommend it. It was spectacular for me in many ways but also terrifying and daunting. I barely knew how to balance a checkbook. All of a sudden, I was responsible for tons of employees and hundreds of students.

What was that like for you?

It was spectacular and devastating all at once, especially in the early years, because I genuinely didn’t know what I was doing. I was so in love with what I had learned and what I saw as the bigger implications for the world of more people learning to live healthier lives and going into some of the domains of psychology and personal development. There was this huge mission and passion attached to it, but at the same time, I felt like I was failing. During that first three years, I made up for my lack of knowledge with work hours. I was working twenty-plus hours a day and mostly never went home. I would take a nap under my desk and get back to work. If I did take time off work, it was usually to go to a business workshop or marketing workshop and learn what I was doing.

It was this weird thing. I was in love with it, and I was also burning out. By the time I hit 21, I was in full-stage burnout, starting to have adrenal failure and all kinds of cognitive issues. I started feeling depressed, which made me start having an existential crisis because here I am doing this thing I love, and I was depressed and couldn’t make sense of it. It was an interesting experience. It’s ultimately a beautiful one, just a little harder than it needed to be.

What did your family think when you said, “I’m going to buy this college?” Did you even graduate from college?

I was finishing my last courses when I ended up taking over the school. I finished 2 or 3 months after I owned the school, which also created a weird dynamic of being the owner of it and still being in class. I loved the nature of the work, so I continued to study it a lot. After I bought it, I spent about five years in an intensive, one-on-one or small group studying with the man who founded the school and went progressively deeper, particularly into the psychology and personal development domains.

If I’m reading this now, I would be wanting to ask the question, “Why would the founder of the school sell it to an eighteen-year-old kid who hasn’t even graduated yet?”

That was a very common question. He got a lot of flak for making that decision. I had known him for a number of years, not particularly well before starting school, but I met him when I was ten. I was so passionate about the work that I dove in a way that not many people did. It was supposed to be a two-year program, and I ended up doing it in a year. Part of it was probably that he had been doing it for twenty-plus years and wanted to slow down. He still wanted to teach but didn’t want to run the business. Part of it was he saw something in me that he was willing to gamble on. Luckily, it worked out. In retrospect, I would’ve been one of those people being like, “What are you doing? This is insane.”

At this stage of your life, if you were advising the person that founded the college, would you advise them to sell it to an eighteen-year-old who hadn’t graduated?

Probably not. It was an interesting experience. I remember when I was going through the process, my dad had a quote that I thought was funny. He’s like, “You’re just naive enough not to realize what you can’t do.”

When you're young, you're just naive enough not to realize what you can't do. Click To Tweet

I can see that. Now you’re the young adult burned out, depressed owner of a college to help people not get burned out and depressed. How did that go now? Where did you go from there?

That ended up being a big turning point in my life and ended up being where the inspiration for Neurohacker, the company I run now eventually where it initiated. When I was 21, I was fully burnout with lots of health issues and psychological issues. I started down my healing journey. There were all kinds of things I was doing. I ended up getting introduced to this research physician in Mexico that had developed this specialized IV therapy for helping people repair all kinds of cognitive damage. Most of his work was for people recovering from drug addiction. When I met with him, he was like, “What you’ve done to your brain not sleeping for three years is equivalent to a heroin addict.” I went and did three days of this IV for nine hours a day. It completely changed my world.

It wasn’t like a subtle improvement. It was like the lights came back on. The cognitive function I had lost not only came back, but I had an awareness of whole new aspects of cognition that I hadn’t tapped into before. The depressive experience went away and was replaced with a sense of confidence and motivation. The piece that stood out to me was my empathy shot through the roof. All of a sudden, I stopped being able to think about what I wanted to do in the world without automatically being aware of what the bigger implications of that were and how those actions would affect the people around me in the world at large.

It was the reflection on that experience that told me this was the direction I wanted to go. Let’s say hundreds of thousands or millions of people could have this experience where they became more intelligent, more confident, more capable and more empathetic. They had an intrinsic motivation to use their competency and their intelligence for not only personal gain but for greater purposes. That could be something that could move the needle and change the world. That ended up being the original inspiration. Back then, I tried to partner with that doctor and was going to try to open up IV clinics all over the world.

We started down that process, but very quickly into it, he ended up becoming quite ill and passed away. Most of his research went away with him. There was this beautiful vision and no longer a path. It took a number of years while I was running other businesses, continuing to study this in the background, meeting with neuroscientists, formulators, and neurobiologists to start to get enough of the ideas and information together to be able to still create that vision but through a totally different modality.

What was in the IVs that you got in Mexico? Do you know?

I partially know. The key ingredient in it was NAD, which at this point is gaining significant popularity. NAD is a molecule naturally produced in the body that is the primary energy source for all cells. When you get increased NAD, essentially, health across the board starts to increase because your cellular health begins to increase. It also has significant benefits on cognitive function and clarity. That was the key ingredient. There was a series of different amino acids to be able to lever up what the NAD did on its own. I still don’t know entirely what was in it because no one does other than him. Over the years, I was able to put the pieces together and recreate enough of it to understand what was happening there.

BYW S4 36 | Quality Of Life
Quality Of Life: NAD is a naturally produced molecule in the body that is like the primary energy source for all cells. So when NAD gets increased, health across the board starts to increase as well.


In fact, at that event, I met your team. There were a lot of people talking about psychedelics. Was any of that that in there, do you think?

I’ve had some people who also went through his work that theorize that one of the ingredients was GHB, which is an increasingly popular psychedelic. It hasn’t had as much attention as things like psilocybin or LSD but is starting to gain more attention. It’s a prescription drug used for sleep disorders but in different applications and a higher dose creates psychedelic experiences and puts people into very open and receptive states, which gives the opportunity to go into areas of your psychology or work on things that might not feel safe in a normal fashion. Being able to explore them in that state makes it much more accessible. I wouldn’t know for sure if that was in it. I tend to think it was.

You go down to Mexico and have this IV therapy. It increases your empathy and energy. It gives you more intelligence and competence. You start to come back to yourself. Did you come back to yourself or a better self?

Both. I was still myself. It wasn’t like there was a fundamental change in my personality and my sense of self. It was an improved version. I felt a lot better about who I was. I felt the things that had always driven me, and all of a sudden, I had more ability to apply them in the world. It was still me. It was just an easier version of life through the experience of being me.

You then decided, “I want to get into this. I want to figure out how to do this.” You start down the path of creating IV clinics. That ended. What then happened to you?

We didn’t end up starting to officially work on Neurohacker for a number of years still. The R&D process formally started in 2014 and had a psychedelic component. During the years in between, I was doing a number of other projects. I ran that college for almost ten years and ended up selling it in 2010. At that point, I got into the medical cannabis industry in the very infancy of that space. I did quite a lot of business there, but I also got heavily involved in the public education side and, eventually, the policy side. For probably seven years or so, I ended up running a lot of the legalization campaigns and was building cannabis businesses, in essence, to be able to fund a lot of the clinical work and the public education work.

During this time, while I was running those businesses, I was continuing to study a lot of this domain. I don’t have a deep formal science background. I was never in a position to be able to build the thing adequately myself. I needed people. I had the vision, just not necessarily the know-how. In 2014, I went to Burning Man, and Burning Man tends to fall over my birthday this 2022. I decided on my birthday to take acid and wander out in the desert by myself and essentially do this vision quest to figure out what I wanted to devote the next many years of my life to.

What ended up coming through powerfully was this vision that you’ve had forever is too important not to create. However hard it is or whatever it takes, it has to happen. On the drive home from Burning Man, I had gone there with my brother and started a conversation with him. I was telling him about this experience. Even though he had known what I wanted to do for a long time, he didn’t quite get the bigger implications of not just the positive effects on the individual but the potential effects on humanity at large. As he started to understand that, he was like, “I’ll partner with you.”

My brother’s background is in complex system science. He’s a brilliant scientist and researcher. It was his ability to bring that complex systems approach applied to the study of human physiology that all of a sudden made the idea real. We spent about two years after that in this heavy R&D phase, developing the scientific model around complex system science and developing our first product, which is now Qualia Mind. From there, it turned into a company and started bringing its market in late 2016.

It’s a long journey but fascinating. I’m glad we went back because now what you’re doing makes more sense and why I should listen to you makes more sense. In your industry, how many hackers without the bio are there out there? How many fake stuff is out on the market?

Unfortunately, the majority of it. There are some really good companies out there. There are a lot of companies I respect, but when I look broadly at all of the cognitive products being marketed, they have very little science behind them. There’s a lot of marketing hype. I see these ads all the time like, “This is the pill that Warren Buffet takes to make all of his money.” Warren Buffet’s never even heard of the thing. It’s completely made up. You look at the ingredients, and you’re like, “That’s nice.” It might do a tiny bit of something over the duration of many months, but it’s not going to be a real impact. There are only a few companies that seem to devote themselves to research in an adequate fashion.

That’s been the area in that we’ve invested incredibly heavily. We’re not even that big of a company. There are supplement companies that are many times our size that still don’t have nearly as much invested in R&D. We have, at this point, a six-person in-house R&D team, plus a 30-person scientific advisory board outside of that, going on 30 studies at this point. The goal is not just how you make a profitable company. That’s wildly easier. The goal is how we advance the field of research and bring progressively better products, better science, and better education to people in a scalable fashion that are both effective and safe. Usually, you have safe but not all that effective or effective but not all that safe. Hitting both of those simultaneously does require substantial research.

You can be safe but not effective or effective but not safe. If you want to hit both, you need substantial research. Click To Tweet

Before we started, for those reading, I told James that in the building that my office is at, there is a place called the Optimum Human. They only have the best of everything there. The guy that started it is Matt Finkelstein. His why is better way as well, but he’s like us on steroids. Maybe not like you on steroids because you’re pretty much right there with him. He flipped the words from better way to way better.

Everything he touches has to be way better. He has Qualia Mind there. That’s where the interest was for me in talking with you about this because I didn’t know much about it. I used it and liked it. I couldn’t tell you this story that we’re getting now. I couldn’t tell you anything about the company other than if it’s up there, it’s probably good enough for me. This has been helpful in figuring that out. Let’s get to your first big product, which was Qualia Mind. If you haven’t heard of it, take a look at it online. What does it do? What is Qualia Mind all about?

Because of the scientific approach we’ve taken, it’s an interesting thing. Most products on the market, if they are effective, they’re trying to typically increase one or more neurotransmitters. In our case, we’re not trying to do that. The nature of our product is designed to bring the system into balance or homeostasis and increase capacity from there. The idea is there are times when you need more of a certain neurotransmitter or times when you need less. What we want is to be able to create the formulas that allow your body to do that in real-time, so you become increasingly adaptive to reality.

Before we go there, why don’t you clarify for everybody what a Neurohacker is?

A Neurohacker is a term we came up with. In essence, it’s the intentional use of various forms of chemistry or technology to enhance neurology or your brain function. In our case, we’re more focused on the chemistry side, but there are all kinds of technologies as well. There are things like neurostimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Essentially, rather than living life as a standard, it’s choosing to study and invest in what are the key things out there that can make meaningful improvements in the shortest amount of time possible within a reasonable safety profile.

BYW S4 36 | Quality Of Life
Quality Of Life: A neurohacker, in essence, is the intentional use of various forms of chemistry or technology to enhance brain function.


Essentially, we want to find a way to make our brains work better and how we can hack the system to create a better life through enhanced brain function. That led you to Qualia Mind, which does that. If I take Qualia Mind, in layman’s terms, what is that going to do for me?

Most people have a positive experience within the first day or two. Usually, what you start to notice right away is reductions in procrastination. The things that have been sitting on your desk for way too long, all of a sudden, you feel motivated to do them. There are also improvements in processing speed, how much information you can digest and make sense of, and how quickly you can do that. There are improvements in memory, both short-term and long-term. One of the key areas is working memory on how much information you can hold in real-time at a given moment. Those things all generally start to take place within very short order and become progressively more so over the course of a few weeks.

BYW S4 36 | Quality Of Life
Quality Of Life: In a day or two after taking Qualia Mind, you’ll notice a faster processing speed, memory improvement, and less procrastination. This will only increase over the course of a few weeks.


Some of the things like memory take a little bit of time for the nutrition to work inside your system before you get the full benefit, but you usually start to notice some of those changes right out of the gate. There are also key changes in mood and outlook. Almost everyone who takes the product starts noticing that they become more present. That’s one of the pieces I enjoy hearing about the most. I love hearing people being smarter, intelligent, and effective, but when people write in testimonials that all of a sudden they’re more present with their family and more in tune with their children and their relationship and see improvements in their meditation practice, these things are the things that tend to excite me the most.

How is Qualia Mind different than taking a handful of vitamins? You see these different vitamin packs that promise the world. How is it different than your typical vitamins?

Substantially. We include a number of vitamins because there are key vitamins that the brain needs to be able to operate even just functionally but particularly optimally. Most people don’t get enough vitamins in their diet. There are things there, but there are all kinds of minerals. There are many types of amino acids and botanical extracts. Each one is designed to be able to support different aspects of brain function. Some of them are being able to support better production of dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine and to do those in multiple fashions because everyone’s physiology is so different. If you use a single ingredient or single approach, what ends up happening is something will work well for one person but won’t necessarily work well for somebody else.

The nature of how we’ve designed is we’re usually using multiple ingredients for each use case. As a result, it’s being able to get meaningfully positive effects across almost everyone. When we’ve done surveys around it, we see about 92% of people who take the product notice a meaningfully positive result. If you look at supplements in general, from the stats I’ve seen, it’s usually about a 15% positive response rate. If you take a good multivitamin for the brain, about 15% of people will probably have a good effect on that. The way that we’ve approached it with this much more complex orientation allows for a higher degree of effect but also affects a much larger population.

I have a friend who has one of the larger vitamin company essentially. I asked him. I said, “What percentage of health fitness would you attribute to taking the right vitamins?” He said less than 4%. What you are talking about is something totally different than that. What you’re talking about is the mind versus the body.

For this particular product, yes. We have other products that address different parts of the body at this point. I don’t disagree with him in general. I would orient it at a higher percentage than that. One of the things where people get off paths sometimes is they’ll find a great supplement and be like, “I’m going to do this, but it’s the only thing I’m going to do.” That doesn’t work. Supplements, based on their name, they’re designed to be supplemental.

This is on top of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re not getting good quality sleep or enough of it, if you don’t have a good diet and you take supplements, it will help somewhat, but it’s not going to help nearly as much as if you’re doing all the baseline things that we all know to be doing, just maybe aren’t. When you are doing those things and taking the right supplements on top of it, that’s when you start to get the exponential benefits that kick in.

You said what I was trying to say, but much better. That’s what I meant. If you don’t follow all the other things and just take a supplement, it’s not going to do much for you. It’s that last little thing that will get you to another level, but only if you’re doing the rest. What you’re talking about is not necessarily related to that. What you’re talking about gets your brain functioning better so that you want to do those other things so that you have a better outlook, you are more present, and your brain processes faster.

What you said there is a key piece, and it was for me personally. When I hit such a degree of burnout, I knew I should be exercising more. I knew I should be sleeping better. I just couldn’t. I didn’t have the energy and wherewithal to make it happen. Starting to get into nootropics and eventually into our product gave me the energy and motivation to be able to start doing all of the other lifestyle factors. It goes both ways because you get an increased benefit when you’re doing the right supplements on top of everything. If you also know you’re supposed to be doing it, and you can’t get there, sometimes the right supplements can help you get over that edge and be able to take the right actions, then move everything in the better direction.

Now you’ve developed Qualia Mind. What took place after that? I know you’ve got other products because I have one. What are the other products? What was the reason for developing these other and going in these other directions?

Once we developed Qualia Mind and started seeing these remarkable types of effects with people, what became clear was that that same model of science we developed. This complex systems approach could be applied to almost any aspect of physiology and allow for creating meaningful products for addressing almost everything. We take this foundational approach. Getting people’s brains to function in order seems necessary for everything. From there, we said, “What comes next?” That ended up being, “Let’s focus on cell health.” That puts it in the domain of longevity. Increasing life expectancy is great. It’s something that we are trying to and achieving.

Increasing life expectancy is great, but improving health as a whole is more important. Click To Tweet

More important than that is how we improve health as a whole and make sure that the years you are on the planet are as healthy and vibrant as possible. One of the key ways to do that is to go foundational and make your cells work better. We ended up developing a product called Qualia Life. It’s a mitochondrial formula that is designed to increase the amount of energy that your cells can output and increase cellular metabolism.

As a result of these things, your cells start to work better, which means all of your tissues start to work better, which means essentially all of your health begins to improve in meaningful ways. This particular product does focus to a significant extent on NAD, which we talked about a little bit earlier. It’s not only focused there. There are many pathways that we’re touching on. NAD is one of the key ones and one of the few areas we’ve had the opportunity to study so far and saw remarkable increases in the amount of NAD levels in people’s blood.

We went from cognition to longevity. We’re still continuing to build products in the longevity space. We released a product called Qualia Senolytic, which most people don’t know what senolytic is. It’s essentially a compound that gets rid of senescent cells, which are also referred to as zombie cells. When cells are healthier, they are supposed to be able to continue to divide and replicate. When they lose that ability, they’re supposed to die off.

As we age, and particularly as our immune system stops working as well, a lot of times, what happens is cells lose that ability to continue to replicate, but they don’t die off. They sit there and take up resources that could be going into healthy cells. Even worse, they emit these chemicals that turn the rest of the cells around them senescent, and it speeds up the whole aging process.

One of our products is being able to help those senescent cells clear out in the system and allow all of the resources to go into healthy cells, supporting better aging across the board. We’ve continued in the longevity space. We’ve gone into a number of other areas. We have a product for being able to support the improved vision. We have products for increasing energy. We’re getting ready to launch a product for improving gut health both at the level of the gut with a cognitive focus. As most people don’t necessarily know, the majority of your neurotransmitters are produced in the gut. When gut health becomes off, not only do you have whatever digestive issues that might come from that, but it has a serious impact on mood and brain function. That product will be coming out soon.

As another better way guy talking to a better way guy because that’s my why as well, what do you think is going through my mind now when I start to hear about all these products? From my perspective and a consumer’s perspective, what I want is one thing. I don’t want ten or a handful. I want one thing that’s going to give me the biggest bang for my buck. If the readers are reading and they say, “That all sounds great, but I want to try it, and I want one thing. What is the one I should start with?”

I agree with you. Ideally, there would be one product. The inherent challenge there is it would be a very expensive product and a lot of volume of capsules to take. If you look at the things we’re doing, and you’re going to pick one, I’m going to break your rule, and I am going to give two. It depends on what your need is. Qualia Mind would be a key one. If the need is to be more motivated, have more intelligence, and be able to be more effective at what you’re doing in life, Qualia Mind would be that one.

It’s not just a cognitive product. It has benefits across all kinds of things, but it focuses there. If your primary goal is improved physical health, longevity, and improved recovery energy, I would say Qualia Life. Those are probably my two favorite products. I take all of them, but those are the ones I’m religious about because the effects are so significant that it doesn’t make sense not to. If you’re picking one, it’s one of those two depending on what the need is.

One of the challenges the supplement has, which I don’t think you have, is I take a handful of stuff and don’t feel anything. I don’t know if I take it or don’t take it. I don’t notice any difference. With your products, you notice a difference. You feel different, and your mind is different. It gives you the motivation to take them. There’s not much motivation to spend $100 a month taking a handful of vitamins, and I don’t notice a thing other than very expensive urine.

It’s hard to go on faith with something like that. If you understand the science behind it, and it’s not just faith, there are some of those things that should be done, but if you can have a noticeable benefit, not only is it a better experience of life, but it becomes much easier to make it a consistent practice. That’s part of why we invest so much in research. We don’t want to create things you have to go on faith with. You want to have a real experience and know that things are getting better, and be able to feel those changes in your body, brain, and mood.

Why the name Qualia?

Qualia is a term from philosophy. Most people aren’t familiar with it. What it essentially means is your subjective experience of self and life. How do you perceive yourself? How do you feel about yourself? How do you feel about the world? The reason that we chose the word qualia is our aim was to enhance or upgrade that subjective experience. It’s a little nerdy, but it has a deeper meaning behind it.

BYW S4 36 | Quality Of Life
Quality Of Life: Qualia means your subjective experience of self and life. It is how you perceive yourself and the world around you.


It has a meaning which is important. Instead of just a cool word, it has some meaning. For those of you that are reading, James’ why is to find a better way, and how he does that is by making things simple and easy to use. What he ultimately brings is a trusting relationship where people can count on him. Things have to be better, simple, and create a better relationship or are trustworthy. That’s super helpful to know because you take things and simplify them. Isn’t that the essence of what you’re doing?

Yes. I don’t do it on my own. What I do is find the best experts in the world doing the most complex, interesting things and figure out how to work with them to take that complex, innovative, hard-to-access thing and make it accessible and simpler. I tend to serve that intermediary role between what is cutting-edge and impactful and how we make it something people can access.

Here’s the last question. It can be unrelated or related. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or given?

One of my favorite quotes comes to mind there, which is, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. What the world needs is people who have come alive.” That particular one, when I heard it, stood out to me because I’ve always been someone who had a very strong drive to try to improve the world and the quality of life. For most of my life, the way I did that didn’t make me come alive.

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. Click To Tweet

It tapped into that sense of purpose in a beautiful way, but I was running myself into the ground. It was an upgrade in the way that I was holding an earlier understanding of how to be, which was how you live your purpose but in a way that enhances and makes your own quality of life extraordinary. By doing that, you inevitably have more energy and passion for delivering on the goal. It took me a long time to learn that, and in many ways, I still am.

Can you say that again?

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, for what the world needs are more people who have come alive.

I love that. That was good. I totally agree with you, but I’d never heard it put that way. That was awesome. James, if people want to learn more about you, your company, and your products, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you or your company?

In either case, the best way is to go to That’s where you can find information about all the products, our research, the education, and the best and easiest way to connect with me personally.

James, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. That was super fascinating. I’m going to run up after we’re done and get both of those. I’m going to get the Qualia Mind and the Qualia Life. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you. I enjoyed this. It was a great interview. I appreciate you having me on.

Thank you.

Thank you so much for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at with the code Podcast 50. You’ll get it at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using because it does help to get the word out and help us impact a billion lives in the next fifteen years. Thank you so much for reading. I will see you next episode.


Important Links


About James Schmachtenberger

BYW S4 36 | Quality Of LifeJames Schmachtenberger is a successful serial entrepreneur, with a lifelong focus on using business and innovation to effect large-scale change for the benefit of humanity. James is the co-founder and the CEO of Neurohacker Collective, a company focused on making groundbreaking products for health and well-being through complex systems science. His areas of expertise include nootropics, anti-aging and regenerative medicine, sleep and fast-paced entrepreneurialism.



So You Work With a Better Way…

If you work with or have a coworker with the WHY of Better Way, look out! Innovation coming through! Ideas galore! Those with the WHY of Better Way can’t seem to let their mind slow down; this can cause problems sleeping (I digress) but also a consistent influx of ideation. With a never ending ability to drum up new things in the work place, this is both great and hard on fellow coworkers.


Call a Quick Brainstorming/Ideation Meeting



brainstorming with a better way

Something I have found to be useful when working with Better Ways is that they often aren’t sure what they want, but they’ve come up with an idea and now it is up to you to run with it. This can cause a lot of misunderstanding when you bring it back to them and it wasn’t what they expected. So in order to help this confusion – have a quick 5-10 minute meeting to get on the same page and avoid confusions. Better Ways like to talk through things out-loud in order to ideate and innovate anyway so you’d really be doing them a favor.


Never Fully Finish a Project


Now it may sound contradictory to productivity but another pro tip when working with a Better Way is to never show them a finished product. If you spent all this time on a fully finished project and show it to them just for them to want to change everything so it’s “better” it can feel like what you put hours of work into isn’t appreciated. If you show them a first draft, they can “better way” the heck out of it initially, and let you finish everything up afterwards. This can often really speed up the process for both parties.


Blank Slates Aren’t Their Favorite – Help Them Out

spongebob thinking

One last thing I have learned is that Better Ways have a hard time creating from nothing. While they are great at innovation and coming up with ideas, they often don’t know what they want or don’t want until they see it. It is very hard to give them a blank piece of paper to create. If you do however, give them a paragraph or a design or whatever it may be that they can change and make better – they soar!

Use Their Ability to “Better” Things to Your Advantage

took their idea and made it better

Knowing that someone has the WHY of Better Way can really help you and the team as well. If you are stuck on a project, want some advice, or unsure how to improve it – show it to them. They can immediately help you alter words, designs, or anything to help “better” your project. Having someone with the WHY of Better Way on your team can sometimes feel like they have a hard time moving initially (finding the right words to type or creating from scratch) but with direction, an outline or draft, they can succeed to new heights. They will never stop improving and innovating and a good company needs that kind of a big thinker.






To discover if your WHY is Better Way click HERE

To share with your Better Way coworker simply copy the URL and laugh about it together.


How To Move Forward Amidst Adversity: Find A Better Way With Michael Johnson

BYW S4 10 | Better Way


This episode focuses on the WHY of Better Way. Dr. Gary Sanchez’s guest is Michael Johnson, the owner of Shock Wave Defense. Michael is the ultimate innovator who always looks for a better way to do everything. Join in the conversation to witness how Michael’s WHY plays out in his life, starting with martial arts. Today, he trains the public, law enforcement, and military personnel on how to function properly in resistant environments. If you like to find a better way, you’d love to tune in to this episode. Don’t miss out!

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Move Forward Amidst Adversity: Find A Better Way With Michael Johnson

We’re going to be talking about the why of a better way. If this is your why, then you are the ultimate innovator and you are constantly seeking ways to do everything better. You find yourself wanting to improve anything by finding a way to make it better. You also desire to share your improvements with the world. You constantly ask yourself questions like, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?”

You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto, “I’m often pleased but never satisfied.” You are excellent at associating, which means that you are adept at taking ideas or systems from one industry or discipline and applying them to another, always with the ultimate goal of improving something.

I’ve got a great guest for you. He is a perfect example of this. Starting in the martial arts world at two years old, Michael Johnson continues to grow his knowledge and career in combative. He opened Shockwave Defense in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2002, which combined experiences that yielded life conviction, behavioral psychology and multiple black belt rankings into his interpretation of defense called Bellicusology, the study of militant, martial and warfare ways.

He holds a BA in Criminology from the University of New Mexico and as the Honorary Squadron Commander for 512th Rescue Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Johnson has done bodyguard work for celebrities such as Xzibit, and was the primary deadly force combatives instructor for the Florida Department of Corrections and their special teams.

His instruction has reached over 19,000 officers in the Department of Correction and has trained multiple officers from other agencies, as well as the Silver City Police Department in New Mexico. He’s a Certified NRA Firearm Instructor and a Professional Lecturer through the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. He teaches domestically and abroad including Taiwan, Yokota AFB and Tokyo, Japan, where he trained the 459th Airlift Squadron, how to defend themselves and their aircraft should a hostile actor try to take over the aircraft.

His tried and tested skills have been tested against underground, full-contact fighters. He has over 55 full contact stick weapon fights. He continues to train the public as well as law enforcement and military personnel in how to function in resistant environments. Additionally, he and his team produced films and judgmental training software scenarios to aid first responders in dealing with violent individuals in shoot and no-shoot scenarios.

Michael, welcome to the podcast.

I’m glad to be on your show.

I’m looking forward to this for a long time because you’ve got a very fascinating story. What you’re doing intrigues a lot of people especially CEOs that are wanting to figure out how to protect themselves. Before we get into that, let’s go back through your life. Tell everybody a little bit about you. Go back into your childhood. Tell us about where you came from, how you got into the martial arts and that whole story.

My why is a better way. The how and the what are also significant factors in this. My how is through simplification, to simplify and then the ultimate thing there is to make sense. I need to make sense out of things. I’ll talk about the nine pillars that shifted my life from when I was a kid. They don’t happen to you. They happen for you. If you understand a lot of elements and things such as the why is an important aspect here, you’ll go, “This makes sense. This is why.”

BYW S3 10 | Better Way
Better Way: Never give up; just keep moving forward.

I’ll get started with this mindset of what I train executive warriors. I have a few different products won for men who are dealing with harsh environments and life-changing events that have taken place, anything from a harsh business decision, family upset, death in the family to dealing with infidelity. Any of those lines that they might be facing, how to handle that mentally but then also how to channel that in a positive way, through being able to protect themselves and their families.

This whole concept is about awakening the warrior within you and using what you have to get what you want. I’ll start with the very first element. The first one was the darkness. I remember when I was younger. I was in my bassinet and the moon used to terrify me. One of the things that I recall was my dad hated hearing us cry at night. He would take me out of my bassinet and put me in the closet. It made it quieter.

From that standpoint of me being in there, I was terrified. I’d be crying. It was harder. He’d come back, hear me crying, whack my rear-ended. Sitting in the darkness was one of the first powers that supercharged my development in understanding both the criminal mind and how to utilize things that we’re afraid of. Most people are afraid of the darkness until they learn how to use it. The first element here is what you start with. It’s not what happens to you. It’s what happens for you.

The next event that was a big part for me was the blade. It was about five years old. I had a knife to my throat. The person was telling me they’re going to slit my throat and stuff my body behind the television so my parents couldn’t find me. That shifted the way I looked at fear and violence. When you’re so helpless, small and don’t have the power to defend yourself in a situation like that, that’s going to change the way you look at everything that you do as you get older to be able to protect and defend yourself. Your tactics are going to be very different.

Most people are afraid of the darkness until they learn how to use it. Click To Tweet

A lot of people look at these events like, “That’s so horrible.” I remember one guy who wanted to do a documentary on my life. He goes like, “Most people go through one thing. You went through a whole bunch. We could do ten documentaries on you.” He almost said it was unbelievable that all these things happened. I said, “I can see that but it’s all documented. You can go find it.”

A unique thing about what other people consider horrible things happened to you are not happening to you. They’re happening for you. It’s going to help shape you into a motivation and drive that’s going to shift the way you think, how you ask yourself questions and what your why is. These all help form who you are.

After the blade, the next one was the brokenness. It seems mild compared to the other events but my dog had died and she was my best friend. As a kid, I lived in the East mountains. I didn’t have anybody to talk to. My parents would go, “Go outside and play with the dog.” That dog was my best friend and when it died, I realized that I did not have any power to bring this animal back. I lost my best friend. You learn how to control the controllable. That’s a tough situation to deal with. Inside of that, that went on. My parents got this horrible divorce and both went separate ways. That added to that area where you can’t control the controllables.

The next big thing that was a huge impact on my life was the lawsuit. The first person that ever sued me was my mother. That was such a unique situation. She was upset because I was in a situation where I was leading the business and she handled things differently. Her fight with life and everybody around her. She didn’t deal with things well on aspects like that.

It was like, “You’re wronging me. I’m going to go after you, destroy you and do everything to you that I did to your dad that led to divorce.” On that court stand, there were a lot of elements inside of there. In my head, I was like, “This is ridiculous and crazy.” What you end up doing from that is if your mother sues you, anyone will sue you. From that point forward, everything was in writing. Leveraging and using it to make it something bigger.

BYW S3 10 | Better Way
Better Way: When you learn how to separate consciousness from emotion, it’s like standing in the eye of the hurricane.

After that, I was homeless. I was living in my car. I ended up finishing college and moved out to Florida. I wanted to experience Florida. I’d never been there. It probably wasn’t the best judgment decision of moving out there and ended up living out of my car, in and out of Motel 6. It was at that point that I understood this concept of the yes. It didn’t matter how many noes I got. It was the yeses that mattered. I ended up finally getting a job. I got 150-square-foot apartment. I was able to start building this company I’d worked on before I left called Shockwave Defense.

I was building it on an ice chest, my laptop and a beach chair that was sinking in the center. It was cutting off the circulation in my legs so I couldn’t sit down for longer than 5 or 6 minutes and ended up putting a board across there so I could try and sit on the board. I don’t have a whole lot of fat on me so my rear end was going numb. It’s such a crazy time in my life. I had an air mattress that I bought from Walmart or something like that at the time. I’d fill it up at night. In the morning, you’re on the floor. It was a huge emotional challenge.

You sat down and start realizing who’s who. People that I thought were good people that were going to help me didn’t help me. The people that were supposed to be bad people reached out their hands and kindness. They were like, “I’ll help you if I can. I’ll pray for you.” I came back from that. I move back to Albuquerque and started opening my school. I have my best friend at the time. I met him when I was probably 6 and he was 5. This guy and I grew up together and saw each other at least 4 or 5 times a week, every single day throughout our lives.

I was debating whether or not I was going to put this in here because it was such a painful memory for me. He helped me build my school and stayed up all night. You know how it is launching a business. You’re putting all your energy into it 24 hours a day. I don’t hear from him for about a week. His girlfriend called me first. She goes, “Have you heard from Kyle?” I said, “No, I haven’t heard from him.” I figured he was ignoring her because she was a nice person but I figured he was probably blowing her off. His mom called. I was like, “I haven’t heard from him.” Then his dad called and that’s when I got concerned. It was all in a matter of a day.

They’re like, “Can you go to his house and see if there’s this black box?” Apparently, his mom had bought him a 0.22 for Christmas and that was gone. We started this rescue search for him. We ended up finding him up in the Jemez Mountains. He went up to the mountains and killed himself. For whatever reasons, it was unknown to me. His poor mother was so devastated by it.

She was like, “How can you be his best friend and not know that he would kill himself?” That put an additional level of stress on me. I was like, “I don’t know.” I felt bad. I’m his best friend. Then she was like, “If you didn’t know then you must’ve done it.” I was like, “This is horrible.” Not only that I lose my best friend but this person is trying to cope in their own way of being able to figure it out so they blame me. It was a standard suicide.

It doesn’t matter how many nos you have. It’s the yeses that matter. Click To Tweet

Everybody that was there, from the PJs because they had to call in the PJs due to the place, he was in the mountains, to the law enforcement they’re like, “This is a standard suicide.” The officers apologized to me. They said, “I’m so sorry. She’s searching for answers.” I’m like, “That was devastating.” If you lost your best friend and this other person is trying to point the finger at you or anyone else, they can make sense out of it.

After that, I was like, “This sucks.” You keep going, never give up and keep moving forward. I started riding motorcycles and was into that for a little while. I got hit by a car head-on on my motorcycle. I flew off. On all accounts, I probably should’ve been killed from it but I got up and walked away. I remember hearing this very powerful and authoritative voice when she hit me head-on said, “It’s not your time. Guard your head.”

That sounded like great advice. I covered up. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced having flesh ripped off your body sliding across the asphalt but it sucks. It teaches you a lot of pain tolerance. Every time a warrior feel pain, that’s your new pain threshold. It happens the same in business. When you go through something horrible, you’re everything compared to getting hit by a car because the girl wanted to update her Facebook or whatever.

I’m pointing these nine pillars because for a lot of people, they would think, “I would give up. I’d be done.” You’ve got to ask yourself what’s your why? Why do you continue going? Why do you keep fighting? I end up in a situation where I have this woman that I fall in love with and I have a child with her. I find out six months after my daughter is born that she’s cheating on me with not one but multiple men. I was devastated. It was one of those things that you sit down and you’re like, “WTF.” It’s one of those things where you’re like, “This is horrible.”

That in itself for me, out of all the events up to that point probably the hardest I’d ever been through. There’s a thing inside of you as a warrior that you’re used to fighting the external but when the enemy is from within, it hurts so bad that you can’t figure out how to conquer that enemy. It starts to tear you apart and break down your mind. It’s not something you can run from. It’s like food poisoning. You’ve got to let it pass.

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Better Way: No matter what anybody does, do whatever it takes to ensure your family and friends are taken care of.

You wake up in the middle of the night with these horrible dreams. It was a rough experience. Then 8, 9 years later dealing with the judicial system of a family law system, it is such an asinine concept. It makes zero sense. You go through these different events and end up realizing that every single one of them is a gift. Not one of these things happened to me. They happened for me.

As I was thinking, I went through all these different events as I was getting ready for our chat on your show. I thought you only want to pick the ones that were impactful in my life because I had a bunch of other stuff that went on. The point is at the end of the day, understanding who you are and why you do what you do is what’s going to give you the drive to keep pushing forward.

The Lord has blessed me. I make no qualms about it. Without God, I would not be here. I’ve had a very interesting life. I’ve had a life that at times, although I use it for good, while I was going through it, it sucked. None of these events were like, “Let’s do that again.” I was like, “F that, this sucks.” When you sit down and look at all these different variances as they happen, each one of these elements are gifts from above to allow you to be stronger.

Let me ask you something about that, Michael. When did you realize that these happened for you instead of to you? How old were you? What was it that made you realize that distinction? That’s a huge distinction.

I’ll be honest with you. I was trying to get my mind focused, especially as a young man. Honestly, probably not until I was in my 30s. In my twenties, I was like, “What the hell?” You sit down like, “God either loves me or hates my guts. Why does this stuff keep happening? Can you let me die already?” The moment for me was I had different clients that I would work with and they were at the brink of losing it. They’re like, “I’m ready to end it.”

With all of these different variances that I got to go through, I could give them multiple different answers to a very temporary problem that they were about to make a permanent answer to and be able to pull them out of that arena. Probably it’s in my late 20s, early 30s that I realized God is allowing this to happen because of a prayer that I made when I was a child. I had forgotten about it up until that point.

Martial artists and experiencing the things that happened for me when I was a kid, I remember one time I was watching the evening news and this woman had been brutally attacked. I remember going to my room and I prayed. I got on my knees and said, “God, I can’t always be there but if you could let these things happen to me instead of them, I’m willing to take it on.” At that age, I did not understand fully what I was asking but the Lord blessed me with answering my prayer.

I can pretty much talk to anybody who’s going through anything. Sit down with them and give them a different perspective from a different lens that helps them overcome those moments of fear and pain. It’s all about your focus. There are over two billion bits of information trying to get into your head at any given moment. The conscious has a tendency to chase emotion. When you sit down and start understanding that consciousness and emotion are not one of the same, that you can separate the two of them, you can start understanding what you’re going to choose to focus on.

When you start choosing what you’re going to focus on, you’ll be able to see what makes sense to you instead of the elements of what is being presented to you. Whatever you give your attention to, that owns your mind, heart and soul. If it owns your mind, it owns you. What you have to do is control the three things. This will help you go into the unknown with confidence because life is such a unique world. You can control the controllables but outside of that, you can’t control anything else.

I remember one time a guy was like, “That guy over there, do you think you could take him if he was trying to hurt your daughter?” I said, “Yeah.” He goes, “You don’t know anything about him.” I said, “I don’t care. I don’t need to know anything about him. What I know it was about me. I’m willing to die to protect my daughter. Even if he wins, he can enjoy his victory with one eye because he’s leaving here with an ass-kicking.” It’s about what you focus and what your mind is on.

Understanding who you are and why you do what you do will give you the drive to keep pushing forward. Click To Tweet

The first counteroffensive that you use when you’re dealing with all these different scenarios is the three Vs that give you power. You have to learn to control because they are your controllables. As creatures made in the image of our maker, we are given the power to give meaning. People say, “I can control my thoughts.” You can’t. You’ve been to one of my courses, Gary. How quickly can I live between that space between your ears?

If I want to get in your head, I’ll be in your head. Your job as a warrior is to guard the gate of your mind and control vision, voice and visceral. The vision is the media playing out in your head and the meaning that you’re giving that. The voice is the talking. What is being said? Do you tell yourself every single day when you walk past the mirror, “My rear end looks horrible. My waistline is disgusting. Look are those bags under my eyes?”

You have to be able to get your mind wrapped in a different direction of that internal dialogue. “What’s happening there? Are you controlling yourself? Are you in control? Are you separating your consciousness from the emotion and insecurity?” There are different things that will trigger these things. For example, a lot of the men that I work with and coach on dealing with infidelity had this visceral response. They’ll see a car drive fly that reminds them of something that was going on in that event.

It’ll immediately put pictures in their mind. An internal dialogue starts recidivating, going through and building this loop. We all have this loop. If we stay in that loop and keep playing, it’ll suck the life right out of you. It’ll pull the energy away from your soul, productivity and business. That’s the hardest part about controlling all of these events when you’re in them. They’re rough. When you learn how to separate consciousness from emotion, it’s like standing in the eye of the hurricane. The exterior is moving with tremendous force and power but in the center it’s calm.

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Better Way: Life is a struggle, but the more comfortable you can get being uncomfortable, the more successful you’ll be in life.

When I was telling you some of the stuff, I was annoyed about it. You said, “How do you keep calm?” You exercise through these things, even if it’s a speck of dust in the eye of the hurricane. There was more coming but you learn how to fight through it. When we look at the why, the mindset behind that, there is so much leverage if you can understand what your purpose is.

When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me, “If you walk this Earth, you haven’t changed this world and made it better then you should have never been born.” I believe that. That’s part of what I train the men that I coach and work with. We have female students as well but I have a group specifically that I work with men. I call it the Phoenix Rising because it’s about them living a 2K life. Most of Christ’s works were done in three years. We’re talking about them 2,000 years later. Have the last three years of your life been worth living or talking about for the next 2,000? That’s a powerful thing.

How did you learn all this? Take us through the path that you’ve been on. It’s a fascinating path and there’s a lot of spikes and valleys. How did you learn what you’re sharing? Who was your mentor for what you’re sharing with us?

God. People try to say, “Was there somebody else?” One of those things I prayed when I was on my knees is I said, “Father, I don’t have a father. I need you to be my father. I don’t know how to be a man, a dad or even a father. Will you teach me?” He’s the one that gifted me the discernment, wisdom, articulation, ability to understand it and translate it into a way that people can understand in a way that is clear and has that clarity.

The only way I can say it is in truth. Even when we were doing the underground fights, a lot of the tactics we’d start studying and all of a sudden, I’d have this dream of this amazing concept. I’d go use it and be beating people with this concept that they had never seen. They’re like, “Where’d you learn that?” They wanted to hear some cool Filipino or Asian guy’s name. I’m like, “I dreamt about it last night.” There are levels where he spoke to me in dreams. He’s given me these insights and wisdom. I’m not trying to say I can float above everybody else. I don’t feel that.

What I do feel is that the credit is to him because I would have never gathered this knowledge on my own. There was nobody to teach it. I didn’t have people around me to teach that knowledge. There’s one of the events I left out but fascinating. When my mom was trying to raise us by herself, growing up, she had so much opposition coming against her. She got to a point where she was like, “I want to date.” She married this guy that was a whack job. He kept threatening to kill us all in our sleep. I’m 140 pounds. This dude is 6’5, 6’6 and 240.

I used to have to physically fight this guy almost every other weekend. The one that kept me safe and gave the insights of articulation and understanding was Elohim. It may not be the answer that the audience is looking for but it’s the only answer I have to give them. God gave me the insight to articulate this, understand it and have a discerning eye to see it, the vision, voice, visceral. As I was going into meditation, I was like, “What are the things that mess with us in our reality?” This is what came to me.

Let’s go back a little bit because I don’t know if the audience understands how you got into martial art yourself. Where did you take it? How it shape you for what you’re doing?

Initially, my grandfather started in the arts back in the ’20s. Ironically, his life was probably similar to mine in a lot of aspects. His dad took off when him and his sister were young. When his mom saw that, she took off. At the age of 12 or 13, he started raising himself and his older sister. Samuel Johnson, the guy was such a stud.

When people say, “If you respect somebody, who would that somebody be?” It’s him because he followed this path and felt the Lord paid for him. He quit school and started taking care of his sister at the age of 12 or 13. Martial arts was the only thing for himself. Being a Black man back in the ’20s and ’30s, that was not a good time to be a Black dude. He had to deal with a ton of oppression and all sorts of levels of resistance but he kept a roof over his and his sister’s head. He ended up meeting my grandmother who already had my dad.

He jumped into that scenario and then took on that family as his own. He started training my dad at a very early age, as I understand, from when he was eleven. He got his first black belt when he was 16, 17 years old. He loved the martial arts and continued pursuing it. At the time, the biggest craze was this episode called the Green Hornet. My dad flew out to Seattle to train under a guy named James Lee. James brought in a guest speaker that evening who announced his presence by kicking the heavy bag and shaking the whole building. My dad turned around and Bruce Lee was standing there.

Pain is temporary, but your reputation will outlive your flesh. Click To Tweet

A lot of people don’t understand this. Bruce Lee is a giant but it wasn’t until after he died that his name and reputation got huge. Back then, it’s the Green Hornet, a B-rated movie. People didn’t understand the power of how talented that man was. My dad with his experience in martial arts looked at Bruce and was like, “This guy’s phenomenal.”

At the time, my dad had seven black belts in different martial arts and then went to spar with Bruce Lee. He beat the hell out of him. Bruce beat the hell out of my dad. You got to understand my dad was a bodybuilder also. He’s a very talented guy, muscular, healthy, strong and this small Asian guy that weighs about 140 pounds soaking wet, 5’7” whoops him.

He asked him, “What are you doing after class?” He goes, “I’m flying back to Seattle. I’ll be there tomorrow.” My dad quit his job, went back to the Chinatown School in California and started training under Bruce from ’67 to ’69. I started training when I was about two years old. Bruce Lee was my dad’s best man at his first wedding with my sister’s mother. Long story short, he was like, “You should probably jump into movies with me.” My dad was like, “I don’t feel like doing that.” He’s trying to talk him out of it.

My dad went ahead. They had a part of time where they weren’t talking as much and then Bruce dies. My dad then flies out to China to go train with Bruce Lee’s instructor, Ip Man. By the time he got there, Ip Man had died and so he trained with his son, Ip Chun. When they came back, there were all these martial arts schools that have popped up all over the place after Bruce had died because his name was like wildfire. It swept the nation.

Every place you looked, there was a Kung Fu School. In this scenario, that’s when they moved to New Mexico. I started doing my training at the age of two. I started my daughter at the age of three in the defense. What we did is we went from studying the basics all the way to trying to figure out what the simplification was. I remember my first fight in eighth grade. The guy that I got on a flight plastered me because I was trying to do all these stupid martial arts moves. He smacked and knocked me out cold.

I remember one of the last things my buddy said was, “He got you good,” as I’m passing out. When I came to it, I was like, “Where is he?” He’s like, “He left. He wrote a book. He has a novel. You were out for a minute.” That shifted the way I looked at martial arts. It’s blasphemy to say this but most martial arts are garbage. Ninety-five percent of the stuff is nonsense. It’s that 4% or 5% that works in real-time and resistant environments against multiple opponents, weapon conditions and fighting inside of vehicles that had worked well.

That was the initiation of where I started looking at it differently. After I started doing the underground fights some people started seeing those on YouTube and paying attention. We trained 512th Rescue Squadron out here, flew out to Japan and train the 459th Airlift Squadron. From there, the Ecuadorian Special Forces heard about us. We went out to go train the Ecuadorian Special Forces, got to work with their defense minister’s bodyguards and meet the people at their version of the Pentagon, which was super cool. From there, we went to South Africa and train the tactical response team. It’s been taking off ever since. It’s been a huge blessing.

It would be fascinating for people to know because most of us will never experience a fight room or fight club. What is it like going into a fight club? How does it work? What did you experience? Why did you do it?

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Better Way: Dauntless is a basic training program on how to overcome fear.

Initially, I did it because I was pissed. I had found out that my kid’s mom was cheating on me. I was having some serious issues handling my temper. It’s such a devastating thing to find out about. There were two events. It’s not my personality. I’m not the guy that gets pissed because you flipped me off in traffic but this guy cut and flipped me off. I started crawling out of the vehicle after him.

I’m sitting there with one of my instructors and he’s like, “It seems like you’ve got some anger issues.” I’m like, “What?” He’s like, “Let’s probably channel that the correct way. There’s a group I know about. You can go in there, fight with sticks, chains, microwaves and bullwhips. You can fight 2-on-2, 3-on-3, 5-on-5, whatever you want. There are no rules, no judges and no refs and you won’t go to prison.” I was like, “I’m in. Sign me up.”

I went in and trained for it. When I first watched the videos of these other guys doing it, I was like, “You guys are idiots. You are sitting in there beating the hell out of each other with sticks and all these other weapons.” I thought I’ll do one to get this thing out of me, deal with it and then 60 fights later, I’m still doing it. There’s something anthropologic for a male specifically about hitting another human being with a stick. It feels very natural.

I know that sounds crazy but once I did it for the first time, I remember that night after the fights. I went to bed and there was no ambient on the planet that will give you a peaceful night’s sleep like fighting a human being. The very first guy that I fought looked exactly like the guy that my ex cheated on me with. I was like, “Thank you, God.” I didn’t care if I won or lost. I want to beat his ass. I fought him. That night when I went to bed, I slept like a baby. I didn’t even think I moved that night.

The psychology of going into it is a lot. If you’re going to compare it, a lot of it is like the fear you have in running a business for the people that are fighters. There’s a serious level of fear and of, “Is this going work? If it doesn’t work, what’s going to happen? Am I going to lose everything? Am I going to die? Am I going to not be able to provide for my family?” It forces you to face your fears and fight through them because pain is temporary but your reputation will outlive your flesh.

When you get into that mindset, where you go, “I’m going all the way and playing all out,” that is the only way to live. If you want to leave a name and live a life that we’re talking about for 2,000 years, you can’t go into it halfway and go, “I don’t want to get hurt.” “F that. If I get hurt, that’s cool. Give me a cool story.” You’ve got to get into that mindset of how are you going to get to that next level, how are you going to build your psychology and your heart and mind so you can lift the people around you up. All this stuff is fine and dandy, but it’s not about glory.

I’m not saying it to try and sound poetic. Sometimes you’ll hear religious people, “It’s not about my glory but God’s,” as they sit there, try and get their own glory. What this boils down to is energy is constant. It can’t be created or destroyed. What talks about you when you leave this earth? Your absence has to be your presence. That’s based on the lives you touched while you were on this earth, the frequency you put in other people through the energy. What glorifies God’s name is your ability to keep pushing through the pain, keep driving through all the adversity and then still have the frequency and energy to smile.

When you tell people about the horrendous things that have happened to you, you’re doing it with a smile on your face. People are like, “Weren’t you scared?” “Yeah, I thought I was going to die but here we are.” You got to get that mindset where you move to that next level. I’ve been very blessed that even through these things, I’ve had some awesome and amazing mentors in my life that the Lord has given me and he’s given me wisdom.

I’ve also noticed that he’s given me people in my life that have helped me, and Steve Maestas was one of those. He’s a good friend of mine, a mutual friend of both of ours. When I was first training at my first school, I was teaching out of a storage container. I ran an ad in a thrifty nickel. Steve Maestas found it, came down and trained. I didn’t know the guy was as powerful as he was as a person and also on business.

He came in and played along. I started looking at the cars. He was showing up to class and I’m like, “What are you doing? How do I do it?” He goes, “I’ll coach you but here’s how this is going to go.” He gave me some insights and I appreciated that. He’s a very giving human being. He’s a great dude and that was a blessing. He gives back a ton to his community.

For courage to exist, fear has to be present. Click To Tweet

With that being said, going into a fight and then understanding the business aspects are very similar in that. The other thing is learning how to turn it on and off. You can’t walk around pissed off all the time. When you have a reputation like our school and facility do, everybody wants to fight you. I saw this in school when I was a kid. Kids think if they can beat me up, they can beat up Bruce Lee because my dad trained under him. Everybody in the room wants to kick the hell out of me. It was an interesting childhood and not much has changed in that aspect. I’ll walk by somebody and they’re like, “I don’t like that guy.” “I don’t even know you. Do you want to fight me?”

Describe for everybody that’s never going to be there what a fight club is. Where do they host these things? Is it a house? Take us into your mind as you were going that first time to this fight club not knowing what you got yourself into. What did you see? What were you feeling? What happened?

I’ve been skydiving. The moment that you let go of the plane, you feel like baptized in fire. All these chemicals are rushing through your body. It’s a mixture between that and standing on the high dive for the first time and getting ready to jump. There was a ton of this anxiety, fear and concern. I had martial artists that were friends of mine forever. They’re like, “Don’t fight these guys. They’re going to try and maim you.” I was like, “What’s the point? What are we doing here?” The whole reason we’re doing this is if somebody is trying to maim us at work. I’d rather find out in this controlled environment and find out when I’m around my daughter or something.

It was a totally different mindset, walking in there and they’re hosted everywhere. We have our own group. We fought in another guy’s group, and that one was in a martial arts school but sometimes they’re done under bridges, warehouses and parks. I’ve fought in all sorts of different places. It’s something that you go into with the ideology that you want to do the best that you can to not permanently injure that person for the rest of their life but make no doubt where they’re to hurt each other inside of that environment.

There’s a brotherhood to it though. My job is to push you as hard as I can but I will tell you, as I’ve done this more, I’m not trying to break people the way that I was when I first started. When I first started, I didn’t care. If I could wreck you, I’d wreck you because I had a lot of anger in my heart. As I sat down and started getting past that, I realized this is more to help men channel.

There are girls that’ll fight in these things too but it’s more to help men channel that aggression that built-up angst. I get a lot of guys that go, “I always wanted to be in the military but instead, I became a dentist.” They did what everybody told them to do versus what their heart led them to. This gives them a channel where they can execute and exercise it out. That’s one aspect of the many experiences that I’ve done in life. I want everybody to think, “This guy fights in underground fights.” That’s part of it. I’ve had an amazing life.

I used to have a pet Cobra because I was afraid of Cobra so I wanted to learn how to handle this thing. If it’d bite me, I would die in eight minutes. She was beautiful. I named her Halo. She was this albino monocle. She had silky-smooth pink and white skin. She was very pissy. I eventually got rid of her because she kept trying to bite me. I had four people have dreams that she bit me and I died. I was like, “That’s probably a sign.”

That’s one element of the many aspects that I have gone through in my life. Mixed all the things that you have of the unknown into one pot and then walk up with confidence. That’s what going into a flight club is like. Imagine taking everything that you were afraid of, both physically and emotionally and people are going to embarrass you. There’s a huge imposter syndrome when you go into something like that. You’re like, “These guys are going to beat me and then pull my underwear over my head.” This is fear that you’re going to go out and these people are going to screw you.

In order for the courage to exist, fear has to be present. With my fighting, guys would come out afterward like, “I’ve never seen anybody move like that. What’s your secret?” I’m like, “I don’t like pain.” I don’t want to lose and get hurt. I was fighting so hard and fast giving everything I had because I knew what it was like to lose from that guy that broke my nose in eighth grade. The greatest gift anybody ever gave me was him breaking my face.

After that, I was like, “That sucked.” I looked like a raccoon for three months. My eyes were black. My nose was all smashed into my face. I was like, “Thank you.” That gave me the motivation and drive that I was like, “If somebody wants to beat me again, they better pack a lunch because I’m going to go all out.” That’s the element that you need in business also. It’s learning how to thrive and function in the unknown with confidence. It’s such a hard world to live in. We get so caught up.

Tell me what you know about what’s going on in the world. We don’t have a freaking clue. Everything you’re being taught or fed is some agenda propaganda. Here’s what I do know. God is in control. No matter what anybody does, I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure my family, brothers and friends are taken care of. I don’t need to know what’s going on in everything else because that can suck all my energy out.

“I know me. I keep going no matter what. If you want to beat me, you better freaking pack a lunch because I’m going to come at you with everything I’ve got.” That’s that mindset that you get from fighting that is essential for business. The more tools you have in your tool belt, the better you are at Warcraft. Having known your why, I’ll be honest with you, and that is why I was willing to come on and chat with you is a huge weapon against the enemy because the enemy may not know their why but if your why, you can be the enemy to the enemy. They’ll try, leverage, come against you and get under your skin. They’ll mess with your business and screw with everything that you’ve got going on. You’re like, “I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I know what motivates me and I’m hungry.” That’s a powerful thing to have in your back pocket.

For the audience, I spent some time with Michael. I did your urban defense conceal and carry. I went into that thinking, “I’m fairly athletic. I did a lot of sports. I’m in good shape. I do weights, this and that. I’ll probably be pretty good at this.” I walked into your class and you probably could have killed me as many times and as fast as you wanted. I had no say in it with no recourse at all. Whatever was going to happen, I couldn’t defend myself.

It’s in the beginning. At the end, you felt very confident in being able to do that. Here’s the thing as men. We have this ignorant perspective where we’re like, “I got a penis so I know how to fight.” That has zero credibility anywhere. Every time you talk about doing a combative course or a defense class, they go, “I’m going to send girls to that because I’m a guy.” It’s the dumbest thing.

As men, that’s part of our insecurity but there are very few men that are willing to go do it as you did and then go, “I don’t know what I’m doing but I do now.” That’s why you were there.” If I sucked and you could beat me up then you should probably be teaching the class, not me. You going through that, we deliberately looked at what your weaknesses were and we capitalized on them.

If you notice your wife had certain weaknesses, we changed and worked on what her weaknesses were. That’s what a good instructor should always do. They shouldn’t be there kicking the hell out of the students. Their objective and mission are to make the students think that they’re getting the hell kicked out of them because it is so demanding for them. That instructor could go up 9, 10 more levels. That was the objective. You did the two-day defense immersive training as well.

Learn to move through adversity with ease to the best of your ability. Click To Tweet

You did scenarios where we were being carjacked or somebody comes into your house. These are not like video game things. This is an actual car there that you’re carjacked in and what will you do or an actual house. How do you clear your house? What I found fascinating was how wrong my perception was of even something as simple as how far away someone can be from you and still get to you before you can do anything to them. That was fascinating.

It’s not your world. You don’t know these things until you experience something. We’re blessed at Shockwave because we have an amazing cadre. We’ve got Dr. Dela Garza and Instructor King. I’ve got another guy that was from Seal Team 3 and 5, Shane Hyatt. He’s an amazing guy. He comes in and talk about mindset. He and I codesigned a knife together. We’ll bring instructors from South Africa. We brought Ed Calderon out at one point for him to do this escape and evasion training. He’s a fascinating person as well.

We’re blessed to have such a unique group of people to help expose everyday civilians to these things so that they don’t die because the enemy knows you don’t know. In that moment when you’re like, “I got enough space. I’m good.” They’re on top of you and you can’t get your gun out. That’s when you realized, “Maybe I should learn some hand-to-hand and nice stuff.” When I trained the department of corrections, there were probably 30 guys in that class. We did an exercise with these electric knives where we’ll run and zap you.

We had a drill. Their job was to pull the gun out and they didn’t know if I put a malfunction in a weapon or not. I was probably 40 something feet away. I killed every single one of those guys in that mock scenario with the exception of one that did what I told him to. I said, “Don’t focus on your gun. Fight me.” He pulled the gun out that didn’t work and blasted me in the face, which sucked at the time but it was super awesome to see that he listened. I got hit. I was so proud. My bell was ringing. He did what he was supposed to do.

That’s the goal of life. Learn to move through adversity with ease to the best of your ability and to keep pushing. It’s not about your ego because it’s like looks, they’ll fade. What is the legacy you’re leaving on this earth for future generations to talk about? Martial arts is the weirdest industry. Martial artists drive me insane. They remind me of Star Wars nerds. They sit down blabbering. I don’t care about any of this. All I care about is can Gary Sanchez protect his wife when some crack head is coming after them?

It’s what works in real-time. Getting caught up in the nuances of what system works better. It’s like the amateur argument of 0.45 caliber versus 9. Amateurs argue caliber. Professionals argue shot placement. If I shoot you in the face, it doesn’t matter what I shoot you with. It’s going to suck. That mindset of understanding how to get honed in and get deliberate, that’s going to take you to a different level in your love life, combatives and business.

A lot of the men I coach are like, “I don’t know what to do with my wife. She’s upset with me.” I’m like, “Did you win her heart? Did you conquer her? You say you’re a warrior, did you conquer? Do you conquer that woman in the bedroom, kitchen or living room? You’ve got to re-win her heart every single day or some ever douchebag out there on Facebook is trying to, trust me. He’s sitting there going, ‘Girl, you’re so hot. I love your filtered photos.’ In her mind, she’s going, ‘I’m going to replace my man.’” You both have to fight to re-win each other’s hearts. Life is a struggle but the more comfortable you can get being uncomfortable, the more successful you’ll be in life.

Michael, the last question I want to ask you is what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given or you’ve ever given?

Something that’s with me probably the most is if you weren’t afraid of failing, what would you attempt? If you knew the fear wasn’t an option, what would you do? I understand that fear is a necessity in life and it’s important. Too many people waste the energy of their ability in the day on what they’re afraid of instead of facing what they fear.

If you allow other people’s beliefs, they become your reality. You will end up always being what they say you are instead of what God made you be. If you can learn to be a full version of who you were born to become on this earth, you’d be living a life worth talking about for 2,000 years. What would you do without fear? If it was impossible to fail, what would you attempt? If there was one piece of information or insight, I would more likely than not say what was that.

If there are people that want to connect, bring you into work with them or find out more about what you’re doing, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?

Text the word, WHY, to (505) 437-4029. We’ll know that you’re coming from Gary’s show and we’ll give you guys a special gift. What I recommend doing is starting off on a call. If it’s something that you’re serious about, you want to grow your mind, get past limitations and conquer some challenge in life, jump on a call with us.

If you’re not there, you don’t have a major challenge going on, I’m probably not the guy for you but if you have a major challenge that you want to conquer and overcome then jump on a call with us. When you text the word, WHY, to (505) 437-4029, you’ll end up being in a position where you’ll get access and we’ll jump on a discovery with you. We’ll figure out if we’re a good fit for each other. After that, if you like what we do and it seems to match you, we have some options that we can enroll you in but we make every student that wants to train with us go through basic training first.

What’s included in basic training? What is that?

We call the program, Dauntless. It’s how to overcome fear. It’s not only going to be from a mindset exercise of how to grow yourself and make yourself stronger with daily, weekly and monthly routines but also how to grow yourself from a combative standpoint with what we call the Theoretical Minimum of Defense. If you’re familiar with physics, there’s a concept called the Theoretical Minimum of Physics. If you understand those basics, you can do all of physics. If you understand these basics, we’re going to teach you in Dauntless. You can do all combatives hand-in-hand.

If you look at every single system on the planet, all of them are made up of about anywhere from the top fifteen moves then there are variances and spins off. They go, “This is an advanced move.” “It’s not. You put the other moves together.” Once you understand the three ways to shut down the human being, the timers, switches, mechanics and then you start to understand the fundamentals and environments, that is what you’ll learn inside of fearless and basic training.

Michael, thank you so much for being here. It’s been awesome to connect, know your story and how you’ve taken and transitioned that into something that helps so many people. I look forward to staying in touch as we go on our journeys.

Thank you for having me, Gary. Thank you for what you do for the community with why. It’s an awesome tool to have in the tool belt to anybody that gets a chance to do that. If you have not, you should activate that and also send it out to your friends. If you care about people, living a purposeful life is an important thing to have. That’s an important element of living each day with power. If you know anybody that can use the why, fully endorse it. Thanks for having me, Gary.

I appreciate it, Michael.

It’s time for our new segment and that is Guess The Why. We picked somebody famous that everybody at least typically knows. We’ll guess what we think their why is. I want to pick the why of Conor McGregor, the MMA fighter. What do you think his why is? He does things differently. He challenges people.

He’s getting into business. He went from MMA to the top of MMA to then fighting a boxer, which nobody had ever done. He did that at the highest level. He’s made a fortune. He doesn’t ever follow a typical path. He beats to his own drum. He does it his own way. He won’t follow the rules and do what people tell him to do.

Which of the nine whys do you think his why is? For me, I believe that Conor McGregor’s why is to challenge the status quo and think differently. Don’t follow the rules. Ask the question why not versus following what people say he has to do. If any of you out there know him, make sure you put him in contact with me so we can discover his why. I’ll get back to you and let you know for sure.

Thank you so much for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at You can use the code, PODCAST50, and get it at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe. Leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you use so that you can help us bring the why to one billion people in the next years.

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About Michael Johnson

BYW S4 10 | Better WayStarting in the martial arts at 2 years old, Michael C. Johnson continues to grow his knowledge and career in combatives. He opened Shockwave Defense in Albuquerque, NM in 2002 which combined experiences that yielded life conviction, behavioral psychology, and multiple black belt rankings into his interpretation of defense called Bellicusology (The study of militant, martial, and warfare ways). He holds a BA in criminology from the University of New Mexico, & is the honorary squadron commander for the 512th Rescue Squadron at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM. Johnson has done bodyguard work for celebrities such as Xzibit, and was the primary deadly force combatives instructor for the Florida Department of Corrections & their Special Teams Units. His instruction has reached over 19,000 officers in the Department of Corrections, and has trained multiple officers from other agencies as well as the Silver City Police Department, NM. He is a certified NRA firearms instructor and a professional lecturer through the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. He teaches domestically and abroad including Taiwan, and The Yokota AFB in Tokyo Japan, where he trained the 459th Airlift Squadron how to defend themselves and their aircraft should a hostile actor try to take over the aircraft. His tried & tested skills have been tested against underground full contact fighters and he has over 55 full contact stick/weapons fights.

He continues to train the public as well as, law enforcement and military personnel in how to function in resistant environments. Additionally, he and his team produce films in Judgmental Training Software scenarios to aid first responders in dealing with violent individuals in shoot, and no shoot scenarios.


Finding A Better Way: Joe Maez Discusses Leadership, Mentoring And Mindset For Success

BYW S4 7 | Better Way

Finding a better way is what drives human success. To be able to find a better way, we need leadership, mentoring and the right mindset. In this episode, Dr. Gary Sanchez sits down for an insightful discussion with Joe Maez, real estate agent and founder of The Maez Group. Joe is an armed forces combat veteran who has leveraged the training, mindset and mentoring of many to get to where he is today, despite coming from a challenged community. Learn great insights from Joe and Dr. Sanchez by tuning in to this episode.

Watch the episode here:

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Finding A Better Way: Joe Maez Discusses Leadership, Mentoring And Mindset For Success

Welcome to the show, where we go beyond just talking about your why and actually helping you discover and live your why. If you’re a regular reader, you know that every week, we talk about one of the nine why’s and then bring on somebody with that why so you can see how their why has played out in their life. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of a better way.

If this is your why, then you are the ultimate innovator. You are constantly seeking better ways to do everything. You find yourself wanting to improve virtually anything by finding a way to make it better. You also desire to share your improvement with the world. You constantly ask yourself questions like “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?”

You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto, “I’m often pleased but never satisfied.” You were excellent at associating, which means that you are adept at taking ideas or systems from one industry or discipline and applying them to another always with the ultimate goal of improving something.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Joseph Maez. He was born and raised in Northern New Mexico. Joe is not afraid to go the extra mile. He’s a graduate of UNM Anderson School of Management, a US Army combat veteran and the first New Mexico broker on record to close over 100 million in residential real estate in a single year.

He’s recognized as being amongst the leading real estate professionals in the country selling thousands of homes in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho metro areas. Armed with a unique and extensive knowledge of local markets coupled with unparalleled marketing and negotiation skills and discipline, Joe brings a true passion to every real estate transaction. Joe is a sales coach and consultant to many public and private companies. Joe, welcome to the show.

It's not about what you say. It's about what you do. People can say things, but it's about what they do that is worth more. Click To Tweet

Thanks for having me, Gary.

This is going to be fun. I’m looking forward to this. Tell everybody a little bit about your background. Take us back to where were you born? When you went to UNM, how did you get into the military and then how did you get into real estate? Let’s go down that path.

I was born in Española, New Mexico, a little Northern New Mexico town up in Rio Arriba County. I went to school in Cuba, New Mexico, until I was in third grade. At that point, my father got a job up in Chama, so he moved us up to Abiquiu. That’s pretty much where I grew up. My graduating class was eighteen people, Gary, in Coronado High School.

Most people reading this will not know what Española is like, what kind of reputation it has and what it is known for. Give people a sense of where that is and what that is like.

To me, it’s a beautiful place. It doesn’t have the best of reputations. It was known as being the low rider capital of the world and the heroin capital of the world which we’re trying to change. There’s a lot of amazing people that come out of the Española Valley area. It’s a beautiful country, too. For people that are reading that never experienced it, it’s a challenging location. It’s a challenging community. More specifically, where I graduated from was a place called Gallina, New Mexico, which is where the Coronado Leopards are. It was a consolidated school.

I rode the bus for 45 minutes in the morning to get to school. It was neat because I took my daughter on a little trip and I hadn’t been back to that school in twenty years. The campus gates happened to be open on a Sunday afternoon and I took my daughter through there. I said, “That’s where your daddy went to school.” She’s like, “No way.” My kids are going to some great schools. I want them to go to school where it’s cool to be smart because when I was growing up, it wasn’t cool to be smart. MPC had to do things a little bit differently. I graduated from that school.

I did the delayed entry program for the Army Reserves. Both my grandfathers are Vietnam veterans. I always wanted to be like those guys. Those are my gold standard. That’s what a man should be. Just studying what you’re studying and doing what you’re doing. A lot of things are learned. We want to be like the people before us. I have great mentors. I was the only person from my generation to go and join the military. As soon as I possibly could, I even told my recruiter, “I was laid down.” Normally people just hold out for a bonus or something like that, but I joined up right away.

BYW S4 7 | Better Way
Better Way: Going to war is super humbling because you never realize how good you have it until you don’t have it.


I was a combat engineer. The good thing that my parents did is they always programmed us. They said, “You’re going to college.” That was awesome. My first major was sports medicine because I was super into sports and always liked to run, lift weights and do all that stuff. We didn’t have enough kids for the football team at the school that I went to, so that was a bummer. If you’re going to play basketball, you have to run fast. You had to be faster than everybody else, which helps me out in my industry right now. You have to be faster than everybody else.

You got to be resourceful.

I joined the Reserves and then I got a business degree. When I was going to college, mom and dad said, “You got to go to college.” I was going to NMSU down at New Mexico State and then one day I woke up, I said, “What’s going on with you?” I used to sell my artwork in the old town. I did stuff for the Spanish market when I was growing up. My father-in-law taught me how to carve crosses in Spanish colonial furniture and things like that.

One day, I was like, “I’m not going to be in people’s feet for the rest of my life,” and then I said, “I’m going to business school.” I left NMSU and went back to Anderson because I have a strong business school and that was that. Halfway through my graduating semester, I was deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. That was in 2003 when we invaded Iraq. That was an eye-opener.

Both my grandfathers were war vets. My dad’s a war vet. This was part of me going into that role. When you’re in your twenties, you don’t think that war is a bad thing. As sick as it sounds, you’re excited to go to war. When you get around that in my life, there’s not a lot of good that comes from war but I can tell you that great experience came to me from war.

Going to war is humbling because you never realize how good you have it until you don’t have it. That’s always been a saying. Sometimes people get tired and they don’t know what that means until they experience it. Even going to school, certain relationships that you’ve had, advice that your father or your mother and advice that mentors gave you, a lot of times, we take that for granted. Taking running water for granted and taking a shower in cold water or things like that. What was supposed to be a four-month deployment turned into thirteen months, so that changes your perspective on life.

What was that like?

Nobody ever likes to admit their shortcomings but I was the kid growing up that going to college was checking the box for me because if you didn’t go to college in our family, everybody gave you the guilt trip because all our fathers and mothers had done it. My grandmother was the first valedictorian in the family line, which was great to move the needle forward. I didn’t even buy books in college. I just went, listened, and passed every test with A’s, B’s, and the occasional C.

When I got back from Iraq, I got straight A’s because, unfortunately, Anderson didn’t give me any credit, not even a partial credit, but it was fine. I got down into it. I finished off when I graduated with straight As in my last semester, which never happened. I was in the books and I was reading, and I was like, “I’ll never take education for granted like that,” or opportunities for that matter. That was neat. I needed that.

10% of what you're going to learn is in the classroom. The other 10% is reading in a book, but 80% is actually rolling up your sleeves and doing it. Click To Tweet

Going to war for me was an eye-opener. I was a hell of a soldier. When you’re in your twenties, that’s a great time to be a soldier when you don’t need to have any kids or worry back at home. In my 40s, I’d probably be a different soldier than when I was then because I was one of the youngest NCOs, which is a Non-Commissioned Officer. I got out as an E-6 after eight years of being in which I was always a fast tracker. I always max my PT test and all the educational stuff. I was good at it. I always excelled.

I had soldiers that reported to me that were twice my age which was another learning lesson because I didn’t have enough miles to empathize with them about what was going on back at home because it was hard for some of these guys to be far away from their families. I couldn’t empathize. It takes time to get that kind of experience.

Now, I’m a pretty decent communicator because people always say, “You’re only 40 years old,” and I’ll tell them, “I’m 40 years old, but I got a lot of miles on me.” Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump because there are many things. Forty is young and I still had a lot of life experience. When I was coming back from Iraq, my wife started looking for homes for us because where I come from, everybody does.

That’s the way a lot of people think about things. They say, “This is the path of life that people need to take.” It’s like, “You go to school, then you go to college. After you go to college, you get a job. You worked that job for as long as it takes to retire. You contribute to whatever your retirement account it is. When you retire, you get a hobby.” The way that you throw and get married, have kids and buy a house. There are these paint-by-numbers things for your life and that’s all learned.

When I came back from Iraq, I told my wife, “I had some good money saved because number one, when I was there, there wasn’t anywhere to spend that money.” These poor guys come back in debt because they have access to the internet. I did not touch that money, so I had a pretty good amount of money saved when I came back. I said, “Time to check that box and buy a house.”

Rosie started looking around for a house and then when I finally was able to talk to her when I came back into town, she’s like, “You would be a good real estate agent.” I said, “What’s a real estate agent?” She’s like, “They help people find houses. They make a lot of money, too.” I was like, “I like money.” At that time, I was bartending at my family’s bar in college and I did pretty good bartending.

Bartending is listening to people and making sure their drinks are full. They’re not waiting on you for that matter. Being a good listening ear but also remembering them, knowing what they like when they show back up again. I was a great bartender. She said, “You love helping and listening to people.” I said, “Real estate. How’s that work?” She said, “It’s a 100% commission paid.” Where I come from, you get a paycheck on the 1st and the 15th. I said, “I will listen.”

I went to career night with her and I listened to the guys that were putting on the career night. They are super awesome guys. They totally put on a good show and sold me on it, but when they told me 100% commission paid, I still had those limiting beliefs in my mind about, “Could I do it?” We both agreed that we’re going to get our licenses. Rosie got her license and went with the brokerage here in town.

At that time, Pulte Homes was doing a lot of college recruiting. They’re on campus and it was in real estate. They advertise a $55,000 a year salary with benefits. I was like, “Great. There’s the security.” I went with it. I interviewed and I got the job. It was a fun process. There’s a lot of time we probably don’t have to talk about that but it was neat. My military service got me in the door there. I would have never gotten in the door if I didn’t have my degree because they’re only looking for college grads.

BYW S4 7 | Better Way
Better Way: When any company rolls out a CRM, they lose so many people because people just don’t like change.


Number two, it was when war veterans were coming back from Iraq. I was one of the first people to come back and that was exciting. They hired me pretty quickly, which was great. I started with this company and it was awesome. Their sales training program was phenomenal. I didn’t know that at the time but my mentor’s name is Brian Fink and he used to tell me, “If you want, I’ll give you extra training. Meet me in my office at 5:00 AM.” He offered that to the whole sales staff. I was one of the only ones that showed up and he took a major liking to me.

Before that, this is where I got recognized. The company had rolled out a CRM. It was a national initiative. Pulte is a Fortune 147 company. You know how that is, Gary. We’re both better way guys. Sometimes when any company rolls out a CRM, you lose so many people because people don’t like change. I’m like, “Give me change. I love change.” That’s what I realized about myself. I’m an intern at this time. I’m low on the totem pole, which is great. I’m learning.

All of a sudden, corporate flies into town. Nobody even knows who I am. They said, “We’re looking for a Joseph Maez.” That’s before I started going by Joe. I remember my VP’s assistant was like, “That’s our young guy. He’s working down in the South Valley.” My VP says, “If he did something wrong, we could assure you he’s new,” or whatever. They said, “No. He’s the number one user of SalesLogix in the country. We want to talk to him because we noticed the sales in his community have gone through the roof.”

This was a platform at that time in 2004, 2005. That was the first year I started to see mass emails and things like that were going out. I was using it because I had to network with the brokers in the community. The rest was history, Gary. I used that system and then they had me teach it. For seven years, I was with Pulte. In my last two years with that company, I was the number one salesperson in the entire nation, which was awesome. It all came with great training. Pulte had an amazing training program.

Ryan did a good job of investing in me and he’s an integral part and mentor. He was inspirational to me. I’ll go cool stuff development-wise, so I learned a lot about construction and finance. There’s so much that goes into it. It was like a Master’s degree in real estate. Towards the end, they started laying off people. Pulte changed in general because it was in the downturn. A lot of the people that I looked up to were getting cut and let go for the right reasons. The company could not sustain that type of overhead anymore.

To me, I’ve never seen anything like that so it was hard for me to take even though I was a great revenue generator. At that point, I was untouchable. You got a 25, 26-year-old guy making $500,000 a year. It was amazing. I was at the top of my game. My wife was on the resale side and I’m on the new construction side. We’re doing great.

My little boy was two at the time and Rosie was pregnant with our little girl and then this lady came into town. She was from Pulte corporate. After they started laying off the executives, they came to depend on me. I knew I wasn’t going to get touched because I was a revenue generator. The last person you’re going to touch is the revenue generator.

When she came to town, she’s like, “You’re Joe Maez?” I said, “Yes.” She’s like, “I hear you get whatever you want around here.” I was like, “Where’s this coming from?” She said, “Starting next year, we’re going to cut your commission. The reason we’re going to do that is because we know you’re used to making a certain amount of money and you’ll work harder to make that same amount of money.” I was like, “It’s the cold-blooded killer.”

Nothing replaces experience. You have to have good quality experience. You have to get somebody to mentor you. Click To Tweet

She was hired to do that. She’s honestly one of the best things that ever happened to me because I had been toying about going out on my own for a couple of years at that point but I didn’t do it. I have second-level limiting beliefs. I knew I could do it. A lot of agents and marquee brokers in town were like, “Joe, you got to make people just come to you.”

I didn’t have anything to do with the sale. I was an order taker. I’m listening to that and I’m like, “All this stuff is adding up,” but I knew I was an X-factor. I always make things happen. It’s funny when I was younger, I never thought algebra would come in handy. I solve for X every day. I’m always solving for X, whether it’s figuring out a problem or finding out a better way to do things.

At this point, I’m on the top of my career. One day, I was at a company picnic and our new division president was there. He and I got along well. Six months had passed since that lady had that conversation with me and I’m forever grateful for her. She said, “What’s going on, Joe?” I said, “I’ve never done this before. I’m going to give you guys my two weeks.” I don’t have anything lined up, Gary. He’s like, “What is it? Is it about that conversation you had with someone?” I said, “No, it’s not that.”

In fact, I’m glad that happened because this company is amazing. Up to this day, it is one of the best companies out there because they always stood behind its product. It didn’t matter how much it costs. They always warrantied stuff. It’s seriously a great place to learn. I got to prove to myself that I’m not what they say, that I’m not just an order taker out there. They’re like, “If you ever want to come back, the door’s always open.” I appreciate that but I told them that I wouldn’t be back.

In my first year, I went to the same brokerage that my wife was with because the owners and I are good friends. Out of 550 brokers, I’ve placed number four in my first year. That was awesome. I knew I always wanted to be number one. Meaning, top in units and volume. The only way I could do that was by having a team because I was doing it all by myself.

At this point, my wife was taking care of the kids and taking care of me full-time, which is a hard job and taking care of our household. I would not want that job. Supporting us is the hardest job in the Maez family. That was good that she got to stay at home and she got to do all that. Here, I hit the ground. At this point, I started shopping for companies that I could have a team. They had teams here in Albuquerque, but they weren’t a real team. I would kill myself from stress and exhaustion if I was going to work as hard as I was my first year in residential resale.

I looked at RE/MAX and Keller Williams. I went with Keller Williams because they have a great philosophy in how they approach doing business with people, win-win or no deal, which I love. It’s got to be a win-win. By the way, financially, it made a lot of sense from a team perspective. That way, my team members can make decent money as well because I can’t be making all the money. We did that and grew that company. Keller Williams blew up. That was when I broke the $100 million mark and took the number one spot in Albuquerque. It’s been a documented thing for years.

A few years ago, I left Keller Williams and said, “At this point, the buck stops with me.” I started The Maez Group. We closed $149 million in production for 425 units, which is my all-time best. It’s a small brokerage. We have about eight brokers here. Most of them are new, so I specialize in training newer agents. The only difference was when I was with Keller Williams, I would lose my experienced brokers to the company. You got to get it. People want to make more money. Who am I to tell a broker that’s been with me for a certain amount of time like, “I can’t give you a raise.”

BYW S4 7 | Better Way
Better Way: Never take education for granted, or opportunities for that matter.


The Maez Group is like the boot camp for newer brokers and if they want to stay long term, they can. The Maez Group is a training ground. It’s where you learn how the real world in real estate works. Everybody has all these cool classes but the real world is a real world. What I provide is real-world experience. There’s a separate brokerage that I own which is called AI, which stands for All In.

These are people that are all-in. They’re not doing this. They’re not doing that. They don’t have one foot over here. They don’t have one foot there. They’re all-in in real estate and they’ve been vetted by me. They’ve been trained by me. They have no criminal record. These are people that you can trust in your home with your family and stuff like that. That’s a new launch.

There’s OP which stands for On Purpose. OP is for people that went through The Maez Group and couldn’t do AI because it’s a lot of work. Now they realize that real estate isn’t as easy as everybody says it is. They worked hard for their license and they still have a lot of contacts. Through OP, they don’t have to be members of the board of realtors with all the fees, but they can refer people to The Maez Group and they can get paid a referral fee on that.

It’s like a triangle of companies. I own a title company as well called Signature Title and it’s been years since we’ve opened it. It’s super successful. It’s doing good business. It’s great. That’s where we’re at. I have an amazing staff. We discovered our why’s with you, but as a better way person, it’s nice to see that because The Maez Group does what it does because we did find a better way.

A little flashback that I had when Gary was when my mentor was around telling him, “We’d sell away more houses if we had somebody to do our paperwork. It seems like every time I’m writing up a contract in the sales office, somebody is coming in wanting to buy, but I’m face to face with somebody writing him up on a deal.” He’s like, “When you’re the boss one day, you could do things how you want to do.” I said, “Noted.”

Now, you do.

My salespeople do not write their own purchase agreements. We have an experienced contract writer that writes all of our contracts. My claim to fame is over 3,000 transactions, Gary, and I’ve never been in a courtroom. The money is great, but having a great reputation is even better. If an attorney would go and say, “You have a pattern of behavior,” the pattern of behavior would be a success and doing things right. Also, creating a business model that people know that when they’re doing business with us, it’s getting done right. We spend money on the processes to make sure that they don’t have to worry about. That’s why people hire brokers to give themselves some insulation from liability.

Question for you then, you said that you’re the guy that makes things happen, what do you attribute to your ability to make things happen?

A lot of that is a combination of a lot of things. Number one, my mom. I’d always say, “I can’t do that.” She would quickly say, “You can and you will.” That was instilled in us at such a young age. My parents were always the candid type of people. In the military, I remember it’s been ingrained in you over time. One of the things that I always would remember was no excuse. If a drill sergeant or a higher up came up to you and say, “What’s this all about?” I’d say, “No excuse and we’d fix it.” We never make excuses and we always would complete the mission. Thinking back, we never had a failed mission because we always never gave up. Looking at things differently, there’s a lot of tenacity that goes into it and the can and the mindset.

Enjoy the process of learning and learn well, because if you skip a step, you might not be able to survive if something really serious. Click To Tweet

One of my favorite sayings was by Henry Ford, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.” That is a huge mindset. There were things that we’ve done here that everybody said, “You can never do that,” but we did it. It’s a mindset that if we know that we can do things, we can get it done. That’s the answer to your question. It’s a mindset more than anything.

When you work with new brokers, what are some of the things that you work with them on so that they can get over these fears? There’s a lot of fear jumping into a commission-only kind of situation.

I learned from these guys, too. I’m a mentor and I’ve mentored some great people in fact, but they mentored me, too. They didn’t even know it but they’ve been helping me out as well. I’m putting myself in their shoes. One thing that I know that we do differently is a real-life experience. I’m an audiobook type of guy, so this show is great. I’ve listened to some of the podcasts and it’s great for a guy like me because I’m not a pick-up-a-book-and-read type of guy.

One of the things I listened to in a book was, “10% of what you’re going to learn is in the classroom. The other 10% is reading in a book, but the 80% is rolling up your sleeves and doing it.” That’s the approach that I love for the newer agents. For me, it’s maybe not the best analogy, but as a wolf would teach the pups how to hunt, that’s how I teach people how to do things. It’s roll with me. We do it, they do it, so do it. If you’re watching me do it, you’re going to be way more comfortable than if you read it in a book or some guy that was teaching in class that’s never even done it. He’s just qualified to do teach the class. This is a real-world experience.

When any of my brokers come out of my camp, if they give me two years, I would put them up against any seasoned broker out there, just from how to get things done. They’re hearing that a seller calls me upset about a low offer or me negotiating that. They hear firsthand the negotiations on offer and how you get the highest price for a seller. They hear firsthand deals are going to miss closing and both the buyer and seller have scheduled moving trucks and everybody’s up in arms about that.

That’s a real-life experience you will not learn in a book or any class by somebody that’s teaching a class that’s probably not even qualified to teach a class. This is real-world stuff, so they’re seeing it for real. You’d be surprised, Gary, some agents will never sell a house because they don’t know how to write the contract. They’ve never made a single contract but once they’ve made that first contract, it’s all good. Now, they did it.

It’s almost like rites of passage. It’s like, “I’ve done that. I’m not afraid of it anymore.” Like a lot of things in our life. The first time somebody skydives, they’re probably freaked out. The second time, probably not so much. If they come back, then they’re probably not afraid of it. It’s the same deal. What I do is get people past that threshold sooner.

I remember there was a broker that I used to see in the office all the time when I was back at Keller Williams. I always remember these stories. Keller Williams is one of the best training companies there is. They do a lot of classroom training. She was going to those classes. I have probably been there for about eight months. I saw her in the hallway and said, “You sold anything yet?” She says, “No, I haven’t sold anything yet.” I said, “I’m going on a listing appointment. Come with me.”

She jumped in the car with me and she watched me list the house. When I was driving back with her to the office, I got a call from one of my buyers. There was a house that we emailed them because we have automatic trips and they wanted to see it. I said, “I’ll have one of my brokers open the house for you.” I said, “You’re going to go open the house and after you go open the house, we’re going to write it up.” She said, “Really?” I said, “Yup.”

BYW S4 7 | Better Way
Better Way: If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur.


That was her first transaction. I said, “Have the buyers call me from the house.” They called me from the house. I ran payments with them over the phone. I told them about how the process works. She’s listening and watching it. It’s probably something that she had been in those classes for sixteen months and never even experienced. I had her write up the deal for me. I showed her how to write up the deal. She’s not on my team, but she’s a producing broker out in society right now. I know that was the spark that lit the flame. That’s what I do.

The other thing about me is that I’m a man of abundance. I never think about, “That’s my competition,” because it’s not. There’s so much business, Gary. For me, I noticed that it changed her life. It changed my life, too because it reinforced my beliefs that I love helping people. As Rosie said years ago, “You’d be a good real estate agent. You like helping people.” Why would I be good at anything? Because I love helping people.

What was the spark that set you from the guy who didn’t know anything to off and running?

This is going to sound pretty weird, but I grew up doing hard labor and doing stuff where I was even thinking back about my military careers. I was an NCO, but I had all the credits to be an officer. I always did things the hard way. When I realized how much I could do and what a living I could make with using this, that’s where things took off. It was a dream come true. A lot of people will say, “Joe got lucky.” I got lucky to find my niche and my niche is I can take things that are in bad shape and I can make them shine.

One of the hardest things for me, Gary was when I reached what I felt was the pinnacle of my career. A lot of people will probably never reach that spot but I was fortunate to reach it. It’s a breaking point. I don’t know if you can identify with this. I’m pretty sure you can because you’re a winner. I reached a point where I’m like, “I’m the number one guy. I’m selling all this stuff. I’m selling all these houses,” and then you’re like, “I’ve climbed to the top of this mountain. Now what?”

It seemed like I’ve always been in the military, I climbed that mountain. I did that. I went to Pulte, I climbed that mountain. I was done there. It seems like a seven-year cycle. It’s eight years in the military and 7 or 8 years in new home sales. Now I’m at this 7 and 8-year mark in residential resale and I’m at the top of my game, and then you started thinking, “What now?” It’s like the Rocky series. He was like, “Now, what?”

I took a year off and I let the company do its own thing. It still did well, but I realized how much I missed the interaction of being with people. It’s crazy but saving people’s lives. When you sell sometimes, there are situations where you’re saving somebody’s life in this. I’m able to help people in situations where I know another broker might not be able to do it.

For instance, I got a deal that’s closing. We sold their house. Everybody sees my sales and they see this one that’s sold for $2.7 million. They see all these big deals that close, but we sell everything. This house that I am selling on the outskirts of Los Lunas is a $149,000 property. We get it under contract and the seller doesn’t have the money to make all the repairs that have come upon this house. They’re already under contract in another property, so they have to close.

Sales is not a bad word. Sales is helping people. It's getting people to decide on something that's good for them. Click To Tweet

There’s the foundation on this mobile home that needs repairs but they don’t have it. There’s the septic that failed on this house and needs to be replaced but they don’t have the money. The neighbor next door has been living in this house and four people are using this well. The neighbor refuses to sign a Shared Well Agreement, even though these people have been living there for eight years and they’ve been paying the electricity down as well. She won’t sign a Shared Well Agreement. The buyer’s lender will not sell that property unless there’s a Shared Well Agreement or they have their own well.

Guess who drilled the well? I drilled the well for $20,000. I replaced the septic for $55,000 and I did the foundation for probably about $1,500. I don’t have to tell you but the commissionable event in that was maybe $5,100, but I can’t. They have enough proceeds coming out of the sale to where they signed something saying they’ll pay me back at closing. I’m able to do that. I know I can get it done. It’s neat to be in a position like that where you can bridge the gap. There was like, “How did you sell 425 homes?” I found a way to get it done because I’ve been fortunate to be good at what I’m doing. I’m able to help way more people because I’m able to bridge the gap.

There’s a lot of great real estate agents out there and we both know a lot of them. What is it that makes you good? What is the mindset? What is that X factor? What is that thing that somebody who’s reading to this who are thinking, “I’m considering getting into real estate. I am in real estate and I’m trying to figure out how do I go from beginner to expert? How do I go from survival to abundance?” What is it?

The answer to that for me is nothing replaces experience. You have to have a good quality experience. You have to get a great mentor, somebody to mentor you. It’s crazy to see real estate agents coming out and they get into it because they say, “There’s this guy and he’s got this and he’s got that. He doesn’t even speak good English.” The truth is if I can do it, they can do it. What they’re missing is the years of failure that come in there and learning the hard way, too.

When I mentor people, my goal is to save them like my dad and my mom used to give me all this great advice that I never took. My goal is that I get them to take my advice and save them some steps that I had to take that they shouldn’t have to take. That’s where it’s at. It’s been mentored. There are many agents coming into any industry. I know that when you’re a dentist, you don’t just start working on people’s teeth. It took time. You had to watch somebody that had crazy experience perform things and that made you a better person.

There are people in this industry and I have my qualms with this industry because number one, they just let anybody get into it, which is sad. If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur. A lot of people don’t realize that until they have to call me up. They’ve spent double or whatever.

Electricians have an apprentice and journeyman program. That’s what people need to do. They need not to cheat the system. I mentor young ones at a couple of colleges in the summer. They said, “What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to somebody younger like me?” I said, “Enjoy the process of learning and learn well because if you skip a step, you might not be able to survive something serious.”

I deal with millions of dollars of production. What happens if you make a mistake? Are you able to make it right? If you’re a true professional, you have to be able to make it right. That’s why to work with a true professional costs money, but a true professional should pay for themselves. I always tell myself, “You want to get to the point where your experiences were so much that when people hire me, it’s almost like getting me for free because I pay for myself during the transaction.” From the advice that I’m able to give people. I always say it’s experience.

BYW S4 7 | Better Way
Better Way: It’s not just about the real estate process. It’s about knowing your product too.


I have an autographed picture here in my office of Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura. Nolan Ryan has Robin Ventura in a headlock. I have a signed copy of that picture right here. I have it in my office for a reason and I named that picture, Experience, because Nolan Ryan was at the end of his career and probably one of the best pitchers of all time. He’s a Hall of Famer. There’s this young guy who steps up to the plate. Robin Ventura was a pretty big guy and a hotshot back then and Nolan beat him.

Nobody knew that Robin was going to charge. Robin acts like he’s taking the basics and watching them on YouTube and all that stuff, and then halfway, he decides he wants to charge Nolan. Everybody thinks, “Nolan wasn’t afraid.” “You’re talking about a veteran pitcher. Do you think he’s been charged before?” “Maybe once or twice.” He walked towards Robin Ventura and not one bit of fright, he went for it. What that all went down to me was an experience. The man had been in his fair share of scraps. He knew how it was going to turn out. He knew how to handle the situation. That’s what happened but he couldn’t have done that.

Having your mentor when you first started, how much of a benefit was that

It was a huge benefit. I didn’t know that at the time because I was young. You don’t have to be young. I’m talking about being young in the profession. When you’re learning a new trade, so to speak, you don’t know it at the time but you realize later down the road how valuable certain mentors were. My mentor, Brian, taught me the critical path of sales and we never skipped a step. I have my way of doing things right now but my way couldn’t have been my way without his way. Everything from how you greet somebody to how you get a commitment.

Sales is not a bad word. To me, sales are helping people. It’s getting people to decide on something good for them, not what’s good for me. I approached sales in a way that I’m helping somebody and I’m solving a problem. He went a lot deeper. A lot of real estate brokers help people find houses. He taught me how to know money well. Knowing the mortgage side, knowing the different programs and being knowledgeable about all the ways.

If somebody’s a doctor, a lot of people don’t know that there are zero-down programs for physicians with no mortgage insurance. They’ll say, “Call this lender and get back to me.” I’m like, “Nobody’s ever going to call that thing.” They’re almost afraid of going to a lender as much as they’re afraid of going to the dentist. That’s the reality. That’s human psychology and human nature. I always knew the money side. He taught me the value of learning the money side. It’s not just about the real estate process. It’s about knowing your product, too. That’s where the construction knowledge came into play. How does that work?

I remember one of the first things when I was selling houses in the southwest, a guy came in and he was on Sandi Pressley’s team. He was the buyer’s agent for Sandi Pressley, Arny Katz. He is one of the better buyer brokers out there and I’m brand new. I’m the new kid on the block. Arny wants to show his client a spec on a standing piece of inventory out there and the guy comes in and said, “What kind of roof is this?” This was years ago. I said, “I don’t know but I’ll get that answer for you.” He says, “What kind of windows are these?” “I don’t know but I’ll get that answer for you.” “What kind of air conditioning is this?” “I don’t know.” “What the hell do you know?” “I don’t know but I’ll get that answer for you.”

The cheap way of doing things ends up costing you the most. You get what you pay for. Never go to the lowest bidder. Click To Tweet

That was one of those defining moments in my life where I said, “I will never be in that position again.” I pulled Antonio, who was our project manager at the time out there. I said, “Antonio, I want to learn everything about construction, from permitting to the CO. Use me,” and they did. Antonio and his team taught me well about how the construction process works. When I show up to an appointment, I’m not just some other realtor.

I know about PSI in slabs. I know about the different types of slabs. I know about windows. I know more about somebody’s house than they know about their house when I show up and that’s great because I’m an expert. I’m not just anybody else. We are experts. On the money side, if I’m representing a buyer or seller, they can get their mortgage lender on the phone.

They call me the lender’s broker because I’m super low maintenance and by the time I give them somebody to talk to, they’re already qualified. I just need them to pull credit. I’ve already talked to the people about it. I already run numbers. I have already set expectations. It’s pretty easy for them. I know how to ask the questions. I know about the different programs and the reality of all that. That came with time and experience and being a student of the craft.

You said something important there that I wanted to touch on. You said you helped people make a decision. That seems like a big difference between helping them buy a house or helping them in the other areas. When I’m trying to buy something, that’s the hardest part. How do I make a decision? If you can help me do that, you’re my guy.

Here’s the thing about you, Gary, you do what you do, which is what you do and that’s great. You stay in your lane and that’s all fine and good. When you come into my domain and into my universe, that’s my universe, so my job is to be of value to you. You don’t know the market the way I do. Chances are, if you’d give me 5 to 10 minutes to talk with you and you casually tell me because I’m going to be asking you a lot of great open-ended questions to have you open up to me, I’m going to know where that property is. It might not even be on the market but I’m going to know where it’s at. I’m going to know that financially it meets your needs, it’s not going to put you in hardship and it’s going to meet a timeframe that’s comfortable for you.

By the way, unless you’re paying cash, I probably know about a program that you don’t know about that’s going to put a smile on your face. That’s what it is. I’ve seen people that have told me while we’re looking within the next twelve months to move, but after maybe a 30-minute conversation with me, they’re moving and it’s for the better. It’s not that I sold them something. I just showed them something that they didn’t know about.

I always tell my brokers, “Tell our clients something that they don’t already know.” There’s a reason why Zillow, and those types of platforms exist. They are a disruption. The disruption is the fact that people aren’t creating the value that they should. When Zillow is doing the job for you, if the buyer or the seller knows more than you do, then he fails. That’s the way I see it. Technology shouldn’t replace brokers like me because we’re valuable. Anybody else that I train, I want them to build in their value that they never have to be intimidated by some app that’s going to be created. People will always do business when they know there’s value.

BYW S4 7 | Better Way
Better Way: People will always do business when they know there’s value.


The last question and I know you’ve talked about a lot of great advice and given a lot of great advice. What would you say is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or you’ve ever given?

I receive a lot of great advice. There was a Spanish saying, and it says, “Lo barato cuesta caro,” which means the cheap will end up cost. The cheap way of doing things ends up costing you the most. I’ve learned that you get what you pay for in most cases. Never go to the lowest bidder. That’s one of the better advice and that’s in everything, too.

It goes all the way around. If you’re going to go about something the easy way, it doesn’t have to be about money. It could be about taking the easy way out versus putting in the work. That saying can mean so much on many different levels. Don’t ever cheat yourself. You got to put in the work to get what you deserve if you want it.

As far as advice that I give, that’s a tough question, Gary. I give a lot of advice but the advice that I give is by my actions and watching what I do and that’s how I do things right. Having kids, I’ve learned that it’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do. People are watching you and they’re watching how you deliver. That’s the best example because a lot of people can say things but it’s about what they do that is worth more.

Joe, I appreciate you taking the time. I know you’re busy. Thank you for being here. I’m glad we got a chance to do this finally. I know we get to see each other from time to time, but we haven’t had a chance to sit down and learn about you. It’s fascinating how you’ve gone from where you came from to where you are now. There are a lot of great lessons there. Thank you so much for spending the time. If there are people that are reading that want to connect with you, want to learn more about you and maybe want to work with you in buying or selling a house or being mentored by you, how should they get ahold of you?

The best way to do it is to go to my website. It’s and they can inquire. They could fill in an inquiry and we’ll get with them.

Joe, Thanks again. I’ll see you on the golf course.

Thank you.

I want to wrap it up with our Guess Their Why. I want us to use somebody popular and that would be from the TV series, Ted Lasso. What do you think Roy Kent’s why is? If you watch Ted Lasso, you know exactly who Roy Kent is. He’s one of the favorite characters. He says whatever he wants to say whenever he wants to say it and the way he wants to say it. He’s serious, direct and to the point, no fluff, just right at it.

I’m going to guess that Roy Kent’s why is to simplify because he doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t worry if he hurt your feelings. He says it how it is. He’s nothing fancy. Just right to it. If you like that, you know what you’re getting. There is no extra fluff or candy that goes with it, then that is Roy Kent. What do you think Roy Kent’s why is?

I want to thank you for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at You can use the code PODCAST50 and get it for half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe or leave us a review and a rating on whatever platform you’re using so that you can help us impact one billion people in the next few years by helping them discover their why, how and what. It’s what we call your Why.os. Thanks, everybody. I’ll see you next episode.


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Herbal Ecstasy: The Search For A Better Way To Party With Shaahin Cheyene.

BYW S4 4 | Herbal Ecstasy


Shaahin Cheyene always searched for a better way. He is the brilliant mind behind the legendary smart drug known as herbal ecstasy. He’s earned over a billion dollars in revenue because of it. But what if you were to discover that Shaahin’s family had to escape to survive and ended up finally migrating to Los Angeles, California? At 15 years old, Shaahin left home with nothing but the clothes on his back! Join the conversation as host Dr. Gary Sanchez uncovers Shaahin’s powerful “why” of wanting to contribute better processes and systems to the world. It pushed him from a place of desperation to a place of prosperity. Tune in and find a better way!


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Herbal Ecstasy: The Search For A Better Way To Party With Shaahin Cheyene

Welcome to the show, where we go beyond just talking about your why and actually helping you discover and live your why. If you’re a regular reader, you know that every week, we talk about one of the nine whys and then we bring on somebody with that why so we can see how their why has played out in their life. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of better way. If your why is better way, then you are the ultimate innovator. You are constantly seeking better ways to do everything. You find yourself wanting to improve virtually anything by finding a way to make it better.

You also desire to share your improvement with the world. You constantly ask yourself questions like, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?” You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto, “I’m often pleased, but never satisfied.” You are excellent at associating, which means that you are adept at taking ideas or systems from one industry or discipline and applying them to another, always with the ultimate goal of improving something.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Shaahin Cheyene. During the Iranian revolution of 1978, Shaahin’s family had to escape to survive and ended up finally migrating to Los Angeles, California. At fifteen years old, Shaahin left home with nothing, but the clothes on his back and created over $1 billion in revenue by inventing the legendary smart drug known as Herbal Ecstacy. These childhood experiences had a major impact on his perspective of freedom, hard work, and entrepreneurship.

Shaahin went on to invent Digital Vaporization, the forerunner to this day’s vapes and a start a number of successful businesses with a couple of notable failures. He is the Founder and CEO of Accelerated Intelligence, Inc., a major Amazon FBA seller with millions in sales and the Lead Coach at Amazon Mastery, where he teaches the entrepreneurs how to crush it on the Amazon platform. He is an active YouTube creator.

Shaahin is considered one of the leading global minds on what’s next in eCommerce, Amazon and the internet. He is described as the Willy Wonka of Generation X by The London Observer and Newsweek and is one of the most forward thinkers in business. With his Amazon Mastery course, he acutely recognizes trends and patterns early on the Amazon platform to help others understand how these shifts impact markets and consumer behavior. Shaahin, welcome to the show.

Gary, it’s my honor to be on. Thank you for having me.

Take us back through your life. Let’s go back and give us your story, how you got started and how you got to where you are because it sounds like it was a struggle at the beginning for sure.

We came to the United States in the late 1970s, early 1980s as immigrants. We immigrated here through Germany to the United States. Iran was on top of the heap, we came here and all of a sudden, we learned that we were third-class citizens in a country that didn’t appreciate Iranians during the whole Iran-Contra thing. We had Ronald Reagan trickle-down economics and Oliver North. Iran-Contra was not a friendly environment.

Make a path for your success. Click To Tweet

I grew up with a big chip on my shoulder because I was constantly getting my ass handed to me in school. I would go to school and get beat up every day. We grew up in a neighborhood that was up and coming, the little enclave of Los Angeles called Pacific Palisades. In the early ‘80s, it was much more hippie than it was well-to-do and gentrified. My folks managed to get a house there. It was fairly inexpensive. It was a totally beat-down house. They bought the house and we started fixing it up. As we started fixing up this old house, the neighborhoods started booming.

More and more people started moving to LA. LA was in a building boom. All this wealth started cropping up, literally all around us. We’re in this old house. My dad worked at a pizza shop and then at dry cleaners. We were solidly poor and there was all this wealth around us. I remember grown up there. We didn’t eat out at restaurants. We didn’t buy new clothes and all that stuff. When my brother and I got clothes, we would wait for somebody to walk into my dad’s dry cleaner and pray that person was like cool that they would not pay their bill, so we could get the clothes when they defaulted on their bill or just left the clothes there. We’d always be 2 or 3 seasons behind on whatever the fashion was.

I remember a friend of mine whose dad was a wealthy doctor, invited me over to eat. I was like, “Cool. What’s your mom cooking?” He’s like, “No, she’s not cooking. We’re going to a restaurant.” I was like, “Okay.” We went in there and he gave me a menu. I looked at him and I said, “How the heck does this work?” I can order a pizza and a hamburger and that man’s going to bring it to me. Explain to me how this works again. This is incredible. That’s how it was. I didn’t have any of this wealth, but around me was tons of wealth.

By the time I reached fifteen, I remember thinking to myself, “I want that stuff. I want the Porsche. I want the Ferrari. I want the beautiful blonde sitting in the car next to me in the big house on the hill.” All that great stuff, great vacations and all that stuff. What’s the path? I went and I talked to my parents and I said, “How do I get that?” They thought about it. As any immigrant family will let you know, the pinnacle of success is becoming a doctor.

My parents told me, “You become a doctor. You go to a school.” I was like, “Great. Sign me up for that. I’ll be a doctor.” They’re like, “Okay.” I’m like, “How long does that take 2, 3 years?” They’re like, “No, it takes 8, 10, 12 years. Specialty, 14, 15 years.” “What happens then?” “You got to get a loan. You’ll be in debt for another ten years. You’ll be fat, old and bald like the dude next door. Maybe by the time you’re 50, you’ll have a mortgage, a wife and eight kids.”

You won’t have time because you’ll be selling your hours. You’ll have to wake up at 5:00 AM and come back at 8:00 PM. Maybe by then, you’ll have the house in the car, which by the way, the bank will own, you will not. Very quickly, I discovered that it was not going to be a path that worked for me. Very unceremoniously, I packed up my stuff in a single backpack and I left. I left the keys on the counter. I didn’t come back. I burned my ships. I decided I was going to go out and find my fame and fortune in the world. As a kid, I was fifteen with no friends and no money. This was pre-internet, pre all those times.

Take us into that decision. What was going on for you when you decided at fifteen, I’m going to walk out and do this on my own? What was going on for you?

Growing up again in Los Angeles, at school, I never fit in. I never belonged. There was never a group that I belonged in. As an adolescent, I got involved in multiple criminal activities that adolescents would get involved in. We went to liquor stores and we had this little Greek kid and he was very small. He would walk into the store. He would fit just right under the sensors. He’d wear baggy clothes.

We would create some kind of distraction on it. We’d open up a Coke, spill it and something would happen. The store owner or manager, whoever’s monitoring the store will get busy. He would stuff his pockets with nude magazines, with those little tiny bottles of liquor, cigarettes, glue or whatever we could get. He would rush out under the sensors and we would just pay for the Coke or whatever and get out. We would sell that stuff in school.

BYW S4 4 | Herbal Ecstasy
Herbal Ecstasy: Any immigrant family will tell you that the pinnacle of success is becoming a doctor.


We always get busted. We were terrible at crime. We had no business being in the crime business. They would put us in detention. Here we are, these little juvenile criminals in detention. Who’s in detention? More juvenile criminals. It was the best business we had ever done. We would get caught again. They didn’t even have second detention to send us to. We’d be going back and forth through that. By the time I was fifteen, I realized, “Crime was not good for me. I am not good at crime. I’m a failure at crime. I will not be doing a crime. I need to go out there and figure out something to do.”

My why was I wanted the wealth. I wanted success. I wanted to climb the ladder. There was not a path for me to do that in those days. I was going to forge a path. I was going to make a path. I was going to go out there with machetes and cut the entire forest down until there was a path for me. That’s what I did. I started sleeping in abandoned buildings, which was much more glorious than it sounds, and on the beach as well. Sometimes abandoned buildings near the beach, because LA was in a building boat.

I quickly learned that if you could watch realtors, when they opened up the buildings, there was a code to these boxes where the keys were held to these mega buildings that they were building. You could put that code in, get the key, sneak in at night, sleep and leave in the morning. By the way, I don’t espouse anybody to do this. It’s highly illegal, but I would do that. I would sleep in this luxurious building, maybe the plumbing didn’t work or the electricity wasn’t on. I wake up in the morning and get out.

Eventually, I got into the electronic music scene. I learned that I could sleep at clubs behind the speakers, which was another great thing for me, in front of the speakers is very loud but behind the speakers is super quiet. I started hanging out there thinking, “I got to learn something about making money.” I had the books. I had the fortitude to read Think and Grow Rich. Og Mandino, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer. I read every self-help, personal development, old-timey, new timey, all of those books.

I knew that there was a possibility for me to break the mold, to break out of what one of my mentors called TikTok. To get out of that world and get into a new reality for myself. I didn’t quite know what the path was in those days. Hanging out in the clubs, I realized that there was money being made. I thought to myself, “It’s got to be the promoters.” I tried throwing a couple of parties. I started looking at the promoters. I was like, “These guys are broke as hell. Everywhere where they’re going, they don’t have money.”

They’re bailing before the party’s over, so they don’t have to pay people. They’re not driving fancy cars. These are not wealthy individuals. I thought, “It’s got to be the musicians because musicians make money.” Nobody in those days appreciated DJs. People who played other people’s music. Which led me to how did these things happen? Week after week, night after night. I looked around and I was like, “It’s got to be the property owners’ real estate.”

Nope. These were all break-ins. All these warehouses were borrowed from some big corporation that owns 50 warehouses and whatever. We’d figure out a way to get in then some guy would climb the power pole and steal power. Another guy would turn on the water main and there’d be plumbing. The party would go on until the morning in these warehouses. I thought to myself, “There are these guys that hang out at the door all the time.” They’re well-dressed and have several beautiful women with them. They sometimes have bodyguards. They had nice cars, nice apartments. What are they doing? What do you think they did?

They were the doorman. They were the gatekeeper.

They were the drug dealers. They were the ones that were dealing the illicit substances and subsidizing the failure of everybody else to keep these parties going because it was highly profitable for them. Drugs are a very lucrative business. I thought to myself, “Let me do that.” I realized I was bad at crime. I looked back to my adolescents, my younger self talking to my older self, “You sir, should not be doing crime. You get caught every time.”

I pictured myself in multiple prisons around the world and thought, “No, I can’t do that.” It hit me. What if I could create a legal drug? What if I could create a version of the most popular drug at the time that there was no supply of because it had just been made illegal called ecstasy. I didn’t get the memo that it was impossible. I went out there and I did it. I managed to get myself a girlfriend with no money and nowhere to live.

I figured out how to get a girlfriend. I managed to convince her to let me cook up prototypes in her kitchen while her dad was out at work. I think he was like the principal or the superintendent of some school district or somewhere. The guy would leave. I would sneak in through the back, a window or door or something. I’d come in and cooking it up in the kitchen. Finally, we got a formula that worked. I didn’t have enough money to buy a capsule machine. She and I would be rolling them up into little balls, and all kinds of people would be coming over. We’d be giving them, “Try this, try this, try this.”

Finally, we got a formula that worked. I called everybody I knew and I said, “This is amazing.” I called authors, writers and all types of people. I found them in the yellow pages, in the phone books in those days. I would call people up and ask them for advice, ask them to come try it. When we had a formula that worked, I knew this was my second reason why I was going to be successful. I had to burn my ships again. I did it once when I left home and I had to find a way to sell the stuff, distribution.

It led me back to the clubs. I had a backpack full of these little baggies filled with these little balls that we hand-rolled to look like pills. I had a little insert card in them with a butterfly in those days. I didn’t know what I was going to call it. I walked up to the biggest drug dealer in the club. These days, if you have tattoos on your face, they call you Post Malone and you are a platinum record star, girls love you, you are harmless. You’re probably a TikTok star or YouTube star. You remember in the ‘80s and ‘90s, should you have tattoos on your neck leading to your face, you are most certainly a criminal, a freak or both.

Straight out of prison.

You must have a solid vetting process because there's a big buzz around you when you're super successful. But when trouble pops up, there are only a few who will stick by you. Click To Tweet

Nobody had tattoos on their faces. Tattoos were not visible in the ‘80s unless you were a sailor or a part of a gang or something. This guy had tattoos on his face and on his neck. He had those three little tear things, which I think meant he killed somebody in prison or killed three people or some crazy thing like that. He had the gold teeth. He had the bodyguards. He had the girls around him. It was straight out of the movies. Here I am, this teenage kid with this baggie full of herbal goop, walking up to this man who sells bonafide drugs from a criminal enterprise.

I walked up to him and he’s like, “What do you need kid? I got nothing. We’re all out. We’d been out for days.” I said, “No. I’m not a consumer. I want you to sell my stuff.” He said, “What the heck is wrong with you? Are you a cop?” He’s like looking at me. The guards are patting me down looking for a wire. I said, “No. I’m definitely not a cop, but I want you to sell this stuff.” He’s like, “What is it?” I’m like, “It’s just like ecstasy. It’s fantastic, but it’s legal. It’s herbal. It’s natural. You’re not going to go to jail, sir.”

In that moment, he looked like he was about to kill me. There was no happiness in this man’s face. Although, I don’t think I ever saw happiness in his face. By the way, I write about this in my book, Billion How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult, which was just released. In that moment, I remember thinking to myself, “You are not leaving that spot until this man buys whatever it is that you’re selling. You are either going to die tonight or get him to sell what you’re selling. You are going to make a sale.” I didn’t move. I’m sure he said other things to me.

At that moment, two people walked up to him, two party goers. I remember them asking him and there was a negotiation that went on. He motioned to me, the bodyguards moved aside. I thought, “What’s he pointing at?” He’s pointing at the bag of pills. I handed him the bag of pills. He grabbed the bag. He grabbed my backpack, which was filled with pills and said, “Come back in two hours.” He handed it to them and had an exchange. He said, “By the way, kid, you better not be messing with me. Don’t leave the club.”

I’m having a little bit of a freakout and pretty certain that my young life was going to end there and then in that club. I came back a couple of hours later and I didn’t know what to make of it. The bodyguard motioned me to come forward. The girls moved aside. I moved forward. I’m standing there, sweat and bullets looking at this guy directly in the eyes. I can’t tell what’s going on. I do notice in the background, people are partying, happy and having a good time. I see the empty baggies everywhere. This guy probably emptied out 30 of them himself.

I’m looking at the guy going okay and he looks at me straight in the eyes, the silence for about 30 seconds. He says, “Kid, how soon can you get me more?” All the tension was released at that moment. That was it. It went from 1 drug dealer to 10 to 1,000, to 10,000. We were all over the world. I had all the buildings in Venice beach. We were renting them all. We had telephone operations, telesales operations.

I was making this stuff for $0.25 a unit. We were selling it for $20 retail. Mostly cash business, mostly direct to consumer in those days, completely legal. We got calls from Urban Outfitters, Tower Records, GNC. We were selling in any store you could possibly imagine. Larry Flynt from the Hustler Enterprise, the famed pornographer bought our product to sell to all the sex shops around the world. We were being sold in 32 countries. We were in over 30,000 doors.

What was it called? I’m trying to think about it back then.

The drug dealer looked at me at that moment too. As he was handing it to his first customer said, “What do you call this stuff?” I had a moment where I was like, “Holy crap.” I looked at him and I said, “Herbal Ecstacy,” and the name stuck. It was called Herbal Ecstacy. I remember one day, I was in my teens. We’d been in business for some time and the news broke that we had broken the billion-dollar mark. This was pre-internet, pre-Facebook, pre-mobile phones, pre-access to free data, pre-access to any of that stuff. We had broken $1 billion.

Sam Donaldson was in a limo outside of my office waiting to get me on Nightline. He drove over, the great Sam Donaldson. Montel Williams had sent me tickets to be on his show in New York. CNN wanted to have me on, Wall Street Journal has a reporter outside. We were the hottest thing. Everybody wanted to know how this long-haired teenage kid had broken $1 billion in revenue. We were on the cover of Detail’s magazine. We had two Newsweek covers, LA times, New York Times. You name it, we were there.

The London Observer did a feature piece on the cover. They called me the Willy Wonka of Generation X. I stepped into my office. I would normally sleep 2, 3 hours on those days. I would usually fall asleep on the factory floor, on the floor one my offices, or the call center, anywhere just because I was intent on making this company successful. I remember having a panic attack when the news broke because I did not know what $1 billion meant. Not theoretically or hypothetically, I literally didn’t know how much money $ 1 billion was. I barely knew what $1 million was. That was my panic in those days.

I figured out what it was. I started doing all the publicity. We did all the shows. I write about it in my book, Billion How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult. It was absolutely a wild ride. I wrote about how the mob tried to take over the company at some point. The Japanese mafia, the Yakuza tried to get involved. We had government intervention in the company and it was a wild rollercoaster ride leading to an interesting several years, to say the least.

Why couldn’t somebody just copy it?

A few people tried. We had the formula patented in those days. We had trademarks, but we were first to market. You could copy my product, but you couldn’t copy me. I was the long-haired, rebellious kid doing the TV, doing the media. It’s like Coca-Cola. Can you make brown sugar water and sell it to the masses? Probably. Can you compete with them? Not really. They’ve got first to market and distribution. We had that cinched up.

What’s the best part of building a $1 billion company and the worst part of building a $1 billion company?

The best part is the $1 billion, which has fantastic. Money is great. I tell people often that the greatest injustice you can do to yourself in America is to be poor. The poor pay more for everything. The poor are penalized for being poor. The rich very rarely pay for anything that the poor pay for and are incentivized to be rich. If you believe have a choice, please try to be rich. I’ve been broke and I’ve been extremely wealthy. It is far more fun to be extremely wealthy.

BYW S4 4 | Herbal Ecstasy
Herbal Ecstasy: Disrupt You!: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation

A good friend of mine talks about the root of all evil, where they say money is the root of all evil. He used to like to say that, “The guy that said money is the root of all evil didn’t have any.” The guy that said, “Money can’t buy you happiness didn’t know where to shop.” It’s true. It’s a blast and super fun. You’re hearing it from somebody who’s done it and who does it.

The worst part of it was trying to figure out who likes you for you, who genuinely wants to be your friend and who wants to be around the fame and fortune. I can only imagine what somebody like Jeff Bezos, the Founder of Amazon or Elon Musk has to go through because it must be very difficult to forge long-term meaningful relationships with people. You must have a solid vetting process because, in those days where you are super happy, super successful, there’s a big buzz around you, everybody wants to be around you.

When trouble pops up, there are only a few that will stick by you. Those are your real friends. That’s the most difficult part is realizing that there are people in the world that are not interested in you, but only in self-enrichment. Having your BS detectors refined to a point where when you reach those levels of success, being able to fair it out, the people that are the fakers is absolutely essential. I, unfortunately, didn’t have that in my teens. As I got older, I’ve developed it and my BS detector has gotten a lot stronger in the years to come after Herbal Ecstacy.

What happened to Herbal Ecstacy? You’re on top of the world and then what?

The government doesn’t seem to like very much when a young Iranian kid, in his teens develops a drug that is unregulated. They don’t like the idea of not being in control. What they did, along with some big pharma companies is they lobbied against us. Laws were passed. Our ingredients were banned. It slowly fizzled out. We had a bunch of different products in those days.

From there, I went on to solve a different problem. I went on to solve the problem with smoking. I figured, “People have been smoking for hundreds of years. Smoking creates smoke char and carbon monoxide. There’s got to be a better way.” It turns out that you can heat any plant substance, tobacco, cannabis, whatever and get the active elements, what you need, the cannabinoids, the THC, the nicotine without burning it, without heating it to 1200 degrees but you had to have the system for regulating the temperature, I patented that.

We developed the first world’s first vape. Digital vaporization was invented by me in those days. I patented it. I wrote the first book on it. That is the forerunner for all the technology that you see in vapes. We invented that industry. It didn’t exist before us. I created those patents. I wrote a book. That company went public. I decided, “I want to get back into the pill business.” At this point, we were having our first kid. I thought I got to figure out a way to make my brain sharper.

I want to be limitless. I want to function optimally, even as I’m aging, because aging is BS. I want to beat it. Maybe I won’t beat it. One day, I’m going to die. It’s all our destiny. Until then, I want to die with my boots on and sword drawn and be a badass. I came up with this pill called Excelerol. We’ve got two versions. One called Excelerol, one called FOCUS+, which was a nootropic, a brain supplement. It’s still available on Amazon. It works great but, in those days, it’s very expensive to produce. We use real ingredients. It was like $120 a box of this stuff.

I was looking for distribution thinking, “How am I going to sell this?” We sold some to GNC. We sold some to the different avenues. This was in the early days where this guy named Jeff Bezos was getting somewhere with his company. You could email Jeff, and he would respond. We heard through the grapevine that Jeff Bezos was opening up his platform, the bookstore, to third-party sellers. People like you and me to sell whatever we wanted to on those platforms.

I thought, “That’s cool. That’s timely. Let me try putting this stuff up.” It took me fifteen minutes. The whole process of opening a seller account, listing the product, the whole thing. I put the product up, Excelerol and I went to sleep. I didn’t think much. I thought maybe I’ll get a couple of orders in the next few weeks. I’ll work on this. I woke up the next day we had thousands of orders. “This is interesting. Who is this Bezos guy?” I read up on Jeff Bezos. I learned that he’s not this nerdy Silicon Valley guy that we see that we think he is.

This guy is a beast. This guy’s a leader in the industry. This guy comes from Wall Street. This guy comes from one of the biggest Wall Street firms with expertise in acquiring top talent and bringing cheap money from Wall Street, billions from Wall Street into Silicon Valley. He’s building this platform. This is no joke. This was never a bookstore. This is a key to world domination in global commerce. When I realized that, I decided I was going to devote the next several years of my life to mastering the Amazon platform. That’s what I did. I learned everything there was.

I spend most of my days impacting other people to sell on the Amazon platform. I teach a course where I train people, how to do everything from how do you find the perfect product? How do you sell it on Amazon? Why do you sell it on Amazon? How do you create a business that creates these predictable recurring revenue streams? Which is what I do and I love it.

As I listened to your story, you’re always in search of a better way. You find a better way and then you share it. You did that with the Herbal Ecstacy. You’ve done that every step along the way. Take us into your mind or do you just see a problem? Do you have a problem and you want to solve it, and then that’s what leads you to it? What got you in those different directions?

For me, sometimes that’s the case. My superpower is that I am a predictor of trends and a very accurate one particularly when it comes to consumer products. I know what’s going to be hot five years from now. I know what’s going to be hot ten years from now.

How do you do that?

I don’t know how I do it. I think it’s my obsessive nature. I am an obsessive human being. When I get interested in something, I dive deep. Back in the days, where people read books, I would be at the bookstore. I would be spending thousands of dollars on books. I would not come home any night without having a stack of books on topics that I was interested in. I still do it to this day. I order on Amazon. I will watch videos. I will read books. I will get audible. I will watch the TED Talks. I will dig deep. I will go into my new detail about a topic that I’m interested in.

There is no hack to hard work. You have to get out there and put in the sleepless nights. Click To Tweet

I will look to where the opportunity is. My friend, Jay Samit, who wrote the book, Disrupt You! and his new book, Future-Proofing You. He is a former executive at Sony. He talks about solving the bigger problem. For me, it came naturally the solving the bigger problem because I start with curiosity. I’m not looking for a why. I’m not looking for a reason to do what I’m doing. I’m following what my fascination is. I follow that fascination and see where it takes me. This brings me to what we teach at Amazon Mastery. My FBA seller course, which is for anyone who’s interested.

I’ve got a free one-hour course that I’m happy to share with any of your audience. What we teach is to find the distribution first, find what the market is hungry for. Find the competitors, find their vulnerabilities, then it’s easy for you to put a product out on the market. It’s low hanging fruit. That’s how you win. If you come out with a product and then you’re like, “How am I going to sell this thing?” That’s the long road.

You’ve got to educate people. Education is the kiss of death when it comes to product launches because you’ve got this thing. You’ve got a mousetrap. It’s better than every other mousetrap out there. I don’t know that as your consumer. You have to spend all your money educating me. What happens while you’re spending money educating me?

Somebody else comes along.

The competitors are selling and selling. People’s attention span is short in the days of TikTok, Instagram and the internet. What most entrepreneurs don’t understand, probably the single most important thing, comes from us being taught. This whole generation is being taught that you matter, that everybody cares about what you’re interested in. Nobody cares about you. People care about one thing. I, they care about themselves. That’s it?

Nobody cares about you, your story, your brands. All that stuff is BS. All they care about is what you’re going to do for them. When you go on Amazon and you buy a product, that person, if it’s one of my students will be an expert at crafting that story in a way whereby the time you get to that listing, you’re already clicking buy it now. The way that product is presented has pre-suaded you to believe that it’s your decision to buy it.

We are decision architects. That’s what we do. The old models of selling are dead. The old models of disruption selling and knocking on people’s doors and shoving stuff down their throats are dead. We’re in the Amazon era where we believe as Robert Cialdini in his book, Pre-Suasion talks about pre-suading people and becoming decision architects.

Give us an example of a product that you did this with so that we can see it in action. Somebody took a product and took it to Amazon after they found their market and it took off.

Excelerol would be a good example of that. FOCUS+ is one of the supplements that we talked about. Another example might be matcha tea. We’re one of the largest producers of matcha tea in the country. We make a specific matcha tea called Matcha DNA. Matcha is a green tea. It’s high in antioxidants. It’s got all these benefits. You can just Google it and learn about all these doctors and celebrities. The Kardashians are drinking it. Gwyneth Paltrow is drinking it. We started off by I’m a big matcha drinker. I thought, “I’d like to buy some matcha. Can I get some on Amazon?”

I looked on Amazon and there wasn’t any. There was a couple of brands that were expensive and they were just the big bulk market ones from Japan. I thought, “Fukushima just happened. I don’t want to buy anything from Japan. There’s radiation out there, allegedly.” I’m going to go with Chinese tea. The Chinese are good at teas. That’s the one thing I am going to buy from China.

I went out there and I found a supplier that produces it for us. We started selling matcha tea on Amazon. Went gangbusters. We sold tons of it. I did my research. We researched that there’s a huge market of people looking to buy matcha tea. There was no supply on Amazon. Now there are a million sellers selling it. We’re still the leader, but there are $ 1 million sellers selling macho.

I thought, “That’s a market that we can feed.” We went out there and we started introducing matcha. This is another thing that I teach my students is that you want to capture all areas of the market. We’ve got multiple brands that we sell in multiple categories. We sell the most expensive one. We sell the cheapest one. We sell the mid-level one. We knock ourselves off.

We sell knockoffs of our own product. We do all kinds of things to make sure that we dominate in that field. That’s what you have to do. If you want to win, you have to find a niche. You have to exploit the weaknesses of your competitors. You have to come in and dominate that niche and maintain, and hold on to that dominance.

When you talk about dominating the niche, how do you do that? What I think I’m hearing you say is, you found something that you were passionate about, went on Amazon and researched it and found that nobody’s dominating this market. “We’re going to go dominate it.” You created a better product, took that product to the market. You found ways to keep competing with yourself to be both sides of the coin almost, to push your brand up. Is that what you did?

That amongst other things. I remember I had at this point been selling on Amazon for a little while and there are certain hacks, and tips and tricks that we teach on how you get your product to rank, how you get your product reviewed within their terms of service. How you can successfully get that product visible and selling on the Amazon platform, that’s what we did.

It’s very interesting because Amazon is a very effective place to sell products. The one thing that I would say to you that maybe I would push back a little bit on in your description is the passionate part. I was interested in the tea. I was a fan of the tea. Maybe you could argue that I was passionate about it or maybe not. I’m thinking, “I’m passionate about hanging out with my family and my kids.” I’m passionate about all kinds of stuff that doesn’t make me money. It’s one of the most common myths that people tell you.

Scott Adams talks about it in his book, How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. Scott Adams is the writer of Dilbert, which is probably one of the most famous comic books in the world. Passion is something that they pitch people because they don’t want to tell them that they’re a little bit smarter than that. When they ask these big entrepreneurs, they say, “What’s your secret?” I go, “It was just passion.”

They don’t want to tell you that, “You know what? I’m an aggressive cutthroat. I cut three guys below me and I’m just a little bit smarter than you. I got access to a trust fund. You’re never going to make the billions that I make.” No one’s going to tell you that. It doesn’t look good for Mark Zuckerberg to tell you those things or Bill Gates to tell you those things. Instead, what they’re going to tell you is, “You just got to have a lot of passion and drive in life.” I know people all the time that have become billionaires, multi-millionaires from products that they do not give a care about.

BYW S4 4 | Herbal Ecstasy
Herbal Ecstasy: Inspire somebody to stop selling their hours and let their money work for them intelligently.


The passion part of the component, it’s nice to have. I’m passionate about a nice steak meal, a nice rare fillet mignon grass-fed steak. It’s not going to make any money. I’m passionate about tea. I’m passionate about doing this stuff. I’m passionate about talking with you on this show. This is fun. This is a great show. I’m excited to be here. You have to separate that from the activities that make you money. Making money as a system, it’s a formula. It has very little to do with what you are passionate about. If you’re interested in something, your interest, your fascination in something opens up a pathway, a journey to things that could make you money, but it’s not a precursor for success or wealth.

You’ve separated passion out from your business because you can be passionate about so many different things, but interest is definitely necessary or is it interest necessary?

Not really. I know lots of people who make money doing things that they have very little interest in. I know a guy who runs a very high-end fashion brand of women’s clothing. He doesn’t wear that. Every time I see him, I’m like, “Where’d you get your clothes?” He’s like, “H&M, Ross.” I’m like, “You run this like multi-million-dollar clothing company.” He’s like, “I don’t like that. I like to wear sweats.” He’s like, “I get good sweats at Ross and they’re 50% off.”

What do you see then as the key ingredient to making money?

I don’t think there’s any key ingredient. I don’t think there’s anyone thing. You got to have grit. You got to have resilience. The one thing I would say that’s key is you got to be able to go out there and take some punches. You got to be able to be knocked down. The people I see coming through my Amazon FBA Seller course, the people that come through my Amazon Mastery course, the ones that come in with the attitude of, “I’m going to throw my chips on the table. I’m going to see where that little roulette ball lands and maybe it’ll land on one of my numbers.” Those are the ones that fail.

The ones that come in and are like, “You see that nail, I’m going to drive that thing through that piece of wood.” Maybe I’ll use a hammer, if that doesn’t work, I’ll use a sledgehammer. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to shoot that nail. I’m going to hit it with a rock. I’m going to drill through it and then put it in. It doesn’t matter. That nail is going in. If you go to business with that attitude, you are going to succeed. You are not there to try. There is no participation trophy in business. There are people out there who will eat your lunch.

One of my favorite quotes is that “While you are sleeping, your enemies are planning your demise.” I write that quote in my book, which is one of my absolute favorite ones. It keeps you on your toes. You got to always be on your toes. The world is predatory. There’s no sleeping in the Savannah. You’ve got to be always on your toes, but more so than that, there’s no hack to hard work. There’s no hack to getting out there and doing the work.

There are all kinds of people on social media, preaching things. They want to sell you a course. They don’t want you to get rich. Even a lot of the people out there who sell their Amazon courses, mine, by the way, which is free and I will give it to you if you reach out to me. They don’t tell you what they’re doing to make money. They tell you what they want to tell you for you to think you’re going to make money, but them make money off you by selling you whatever it is they’re selling.

It’s like the stock market guys. I was a highly leveraged commodities trader. I did extremely well. I traded hundreds of millions of dollars in commodities, gold, oil, pork bellies, all that stuff, coffee futures for years. I tried all the different courses. I realized at a certain point that the guy selling the courses are making more money, selling the courses than they are in the markets. I was making more money than them in the markets. It’s like that. There is no hack to hard work. You got to get out there. You got to put in the sleepless nights. I paid my dues. I’ve slept on the factory floor.

I’ve gone from millions to a billion to broke to millions again. I’m continually on that path of learning of self-discovery of figuring out what I need to do to take myself to the next level. I have no illusions to think that I don’t have to wake up tomorrow and work hard at something. The fact is I’ve put myself in a place where I can relax and do the stuff that I love to do. It’s only because I spent all those years doing all that stuff that I didn’t want to do.

I love what you’re saying because you’re not sugarcoating it. Here’s what I have been thinking about as I’ve been listening to you. You said this at least twice. You said, “I burned the ships.” How critical was that to you having the motivation, the grit and the desire to get up every day and go do it when things didn’t look good?

As my friend says, “You got to go all in.” I don’t believe in half-assing things. I love watching these historical shows where you see these historical battles. You see these guys. These were guys who most people don’t know. The Vikings controlled England for nearly a thousand years, maybe longer. They ruled England. England was ruled by Vikings for 1,000 or more years. You look at that and you’re like, “What did they do?” This is before even naval navigation. These guys went on these wooden boats that they carved out from trees, left everything behind. They went out. Their swords were drawn for glory. That was it.

They burned all their ships. They were there to win. They would colonize places where they landed. That’s what you got to do. I think people have to be intelligent about the decisions that they make. If you’ve got a family, if you’ve got to feed the kids or whatever, you can’t leave everything and go off on some crazy venture. You need to have stability but it’s that stability that’s going to allow you to have the bandwidth to succeed.

You need to have stability that'll allow you to have the bandwidth to succeed. Click To Tweet

We talk about foundational thinking in my course. I tell people, you got to have four pillars, a four-legged table much more secure. Three-legged table, not so good. Two-legged table, not good at all. One-legged table, you’re a tripod. The first leg should be a career, a job, a trust fund, whatever it is money where you don’t have to worry about eating. You don’t have to worry about your family being taken care of. You don’t have to worry about if you want to take the wife out for a nice dinner, that it’s going to give you problems or the girlfriend or the husband or whatever.

The second pillar, you should have some money and cashflow-positive real estate. I tell people this all the time, “You got to buy at the right time when the market conditions are right. You got to find great deals, but you can do this with little or no money. I’ve bought houses on credit cards. I bought houses on eBay. There are all kinds of things you can do, but leaning towards cashflow positive real estate.” If you can’t get into it for whatever your restrictions are, you can at least start learning about it.

The third one is compounded interest. Why is Warren Buffett one of the wealthiest men in the world? Berkshire Hathaway is one of the most successful funds out there. It’s because of compounded interest. He’s been investing since he was a kid. If you leave money in and you compound interest over time, that’s going to add up to something. The fourth pillar, the fourth foundation, is an e-commerce business. I recommend Amazon. Amazon’s what I do. It’s one of the best, but it’s not the only one. We teach people how to sell on Etsy, Walmart, eBay, Poshmark, all these different marketplaces that are popping up. If you have these four pillars, these four foundations, nothing could ever shake your world.

You wake up in the morning, “The real estate market tanked. No problem, you’re cashflow anyway. It’s okay. It’ll get back up. We wait for a cycle.” “The boss fired me. No problem. You got your compounding interest money. You got your real estate.” “All those stuff failed. You got your e-commerce business,” and vice versa.

If you have those foundations, you might be unsettled for a little bit in life, but you’ll never be knocked out. If you look at these guys, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, look at what they do best, it’s diversification. It’s building those foundations. Those guys have hundreds of pillars. Do you think if Amazon went down tomorrow that Jeff Bezos would be crying? He’s got so much money. He’s got so many things he’s going. These guys are good. There is no one thing that’s going to shake their world. That’s what you have to do. You’ve got to build your life in a way where you can never have a day that’s that bad.

What is the chain that keeps you going? You’ve already done this multiple times. You’ve got the money. You’ve got the stuff. You’ve got the family. What’s keeping you motivated? I can feel your energy. I can feel you’re fired up. Ready to go fight, create something and go do something. What is it that’s keeping you going?

That’s a good question. I spend most of my time traveling with my family. We go to all great places. I’m a family man. We collect cars. I collect exotic cars, Porsches. Me and my son, my seven-year-old like to go out into the garage and fix these cars. We don’t know what we’re doing, but it’s fun to look under the hood and take a look at that. Spending time with my family is what fires me up. It’s what excites me. Outside of that, at work, I get excited about two things. One is when somebody buys a product that I’ve built, designed or developed.

The second is when somebody calls me up and says, “Shaahin, I made an extra 60,000 this month on Amazon. Thanks to you. I can quit my job. I can walk in tomorrow and tell my boss to beat it.” That excites me, when I can inspire somebody to stop selling their hours and let their money work for them intelligently. I’ve got students that have 3, 4 Vas, virtual assistants in Nicaragua, Venezuela, in South and Central America, in South Asia, Southeast Asia, working for them, running their business and they’re on the beach. They’re traveling. Those VAs are running that business. While they’re sleeping, they’re making money.

If I can empower people to have that freedom, I always say, “Freedom is the ultimate luxury. The new luxury is time.” If you have all that money and you can’t take a break, have a nice lunch with your significant other, take your kid to the park, do whatever you want, when you want with who you want, you’re not really wealthy. That’s why the cost of a private jet somewhere is exponentially more than a first-class ticket on any airline because it offers you the ultimate freedom.

In my world, what I would say is your energy comes from when you find something better and then you share it. People love it because they appreciate that you shared that better way with them and it’s brought them results. It worked. It was better. I feel the same way when I can share something that’s better and people love it. Even a better restaurant, even a better anything. “Have you been to this place?” They love it. It brings me a lot of joy. I can see you doing that same thing on a bigger scale. The last question for you. What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever given or the best piece of advice that you’ve ever gotten?

As far as advice goes, the best advice I’ve ever gotten is topical and it’s time-sensitive. The advice that I got as a young person might not apply now. With that said, in very general terms, I could say, don’t work in a vacuum. Build a mastermind or join a mastermind. Like with my Amazon Mastery course, we have a mastermind where people sign up with us. They’re immediately with a hundred other people that are selling on Amazon. Find a mentor. Getting somebody who is where you want to be and incentivizing them to conspire for your success could be the ultimate hack to getting there a lot faster.

If people are reading and they want to get in touch with you, how is the best way for them to do that?

You can email me directly. We have the one-hour Amazon Mastery course. I’ll offer that to all your audience for free. It’s normally $200. We’ll give it to them for free. Just use the code WHY and email me at That’s my direct Gmail address. I get emails to zero every day. I will answer all emails directly. You can also check us out at or My book Billion How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult just dropped. You can get that on Amazon and check that out. We also do a show. We’ve got a podcast called Hack and Grow Rich.

If you want to check out Hack and Grow Rich, make sure to like, and subscribe to us, dislike us, whatever you want to do. Give us some love, give us some attention. You can get us on Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, wherever podcasts are heard. Gary, if someone’s reading this on our channel, how can they get ahold of you and subscribe to the content you’re producing?

BYW S4 4 | Herbal Ecstasy
Herbal Ecstasy: Love the path you’ve been on, including the ups and downs.


Have them come to The best thing for them to do would be to go Discover Their Why. They can use the code Podcast50 and Discover Their Why for half price. It’s only $47. You’ll see all that you need there. You can connect with me there as well.

Thanks for having me on.

Thanks for being here. I love the path that you’ve been on, the ups, the downs, the stories, the realness to it. You’re not trying to sell something that requires no work because that doesn’t exist. If you were to have told me, “I’ll do everything for you. It’s not going to be any work for you. Give me your $1,000, and you’ll be rich.” Not a real story. You’re like, “You’re going to have to go work your butt off. You’re going to have to put the hours in. There’s no substitute for burning the ships and jumping in with both feet, going all in and getting it done.” Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it. I’ll look forward to reading your book.

It has been fun. Thank you so much.

It’s time for our Guess Their Why segment. I want to think about Walt Disney. What do you think Walt Disney’s why is? He imagined a place where people were happy. He imagined Disneyland, Disney World and he built it when people told him he shouldn’t. He wanted to contribute to the youth. He wanted to contribute to people’s imagination. He wanted them to have a great experience and to have a great time. I believe that Walt Disney’s why is to contribute. To contribute to a greater cause, add value and have an impact on people’s lives.

When I think about him, he was able to surround himself with other people that he brought with him. His brother, Roy, who was the how guy, but lifted them up. He lifted up the people around them to be creative, to be fun and to be funny. That’s what somebody with the why of contribute would be. What do you think Walt Disney’s why is?

If you love this episode, if you love this show, make sure to go to the platform that you’re reading on and rate us, give us a review because it’ll help us to bring the why to the rest of the world, so that we can impact and help one billion people discover, make decisions and live based on their why. Thank you for reading, and we will see you next week.

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About Shaahin Cheyene

BYW S4 4 | Herbal EcstasyBorn in Iran Tehran in 1975, Shaahin Cheyene is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and a prosperous businessman who is committed to share his enthusiasm to accelerate intelligence through his most recent company and products. Cheyene is the CEO and Chairman of brain nutrition start-up Accelerated Intelligence.

As a teenager in the 1990’s, Cheyene jump initiated his career by inciting and leading the “Smart Drug Movement” with his invention of Herbal Ecstacy, a refreshing, herbal supplement made to energize the body. He realized early in his career about guerilla branding and he still makes use of it to sell his products today. Shaahin Cheyene has developed over 200 award-­winning products, selling millions of units globally. After pioneering the breakthrough components for Herbal Ecstacy, he extended his company’s offerings with Ecstacy Cigarettes, an herbal substitute for tobacco that many have put to use to quit smoking. It went on to become the most effective herbal cigarette on the earth.

In the early 2000’s, Cheyene’s career naturally progressed and matured. He started to work with several major pharmaceutical organizations to broadcast the technologies and great things about herbal medicines to the mainstream. In this process, Cheyene was accountable for the proliferation of several plant medicines now applied to popular naturopathic health regimens.

In 2000, Cheyene invented, branded and developed a revolutionary new medicine delivery system called the Vapir Vaporizer. His creation quickly spearheaded the burgeoning vaporization industry. He also published the definitive book on the science of Vaporization, Vapor: The Art and Science of Inhaling Pure Plant Essences. Shaahin Cheyene credits the production of his top-selling health supplement Excelerol to his career-long love of naturopathic herbal solutions. He remains true to his objectives to nurture and assist in improving the health of everyone with herbal alternatives to harsh chemicals.


So You’re in a Relationship With a Better Way…

Better Ways are an interesting one. They can be a lot of fun, and they can also be a great challenge. Like any WHY, there are plenty of the good with the bad, but understanding them is what is most important for a lasting relationship. They are usually very success driven and have a lot of big plans for their lives – the question is if they can manage to put their significant other first in those plans or not. Because they are often so motivated by success and bettering themselves, relationships and romance can take a back seat at times. However, in the moments when they do show such care and love, it is important to nurture those moments and really enjoy them.

Something I’ve seen is that Better Ways are often hard to tie down at first – it may of caused you a lot of convincing to finally get your significant other to settle down. This can come from the possibility that they are always looking for the next best thing and being in search of that, can cause a lot of indecision.

What to do, what to do…

Speaking of indecision, when dating a better way you may notice they struggle to make plans at times. What to do for a special event, what to give as a gift, what to do for an upcoming celebration, planning a vacation or trip, even what to pick for dinner can often be a difficult task if they don’t already know the best thing on the menu. The idea that they may land on a decision and there could be a better option out there can drive their mind wild.

Adventure is Out there!

There are many positives to dating someone with the WHY of better way, there is never a dull moment. They are often full of energy and live life with a lot of curiosity. That curiosity means they are always looking for the next big adventure, the next best restaurant, the next best thing to do. Often times, idle time is not an option. Which if you are also always down to try new things and rarely sit still, this can be a lot of fun for you too!

Another positive of dating a Better Way, is that you will get a lot of free advice! Maybe you didn’t ask for it, but they are only trying to help you come to the best decision. When they are offering up an alternative that they believe is better, they are doing it to help you. This is valuable to know about who you are in a relationship with because not only will you see what they’re doing when they offer advice but you’ll understand it is their way of sharing themselves with you, a little piece of their knowledge.


Implementing A Better Way: Working To Improve And Change Lives With Dr. Scot Gray

BYW S4 1 | Change Lives


Dr. Scot Gray knows that there is always a better way. Ever since he opened his own chiropractic practice, he has always worked towards finding ways to impact the lives of others, to make their lives better. Dr. Gray focuses on training people smarter than him so they can deliver services that impact others.

Join Dr. Gray as he is interviewed by our host, Dr. Gary Sanchez. They talk about how Dr. Gray got his start in the practice and how he learned to take risks and let go of the reins of his business so he can do what he loves: helping others.

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Implementing A Better Way: Working To Improve And Change Lives With Dr. Scot Gray

Welcome to Beyond your Why. We go beyond just talking about your why and helping you discover and then live your why. Every week we talk about one of the nine whys, and then we bring on somebody with that why so you can see how their why has played out in their life. We’re going to be talking about the why of a better way.

If this is your why, then you are the ultimate innovator and you are constantly seeking better ways to do everything. You find yourself wanting to improve virtually anything by finding a way to make it better. You also desire to share your improvement with the world. You constantly ask yourself questions like, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?” You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto, “I’m often pleased, but never satisfied.” You’re excellent at associating, which means taking things from one area or business and applying them to another always with the ultimate goal of improving something.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Dr. Scot Gray. He is the father of two wonderful girls and husband to his beautiful bride, Jen. Dr. Scot is a serial entrepreneur and author. He has been featured on ABC, NBC, Lifetime Network, and other television shows. He built and sold a successful chiropractic practice, the Ohio Neck and Back Pain Relief centers in Marion, Ohio. Dr. Gray owns several medical offices in Ohio and Florida, a physician referral network called Konnect Relief, and has helped many doctors. Dr. Scot focuses on building teams of people smarter than him to run and deliver services in these businesses in order to change the millions of lives of patients and doctors. Dr. Scot, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Gary. Great to be on here with you. Good to see you.

This is going to be a lot of fun because there’s a lot more to you than that short bio. You and I are in a mastermind group together. I’ve gotten to know you there, but I’m anxious for the rest of our audience to get to know you. Take us back to where were you born and where’d you grow up? How the heck did you get into chiropractic?

I’m originally from Columbus, Ohio. Born and raised right in the middle of the state there. I’m a Buckeye fan, just like most folks there in Columbus. Honestly, the chiropractic thing was interesting. I knew from a young age that I always wanted to help people. I wanted to get into some type of medicine or be a doctor in some way. I didn’t know anything about chiropractic for years.

In high school, I started talking with one of my family friends. One of the friends that my parents went to high school with was a chiropractor and I started talking to him. I got in a car accident, of all things. I was going to school one morning, and I was on the highway, and I got rear-ended at about 55 miles an hour. I was sitting at a dead stop, so it basically destroyed my neck and my back.

Where did I go? My mom told me to go to a chiropractor. I literally had never been before. Dr. Glenn Ives over there in Dublin, Ohio was another big influence on me saying, “Scot, the way a chiropractor does things is a little bit different. We’re looking at the cause. We don’t like to cover things up with medicine or ‘That thing is fine.’ We look at the person holistically. Everything that’s going on, and look at how we can help that person improve.” I just love that model better. That spoke to me and connected with me. I’m a big believer of the power that made the bodies, the power that heals the body. When I started learning about it, it just connected and off to the races I went. That’s how I got into chiropractic.

Chiropractic school and building your chiropractic practice was not an easy thing for you. Is that right? It wasn’t like, “Everything was paid for. Everything was simple. You just fell right into a beautiful practice, and it was all roses from there.” Your story was a little different.

It was a little rockier than that. I was that typical kid coming out of school with a lot of loans, a lot of debt, and nothing to my name. My parents didn’t have money to open a practice or even help us through school and that type of thing. I had to how to figure out how to do it on my own. I went through school with my brother. My brother is also a chiropractor. We were together for years, literally every single day. Luckily, we get along pretty good, so that worked out well.

BYW S4 1 | Change Lives
Change Lives: In school, you get all the clinical stuff. You learn how to diagnose, how to treat, and all that, but running the business and how to get your name out there and share what you do with the world? You don’t learn any of that.


What happened was, after chiropractic school, I went to a program where you would call it an apprenticeship, a preceptorship, where I worked with another doctor. He showed me the ropes of how to run a business and how to see patients and all that stuff that you don’t learn in school. In school, you get all the clinical stuff, how to diagnose, how to treat, how to do all that, but running the business, how to get your name out there, and share what you do with the world, you don’t learn any of that.

I went with this group. What he decided to do is, he said, “Scot, we’ll do this program. When you’re ready to go, we will find a spot and I’ll help pay for your way to open your practice.” I go through all this. We go through the program. I’m getting ready to get my own place. I literally have a contract in hand in the new place. We’re going to sign on this thing and we’re going to open this practice.

He’s going to help me, and then I would pay him back over time. What happened though, was his business went bankrupt, and all their investors pulled out. Everything disappeared overnight. It went from, “I had a weekly paycheck. I was going to open a practice. Scot, there’s no money. You literally have no income. You got to figure out how to do it from here.”

My brother and I went through school together. We had decided, “We’ll open our practice. It is separate. Let’s not mix business and family.” When this happened, he was also in that program. He was in the same boat as myself. We decided, “Let’s figure out how to do this together.” It’s the only way. We both have a lot of debt. We didn’t want to work for somebody. We knew we wanted to have our place. We’re bound and determined to figure this thing out.

February of 2004 was when we were dropped from this program. We went from bank to bank. I was 24 at the time. My brother was 26, 27. A couple of twenty-year-old kids going in and asking for a bunch of money with a ton of debt. Most banks just laughed us out of the establishment, but we kept going. We’re trying to find out how to do it. It’s crazy. We did everything from. I would watch his kids while they would go and work nights just so we could pay the bills.

We lived together. It was my brother, his wife, two girls, two dogs, and myself in a two-bedroom apartment. That’s how we started. We did that for probably at least a year where I would watch the girls at night and on the weekends, they would go to work. We would do other things just to make money on the side so that we could get this thing going and profitable. What happened was, we ended up finding a chiropractor that wanted to move and start a practice and do something somewhere else.

We’re able to come in and secure a loan with a company from a small local bank for $50,000, enough to get us started to pay for payroll for the first few months. That was in June of 2004 that we got that started. From February through June, we were scared. We had no income again. We’re doing side jobs, and then, even after we started the practice, we still did those side jobs because the practice did not pay us enough to get the thing going. It was a struggle. We had our ups and downs.

By 2008, my brother decided to go off and do something else. He wanted to do a nerve conduction test, EMG, NCV, these different tests that were more neurology-related things. He went and got more education and went to do that. He still does some of that stuff to this day. I ended up buying him out of the practice and took it from there and went a different direction.

For the people that can’t see you, and even those who can, how tall is your brother?

Seth is 6’4”.

You need to make yourself redundant in your business so that you're not needed. Click To Tweet

How tall are you?


Seth is a 6’4”. You’re 6’6”. A wife, two little girls, and two dogs?

It was crazy. It was a wild place. You got to do what you got to do. We wanted to make it work. Rather than get a comfy job where we knew we could pay the bills, we wanted to take that risk to be able to have a bigger ceiling, an opportunity to help people and create change.

You now own this practice by yourself. What was it like when you bought it? How long did you own it? What happened? Take us on that journey with you.

It was an interesting time when I bought the practice in May of 2008 because I was just getting over an injury. I had a bad cough for several months and I pulled a rib away from my sternum. I couldn’t adjust for about 8 or 9 months. What happened is, the patient visits started going down. The business was suffering. I ended up buying it from my brother, and we’re seeing about 110 patients a week. I went nuts. I started to realize like, “I got to get out there, and I got to meet people. I got to go out and share what we’re doing.”

I was totally focused on the practice, focused with my team on growing this thing. We tripled the size of the practice within about twelve weeks after I bought the practice. A lot of that, when it’s painful, and you’re scared and worried, you go out and you do everything you possibly can. That’s what I was doing. We did that and created a successful practice, and then I started hiring associate doctors to work with me so I could grow it even more and start focusing on running the practice the way that it should be.

Running a practice takes a lot of time in and of itself, on top of the time you’re spending with patients. That allowed me to focus more on that. Eventually, we got two associates in there. I was out of practice. They were doing all the adjusting and I was just working on growing it and doing everything we could to help more people.

How long did that take you to go from buying it to then just running it?

May 2008 is when I bought it. I had this epiphany. I’ve got a mentor by a guy named Vinnie Fisher. He said something to me in October of 2015. This is seven years later. He said, “Scot, you’re never going to grow your business and affect the number of people you want to affect if you keep adjusting patients.” I realized that if I want to help more people, I have to stop seeing patients.

BYW S4 1 | Change Lives
Change Lives: My mentor told me, “Scot, you’re never going to grow your business and affect the number of people you want to affect if you keep adjusting patients.”


It was this weird idea that didn’t make any sense to me at first, and then I’m like, “That’s it.” I went back from that meeting that I had with Vinnie, and I told my staff that I’m done seeing patients. I’m going to work on growing the practice and helping more people. It took me a little bit of time, a couple of months. It was December 17th of 2015 that was the last time I saw a patient in the chiropractic office. It took me 7.5 years to get there. It worked out. My associate was with me for six years already.

I had a great guy working with me. He still runs the Ohio offices that we have. He’s just an awesome guy, that I love to be a business partner with, and does a great job. I worked hard to train him and get him to where he could just run it on his own. The beautiful thing that that did is I was able to move on to the next phase of my life and sell the practice. That was in 2017. This was about 1.5 years later. One of the things that the bank loved about it is that I had not seen a patient for 1.5 years. Nothing was going to change.

Gary, you know that with the mastermind that we’re in, one of the things that they always talk about is like you need to make yourself redundant in your business so that you’re not needed. That was one of the biggest things that helped me there to be able to do that and move that along to him. Also, it’s better for the practice because nothing changes and it’s just smooth sailing. It was that seven years. It’s funny. I have thought about it, but I never thought I would get there. I didn’t know how I would get there.

It was just certain things like that with Vinnie speaking that to me, and then it was our mentor, Randy. I had a bad day, a stressful day at the office. He asked me, “Scot, are you happy right now? Do you want to keep the office or should you move on to what you want to do?” That was that word to me of, “I need to focus on what I love, what I want to do to be able to help more people.” It’s created an amazing amount of freedom in my life.

I went through this same thing. If I’m a doctor, or a lawyer or a chiropractor reading this and I want to do the same thing, how did you do it? I understand the concept. I understand what you’re saying, but what did you do to go from being the producer to being the promoter? From being the one who does everything to one that builds everything? How did you change that?

I started to phase myself out. The first thing you have to do is get good people and train them. Spend time with them. I would train my team at least an hour a week. Different little things every single day. I went through so much stuff with Dr. Dave, who took over my practice. We would read books with them. We would go through different mindset things. We would talk about case studies with patients. We spent a lot of time. I put a lot of time into my team and the training into how you do something. You’re always training on, “How could you do this better than me?” because that’s what you always want to find.

I interviewed one of the founders of Pixar. That’s what they said the secret to their success was. It was just hiring the smartest people that were smarter than them even when it was scary that they might take their job or be better. That was the key. Find people that are better, who can do things better than you, and train them up, and you’ll see them surpass you.

One of the things with chiropractic, especially, maybe the same in dentistry, I don’t know, is that when someone sees you, maybe you’re the first person to treat them, adjust them, or meet them, they get used to you. What I wanted to do as fast as possible is have that first encounter to be with Dr. Dave and not me, so that they like being with Dr. Dave and not with me. That was one of the biggest shifts.

When I was able to get to where he would see all the new patients and start with everyone, I’m the odd guy out coming in if he’s out of town or whatever. It used to be, “All I want to see is Dr. Scot.” Now, it’s “I want to see Dr. Dave.” I would deal with that, but that was one of the biggest things. It’s the expectations, too that you have. I would get this question a lot. They would say, “Scot, how do you get your doctors who work for you to do so much?” It blew my mind that I don’t understand how they, “You don’t have them do a lot. You’ve hired them, you should be training them and giving them the most experience you can.”

A lot of docs will do this. They’ll say, “You’re with me for 2 or 3 years in this contract. You better not go out, try to start a practice, and take my patients.” They tried to put the handcuffs on them. I did the complete opposite. I said, “I’m going to teach you how to have a great practice. I’m going to teach you everything you need to know. If you want to go open up a practice somewhere and have your practice, awesome. Go do it.”

Everyone says they're too busy to train others, but the problem is you'll always be busy if you don't train them. That's the reality. Click To Tweet

My thought process was if he wants to leave, he’s going to leave. Why would I want to keep somebody there that doesn’t want to be there? That’s a toxic thing. I just said, “If you want to take this out and do it on your own, go ahead and do it.” The biggest thing was training, letting them have the freedom to want to learn, to want to do good, almost planning to have their own practice because if they don’t plan for that, they’re not going to try to achieve it.

I said, “If you want to achieve it, you’re going to have to work your butt off just like any of us who own a practice.” Having then the faith to hand that person off to them and trust that they’re going to do a great job with them because that’s the hardest thing. Vinnie told me, “One of the things you have to be okay with is that sometimes you have to be okay with the 70% version of yourself because no one’s going to treat your business the same way you do. It’s always going to be your baby. You’re going to have to be okay with maybe they don’t do quite as good.” What I found is that if you train the right people in there, a lot of times, they can do better.

It seems like most of us bypass that training part. Both of them, the training and the freedom.

Everyone says they’re too busy to train them, but It’s like the promise, you’ll always be busy if you don’t train them. That’s the reality.

How was that on your ego because you went from, “The guy. Everybody wants to see you. Now they want to see Dr. Dave?” How did you handle that, “I went to school. This is my place. This is my thing?” Now, it’s more, “I want to see Dr. Dave.” Was that tough on you or was that just an easy transition?

It was an easy transition. I don’t have an, “I need to be the guy.” Honestly, it’s funny, because I promoted the practice that way. I did a lot of videos. You could YouTube me and see that I’ve done a lot of videos. I’ve done a lot of TV stuff. I’ve written books, and it was always about, “Dr. Scot comes to,” and honestly, to get out of the limelight was awesome to me. I’m more of an introvert. I forgot if it’s Randy who says the situational extrovert. I’m that situational extrovert where, what I need to be, I can be extroverted.

Most times, if you were to leave me to my own devices, I’ll just sit over in the corner and be quiet, and I’ll be completely happy and content. In our group, I’m not the most talkative guy. I’m way more of an introvert than most people. The ego thing was nothing. I’m always focused on results. I want to have the best practice. I want to have the best team. I will have the best results. Whatever that looks like, that’s what I want to do. I don’t think that I have to be in the center of that for that to happen.

I feel like my superpower is more of having the vision of where we can go, and creating a better way. That’s what I’m always thinking of like, “How can we simplify this? How can we make this better? How can it be a better experience for the patient? How can it be a better outcome for the patient?” I’m always trying to think of that stuff.

When I’ve got all the providers treating the patients, I can be back doing what I’m best at, what I love, and have a fun time, too. I was going through pain management literature just to see if there’s something that we could add or tweak that would be beneficial to our patients. How can we make it simpler? How can we make it better and more effective?

I’m thinking, “We’re working on the system that we have to connect people with doctors across the country to get pain relief and other relief that they need.” I’m that guy. I’m totally happy being behind the scenes doing that stuff. I just like to see the results that patients get and the jobs we can provide all that stuff. That’s the more fulfilling part for me.

BYW S4 1 | Change Lives
Change Lives: One of the things you have to be okay with is that sometimes, you have to be okay with the 70% version of yourself because no one’s going to treat your business the same way you do.


You had one practice. You were running that instead of being the doctor in it, and then how did you grow from there? Take us on your journey through that to where you are now.

This was not planned at all. What happened was, I sold my chiropractic practice in 2017. I had another practice that was doing regenerative medicine in Ohio. I was just behind-the-scenes vision, had a great operating team, great medical doctor and nurse practitioners. They’re running the whole show. I didn’t even have to show up. I was just doing the things in the background that I needed to do so that we had great company and things are moving along well.

Scot, for those that don’t know, what is regenerative medicine?

Regenerative medicine got big when people started talking about stem cell therapy. With the way the FDA is changing things, we don’t do stem cell therapy in the US anymore. There are great people that we can connect you with within other countries like Mexico that do stem cell therapy. This is using stem cells from, sometimes, your own body. Sometimes they use them from an umbilical cord. A mother will donate the umbilical cord.

Basically, there are two things they’re going to do with it. Either they can donate it or it’s going to go in the trash. What’s going to happen is they can donate it and obviously, goes through all kinds of testing and sterility to make sure it’s clean, good and usable. After all that, they can take those stem cells, those Day 0 cells, that are just amazing.

What they can do for the body is they can release all these cytokines and growth factors and things that help regenerate tissue in the body. There’s this amazing regenerative function in the body, and people see amazing results. When we first started doing it, stem cells in the US were becoming a bigger thing. We’re part of that movement. What that changes now, we can use tissue allografts to where we can help people. We can use tissue that has stem cells in it, but we’re not doing stem cell therapy in the US anymore.

Our offices are based more on insurance-based things like hyaluronic acid, PT, and different things like that. There’s still is a regenerative medicine aspect that we can do but it’s not the old stem cell therapy that we love so much. We still send people down to folks in Mexico that have great programs. Regenerative medicine has just been great.

I’m skipping around here a little bit because I got to be careful. I don’t want to make claims and things and act like it does more than what it does. We want to be careful how we talk about it. You can look up studies from all around the world and what it does, and how it helps people. In other countries, they’re treating things like rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, lupus. They treat all kinds of crazy stuff down there because they can do things differently than we do in the US. Here, we focus on helping people with joint pain, back pain, knee pain, those types of things. Regenerative medicine is an amazing thing. I wish we could do more of it in the US, but things have changed.

I know you’re dancing around it. I don’t know if I can ask you this question or not. Why has it changed so much? I know a few years back, it was okay to do “stem cell therapy” and suddenly, it’s not okay to say that you do stem cell therapy. Why the change? Is that something you can talk about?

I feel like a lot of it is abuse by doctors that go out there and said, “This thing was a silver magic bullet that was going to heal everything in your body.” There are crazy people out there, doing crazy stuff with it, saying stupid things, so the FDA has to come in and regulate it and say, “We got to talk about what we can and can’t say here.”

Marketing and advertising are really just psychology and math. It's understanding people. Click To Tweet

Even when people say stem cell therapy, there’s way more to this than just stem cells. They’re saying, like, “You are talking about it wrong. You’re making claims that aren’t true. We don’t have double-blind studies.” The FDA basically gave us a window and said, “We can test this out and see how it works, but at the end of that, we’re going to have to come in and set up regulations around this as to how we can use it, what’s being said, and what products you can use.”

They came out on May 31st of 2021 and changed things up. They said, “This is what you can say. This is what you can’t say. This is what you can do. This is what you can’t do,” and no one was talking about the risks involved in it. Anytime you get a surgery, anytime you get any procedure, any injection, there’s a consent form. We did that all along.

There are bad players out there. There’s always going to be players like that in the market where FDA had to come in and say something to do something. Unfortunately, it hurts a lot of other people that were doing it right and had good processes down. One interesting thing about that, though, is that what we did here, we can manipulate the cells. What we mean by that is you may have been able to get like 10 million, 20 million stem cells here. In Mexico, they can expand those out to 100 million, 200 million cells.

What you’re able to do in those other countries is even better than what we were able to do here. It may not even be a bad thing. We just love being able to do it. We love helping people. We never made claims. We always told people, “This is experimental. There are no double-blind studies, and there are risks involved with it.” We went through the consent form and we did those things. Like anything, there’s always going to be people that blow it up to say it’s stuff that it’s not and it creates a problem and then regulation has to come in.

You went from one chiropractic office to multiple chiropractic offices, and then to multiple regenerative practices. Is that the path?

I have the chiro office, and then I had the regenerative office at the same time, so just those two. I then sold a chiropractic practice and had the regenerative practice. At that point, it was basically running on its own. I didn’t have to be there all the time. I had the opportunity where I could come back and be there every once in a while, do stuff on Zoom, and all that before everything was really big on Zoom.

My wife and I decided we wanted to move to Florida. We moved to Florida on a whim. We said, “Our girls are young enough. Let’s do it before school. Let’s see if we love it.” We’ve been talking about moving to Florida for 3 to 5 years. We just love it down here. That’s where I am. I’ve said, “I could do some regenerative medicine down here. Let’s see who I can team up with and build a team down here because I didn’t want to just sit around and not do anything.”

I obviously was working with the team in Ohio. I was like, “I could do it here at the same time.” I met with a doctor down here and said, “Can I rent space from you? We could do something together.” Long story short, we ended up partnering together. We have six offices down here and building that out. What started as regenerative medicine is something totally different now. It’s changed through the changes that we had to make but that came out of nowhere. I wasn’t even planning it.

It was a great opportunity to work together and help more people. I bring my assistant down here and do what we do so well. Once we got that going, then in Ohio, they said, “Let’s do some more offices here.” We’re opening our fourth office in Ohio. That’s how it happened. We have great teams that love to do this. They love what we’re doing. They love the mission. We just keep expanding and working to help more and more people.

One of your specialties that I know of is marketing. You have learned from some of the best and you’ve implemented many of the things they share with you. You’ve taught me a lot of stuff. How did you become proficient in marketing?

BYW S4 1 | Change Lives
How to Win Friends & Influence People

When I first started, I realized, “These patients are not knocking down my door to come and get adjusted.” It was a rocky start. I started reading. It was out of necessity. It was, “How do I do this?” I bought a program from this guy named Ben Altadonna. He was big in helping chiropractors learn how to share the message of their office. I started doing some of what they call direct response marketing of sending stuff out, sharing what we can do, and having people respond and find people that need us that we can help.

I just loved it because one of the big things why I went to Louisville, Kentucky, is it’s where I did that program, my preceptorship, my apprenticeship. I’m an introvert, so I started reading a ton of books on communication because I didn’t know how to start a conversation with people. I’m not like the life-of-the-party guy to be able to just strike up a conversation with everyone. I got to learn how to do this. I got to learn how to talk to people. I’m trying to think around here. I still have it. I have this old program called How to Start a Conversation in 90 Seconds or Less. It’s like this little audio thing. They’re trying to learn how to talk to people.

I started loving the whole concept of communication, which is what I feel marketing and advertising is, is how do I communicate with people on a super high level to help them understand what we do and how we can help them and understand them, what they’re dealing with and what frustrations they have. I just fell in love with it.

I’ve got hundreds of books. I’ve probably spent over $1 million just in courses, going to seminars, being in masterminds, and learning from the best people in the world how to do marketing. When I say marketing, I feel like it’s communication with people and it’s being able to create a community and get the message out that helps more people.

What is the best book you’ve read? If you were going to tell the audience one book they just can’t miss they got to read it on marketing, what would that book be? What’s had the biggest impact on you?

If I take it back to communication, probably the most profound book to me was just the old classic, How to Win Friends & Influence People. That one changed my understanding of how to talk to people. Before that, I just didn’t know what to do. If I could cheat and give a couple more, I would say, The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes was one of the best books I’ve ever read on how to run a business. That includes marketing and advertising.

One of the things that people have said is that marketing and advertising are just psychology and math. It’s understanding people and then it’s making the math work to where, “If I spend this much on marketing, I’m not going to go bankrupt. I’m going to make money on it,” because you can’t just keep spending money if you’re not getting any money back in the business. Those are the two big things.

The reason I say that is because one of my favorite books is the Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. That book was, you talk to any marketer, it’s just understanding basic concepts of human psychology. I was such a novice to this. Those early books were huge to me, and to some people, it may be simple concepts, but to me, it was earth-shattering.

You recommended a book to me that we’re utilizing quite a bit called The Conversion Code.

By Chris Smith. That was good for understanding the psychology of, nowadays, a lot of people are doing online advertising. This is from the guy that was probably the most successful with my understanding. He worked for Quicken Loans. His job was to handling incoming leads off of Facebook to Quicken Loans. He goes through what it takes to connect with an online lead and how to handle that, and understand the psychology of that.

It’s different from someone that read a newsletter or saw you on an infomercial. Understanding where people are when they come in, and raise their hand and say, “I’m interested in what you’re doing,” the way you speak with them, what you say to them, and how fast you respond to them. There’s a lot of things that go into it that a lot of people just don’t understand. It’s like simple concepts. You just got to know it. You got to read about it. You got to learn it, and then you got to implement it.

There is a better way to fix your pain. There is a better way to get relief. There's a better way to be healthy. Click To Tweet

I could read The Conversion Code and say, “That was a great book,” and then go read another book. I’m notorious for I outlined books when I read them. I read a book with the intention to implement everything that I read in that book. That makes sense to the business. When I read The Conversion Code, I literally have a whole presentation that I gave to my team. “This is how you use it.” One of the things I do also is I used to hold quarterly seminars, and I would train doctors on how to run their practice in business. I would take these and put them into presentations and transform them.

You talked about a better way to take something from somewhere and puts it somewhere else. I do that all the time. I take this concept from Quicken Loans. How do we do that in medical practice? Anyone that ever sees anything that I’ve done will find out quickly that I’m a huge Disney fanatic. Gary knows this. I try to take every concept of what Disney does and what Walt Disney did and put that into our practice. How do we give people a better experience in the practice? The better way thing, when you started describing that, when I first met you and learn about all the why. It’s like, “That’s me in a nutshell.”

That’s why we connect is I see the same world you see. It’s got to be a better way. What you’ve done, I love that, how you outline the books and then give a presentation to your team so that you can implement everything. I can read a book and then jump to the next book. What’s the next one I got to read? I love the way you’re implementing. It’s the whole thing.

Yes. Here’s the thing, too. My video library is fast. I literally have a university for my team to watch. One of the things that a lot of people do is they’ll teach that stuff, but then they have to keep teaching over and over again and reiterating it. We do have to do that in business as the leader is the visionary. They say in the Bible when the vision is gone, the people perish. There’s got to be a vision. You’ve got to reiterate it. Most people forget about it within 30 to 45 days and your company, if you’re not going over your vision every month, everyone’s lost. They’re just doing day-to-day stuff. They’re not on point.

What I’ve done is document it so that everyone new coming in can see that and you’re creating clones for lack of a better term. That’s what I do with Dr. Dave. My whole point wasn’t just to say like, “Dr. Dave, look at this cool concept.” It’s like, “No, how do I teach this?” Have that person do it and have it become part of their routine. If it becomes part of their routine, it becomes part of our system. Anyone new that comes in, that part of the system is now there. It can be taught. They can take it and put it into practice.

How do I learn it? How do I disseminate it down? How do I get them to then do it? Now, I’m hands-off and I don’t have to do that again. They can just take it and then, what do we want them to do? We want them to train the next person so they can move up so that they can train. Of course, when they train, they get better at it. There’s a whole system that I focus on to take it and implement it and help other people implement it.

That’s my goal is to get other people to implement it because that’s the only way you’re going to get the leverage that you need, which is a big word that we focus on. How do you leverage your time? When you see successful people who can have multiple clinics and multiple things going on, I could never do that if I had to see every patient. If I had to manage all the staff. I had to know its leverage. How do I train this so that they’re basically becoming a clone, doing these things as part of the system? It’s making yourself redundant in the business and you’re just leading the way.

It’s interesting because this all came from pain on your side. The pain of not having the practice, of not having the ability to just go out and buy it. Maybe a better word would be resourcefulness.

I wouldn’t have been that resourceful if I had the money. I had to figure it out. Once you do that, then you start to have more confidence like, “I can do this. I can start a business. I built a business. I can build another one. I trained that person and sold that business.” Stuff that you never thought you could do. All of a sudden, you’re starting to build chops and build your confidence up as you do these things. That’s one of the things where money can be a killer because it can kill your resourcefulness. Look at most immigrants that come over here that become successful. Talk about resourcefulness. They couldn’t even speak English. They have $1 to their name. Resourcefulness is the name of the game, not money.

What’s next for Dr. Scot Gray?

BYW S4 1 | Change Lives
The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

I’m trying to help a billion people get relief from their pain and their suffering. I’m building a network of doctors that will have approved, certified treatments that we approve of. We help certify their team so that we know that people are getting great care. Another thing that a lot of people don’t know about me, I served as president of the city council for a couple of years in my town. Unfortunately, in my town, we had a big opiate and heroin problem. I became aware of how huge an issue this was, how it was destroying families. It was destroying people’s lives. It was just killing the people of Ohio.

Unfortunately, we were on the national news because our state was so bad. Our town was literally one of the worst in Ohio. We were in the pit of this thing. People went around and put signs up in my town and said, “Heroin is our economy.” It was that bad. I started to see this and I became passionate about pain relief.

I feel like the way that we treat pain right now is like caveman days. I feel like we’ve done this for years. We’ve been brainwashed that when there’s a problem and a symptom, there’s a pill to fix that problem or that symptom. Just take the pill and go about your day. That’s completely inaccurate. My goal is to educate the world, educate people to understand there’s a better way.

It goes back to that, that there is a better way to fix your pain. A better way to get relief. There’s a better way to be healthy, especially in these times where health needs to be at our forefront. There are viruses. There are things out there that are dangerous. People need to understand that the healthier you can be, the better your ability is going to fight off anything that you get, too. If we’re on that morning cocktail of medications, what is that doing to our immune system and our ability to fight things off?

I could get on a big soapbox here, but that’s what’s next for me is building this program called Konnect Relief. I want it to be like the home advisor of pain relief, where we’re almost like a WebMD in information where you can get great information, but in the new way of taking care of your body, your mind, your spirit, all those things that you need to do. Putting the medical side into it and what’s available, but things that aren’t dangerous.

Things that aren’t going to destroy your immune system. Things that you can do quickly to get out of pain and dealing with some underlying symptoms and issues, not symptoms but issues that are there causing you to have pain. My passion is to be out there, connecting people to the best practitioners to find out why they’re having pain and to be able to get rid of it. If not, anything to reduce medications and opiates and things like they’re on so they have a better, healthier, happier life. That’s my mission.

If there are people that are reading that want to follow you, is it How do they connect with you, follow you, and see what you’re doing to keep up with you?

You can go to, or you can go to I always tell people that the hardest eight-letter name to spell in the world. I should be putting all the things up there that I’m doing. I’ve got a podcast as well. That is going to be moving over to that page. We’ve interviewed one of the founders of Pixar. We’ve interviewed all kinds of great people like the founder of the Orlando Magic and all kinds of good stuff. We talk a lot about this thing. Gary, you and I are like-minded in this stuff. We love talking about it. We love figuring out how we can help the world with our information and what we do.

The last question I got for you is, what’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received, or the best piece of advice that you’ve ever given?

The time is now. I’ve lived by that since that day, October 2015. That’s when I heard those words spoken for the first time. That’s when Vinnie said, “If you want to have the impact you want, you got to get out of practicing.” I went back and I stopped practicing. I stopped seeing patients, and when I realized I needed to sell the chiropractic practice, I made the decision and I sold the practice.

People need to understand that the healthier you are, the better your ability is going to be to fight off anything that you get to. Click To Tweet

When I started thinking, “Maybe we could move to Florida. The time is now. What am I waiting for? I’m not getting any younger. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I want to live in Florida. Go do it, Scot.” I did it. Amazing things have happened. I just live by this. It’s one thing to hear it, but again, I’m a guy that I like to hear it, then I like to do it.

I say, “The time is now.” Whatever that one thing is that you’ve been waiting to do, that you’re making all kinds of crazy excuses as to why not to do it, I’m telling you, do it. I’ve made that decision over and over again. It’s just been such a blessing to myself, my family, and the people that we’re helping. With all the clinics, I’m helping way more people than I ever could have helped before. The time is now. Take action today.

Scot, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I know we see each other every quarter, at least, but there’s a lot I learned about you that I didn’t know. I’m glad we got a chance to talk. I love that the time is now because I’m going to use that myself. I’m stealing a lot of your better ways stuff and applying it to my better way stuff.

That’s how we do. We got a swipe and deploy.

I love it. Thanks so much for being here. I look forward to staying in touch as we continue on our journeys.

Thank you, Gary. I appreciate you.


It’s time for our last segment, Guess the Why. For this segment, I want to use Michael Jordan. What do you think Michael Jordan’s why is? I’m going to take a stab at what it is, because if you remember, he was the guy that tried out for his basketball team as a junior. He didn’t make it, went back and practiced and practiced and found the right way to do things. He then made the team and became a superstar. He went off to North Carolina and became a superstar there. He went to the NBA and became the best of all time.

He was always that guy that was willing to have a tantrum. He was willing to go out on a limb. He was willing to do what was necessary in order to get the results that he wanted. I’m going to say that Michael Jordan’s why is to do things the right way in order to get results. Practice over and over the same shot, the same layup, do the same things over and over because they’re going to get results.

People with the why of the right way follow processes and systems that work. They stick to things that work. They’re willing to get in people’s faces, yell at them, have a tantrum, have a fit if they’re not getting things done the right way. I see this in Michael Jordan. What do you think Michael Jordan’s why is? In the comments, let us know what you think Michael Jordan’s why is.

I want to thank you for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at You can use the code PODCAST50, and you can discover your why at half price or share that with your friends. If you love the Beyond Your Why show, please don’t forget to subscribe below and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using or listening to so that we can bring the why to 1 billion people in the next five years. Thank you for reading. I’ll see you soon.

Important Links:

About Dr. Scot Gray

BYW S4 1 | Change LivesDr Scot Gray is the father of two wonderful girls and husband to his beautiful bride, Jenn. Dr Scot is a serial entrepreneur and author. He has been featured on ABC, NBC, Lifetime Network and other television shows. He built and sold a successful chiropractic practice, The Ohio Neck & Back Pain Relief Centers in Marion, Ohio. Dr Gray now owns several medical offices in Ohio and Florida, a physician referral network called Konnect Relief, and has helped many doctors start clinics in multiple states. Dr Scot focuses on building teams of people smarter than him to run and deliver services in these businesses, in order to change millions of lives of patients and doctors.


Better Way Tips & Tricks

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
― Unsourced, misattributed to Maya Angelou

The above quote felt fitting for the WHY of Better Way. It seems to be a constant battle of whether they feel confident they’ve landed on the BEST. If a Better Way is unsure if something could be better, then it will never feel quite right to them. They feel as though their best, the best of someone else, or a project, could always be improved. They can often be their own worst enemy in slowing down processes because of the fear it could be better.

Tips and Tricks for Being Better Way:
1. Aim for ‘Good Enough’

If your WHY is Better Way it can be easy to spiral into a place where nothing is good enough because it could always be better. And to your point, yes, anything could always be better, but to avoid getting stuck – “better way” it until it’s good enough, then learn to move on.

2. Perfection is a myth

Better Ways sometimes feel perfection could be achieved, because they are such high achieving personalities. Don’t let this myth stop you from feeling you’ve achieved something great!

3. Embrace other’s gifts

Often, when having the WHY of Better Way, and interacting with someone with a different WHY, you may come off as you know better than them. Make sure you are embracing their unique way of thinking also and letting them speak to their WHY.

Tips & Tricks for Interacting with a Better Way:
1.When working with a Better Way: Don’t spend a lot of time on a project

Now, this may seem counterproductive, but if you spend weeks and weeks on something, once you show it to them, they’re going to change everything anyway. Bring a super rough draft that you haven’t developed a lot of attachment to yet, so when they offer all their changes, they’re easy to make and won’t frustrate you as much.

2. Diffuse the Bomb

You can “diffuse the bomb” of them constantly trying to better things by asking if it’s good enough to move on. Or you may be able to in a relationship by saying “You’re doing that Better Way thing again” and they’ll realize it and laugh.

3. Understand The second part of their WHY: Find a Better Way, AND SHARE IT

Better Way people do truly want to help. Though it may come off as they think they know more than you or what’s best more than you, it comes from a good place. They want to share the best way they’ve found to do something, and they want to help you out.