065: Mihai Stanca | 4 Things You Should Do Every Morning and The Importance of Your Personal Life to Have A Successful Day

Today we’ve got Mihai Stanca, Founder of Leaders Academy. Mihai has been working for more than 10 years as a logistics Manager for Southeastern Europe in a multinational consulting company. He is a professional engineer and has a Master in Project Management, plus other degrees from various fields, from accounting to communication and sales techniques.
In this episode, we get into the 4 things you should do every morning, we talk about why your personal life is so important to have a successful day and the platform he and his partner have been building over in Romania. Check it out!

Mihai’s learning journey and Masterminds

The Mastermind Effect:  01:57

Our ability to learn has drastically changed over the last 5-10 years with just technology. When you and I were younger, it was the textbooks and the teachers. And that became our friends and our family and our co-workers. But that’s really a sliver of what’s possible. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?

Mihai Stanca:  02:23

Wow, we’ve changed a lot because as you said, when we were younger, we don’t have all this technology. All we have in Romania was books, and most of them were books written by people from Romania, or war or Europe, it was very hard to have a book from US, for example. But right now we can learn from everybody, it’s very easy, it’s very useful. You can learn in your way, when you have time. Because of this opportunity with the technology, you don’t have to reschedule your task. So it’s very, very, very easy. It’s a big opportunity, all you have to do is to take the information, this is the first step and the most important step is to apply the information. Otherwise, you just know some information for a coffee talk.

The Mastermind Effect:  03:15

Yeah, and that keeps coming back a lot lately. We can really take in so much information, you can take in as much as you want. But if you don’t apply it, then what was it really worth? If it’s just sitting up there, that keeps coming back and someone that I’ve gotten to know calls it the intention -intervention gap, which is take the information that you can take in enough, but then make sure you’re able to apply it and utilize it as opposed to just say I read 50 books this year.

Mihai Stanca:  03:41

Yeah, you’re right. Because from my experience with my clients, and we have one-on-one clients for let’s say their small business which is less than $1 million. And also we have big clients who were working with the management of some factories and everything. And the issue is the same–they don’t know exactly their numbers. They don’t know exactly what they are wanting to do.

So the first step to have success is it doesn’t matter what it means successful. The first step to success is to have a vision. You have to have this vision and you have to have this vision very clear because our mind is a brain image. If you tell me a word then I don’t know that word, I will not have an image so I don’t know what to do with the word. It’s like as you let’s say that you’re taking a cab and you take the driver say “Hey, hello, where should I drive for you?” Then you’re like “Okay, don’t drive me to the theater. Okay, don’t drive into the cathedral. Okay, where to drive?” That gap is in your mind. You have to tell your mind where to drive and it has to have this vision and to have to have a purpose to connect the vision with a purpose.

The Mastermind Effect:  05:08

Yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. And we’ll get into a little bit more of success later on. So I’m excited that we’re going to be able to go down that route about what success is because it’s different for everyone. And a lot of us, we don’t really define it. But, you know, let me ask you about this, we have more ways to take in information than ever before. Some people utilize mentors, coaches, masterminds, you know, we’re on The Mastermind Effect, we might talk about masterminds, accountability buddies, a lot of different ways to take in information and then actually to be able to utilize that. Who are you currently learning from and how did you find them?

Mihai Stanca:  05:43

I learned from Joel Bauer. Actually, let’s start with six years before, and I want to have a fast jump in my career. I took three mentors, one was a Romanian guy, one is a lady, who was dealing with my emotions and a little bit of spiritual side, and then other the other guy was from America. His name is Joel Bauer.

If you know him, he’s a very interesting guy. From Joel, I was learning business strategies. And I had here in Romania, that lady who was dealing with my emotions, and my feelings about what I have to do, what is success from my point of view, how to change these, because I’m not coming from a rich family. 

These three guys, they created a new avatar from my point of view. It’s like in a game, you have to change your avatar in order to accomplish the mission. So your goal is your mission. Look at what you have to change, when, and what you have to become. The mastermind is the best way to do that, because you can see many points of view. You can learn from the experience of other people.

The Mastermind Effect:  07:46

That’s the important thing. When it does come to a mastermind, you’re able to utilize other people’s experiences for whatever you paid to be in that room. Everyone’s paying that same amount, but you’re able to utilize their experiences, the problems that they’ve already faced, and they can see around corners, because they’ve already been there. And you’re able to do that for the other people. So it’s not always just the person that puts on the mastermind, but it’s that conglomerate, it’s the overall group mentality of making sure that you can see what that success is and, and that kind of goes into the next thing, which is we get stuck.

A lot of the times we get stuck, and we can’t see the tree through the forest. And right now, globally, we’re still going through a pandemic. But I believe that this is causing a reset and how we can accomplish things, how we can be how we can create solutions to problems. How have masterminds helped you when you’re looking to get unstuck?

Mihai Stanca:  08:43

It’s very useful, because as you have said, already, in a mastermind, you have access to a lot of people, you have access to their knowledge, you have access to their experience, you have access to their connections. So you just have to ask, and as you read in the Bible, you will receive.

Self-Education and Mihai’s reality

The Mastermind Effect:  09:02

Absolutely. And the masterminds have been around for a long time. They’ve been around since the apostles and then Benjamin Franklin creates the Junto club and then eventually, Napoleon Hill writes a book, Think and Grow Rich, where he really starts bringing the term mastermind forward. So with that being the case and in my mind, in everyone’s mind, for the most part, masterminds are self-education, then you have standardized education which you and I have gone through as well. Where do you see the shift changing between the value of self-education versus standard education going?

Mihai Stanca:  09:38

I think this is the new education. This is the new era of education because standard education is giving me information and most of that information, you will never apply and you will spend a lot of your life learning something and you will never apply that something.

So when you add learning what is in accord with your vision, with your goals, with your mission, with what you want to do, it’s very easy. And actually, it’s easy because you like to learn about that. Otherwise, maybe you learn geography, but we don’t like it.

The Mastermind Effect:  10:19

And geography is important, we need to know where people come from, we need to understand, but the real way to understand geography outside of the standard education outside of the book, is join a mastermind, go somewhere else. Learn, learn from other people learn actually, from their experiences, you know, I can read only so much about the history and the geography and the type of people in Romania. But if I really truly want to know I need to go and visit or have a conversation with someone such as yourself, because you know, the heartbeat of what’s going on. And that’s what a mastermind allows you to do. That’s what self-education is allowing you to do is actually find a way to apply something that you’re passionate about, that you have a vision on that you can actually take action on.

So when people invest in their future, they have a better than vague idea of what they’re going to get out of it. They know what the results are. What should people expect, when they enter your reality? When they enter Leaders Academy? What do they get out of that?

Mihai Stanca:  11:17

They get the best version. We talk about their family, we don’t talk about the numbers. It’s because your business is a reflection of you. You cannot be in either, let’s say a divorce or a depression of few months, and to have a successful business. So that’s why it’s very important to be in harmony with your thoughts. In this way, you will have power to apply what you learned. Because I give you the right strategy, I give you the right numbers. But if you don’t have the power to apply that, to help them do, we have a motto: we take the best and make them better.

The Mastermind Effect:  12:17

Yeah, so it’s what you’re saying is the first thing that you really have to focus on or fix or be a part of his what’s happening internally with you and in your own personal life. Because if your business life is out of harmony, your personal life out of harmony. If your personal life is out of harmony, everything is. That’s what you’re saying you focus on first with, with your clients, with the people that you that you work with,

Mihai Stanca:  12:39

Yeah, because if your business is going well, but your family life is not going well. You’ll not be so happy. Or if let’s say your business is going well, your family is going well, but you are working too much and your health is not, you are not in a good shape just the same. We have to find a way to grow with these three important areas of our life together.

The Mastermind Effect:  13:15

So when people start working with you, I have a feeling that they have a way of surprising us, surprising you. The rooms that you’re putting together are hand selected. At the end of the day, has anyone been to your mastermind, to one of your coaching sessions or programs that surprised you in what they were able to accomplish?

Mihai Stanca:  13:40

Oh yeah, I have a lot of stories. But the one coming in mind, actually, we are talking about our clients. Let’s say your idea is to make a bike, but after we work, your idea will be a plane. It’s a very, very big distance between what you think you can do and what you will accomplish with us.

So we have this idea from one of my clients. They want to do a platform and in this online platform to meet the bankers and the people who want to buy this. This is was the idea and he said okay, help me to do this. And in three months, we’ve changed everything. And now we’re creating a product with the first release idea. Harvard is using this kind of product and also Google and we create these paintings and these paintings are made.

Let’s say that you have a team with and you want to increase the size of your team. The idea is when you send your people to a course, or to a class, the trainer gives, let’s say this amount of information, they will have heard this amount of information, and they will apply this amount of information. Because we have a resistance, we have to implement in our daily routine, the new information and so on with this, with this product, which is a chromotherapy, there is a science behind it.

We connect this with human personality. We can put you around some colors. And that colors, if you measure the word, let’s say “love” has a frequency and we can put this forever in a color.

The Mastermind Effect:  16:40

So it’s a therapy. If I understand it correctly, it’s a therapeutic method through the platform in order to be able to increase sales, but increase what you’re really needing. Wow, that’s interesting. I wouldn’t have thought about it like that, but definitely send me the link, because I’d love to share that in the show notes afterwards.

Creating Success

The Mastermind Effect: 

Let’s get back to one of the things that you and I were talking about, which was success and its definition. In my solo shows, I talk about the pillars of success and what it takes to be successful. And I think one of the things is we don’t define what success looks like to you. You could have two identical people, which is next to impossible, but success is going to look differently to each person. If you actually define it, I think there are several things to be successful. You need mentorship, experimentation, partnership, a willingness to fail. What do you feel it takes? What is your definition of being successful?

Mihai Stanca:  17:37

From my point of view, you should choose your heart. To stay poor is hard, maybe to be rich is hard. But to the heart, maybe it’s hard to have a happy family life. But if you don’t have that, it’s also hard. So choose your time.

From my point of view, you should take, let’s say, one day or a weekend, close everything, close the internet, don’t answer the phone, maybe you can tell to your family, okay, I need two days in order to, to see what I want to do in my life. And take some papers and write from a professional point of view. Because there are different perspectives, different categories, because let’s say you have got a manager, and you are happy with that, but you are not happy with your salary. So that’s why it’s different. So take your time, take one day, two days, write everything on the paper, make a clear a clear vision, clear images of where you want to go.

After that, create a map. And when you create this map, create a map with the small daily, daily steps and forget about the goal and focus on the steps. And every day you go to sleep smiling that you are doing your steps. And you are closer than ever, that you don’t you don’t change the goal, you change the strategies, you change whatever you want to change, you don’t need the goal. It’s like using the navigation from the car, you know, if the road is broke, then the system will find you another way to go there.

The Mastermind Effect:  19:25

Yeah, it’s about the processes along the way. The goal is how you get there, then you can take that and I love that you just said that because I just talked about that in the solo show. It’s not focusing on the end goal from a monetary standpoint of whatever that goal is, but focus on the processes along the way. Because you can take those processes and plug and play them in other parts of your life. Once you reach that goal, what else do you have, you have the processes and you can take those and replug them somewhere else if you hit your goal.

Mihai Stanca:  19:55

And if you want, have a daily goal to make today better than yesterday. Tomorrow better than today.

The Mastermind Effect:  20:02

Yeah, you always want to be better than you were the day before,

The Mastermind Effect:  20:17

So as we’re getting closer to the end here, I feel that there’s always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity, it’s like super easy to be successful when everyone’s winning out there. But I think ingenuity and creativity come when we feel the squeeze, and we’re feeling the squeeze worldwide. What are you working on right now, with your business partner, that’s going to take place in the next 12 months that excites you guys?

Mihai Stanca:  20:44

We’ve created this football mentor Academy in Romania. The concept in this with a mentor and coach is not very well known. The soccer players, from my point of view, cannot do performance without a coach. But they need more because they have a lot of pressure.

When they had a discussion with this guy, and he was selected for the Romanian team in order to play and everything was going to the newspapers, okay, this guy will play for the national team. You need this kind of help. Actually, there are now there are a lot of studies that show the improvement of one’s performance with visualization. And they are using already in the in the industry.

This kind of coaching, when you visualize what you have to do, but you don’t do. It’s working. Also, we have some, let’s say alternative to say approach, we have, I don’t know if you know about data healing but it is an interesting therapy, and we are certified to use that.

The Mastermind Effect:  22:57

You guys got a lot going on, I was able to hop on and take a look at what the platform was. Fortunately, Google Chrome allows it to sit there and say, “Would you like it in English?” So hey, what’s one last thing that you can leave. So if someone a tip, a tactic, an actionable item, that if someone listening to this today, implemented over the next 30 6090 days, they would see real change in their personal or business life. And I think in your case, you’d probably lean more towards the personal life because that bleeds into the business life. So what’s something you could leave us with today?

Mihai Stanca:  23:37

Okay, first time in the morning, when they wake up, smile for more than three seconds. This will improve more than 26% the biochemistry of the body. The second thing is to do stretching, stretching, stretching. The third thing is to be grateful for more than five things.

For example, “I’m grateful for my house, for my job, for my Saturday, for my wife.” The fourth thing is to jump to jump 100 times. This is for your lymphatic system because it is dragging the residues from our body but doesn’t have a pump. And because our life is very sedentary, you use the elevator, use the car and everything else, you need this. So when you wake up, smile, stretch, be grateful for five things and do 100 small jumps.

The Mastermind Effect:  24:47

Yeah. I smiled when you said the smile thing. I actually started implementing that. It was like a month or two ago and I don’t think I had read it anywhere or heard it anywhere. But I felt better when I would before I would open my eyes and I talked about that. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, it’s a real thing is to smile before you even open your eyes.”

Mihai Stanca:  25:06

Yeah. And also they can use the visualization of the day. If you have a goal for that day, visualize. If you don’t have a goal, you can make a visualization and focus on the feeling. You’ll be inspired and happy and whatever you want to be all day.

The Mastermind Effect:  25:26

I love it. I love it. I appreciate the time that you’ve spent with us today. I know our time zones are a little bit different but I really do appreciate your time.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Right now we can learn from everybody, It’s very easy, it’s very useful. You can learn in your way, when you have time. With these opportunities and technologies you don’t have to reschedule your classes, it’s very easy.” – Mihai Stanca

“The first step to success is to have a vision.” – Mihai Stanca

“Like in a video game, you have to change your avatar to accomplish your mission. Your goal is your mission, Look at what you have to change and what you have to become. – Mihai Stanca

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Mihai on Instagram and Facebook or visit https://mihaistanca.com/ 

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

064: Success by Getting Ready

I think a past version of myself would have failed at what I’m building today because I wasn’t ready. So what are the steps to prepare for what you’re about to do?


Now, I want to preface it with this: as you listen to different people, wherever they’re at in their stage in life, you got to remember, they’re at their current GPS location of where they are at. They know that and where they want to go.

Okay, so just because it pertains to me, or the result, leaders are the activators that you’re listening to out there. I believe you should be listening to the result leaders and activators over the motivators and thought leaders, just a personal opinion of mine. You need to sit there and say where you’re currently at. Because if you plug in the wrong coordinates for where you’re at, and you’re trying to build that bridge, you’re going to end up in the wrong location, because you didn’t start where you’re at. So make sure in anything that you’re listening to, that I’m giving you, any of the amazing coaches and masterminds that you’re hearing on this podcast or any other platform, you realize where you’re at. It’s going to help you solve so many different problems, knowing where you’re at for knowing where you want to go.

So I wanted to preface it with that. Now, let’s get a few things out of the way. Hey, I’ve been a little absent from the solo shows, or at least it feels like that. Well, I wanted to let some of our amazing coaches have the stage to lead with the give mentality and, and allow you to have and learn a little more about them and what they’re doing.


So you see, these amazing coaches are helping us build a brighter future with the company I’ve been telling you about, The Success Finder. The thought process, how it’s being built, and why it’s being built, was because of you, the listener, and them, the result leaders. So it came out of me realizing that there was a problem that it needed to be solved. So, you know, I made the statement that a previous version of myself, or an earlier version of myself would have failed. And that’s okay.

I realized that because that’s not who I am right now, that’s not who I am continuing to build towards and who I continue to aspire to be, I’m not sitting there by any means and saying that I’m an expert in anything.

I saw someone put up the other day that says, “Hey, I’m the expert in this.” However, they probably read a book three months ago. Actually, I know that. It wasn’t a probably. They DID read a book three months ago on something and now they’re an expert in that. And so, I don’t want you to ever sit there and think that “Hey, this guy is the expert in that I am surrounding myself with, the right people in the right order for my Rubik’s Cube.”

I am surrounding myself with the people that have already done it and continue to do it and that are in the trenches. And that’s why a previous version of myself wouldn’t have been able to succeed at some of the boulders and darts that are being tossed my way. And boulders and darts coming in and out of our lives every day, week, month, year.

It’s not how we react to it but how we decide to answer that calling. It’s how we decide to answer what needs to happen. If I show up and wake up every morning, I have my list of things I have to complete, and if I haven’t completed these things on my list, then I feel like I’m a failure, I did not get an A that day.

However, that’s just NOT true. The previous version myself would have thought that before. That was before I had the right coaches in the right order and the right corner. These are the people that are shaping what we’re building with The Success Finder and The Mastermind Effect and my other businesses out there. So I want you to realize that wherever you currently are at, whoever you’re currently learning from, you need to realize that they’re at a different GPS location than you.

Now, I want to also sit there and say, reach out to them. If you’ve been providing value back to them commenting, sharing, relating to their posts, reach out to them, you can find out where their current GPS location is. You can probably let them then know where your current GPS location is, and find a way to have a symbiotic relationship of working with them. That’s how I’ve gotten to where I’m at currently, with the people that I’m working with.


So prepare. How do you prepare? How do you prepare, going into the week? How do you prepare for your night, for the next day? How do you prepare for when something gets in your way that you had no working knowledge of how you’re going to address it?

So right now to get a little more personal. We’re getting ready to do the soft launch. Yeah, I said it.


You’re going to be able to go to the App Store, to the Google Store, and you’re going to be able to download it, look up The Success Finder. Now, is it perfect? No. Is it 100%? Is it 99% 98% 95%? Perfect? No, we’ve got stuff that we’re working on that it’s going to take us another 12 months. Previous version of myself years ago, would have sat there and say we can’t take off until we have everything ready.

Well, the reality is, nothing’s ever 100% ready. Nothing ever is 100% perfect. So you need to show up, make sure that you’re able to give it an A. Not only in the effort, but what you’re delivering and the problem that you’re solving, that it’s good enough to hear what the public has to say.

So, right now we’re getting ready to launch it. I’ve had people say, “What are you doing? Why are you doing this? I don’t understand it.” Hey, those are the crabs, we’ve talked about those. Then I have the cheerers. “Go Brandon! You got this. You can do this!” Now, they haven’t taken a lot of time, in order to know what we’re building and why we’re building it. They’re still the supporters, I love cheerleaders. It’s great. It makes you feel good.

But what I’m surrounding myself with and how I’m able to show up each day and prepare is by surrounding myself with challengers. And those are my coaches, those are my mentors. Those are the corner people in my life. Those are the ones that have already been through it, dealt with something similar, and they can see around corners that I can’t see.

So I can tell you, I’m just going to open up the book on some of the ways that I’m preparing. And by doing these things, I can tell you this, I’m going to try to explain why they are of importance. By doing these things and implementing these things, to prepare for what’s going on right now, it’s made a huge impact.


So here are a few things that my corner man has me implementing right now. To tweak up 12 minutes a day of daily activity, six to eight glasses of water a day, don’t eat after nine o’clock, five minutes nightly stretching, food ready for the next day, close out for the next day, 200 milligrams of magnesium five pills, it’s a whole another story on what those are but it is an amazing little thing right here, 30 milligrams of zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, and then there’s some variants that are in there.

So I just threw out a bunch of things. And you’re like, “Okay, what does that have anything to do to me?” Like, hey, you’re only doing 12 minutes a day of activity? What’s the water doing for you? Well, I can tell you, all of these things. There’s a reason now where my current GPS is where I’m currently sitting. These things pertain to me, I can tell you, we’ve been tweaking about three things, it seems like to be the order of three. Three things a week, when I meet with my corner man, and we just keep adding, and adding, and adding, and making sure what we’re doing is actually making an impact and affecting me and how I’m able to work with my team with the people around me and what the deliverables are.

You should also look at your daily activities, you should look at your weekly preparedness and see how is that helping you? Or is it getting you further away from where you need to be? You should have a standard operating procedure. If this happens, how can we prevent that from happening? Have a plan that is built out, tailored towards you to continue to move to a better version of who you continue to want to be, and who you will become.

So I have to say I’m truly blessed. And it’s by design. I don’t want to say I’m lucky but it’s by design by some of the people that I’ve been able to work with, surround myself with, listen to, learn from, and become an avid learner, after decades of not really learning and taking in any information. How I’ve changed that over the last few years. It’s never too late. Don’t look and sit there and say, “Man, I wish I had started this three months ago, six months or 12 months ago.” Start it today.


Whatever it is, you’re sitting there saying “If I had done this here, look where I would be today.” Everyone has that story. Everyone has that mental roadblock that is holding them back. Start something today. It doesn’t have to be major tweaks in your life. I mean, geez, I just told you, I really wasn’t doing much activity at all. And they’ve got me doing 12 minutes a day of activity. Now, I’m doing a little bit more than that—fifteen. Okay, so I’ve added actually three more minutes of that. But small little tweaks have made the biggest difference in keeping me from being reactionary and wearing my emotion on my sleeve to making a decision, a choice, when those roadblocks, when those boulders and darts come at you or they come at me, and how I’m able to attack them. I mean, right now, we’ve got a snowstorm that’s come through but who knows whether I’m going to be able to go out to the East Coast to help with the soft launch of the company or if I’m going to get there on time. Schools are closed. So we’ve got our son home, it’s amazing to have him home. Then, you know, I’ve got the App Store coming back and saying, “Oh, This picture isn’t right. Like the app is on hold. There’s so many different things that are coming at me right now. Brandon 2017, 2018, 2019, you know, would have been reacting as opposed to choosing the best best path forward.

So I want to let you know, implementing small things, because I even had someone you know, keep going back to the 12 minutes and the six to eight glasses of water a day and say, “What the heck is that doing for you?” Small little steps continuously with purpose will help you plan and make a much larger impact on yourself, your business, what you’re building towards, who you want to be around.

So remember, it’s the small things that add up to the big things. If you continuously to do them day in and day out, you don’t have to sit there and say, I’m going to do 75 hard to get some amazing results. You don’t have to sit there and say, “I’m going to go paleo,” or you know, whole 30 all good things. I’m not saying any of those things are bad. But start with small little steps to prepare for what you need to do.

Alright, so let’s wrap this up. As we’re going to have some more amazing solo shows, with these coaches coming, we’re doing three episodes a week, we realized we had so much, I don’t wanna say contact, but results that you can listen to learn from. And so we went to three episodes a week.

Our team is pushing hard to make sure we get out more quality content with results that you can actually implement on there. The app, it’s coming, I want you to go and download it. That’s my ask. My ask is for you to go to the App Store and download The Success Finder. Go to the website, check out some of the stuff that we’ve got on there.

Now, here’s the thing, you might get there and find an incomplete page. It’s not perfect, or it has something you like, what the heck is this going on? It’s not 100% perfect, but we’re giving over 100% of our effort because we’re building towards something larger.

When it comes to the self-education space, we’re building something larger when it comes to being matched with the right coach and mastermind to make sure that you are working with result leaders. Whether it’s $500 or $5,000, it’s equally important to us and the people that we have vetted that we are working with and that we know will make a change in who you are.

We’re going to cut out the noise, we’re going to bring in the signal. And we’re going to help you build your bridge more efficiently in what you’re doing. You don’t need a bedazzled bridge, in order to get to where you want to go. That’s just the noise that’s just deviating you from that bridge that you’re building.

So I’m asking, I don’t ask a lot. Go download it. Let me know what you want to see more of. Let me know who you want to hear more of. We’d love to have some of our previous guests that if you’re just like, wow, this person was amazing. I’d like to hear him again. We have a great relationship with the people that we’ve had on the platform and the podcast so far. So let us know. And listen, get ready, because you need to show up each and every day and know you were becoming a better version of yourself than you were the day before the success finder is here to make that happen. Have an awesome week.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Small little steps, continuously with purpose, will help you plan and make a much larger impact on yourself, your business, what you’re building towards, and who you want to be around.” – Brandon Straza

“It’s the small things that add up to the big things if you continuously do them day-in and day-out.” – Brandon Straza

“You need to show up each and every day, and know you’re becoming a better version of yourself than you were the day before. The Success Finder is here to make that happen.” – Brandon Straza

“A past version of myself would have failed at what I’m building today, because I wasn’t ready.” – Brandon Straza

“Nothing is ever a hundred percent ready, nothing is ever a hundred percent perfect.” – Brandon Straza

Resources Mentioned:

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

063: Theresa Depasquale | Building Real Engagement and The 3 Things it Takes to be Successful

Today we’ve got Theresa Depasquale, Founder, and CEO of Capture Social Group. She began her career as an entrepreneurial fitness expert, owning multiple health clubs in the Tampa Bay Area before moving her business totally online. With over 10 years of online branding and social media experience, she used her marketing skills to quickly dominate the social media space, with her personal brand page having over 230K followers and is still growing today.
In this episode, we get into how Masterminds have helped her save hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to build her company. We go into how she helps her clients build real engagement and the 3 things it takes to be successful. Check it out!



The Mastermind Effect:  02:01

Let’s dive into it. The availability and the ability to learn today versus the last 5 to 10 years has just drastically changed. When you and I were younger, we learn from our teachers, our friends, our family, our co-workers. But that’s like a sliver of what’s possible. How is your learning changed from your early years versus today?


Theresa Depasquale:  02:28

When I started my entrepreneurial career, it was really just reading books. Back when I was like graduating high school, there was like the DVD sets, you know, the motivational and personal development DVDs that I would listen to, and then it kind of moved to podcasts, which was the new thing like what we’re doing, which is still awesome. But now it’s just evolved into this whole other domain of like what we’re going to talk about today, which is mentorship, and masterminds and networks and things that really could elevate you and your career. So my trajectory has completely changed simply because of what mastermind I joined.


The Mastermind Effect:  03:07

I would absolutely love to hear about that mastermind that changes trajectory. Go ahead.


Theresa Depasquale:  03:12

Just a little backstory, I started going on social media around 2012. It’s funny because you can actually scroll back and see my old picture. You can see the funny journey of how I got into social, into Instagram. Along the way, I had a fitness brand that was very, very big. I did some Instagram marketing on the side, I own some shared pages that I did marketing on. And I used to do really well organically just building an entire business.


Obviously, you can still do that but it’s changed a lot. Because when Instagram first started, it was literally like the Wild West. It was fair game, right? It was so easy to grow, it was so easy to monetize. It was so new. So when the algorithm, you know the holy grail, came into play, I kind of was like, “Alright, I need to get my eggs out of the one basket and learn how to do online marketing.” Because I can’t just come in organic, I want to have like multiple baskets.


So I was actually invited by a friend, which is funny, I was talking to her about doing like a private label supplement line. We didn’t end up working together, but we hit it off and we became friends and she’s like, “Hey, I have this mastermind group that I’m a part of, and I think you’d be a really good if you want to join.” I was like, “Okay, I’ve never been in a mastermind. But what is it?”


Long story short, she talked to the founder, the owner, they said “Yes, she’s approved.” Because you know, a lot of them are curated and they have to preview and three days later, I literally flew to Miami and I shared a room with the girl because everything was booked last minute. Then here I am in this mastermind of these like amazing, brilliant people who are all crushing it, doing online marketing in my space at that time, which is the health and wellness space. I loved it because they’re all very heart-centered entrepreneurs so you want to make money but also make an impact. It’s a very good tribe of people.


When I first started, I literally did not know what a funnel was. I was like is that for pre workout? But over the course of my fourth year, I’ve literally went from knowing zero about online marketing to having an entire huge online business. It’s incredible at the rate of what you can grow when you invest in things like that, because it’s just shortcutting, your learning curve, right? I’m always like, you know, I’m either going to spend the money because I’m going to spend my time to learn it, or I’m going to spend the money because I’m going to pay someone to teach me to learn it. So either way, you’re spending the money, it’s time or money. So why don’t I just shortcut the process and just pay someone to tell me what to do? That is my entire story.


The Mastermind Effect:  05:26

Yeah, it’s amazing what it can do for you. In my solo shows, I talk about that investing in yourself. Can you afford not to invest in yourself to have someone else teach you to learn from a collective people?

That’s what amazing about being in one.


So as there’s more ways to take in information than ever before, it gets confusing. It’s like, can you actually sift through all of it? Some people choose to learn through mentors, accountability buddies, masterminds, coaching, online programs– there’s a lot of ways to learn, obviously. Who are you currently learning from and how did you end up connecting with them?


Theresa Depasquale:  06:04

I’m still in the first mastermind group that I joined. I really like it because they’re all getting a lot more sophisticated now. They’re kind of all evolving because it is more competitive, so they have to be good, or else, they’re not going to survive.


I love mine, because it’s kind of like different levels. Like there’s more beginners, and then there’s intermediate, and then there’s the mentors of the group. But it’s great because you learn from the mentors, you learn from your mentor who’s running the group, which mine currently is J.J. Virgin. I don’t know if you’re familiar with her but she’s built her personal brand in fitness nutrition.


She’s a celebrity nutritionist, but her goal is to help a billion people become healthy. So because she was so good at the marketing and business side of it, she opened a mastermind to help other wellness professionals learn how to get their message out to more people. Because when you’re an expert, I think a lot of times you’re a doctor, especially like it’s very hard to be an amazing doctor and figure out the business side. You’ve got to have someone to help.


So she started this mastermind, and I’m still in it, even though I’m doing social media now, because the tech still work regardless. I actually work a lot in that niche so a lot of my clients, I’d say around 70%, are still in the health and wellness field. Obviously, naturally, because I was a fitness expert. They gravitate to me for help with what I do. But yeah, I’m still in her group. I’m still learning from her. I consider her my mentor. I’m in some other groups as well but that’s definitely my main one.


The Mastermind Effect:  07:25

Are you able to tell us which mastermind that is by any chance?


Theresa Depasquale:  07:27

Oh, yeah, it’s called Mind Share Mastermind.


The Mastermind Effect:  07:39

A lot of people get stuck. They don’t know how to execute what’s in their head. It’s like, you can’t see the tree through the forest. We’re going through a pandemic and I feel it’s causing a reset. You and I touched on this briefly where you didn’t have to reset. But a lot of people are having to reset and figure out how they can accomplish things. How have masterminds helped you, when you’re looking to reset and get unstuck in what you’re trying to accomplish?


Theresa Depasquale:  08:06

I’m going to give an example of how they’ve helped me in the biggest way. In what I do which is online marketing, there’s so many different strategies. There’s so many different things that you can do. If you go to this expert they tell you one thing. Then go to another and they’ll tell another one. So for me, having the clarity of the plan that I can execute has been essential for me.


Instead of me trying to figure things out my mentor maps out things. Like, here’s what you’re going to do. Here’s your business model, we walk through the entire thing. And literally, so I have a strategy, because I think as entrepreneurs, especially when you’re first starting, it’s hard to get out of the business and look at it, right?


We’re so in it and you’re just trying things and there’s really no strategy. I always laugh I, I say that it’s my $100,000 online marketing degree. That’s probably how much money I’ve spent learning this stuff, because I’ve done so many between the learning of the masterminds and all the things I’ve invested in, but also in the testing of things that didn’t work. So just having that clarity of them saying, “No, no, that’s not going to work. Like don’t do that. I’ve tried that, it sucks. Do this over here.” Like that alone has been game changing for me. Because then I’m excited and I feel confident. I’m like, “Okay, I just need to execute XYZ, and I’m off to a head start versus trying to figure out what to do.”




The Mastermind Effect:  09:46

So masterminds, they’ve been around for a long time. Probably back to the apostles that was probably like the first mastermind ever. Then Benjamin Franklin creates the Junto Club in well, whenever Benjamin Franklin was around. Then eventually, you have this guy write a book called “Think and Grow Rich”. And he really defines the mastermind world. Why do you feel there’s been this large boom of self-education over standard education? Where do you see the two lanes really going forward?


Theresa Depasquale:  10:19

Oh, that’s a good question. I think just the access to information has made it. I’ll give you an example outside of business. So we talked about this with parenting, you know, our parents didn’t have Google, didn’t have a handbook, they didn’t have ways to be a better parent, because they didn’t have access to that. So it’s just like, with parenting with entrepreneurship, I think like, people didn’t realize they could be an entrepreneur, that they could do these things.


I just put a post up the other day, I think entrepreneurship is the biggest personal development journey to ever go on. So I think that it starts kind of with the personal development, once you start getting into it, then you kind of realize like, “Oh, well, I can do that.” Then there’s all the information for us to execute as to where it used to be. Go to college, get a degree and then start a business. I think information is just more accessible for people now.


The Mastermind Effect:  11:03

Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got the four year degree, it took me four and a half years. But that piece of paper isn’t worth what it used to be at the end of the day. I’m a firm believer that my son who’s six, and you’ve got children yourself, they don’t have to go to college unless they really want to be a doctor, a nurse, an engineer something in that area.



The Mastermind Effect:  12:04

So typically, when someone invest in their future, they have a better than vague idea of what they’re going to get out of it. They know who’s going to be in the room, and know what they’re going to get and what you’re going to give in return. What should people expect when they enter Theresa’s reality?


Theresa Depasquale:  12:20

Oh, I like that question. So I’m really different. I am kind of almost trying to change the conversation around social media. Because I think for so long, it’s been about the vanity metrics. And, you know, the people that I work with are entrepreneurs, and they want to build a business, they want to build a brand, they want to build an engaged tribe, like a loyal following.


So for me, I’m really teaching them more about how to do that with engagement versus just looking at the vanity metrics. So for me, everything that we do is about like building a real authentic engaged tribe that’s going to be interested in what you’re doing. They’re going to lean in to help spread your message, hopefully, eventually become a client or customer, right? So I teach people how to utilize social media for that, obviously, your social media grows. But we’re not as concerned with having 500,000 followers overnight, as we are with the slow consistent doing it the right way, and building an actual business out of it to monetize your social media.


The Mastermind Effect:  13:16

Yeah. And you know, when people go through what you’ve created, I have a feeling that they have a way of surprising you from time to time. Whether it’s their willingness to learn, their drive, their execution, whatever that is. Has anyone been to a course a mastermind event that you’ve curated who has surprised you? And what was the outcome because of connecting with you?


Theresa Depasquale:  13:39

I used to do consulting, where I would basically do like, kind of one on one coaching. Now, I have a course that’s essentially a group coaching course, which is the same thing. But I had a physician that had like 190 followers when she started.


As you can imagine, when you don’t have a lot of followers, you kind of feel like it’s like an uphill battle. It’s like climbing Mount Everest and that you’re never going to get there. You have to do a lot of front end effort to start seeing it work, but I kept telling her, just hang in there, follow the process, follow the plan, follow the strategy, I promise.


So she hung in there and she executed. She’s been my best student yet. And she really took off. She’s got a huge following now. She’s a physician, but she does like functional health with eyes. It’s so interesting. So she basically can diagnose things through their eyes. I was just so impressed. Because someone like her, it’s easy to quit and be like, “Too much work. I’m never going to get there.” And now she’s got like, almost 10,000 followers.




The Mastermind Effect:  15:13

I love hearing that. One of my companies is in not one of the sexiest industries, it’s insurance. So you know, getting people engaged can be difficult from time to time. So when I do my solo shows, I talk about success and the pillars of success and what it takes to be successful. And I feel it’s a partnership. It’s experimentation, mentorship, coaching, and willingness to fail, I think, is a big one. What do you feel it takes to be successful today?


Theresa Depasquale:  15:45

Patience is a really big one. I see a lot of people that start whether social media or entrepreneurship in general, and you know, overnight successes are not the reality. It takes a lot of time to grow and build a company, to grow and build a social media.


I think that there’s a lot of people that have been trying to kind of sell or portray the “get rich quick” kind of thing. I don’t think that’s reality. So being able to discern who to listen to, and not to, and really understand that, like, I love something called an aggressive patience. It’s like, consistently, actively working towards a goal, but understanding that it’s going to take time.


Being adaptable– I think that’s huge. I think everyone can understand that, especially in the year 2020. I think it was important for entrepreneurship before, but I think now it’s more important than ever. I work with so many different clients. I’ve seen so many different business models, and the most successful ones are the one that pivot and adapt and do whatever needs to be done. So you can’t be stuck on the one thing just because it worked in the past. I think that’s another really big one. I think teamwork is important. You mentioned that, but I think it’s more also about building a team. You know, for me, I think that I love the saying that you don’t build a business, you build people and people build your business. And that for me has been 100% sure, I could never do it. I didn’t do it without my team. I think those are a few of the really important ingredients in the pot.


The Mastermind Effect:  17:03

Yeah, and building the right team. I think that that’s a super difficult thing. You can think I can just hire, you know, slow to hire, quick to fire but like building that right team. You’re building the business together, you’re building it up, because you’re bringing other people’s specialties. You can’t be good at everything, or you’re good at nothing. And you had talked in the beginning of the podcast, about working on the business and not working in the business. That’s what a lot of entrepreneurs get stuck in is they work for the business so they really don’t have the business, the business has them. So yeah, I love the patience and there I think that’s something we could all learn especially as being a parent is having patience.


Theresa Depasquale:  17:43

Oh, yeah, exactly. Definitely parenting and, you know, pandemic and tornado warning. I think we all need some extra patience.


The Mastermind Effect:  17:56

There’s always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity. It’s really easy. When times are good. We’re all winning. It’s like a success story around every corner. But I think innovation and ingenuity comes out of times when we feel the squeeze and the world is feeling the squeeze right now. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that excites you?


Theresa Depasquale:  18:19

So I love that you said that. Because I totally agree with that, too. I think sometimes when it’s easy, we get complacent. And when we are squeezed, we have to get creative and get our feet to the fire.


For me, I would say I just launched my new course which I love because we have an agency and we obviously you know, it’s a service-based businesses, we cannot work with a million people. I don’t want to scale that much. Because we’re a specialty at what we do.


So I created the program to be able to basically teach more people at a more budget friendly price because obviously everyone can’t do the agency. I’m very excited about that. We just launched that this year. And the next project that we’re moving into is offering a membership.


What I’m finding is that social media, specifically Instagram is really like a moving target, which means it’s constantly changing. So it’s really difficult. And it’s very time consuming for people to like constantly be to keep up with like the changes and the features and the this and that the things that are coming out all the time. So I’m creating something to where it’ll be like, “Hey, here’s your one stop shop to like be able to dominate maximize everything you’re doing on Instagram.” So that’s my next little baby.


The Mastermind Effect:  19:19

Wow, amazing. And they’ll be able to find that at your website, I would assume as well. Correct?


Theresa Depasquale:  19:22

Yeah, I’ll be posting on my social when it’s ready. That’s going to be launching in spring.


The Mastermind Effect:  19:26

Alright, last question for you. What is a tip, a tactic, an actionable item that if someone listening to this implemented this over the next 30, 60, 90 days, whether it’s the personal business life, they would be able to see real results?


Theresa Depasquale:  19:49

Well, I’m going to give you a tip with my area of expertise, which is social media. And obviously you have entrepreneurs here, listening to the podcast. So you know one of the biggest mistakes I see people making but I think hinders their growth and their progress. And social is, when they go to build their social media online, they kind of hide behind their business. That means they’re just posting their logos and their business content, like people don’t even know who they are. So I always encourage people to put yourself out there and make your social media a little bit more personal.


What I mean by that is not you know, you don’t have to check in every time you go to the gym. It’s just like don’t be afraid to get out and share your story. Talk about your why. Let people in on your journey and what you’re doing. People love to be part of that process. And you’ll be shocked at the rise and engagement that you get when you do things like that. So just, you know, start being a little more vulnerable, and personal. That will bring your audience in.


The Mastermind Effect:  20:37

I agree with that. I don’t have a huge social media following. I don’t post as regularly as everyone else. But I can tell you, when I do post, depending on the platform, LinkedIn and Facebook seem to do better for me. If I post something about myself, my family, what’s happened and it’s not a sob story by any means. I don’t need to air my dirty laundry. Right? I know likes don’t put food on the table. But the amount of engagement of people actually going back and forth? It’s amazing.


Theresa Depasquale:  21:07

You know why? Because people want to follow people. That’s just how we are innately connected with our design. So that’s where I tell people is like, “Don’t forget that you’re a person.” Whether you’re the founder, CEO, the doctor, the attorney, whatever that looks like, you’re still a person. Don’t be afraid to like, talk about yourself and tell people what you’re doing.


If you’re just starting an entrepreneurial journey, you know, like, for example, when I was in my fitness business, I wanted to write a book. My people were with me the entire time. And I was like, “Hey, I’m going to write this book, it would mean so much to me. I want to hit the bestsellers list. I would love for you to help me and just purchase it.” On this one day, we did a huge pre-sale and I came out on Amazon, and I beat Harry, one of Harry Potter’s books.

For the most hot and noteworthy, yes, that’s how many people bought the book on one day for me. Because they’re part of my whole journey. They knew how important this was, like the meaning behind the book and all these things. So like, don’t be afraid to do that. It works. Bring your audience with you. You don’t have to pretend like you’re on a pedestal.


The Mastermind Effect:  21:59

Wow, I love that and obviously beating up Harry Plopper! I know you said Harry Potter, but that’s unbelievable. Like you said, you allowed them into your life on a personal level and they were able to engage with you and obviously help you launch the book. The name of the book is?


Theresa Depasquale:  22:14

It was Boston Bikini. Yeah. I think it was like 2015 when I wrote it. So obviously I’m not doing fitness anymore. But yeah, Boston Bikini.


The Mastermind Effect:  22:22

Wow. Theresa, I appreciate the time. What you have led us into, not only what people can expect once they work with you, but all the nuggets that you left along the way. We’ve got Teresa, Founder and CEO of Capture Social Media Group. Teresa, thank you so much.


Theresa Depasquale:  22:40

Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Tweetable Quotes:

“It takes a lot of time to grow and build a company, to grow and build in social media.” – Theresa Depsquale

“My trajectory completely changed simply because of one mastermind that I joined.” – Theresa Depasquale 

“It’s incredible at the rate of which you can grow when you invest in things like masterminds, because it’s shortcutting your learning curve.” – Theresa Depasquale

“I think that Entrepreneurship is the biggest personal development journey you’ll ever go on.” – Theresa Depasquale

“We’re gonna figure out how to make money with whatever you want to do, you don’t have to have a degree.” – Theresa Depasquale 

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Theresa, follow her on Instagram, and visit https://capturesocialgroup.com/. Also, Check out https://socialbutterflycourse.com/ms-social-butterfly 

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

062: Randy Kirk | What it Takes to Drive Small Businesses Forward

Today we’ve got the Founder of So Cal Masterminds, Randy Kirk. He is passionate about helping business owners and executives succeed in business. As a serial entrepreneur and business book author, Randy is truly aware of the opportunities and challenges associated with running your own show.
In this episode, we get into what it takes to drive small businesses forward. Randy talks about the action you’re able to take because of the Mastermind room you’re in, and 2 actionable items you should take right now. Check it out!



The Mastermind Effect:  01:29

Our ability to learn has changed over the last 5, 10 years. What we have access to when we were younger: textbooks, teachers, classmates, friends, family, and co-workers—that gives us a sliver of what’s truly possible out there. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?


Randy Kirk:  02:53

Currently, if I’m going to be left alone on a desert island or some place that I only get to keep one thing, it’s going to be my iPhone and of course, a cell connection. We can’t live without it. Some people are saying that we already are robots because we are connected to the internet through our phones even if there’s no neural link connection yet. For now, the phone is indispensable whether it’s working during the day, to research, or whether it’s watching a television program at night and wondering what that British word means on Britbox.


The Mastermind Effect:  03:34

Is it also because of the contacts and the connections that you have in that cellphone for how you’re able to learn? Is that also part of why your cellphone is intricate and important to you?


Randy Kirk:  03:49

I think I’ve always been a connector. I’ve always been someone who networked a ton. I don’t know that I network any more now than I did before. The networking is definitely different. When I started out 50 years ago, the Chamber of Commerce was a big deal. The Optimist Club or the Rotary was a big deal. Moose and the Lodges were another big deal. You even did business at church. That has definitely switched. Service clubs are not anything like what they used to be. Now, it’s the networking clubs. Our referral groups are a very big deal now. There seems to be a lot of networking folks that are setting up meetings when we can meet in person. Now, all that stuff has gone online.


I’m a member of something called Lunch Club and another one Meet After Work. They’re all online. I told somebody the other day. I’m very outgoing. I don’t mind walking into a room of complete strangers and trying to muscle my way into conversations. But I don’t like it. It’s not my favorite thing to do. But now with these groups online, you are matched up with one, two, or three other people in a room. Everybody in the room is expected to start a conversation. It’s much more natural. It’s much less hassle. I think even shrinking violets can probably do it.


The Mastermind Effect:  05:14

That’s interesting that you mentioned something there about you’ll go into a room of people that you don’t know. You work your way through it, but it’s not what you enjoy. I think the more entrepreneurs that I interview, believe it or not, are introverts. Because the energy that it takes when you’re giving yourself so much, you’re giving back. You want to lead with the gift mentality. You exert so much that to do it right then and there literally takes you to one to two days just to get that energy back.


Randy Kirk:  05:42

I’m kind of the opposite. Nobody’s really ever accused me of being that much of a giver. I’m usually the closer. I’m usually energized by meetings like that. But it’s still not fun. I’m still saying, “No, I don’t go.” Wow. I get to go to a mixer tonight.


The Mastermind Effect:  06:01

We have more ways to take in information than ever before. It’s almost overwhelming to say the least. Some people look for mentors, accountability buddies, masterminds, coaches, online courses, and a lot of way to take in information today. Who are you currently learning from and more importantly, how did you connect with them?


Randy Kirk:  06:23

I learn from everybody. I consider everybody to have something to contribute to me. I have a friend who has an IQ of about 75. She is never been married. She is subsistence-level living in West Los Angeles, California. She gets along. She manages to make her way through life. What she has taught me is that living in the moment is amazing. She is so generous to everybody around her. Nobody ever forgets her. I call her my hero. It doesn’t matter what your brain power is. What matters is what is it that you can contribute. I want to know what everybody has that can contribute to my knowledge base.


The Mastermind Effect:  07:04

That’s what we call a superpower. Everyone has a superpower inside of them. Sometimes it takes coaching, mentorship, masterminds, or a friend that you surround yourself with. To pull that superpower out, sometimes we need help. We just don’t know what it is. If I were to ask you your superpower, what would you say it is?


Randy Kirk:  07:29

A superpower is probably recognizing raw talent and then helping it to bloom. It could be a product. It could be a company. It can be a person. What I’ve done for my entire career, and even before my career, is seeing that raw talent and wanting, desiring, and feeling you have to help that thing become what it could possibly be.


The Mastermind Effect:  07:54

A lot of people get stuck and they don’t know how to execute what’s in their head. We’re still going through a pandemic. To me, it’s causing a reset on how we’re able to accomplish things. You and I were talking about this beforehand. How have masterminds helped you when you’re looking to reset yourself and get unstuck?


Randy Kirk:  08:16

I have three different versions of what we call a mastermind group. My favorite, the one that everybody gets the biggest kick out of, is a 12-step program for entrepreneurs. Getting into an environment where there’s a bunch of other people who understand me and who I understand, because we have similar backgrounds, experiences, and desires. The stuff that makes us stick is more similar than it is to my brother or my parents or my next-door neighbor. They get me, I get them. In that environment, I’m more trusted and I’m more trusting. Number two is that our mastermind groups at least are totally based on brainstorming. We spent four hours in a brainstorming meeting. Unless you’re completely dead to the world, if you’re in that meeting for four hours and you don’t come up with a handful of ideas. Because you’re brainstorming on other people’s problem or issue or opportunity, just the brainstorming process itself has to be able to say, “Oh my gosh, I could do that for myself.”




The Mastermind Effect:  09:23

That’s the amazing thing with masterminds. You get together with people from different industries, different passions, and different abilities. You’re able to when they’re on the hot seat or you’re discussing their business. Even though you are in a completely different industry, you can plug and play something, take something out, plug it into your business or your niche, whatever it is, and see immediate results. That’s the great thing about it. It’s like you aren’t in a room full of plumbers. If it was a plumber’s mastermind, you probably don’t want all plumbers to be in there. You probably want people from different industries so you can think differently. You can see around corners. That’s the power of masterminds.


Speaking of masterminds, they’ve been around for a hot minute. Probably the first mastermind was the apostles, and then eventually Benjamin Franklin. He created the Judo club or the leather apron club. Then this guy by the name of Napoleon Hill defines it and writes it in a book, “Think and Grow Rich.” There’s been such a large boom of self-education moving away, in my opinion, from traditional education. Where do you see these two parallels going—traditional education versus self-education?


Randy Kirk:  10:34

I’m married to an English professor. I’m in the cusp of her very long career in education seeing this movement in both directions. I assumed that all four of my children would go to university. Only two did. Two of them say, “I don’t need University.” I said, “What do you mean, you don’t need university? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” We’re in a situation now where people are learning skill sets, or they’re even learning university-level education online sometimes from universities who are putting their stuff up there for anybody to take for free, or from TED Talks or maybe from my new website. It’s all out there. There’s no lack of information available out there for people to learn if they’re motivated to learn.


The Mastermind Effect:  11:28

That’s the big thing. You got to be motivated. You got to have that drive, that want. You have to start the engine. You might not know where you’re going, but you got to take action. Experiment and take action.


When someone typically invests in their future, they have a better than vague idea of what they’re going to get out of it. They’re able to have some expectation of what the results could be if they implement what you’re working with him on in that mastermind. What should people expect when they enter your reality?


Randy Kirk:  11:55

What they should expect is somebody that’s going to encourage the heck out of them and give them some creative ideas for direction if they are interested in receiving it and if they’re interested in potentially going out and executing on some of it. If they enter my reality, the reality is if I’m perfectly happy where I am or I may not be happy where I am but I’m not willing to do any hard things to improve, then they’re probably not going to get a lot of my time.


The Mastermind Effect:  12:27

You can weed them out quickly: those people that should be in your circle and those people that are going to be a drain versus a value-add to the groups that you’re bringing together. People come to you and are involved in your masterminds because of the people you’ve selected, because of the people that you’ve researched a little bit. Make sure that they’re going to be a value-add, not a value-drain.


Randy Kirk:  12:49

Right. That’s even true on an individual level. There are obviously mentor relationships in life. I’m just not interested in the person who sucks up the knowledge or sets up my time and then doesn’t go out and execute. I have a consulting business as well and I fired a couple of clients over the years. If you’re not going to do it, why are you paying me? What’s the benefit?


The Mastermind Effect:  13:16

I feel that people have a way of surprising us, whether it’s their willingness to learn, their drive, whatever it is. Give us a success story, if you wouldn’t mind, of someone that’s been through one of your masterminds. What they were able to accomplish because of the room that you curated?


Randy Kirk:  13:33

I think the one that comes most of mind is the co-author of my new book, “Making Money Out of Thin Air.” Shallow Chamberlain is the co-author of my first book that I co-authored. I had another author involved. She’s a CPA and a CMA, which is a Certified Management Accountant. She started her own CPA business three years ago. Middle-aged. She had been an accountant in a corporation for many years. Now, she’s going on her own. We see a lot of that, a lot of our mastermind people. I don’t know if this would be true nationally, but in Southern California, a lot of our mastermind people are coming out of corporate and starting out again on their own in middle age. Anyway, she comes to our mastermind practically out of the gate. She comes in and she said “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to do it.” We said, “Well, you know, you’re probably going to have to knock doors.” She said, “I don’t want to knock doors.” One of our members said, “I’ll knock doors with you.” He was in a completely different industry. He said, “I’ll go out with you for four hours some afternoon.” He went right up with her. They knocked on doors together. She’s still not thrilled with the idea of going out and making cold calls on local businesses, but at least she had a chance to go out and see that it wasn’t as scary as maybe it was perceived, and also to get a little bit technique under her belt for going out and doing it. Well, you know how they talk about only 50% of the businesses will be around five years after they’re open? Well, at year two, she was already successful in terms of what she was contributing to her family. After three years, she’s doing great. She’s fending calls and she doesn’t have to go out and cold call anymore.


The Mastermind Effect:  15:23

No one’s really a fan of cold calling and knocking on doors. It’s tough today, obviously, to knock on doors. But it is an art. That was unbelievable that someone stepped up and said, “Hey, I’ll go with you. I will take this challenge on with you.” My fellow masterminds are awesome.




The Mastermind Effect: 

When I work with my coach, we talk about what it takes to be successful. In our solo shows, we talked about the pillars of success, hanging out with the right people, willingness to invest in yourself, and taking action through experimentation. I feel there’s a lot of things that it takes to be successful: mentorship, willingness to fail, experimentation, partnerships, all different things. What do you feel is a key ingredient when it comes to being successful?


Randy Kirk:  16:07

Doing the hard things. I’ve written half a book called “Doing the Hard Things.” If anybody wants to write me at that email address, I will send them a free copy of this partially written book. I find the number one thing I found in three years of mastermind. Because I’ve learned more in three years of running mastermind groups than I think I learned in the previous 47. So, the thing that I see over and over again is that people are stuck at around 65,000 to 75,000 in income at running small businesses. That seems to be the national average. That’s what I’m saying as well. They’re stuck at those levels because they’re not willing to do the things that they find to be outside their comfort zone. It may start with cold calling. But it’s not just cold calling, it’s learning how to market. It’s learning how to sell even if you’re getting in warm leads and not knowing how to actually do the selling process: how to close at the end, being afraid to close at the end, not being willing to accept a no, and not being willing to jump in and learn how to do your accounting properly. Because it’s math and you’re afraid of math. That’s what the latest book, the “Making Money Out of Thin Air” is all about—how to become great at understanding your financials. There’s a whole list. I think I have 30 something items in there of hard things that small business owners typically are not excited about doing.


The Mastermind Effect:  17:39

What I was getting out of what you’re saying is if they’re not willing to do it, they can’t be everything to everyone. They work in the business, not on the business. You need to outsource. You need to sit there at things that you’re not good at. It’s going to cost me money. Well, guess what? How much is it going to cost you if you don’t outsource your social media? How much is it going to cost you if you don’t outsource and get a coach, a mentor, a consultant. That’s where you’ll sit there, and you’ll be able to see you’ve outsourced what it takes to be successful.


Randy Kirk:  18:11

I agree with you 100%. I now have workers all over the world because I started using fiber and other resources a few years ago. I’m getting to the point now where all the stuff I hate to do is done by others. The only caveat I would make to what you say is it’s always good for the owner to get a certain level of knowledge about every one of those subjects so that people can’t pull the wool over their eyes, they can see whether the person is doing quality work, and so that the other person recognizes that they can’t pull the wool over the owners’ eyes. I’m a big fan of owners digging in on those things that are even a little outside of their comfort zone and learning at least enough to be able to keep everybody else on.


The Mastermind Effect:  18:59

Yeah, absolutely. You do need to have a working knowledge in those areas, or you will get taken advantage of. Let’s be honest. You probably still going to get taken advantage of either way, but you can mitigate how much of a loss that’s going to be there.


As we’re getting closer to an end, I feel that there’s always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity. I think real innovation and ingenuity come in times when we feel the squeeze. I think the world is still feeling that squeeze. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that really excites you?


Randy Kirk:  19:31

Well, it’s pretty interesting. You asked because I’ve just made this decision at the same time that I am going to start this new website. The website excites me. What really excites me is I’m going to jump into your industry just a little bit but different. I’m going to have a YouTube channel also starting about January and it’s going to be a daily show. Maybe I can have you on my daily show after I get it started. It’s going to be about my main book. “When Friday isn’t Payday” is about everything in business, from the germ of an idea to start a business, all the way to selling the business at the end and everything in between. It’s an opus. It’s 400 pages packed with ideas and methods and approaches. What I’m trying to do with a website is now expand what can be put in a book to where it’s really covering the entire range. The daily show will be to drive people to that website, drive them to my books, drive them to the mastermind, and drive them to my consultancy. It will also be very informational. It’ll be something that the goal will be every single day, people are going to take something away of tremendous value out of a 15- or 30-minute sit down.


The Mastermind Effect:  20:47

I would be honored to be on the YouTube channel. I appreciate that.


What is one last thing that if any of the listeners out there implemented it, they would see real action and something change and their personal business life over the next 30, 60, 90 days. What’s a tip, tactic or actionable item you can leave the listeners with?


Randy Kirk:  21:10

How about two. One of them, if you’re a local business and you’re not highly ranked on Google My Business, you’re foolish. It is by far the number one real estate online. If you’re not highly ranked on Google My Business, become highly ranked on Google My Business. It is very simple. If you’re in the top three, if you’re in the three pack, we call it, then you will get found and you will get phone calls. If you’re not in the three pack, your phone’s not going to ring because of Google. It’s just as simple as that. I’ve been proving that for 15 years. That’s number one.


The other one is what I want on my gravestone. Nothing happens until something is sold. I’ve seen companies that had great store fronts, great interior design, great products, great social media—every thing’s great. I’ve been in the bicycle industry almost my whole life. I’ve seen situations where people walk in the front door of a beautiful and incredible bike shop with one of the top brands, and nobody even greets them. Then, when they do greet them, they don’t try to determine the need. Then, as everybody’s standing around, nobody’s closing. Then, after the clothes, they’re not selling add-ons. I mean, it makes me crazy. Nothing happens until something is sold.


The Mastermind Effect:  22:34

Your point on Google, I wholeheartedly agree with that. We had zero reviews in one of my companies this year. I think we’ve got just shy of 100. We started it in April and people now find us. One of my companies gets one or two customers on a monthly basis just because they find us through Google.


Randy, I appreciate you spending the time with us today. We’ve got Randy Kirk, founder of So Cal Masterminds. Thank you so much for spending time with us today.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Currently, if I’m gonna be left alone on a desert island someplace and I only get to keep one thing, it’s gonna be my iPhone and a cell connection of some kind.” – Randy Kirk

“We’re in a situation now, where people are learning skill sets or University level education online, sometimes from Universities or TED talks, or maybe my new website. It’s all out there, there’s no lack of information available out there for people to learn if they’re motivated.” – Randy Kirk

“I’ve learned more in 3 years of running mastermind groups, than I’ve learned in the previous 47.” – Randy Kirk

“Nothing happens until something is sold.” – Randy Kirk

Resources Mentioned:

To learn more, connect with Randy, send him an email at randykirk77@gmail.com and visit https://www.socalmasterminds.com/. Check out http://freebusinesshelpnow.com/ 

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

061: Dave Burlin | Success Through Networking and Building More Authentic Relationships

This week, we’re going to be talking about success through networking and building more authentic relationships. I believe the only way to unlock your potential is to tap into the experience of others. And if you can’t tell, I’ve tried so hard to match my voice to Brandon. But this is not Brandon. This is Dave Burlin.

Before we dive in, I’m going to talk about relationships today. One of the best ways to build relationships is to be part of a mastermind group. I do have a mastermind coming up. We’re now accepting applications for March. We’ve got a few different levels, so this is going to be great. If you’ve never been a part of a mastermind or if you are a part of a mastermind and you’ve wanted to take another step and go to another level to help you scale your organization, we’ve got some heavy hitters that are coming in sitting at some of those tables. If you want to learn more, check out davemeansbusiness.com/mastermind and drop an application there.


Let’s dive in. When it comes to building relationships, it generally gets associated with the word networking. Many people I meet get frustrated with the word networking. I’m no different. In fact, I get pissed off whenever I go to a networking event. I start talking to somebody and the first thing they do is ask, “What do you do?” When they ask what I do, they start looking at their watch and not paying attention. They’re basically just waiting for me to finish talking. Hopefully, they can ask me what I do. Then as soon as I do, they go into pitch mode. I couldn’t figure out why that is.


For the last three years, I’ve been talking about the idea of #whynetworking. Why are people trying to build authentic relationships? Because it’s definitely a conversation in every line of every industry, education, and employment. People say, “Oh, I’m just trying to build my network.” We know that it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. But why is it that me, like so many other people, go to these networking events and we get frustrated?


As I started to dive into the topic of #whynetworking, I started asking more questions than that. I hosted my own events. I started taking polls. I said, “By show of hands, how many people came here to build more authentic relationships.” Almost every single hand goes up. And the I say, “How many people came here to introduce your product and services in your company to more people?” Those hands just stay right up, and they even reach a little bit higher. Then I ask, “How many people came here with the attempt to become somebody else’s customer and to be sold?” People look around and their hands go down.


What I found was that most people get it wrong with the word networking. They confuse networking with prospecting. It’s not your fault because we’re told that to grow your business, you want to go to these networking events. You want to meet more people. I think what happens is people get into the networking mode and they immediately shift into prospecting mode. It’s taking me three years to find out what is that difference. Why does that happen? It was a simple discovery. It’s the definition of networking versus the definition of prospecting.


Prospecting vs Networking


The definition of prospecting is an attempt to get new business and search for buyers. The goal is to move prospects through a sales funnel or cycle with the goal to get them to convert into clients. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t sell people. I’m saying there’s a time for it. I know that a networking event may not be the time for it because by show of hands, they all go down when they say they show up to be sold. But everybody did show up to build relationships. Everybody did show up to introduce their product or services to more people.


The definition of networking is simply an exchange of services or information through individuals, groups, and institutions, specifically to cultivate productive relationships in regard to employment or business. If people come to network and build new relationships, the first thing they fall back on is their sales process, which does have a process. That’s where people start to get frustrated. What happens is as soon as you go into a pitch mode, you’re not trying to build relationships, you’re trying to sell something. And as soon as you go into that sales mode, you may not realize that you’re in an offensive posture putting them in a defensive posture. Perfect example: Think about every time that you go to buy a car or even think about going to buy a car, you have to get in this offensive posture because you know that as soon as you walk in the lot, they’re all going to put you in a defensive posture. If you’re like me, I had to take my grandpa with me every time I wanted to buy a car just because I didn’t want to be overwhelmed. Even later, as I got into the world of sales, I still took people with me because that’s an environment that I’m not very comfortable with. Why would we want to put people in that defensive posture? Because now we’re not building relationships. In fact, we may be breaking relationships before they even have the opportunity to take shape.


When I sit down with people, I want to sit down and believe that I cannot sell the person that’s sitting in front of me. Now, before I sound like a hippie running around hugging trees, let me be clear. Trust me, there is a time to sell people. I’ve been in business to business sales across multiple industries across the United States. I’ve helped scale organizations into more than 10 cities across the country. There’s a time for sales. We didn’t come for prospecting. We came for networking. Every time I know that people go into that pitch mode, because they got a process for it, we got to ask more questions. Now we got to introduce our product, do a mini presentation, set him up for a call to action. What if there’s a process for networking? That’s the idea behind #whynetworking. I believe there are principles to that process. The principles are very simple.


The Principles for Networking


Number one, you just have to show up. Number two, you can serve other people. Every time I go to an event, I show up. I think, “Wow, who are the people that are closest in my relationships right now that I might be able to introduce somebody to today?” Even better, “Who’s going to need something or someone that I haven’t talked to in years?” And I get to go back through my network, and I get to reconnect with that person for me first and then for that person. The third principle is to share. This may sound like a kindergarten rule but most of the best things that we learned in life, we learned in kindergarten. It’s important to share with other people. One way to do that is if you’re going to an event, share it with somebody else. If you can’t go to an event, share it with one person who might be relevant. Share it with your boss, share it with a colleague, share it with a potential prospect as just a reason to reach out. Say, “Hey, I’ve got this friend who’s got an amazing event going on. I can’t make it, but I bought you tickets. If you’d like to pass them on, maybe you can go to my place.” That’s the third step in the process.


The fourth process is synergy. I want you to think long term. Most of the people that you meet will not be passing out the same business card that they were two years ago. Sometimes, two months ago. If you look at what happened last year with the pandemic, there are 20 million people who aren’t passing out business cards at all. Time has changed. Roles changed. Roles that you hold and the relationships that you make, while you’re in those roles, can be critical to your next step.


A lot of times you can go back through your whole entire network and there is opportunity there. But you have to unlock it. Networking isn’t about getting the next sale. It’s about unlocking opportunities through other people’s network and expanding your reach. If you continue to show up, you continue to serve and you continue to share. Those people are going to be very excited to connect you with the people you need. I don’t know how many times I’ve left, and I get phone calls, emails or private LinkedIn messages where somebody said, “Hey, we should reach out. I heard you’re a veteran.” or “Hey, I heard you like books. I followed your stuff.” People are doing that because nowhere in that meeting or transaction did I try to sell them anything. I just listened. I was able to connect them with the things that they needed. Sometimes I get a little serious.


The fifth part of this is to always remember to smile. I have a resting green face and a lot of times I get really serious. I get really focused and I’m having the best time of my life. I get too serious and a lot of people go because they’re trying to figure out who is the best person I can try to sell on the situation, who’s the most impactful person I can reach. And when you have that frumpy face, you’re closing off relationships before they even happen. Now, I like to stand out. Most places I go, I travel with a gigantic white boombox. It’s very compelling. It starts some of the most phenomenal conversations on the planet. It’s allowed me to get into some really unique situations. I walked down the main dragon—Nashville, Las Vegas, Dallas, rocking this boombox. If I have a frumpy face, people get out of the way, but they get out of the way for the wrong reason. If I smile, people say, “I like that guy. What’s he doing?” And they want to talk to me. They want to learn what the boombox does. Is it really just there to meet people? That’s exactly what it’s for. But you got to smile to open the opportunity so you can have these great conversations.


The final principle and the final step to the whole equation is to shop local. Shop among the people that you’re serving. Be somebody else’s customer even though you didn’t design to do that. Can you do all the things that you’re doing? Yes. Can you get a better deal? If you shop around on insurance and go to something like Geico? Absolutely. If you order something from Amazon, you’re going to get the cheapest price. They’re going to get it to you faster than anybody else on the planet. But guess what? Amazon’s not going to be there to hold your hand when you get fired. They’re definitely not going to be there to introduce you to the next opportunity when you get laid off. If you shop local and you shop among people who also do business in your community and people that you’re trying to build relationships with, immediately they can connect you to their whole network. If you’re in the b2b space, it’s amazing because they’re connected to people that you might not be otherwise. So, the final step is shop local. What if that is the system that replaces the sales cycle? If we come to sell people in a place that people don’t want to be sold, we have the opportunity to break that relationship before it’s even born.


Building Relationships


Finally, now that you have all the information, you have a different way. I’d love to challenge you to show up and do that. I found that there are four places where you can go to begin to build more authentic relationships.


One, you can easily be an attendee. You can go to a virtual event. You can go to a live event. You could show up. You could watch a speaker. You can keep to yourself and just take away and that’s fine. You could be a member of a group. The second way is you can start to host events. You can start to be an admin of groups. You can start to facilitate other things and events that bring people together. And slowly, you start to connect in a totally different way. Those are the two primary ways that you can show up and begin to exercise and flex your wide networking sales cycle.


You can also go to a growth experience i.e., mastermind, retreat. You can go through a challenge. I went through the Marine Corps. I’m definitely not suggesting that everybody go to the Marine Corps, but I was challenged to change and evolve who I was and the people around me. I built relationships that will never break. So, what can you do? Can you go to a mastermind? Can you go to a retreat?


Finally, the fourth and final phase is you can host those events, which is where I’ve decided to take that energy to the highest level. That’s where I have the opportunity for you to show up. Whether you’ve been to a mastermind before or you just want to join a book club, we have the opportunity for you to just start out and try something and hold yourself accountable for a couple of weeks. We have the ability for you to commit to some serious people at the table and grow from one another. Take the next biggest step that you haven’t taken because you’re just not sure how to get there. We have those opportunities too. The opportunity that I want to share is we’re taking applications now. If you just want to get started, sign up. If you’re ready to go to the next level, sign up.


This has been such a great honor to hijack today’s post and I’ve absolutely loved everything that Brandon has done. We connected through some of our networks. It was just one simple phone call where we didn’t try to sell each other that our relationship has evolved. Through that, I’ve introduced him to so many of the most incredible people that I know. I love to call my friends and I’m excited to see where this relationship will continue to go and all of the opportunities that we’re going to unlock through each other. If you’re interested in taking it to the next level in any shape or form, stop by davemeansbusiness.com/mastermind and get registered. Let’s go and grow.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Networking isn’t about getting the next sale. It’s about unlocking opportunities through other people’s network and expanding your reach.” – Dave Burlin

“It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know.” –  Dave Burlin

“I’m not saying you shouldn’t sell people, I’m saying there’s a time for it.” – Dave Burlin

To learn more, connect with Dave on Instagram, send him an email at dave@davemeansbusiness.com or visit https://www.davemeansbusiness.com/ 

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

060: Dave Burlin | Networking: Unlocking More Opportunities

Today, we’ve got the founder of “Why Networking,” Dave Burlin. He talks how standardized education, though important, won’t be as valuable as the people that can get things done through self-education. Dave talks about the two differences between networking and prospecting. Dave explains why you should start leaving yourself clues when it comes to connecting with people.



The Mastermind Effect:  02:31

The ability to learn and access different people changed over the last 5, 10 years. When you and I were younger, textbooks and teachers, then family, friends, and coworkers. But that’s a sliver of what’s possible. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?


Dave Burlin:  02:53

I think I learned trial by fire whenever I was younger, and I can tell you how much it’s evolved since then. I have no problem telling people this. I think the first time I actually read a full book was when I was 30 years old. That was the first time I really consumed something and said, “Wow, this actually grabbed me.” Now, I want to learn. I think I’ve always been a learner. I’ve always put myself in situations to learn and grow from. That was where it got really intentional. So, books, audiobooks and podcasts—all those things. Now, with the way things have changed in the last year, it’s really an opportunity to connect with people on such a hyper level and learn and grow more. More interviews, showing up, and more rooms just being present.


The Mastermind Effect:  03:41

Let me ask you a question. Do you ever look back? Because I think this is human nature. I started at 30 or 31 years old reading books. Why didn’t I start this 10 or 15 years ago? Where would I be today? Do you ever go through that? And either way, how do you combat that when you’re just sitting there saying, “Well, why didn’t I do this earlier?”


Dave Burlin:  04:04

Yeah, I did. There has been an interesting thing and I don’t know if it’s like this for most people. I did start journaling at a fairly early age. While I wasn’t really locked into books and things of that nature, I think I was always taking notes. I was always observing, always paying attention to what’s going on. I was seeing where I fit into the world. I didn’t make all the best decisions all the time, but I do have that sort of record. There was a period of time where I thought if I was driving around doing the dumb stuff that I did at 16, 17, or 18 years old before I went to the military, what if I was driving around listening to books? What if I was driving around consuming some of that stuff? I think you’re ready when you’re ready. When I did find the first couple of books that really grabbed me, I just couldn’t stop. It’s very addictive.


The Mastermind Effect:  05:28

A lot of people get stuck. They don’t know how to execute what’s in their head. We are still going through a pandemic and I think it’s causing a reset on how we’re able to accomplish things. How masterminds and coaching help you reset when you’re stuck and you’re looking to accomplish something new?


Dave Burlin:  05:50

When it comes to masterminds or collaborations or synergy with other people, it really comes down to just putting myself out there. I think everybody had all of the excuses to isolate and not be involved in things like that. For me, I immediately started connecting with a lot of people. Then, as we got closer to the turn of the year, I felt like everybody was ready for the ball to drop and things to change and they didn’t. So, for me I’ve been very intentional. Something I started to wake up with this year is what if there are no live events? What if that’s just not going to be an option this year? I’m prepared for it. I force myself to be more intentional about finding new circles, putting myself in the room with different people, and putting myself in the room where I’m definitely the dumbest guy in the room. And then putting myself in the room where I’m somewhere in the middle, and even putting myself in the room where I do help facilitate things and help people reach up and ask for more advice and try to grow. I tried to put myself in all those different situations. It’s 100% instrumental to my growth. It’s very therapeutic. For the things that I’m going through, I always have the right circles where I can grow and get past challenges. Or, I have circles where I can honestly feel better about helping other people. It’s critical to my success.


The Mastermind Effect:  07:25

It fills multiple buckets because you’re able to shift some energy in an area where you’re able to be helpful. You’ve been able to get that from the rooms that you don’t know what the heck to do. You can transfer that knowledge and energy in order to help those other rooms. You don’t always want to be the smartest person in the room but then, there are rooms that you want to be in because you can collaborate more when you are in that middle area.


Dave Burlin:  07:55

Somebody described it as a golf four-man scramble. There’s normally one dude that carries the team. Then, there’s two guys that are pretty close to each other and they’re challenging each other enough that they’re growing in their own little version of themselves. Then, there’s one guy who never plays golf and he doesn’t really know what’s going on. He’s kind of counting on everybody else. He’s there for the fun part.


The Mastermind Effect:  08:20

Everybody’s best friend.


Dave Burlin:  08:22

Exactly. I try to put myself in a few different circles where I’m those different roles.


The Mastermind Effect:  08:28

We have more ways to take in information than ever before. Some people look for a mentor, an accountability buddy, a mastermind, a coach, online courses, and lots of ways to learn. Who are you currently learning from and how did you actually connect with them?


Dave Burlin:  09:21

One of the people that inspired me more than anybody else was a guy named Jon Acuff. Jon Acuff is a phenomenal author. He’s written books that have absolutely changed my life more than any other influencer, more than any other author. He has started a podcast about setting goals. I listened to one of his episodes the other day. I haven’t listened to those books and stuff in a while. I’d sort of grown through a lot of those things. I recommend his books all the time. His new book or his new podcast about goals, I saw it. I followed it. It was so refreshing to have him riding shotgun on my way to work again. Just hearing him speak truth into my life once again, it seems like always the most critical turning points of my life. There’s always been a Jon Acuff book that made sense.


To answer the first part of that question, how do we get introduced? I actually saw him. I went to a Dave Ramsey one-day event way back in 2013. It was when he first started the entree leadership program. There were just a couple podcast episodes in, and it was an entree leadership. That’s the first time I saw John speak. He’s spoken to my soul. I just want to be friends with that guy, and I’ve been following him ever since.


The Mastermind Effect:  10:55

Have you personally connected with him and sent him a message saying, “Hey John, this is what you meant to me. This is what I’ve learned.” Have you reached out to him? Because I feel people are more accessible than they’ve ever been, has he reciprocated in some form or fashion?


Dave Burlin:  11:11

Yes, a million ways. We could talk for hours about that. The first book of his that I read inspired me to want to do something big and do a TED talk. I set the big crazy audacious goal in 2013 that in 10 years, I’m going to do a TED talk through the power of my network, his network. He had an online group at the time I’d collaborated with some people. There were some people that brought that to reality. Fourteen months later, my first public talk was a TEDx talk. Randomly, he was speaking at a coffee shop a couple weeks later, just probably two hours from my place. I went and became friends with him and told him how much it meant. He autographed it. Since that time, I’ve helped them promote books. He let me do a blog on his podcast whenever his next book came out because I felt that book, called “Do Over,” was going to be really instrumental for something. I was passionate about veteran transition. That book was all about career transition. I felt like it was the same thing. He let me write a blog on his book. I helped them promote the book, all kinds of stuff. People are a lot more accessible if that makes sense.


The Mastermind Effect:  12:24

What we’re talking about is how accessible people really are, pandemic or no pandemic. If you start following, listening, commenting valuable comments and find a way to build that trust and value, you’re going to find out how quickly people will reciprocate. You’ll be able to build that relationship. It’s not difficult but you have to put in the time.


Dave Burlin:  12:59

Here’s what I think what I remember the day that I realized how accessible people were. I remember when I saw him speak, I said it’d be cool if I was that guy’s friend someday. Then, he had this thing online. It was something about fears. His whole idea was behind “fear hates community.” You could post anonymously what your fear was on this online board. People could click on it and say me too (this is before the whole “Me Too Movement”). What that meant was you’re not alone. Somebody else has that fear and fear hates community. It was just smashing fear. Well, it wasn’t even me that commented something. It was a friend of mine. He responded to that friend online. Then I said, maybe this guy is accessible in different ways to make videos or ways to collaborate and stuff like that. It’s one of the ideas behind the whole “Why Networking” thing. I call it pitch the universe. Some people call it law of attraction. You really believe that you can connect with somebody. If what they said or what they practice is something that you really align with, they need your help. It’s never as easy as they make it. Remember, they’re not rock stars. They do this because they want people to say, “I need your help” or “This really changed my life.” That stuff really does go a long way. A lot of times they are more accessible. They need your help, and you can help get that message out to more people.


Networking, Self-Education and Dave’s reality


The Mastermind Effect:  14:37

Absolutely. The road to success was built in skeletons. You don’t see all the hard work that’s put in. You just get to see that finished product. By commenting, reaching out, and even being able to collaborate, you’re helping that individual and they’re helping you. I want to drive that message home this evening.


Masterminds been around for a while. Probably the apostles might have been the first one and then Benjamin Franklin, the Judo club (also known as the leather apron club). Then this guy by the name of Napoleon Hill, he inks the book that really solidifies the word of mastermind. As there is this huge boom in self-education over the last 5, 10, or 15 years, where do you see the parallels going between self-education versus standardized education going forward?


Dave Burlin:  15:27

I think we’ve really seen an interesting shift in standardized education with everything that’s happened with the pandemic. Maybe I’m skipping forward a little bit but I will back up. My son is 16 years old. When this all happened, first I couldn’t imagine growing up in a world that was going to go one direction. Now, it’s completely changed. I don’t think that the organized standardized education is going to be as valuable as the people that can actually get things done. Because how many people got laid off when everything went dark? They had degrees and multiple degrees, and everything just shifts. It’s left to the people that it’s going to be the self-education that got you where you are, the street smarts if you will, the emotional intelligence to push through, and being able to adapt and to learn anything.


The shift in our culture and the pandemic aren’t necessarily something that you can learn in college. It’s something that I definitely learned in the military—how to be adaptive and how to overcome those different situations and being flexible to what resources we do have. I think online education soared because people were bored trying to find a different way. They’re trying to figure out how to make extra money. I think it’s going to be the biggest shift in what we see in the future. It’s going to be the people who are out there being authentic, getting it done, sharing the right message. It’s always going to be good versus evil, but good always prevails because there’s always going to be snake oil salesmen and snakes in the grass.


The Mastermind Effect:  17:16

Do you want to be the engineer that can explain why the bicycle goes forward? Or do you want to be the person that just gets on the bike and rides the bike?


Dave Burlin:  17:25

I want to be the guy that gets on the bike. That’s a great analogy.


The Mastermind Effect:  17:31

I don’t need to teach you why. I’m just going to get on the bike and do it.


Dave Burlin:  17:35

Yeah. I think so many people do get caught up in the process and that’s okay. Somebody told me this just today on a phone call. They said, if there’s anybody that’s habitually doing things halfway, whether they’re ready or not, it’s me. At first, it was like an insult. Then he literally listed in a list of accolades of things that I had done that nobody else could even compare to. It’s not like I changed the world or anything, it’s just I hosted some different events. I tried things and I was willing to go scrape my knee. I did some fundraising events for veterans. I just did all these different things. When you look back on it, it seemed like I was kind of all over the place, but I just kept trying something or seeing what works. For that, I get to take a few steps closer to what I believe success to be.


The Mastermind Effect:  18:36

When someone invest in their future, they have a better than vague idea of what the outcome or what they’re going to get out of it. They have an expectation. What should someone expect when they enter Dave’s reality and work with you?


Dave Burlin:  18:55

My favorite thing is to get people to think and to grow and take action. It’s not one of those things where you can just get all the slides and you have all the answers. It’s the willingness to go out and put the work in. One of the biggest things that I’ve been working on for a couple years now is very challenging to the normal behaviors of what people believe networking to be. To me, networking is not about the sales cycle. It’s not. Prospecting and networking are two totally different definitions. Because I’m pulling people out of that, I’m challenging them to do something that they’re not comfortable with. A lot of times you have to make them first think past that, understand why they’re doing it, and take action. It’s definitely not one of those things where they don’t have to apply anything. It is going to be work and I will push people outside of their comfort zone.


The Mastermind Effect:  19:57

When you say prospecting and networking are two different processes, can you dive a little bit deeper in that?


Dave Burlin:  20:06

Most people go to networking events because it’s something to do with furthering their business. Something else that’s very synonymous is prospecting. I’ve been doing this talk around “Why Networking” for three years and it’s been in the last three months that I actually said, “Wait a minute. That’s the problem. We have a different frame of reference.” I looked up the definitions and I kid you not, the word prospecting is to introduce your product or service into an organization or to an individual with the main goal: to move them through the sales process and get them to purchase your product or service and become a client or customer. That’s the definition of prospecting. It is part of the sales cycle. The definition of networking is to build positive relationships with a network, a group, or an institution, specifically to gain positive results towards your business or employment. It doesn’t have to do with the sales cycle. Do you see the difference?


I think many people get it twisted because what do they do? They show up and as soon as somebody says tell me what you do, it’s heard as “Please sell me on what you do.” We go into pitch mode. When you’re in pitch mode, you’re in offensive mode. When you’re in offensive mode, they’re in defensive mode. I’ve done this at almost every event that I’ve spoke at. I’m the host of events around this idea. By show of hands, how many people came to build positive relationships. Every hand goes up. That’s what networking is for. It’s a networking event. Keep them up. If you came here to introduce your product or service to more people, the hands stay up as they should. But how many came here to be sold by somebody else? All the hands go down. That’s where the difference lies. We have a plan for prospecting, right? If somebody says this, we go into this. We have a move for that. All I’m trying to do is how do you teach people positive principles that give them a different frame of how to operate? When somebody says what do you do, you don’t go into pitch mode. You go into question mode or you learn more. You generally try to help them connect to more clients.


I get really passionate about this, if you can’t tell. When I sit down in front of somebody, I cannot sell this person under no means, under no circumstances. If I’m at a networking event, I cannot sell this person. Put me in a tradeshow booth, different story. We’re there to sell. But if I’m trying to build a relationship, I cannot sell the person in front of me. I can set up all of my stuff to where if they go back and find me after the conversation. I can create a clear path for them to buy. But if all I do is provide value to them, I am unlocking their whole network and that’s an opportunity that I can go back to. Those are people that I’d be more than happy to work with. To me, that’s the difference.


The Mastermind Effect:  23:24

Yeah. You unlock their network because you’re there to network. I was just talking to Sally and Bob the other day and I’d love to make the introduction.


Dave Burlin:  23:37

Yeah. And they’ll say that guy was so great. He likes music stuff. I’ve got somebody and sometimes people connect me with the weirdest things. They’re just always trying to open more doors for me. Why? Because I didn’t make them feel like everybody else. I didn’t put a metaphorical pistol in their face and try and get them to buy something and put them into that defensive mode. A lot of times they’re more than willing to open up more opportunities. Networking isn’t about closing a deal. It’s not about getting more prospects. It’s about unlocking more opportunities.


The Mastermind Effect:  24:13

Would you mind if I give an actual example of this?  didn’t ask Dave after he interviewed me on his podcast for “Hey, can you send me this amazing person, that amazing person?” I don’t believe I asked for anything. Within 24 hours, he had connected me with one of the previous executives of Disney and then another amazing individual, and two more today. It was because you and I built a rapport. We ran in similar circles. We’ve started building that friendship and trust but at no point have we sat them and say, “Hey, can you hook me up with your network?”


Dave Burlin:  24:59

Yeah. And at no point did you send me an invoice, or did I send you an invoice on anything that you weren’t expecting. I think that’s the biggest difference and I will continue to open up those doors. That’s the community that I try to create. When you asked earlier when somebody plugs in, I try to set that as a standard. So many times I see all these different groups and things where people have too many rules. I only have one and it’s don’t the people that you’re talking to. If you just serve them, it’s the same mentality that I wake up with saying there’s no live events. If I say I cannot serve, I cannot sell this person. I can only serve them. I’ll connect them to all the resources that they need.


Here’s the deal. Sometimes the role that we’re in right now does not serve each other. What I’ve been fascinated by is sometimes it’s one, two, or three years down the road. I don’t want to say it comes back full circle, but it definitely comes back in a way that I didn’t expect. Case in point: I hosted my first “Why Networking” event in Las Vegas. I’ve been here less than a year. I don’t do a full-day thing. I do more like a two-hour kind of either a lunch and learn or an evening with cocktails and drinks. I hosted it. It was my first time. I was here less than a year and I wanted to see where I stand. Does my message hold true here? I charged a ticket price. People got food and drinks. I had 50 people show up and in Las Vegas, I was pretty proud of that because it was a Thursday night. Thursday nights are popping for events. I was really challenged to do it. The normal cycle is I go through and invite everybody in my network. I invite random people that I met through a friend of a friend until somebody says “Dude, stop inviting me up.” I’m very courteous. I’m not very aggressive. There was a gal who I think I’d sent her two or three messages. She said, “Hey, appreciate the invite but I met you one time at a thing. I don’t need your effing networking.” I said, “Cool. No problem.” About a year and a month later, she pops up in my feed as a life event happened. Guess what happened? She changed roles. I think at the time she was doing lighting and design for stagehands. Your company keeps you busy, right? There are events going on in Vegas all the time. You don’t need to build relationships. This is a perfect example. She had left and she’d went to become a realtor. Now, I’m not saying that if she came to my event, she would have a totally different frame of reference or any of those things. But do you think networking is important in the role that she’s in now? It’s never about networking being important in the sales cycle. It’s about being important for employment or your business. At any time the world can change. I think COVID showed us that. There are millions of people that aren’t even passing out a business card at all anymore. Most of the time people won’t pass out the same card for more than two or three years. The relationships that you build or break last forever.


The Mastermind Effect:  28:13

Absolutely. I appreciate you going deeper. People need to hear that.


Dave Burlin:  28:20

Yeah. It was your episode about networking that really inspired me to connect with you. I don’t remember who had chimed in or something. We run in similar circles. I scrolled and that’s where I saw networking. I want to see what his opinion is on it. We’re very like-minded on the way that we look at some of those things. I’ve spent a lot of time being through and creating principles and pillars and all those things on how to do it differently. I think we’re cut from the same vein. We’re trying to solve the same problem.


The Mastermind Effect:  28:58

I was trying to think I probably talked about the GPF (goal plan flow). When you go into something, creating a goal, having a plan, and then going with the flow, nothing ever goes to plan.


Dave Burlin:  29:11

Yeah. That’s the other thing too. One of the practices that I teach is when you host events. There’s a totally different level when you host events. There are four places where you can build relationships.


One, you can go to events. You can be a member of a group. You can go to a thing—live, in person, virtual—it doesn’t matter. You can be an attendee. Two, you can host events. When you start hosting events, you start to connect people at a much different level. Three, you can go through a growth experience. This can be your challenge. A mastermind retreat. Somewhere that you go with the intent to grow through something. When you’re next to people, they’re also in that growth mode. You can build pretty deep relationships. I went to the Marine Corps. Not suggesting that everybody go to Marine Corps, but shameless plug go through a mastermind. If you think it’s a year, if you think it’s a six-month thing, there are definitely programs out there that are 30 or 90 days. Go through something. The final level is you can host those masterminds and create those experiences for people. What I’ve learned, and just on the event level, when you start promoting those, it’s not about posting and praying. A lot of times, I’ll go through my entire network—LinkedIn, Facebook. I’ll write down 200 names of people that I need to contact anyways. I’ll just start calling and seeing how I can help. Seeing what they’re working on, seeing if there’s anything that I can share. Most of the time they know that I’ve got something going on but it’s not a “What’s going on now, Dave?” It’s like, “Dude, what do you got? What’s next?” It’s like, “Hey, hosting an event with Lee Cockerel, the guy that used to run Disney.” It’s always something that brings value. That’s the fun part.


The Mastermind Effect:  32:31

I feel that people have a way of surprising us, whether it’s the grit, the grind, or the willingness to learn. Has anyone been through your coaching and the outcome, because of them working with you, was just unbelievably successful? In essence, give us that success story of someone working with Dave.


Dave Burlin:  32:52

It was a hybrid of a different coaching program that I was using but the principles of relationships have been baked in through and through. I was working with a guy. His name is Marty and he works for a big bank. It rhymes with Wells Fargo. He was a mortgage lender. He’s up in New Jersey and what was interesting was he had already done, back 2017 or 2018, about $8 million in production—big, huge home loans up in New Jersey and New York City. When we took a look at the tactics of things that he does, remember I am not from the mortgage industry, I just know relationships, when we started to really unpack everything that he was going through, I said, “Where do you get most of your referrals from?” He said, “I work with referral partners.” Coming from the mortgage world, they’re downstream a little bit from the realtors. A lot of times when realtors need people to get a house, then the only thing they need to get a house for somebody is to get a loan. They’re generally trying to court those people. I asked, “Out of the 16 loans that you did last year, how many of them came from those referrals” And it was almost 80%. What do you got, 17 people? What’s going on here?


He had two referral partners. What he didn’t know is how do I know how to sell and go through the loan process. What he didn’t really know is how do you build value for people. Teaching him some of those principles on how to show up. First of all, get a couple events on your calendar. Go through those same process. You’re not trying to sell anybody. You’re just trying to open more connections, show up, serve, create some synergy, and just bring value and those people are going to be the ones that keep coming back to you. I think by the time of the year that we ended up working together, he got seven more referral partners. Even though those seven people weren’t sending him 20 deals a year, it was enough for him to go from $8 million in production to $24 million in production. I’m not the next guy. I never claimed that I am. But three times the production in one year, there was definitely a difference.


The Mastermind Effect:  35:09

Yeah. That’s awesome. And working with you, that was the catalyst.


Dave Burlin:  35:25

I felt really strong and confident in what I was doing. I wish I could tell you Marty, he was a 35-year-old guy just like me who was just trying to figure out a way like he was 60 years old and he was ready to retire. When he experienced that much hypergrowth, he said, “Dave, I’m going to go ahead and go hard at this like one more year. What do you think?” And I’m like, “Yeah, you’re still young. You might as well.” So, he did. He went. He stayed in it because he got excited again. That was the thing. I couldn’t even imagine. I still have 20 more years before I get to 60. I can’t imagine just being ready to start making decisions to stop right now. To be in that mode and that zone is life. It’s like, “Let’s go again.” We still got a little bit more pep in our step. Let’s go.




The Mastermind Effect:  36:21

Absolutely. I wish I had 20 years to get to 60, but I’ve got a few less than that. I want to talk to you about transference of risk. You look at a politician and they transfer it by saying, I’ll send you off to war but I’m not going to make sure my family goes off. A doctor wants to prescribe this for you, but I wouldn’t give it to my own child. When someone works with you, how do you keep from transferring the risk from you being the coach, the mentor, the person that’s leading them to this person that’s learning from you? How do you keep that transfer of risk from happening so they’re not stepping in their own land/mind?


Dave Burlin:  37:04

I’m very vulnerable and very authentic. I never want to sit back in a high horse and armchair quarterback and tell people to do these things that I’m not willing to do myself. I’ve also always had great coaches in my corner. I’m very open about the vulnerability. Probably the most challenging transition I’ve ever been through was I went through a divorce. I was expected to do high-level, high-ticket sales at the time. I was coaching like 31 people—all people that made like four times the amount of money that I did. I had a coach in my corner that was really pushing me to grow in the areas that I needed to, and it allowed me to be more transparent, be more vulnerable to those that I was coaching. I always wanted to make sure that I was very open and honest. I’ve never been afraid to sit in and cry with somebody that I’m coaching. As long as they know that it’s not, I’m not there to be their friend. I am there to be very real with them and be very honest and transparent. Sometimes, that means I have to get as vulnerable as they’re willing to get and then be the person that says, “Alright, let’s snap out and let’s push through it.”


The Mastermind Effect:  38:26

I like and appreciate and respect how you phrase that. I’m not going to give them anything that I’m not working on. I’m not there to be their friend, I’m there to be their coach. And the other thing is, I want the listeners to realize that during this process, you had a coach. If you’ve got a coach, you’re going to mastermind, you need to make sure that that person has a coach or coaches. Learning from other people, the gurus, they’re just good marketers and they aren’t learning from anyone. They learned from some other self-help startup thing. But the coaches and the real masterminds, they’re still learning. They’re getting coaching themselves. I think that’s really important.


We had talked about you had brought up success a little bit ago. In my solo shows, we talked about the pillars of success and different things that take to be successful. Mentorship, experimentation, partnership, willingness to fail, and willingness to succeed are just some of the things that I think it takes to be successful. What do you think is a key attribute when it comes to being successful?


Dave Burlin:  39:33

This conversation came up earlier today actually. I had a phenomenal call with a friend and the attributes of being successful are treating people the way that they deserve to be treated. Forgive me if this goes a little dark. It’s not designed to; it’s just I look back on one of the most impactful groups I’ve ever led. When I say led, it was a book club mastermind group. I needed it for me. It was right on the beginning end of that horrible transition.


I was trying to read a book called “Living Foreword” by Michael Hyatt. I was really stuck in about the first or second chapter because in that book, you have to write your eulogy. I’ve delivered eulogies before. That’s one of the most challenging talks that you can ever give. When I thought about the way he positioned it was you can actually write your own eulogy for how people will interpret you when you’re gone. That’s the level of success that I think most people don’t think about. The way that I attribute that to what can you do while you’re here is treat people the way that they deserve to be treated. You never know what they’re going to say about you when you’re not around anymore. That group, because I needed that accountability, that was the first time that I ever charged for a mastermind. I needed it for me. Because I’ve done several book clubs in the past, I was afraid that if I got people to come, they might come for the first session or two and then they wouldn’t come back. I think I charged like $100 or $200. Ten guys showed up and not only did we meet for the six weeks that we agreed to, but they continued to meet. They even continued to meet after I moved away. Other people have moved away since then and there’s still a core group of guys that meet. It’s been fascinating to see the journey that they’ve all been in. It started with that one level of commitment where it was selfish for me. I just wanted a place where we can show up and we met for breakfast at five o’clock in the morning on Fridays. It was just fascinating to see that all come to life.


The Mastermind Effect:  42:22

During times of prosperity, things are good. It’s like easy to win but I think innovation and ingenuity come out of times when we feel the squeeze. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that excites you?


Dave Burlin:  42:45

The conversation of “Why Networking” has really evolved. It started when somebody asked me to speak in 2017. I started to go through that transition. Up to that point, everything that I had spoke about was about something totally different. For two and a half years, the same story that I told was about moving to Las Vegas and going to work at Zappos, company culture, and all those things. When that changed, I really didn’t know what I was going to talk about. Somebody said you’re good at building relationships, let’s do that. The whole idea of “Why Networking” came to life because I’m a huge fan of Simon Sinek and “Start with why.” And I said, can I just put why in front of networking, and call it why networking? So, I did. The very first time that I spoke there, I noticed a shift that people were paying attention a little bit different than before.


As it evolved, I started to develop principles. When I say evolved, it’s been three years now that I’ve continued to have this conversation and come up with the little fun quotes and the little fun things to do to help stand out. I carry a gigantic boombox, but I don’t suggest everybody do that. What’s been really interesting now as I have come up with those pillars and now, I understand the how part of it. It’s really putting all this into action. I have spoken about it. I’ve done virtual presentations. I’ve done virtual keynotes. I’ve practiced it. I’ve seen people host their first events and get great success before the event ever happens. What I’m excited about this year is putting together some smaller coaching groups around that topic, around that subject, but also putting together a few different levels of masterminds and really seeing this conversation get loud and attached to a lot of the other networks out there. I just really see a lot of cool synergy and things happening from that.


The Mastermind Effect:  44:42

I look forward to being part of that journey with you. I look forward to eventually being invited out to Vegas for your next event, big or small. Just looking forward to that hopping on a plane.


What is a tip, tactic, an actionable item that if someone listened to this right now over the next 30, 60, 90 days they implemented it would make a real impact on the personal or business life?


Dave Burlin:  45:10

I think the important thing to do right now is to leave clues. I noticed this. When we sat down, I looked at your shirt and it says “better together.” And immediately, I think Simon Sinek’s book called “Better Together.” Fun story. I think there are ways that we can leave clues to connect with people. What I do is I take books everywhere I go and I generally leave books out. Now, obviously, we can’t go a lot of places right now. But I even took that a step further. I put a title on my shirt because now we have this real estate on Zoom. You can show up into a meeting and you can have the right words even if it just said, “Ready for this Podcaster.” There are ways that we can start more conversations so you want to leave clues for other people so they know they can connect with you. I’ve been in coffee meetings just like you and I are sitting here right on Zoom in a deep, deep conversation right there in public and a book sitting on the table. I’ve had people walk over and say, “I’m so sorry to interrupt. I love that book. It changed my life.” And I’m not trying to sell them. I’m not trying to do anything. But do you think I’m going to want to build a relationship with somebody who interrupted me and cussed about a book? Heck, yeah! That’s somebody who’s in my tribe. I’ve met so many incredible people and it just opened up more opportunities just by leaving that little clue.


The Mastermind Effect:  46:30

Wow, that’s when I say simplicity. That’s a good thing because there’s so many things that are so simple but we don’t do in life. That is so blessed and simple to implement—to create an impact a network without having to do a thing.


Dave Burlin:  46:52

Well just like you, I stole it. I know you’ve stole a few things, but I stole it from society. Brief example: If somebody walked by in a Raiders jersey, if I were a Raiders fan, we would have a little bond that could turn into “Where are you from?” and it could evolve into a thing. But if for some reason it’s somebody wearing an opposing jersey, even if we had everything in common in the world, that jersey might be what prevents that relationship from ever happening. There’s no jersey for the books that we read so I started putting it on t-shirts.


The Mastermind Effect:  47:30

Wow. I love what you’ve brought today. We have the founder of “Why Networking,” Dave Burlin. Dave, thank you so much for spending your time with us and all the unbelievable nuggets that you left with us.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Networking isn’t about closing a deal, it’s not about getting more prospects. It’s about unlocking more opportunities.” – Dave Burlin

“The relationships that you build or break last forever.” – Dave Burlin

“The attributes of being successful are, treating people the way that they deserve to be treated.” – Dave Burlin

“You’re ready, when you’re ready.” – Dave Burlin

“People, I believe, are a lot more accessible than celebrities.” – Dave Burlin

Resources Mentioned:

To learn more, connect with Dave on Instagram, send him an email at dave@davemeansbusiness.com or visit https://www.davemeansbusiness.com/ 

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

059: Max Zheng | Enabling Everyone to Live Their Dreams Every Day

Today we have got Max Zheng, Founder of Human Prosperity Inc. Back then, Max was unmotivated and sometimes depressed for over 30 years of his life and never tried to figure out how to better until 2018. It took him 2 years of iteration to figure out how to be happy and productive every day. Once he did, it was so good that he just had to share it with the world and founded the company in 2020.
In this episode, we get into why he built his most recent company. We talk about how he wants to save others from years of suffering before living their dreams, and why he has dedicated his life to enabling everyone to be happy, productive, and live their dreams every day. Check it out!  


The Mastermind Effect:  01:37

When you and I were younger, the way that we learned was usually through textbooks and teachers. But there’s been just this large boom over the last 5 to 10 years in what we have access to. There’s just so much more information out there. We learned from the textbooks to the teachers, then family, friends, and our coworkers. But that only gives us a sliver of what’s possible. How is your learning changed from your early years versus today?

Max Zheng:  02:06

In early years, I learn what’s fun school. You go to school; you go to class. Teachers teach you about different things and subjects. That’s great but at the same time, when they teach you, they don’t really teach you how to learn. They just teach you to learn English, Math, and things like that. Then, you keep on remembering it. You repeat it so many times and then eventually remember it. That’s the Rote memorization technique and it’s not very effective. It is the most popular one but it’s not very effective. The way that I learn things is very different in terms of how I approach things. For me, “to learn something is you need to love what you’re trying to learn”, is my motivation. You must understand where’s the passion coming from, why you need to learn it, and like how much you enjoy doing it.  When you have that motivation, that you love doing something, learning becomes easy and fun and you will be able to learn so much faster. That’s one of the components of learning fast; to be able to have the motivation and love for learning.

Second is how you go about learning it. That has to do with the different techniques. As you learn and do something, you must learn different techniques to maximize the amount of time you spend on something to learn it. For example, reading. There are tons of different speed-reading techniques, and you want to kind of learn those different kinds of techniques for you to read faster and consume information faster, so that you don’t have to spend five hours doing something. You can just spend one hour reading a book and it saves you a lot of time at the same time. You can consume so much more information that is more useful for you.

The third thing is once you try to consume the information, you have to remember it. You can read and learn as much as you want, but if you don’t remember it, there’s no point. That’s why it’s important to use the right memorizing techniques to remember what you have learned. One of them is a low-key technique where you can just use location like your body to map different things into t remember. Another popular one is called Dorian link technique, where you can just use a story to create a story in your mind, create image. Whatever you’re learning in a book, make a story out of it or the major topics and create a story with the image and then from one topic to the next. That’s our last link from one topic to the next by creating an image. By doing that, you can remember all the information easily for a long time. Lastly, to learn something you want to teach or apply the knowledge. That’s where you can learn it twice and learn so much deeply. Those are different things on how I approach learning now versus back in school. 

The Mastermind Effect:  05:17

One of the things you talked about there and in Episode 22, where Nick Peterson talks about the “intention intervention gap”. It is like what you were talking about which is, “you can read it, but if you don’t remember it, or implement it, and take action on it, what did you really do?” What was the purpose behind it? How do you shorten that the amount of knowledge that you’re reading, and being able to implement? What you want to get out of it? The other one that I really liked that you talked about is, how you learn while you’re learning. You want to make it fun and you want to love what you’re learning. I think a lot of the older systems out there aren’t looking at it from that standpoint. They’re still utilizing the old methodologies. This is how it’s always been done, and it doesn’t work that way.

The Mastermind Effect:  06:03

We have so many ways of taking in information today. Some people utilize mentors, others use accountability, partners, masterminds, coaching, mentorship, and a lot of ways to learn. Who are you currently learning from and how did you find them?

Max Zheng:  06:24

I am starting as a coach just a few months ago. Since I want to learn about coaching, I use LinkedIn as one of my resources to learn about what’s out there. It is like a network.  Once you connect with people, they want to share information. Networking, for me, is like one of the great ways to learn information and can create relationships. Right now, I am in a coaching program in terms of how I can achieve one a coaching business. I pay a lot of money for it, but it is worth every single penny. A lot of people don’t think too much about paying. They don’t even know what a coaching is and think coaching is too expensive and not malleable. That’s not the case. Top executive, famous people, and all the successful people on TV have coaches. Not just one but multiple coaches in various ways. That’s how they have become successful because they have experts in every single area and helping them to become the best person they can.

It’s important to hire a coach to help you do that kind of stuff. Coaching is hiring professionals, not just coaches. It can be any kind of mentor or anyone in that category, or just a different person providing with expertise and depending on the different angle as well. Because when you are doing something just by yourself, you’re so focused on doing what you’re doing, sometimes you lose track of what’s around you., Even though you think you just can’t lose track, once you get into the weeds, it’s really important to have someone else watching you from a different angle and making sure that you’re going towards the right direction. That’s why a coach is really important area.

Another place where I’m learning different things is reading. I am constantly reading about new things, and I make it a point to read daily. An hour or two a day spent on learning, reading about different things. I picked this up from Bill Gates. He reads one book a week and that’s how he is so successful. He is consuming a beverage, that knowledge. A book can take knowledge from a single person’s life experience. It is important to form a good habit of learning and reading.  Read at least one book every one or two weeks and if you do that, the amount of knowledge you can learn and acquire and the leverage to be successful is exponential.

The Mastermind Effect:  09:36

You said you were taking a coaching program right now, who was that that you had mentioned?

Max Zheng:  10:12

It’s a high performing coach, Calm. They specialize in helping coaches to run their own coaching business. One of the people in the district for coaches is Tina Fey and she is my coach.


The Mastermind Effect:  10:30

I think people get stuck a lot of the time, they don’t know how to execute what’s in their head. That’s why they have the coach, the mentor, and the mastermind, in those different areas. As we’re still going through the pandemic, I feel that it’s creating a reset on how we’re able to accomplish things. How has coaching or masterminds and mentors helped you reset yourself when you’re looking to execute what’s in your head? 

Max Zheng:  11:24

It’s two things. One is by providing you with the knowledge of the experience of other people. Once you see how it’s already done, then it makes it easier. They got knowledge that you haven’t gone when it comes to business or coaching. You can try to do it yourself, but it is going to be trial and error and it is not an effective use of time. You can also read books, but it is a lot of knowledge that you have to read by yourself. Applying the knowledge from what you read is not that easy. That’s why it’s important to have a coach, a person that you can talk to, and hash out the idea. They understand the situation and customize the solution to your specific needs. That’s the second thing about having a coach. You have someone who understands what you’re going through and customize solution, instead of just based on textbook style.

The third thing is that coach helps you understand where your gaps are and your shortcomings. As I mentioned, sometimes you get in the weeds and sometimes just don’t see the forest.  It’s important to have someone outside to see that for you, so that they can push you along towards the direction that you already set for yourself.

The Mastermind Effect:  13:18

Absolutely. It’s amazing what the world of coaching can do and how you’ve got some of your highest performers out there. The people that you’re seeing are unbelievably successful. They’ve got multiple coaches, mentors, and people that are helping them through their life. One of the three pillars of success is the willingness to invest in yourself. It should be the best investment out there. 

When someone typically invests in their future, they have a better idea of what they’re going to get out of it. We’re able to have an expectation of the type of people that could be in the room in the course and the program. They know what the outcome is going to be based around. What should people expect when they enter Max’s world for your coaching platform?

Max Zheng:  14:11

I want to help people to become a genius in their life, where they can be happy, productive, leave the achievement every single day, and be a genius in any field of their choosing. I don’t want you to be just happy. For me, happiness is just a start. It’s a baseline that you must have. I’ll help you with that. Once you’re happy, I want to help you to be productive by teaching all the different techniques, including how to memorize things, how to read, how to learn faster, how to optimize your body and mind in terms of what kind of foods you should eat, how to exercise when you should exercise, what kind of meditations you use, and what are the benefits of meditation. I’ll walk you through everything in terms of optimizing your brain and body so that they are in a state where you can perform at peak. Once you are in that state, I’ll teach you techniques on how you can be productive and making sure your concentration is at 100% throughout the entire day. It’s important to use different kind of techniques. Pomodoro is very popular technique that take breaks every single 30 minutes. It is simple and powerful. There are things like flow, which you can really get into, to reach the peak of productivity. You are so in love with what you’re doing, and time just passes and goes away. You’re learning so much faster and you are fully enjoying yourself. Those are some of the techniques. 

Once you know that life is not just about learning things and it is about getting things done, that’s where dreams come in. I want to make sure people understand what you’re trying to achieve in your life in terms of what do you want from your life. For you to get to what you want, you must know what you want. It’s important for you to know what makes you excited every single day and walk towards it. Then, once you figure it out, if you plan and execute towards it, I can help you along with that. Last thing that I can help you deal with is skill development. This is where the genius part comes in. Anything you do in terms of particular skills, even for professional skills. I will help you figure out exactly how you are going to approach learning. In terms of techniques for developing the skills, you will break down to three different kinds of things. There is this book called “Talent Code” which states that you can break it down to three different things—ignition, motivation, and master coaching. Once you have all these things, you know, then you can develop your skills to be expert level and essentially become a genius in whatever you want to do.

The Mastermind Effect:  17:36

That’s super powerful. Has anyone been in a room that you’ve created, or on your three-year program that has surprised you? What were they able to accomplish with what you worked on with them?

Max Zheng:  17:55

I can provide some examples. One is my first client. When she came to me, she had low self-esteem, low competence, afraid to talk to other people, afraid to make friends and, and was simply completely just by herself. She is afraid to do anything. She’s too afraid to even walk on her dreams and things like that. What I taught her within the first session I had with her was to really love herself. Loving yourself completely, including her fears of flaws and failures. When you do this, your world changes in terms of how you approach life. Now, you’re not worried about failing, you’re not worried about what other people think about you. You are loving all those things. Therefore, you’re able to unshackle your chain. For me, all these fears are these things that limit you and completely lock you down. It’s like chains. Each of them is a chain holding you to the ground. It is important to unshackle all those chain by cutting them off by using love., By just loving that fear, you will completely transform yourself. My client did this in one week. The next week I met her, she was a completely different person. She was happy, excited and she was able to not be anything anymore. At some point, she was able to announce that to the world. It’s publicly available on our own LinkedIn post where she claimed the results.


The Mastermind Effect:  19:49

I think it’s super important that she was able to announce it to the world, to speak your truth, to speak what your goals are, to speak what you’re looking to accomplish, and what you have accomplished. That goes into one of the things that we talk about when it comes to being successful and there’s a lot of elements when it comes to creating success. There’s mentorship, coaching, experimentation, partnerships, and willingness to fail when it comes to looking to be successful. What do you feel it takes to be successful?

Max Zheng:  20:30

For me, success is about understanding exactly what life is in terms of what is necessary and what is not, and what it takes to be able to do what you want to do in life. Success is to be able to become a genius in life. That means you should be able to be happy completely by yourself. If you can be happy, no matter what’s going on. and without depending on external things. If you need a car or a fancy car to be happy, then you’re not going to be successful. You’re not going to be happy when you are constantly chasing after something external like fancy car, bigger house, or bigger promotion. It’s something we want. So That’s a key word. We want them, but we don’t need them. It’s important to distinguish the need versus the want. The only thing we need is really to be happy. As long as you achieve that happiness inside you, need is completely up to you. You are essentially successful if you achieve happiness without depending on external thing. Once you are completely happy inside, you will have the unlimited energy for you to reach for your dreams and to learn all the different practical techniques to help you get there as soon as possible. For me, the second part of success is defining what that those dreams and desires are, and then simply planning towards it. Once you have that happiness inside, you will have all the energy you need to get there no matter what. It doesn’t matter if everybody says you cannot do that. You’re stuck in things like that does not matter anymore. You have energy inside you and that’s all it takes for you to realize your dream.

The Mastermind Effect:  23:08

Absolutely. When you define success, the problem is you’ve also defined failure. There’s a fine line, but everyone’s definition of success is going to be different. There are always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity. it’s easy to succeed when the world’s just going great. But I believe that innovation and ingenuity really come out in times when we feel the squeeze and there’s a little bit of a squeeze in the world right now, no matter where you’re living. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that excites you?

Max Zheng:  24:10

Lots of things. But before I talk about that, I want to touch on the failure part as well in a bit more. In terms of failure, these companies are afraid of it. Don’t be afraid to appreciate it, love it, and learn from it. If you keep doing that, you’ll be growing stronger. Don’t be afraid of failing many times because each time you fail is time you learn and grow. For me, the only failure is when you are not doing anything. Even if you fail, if you fail to succeed in whatever you do, you are a success. The only failure is when you are saying, “Oh, I’m too afraid to do it, I’m not going to do it”. When you do not do anything, that’s the only time you fail. 

The Mastermind Effect:  25:19

I completely agree with you. Back to what we were. What’s the big project you’re working on that’s going to take place over the next 12 months?

Max Zheng:  25:34

Right now, I am fully transitioning to full time on my company. I just quit my day job last week and it’s a very exciting time for me. There’s a lot of different things I’m going through right now. First thing is that I just recently launched a genius training program which is available for kids and adults. You can learn how to be a genius in life in terms of being happy, productive, and how to do skill development.

The second thing I’m going to do is start expanding out and trying to make this training program to other platforms. For now, I’m just making myself on LinkedIn. One of the main reasons I left my day job is that I want to have more time to build my next space in my company. Coaching and training is phase one of my company.

The second phase is building software to digitize my offerings so that people can just go to iTunes store or any app store and just download an app. They can just go ahead and start training themselves in terms of their happiness and productivity, and even plan for their dreams. I want to make that available as cheap as possible, so that you can just download it, pay a few bucks for it, and bam, you can start becoming a genius in life, right on your phone. I want to make what I provide available to everyone. The mission of my company is to enable everyone in the world to be genius in life. They can build that software platform out, and it’s going to be available on iOS, Android, and on the web, as well as desktop and mobile versions. Eventually, I’m going to build a social media platform for skill development. That’s going to be the exciting stuff for next 12 months.

The Mastermind Effect:  28:01

Awesome, and I look forward to seeing it. What is a tip, tactic, or an actionable item that you could leave the listeners with, that if they were to implement over the next 30, 60, or 90 days, they would see results, whether it’s in their business or personal life?

Max Zheng:  28:23

Love themselves. As mentioned earlier, ability to love yourself is one of the most important things to be able to remove all the chains holding you. Start loving yourself completely. Do not leave anything. It’s very important to love yourself completely, including your fears, flaws, and failures. That was the number one thing I would recommend. Second, you must believe in yourself that you can be a genius, and you can do anything you want. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible. It’s important that you believe in yourself completely, to make things happen at the same time. Love yourself to unshackle the chain that’s holding you back and you will be successful.

The Mastermind Effect:  29:55

Love yourself first before you can love what you’re doing and love others. “Love thyself”, that is the powerful way to end this. Max, I appreciate the time that you spent with us and the knowledge that you left here today. I’m looking forward to relistening to this. 

Everyone, we’ve got Max Zheng, founder of Human Prosperity. Thank you so much for your time today.

Max Zheng:  30:27

You’re very welcome.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Success is really understanding what life is in terms of what is necessary and what is not. What it takes to be able to do what you want to do in life.” – Max Zheng

“To really learn something, you need to love what you’re trying to learn.” – Max Zheng

“When you have that motivation, you actually love doing something. Learning becomes easy, fun, and you’ll be able to learn so much faster.” – Max Zheng

“It’s really important to have someone else on the outside watching you, from different perspectives and angles to make sure you’re going towards the right direction.” – Max Zheng

“For you to get what you want, you have to know what you want first.” – Max Zheng

Resources Mentioned:

To learn more, connect with Max on LinkedIn or visit https://hp.engineering/.

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

058: Vasavi Kumar | Success Through Community

I’m Vasavi, founder of the Mind Your Own Business membership community, host of the Being Human philosophy podcast and licensed therapist. I’m hijacking the solo show today.

Before we get into success through community, I want to let you know what I have coming up. My community, Mind Your Own Business, is the place to be if you’re just starting your business or if you’re already in your business for a few years. My members who come to join the membership community, they now have overcome their imposter syndrome. They have no problem sharing their story. They’re not trying to be like everybody else. They know that their most valuable asset is their story. Showing up in the most authentic way possible. 

I founded the Mind Your Own Business membership community for both men and women who were on their path of entrepreneurship. Maybe you’re just starting out, maybe you’re a few years in, you know that you have a lot to offer, or you know that you want to help people, but you keep stopping and starting. 

What I truly believe, after being in business for 10 years and working with thousands of entrepreneurs, is that without getting your mind right, it does not matter how much business strategy you have. You can read all the courses, read all the books, and hire all the mentors but if you are not actively working on your mindset and developing that grit and resilience, you’re going to stop and you’re going to start as you’re trying to build your business. 

The number one obstacle that I find for entrepreneurs, when they’re starting out in business and especially in their marketing, is that they forget that they are a human being first. Oftentimes, we get into business and we think we have to be all buttoned up and lose a sense of ourselves. I’m here to say, “No, we need you. We need you to show up in your full humanity.” That’s exactly what I teach my members inside the Mind Your Own Business membership community.  

I want my members to know and I want you to hear that you can create a value-driven life and business. You do not need to sacrifice your soul or your sanity. Your mental and emotional health are just as important, if not more, than all the tools, the tricks, and the marketing hacks. All that stuff is really important but you got to get your mind right. When you get your mind right, when you cultivate a solid relationship with yourself, and when you know yourself inside and out, you become unstoppable. You can do and create anything you want when you know yourself through and through.

Tweetable Quotes:

“When you know yourself inside and out, all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly, you become unstoppable.” – Vasavi Kumar

“Without getting your mind right, it doesn’t matter how much business strategy you have. If you are not actively working on your mindset and developing that grit and resilience, you’re gonna stop and you’re gonna start as you’re building your business.” – Vasavi Kumar

“You can create a values-driven life and business, and you do not need to sacrifice your soul or your sanity.” – Vasavi Kumar

Connect with Vasavi on Instagram or visit her website at https://www.vasavikumar.com/ 

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

057: Vasavi Kumar | The Art of Getting What You Want by Mastering Your Mind

This week, we have Vasavi Kumar, the founder of the Mind Your Own Business membership community and the upcoming Hit Publish Mastermind. She opens up about being in toxic relationships while being an addict, all while running a successful company. She lets us know that her greatest learnings have come from her mistakes and when she realized that she had the bright, shiny object syndrome.



The Mastermind Effect:  02:52

Let’s start in education. The availability for the information that we have access to today has drastically changed over the last 5 to 10 years. How we’ve learned has drastically changed over the last 5 to 10 years. In my opinion, when you and I were younger, it was textbooks and teachers, family and friends, and then eventually became our co-workers. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?


Vasavi Kumar:  03:22

That’s a great question. As a first-generation, Indian immigrant woman, formal education was something that was heavily ingrained in our minds. My sister did her medical residency at Harvard and I got my master’s in social work at Columbia. I do think that formal education is great. If you want to get become specialized in something, go and learn your subject matter, so you have a good solid foundation. But for me, personally, the greatest education for me has been the mistakes that I’ve made and the number of times that I have fallen on my face and gotten back up. It’s also been my willingness to experience and experiment new things and not just take this one conventional path or just one way of doing things. I’ve always had a very creative and scattered mind. I’ve learned how to create structures, strategies and systems in my life so that I can allow my creativity to come to life. For me, education has always come from actually doing it, not just talking about it, or not just reading. 

The Mastermind Effect:  04:35

Taking that hands-on approach and knowing how to implement it. You can watch someone and you can learn from how they’re doing it. But once you actually take the hands-on approach, that’s really where it’s your bread and butter. 

Vasavi Kumar:  04:48

I am going to say that everything starts with mindset, right? It’s the reason why I started the membership community. It’s called “Mind Your Own Business” because so many people who get into business are like, “Oh, I just need to do this. I just need to have a website. I just need to have a few servers.” versus “I just need to put myself out there, whatever it is”. But that’s not how it goes. I always say, starting your own business is the deepest and most intense personal growth course workshop you will ever take because it will show you all of your insecurities and weaknesses. It will also show you your strengths if you allow yourself to just deepen your trust and faith in yourself and what it is that you’re here to do. 


It’s not just all about strategy. It’s all about the mindset. Your mind literally will tell you what you can and can’t do. It’s the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and the things that we’re telling ourselves that will dictate whether or not we go take that risk, whether we go put ourselves out there. That’s what I like to help people with— to give you the strategy to go from point A to point B and start to look at who you are and look at your strengths. I use a strengths-based approach. I always want to highlight what your strengths are. 


Also, let’s take the darkness, which are your limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, and your insecurities. Let’s look at them. Let’s confront them. Let’s be honest about the things that are holding ourselves back. Because if we do not confront those subconscious beliefs, those are always going to be driving us. Then we’re going to be wondering, “Why am I not farther along? Why am I so scared to do X, Y, and Z?” I have to say, as a recovered addict and alcoholic, I use this approach with all my clients. What got me sober and what helps me stay sober every single day is rigorous honesty. It’s why I’m so transparent on my podcast. 


I’m so honest about the fact that I am a recovered addict and alcoholic. Sharing it holds me accountable. It keeps me accountable to myself. When we take the thing that is holding us back or when we work with a mentor or coach to deck and reflect back some of the things that they’re seeing, we no longer can hide from it. We can’t run from it. We can’t just sweep it aside.  We have to see ourselves all of us for who we are. We have to see it with compassion, grace, and no judgment. And then really ask ourselves, “How do I want to handle this moving forward? Am I going to let this control me? Or am I going to deepen my faith? Am I going to move from fear to faith and deepen that trust and belief in myself and keep taking action one day at a time?”


The Mastermind Effect:  07:29

One of the things that you said was addressing our successes and addressing our strengths.  Also, when you address your weaknesses or failures, it’s being open and honest with the world. You’re not using it an excuse or a crutch. You’re not letting it define you. You’re able to reframe your past. I love how you how you framed that and you’re open and honest. Moving on, there are so many ways to take in information more than ever before. Some people look for mentors, accountability buddies, masterminds coaches, online courses and a lot of ways to learn. Who are you currently learning from? And more importantly, how did you find them?

Vasavi Kumar:  08:21

I am currently learning from my mistakes. I’ve been in business for 10 years and my biggest problem in my business was I had a lot of ideas and I wanted to implement all of them at once. I had a lot of bright shiny object syndrome. I’m over a year and a half sober. I spent a lot of time in solitude and self-reflection. I spent a lot of time asking myself, “How do I want my business to look? What is the bigger picture here?” I do believe in investing in communities and investing in mentors and coaches. I had done all of that. My issue was that I was trying to implement all of it all at once. It was like these one-time offers or there’s no strategy to what I’m putting out there. I had to buckle down and get really quiet. 


Number one thing is that I have to ask for help. Where am I right now, in terms of my own support, is that I have a team now. I’ve hired a company called “Remote Rockstars”. I love Oxana. She’s really helped me just have that overall system in my business. I found someone who is supportive of my creative wildfire. My issue was never that I lack inspiration, or I lack motivation. My business is the number one thing that I have never lost drive to go out and take action on. What I needed support in at this point in my life, after 10 years and having learned so much and done a lot of the internal work and getting sober, is get someone to really kind of see me and see my ideas. I have a team now that takes care of a lot of the admin stuff. I was a one woman show Brandon. I was doing everything like editing podcasts, sending out invoices, responding to them. So, I had to get really clear on and really asked myself, “What is my zone of genius? Where do I really want to spend my time? Where do I shine?” 


I realized where I do shine are creating the podcasts, writing, doing these interviews, reaching out to my clients, and getting them enrolled. It’s those conversations, the nurturing, and it’s the creative aspect. Everything else I’ve outsourced. So that’s where I’m at in terms of support. I was my biggest obstacle because I needed that support. I really needed someone outside of me to see me and to see the gift that I was bringing and being like, “Hold on, you’re going to set yourself on fire if you don’t slow down.” It took a lot of self-reflection and solitude and quieting of my mind to even see what I wanted to create. Then bring in the support. 


The Mastermind Effect:  12:01

Now you said that you were working with Oxana, is she the one who built the team and helped you build the team around you? 


Vasavi Kumar:  12:41

She is the head of Remote Rockstars which is a team of virtual assistants. I have my own designated account manager. I basically buy a package of hours every month. I have like 18 hours with her. Every Monday, we have our team call and we look at where do we really want to allocate this time. Right now, what the team really works on the bulk of the hours is my podcast editing and the management of that which is perfect for me. I have so much more space and it feels so good. I’m going to do three episodes per week, they’re going to take care of all the editing. All I got to do is show up and speak. 


Now, more people are listening to my podcast. I just restarted the podcast back in May of 2020. I’m almost at 10,000 downloads. That was my goal for the end of 2020. I want to hit 10,000 downloads. I’m now charging people to be guests on my podcast. They pay for guest appearances. I never even thought I could do that. What I’m really valuing what I’ve built. I’m valuing myself and I’m valuing the time that it’s taken for me for what I have built. 

Vasavi Kumar:  14:44

What I really want your audience to hear is this is not about paid guest appearances; this is really about is valuing our work. I think, as entrepreneurs, the creative side comes so naturally to us. We sometimes feel scattered, anxious, and just all over the place. When we really spend that time in reflection and solitude and we really lock into this core of who we are, you got to see yourself as a beautiful human being who has all these creative ideas and really pay homage to those ideas. Because those ideas come from a very deep place. They come from pain, knowledge, wisdom, and from seeing things. We got to have more respect for ourselves in our ideas. I’m over feeling guilty asking people to pay to be on my show because I know that my gift is to be able to bring out the best in other people. So, I want to be compensated for that.




The Mastermind Effect:  15:44

Absolutely, love yourself first and everything starts falling in place.  Talking about people in general, I feel that we get stuck. We don’t know how to execute what’s in our head. We were kind of just talking about how do we execute the plan that’s in our head. We’re still going through the pandemic. It’s allowing us to reset and find new ways on how we can accomplish things. How have masterminds helped you when you’re looking to reset and get unstuck with your ideas?


Vasavi Kumar:  16:20

This is such a timely question. I recently just signed up for a group coaching program. You can call it a mastermind., I signed up for a $4,000 book proposal coaching program. Six years ago, I had actually completed an entire book proposal. It’s like the one thing in my life that I felt unfinished. The one thing that I never really brought to life. I had this opportunity to join this woman’s book proposal coaching program. She’s the former book marketing manager for Hay House, which is a huge, self-help publishing company. I came across this opportunity to join it. It’s $4,000 and that’s a lot of money. I had the money to do it but for me to spend that type of money upfront, it was a little scary for me. I’m a mindset coach, and I still got my own mindset issues. I just know how to overcome them a lot quicker than other people. I gave myself four days to get to a very quiet place. Then when I finally paid, I was like, “I was good to go”. 


To answer your question, what it’s done for me mentally is it’s created a domino effect. This is what happens when you invest in yourself. It does something to you. I’m mentally ready. I have a space where I can write. I’ve been waking up at six o’clock every single morning just getting myself back into better habits because I fall off the wagon too. It’s a beautiful thing to be in a community of like-minded people who are all having a shared vision.  It may look different than your vision, but it’s a shared value. The goal is we’re going to complete this. We’re doing it separately but together and there’s power in that. There’s only like seven or eight people in the group. It’s an intimate group. It’s what you’re essentially saying to the universe, to God, and to yourself when you go ahead and you and you pay for the thing is, “I am worth the time, I am worth the effort”. It is okay that I do not know what I’m doing so I’m going to ask for help and support. I acknowledge that I do not know what I’m doing and I’m going to get the help. When you put yourself out there and when you put your pride and your ego aside, good things happen.

The Mastermind Effect:  20:50

I can’t wait to see when that book comes to light next year and see how it goes.


Vasavi Kumar:  21:19

What I really want is to help people make sense out of chaos. If there’s anything I know all too well is living a life of chaos and being addicted to that chaos. 

The Mastermind Effect:  21:48

Masterminds have been around for a long time. Then eventually, Napoleon Hill talks about in a book called “Think and Grow Rich Masterminds”. I see that there’s been this huge boom of self-education moving away from traditional education over the last few years. You were brought up more in the traditional education and that’s how your family had it. Where do you see self-education versus standardized education going forward?


Vasavi Kumar:  22:21

I want to say this first, even though I was trained with formal education, I was raised Hindu. I would go to temple every week with my parents. I’ve known the power of being a part of a community. I’m a first generation Indian and my parents always had my sister and I be a part of like Indian cultural groups, so we wouldn’t lose our sense of self and culture. From a very young age, I was trained to be around people who look like me. 


As far as self-education versus formal, I think formal education is valuable. But my tagline is “know yourself and do anything”. It’s not “know your textbooks and do anything”. Self-education, for me, has been the greatest investment. The greatest amount of time that I’ve spent has been on myself, and it’s every single day. As long as I’m alive and breathing, I can still change. There’s still an ability for me to micro evolve every single day. Self-education for me has been the greatest education because we are so limitless in who we are. It just goes to show like there’s so much depth to who we are. There are so many layers to who we are and I’ve just always wanted to know who am I? I find myself and I say this to everyone listening, “we are so complex yet we are so simple.”  I’ve just always been so curious to know more about myself. I just want to know who am I? Then I can be whoever I want to be and that’s even a greater freedom. I can be whoever I want to be and someone who was experimented by taking unhealthy paths and healthy paths I see I literally can be whoever I want to be. That is the greatest and scariest truth in the entire world. The most liberating truth in the world is to have the power to be whoever I want to be and it all starts with what I choose to believe about myself. That’s why self-education is so important because we are conditioned to believe certain things about who we should be as a human being in society. What I think about myself is so much more important than what anyone tells me. That’s what I always try to encourage with my clients is to get to know yourself. Ask yourself where you came from. Ask yourself what it was I talked to believe about this. You have to answer to yourself and that requires self-education.




The Mastermind Effect:  26:23

Absolutely. And with that, the great thing about self-education is it’s limitless. It’s never-ending and we can always continue whether we are 15, 45, or 75. We can continue to learn from the people around us and other people’s experiences. If you focus on who you want to become and who you want to be then it allows us to rewrite our past. When people start investing in their future, they’ve got a better idea what they’re going to get out of it. We’re able to have some form of expectation about what we’re going to learn when we go into someone’s mastermind or program. What should people expect when they enter your reality?


Vasavi Kumar:  27:08

That’s a good question. When you enter my reality, whether as a friend, a client, or mastermind membership, you can expect to be cheered on but also be told the brutal honest truth of what I’m seeing and hearing. You may be asking, “Well, why should I listen to you?” Well, as someone who has had to confront her own deepest, darkest demons, and get sober; I would not be where I am today, without the practice of rigorous honesty, whether it’s my sponsor, my counselors that I’ve worked with, or my own parents. My mother is an Indian immigrant woman. She is scary but she has been the most honest person in my life even when I don’t want to hear it. 


That’s what I use with other people. I will let you know if you are making excuses in your life and if you’re letting yourself off the hook. I’ll also nurture you, be kind to you, and let you know that I understand that you’re afraid but here’s what you’re going to do anyway. I think, ultimately, we all want to see our greatness come to life. We cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created that problem. I can be your best friend, your cheerleader, your coach, and just human to human. I’m not going to let you off the hook. I want people to see themselves like the way I see them, which is “you’re bright, you’re brilliant”. You have everything inside of you and you’re getting out in your own way.  I’ll do whatever I can to help you get out of your own way by holding you accountable to what you said you wanted. 


The Mastermind Effect:  29:31

That’s just raw and beautiful. You’re just like, “Listen, this is where I was, this is who I am and this is how I’m going to help you get there.” Because you’ve actually had these life experiences and you’ve actually been able to own your own.


Vasavi Kumar:  29:50

I’ve had to take one for the team multiple times. I do offer that understanding like, “I get that you feel insecure and I understand that you’re scared. You’re not alone in this process.” That’s why I don’t like people to become reliant on me because I think we need to learn to be emotionally self-reliant. I also feel like, it’s scary to do this thing called self-expression alone. It’s scary to put yourself out there, because of what will people think. My goal is always to be like, “Listen, I got you and I’m not going to leave you, I’ll be there for you no matter what.” That’s what has always helped me and that’s what I hope to be there for other people.


The Mastermind Effect:  30:35

You’re an extension of them. I feel that people have a way of surprising us. Has anyone, through your coaching, through your mastermind, and what they were able to accomplish, surprised you based off of the people and the program that you put together?


Vasavi Kumar:  31:06

Nobody has surprised me. I’m not surprised by anyone’s transformation because I truly believe everyone has the ability to change. Everyone has the ability to shock themselves. They’ve been astonished by their own ability to change. My job is to be a consistent and to be a solid sounding board. I don’t know if that’s the right answer to your question. But people who come to me usually are not “wishy washy” about changing. I focus more on client retention than client acquisition because I know that not most people are not ready to change, no one’s ever ready to change. What it takes for people to change is usually you have to become very sick and tired of yourself. Your life also has to be on the line. You also have to be in a lot of pain to change. I don’t think you have to be all of those things but what I’ve seen over the course of 10 years is that unless you are truly sick and tired of yourself, you don’t actually change. I know that most people are not going to come work with me because they know that when they come to work with me, we’re about to start to peel back all those layers of your insecurities, your beliefs, your ego, your darkness, all of it. I’m going to have you take action. Most people don’t want to do that because it’s scary. When the people who do come to me, when they’re ready to invest financially, mentally, emotionally, those are the ones that have been hand selected by God, the universe. They’re ready. I’m not surprised.


The Mastermind Effect:  32:53

Is there a success story that, without giving any names or any specifics, something you could give us a little more specific and say, “they went through this, and they were here and they were able to accomplish this”?


Vasavi Kumar:  33:04

I will talk about my one client and she’s been working with me now. She’s my one-on-one client. She came to me, and she was like, “Boss, I’m like really ready to stop holding myself back”. She’s a local business here in Austin. She has gourmet cookies. She was someone who is excellent in business but the one thing that was holding her back was her own personal life, her ability to stand up, communicate for what she believes in, and really have some structure and systems in her creativity. Her self-talk was always telling her like, “Oh, you’re not going to be consistent. You’re not going to do this.” She would start and stop, start and stop, which is like most of us. We start and stop and start and stop.  


Now, we’ve been working together now for six months. She consistently works out every single morning. She’s paid off all her credit card debt. One of the things that we did within the first three months of working together was we went through every single chase statement, every single credit card statement, and Amazon statement. We spent four hours with each other and we looked at where she was frivolously spending money. We took a hard look at how much money she’d been spending and she was like, “Okay, I’m going to get a handle on this”. She needed some hand holding. She had the courage to really say, “I need someone to help me with this”. She’s now completely debt free. She has about $12,000 in her savings. She’s now putting aside money to invest back into a business. She’s hired delivery people in her business. She’s hired people in her kitchen to help her. 


The little things that we’re now working on, which she’s seeing catching up to her, are those little power leakages. She’s like, “I need to write down my delivery process. I need to write down my kitchen process.” I was like, “You need to have a system for everything.  If you really want to expand your business and you want to be able to have other people manage your business, you need to know what that process is. We’re now working on the little things that she kind of like holding off, but she’s willing to do it. All she needed was someone to just sit with her and help her do it. There’s no shame in that. She came to me open but slightly skeptical. Every call that we have, she’s like, “Boss, this is the agenda. This is what I want to talk about.”  She’s now becoming the most honest person in her life. She’s now calling herself out with me and that is rigorous honesty.  She doesn’t have to tell me and she can keep those secrets to herself. I’m not badgering her to tell me. But she knows that the way to grow is to hold herself accountable to somebody else. Your secrets keep you sick. If you want to stay sick, keep lying yourself.




The Mastermind Effect:  35:48

Brilliant. I love it. That was a great success story. I appreciate you sharing that with us. I was working with a coach recently and we talked about success. When you define success, you also have to define failure. There’s a lot of things that go into being successful and defining your success. I think mentorship, willingness to fail, experimentation, and partnerships are a few things when it comes to the pillars of success. With the sensitivity of social media out there, I think we’re afraid to talk about our successes and be successful. What do you think it takes to actually get over the hump of being successful?


Vasavi Kumar:  36:35

The first thing that you have to do is define what success means to you based on your own values, and getting over the hump of being successful. I believe that while a lot of us have a fear of failure, we do have a fear of success because we’re afraid people are going to think we’re bragging. They’re going to think we’re arrogant. It’s lonely at the top. If you have been raised in a family where there’s a lot of jealousy, and there’s a lot of comparison, of course, it’s going to be scary for you to overcome those own inner battles of being successful. You’re afraid that other people are going to think, “Who do you think you are?” This is what I say, ultimately, you got to be willing to be alone. You got to be okay and comfortable with yourself. I’ve come to the point where it’s like, “Yeah, I would miss people in my life”. But it is more important for me to be fully self-expressed and be used up by the time that I die than it is to live with regret and be comfortable. I play on my own insecurity, so other people don’t feel insecure. I downplay my own gifts, so other people feel more comfortable. You got to ask yourself, what’s more important than that. I can handle being alone but I can’t handle living with regret.


The Mastermind Effect:  38:15

As we’re coming to a close here, I think there’s always new ideas brewing during prosperity. I think ingenuity and innovation really come when we feel the squeeze. I think there’s a little bit of squeeze out there in the world right now. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that excites you?


Vasavi Kumar:  38:34

Awesome. I already shared about the book proposal. That’s definitely going to be the focus. At least until December, I am going to be writing my book proposal. Then 2021, shopping for agents and a publishing deal. 

Vasavi Kumar:  39:06

Over the next year, we’ll definitely be a lot of book stuff, continuing to grow my membership community and serve the existing members in the membership community. Because like I said, I focus more on retention than acquisition. Also, I would love to meet the love of my life.


The Mastermind Effect:  40:08

Put it out to the world and see what comes back on there. Because It doesn’t matter what other people think, it’s what you want. What is a tip, tactic or an actual item that, if someone listening to this right now or next 30, 60, or 90 days, if they actually took that they could see real action and real results in their life?


Vasavi Kumar:  40:41

Every time you hear a thought in your head that is condescending, discouraging, cynical, or fear based., notice it. Then I want you to say back to it, “Not true”. Then take the action. You got to have that self-talk dialogue. I’m all for hiring coaches, mentors and all that but you got to be able to address those demons in your head by yourself. Because you can’t have a coach on call every single minute. You’re going to have to be your own coach at some point, like when people are not around. 


I’m going to share a really quick story. This is like after a year and a half of sobriety. Yesterday, I went out with my friends. I had not been out in a while and I don’t go to bars because I don’t drink. We went to this outdoor kind of pickleball court. I guess. And it was really nice outside. I had this thought in my head that was like, “Man, a drink would be really good right now”. And I was like, “Why do I still have this thought?” Then, I was able to just kind of observe my mind. The fact that it was a beautiful day. I’m doing great. I’m feeling good. Why is my mind telling me that I needed a drink right? The old Vasavi would get a drink. But the Vasavi, who has been sober for a year and a half, observes that thought. So therefore, your mind is telling you that you need a drink. Obviously, I did not drink. I had this dialogue with myself. I was able to see my thought as just a thought and not as the truth. My mind is telling me to get a drink. But then I have to reconnect back with my core values.  I asked myself what’s more important? Is it more important for me for that instant gratification and have a drink? Or is it more important to be able to openly share on this interview, I’m a year and a half sober? It’s more important for me to share a year and a half over a year and a half sober. 


I use the conversation that I had about alcohol yesterday as an example. But it’s going to show up even entrepreneurship. Your mind’s going to tell you “don’t hit publish on that blog post, don’t put that video out there, don’t talk about politics on your podcast, don’t share your opinion on your podcasts.”  Then you got to reconnect with yourself and say, “What’s more important to me?” Is it more important for me to be liked and loved and just kind of show this like shiny? Or is it more important for you to be self-expressed? Is it more important for you to be aligned with who you really are and say what you really what you really think? You got to know yourself and be true to that.


The Mastermind Effect:  43:22

I think that’s the best way for us to end it. We have Vasavi Kumar. You have been open and honest about your own struggles that didn’t define you but have made you why you’re one of the top people that we’ve had the fortune of talking with. You’re the founder of the Mind Your Own Business Membership community, the Hit Publish Mastermind and also the podcast host of Being Human. Thank you and I look forward to our future conversations. Thank you so much.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Formal education is great. But for me personally, the greatest education has been the mistakes I have made, and the amount of times that I have fallen on my face and gotten back up.” – Vasavi

Self-education is the greatest education because we are so limitless in who we are.” – Vasavi Kumar

“When you put yourself out there, when you put your pride and ego aside, good things happen.” – Vasavi Kumar  

“As long as I’m alive and breathing, I can still change.” – Vasavi Kumar

“I’m not surprised by anyone’s transformation, because I truly believe everyone has the ability to change.” – Vasavi Kumar

Resources Mentioned:

To learn more, connect with Vasavi on Instagram or visit her website at https://www.vasavikumar.com/ 

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.


056: Matt Alex | Standard Vs Self-Education and How The World and Value Around Them is Changing

Hey, everyone. We’ve got Matt Alex, founder of Beyond Academics. His company is changing the face of standardized education by who you have access to through different styles of teachings using an original Netflix-type platform. We get into standard versus self-education, and how the world and value around them are changing. If you want to connect and learn for the future, you’re going to want to check this one out.



The Mastermind Effect:  02:08

Let’s talk about how we learn, which is something that you’re really passionate about. When you and I were younger, we learned through textbooks and teachers, the people around us, and eventually that became our friends, family, and co-workers. The reality is that only gives us a sliver of what’s possible. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?


Matt Alex:  03:06

To be honest with you, I think some of my passions and why I’m in higher ed comes from my journey as a student. I wasn’t a straight-A student in grade school or high school, even in early parts of college. It wasn’t because I wasn’t capable. It was just the way that I was being taught, I didn’t really learn that way. When I got to college, I started to really understand that I think differently. I absorb information differently. In the stuff that I teach, I talk about five learning chemistries. We learn visually. There is contextual, the written context of it, experiential, and then being able to even drive our learning through speaking. All these things are really important elements of it. We really need to be able to allow students to absorb information in the way that they learn. 


First things I always say to schools that I work with is, is your content in a format in the learning chemistries that are there? How do you do that? In a traditional classroom, it’s contextual. There’s just one-way dialogue in most cases and yet, a lot of people don’t absorb that way. That’s an important piece. Not only learning chemistry is part of just being in the workforce, but even when you’re learning in a corporate setting. There are people who need it in an Excel spreadsheet and there’s people who need it in a video. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just a different way of absorbing information. I think what you will start seeing more in the market both in a corporate setting as well as in higher ed is that this different learning chemistry is coming into play.


The Mastermind Effect:  05:02

You’re meeting the people on the playing field. They want to be met. Do they want to be met auditorily, visually, or verbally? Then, you’re finding the platform with technology and what your company is taking on. It’s a huge thing. Why was it important for you to meet the people where they want to be met?


Matt Alex:  05:34

I know that my learning experience wasn’t as I would have liked. I know that a lot of people spend a lot of money on how they get educated and there’s something wrong even in that dynamics at this stage. Part of this is being to be able to give access to people who need to learn—that’s an important element of it. I believe that getting value for what you’re learning fit for purpose. I’m a criminal justice major and everyone just defaults that Matt Alex is going to become a juvenile detention guy, or he’s going to go and become a cop, or he’s gonna become a pre lawyer. 


A major does not and should not default you to your career. Part of why I believe that we should meet people where they are is their journeys are different. Everyone’s journey is different. My daughter who’s about to go to college, her journey is going to be different. I want her journey to be tailored to her need and I think that’s going to be an important element. My son who’s 12, his journey is going to be vastly different when college comes in because that by that time, the constraints that we see in timeframe and the way that we get educated are going to be much different. We’re not going to see the 16-week courses as you move forward. You’re going to see these micro-learnings as you start to tailor the education, which becomes on demand and becomes global, and everything else that comes from that.


The Mastermind Effect:  07:09

We have more ways today to take in information than ever before. Some people learn from mentors, others from an accountability buddy, some from masterminds, some from online courses, and traditional standard education. There are so many ways to take in information today. Who are you currently learning from and more importantly, how did you find them?


Matt Alex:  07:36

I learned from people who are not telling me what they’re teaching, but they’re showing me where they’re going. My co-founder, Joe Abraham, and I, we think differently. The way that he looks at things is different than mine. I want to learn from him. He has a much more entrepreneurial mindset; I come from a very stoke, higher ed kind of mindset. It’s a very interesting element. Joel, who is my other partner, looks at branding and innovation around the messaging. I want to learn that. Even though the message probably starts with me, it is wrapped around people like Joe and Joel that really drive it. 


Now, there are people outside of my company that I learned from. There’s a gentleman by the name of Steve Hatfield at Deloitte who I work closely with. When I listened to him and I hear about him, he talks about future of work. The great thing about it is he speaks to it because he’s passionate about it. 


I learned from people like Steve Hatfield and there is Simon Sinek. Simon Sinek talks about the “why,” and I believe the why is the one reason why I’m really passionate about what I do. I understand my why. I understand where I want to go with the why. I want that why to be the reason that people follow me. I believe titles aren’t the reason why people should follow you. It shouldn’t be because I’m a founder or I was a partner at Deloitte—that shouldn’t be the reason why follow me. You should follow me because I have a vision of where I’m going and I’m going to tell you what that vision is. I want followership. Followership is where leadership comes into play.


The Mastermind Effect:  09:23

Absolutely. I’ll go to my old days of banking and everyone had a title. Everyone was an EVP (Executive Vice-President) and it doesn’t matter. I don’t care what you call me. The value and the legacy that I leave is really what I’m looking back on towards the future. I love that message.


Matt Alex:  09:50

I call that title inflation. VP means nothing anymore. When I was growing up, a VP meant something. A VP means nothing now other than there’s a title that authorizes me to have a dialogue with somebody else. To be honest with you, I can make up any title I want. I have a founder title. What does that really mean? In the end, I need people who are going to follow me, whether it says I’m a director or manager or clerk. Titles really don’t make that person. It is really about what they do and what they talk about that drive the passion to people. I think the one thing that I really focus on is, “Am I doing the right thing where people want to follow me?” I hope that’s happening in my work, in my writings, in my thought. It’s an important piece.


The Mastermind Effect:  10:46

Leaders aren’t born. It takes training and time to become that leader. I always say I want a result leader, not a thought leader. 




The Mastermind Effect:

Moving on, a lot of people get stuck and they don’t know how to execute what’s inside their head. There’s a saying where you can’t see the tree through the forest. We’re still going through a pandemic and I feel that it’s causing a reset on how we’re able to accomplish things. You and I have talked about this before. What we’re building on different sides was actually created and came up with before there was a need for it or before the pandemic. How have masterminds, or coaching or courses or the people that you’ve surround yourself with, helped you reset when you’re trying to figure out how to get unstuck?


Matt Alex:  11:51

I’m a big believer. In order to really transform, you need different thought leaders around the table. They need to look different than you. They have to have different ideas than you. That’s what really should be a driver as you move forward. When I’m looking to make myself well-rounded, I look for those thought leaders, whether it’s Dr. Paul LeBlanc from Southern New Hampshire or Dr. Lombardi from Maryville, or Joel Matthew in my company or Steve Hatfield—they’re all different. If you put them in a room, they all have different ideas. They have different thoughts on where they’re going. They believe in different philosophies. Being able to absorb, that is really important. If I had five Matt Alex’s and I only had my followers sitting in my round table, I won’t see the transformation that I think needs to happen. Sometimes, those thought leaders that are sitting around put you in uncomfortable conversations. It makes you start thinking “Am I doing the right thing?” I think what you need to be really transformative is to sit in discussions where you are a little bit uncomfortable in what you’re doing. 


The Mastermind Effect:  13:08

I had a saying years ago that I believe I came up with at least. This was “comfort kills.” The minute you become comfortable, you’re not going to see what’s coming. You’re not going to think ahead. You’re not going to try to actually change. You’re just going to sit there and take par for the course. 


Standards and self-education have been around for a long time. Education has been around since the dawn of man. I see that there’s a really large boom of self-education happening over the last 5 or 10 years, especially with social media going the way that it is. Where do you really see standard and self-education going forward with what you’re doing right now?


Matt Alex:  14:05

When you say self-education, I call it the educational marketplace. I believe the education marketplace will be how we will navigate the knowledge that we really need to have instilled in us. I believe that knowledge is the asset that universities and colleges are really disseminating. The knowledge is their asset. Right now, those assets are built into the 16-week kind of courses and they’re limited to who can afford those courses. In an educational marketplace, you will see the unbundling of those courses into topics that allow for people to consume it in the manner that is right for that student body. Because we are teaching in a micro-learning concept, you will see more people disseminating knowledge so that the top person that knows AI could be what we all learn from. All of a sudden, two years from now, another person who knows AI around sociology comes the person, based on ratings, and so forth. I believe micro learnings within an educational marketplace will be how universities will stay relevant in market because right now, a 16-week course is one method of how knowledge is disseminated. We have to become a little bit more like Netflix, a little bit more in that ecosystem. That’s gonna be a driver as we move forward. 




The Mastermind Effect:  15:41

When someone invests in their future, they have a better than vague idea about what they’re going to get. We have some expectation of the people, or the education in your case, that’s going to be in that room. A user is really where I’d like to talk about this level. What should people expect? What should the user or student expect when they enter your reality with what you’re building, Beyond Academics?


Matt Alex:  16:11

When I talk to universities, I always say you have to design around a student-centric mindset. Who is the learner? How do they learn? Where do they learn? All that’s going to be an important piece. When a student is coming into an educational setting, it has to be fit for purpose. It has to fit. The program should fit them, their way that they learn should fit them, and where their careers are going to come from should fit them. There is a fit for purpose element that every student, when you’re spending $1,000 to $30,000 in education, each could give you a tailored, personalized, on demand world. I believe it shouldn’t cost you $40,000. It should be less than that, if that makes sense. Those are the things that we’re going to really need to take a look at. That’s what I believe the expectations are going to come when the Googles and the Amazons start to say we don’t need a four-year degree. I want this type of person with this type of knowledge, this type of personality, this type of exposure to engagement—all that’s going to become a big part of it. This is where the unbundling comes into play. I’m a big believer that universities and colleges are still needed. I still believe that there is a role because I’m a product of that. I couldn’t go through Google and just learn Google, how to code or how their structure is done, or learn Amazon, web services or whatever. I needed the interaction between people. I needed to be challenged. I needed to go through my criminal justice courses. That’s who I am. It’s because of that experience that I had in campus and in classroom, and being challenged at times when I need it to be an uncomfortable conversation. 


The Mastermind Effect:  18:11

The next one that I want to go into, I want to take it actually from the academia standpoint, from the college standpoint we’re talking about. I feel that people organizations have a way of surprising us whether it’s their willingness to change and what you’re building on their drive, or how they want to actually accomplish something. The company that you’ve put together is creating that change in the traditional sense. Has any of the colleges that you’ve worked with surprised you? What they’ve been able to accomplish because of what you and your partners are building it beyond academics?


Matt Alex:  19:15

The first one I will tell you is one of our clients. It’s Maryville University in St. Louis. Dr. Lombardi who leads Maryville, if you have a discussion with him, you’ll understand the why. You’ll understand where he’s going. His campus in 2025 looks different than many others because he recognized the value of bringing in technology—and not only bringing in technology but bringing in innovative ideas and thoughts to serve students. His center is the student. What he wants is a frictionless campus. He wants that Amazon experience where we don’t really experience Amazon. Why Amazon is frictionless. That’s why we all go buy from Amazon, right? It’s an easy element of our experience. He wants to build that. He’s already doing digital IDs. He’s doing virtual assistants. We’re working with him on a roadmap to 2025 at this stage, but they’re already there because they understand that the value of what they’re doing is to serve their students in a way that no other is doing. I believe you will see him and his campus become a real change element in an example of what others should be doing.


The Mastermind Effect:  20:33

Yeah. They’re already looking for 2025 and probably beyond that. You take Maryville and compare them to SLU. If anyone doesn’t know, they’re in each other’s backyard. St. Louis University got a big legal law platform over there. SLU better catch up or see what’s really going on because Maryville is in their backyard and they’re going to add a price point that is going to be affordable and on a platform. You guys are helping them get there faster, smarter.


Matt Alex:  21:08

Maryville is their competitor because it’s in their backyard. Southern New Hampshire is their competitor. Arizona State is a competitor. University of Arizona who just acquired an online company is their competitor. Purdue is their competitor because they have a Global Campus now. As you notice, it isn’t even the backyard. It is who’s reaching into your student body, who’ve been traditionally just coming to SLU. What I think University of St. Louis need to look at is who and how do we compete. What’s their why? Why do they go to St. Louis University? Those are the kind of discussions you have to compete. Until you know that, you’re not going to compete against any of the schools I talked about because the other ones are serving the students in a digital setting and in a much more cost-effective way. Dr. LeBlanc from Southern New Hampshire is not necessarily going until I’m going to go take University of St. Louis students away. No. He’s actually bringing up students that are really just driving a different discussion as you move forward.




The Mastermind Effect:  22:21

One of the things that I like to talk about is how do you create success. Our solo shows talk about the pillars of success. We feed on a lot of what our guests such as yourself to build those solo shows. There’s a lot of things that it takes to be successful—mentorship, experimentation, partnerships, willingness to fail, and the obvious one which is your willingness to succeed. With social media, we’re so afraid of sometimes talking about our successes. What do you feel it takes to get over the hump of being successful?


Matt Alex:  23:10

When someone fails to boast about their successes, the reality is you don’t have to boast about your success. You have to boast about what you believe and why you’re doing it. Everyone will see the successes because your narrative and what you’re doing is easily being seen as you move forward. Be honest, it’s in its infancy. We’re incubating it now. We’re very successful because we have clients who really want to transform. We have a narrative that people are resonating to you. Use the word partnership. Everyone wants to partner with us. Why? We’re not telling you the same thing that everyone has been saying for the past 20 years. We’re telling you, “Hey, work with us.” I’m reaching out to many innovative companies to say let’s create the narrative together, so we all do very successful as we move forward. I think partnership is an element to understanding why you’re doing it. If you are going to have a social influence in what you’re doing, talk about your accomplishments because it’s not boasting; it’s saying this is my why and these are the things that I’m really doing. 


I’m going to put this on our podcasts and our social media because I need people to recognize that there’s value in what we’re saying and people want to hear the message. The first start of any success is do you have the message that the market wants to follow. Come to beyondacademic.com or find me on LinkedIn. We would love to have more narratives, whether in higher ed or even if partners that want to come into higher ed. We’re willing to work with you. We have a whole incubation part of our firm where Joe Abraham runs. We’re incubating new ideas inside of our group to allow universities and colleges transform much better. We’re bringing outsiders in to really transform our higher ed. 

The Mastermind Effect:  25:17

There are always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity. When times are good, everybody’s winning. It’s really easy to be a winner. But I think innovation and ingenuity come when we really feel the squeeze. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that excites you?


Matt Alex:  26:07

We’re creating a whole new narrative. We’re really driving on the messaging to market. What does a campus of 2025 look like? You’ll start seeing us work globally. We’re working in other regions to allow for that creation and fostering of global educators and being able to educate. We’re working in India and so forth. Then of course, we’re working with our institutions here where we use digital consulting in a much different way, much more cost effective as you see it. My old days and wearing other hats, my consulting dollar was really expensive but because I’m using future of work and I’m using new technologies, I’m actually going to allow for my consulting to become much more effective in the way that I consult universities. I don’t have the same dollar amounts that I’m requesting anymore, but I’m going to have high impact consulting as we move forward. You will see that in our ecosystem. Then, of course, our learning platform, which we’re partnering with Learning Mobile on, is really driving us to bring and make knowledge accessible to everyone. The education marketplace will come from that. Our workshops will come from that. Our community will come from that. I showed it to you the other day. I’m a big believer. It’s like Netflix. If we can start creating it and I can start showcasing it to universities and colleges and say, “Hey, this is how you should start to educate,” I’m creating a future of work course. I’d love for anyone that wants to take it to reach out to me to think about the future of work and how does that impact their own respective jobs or even where they want to go in the next few years. Those are the things that we’ll be working on as we move forward.


The Mastermind Effect:  27:59

What is a tip, tactic, or actionable item that if someone listening to this implemented in their personal or business life over the next 30, 60, or 90 days, they could see real results?


Matt Alex:  28:20

Because I wear this future of work hat, I would I always say look at the innovations around you. Whether you’re walking into Starbucks and there’s location intelligence that is identifying you as the person there as well as what does that person need. What are the things that you can do around the innovations that you are seeing on your iPhone that you can start to innovate within your own workspace, within your own efficiency, or around your own personal life? I’m always looking at how do I better myself using the innovations that are already there. I believe if you wear that future of work hat—and when I say future of work, it’s what are the innovations that are happening and how do I transform my own work. I just explained that whole consulting model. The reason that my whole digital consulting model is different is because I’m already innovating using online collaboration tools. I’m using channel communication. I’m using remote consulting models that allow for us to do much more effective things. I would say to your audience, look at what’s already happening around you and use those innovations to start to really foster what you want to do. Maybe make it more productive in what you do. Then, also find where you have passion that will allow for you to take those innovations and then drive that towards a time where you’re just being able to change the way your world is. That’s an important piece.


The Mastermind Effect:  29:54

We’ve got Matt Alex, the founder of Beyond Academic. You are literally wanting to change the world. You and I want to do in similar spaces is take the mountain into the ocean and actually leave a legacy that helps make a lasting effect on society. Matt, I appreciate your time. Thank you and I look forward to listening to this one again.


Matt Alex:  30:36

Thanks for having me.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Traditional classrooms are contextual. There’s just one way of dialogue in most cases, yet more people don’t absorb that way.” – Matt Alex

“A Major does not and should not default you to your career.” – Matt Alex

“Followership is where leadership comes into play.” – Matt Alex

“What you need to be transformative is to sit in discussions where you are a little bit uncomfortable in what you’re doing.” – Matt Alex

Resources Mentioned:

To learn more, connect with Matt on LinkedIn. Visit https://beyondacademics.com/ or check out their company’s LinkedIn account.

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.