79: Randy Gage shares how he approaches life and decision-making along the journey.

 

Discover what questions Randy Gage asks himself to bring the life integration he seeks for work, love, and life as host Mike Domitrz asks Randy questions.

   

** You are invited to join our community and conversations about each episode on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/respectpodcastgroup and join us on Twitter @PodcastRespect or visit our website at www.RespectPodcast.com **

 

Randy’s BIO: Randy Gage is a thought-provoking critical thinker who will make you approach your business — and your life — in a whole new way. Randy is the author of 12 books translated into 25 languages, including the New York Times bestsellers, Risky Is the New Safe and Mad Genius. He has spoken to more than 2 million people across more than 50 countries, and is a member of the Speakers Hall of Fame. When he is not prowling the podium or locked in his lonely writer’s garret, you’ll probably find him playing 3rd base for a softball team somewhere.      

 

Links to Randy:

 

Books Randy recommends:

 

YOUR HOST: Mike Domitrz is the founder of The Center for Respect where he helps educational institutions, the US Military and businesses of all sizes create a culture of respect throughout their organizations. From addressing consent to helping corporations build a workplace free from fear (reducing sexual harassment and helping employees thrive by treating them with respect every day), Domitrz engages audiences by sharing skill sets they can implement into their lives immediately. As an author, trainer, keynote speaker and coach, Mike Domitrz loves working with leaders at all levels. Learn more at http://www.CenterForRespect.com

 

READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPTION of the EPISODE HERE (or download the pdf):

 

Mike Domitrz:
Welcome to the Respect Podcast. I’m your host Mike Domitrz from mikespeaks.com where we help organizations of all sizes, educational institutions, and the US military create a culture of respect. And respect is exactly what we discuss on this show, so let’s get started. This week we have Randy Gage who’s a thought leader on success and prosperity with 12 international bestsellers on the subject. Randy, thank you so much for joining us.

Randy Gage:
Hey, great to be on.

Mike Domitrz:
Absolutely. When I was first coming back to speaking on a full time professional basis, I went to a national speaker association meeting in Madison and you were giving a whole program on thinking big on how far we want to reach and what a difference we want to make and having that prosperity mindset and it had a huge impact. I mean, I started creating what we called like a mini magazine. You call that a magalogue back then. We created one right away. It was about a 23 page one. So I want to start by saying thank you for that impact.

Randy Gage:
That’s cool. Yeah. I was, Madison’s my hometown, so I think I was going back to visit my mother and then just reached out to NSA if they wanted me to do something when I was there and that came about. So that’s pretty cool.

Mike Domitrz:
Yeah. Yeah. Well you had a great impact and I appreciate that. And I’m going to dive right in. We’re all about respect on this show, what do you think is the single most important area for respect?

Randy Gage:
Self-respect, because people who don’t respect themselves don’t respect anybody else. And that’s where I think we get a lot of issues. Right? I remember some years back, you were doing the date safe thing and nobody with self-respect is going to drug somebody in a date, right? Or attack somebody. It all comes back to self respect.

Mike Domitrz:
Absolutely. Self-respect can be incredibly important and powerful. And you had your own journey along this path. Was part of your journey finding that?

Randy Gage:
A huge part of my journey. I was a teenage alcoholic, teenage drug addict. I was in jail in Madison at 15 years old for armed robbery. I was expelled from Madison West Senior High School because of that. So I made a lot of really poor choices, which was the result of really low self esteem. Really having a low self worth of myself. And literally today as we’re recording this, this is what I was writing on my blog, on my website. I was writing about here’s some things I do for self esteem. Because, yeah, that was the big change for me is, just like you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself, you can’t respect others until you respect yourself. And I had to really do some introspection and make some changes in my life and get to the point where I liked myself and respected myself and loved myself.

Mike Domitrz:
Was there something someone said to you at one point or was there a low point you hit where you just said, there needs to be a massive change? What allowed that shift to begin for you?

Randy Gage:
Well I had like 27 of those low point, seminal moments, turn this thing around. But some really big ones, the first one was when I was in jail, I was visited by a teacher who was the father of a girl I went to school with and he came in and told me, “You don’t belong here. You’re capable of great things.” And I thought, this guy is so crazy, he doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. Does he realize who he’s talking to? And I kind of told him that and he said, “No, I talked to your teachers, I pulled your transcripts, you skipped school for 18 days in a row. And then you go and take a test and you pass it. You’ve got reading comprehension above college level. You could do great things.”

Randy Gage:
And nobody had ever told me anything like that before in my life. And sitting in a jail cell, you’re pretty much evaluating your choices that got you up to that point. And so at that moment I was ready for that message. And I desperately wanted to believe that what he said was true. And because I desperately wanted to believe it, I believed it. And because I believed it, it was true.

Mike Domitrz:
Yeah. Right. The perception is reality, right? At that point, if you perceive yourself that way, that is who you are in that moment, which is so beautiful about that. And so you go from there to, you end up starting a business, right? And I believe in Madison, correct?

Randy Gage:
No, Madison, I was working for some restaurants and then I moved to Miami when I was just in my 16th year, I moved down to Miami and the business I started was down there. And I’ve done a number of business, I would be definitely what you would classify as a serial entrepreneur. But the first big venture out into the free enterprise system was a restaurant, because that’s all I knew. I’d been a dishwasher who worked my way up to manager. And I started a restaurant and we didn’t have enough money. And so it was just a disaster. So I ended up having my restaurant seized by the IRS to pay off the taxes and that was another one of those… That was when I was like 30. So when you’re 18 and you’re broke, it’s almost romantic. You’re supposed to be. It’s like, “Yeah, and I’m going to make these bookcase out of boards and bricks and look, somebody left a recliner on the sidewalk and we could just put a sheet over it and it’ll work perfectly.”

Randy Gage:
That’s okay at 18. At 30 I ended up selling all my furniture, sleeping on the floor. And that is not romantic when you’re 30.

Mike Domitrz:
Right, right. So what got you to the next step then? Because for all of our listeners, I want them to understand, Randy’s a hall of fame speaker, speaks all over the world. You speak to massive crowds, I mean tens of thousands at a time. So what was the jump then from that low spot, that failure moment in our lives to where you are today?

Randy Gage:
I came to understand that the fact that my business had failed did not make me a failure. I came to recognize that… And again, a lot of introspection, a lot of soul searching, a lot of personal development. And I just came to the awareness of realizing that, if you ask most people, what’s the opposite of success? They say failure, but I don’t think that’s true. I think the opposite of success is mediocrity and I think failure is not the opposite of success because I think failure is very often a component of success. When we fail at things, that’s kind of the wake up call from the universe. For me, it was a good lesson. You know what? No matter how romantic it is and how dedicated you are, and energetic, if you don’t have enough money to actually start the business and bootstrap it, it’s probably a bad idea. You might need to rethink it and next time you do something like that.

Randy Gage:
And you recognize that failure, challenges, obstacles, these are just the stepping stones to success, but in terms of the context of your show and what people listen for, this whole idea of respect, that’s the key for me. The key was that I respected myself enough to say, “Okay, I’m not a failure. I tried a business venture, the business venture didn’t work, so now I got to try something else and I’ve got to learn from that. I got to test and track and modify, learn the lesson and then the next time around I can be more successful.” And that would be the best philosophy or approach to that, that I could recommend to anybody listening right now.

Mike Domitrz:
And I agree with you wholeheartedly. When we’ve had our toughest struggles is when you go, “How did we get here?” And then you start to dive into all your numbers and you realize, why wasn’t I looking at all these numbers way before now and going forward? You run your organization very differently so that you’d never get there because now you’ve learned the importance of that tracking of those numbers from failing to do it. So I agree with you 100% there. In this show, our tagline is exploring work, love, and life. You have a take on that. So what is your take on that subtitle of exploring work, love, and life?

Randy Gage:
What is my take on that? I guess my take on that would be the exploring part is the key because to me the super power is curiosity. Approaching thing with it. You don’t have to be a child, but you have to approach life like a child. If you see a child, they’re so inquisitive, they’re so curious. And if you want it to be analytical about what your toddler is doing or your baby, they’re like a scientist. What does scientists do? They have a hypothesis and then they test the hypothesis to see if it works. So the toddler picks up something and puts it in his mouth, sticks it in his ear. I mean, he’s just doing what a good scientist would do, but we beat that out of kids. “Stop. Don’t do that.” And you know what I mean? And we teach them all this regimented structure and everything. Whereas we would do better to take more from them instead of giving them more from what we have, which is, “Hey, explore life, be inquisitive, be curious.”

Mike Domitrz:
So when you’re being curious and let’s say you come up with a big idea, you said earlier, “Hey, if you don’t have the money for it, that’s a sign right there of a red flag.” Are there other certain questions you ask yourself when the big ideas come to you? When you’re having that exploration, that curiosity, and you go, “Ooh, what about this?” Is there a benchmark you run it against? Like, “Okay, that intrigues me. Now here’s my key factors that I need to look at whether I want to actually keep pursuing that or not.”

Randy Gage:
Yeah. Key questions I ask are, okay, first of all, does this add value, solve problems or both? Because if it doesn’t do at least one of those things and hopefully both of those things, then it’s not really going to be a viable thing. The reason why Uber could disrupt the taxi industry, it added value, it solved problems. There was a lot of problems with the taxi business model. Airbnb, it solves problems, it adds value. So I look at that first and then I look at other things like if it’s an investment I’m looking at, “Hey, am I going to 10 times this? Can I 100 times this? Because it’s private, it’s a two time or a four time thing. It’s probably not a good investment.” You’re looking for 100X if you’re going to invest in a venture.

Randy Gage:
I’m asking, okay, what’s inevitable? Does this solve a problem that’s going to be around? Is this going to be a… Why has nobody else created this? Why has nobody else come up with this idea before? Am I really a genius who discovered the solution to the biggest problem that nobody ever solved? Or am I just deluding myself? So I want to know that. I want to know… When I wrote Risky is the New Safe book, that was kind of, I always say I write all my books for me, but that one especially, I was crystallizing my thinking in terms of how you can look around the corner and see what’s going to happen in the future. Because any futurists will tell you the future is always here. It’s already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.

Randy Gage:
So if we look at right now, the thing I’m thinking about is there are two billion people on earth on broadband right now. Within five years, four billion more people will be on broadband because of the satellites that will be put out and broadband will be accessible to virtually six to almost maybe even 7 billion people on earth. That will be cataclysmic. That will change our life in so many ways. What that will do for communication and networking and marketing and business and education. And so I’m always looking at things like that. I want to know, what is going to be different in the future that’s going to impact this?

Randy Gage:
And then also the thing I learned from Jeff Bezos was, because he’s really brilliant in the sense that he did a letter to, in his shareholder letter or maybe it was just an interview I saw with him, but he was talking about, “Everybody’s looking for what’s going to be different in the future. I’m always looking for what’s going to be the same.” Yeah. So he was saying five years from now, are people going to care about low prices, fast delivery, free delivery? Are these things still going to be attractive five years from now? And the answer is yeah, those are not going to change. So that’s what he built his business plan around. So those are the kinds of things I like to look at.

Mike Domitrz:
Right. I mean McDonald’s did that. It wasn’t the burger that revolutionized McDonald’s, it was the speed, right? And people were going to always want fast food. They got that concept and ironically, our world’s only gotten more fast and more chaotic, thus creating more of a demand ironically. And yet it was considered innovative at the time so that’s an awesome insight there. I appreciate you sharing that. Now when it comes to this, we’re talking about work, life, love. Do you believe there’s a balance, a work life balance? What’s your approach to that?

Randy Gage:
Yeah, I think the idea of work life balance is preposterous. It’s one of those ideas that sound good, look good, look good on paper. We have people written volumes about it, books about it, do seminars about it, TED Talks about it. Nobody’s ever in perfect balance. That’s just craziness. And if you are, I mean obviously there’s probably three points during your life, if you live to be 112 there’s probably three points that for half an hour you are in exact life balance between your health and your hobbies and your family and your work and your career and whatever. You’ve got to be flexible with that. If you just launched your company and you want to do an IPO 12 months from now, you’re going to have to go out of balance and work 80 hours a week because that’s what it’s going to take probably.

Randy Gage:
If your elderly parents are really… And they’ve got a degenerative disease and you know they’ve only got, one of them only has 60 or 90 days to live, you’re going to dial way back from the work and you’re going to spend as much time as possible with your parent. Or if you’re a caregiver for an elderly person, or caregiver for a person with special needs, that’s going to draw more out of balance in that. And then there’ll be other times where you’re going to get out of balance in other ways. So to me, my take on that is you want to mindfully choose what you want to be out of balance with.

Mike Domitrz:
I love that language. It’s so, so brilliant because I, like you, never believe in work life balance. I think there’s work life integration and even that’s a dangerous phrase because it sounds like it’s only work and life and it sounds like work is against life. It’s like it’s not part of life. It should just be life integration and the 12 components of life in there because work life implies that it’s either work or life, which is a weird concept right from there. But I love the mindfulness of where my integration, if it’s 80% there, 10% there, 5% there. It’s been intentional, right? That makes all the world.

Randy Gage:
Yeah, you’re launching this new business, so you get the family together and you have a meeting, “Hey kids, here’s the deal. I’m going to be working at night, overtime for the next six months, it’s going to be like… But here’s the deal, my goal is to open up this business on such and such a date. And once that happens, we’re going to take five days and we’re all going to Disney World and we’re just going to spend…” And you talk with the people around, communicate, create expectations so nobody feels left in the lurch and nobody feels neglected. But again, the key word there is mindful. If you’re mindful about what you’re doing, then you’re going to come up with a result you’re looking for.

Mike Domitrz:
Well that walks us perfectly in the next discussion because when people think of Randy Gage, they think of the word prosperity. Anybody who knows you, that’s what they tend to think of. And that’s a mindfulness concept. It’s a mindset. So what does prosperity mean to you? What do you think most people think it means versus how you evaluate?

Randy Gage:
Well, most people think it means money and material things. And then… Well, let me take that back. There’s a good number of people who think it’s money and material things. And then there’s another good number of people who think it’s not money and material things. And I think both groups are wrong. I think true prosperity includes money and material things and health and wellness, satisfying relationships that enhance your life, a spiritual grounding, being a conscious of the greater environment around you. That, to me is true prosperity where it’s very… Prosperity needs to be very holistic. And of course, the superficial thing as well, “I just want to get rich. When I’m rich I’ll be happy.” No, money doesn’t buy happiness. Now, money and material things do allow you creative expression and that can contribute to your happiness, right? But money and material things in and of themselves will not make you happy.

Randy Gage:
But the other side of the coin is these people say, “Well, it’s just money and it’s just things.” That’s not the right approach either, I don’t think. Because God, I had a veneer crack, one of my teeth, I have a veneer. And I went to the dentist. It was $4,000, the bill. I’m like, “How would poor people pay for this?” They wouldn’t because that’s what poor people do is they don’t get good dental care. What was the other thing I did the other day, something I went in and the bill was whatever, and I was like, “Ah, how could…” But again, how do poor people do that? They don’t do that. They have limitations to their life and I know because I was broke for the first 30 years of my life. So I can look back on that time and really know money really is an important element of prosperity. It really needs to be all of those things.

Mike Domitrz:
And Randy, I know you’re someone that comes from a place, spirituality, I’ve seen you speak about it. And so for the person who pushes back and says, “But wait, material things, that’s focus on yourself and it’s material, it’s not about giving back to the world and serving the world, that’s the wrong focus.” How do you respond to that?

Randy Gage:
If you tell me your highest purpose in life is to serve God, I’m going to lock up my wallet and run away from you. If you tell me you’re just here to save the planet, I’m going to run shrieking from the room because I think you’re more dangerous than a con artist. Because a con artists, we know they’re con artists, whereas people who give up everything for themselves to serve everyone around them, they’re just emotionally crazy people. They’re not well-balanced. They’re not mentally stable. It’s not a healthy relationship. Right? It’s not a healthy mindset.

Randy Gage:
Ayn Rand wrote, she’s famous of course for Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, but her best work, I think was a book called The Virtue Of Selfishness, which was a collection of essays put together into a book. And when it came out, there was of course all this consternation and she was being interviewed and said, “Why do you use that word selfish?” And she said, “For the very reason it scares you.” But I do think there is virtue in selfishness in the sense, not of be a hedonistic jerk, but there is virtue in understanding that you have to get your own needs met first before you can help anyone else.

Randy Gage:
So you’re telling me, “Yeah, I want to save them rain forest. I want to save the whales and I want to save the tofu burgers and…” Great, but if you can’t find the money to pay your rent, you’re not helping anybody. So you have to get your own house in order for you to be able to help others. And money and material things are part of that. If you don’t have security, if you don’t have shelter, if you don’t have financial security, you’re not going to be able to help other people or causes or the greater world. So there is, again, not to be hedonistic and just self-serving and everything’s all about you. No, but you pick things that enhance your life. I’m a writer, I’m writing all day long so I don’t go and buy groceries. I pay extra money to Instacart and I tip the guy $10 and get them delivered. So that’s a selfish thing. Okay, you could call me selfish, but it makes sense to me.

Mike Domitrz:
Well, what’s interesting about that too is you’re helping someone else in that process. Somebody is getting paid for all those services, and that’s what people forget. I heard a quote in the last year that I loved, which is, “If you think money can’t…” Now this argument of, it can’t buy happiness, this comment back was, “If you think money can’t buy happiness, you haven’t given enough away,” which is when you have certain levels of income, you can actually bring happiness to others through your financial stability in what you’re able to do. You referenced that a little bit there in what you’re able to give back.

Randy Gage:
Yeah, and the other part of that equation is, poverty doesn’t buy happiness either.

Mike Domitrz:
Right. So why not have safety?

Randy Gage:
Poverty sucks. Okay? Poverty sucks. Poverty causes people to lie and cheat and steal and even kill. There’s nothing noble or spiritual about prosperity.

Mike Domitrz:
Did you mean prosperity or poverty?

Randy Gage:
I mean poverty.

Mike Domitrz:
Okay. I just thought I’d make sure. All right, so the person who pushes back on that going, “Wait, Randy, are you saying everybody who’s in poverty is more likely to be bad people?”

Randy Gage:
No, I’m saying that as much as they want to be good people, they’re not going to be able to help other people as much as they could if they were financially viable.

Mike Domitrz:
Yeah, yeah, that makes total sense. And you’re a big believer in strive big, strive for spectacular failures. So what do you mean by spectacular failures? And is there a danger that if it’s too big of a dream, as you’re getting there, you’re not getting there, you start to give up sooner because it doesn’t feel realistic?

Randy Gage:
Yeah. Great, great question. And let me give a resource to your listeners. I also do a podcast like you do, it’s called The Power Prosperity Podcast. And I would suggest people look it up and find the episode called Rethinking Failure. It’s come out just like a week or two ago, Rethinking Failure, Power Prosperity Podcast.

Mike Domitrz:
And I’m going to have this in the show notes too.

Randy Gage:
Okay, perfect. Because, it’s always cute and catchy to say, “Sacred cows make the best hamburgers,” and, “You want to fail fast and you want to fail big.” But let’s not misconstrue it to mean you should intentionally try to fail. No, we don’t want that. But here’s what I know with every fiber of my essence is that if you’re not willing to fail spectacularly, then you’re not doing something amazing. If you don’t have a risk of a major failure, I would say you’re mired in mediocrity. Because to really accomplish something great, you have to, for Elon Musk to get people to Mars, he’s got to be willing to chance a spectacular failure, for him to make Tesla electric car company work, he’s got to be willing to chance a spectacular failure. Jobs who was willing to take the chance of a spectacular failure with Apple.

Randy Gage:
So that’s the approach. And again, one of the things I say on that podcast is approach your ventures like a venture capitalist does. They create a fund, they’re going to invest in a hundred ventures and they know that 60 of them probably aren’t going to make it to market at all. 30, 35, will make it, but they won’t really be a big return on investment. Some of them will pivot and be successful, some won’t. But hopefully two out of that hundred will be the unicorns that just go crazy.

Randy Gage:
If they give it their best shot, if they run the business with integrity, they keep the investors informed and then they come and say, “Hey, we’ve just found, you know what? The market is just not buying it. They’re just not into this product. It’s not working. We’re going to shut it down. We’ve got 20% of the money left. We’re going to refund that to the investors. And we gave it our best shot.” If they were honest and did their best, you would invest in them again, you’d say, “Hey, they ran it right. It didn’t work. But I believe in that CEO.” So give yourself that same benefit. That, “Hey, okay, so I had some failures, but that’s just part of my portfolio.” There’s lessons, again, if you learn from the lessons, then it’s going to be all right in the end.

Mike Domitrz:
Absolutely. And so Randy, what’s the most important thing you want people to take away from your work?

Randy Gage:
You were born to be prosperous. There is so much programming against that. There’s so much negative limiting beliefs, mind viruses floating out there that money is bad and rich people are evil and it’s spiritual to be poor. You just got to blow up all those lemony beliefs and you’ve got to recognize that you are meant to be healthy, happy, and prosperous.

Mike Domitrz:
Well, and what I love about that is if somebody is saying, “Well wait, I’m coming from a place of faith or spirituality.” If you are, then you must believe God wanted you to be prosperous, right? I mean that would be common sense that God didn’t want you to just suffer forever with no success, with no victories. In fact, God wants you to find those victories and make an impact in this world, make a positive impact with those victories. So I think that’s what works so beautifully along the way. This has been a great conversation. Love all your insights. I want to make sure everybody can find you. The good news is it’s easy because your name sounds the way it spells, which is randygage.com, which is G-A-G-E.com. So randygage.com. The show is the Power Prosperity is the podcast that’s out, Rethinking Failure is the episode you already referenced. We’ll also have your Twitter account on our show notes. Thank you so much, Randy.

Randy Gage:
Thanks for having me on, great conversation today.

Mike Domitrz:
Well, I appreciate that. And for our listeners, you know what’s next? It is question of the week. Before I answer this week’s question of the week, I’d love to ask you a question, would you please subscribe to this podcast? The respect podcast with Mike Domitrz? By subscribing, you can make a huge impact. Now you might be wondering, “Mike, how does my subscribing to your podcast make a huge impact?” Well, here’s how. For every person that subscribes, it raises the rankings of the show in the search engines. So for people who care about respect, like yourself when they’re doing a search for podcast, they’re more likely to find this show, thus providing an awesome opportunity for us to spread more respect around this world and all you do is hit subscribe under your podcast.

Mike Domitrz:
Plus, the second benefit is, by subscribing, you automatically get every episode right into your phone or whatever device you’re listening to the podcast on. It happens automatically, so subscribing also makes your life easier. Now let’s get into this week’s question of the week. Oh, and by the way, you can always ask your questions of the week by joining us on Facebook in our discussion group. It’s called The Respect Podcast Discussion Group. Go there on Facebook and ask whatever questions you would like me to answer and/or address in this segment of the show, and then listen to each episode to find out when your question is included.

Mike Domitrz:
This week’s question is, Mike, what’s an additional quote you really like about respect? Now, the one I’m sharing this week, I talk about when I’m doing workshops for corporations and organizations, whether it’s with their leadership, their management, or the entire organization. It’s Bryant McGill and the quote is, “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” End of quote. The reason that’s so beautiful is that when I travel the world working with audiences of all different ages and all different sizes, especially in the corporate world and we talk about, what does respect feel like and look like, people say, it’s to be heard, to be seen, to be valued, and to be heard for what I’m saying, not just what they want to take out of what I’m saying. So to truly listen is one of the most respectful acts you can ever engage in.

Mike Domitrz:
Do you know what I would love? I would love to hear your answer to this week’s question of the week. So would you please answer what your answer would have been if you were asked that question today on the show? All you do is go to our Facebook page, we have a special group where we have these discussions called The Respect Podcast Discussion Group. So The Respect Podcast Discussion Group and share with us, what would your answer have been to this week’s question of the week? And if take a moment, post us a new question for future episodes. What question would you like to hear me answer on an upcoming episode? That’s all done on Facebook in our special group, which is The Respect Podcast Discussion Group. Can’t wait to see you there.

Mike Domitrz:
Thank you for joining us in this episode of The Respect Podcast, exploring work, love, and life. And this episode, like every episode is brought to you by our organization, The Center For Respect, which you can find it, centerforrespect.com. And of course you can find me, your host, Mike Domitrz at mikespeaks.com. Thank you so much for joining us.

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