Season 2 Episode 15
Ryan Leak, motivational speaker, executive coach and author

Ryan Leak is a motivational speaker and author with a thriving career centered on embracing failure to accelerate success. Inspired by stories of the world’s most successful people, Ryan set off to urge audiences and readers to run toward failure too — by taking risks, trying new things and doing their best to overcome incredible challenges.

Tune in to hear Ryan’s inspiring messages, tips on discipline and personal development and why he believes your purpose matters most.

Chasing failure to increase the odds of great achievement

Chris Allen: All right. Well, Ryan, welcome to The Entrepreneur’s Studio.

Ryan Leak: Man, it is a privilege to be here. It took a very long flight to get here, all the way from Dallas, but so honored to be here, man.

Chris: Yeah, yeah. Well, I had the privilege of hearing you at a conference and it’s not very often that you hear a motivational speaker or keynote speaker and you play it back in your mind, like what just happened? And the impression I kept getting was when you shared the first story and I thought, “OK, lightning strike. That’s pretty cool.” It went viral and I thought you were going to wrap it up. I was like, “OK, well this is a super cool story, great lesson.” And then lightning strikes twice and you have this whole other story. And I was like, “OK, we’ve got to talk with Ryan.” When is the third lightning strike going to happen? So I am super glad you’ll sit down and have a conversation with us.

Ryan: And for some odd reason, lightning just continues to strike in my world.

Chris: Yes. Well, I am pretty sure everybody’s going to want to know, “OK, how does this happen and can it happen for me?”

Ryan: Sure. I think it can.

Chris: Let’s unpack it. I agree. Other motivational speakers, they talk about chasing their dreams, maybe chasing passions. You have a different spin of chasing failure. So tell us why chasing failure has become such an important message and a part of your life.

Ryan: Well, a long time ago I realized there’s the proverbial rat race and a very long line of people trying to chase success. I thought, “Well, why don’t I just get in a shorter line and what if we started a new line of people who were chasing failure?” Then I realized every successful person you and I look up to, read about, listen to their podcast or guest on their podcast, they all have one thing in common — they’ve all failed. In fact, it is those lessons that help them become who they are today. So we’ve been taught to steer away from the very thing that made them who they are. So I thought, “What if we could make this a lifestyle? What if we could make this a leadership practice? What if we could make this, dare I say even, a habit?”

And so I went on this journey of going, “Well, let’s just take the question of what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” — and for me, I’d be in the NBA. So I played ball in college and I would go to NBA games and always had that proverbial dream. But I wasn’t really doing anything about it. I was doing motivational speaking. But I thought, “Man, if I knew I couldn’t fail, well, I’d be in the NBA. And through a series of events —we talked about lightning striking for the first time, me and my wife got engaged and married on the same day. I planned a surprise wedding behind her back over the course of two years. We filmed the entire day of us being engaged for 11 hours and got married that night, and put it on the internet to show some friends.

This was before viral was viral, viral. Before you could pay for something to be viral. Does that make sense? Twitter was one year old, think about that for a second.

Chris: That’s amazing.

Ryan: So we just put it on the internet legitimately to show our friends, and it had like 10,000 views. And 10,000 views in that day and age was like, “Dude, I don’t know 10,000 people. That’s absolute insanity.” And then the next day it had 36,000 views and I was like, “Oh my gosh. What’s happening?”

Chris: That’s a lot.

Ryan: And then it kind of tapered off, and then it was in the Daily Mail. We were on The Queen Latifah Show. We were on Good Morning America. And then you started to see it cross over 1 million views. It was like, “Oh my gosh, where are we? My phone’s just blowing up all the time.” And then when we went on The Queen Latifah Show, my wife surprised me by getting me connected with Kobe Bryant. And Kobe Bryant says, “Hey, I want to invite you out to Staples Center to come hang out with me and the Lakers.” And I thought, “Oh crap. I don’t have a basketball story now. It’s so old. I’ve got to be trying out for the league right now.”

So I realized I was going to fail. I just knew it. There’s levels to this thing. And you’ve just got to be very, very aware of that. But then I thought, “Is there some lesson here we can learn from failing?” I think sometimes what happens, especially for an entrepreneur, is they have this curse of talking themselves out of being brave. It’s like all day long they have ideas coming in and out of their brain that they’re filtering through to say, “Is this a good idea? Is this not a good idea?” And they’re consistently talking themselves out of the ones that are the scariest.

And I thought, “I’m not sure this is that scary. I’m not sure any of it is that scary. So let’s just get in the ring with failure, I’m going to give it my best shot and I’m going to let it give me its best shot and let’s just see what happens.” And so through a series of events, I emailed, I don’t know, five or six NBA teams randomly, their PR people. That’s not how it works, but that’s how I was going to make it work. And dude, the Phoenix Suns said, “Yeah, we’ll give you a shot. We’ll let a complete stranger try out for our basketball team.” And I just thought, “Have you guys lost your mind or have I lost my mind?” And I failed. So I have this documentary, called “Chasing Failure”, and it was one of the best days of my life. Not because I got to be on an NBA practice court, but because it was one of the best days of my life — because I realized failure isn’t as bad as I thought it was.

It felt like it was going to crush me, but it actually helped give me resilience for so many other things in my life. I was a “why-me” guy until Phoenix. Now I’m like, “Why not me? What do we have to lose? And who’s making the rules on what we can and can’t do?” There is so much in our heads, especially as entrepreneurs, that we can kind of lose it a little bit. So today we try stuff every day and we’re just not afraid to do that. I’ve written a couple of books that will never be published because I’m not afraid. And that’s where I think a lot of people get stuck. They’re like, “You mean you spent six months of your life writing something that may never get published?” Yeah, but the practice I got in that six months is practice you don’t have. And so yes, I am willing to fail at a lot of things most people aren’t even willing to try. I have a podcast. Some episodes are fire, some of them are trash.

Chris: I have a similar experience.

Ryan: But you can’t get a fire episode unless you’re willing to have one that is trash. So for me, it just became a mindset and a way of living that it’s, “Hey, we’re willing to try new things all the time.” Even the keynote you saw may have felt rehearsed or may have felt like I have done it a thousand times, but you have no idea how many new things I tried that morning.

Chris: Wow.

Ryan: All because Vince and I had a pre-event call and he says, “Here are the things that are important to this audience.” And even after I was done speaking, he said, “They won’t know, but I noticed you inserted everything we talked about, and I didn’t know how that was going to go.” So for me, it is truly a daily practice of saying, “Hey, we’re going to try a new joke here. We’re going to try a new story here. We’re going to see what works.” So I am constantly tinkering with the content we create to add value to people’s lives.

Creating your personal definition of success

Chris: Well, I think one of the things that’s striking to me is that for a lot of what you just said, you’re like, “Why don’t I just give it a try?” Something happened to you that, I think maybe others struggle with, and that is that you have found a way to overcome. So with all the thoughts you shared about failing, one of the reasons why I think people, we, struggle is that our identity is wrapped up in an outcome or multiple outcomes. If I can string together a series of really good outcomes, it means I’m successful and what does it mean about me if I fail? So that’s one of the things I want to hear from you — when did you come to a crossroads of challenging even the way you think about your identity? And why was failure a doorway?

Ryan: What a phenomenal question. Because I think each and every one of us has to have a proper definition of success, which then gives us a definition of failure. And so when you have a definition of success or failure that is in the hands of someone else, well then you could be successful one day, in a failure the next. It just depends on who you’re talking to. I was sitting next to a woman on an airplane the other day. Her name was Marsha, and she was asking me what I do for a living and what I talk about. I told her I talk about chasing failure. And I said, “Hey, you should watch this documentary.” And she’s watching it. I can see her watching it. She’s like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing. You know what? The other day I was at this park with my kids and I saw this guy throwing a football with, I think it was his nieces and nephews. I just walked over there and said, ’Hey, what’s your name?’ He said, ’My name is Dak.’ And she goes, ’Hey, Dak, what do you do?’ He says, ’Well, I play football.’ She goes, ’For who?’ He goes, ’Well, the Dallas Cowboys.’

She goes, ’OK, nice to meet you.’" And as she’s telling me this story—

Chris: You know who it is.

Ryan: I knew who it was as soon as she started the story. And she’s like, “I guess he plays for the Dallas, is it the Cowboys?” And it’s just amazing that you could be the quarterback for America’s team, and yet someone in America does not even know who you are. So in one moment, you’re signing autographs and in another, you’re at a park, just a dude playing with his family. It’s amazing that in my space, there are people who think I’m successful and people who’ve never heard of me in their life. One person wants to take a selfie, the other person, you’re in their way to get to where they’re going. So I think we all have to have a healthy definition of success to say, “Hey, your success is not on the line with every post, every sale, every client, or in my space — every book or every keynote.”

The funny thing is what I’ve learned in my business is that the most successful people in the world, by most people’s definition, most people have never even heard of these people. The most successful companies in the world too. It’s funny. When my friends ask me, “Hey, what are you doing today?” And I tell them, and they’ve never heard of 98% of the companies I speak for. It’s like, “What are they?” “Oh, they’re worth like $5 billion, something like that.” They’re like, “What? Where did you—” So it doesn’t sound sexy. I’m like, “But trust me,” I said, “They got it going on.” But you just would never know it.

So I think stepping back to think, “What’s really important to me?” I’ll never forget being at a Lakers playoff game with my son, and we’re sitting behind the Golden State Warriors bench, and all of a sudden the owner of the Golden State Warriors comes and sits next to us. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” My son doesn’t know who he is. I know who he is. I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” So he’s wearing four championship rings around his neck, takes them off, hands them to my son and says, “Hey, give them to your son. Let him take a picture.” I said, laughing, “You don’t know my son. He will run off with your stuff.” And so we take a picture and then celebrities, everybody’s coming in through door A, door B.

You would think I would be like, “Son, this is the definition of success. The seats, the jewelry, the fame, the following, the fortune.” But for me, a major component of my definition of success is not the seats we have. A major component of my definition of success is the little boy sitting next to me in the seats. And that little boy, 20 years from now, would still want to go on a business trip with his dad. Because I have met so many “successful” people in my day who weren’t even on speaking terms with their kids. And success cost them what I actually think is the definition of being successful, which is the people who know you best, respect you the most. It would be a shame if you built up a following or a business with strangers, yet the people who actually know you think you’re a fraud.

For me, all of the other stuff is just stuff then. Money doesn’t make my world go round. I like making it, but I won’t sell my soul for it. So there are certain opportunities I just have to say no to, in light of my personal definition of success. What I coach people to do is, I say, “You don’t need to have my definition of success, but you need to have one that’s actually yours. Because if you don’t, you will lose the head game because you’ll be wrapped up in somebody thinking you’re successful or somebody not thinking you’re successful. And you’re only successful until somebody a little bit more successful than you walks in the room.”

My friend told me this story. He started flying private a couple years ago, and it just feels good to him. I thought, “I’ve never flown private. I’m not on that level. There are levels to this thing. I’m not there yet.” So he’s flying private. He lands in Charlotte and he’s like, “I’ve made it. I got it going on.” And he said he literally stretched out his arms and the sun was shining. And he thought, “Man, I’m really doing something right now.” And he said that as he had his arms stretched out, all of a sudden a shadow came. He thought, “Man, that’s a cloud.” And he turns around and it’s Michael Jordan’s plane.

Until you’re in the room with somebody, it’s almost like success is in the eye of the beholder and you just can’t play that game if you really want to be successful. So I sleep really, really well at night with my pace and my place in this world of waking up every single day thinking, “You know what? I’m going to make a difference in somebody’s life today. We’re going to create some content. We might write a book, we might deliver a keynote, but we want to be impactful.” I may not do as well as I would like to. I’m super hard on myself. But at the end of the day, man, I think the people who know me best respect me most, and I sleep pretty well.

Chris: The thing that’s interesting about that as well is that as you create definitions of success or failure, you hold space for how that might change over time. Because there are versions of us and those previous definitions of success aren’t the same anymore. Think about it this way, when you’re 17 years old, you’re not thinking, “Man, one day my kid is going to respect me and I’m going to spend quality time with them.” You know what I mean?

Ryan: Absolutely.

Chris: You probably had a different definition of success back then.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Chris: I think it’s about holding space for the different versions of you to evolve. Maybe it’s not about holding fast or holding tight, but I do think frameworks can be helpful, and there are certain things you can hold onto, but for some reason, definitions need more space.

Ryan: Absolutely. And I think it’s something that should be revisited on at least a yearly basis like, “Hey, what are our goals here? What are we trying to accomplish in our business?” My wife and I run our business with generosity goals. We measure the success of our business not by what we make, but by what we give away. So we set a new number of giving every single year, and it’s radically changed our business because we’re playing a different game.

We’re waking up every day thinking about what we can give to the world, not what we can get from it. And when you’re in that space, you lose your agenda and people can feel an agenda. People can feel when there’s something up their sleeve and we just don’t have that. We’re like, “Hey, we’re here to add value to your world, to your life.” And yes, we happen to make a good living, but there’s something powerful about contentment, not complacency, contentment. This idea of thinking, “Wait, you mean there is an enough button? There’s successful enough? There’s enough subscribers? There’s an amount of money that’s enough? There’s an amount of customers that’s enough?” It doesn’t mean we’re not trying to get more, but at some point, there’s a resolution where you can say, “We can try some things. We’ve got wiggle room. We’re OK. And our identity is not on the line today.”

Why playing it safe might be the riskiest move of all

Chris: Yeah, it’s good. It’s so good. One thing I like that you talk about is risk-taking and making it more approachable, if you will. I think you’ve said there’s no version of our lives that isn’t risky. So unpack that for us.

Ryan: Yeah. There are some people who think they’re playing it safe, but when you play it safe, it’s risky because when you play it safe, you risk irrelevance. If you do nothing new, well, then you could become a relic. Companies are finding this out the hard way. We’re just going to stick to our guns. We’re not going to change. That’s OK. You do know the whole world is changing every single day. AI is just too dangerous. It is dangerous, but if you don’t learn it, you will be left behind. You could lose your job to it if you aren’t the person leveraging it. So there are so many mindsets I think people can get trapped in around taking risks, but it’s like, “Dude, it’s all risky.” I don’t think there is a version of our life that isn’t risky.

I think sometimes we get so stuck in our own way. And I think the biggest hurdle entrepreneurs have is not the economy, it’s not the market, it’s not the government, it’s them. It’s us. And I think getting past that feeling of, “Hey, every time I hit post, I think today’s the day that I get canceled. I don’t know why. You don’t know what you can say anymore. I don’t know all the rules.”

Chris: Today’s the day.

Ryan: So there is this vulnerability of me just stepping onto a stage and just saying, “God knows what I’m going to say today.” I’ve sent the slides ahead of time, but you’re just thinking, “You know what? Dude, you’ve just got to live.” There’s just going to be some things and you try to be smart and wise about that calculated risk. I don’t encourage a laissez-faire, just lackadaisical type of life where you just shoot from the hip. But I do think there’s something powerful about being willing to say, “Hey, we’re going to try some things.” Dude, I tell my son this all the time. And my son missed a game-winner the other day. The team was down two and he took a three-pointer. He has never taken a three-pointer in a game up until this point.

Chris: And now’s the time.

Ryan: And for the game on the line, he takes a three-pointer and he missed. I rushed the court as if he hit a game seven NBA finals game-winner. And he’s crying and the parents are like, “Dude, your kid just lost.” I said, “No, he didn’t. My son is willing to take a shot. Your son is not. I’m here for it.” Keep taking the shot because if you don’t take the shot, you can never make the shot. So I think that there is something powerful about a person who’s willing to wake up, an entrepreneur who’s willing to wake up and say, “Hey, I’m going to roll the dice.” Sometimes it’s on a product, sometimes it’s on a person.

Chris: I think we all have superpowers. And I think one of the things that has been really clear to me as one of your superpowers is reframing what happens, what happens to you, and what happens around you. But I think another thing — I don’t know if it’s a superpower or if it’s something you’ve developed, but it’s this idea of paying attention. So you just described an impulse reaction to a missed shot.

And your son’s emotional about it, but you had an impulse reaction. I think you have this idea that I do think is worth observing, learning about, and figuring out, which is how some of us can maybe pay closer attention. You were paying attention because you understand the pain of a missed shot, embarrassment, and the challenges and hardships in that, but also the lessons. So I think one of the things you might’ve been excited about is that he’s going to learn so much from this experience, and you had an impulse to celebrate the learning he’s about to experience from taking the shot.

Ryan: 100%. I admire guts, and when you see it, there’s just this thought of, “Yes, you were willing to do the thing most people weren’t willing to do. And I think the businesses that stand out, the leaders who stand out, are the ones who are willing to do the things most businesses aren’t willing to do, that most leaders aren’t willing to do. I think the more you’re in that position to be an outlier to say, “Hey, well, what’s...”

Not that you always want to go against the grain, but as you said, it’s important to pay attention and look for the little nuances in a market, little nuances in a team that says, “Hey, this is what is going to help us stand out.” I think that’s important for anybody’s journey as an entrepreneur and in starting a business. The entrepreneurial world is lonely. It is a very, very lonely journey. And I think you have to do everything in your power mentally to make that journey fun because nobody’s coming to make it fun for you.

Chris: It’s true.

Ryan: It’s not happening. So you’ve got to have a mindset that says, “Hey, my journey’s going to be whatever I want it to be. I have to get there.” Because if you don’t, nobody’s coming to save you. That’s the entrepreneur’s journey. If things go south here, well, there are a few people who can move some things around to make people’s lives better. Entrepreneurs don’t have that. It’s like, no, you’re it. Tag, you’re the person. So you’ve got to be so mentally tough. I can’t tell you how many people, friends of mine, who quit their jobs and jumped into the entrepreneurial space. And I said, ”Are you sure you’re ready for this?" And they lasted maybe two or three months before they had to go back to the regular 9-5. There’s no shame in that, but that entrepreneurial gene, it’s tough, man. It’s a mental beating, but if you can have the mental fortitude to charter through those waters, I think you’ve got an opportunity to have a really fun journey.

Embracing change and challenges as an entrepreneur

Chris: I love that. You talked about it being a lonely path. And I think something that’s awesome is maybe as in my own journey, the more people who wanted to be on the journey with me and I wanted to be on their journey with them, somehow my life got richer. You know what I mean? I think entrepreneurs have this idea of, “I’ve got to do it myself,” or, “The idea’s got to come from me.” Then there’s the flip side which is, “I don’t want to let all these people down.” These are weights that show up in the entrepreneurial loneliness aspect, the idea that nobody’s coming to save you which I think is a big deal. But if you think about it, along the way, there are these... Have you ever read the book, “The Alchemist”?

Ryan: Hmm-mm.

Chris: OK. I was like, “The lightning struck twice and it is likely to strike again with you.” I thought, “He reminds me of the boy in The Alchemist.” It’s about this boy going on a journey in his life to accomplish his personal legend. And he gets this advice from Melchizedek, the king of Salem. It’s an allegory. The same thing as in Abraham, right?

Ryan: Interesting.

Chris: He goes on this journey and takes all of these steps along the way. He went by himself, but at the end of it you see all of these people who end up being with him along the way who were a part of his journey. And he followed this whole idea in the book of following the omens. And all of these different sparks that happen in somebody’s life, and how you’ve got to pay attention to them. There’s usually somebody around who you pick up along the way too.

So with everything that’s around you or as you work alone as an entrepreneur, how do you know when there’s something you want to try? How do you follow the omens? How do you follow the spark? How does lightning strike twice for you?

Ryan: I don’t think you do. I don’t think you know. I think that is the journey of entrepreneurship. It’s the “not knowing”. It’s living in the “I don’t know”. So for me, I look at our entire year like, “OK, 120 events.” I think about content. I think about course creation. I think about the back of the room. We think about scaling. We think about, “Who do we add to our team? Who’s adding value?” All of it is a little bit of Russian roulette for me. Throughout all of it, I’m thinking, “I don’t know what’s going to work.” The world is constantly changing, which if you want to be effective, means there should be something in you that is consistently making tweaks, constantly changing. Most people don’t like change.

Well, if you don’t like change, and you’re in a world that’s constantly doing that, there’s always going to be frustration. So you’re going to have to make change your friend on some level or another. But the other challenging piece is technology, specifically social media platforms, that continue to change. So with so much of our businesses having a massive digital component that changes every week, there are things we’ve done that I’ve thought, “This sucks. This isn’t going to work.” And it’ll go viral. You’re like, “I don’t even really like that video.” Doesn’t make any sense. People love it. You’re like, “What?” “Hey, we want to bring him in to speak on this subject.” ”But hey, I’ve got like 10 more videos that are better!”

I cannot tell you how often that happens. You’ve heard my keynote. You’d be surprised how many people ask, “Well, can you just talk about this other thing?” You’d be like... I literally had a client the other day make up the title of my keynote. They said, “Yeah, we just want you to just talk about that.” I said, “But I have bestselling books that we can talk about.” “No, we don’t want you to talk about this.” You’re like, “OK.” And you’d be surprised how some of those messages have had the greatest impact.

Chris: Wow.

Ryan: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said, “Hey, we want to book Ryan to speak.” “Great, I signed the contract. Oh, I can’t wait to be there. Looking forward to it. Hey, which of my keynotes would you like me to give?” They said, “Actually, could you talk about reclaiming joy?” I said, “What?” They said, “Yeah, we feel pediatrics over the last few years has lost its joy. Can you help us get it back?” I thought, “Well, it would be my pleasure to do that, but you’re going to put me in front of 1,800 people with a talk I’ve never given, ever.” I basically said, “Well, hey, we’ll see how this goes. Remember, you asked, I didn’t.” So every day, you just don’t know.

I think there is something about hitting a moving target. Even in the way I write books — I just start writing. One time I was writing a book, I think it was called “Who’s My Neighbor?” It was this idea of, “Hey, how can we take care of our neighbors?” And Chapter Four was called Unoffendable. It explained that if we’re going to really relate to one another, we have to be unoffendable. We have to actually be able to really talk. Well, as I was writing that chapter, I thought, “I think that’s the book.”

Chris: Wow.

Ryan: So I started over. The book’s called “UnOffendable”. We pivoted. It’s like, “How do I know?” I don’t, but you can’t figure it out until you get started. You have to just start moving in that direction. Even right now, I’m in a season where people are asking, “Hey, what’s your next book about?” I don’t know. But I just opened a document and started writing about some things I’m passionate about. I don’t know if the book is going to be what I think the book is going to be until the book is done.

So much of my new book idea is predicated on research. So the research could tell me there’s a really good book here. And the research could tell me, “Yeah, not much of a book.” But I won’t know. Talking to publishers, they don’t know what’s going to be a success or not. James Clear is the number one author in the world. Tom Abbott sells a book every 15 seconds. When he wrote the book, he did not think that book would sell. He sells a book every 15 seconds. I was like, “Oh, this is a good idea.” No, I’ve done my research, but you just don’t know until you do it.

Chris: That’s amazing. You’re saying it’s in the moving forward.

Ryan: You’ve got to.

Chris: Yeah.

Ryan: You just have to just keep doing it. I wish I could say every event I’ve ever done, I just slayed it. It’s just not true. In fact, it’s far from the truth. I rarely walk off a stage and go, “I crushed it.” Rarely. I’m like, “Oh, I shouldn’t have said that. Yeah, that was a bad joke.” There’s so much there that you’re like, “Oh, I forgot to say this.” But before I can wallow in what went wrong, my name is introduced at the next event, “Give it up for Ryan.” And I don’t have a choice but to move on. What am I going to do? Stand in the back and say, “But last week it was...”?

Time keeps moving. So I just encourage people, keep moving. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to hire the wrong person. You’re going to fire the wrong person. Sometimes you’re the wrong person. Keep it moving. It’s the only direction we really have. If you try to go backwards, who wants to do that? So, I think it’s about moving. I’m a big proponent of hitting a moving target. You can’t get good unless you get started, and I think sometimes there’s this idea of, “But it’s got to be perfect.” Well, then guess what? You’re never going to do anything because it’s never going to be perfect. Nothing is. I think it’s important to find your way as you’re moving.

Chris: Think about how you were writing “UnOffendable”. You were writing this whole other book, and then thought, “Wait a second, the book’s in that chapter.” That right there is the thing I’m talking about. You thought, “I’ve got Chapter Four, I’ve got some distance, and then I have to redirect.” You’re listening to something and that requires some personal development, right?

Ryan: Oh, absolutely.

Chris: Kind of like the idea of, “OK, I can restart this. This is where the spark is.” And being able to listen to that thought. I think that is an important characteristic of someone who’s likely to be successful, recognizing the spark and following it—

Ryan: Absolutely.

Chris: ...even if it’s a redirect.

Ryan: 100%.

Solving big problems and having a strong “why”

Chris: Well, how do you know your “why”? What advice would you give to somebody who’s thinking, “You have to be centered in something. You have to have something motivating you.” What do you tell entrepreneurs or others to help them understand or discover their “whys”?

Ryan: I think the best products and businesses in the world solve the biggest problems. Sometimes we let our dreams and things we just want to do get in the way of us thinking, “Are we here to serve other people, or are we here to serve us?” And again, I can’t give everyone else their “why”. You talk about superpowers. In my executive coaching practice, I think one of my superpowers is I can get any client to tell me the truth about what’s really going on in their business and in their life. So I am a man who holds a lot of people’s secrets, and I know exactly how many people are hurting at a level that they would never share with their publicly-held companies.

So for me, my “why”, the thing that’s getting me out of bed in the morning, is the fact I think the world needs faith, 100%. Now, probably the number one question I get is, how do you navigate your faith in business and religion and so on and so forth? You’ve heard my keynote. I’m there to deliver a service and try to add value in what I can offer. But as a man of faith, it’s interesting. At the end of every keynote, I put up a QR code. It reads, “Hey, if you want to get an encouraging text from me every single week, text the name of your company to this number.” There are 10,000 people who get a text from me, every single week.

This past Monday, I sent out a text. It read, “Hey, my team and I are taking some time to pray for you this week. If you have anything going on in your life we could pray for, hey, just shoot me a text.” We now have, I think, 3,000 prayer requests from corporate America. So this idea of, “Leave your faith out of here,” if you had my phone this week, you would think, “Yeah, the world needs faith.” The amount of things happening in this world is staggering. It’s heartbreaking. And the amount of things people have to deal with and overcome on a Monday morning to show up for a Tuesday meeting would absolutely blow the average person’s mind. When I look at that, I think, “Yeah, I was born for this. I was born to help people here.” And if my skill set puts me in a position to have simple credibility with people, they would think, “I don’t even know that I have faith, but it would be great if I had somebody in my corner who had something for me.”

Chris: I’ll be that. Yeah.

Ryan: So my “why”, that just jazzes me up I think is that when I am invited to speak anywhere, I consider it the highest privilege. I tell my wife every morning that I pinch myself. I can’t believe I get to do this. It’s crazy. I cannot believe I get to do this. I take it very, very seriously. And I think I want to be so stinking good that somebody in that audience would say, “I want to hear from him more.” And that on their darkest day, I just so happened to send a text. I mean, they hear from me every week. I’m very easy to get a hold of, which isn’t always the best thing. But man, my whole flight here, I was just responding to a bunch of prayer requests.

Chris: That’s amazing.

Ryan: It’s like, “This is what you do for work?” I’m like, “Today, yeah.” Because I’m in the business of helping people. I can help you close the deal. I can also help you stay married. Not many people are signing up for that. So for me, I think that “why” is so strong. Every single morning it’s like by the time I’m reading what a single mom is dealing with on a Monday, I’m just thinking, “Who cares if I fail? Who cares if this gets traction? Who cares?” Dude, you’re fine. You get a dose of somebody else’s reality and think, “I don’t even know if I live in the real world sometimes,” when you find out what other people are going through.

So I think for me, that’s my “why”. I think everybody needs to have something. They need to have a storyline in their life, something that grounds them, something that reminds them of why they do what they do. But I think at the best businesses in the world, they understand they’re delivering a product that has value to other people. And if you’re not, I don’t know how long you’re going to be in business.

Chris: Yeah. I think one of the things I’m hearing is a theme of if you’re grounded in a “why”, and you’re open to new discovery and chasing what you discover, there’s a discipline that comes along with it. And one of my favorite books on discipline is “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peck. He says there are four things for discipline —delayed gratification, acceptance of responsibility, dedication to the truth and balancing. And that—

Ryan: Can we just pause for a second? I’m amazed you remembered all of that. You remembered all four.

Chris: It changed my life.

Ryan: You just rattled it all off. It’s amazing. Because most people fumble through it. They’ll say, “It’s four things, but the one thing that stuck out to me…”. But that was impressive. I just wanted to give you a little shout-out.

Meeting the demands of a busy schedule via discipline and self-care

Chris: I will tell you that I have those four things written on a sticky note on my mirror. So that was a transformational book for me because discipline was just sort of the rigor of life or the rigor of commitment. It didn’t mean those things. I think you’ve got a great point of view on self-discipline as well. Those are Scott Peck’s things. What are your things for self-discipline?

Ryan: Yeah. As you said earlier, I think our definitions of success can kind of change each year. My wife and I have been married for 10 years as of this past June.

Chris: Congratulations.

Ryan: Thank you. Man, not one year has looked the same. They’ve all been completely different. I think each year needed a different discipline. Last year, man, I was going at a pace where I was redlining, I tested my limits and I found them. Last December, I couldn’t walk. I thought, “What’s going on? This is weird.” I had crazy back trouble and I hadn’t worked in two weeks. I was courtside at a basketball game, bucket list, living the dream, got to the airport, and couldn’t walk with my son. Just crazy. So honestly, I had to change my life. I had to change my whole lifestyle, workout regimen, eating, what I eat on the road, what I eat at home, I lost about 35 pounds, and changed my diet. And it’s amazing what happens when you get disciplined in one area, how it dominoes into some other areas as well.

So you just so happen to be catching me in a crazier season of discipline than I would say is normal for me, but I try to get at least one mile in a day of walking, and just close these rings on my Apple Watch. I have gotten pretty disciplined. I think I’ve missed five days throughout the whole year, and that was American Airlines’ fault. I may have walked a mile in the airport, but on one of those flights, I think I was actually on the actual plane for nine hours and I just thought, “I’m going to sleep, whatever.” So I’m not anal about it in that sense. You use the phrase “self-discipline”, I probably would use the phrase “self-care” now. One of my friends says it this way — it’s so simple, “What is required for your five-year goals is for you to be here.”

I said, “Yeah.” He’s like, “Yeah, if you can’t be here, how can those things be accomplished?” Jay Leno was talking about comedians in an interview. He said, “I learned if you could just make it to the stage seven years in a row, you can be successful.” And he said, “Most comedians who aren’t in the business anymore, it wasn’t that they stopped being funny, it’s that they had some things in their personal life that kept them from getting to this day.” For me, when I think about just making it to the event, just making it to the stage, man, you’ve got to be in decent shape and you’ve got to be mindful of what you’re putting in your body and what you’re putting into your mind.

If you are going to not just be elite, but remain elite, these are things you just have to do. You have to be disciplined. So in this particular season, in a book writing season, especially when I have a publishing deal, so the book was set, it’s like this. There is no turning point. It’s a different discipline based around writing and time management.

Being in a funner book season, there are no deadlines. I don’t have the need for some crazy discipline for time management, although my calendar is a little bit more stringent given what I do for a living. It’s just natural. It has to be disciplined. The flight’s leaving today. I just don’t have a choice.

Chris: Yes. That just has to kind of match for you.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s like I don’t have a choice. If you’re late, you don’t go home. It’s like, “No, I’m going to be on time.” So I don’t have to be disciplined with time. That’s kind of already inherent. But what I’m going to eat for lunch, that’s a big decision. Those are the little things I think lead to other things.

Chris: Yes, that’s a foundation for you. The self-care is the way you can do other things. I love that you have to be here. Your five-year goals, you actually have to be here. I love that one.

Ryan: You have to be here. I think I spoke 13 times in 15 days. I got a medical IV three times. I got two massages. I think I did something else related to eating healthy, but none of it was because I was in trouble. That’s maintenance.

Chris: Yeah, you’re like, “I’m in maintenance and staying ahead.”

Ryan: So one of the stories I didn’t tell in the keynote that’s kind of fun is that I do this whole chasing failure thing. I have this documentary at the NBA and a friend of mine was the VP of player development for the Houston Rockets. And COVID happened, and the NBA shut down. They went to this bubble in Florida. I got a call from my buddy, and he said, “Hey, can you do chapel for the guys?” And I said, “Yeah, man, sure. I’m just sitting at the house. I’m not doing anything. Yeah, I’d be happy to do chapel for the guys.” He said, “Yeah, I don’t know what happened to the other guy, but if you could just do it this one time, man, it’d be great.” I said, “Yeah, sure.” So I got on Zoom, and two guys sat down who I’ve never seen before in my life. “Hey, my name is Ryan. Great to meet you guys.” It was great. All right. Silence. And my buddy was just like, “Go!”

“Oh, no intro? You’re not going to tell them anything about me? OK. Hey, my name is Ryan. It’s great to meet you. Hello from the other side.” It’s like, I didn’t know what to say. Just trying to clear the air. No jokes, no laughing. They’re like, “We’re getting ready to play LeBron James.” I’m just like, “OK, I don’t know what I’m doing here.” Then in the middle of my talk, probably two minutes in, my buddy says, “Hey! Stop, stop, stop, stop.” I said, “Oh God, did I say something wrong? What did I do?” He said, “Oh, James is coming.” And I said, “James who?” So all of a sudden, James Harden and Russell Westbrook arrived, and sat right in front of the camera. Then he said, “OK, go!” And I’m like, “OK, do I start my intro over?”

Our numbers just doubled, so I didn’t know what to do. I just fumbled through this thing. So I went through my talk, and said, “Hey man, thanks for having me.” He said, “Yeah, we’ll see you next game.” I said, “Bro, you asked me to do this one time. What do you mean, see you next game?”

Chris: He’s like, “No, you’re committed.”

Ryan: He’s like, “Dude, you just signed me up for this thing.” And he’s like, “Nah, man. The guys, they love that. You’re different.” I said, “I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing.” They said see you next game for I think another 80 games. He kept saying, “See you next game.” I was going to ask, “Am I your chaplain? I don’t know what to do.” Then James Harden took me to Brooklyn with them and started inviting other guys. Then one of my friends was connected with the Brooklyn Nets, and they said, “These guys keep disappearing before the game. They’re going into this janitor’s closet and they’re talking to some dude on Zoom.”

Chris: On Zoom.

Ryan: FaceTime. I said, "Yeah, I wish I could tell you I know what I’m doing. I have no idea.” But they just keep going into these random closets and whatever, and they just call me before every game. So I’m with the Nets now, I’m also with Philly... we talk about lightning striking a few times. But I wish I could say I’ve got this.

I don’t. I really don’t. But talking to NBA professionals, especially during the season, basically every day, because they play all the time. At one point I realized, “Man, we have the same schedule.” Their question to me is always, “Where are you now?” I’m like, “Where are you now?” They say, “You know where we are. We’re away. We’re in Portland. We’re in Los Angeles.” And I had to start taking myself more seriously. That was probably in December when the back stuff started happening. I said, “I’m a corporate athlete and I have to start treating my body like an elite athlete.” I really started treating this like a sport. So I have a manual therapist. You’re like, “What’s that?”

Any professional athlete knows what a manual therapist is, it’s just a guy who works on your body, anything that needs tweaking. So I see him every couple of weeks. It’s like to do what I do, I have to realize there’s stress on my body that has to be taken care of. So it’s the cost of me doing business. If I want to continue to be elite, I have to have an elite mindset around, “OK, what do elite athletes do with their bodies?

Chris: They work out every day.

Ryan: They work way more than I do. But I’ve had to get to a place of realizing what’s elite in my space is to be able to say, “Hey, if I’m going to continue to make an impact on a stage, I have to continue to be able to get up there.”

Chris: I love that. And you’re in the NBA apparently.

Ryan: The last line of my keynote is that there’s more than one way to be in the NBA. But, yeah, it’s—

Chris: That’s the thing. I thought, “I think he said that at the keynote, and this is different information.”

Ryan: I know. It’s like, “Our time is up, guys. It’s been 60 minutes. If you want more we could do a podcast episode but it’s been an incredible journey. Just navigating all sorts of different relationships. My business is so hard, because I’m consistently jumping into different industries that have completely different lingos than the last one. So it’s like I have to speak NBA one day. Then a couple of NFL teams reached out, and I thought, “I don’t know that I can go build that whole world. It’s a completely different world. But a good friend of mine convinced me to just go work with one of the teams. Poor me, right?

Chris: Give it a shot, talk to the football players.

Ryan: But then I went and did it, and man, my business is adding value to people.

Chris: These are people too.

Ryan: They’re just people. And man, they all had it really hard. People will never see that. People will be shocked at just how hard it is, what they do. And I think sometimes they need someone in their corner who doesn’t need anything from them. That is, in their space, that’s incredibly difficult to find. So I’ve enjoyed lightning continuing to strike a little bit and I have had the wonderful privilege of just developing genuine relationships in professional sports and with Fortune 100 companies. At the end of the day, regardless of what your product is, how you treat people is the determining factor of if you’re going to do business with anybody, and I just can’t emphasize that enough. You have to be able to look somebody in the eye and ask, “Hey, how are you doing?” You have to be able to see everybody. I mean, those little things I think go a very, very long way.

I think that’s important. So back to your original question, a lot of my inspiration for a lot of this self-discipline stuff has been being exposed to seeing how elite athletes live and breathe. I went to the Utah Jazz training camp facility last year, and it’s remarkable. It’s absolutely remarkable. There are literally 20 people standing there waiting for the players to arrive. There’s a chef, a manual therapist, a massage therapist, and a doctor. I mean, it’s like they’re going to do everything in their power to make sure the best athletes in the world can compete at a high level.

Chris: Well, they must know what they need, because they’ve got to be able to call on the resource.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s remarkable. So when you think about, “OK, I’m not an NBA player, and I’m not an NBA team.” But it’s like, “Yeah, but you’re an entrepreneur, so what are you going to do for yourself? And what are you going to do for your team to be at an optimal level?” With my team, I’m going to do everything in my power to put you in a position to be your best. I can’t make you do anything, but I will leverage every resource I have for you to be the healthiest person possible in every aspect of your life. Because everyone on my team knows Ryan’s trying to be elite every day. Good luck catching me. I wake up, and I’m like, “It’s go time.”

Chris: It’s game time.

Ryan: Oh, you didn’t get enough sleep. OK. Do you think the people who brought me in care how much sleep I got the night before? No, they don’t. No. They expect you to add value and care at a very high level for their people. So it’s game time. Let’s go.

Staying open to new ideas and approaches

Chris: I mean, that’s another theme you’ve got going on — resilience. You’re going to experience failure, but you’re also going to experience hardship. You’re also going to experience headwinds and there’s this idea of this resilient mindset that you have. But something else I’ve heard you talk about as well is that in that resilience, there’s this kind of ability to remain coachable and teachable.

Ryan: Oh, yeah.

Chris: So why would you consider that to be such a key to embracing failure and/or encountering success?

Ryan: Well, I think that’s important, because you just don’t know what you don’t know. I wake up every single day, and I say this to my wife all the time, I’m like, “Babe, I don’t think we live in the real world.” Because I’m consistently learning about humans, I’m consistently learning how people think. And the internet is fascinating. You see people do some of the dumbest things in the world that they completely think is logical. This is how we live. I say, “Oh, people do that. I didn’t know people did that.” It’s like I am consistently being a student of humanity. I don’t make many assumptions about people so it’s not like, “Oh, let me put on an act of humility.” It’s more like, “No, I have consistently realized I am wrong about people and humanity and how people treat one another.”Man, it’s a journey and I think there has to remain a high level of coachability to say, “Man, there could be a more efficient way of doing this.”

Some people, even other speakers I talk to, ask, “Man, how do you always memorize your talks?” “I don’t.” They’re like, “Well, then how did you just deliver that hour?” I say, “It’s called a confidence monitor. They literally put all of my slides right in front of me. You thought I was just doing that?” “That’s what it looked like.” I say “Dude, the slides are on the screen. You can see it. Go to the next one. OK, now that’s what we’re going to talk about next.” I have speaker friends who will spend 20-25 hours memorizing their talks.

Chris: Wow.

Ryan: I just think, “Good for you.” I need that 20, 25 hours. You don’t know the difference. It’s like, “No, I have slides.” If someone asks, “Do you have a confidence monitor?” “Yeah. You can’t see these massive 80-inch LED TVs at the front of the room and you don’t see these huge LED walls behind me?” It’s like, “Yeah, where do you think that’s coming from?” It’s like, yeah. I mean, obviously stories and all of that, obviously I practice communication at a high level. But I think it’s just about coachability. If there was something else that could help me communicate better, why wouldn’t I want to be open to that?

I heard a speaker the other day who utilized a live survey, scan a QR code, and you can get raw data of people in the room. I thought, I want to try that someday and just see what happens.

Chris: You’re like, “Which direction are we going to go in based on the data?”

Ryan: Yeah. You can say, “Hey, how many of your kids started school this week?” Boom, and it pops up. “How many of you have had a panic attack?” Boom, and it pops up on the screen so everyone can see whatever anyone puts in. So you’re—

Chris: Yeah. See, I’m not alone.

Ryan: Yeah. But if you’re not coachable, if you think, “I got this,” you’re not even open to trying new things that could add so much value to what you’re trying to accomplish. So I think coachability is massive. We have an executive coaching practice, so if I don’t have a coach, it’s like you’re not actually practicing what you preach all the time. I think it’s important that you have somebody in your corner who’s allowing you to tinker and tweak a little bit. You just don’t know what you don’t know. “This is how we do payroll. This is how we’ve done payroll over 20 years.” Well, there are a lot easier ways to do payroll now. Technology’s increased just a bit in the last 20 years. But you’d be surprised how many people are just so stuck in their ways. I think coachability is massive.

Adjusting to new challenges that exist at certain heights of success

Chris: Obviously chasing failure is a core message for you, but you seem to be someone who has found success along the way as well. People who have experienced a certain level of success, what do you think they face and/or you have faced that is maybe different than what happens in those first rounds of success?

Ryan: I think the more successful you get, the more complacent you can get. You can get to a place where you don’t have the same drive you had when you were hungry. You don’t have the same drive that you had when your rent was dependent on you hustling. You can lose a little bit of your claws, the more success that you get. So I think going back to your “why”, needs to be pretty strong if you’re going to continue to do what you do at a high level.

I don’t know if there’s one university that prepares you for the loneliness of success. I don’t know if there’s one university that prepares you for how your relationships change the more success you have. Because you then begin to see how people will try to manipulate you.

I just spoke at an event called The Global Leadership Summit, a global stage with leaders from all around the world. And success in some people’s eyes — I never heard of it before then, but for a lot of my friends, The Global Leadership Summit is the biggest stage you can be on in the world. I just can’t tell you how many people I went to middle school with said, “Hey man, I always knew you’d be successful, man.” “Yeah, you did that, man.” “Thanks for reaching out.” Selfie videos, “Hey, this is my buddy Ryan!” My buddy Ryan? We haven’t talked in five years. You don’t even know my wife’s name.

So navigating relationships with success is something I wasn’t prepared for. I’ve not come across a book that helps you navigate that. A lot of books will tell you how to get success. Not a lot of books teach you how to navigate it, handle it, steward it well, and how to avoid getting bitter with some of those relationships and really keep your character intact, and say, “Man, I’m going to continue being Ryan.” Some people may magically want to be my friend all of a sudden, and that’s OK. I’m going to let people be people. It doesn’t mean we’re going to hang out. I just let people do what they do and keep my mind right, keep my heart right.

But I would say the loneliness is a big deal, and then just even navigating just your current relationships, as far as just staying grounded. That’s hard because in the entrepreneurial space, it is very much like, “Hey, what you need to do today is, all right, you need to take the revenue that you got from this business, and then you’re going to flip this house. Then you’re going to grab this house, and then you’re going to buy this building in downtown Oklahoma. Then you’re going to flip that to go get this other building in Dallas.” There is this constant movement of, “OK, then we’re going to drop-ship it to Amazon, and then we’re going...” You’re just going to do this thing. That is the entrepreneur’s language. But then you realize your friends make $20 an hour and you can’t lose touch. You can’t sail off into the sunset so much that you forget to be normal.

The greatest advice I’ve ever been given in my entire life was from a guy named Rick Warren. Rick Warren is worth about a quarter of $1 billion. He wrote a book called “The Purpose Driven Life”. He gives away 91% of his income. It’s crazy. He has sat with multiple presidents. He is truly a global leader. He has met every celebrity you can think of. He could post about all of this stuff. He never does. He’s never flown private. He wears Chuck Taylors every single day.

I got to sit with Rick Warren for three hours, and I asked him for advice. This is what he said. He said, “Ryan, I’m not worried about your career. You’ll be fine. You’ll be fine.” He said, “A guy with your skill set, there will always be space somewhere for you. You’ll be fine.” He said, “But my fear for you, my concern for you, is that, well Ryan, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your life isn’t good for you.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “All the upgrades...”

I have status everywhere. I have the highest status with everything you can think of. I get special treatment almost every place I go, upgraded to first class. I get to get on the plane first. People bring me food. I get put in presidential suites at hotels. The red carpet is normal for me. He said, “Yeah, that’s not good for you.” He said, “You weren’t made to be worshiped.” He said, “My biggest advice for you is whenever you get home, do something normal because your family cannot compete with standing ovations ever.” He said, “What do you expect them to do? Have a sign waiting for you every single time you get home?” He said, “It’s never going to happen. So when you get home, mow your own lawn, mop your own floor, change diapers. Do something that makes you normal.”

We have turf in our backyard, so I can’t mow my own lawn. But my wife laughs at me when I get home because I pull out a mop. She says, “Was it that good today?” I say, “It was pretty awesome, but I’m home.” Honestly, it is the best advice I’ve ever gotten because it’s like that’s how you handle success. You come back down to earth. It’s like who in the world do you think you are? You’re somebody in somebody’s eyes one day. To my kids, I’m just home. That’s it. So, hey, be home. Guess what? We have duties around this house. I’ll mop the floor. I’m going to need you to go over here. It’s just like you get back in dad mode, and then you get on the ground and play dinosaur.

Chris: I love it. I think there’s a real thing you’ve got going on that I think is important, and that is this sense of gratitude. You’ve got to be grounded. I love the quote, absolutely love the quote, “Your family can’t compete with standing ovations.” Love it.

Ryan: I’ll never forget it. Honestly, it rang in my ears. It just hit me like a ton of bricks because I was feeling that and I didn’t know it. I would get home and wonder, “Why don’t you appreciate me?” They’re like, “Appreciate you? What do you want us to do?” I’m like, “Well, fog would be nice. LED lights maybe. Can we get some lasers going in this house? My goodness gracious. Is anybody grateful in this house for what I’ve done for you?” It’s like, “Oh, I didn’t even know I was doing it.” That’s the crazy thing. So the mop helps me.

Chris: Love that. Well, I’m super grateful that you sat down and had this conversation.

Ryan: Of course.

Rapid-fire questions

Chris: We do have one last step though.

Ryan: Let’s do it.

Chris: It is called Rapid Fire.

Ryan: Oh, this is my favorite part of the podcast. Let’s do it.

Chris: All right. All right. Well, Ryan, if you could describe your morning routine in just three words, what would they be?

Ryan: Lots of stretching.

Chris: All right, all right. Well, what is one skill or hobby you’ve wanted to learn but haven’t yet?

Ryan: Dude, I wish I could be a great chef. In another life, I would love to go to culinary school and just be that... I wish my cooking game was strong. Right now, my DoorDash game is on point, but I wish I could cook at a high level.

Chris: OK. Well, what’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day of motivating other people?

Ryan: After mopping?

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Ryan: Playing basketball with my son.

Chris: That’s awesome. If you had one sentence to describe your core message, what would it be?

Ryan: Make your life count. You only get one shot.

Chris: Good, good. Well, if you had a chance to challenge anybody or any athlete to a friendly game, who would it be and in what sport?

Ryan: This is supposed to be rapid, and I don’t know why it’s so deeply thought-provoking for me. I literally just thought of 10 athletes, and I thought, “No, that’s not going to go well. That wouldn’t go well. Well, maybe.” I would challenge LeBron James. I would challenge LeBron James, and I just think it’d be fun.

Chris: In ping pong or basketball?

Ryan: I think LeBron, it doesn’t matter the sport you’re playing, you’re probably going to lose. He just has that it factor, man. I’d love to play golf with Steph Curry. How about that?

Chris: OK, there you go.

Ryan: I would lose, but it would be fun.

Chris: All right. Jordan or LeBron?

Ryan: Jordan.

Chris: Got it. What’s one more thing you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Ryan: Make a movie.

Chris: Love it.

Ryan: Yeah, I’d love to make a movie.

Leaving a legacy

Chris: All right, here’s my last question — this one is no longer rapid fire. You’re at the end of your life. What is the thing you would hope you were remembered for most?

Ryan: I hope I am remembered as a voice of hope, faith, and love. As a person of faith, it’s like, man, it’d be great if people went to church, sure. But for what I do, I’m like, I hope I get to come to you. I hope there’s some event that isn’t church, and you get me. I hope it’s me, and I hope it’s your darkest day because it won’t be by the time I’m done. That’s how I feel, and I feel like at the end of my life, I hope I have put a smile on some people’s faces and that they feel like life is worth living, that they can really make it, and that God has a plan for their lives. Things are going to be alright, things are going to turn around. Yeah, I hope at the end of my life that there will be some people at some event that a lot of times I don’t even get to meet, but that they hear one statement, something that sits with them for a lifetime that makes them say, “That changed my life, and I’m going to stop making excuses for why I can’t do something. You know what? I think I’m going to live a little bit differently.” So my hope and prayer is that at the end of my life I’ve made a difference in the lives of other people.

Chris: That’s awesome. It’s been a privilege to sit and chat with you, and you’ve made a mark on us.

Ryan: Awesome.

Chris: So I just want to say thank you and wish you the best, man.

Ryan: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Subscribe to The Entrepreneur’s Studio

No matter how much you prepare, surprises are guaranteed when you run your own business. Who better to learn from than the people who have stood in your shoes? Level up with The Entrepreneur’s Studio - an on-demand suite of lessons, tools and tips from entrepreneurs who have been there before, bringing big ideas to small businesses.