Ep. 129 – How To Lead A Great Life with Randy Garn
Rob: All right well, welcome to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners wherever you are in the world today. I have a person that we’re gonna talk with today who I consider to be one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and you’ll quickly realize that and as you start to listen to some of his stories and hear some of the background and a little bit about Randy. But let me introduce Randy because, I don’t say that lightly when I say he’s one of the most respected people I know and not just by me but might many many other people who I know, that says a lot about Randy. He started out as a student body president at Ricks and while he was there I said, “You know Randy, is there anything you haven’t done?” Because he’s done all these things and he looked at his phone and he showed me this picture of him riding a bull while he was in college. Not only was he study body president, he did some bull riding while he was there, which immediately my respect level went through the roof for him when I saw that. He went on to the Harvard OPM Program. He starred and sold several businesses very successfully. He has six children, a beautiful wife who’s amazing in her own right. One of the things that stands out to me most about Randy, amongst all his success’ and all the people he knows, he’s probably the most connected person I’ve ever met. The thing that really stands out the most about Randy is his impeccable character and honestly, he genuinely cares about other people and helping them succeed and that’s one of the reasons I believe Randy has been so successful himself is because he wants to see other succeed and he comes across very genuine people realize that he’s very sincere in what he does. So without further ado, one the most successful people I know and down to earth, just loving, kind people; Randy Garn!
Randy: Well, thank you Rob! I really really appreciate you saying those kind words and I feel the same about you and what you and your dad have built with BYB and the whole leadership thing is so critical in everybody in all facets of our lives and so I’m learning to be a great student of yours.
Rob: Yeah, well that goes both ways! It’s always hard too, when someone introduces you and says all these amazing things, it’s like what do you say after that? But Randy really is amazing! Do you think, Randy, if you wouldn’t mind just giving them a brief background on you that I didn’t cover? You know, where you’re from, a little bit about you, anything that you think would be valuable for someone to know?
Randy: Yeah, I think it is important to know where we’ve come from and you know, I grew up in a really small town called Sugar City, Idaho. You know, when I left I think there’s 1150 people there after I left. And I mean it was just an amazing place and I’ll get back to that. Why I think our roots and the way we are raised, and the way we’re raising our children are so critical for the people that we become, and especially with character and integrity and in leadership. And so I grew up and my dad was a high school football coach for 29 years. He’s going into medicine and then you know he had these four boys and he’s like, “Man I’m gonna buy a ranch and I’m gonna be a football coach. I’m gonna teach my kids how to work.” So I mean he sacrificed on what he could have done but he wouldn’t give it up to the world and so you know, I grew up in a really fun environment. It’s so funny when I meet a lot of leaders, they’re like, “You know my parents abused me,” or you know, “I was in some serious trauma,” or other things happen and that makes people great. You know when they can overcome those things, but I was actually fortunate enough to be led by a really, really good man that told me that I could do anything I wanted in life and actually mentored me and stuck with me the whole time. And so, somebody that I love and admire and he’s still alive today and I respect him and he still gives me a quote every night and how he helped build me up every night and so that was some of my roots was growing up in that type of environment.
Rob: Did I hear you right to say that you either rode a tractor or a truck or something and he would always be playing these tapes of some these greats?
Randy: Yeah. In fact, we had about, you know it was about a twenty-minute ride out to our ranch where we raise cattle and horses. And so, we had about 300 head of cattle and we had 50 horses at one time so I mean it wasn’t a huge ranch but it was a ton of fun and we would listen to Denis Waitley and Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar and The Strangest Secret from Nightingale and that’s some of the things that I’d listen to and then he’d mentor me. We’re out there fixing fences and all that and he’d talk about it. You know, we grew up in kind of a family to where we are God-fearing and we literally would say family prayers at night and then put it in and everybody in, ready? Break! Go Garns! And so it was just fun. It was a good time, so yeah we listened to a lot of the classics and you and I did a call with Denis a couple of days ago and he’s a great man, but that’s some of the things I grew up on.
Rob: Yeah, and the irony is all these very people who you grew up listening to now, you become very close friends with them. In many cases, helping mentor them as it goes both directions and ironic how you know that fate aligned that way. Speaking of this, interestingly, we were just with the group today and was talking about estate planning and one of the things was mentioned was often times we think about estate planning as it’s just financial. You know, here’s what happens to your finances. This particular person leading the discussion was saying, you know what? It’s so much more that! It’s a legacy that you’re leaving. It’s a legacy of character. It’s a legacy of what you’re teaching your children and in so many ways it sounds like you’re such a product of what your parents created for you in the environment.
Randy: Yeah, I would totally agree with that in a lot of ways. And so I mean now I’ve got a family of my own, married probably one of the most awesome women on earth and I’ve got an amazing life. In a lot of times, I do, I talk a lot about kind of the home court advantage. You know I had a CEO reach out to me the other day and he’s like, “Man I’ve got two kids and you know things are rough at home. How do you balance everything? How do you grow a business and keep things right personally and stay fit and do all these things? I can’t keep it up!” And he’s like, “Randy, you’re probably single and being able to do all these things!” I was like, actually I’m not! I have an amazing wife. I’ve got six kids. I’ve got two sets of twins. I run multiple companies and we’re growing things like crazy! He about lost it! He’s like, “How in the world do you balance all that?” You know, I said, well first off you got to have to make sure you get everything right both personally and professionally because, for me, there’s no distinction. And I know a lot of people try to put things in silo but for me, Rob, there’s no distinction between who you are at business and who you are home and who you at church or who you are personally and professionally. It’s you’re one person and so the way that you show up in one place is the way that you really show up everywhere.
Rob: Ooh, we could stop the podcast right now. If we all just live that, what a huge impact it would have on the world. Randy, actually segways into a thought I had and that was you know one of the things that is amazing about you, is the relationships you have with so many people. And so you had a chance in your life in these different associations to meet some of the most incredible people and influencers on earth. So, from all these people you’ve met and you just describe some of it right there, if you had a narrow down to a few things what sets apart those who you most admire and respect and why?
Randy: I thought about this a lot you know and I thought about this over a great deal. I actually wrote a book called, “Prosper.” We hit The New York Times in 2011 and I wrote the book with a close friend of mine. We started another company that we sold in 2014. But for me, it’s those people that are balancing money and happiness and sustainability. And to be able to do that, that’s where prosperity really comes in for me. But to be able to do that, you have to have some real deep character and there’s a few people in my life that I really truly respect. You know, I just was on the phone with Brandon Steiner from Steiner sports and Harvey McKay – I’m on his advisory board. He’s written 13 books, “Swim with the Sharks,” and you know, “How to use your head to get your foot in the door,” and many others. But for me, it’s people that have really lived the law of reciprocity and that you know, Brandon always says, “Do as much as you can for as many people as you can for as often as you can without asking for anything in return. And watch what life does to you and for you.” And so, I watch them and I watch how successful they are but also successful is more than just monetarily. It’s like it’s rich in relationships and rich in being able to do business development and rich in being able to call anybody at any time and have access instead of you know trying to pay your way into things. You have access to the things you’d never have access to because you’re such a giver. That’s one characteristic that I know the people that I really admire and love.
Rob: Yeah it’s interesting you say that because, really, we live in a world where it’s almost counter to our culture. At least from my perspective, there’s so much in the world of what’s in it for me and how do we grow and I and we and us and what you described is so powerful and I just think, you know, our listeners don’t know this but you have this ranch up in Wyoming, this beautiful ranch in a valley called Star Valley and you bring people there often go fishing and take some time in the outdoors and you had a couple of people who from the outside would be considered very successful recently and I remember you show me the pictures of the dad catching a fish with his son and taking that time and so many things come from that. Not only was that a relationship that you had with him, where just purely giving your time not only giving but creating a rich experience. It’s not even just a lunch or dinner, you’re out there fishing side by side and secondarily there’s this dad fishing with his son for what looked like one of the first times in his life and the rich experience that they were having together and his son will never forget that and so I think you’re one of the epitomes of what you just described.
Randy: Well, I mean that we were doing that for them and they become even deeper friends right? There’s another principle that I live, one is the law of reciprocity but the other big one, Rob, that’s really been effective for me is called the experience economy. Joesph Pine wrote a book called “The Experience Economy” and that’s why we have you know the Trout Ranch. We’ve got other properties and then I do, I take a lot of people up too. Got some great friends up at Sundance and Chad Lindebaugh and the guys that run Rocky Mountain Outfitters or we go horseback riding or fly fishing or zip lining and you go have an experience with somebody and a lot of times you’ll spend the whole day together and maybe talk business about twenty minutes. When they kind of come out for the whole day and we have a deal done. And so a lot of times people get so stuck in to, you know, “We will meet you at the hotel,” or wherever. I love to get out and do stuff with these guys that never experienced the things that we can offer. So I’m really big on the book by Joseph Pine called “The Experience Economy,” to generate deep meaningful, relationships but also drive tremendous value and move the business forward in a big way naturally.
Rob: Yeah that’s awesome. I mean there’s another terminology: transactional versus transformational. I mean, lunches are great, dinners are great but what you’re talking about is the spirit of good, better, best. Taking something that’s good and making it way, way better because it’s so rich, it’s so deep and so real. I mean you’re out in the outdoors and so much amazing things that can happen from that. So building on that what you just described there, and maybe now zeroing in on you not so much on others, but from your own life experiences, what are two or three of your biggest lessons learned through life? I mean you’ve seen so much now. What are one, two or three of those lessons learned that you feel could we have a real impact in the lives of our listeners and what tips would you share from your own experience?
Randy: From my own, experience, I think some of the biggest things are, you know you don’t need to please everyone. And I think early on in my career, you know the most valuable asset that any of us have is time – is our time. And so I have a formula for whether I’ll do business with others or not and it’s a formula that I actually learned from it another gentleman that does partner with this up at the top of the trout ranch. It’s called you’re the P. over your E. squared. Take look at fractional equations get your P. over your E. squared that means that your principles are higher than your ego or economic interests, always. I always look at somebody and I say, at the end of the day is as their principles other principals higher than their ego or their economic interest in something and will they stick to that more so because I have done business and I’ve done things with individuals where, man, it looks on paper like it’s going to be a fantastic, amazing, awesome opportunity and we’re going to crush it and we’re all gonna be billionaires and you know being able to give back and do all the stuff but the end of the day you know that something’s just not right and I’ve actually got some pretty good Spidey senses for that, where you just know that there’s just something that’s just not right and I went forward with that is like I haven’t quite figured that out you know when I was younger but now I have. If it just doesn’t chemistry, doesn’t fit right or like something just doesn’t feel like, “Oh heck yeah. We’re gonna crush this, we’re gonna do this!” if you leave a meeting and you feel like I just I don’t know if I am in. It doesn’t mean that they’re always unintegrous or whatever it may be, but it’s always been where their ego or their economic interest don’t align with mine, it has not ended up being a good thing.
Rob: That right there just to pause, I know you have one or two more to say, but that is a huge, huge deal. You know it’s interesting as we put together the book you know as you well know Become Your Best and ironically used the word principles – The 12 principles of highly successful leaders. And in doing so interviewing hundreds of people and you try to look for these patterns of success and what sets apart great leaders and high performing teams from everyone else. And so you see that there’s this pattern that emerges there’s where the 12 principles come from. At the same time, it was really interesting because another pattern emerged and it was at the very same principle but when they were violated. And one of the things you see over and over in CEOs and leaders that at least was from my experience and perspective was their downfall was their ego.
Rob: And when ego became so big that it got in the way the progress of the company or got in the way of the finances so they couldn’t or they couldn’t take input – the ego, was in many cases, their downfall. And we have several coaching clients right now and part of the reason I know this is, “Hey I’ve got a nice present or so and so and their egos got so big, how do I handle this?” Because it’s kind of killing our business. So just to reinforce it, what a great thought that is so P over E squared, is that right?
Randy: P over E squared – so your ego and economic gain, but you’re right, I mean there’s been, in fact, we just met with another amazing, amazing man and he said the best CEOs in the world are those that have humility. Isn’t that interesting? They have humility and they follow their principles. Because you can do anything, I mean you can have success for a short period of time but if your ego and your economic interest and you get too greedy, it’s gonna get in the way and it’s going to stop you from growing and the best CEOs both have humility and also give credit where credit’s due. I mean, there are different forms of ways you can pay people. One of the best ways that I know how to pay people is to give them credit.
Rob: Yeah, make them the hero. Yeah, that’s really good. Any other thoughts on that lessons learned from your past experiences? I mean that’s a fabulous one right there.
Randy: Yeah, I think the other big one for me is something that again my dad, he is just an amazing man and I can’t wait for you to meet him but one of the things; I was leaving for college and he told me one thing and I wrote it down. I’ll never forget in this state is like my first day going up from college. I just got back from living in the Philippines for two years and literally had like four days until I start college and he said, “Randy, I want you to know one thing is that if you don’t have your own goals then someone else will use you for theirs.”
Rob: Wow. Yeah, that’s powerful.
Randy: So, you think about that whether you’re a CEO or you know working for somebody or whatever that is but again you know if you don’t have your own goals then someone else will use you for theirs. So I work closely with a lot of very high powered people in on some advisory boards and we work on strategy. If you do not have your own personal strategic plan and if you don’t write down those principles like you guys talk about like leadership like when I went to your live event, it was awesome! Because you were really pushing people to write down and to really manifest what they wanted to accomplish and so that was like one of the biggest key advice that had ever been given to me is, you know, “Randy if you don’t have your own goals someone else will use you for theirs.” And I know you guys do a lot of that with what you do and even this year, BYB Daily Journal that I’m using and everything else it’s so critical, to set those goals and know exactly what you’re doing -every single day, every single week, every single month and execute well.
Rob: Yeah, because the whole point is to lead a life by design rather than live a life by default.
Rob: And you know the research, backing up what you just said, is that a person is 90% more likely to accomplish something when they have a clearly written goal. Yet on the other side of the scale, on average only 10% of people have clearly written goals and so getting very intentional and focused. But I love that quote, I wrote it down. I’m gonna use that again in the future because it’s so spot on. “If you don’t have your own goals someone else will use you for theirs.”
Randy: Exactly right.
Rob: That’s a good one. I like that. You know, we’re sitting here talking Randy and so many people listen to this podcast because their businesses in a leadership position or you know they want to be a better employee, yet many people also have these families at home, they’re in a relationship with someone else and a lot of what you’re saying now goes right back into the home, doesn’t it?
Randy: Well, it does. I mean that’s why I said it. It really does. You think about your family, to think about your most valuable asset. To me, it’s my children. I actually literally plan time to spend time with them or planning out you know our whole entire year; when we’re doing vacations and all that. When I was younger, we didn’t plan our vacations and then somebody else put something on there like, “I’m sorry honey, we really can’t go to San Diego,” or “We can’t go to Hawaii this month of August, because I actually have an event I’m speaking at or doing.” But now, we do have to plan those things out or you will miss baseball games, you will miss opportunities for your family and family things and so, why do we work so hard? Literally, for me, it’s because so I can actually give my family that things that they need so I don’t want to miss that time especially the prime of their life. And so, I don’t want to be one of those guys you know like Cat Stevens, “A cat’s in the cradle,” where I didn’t spend time with my most valuable assets so I think it does spill over to home and again that’s part of my whole thing on home court advantage. You got to plan those things out or else other people use your time for other things.
Rob: I’m so in agreement on that, absolutely! And, everything you’re talking about, not only planning and being intentional with our children and with our spouse. I just met someone at a conference, Randy, last week and the two people walked up and, it’s not a credit to me or you. It’s the principle. That’s what you’re talking about. And they just said this short hour just changed my life and they say, “Well, you know I haven’t been on a date with my spouse in over a year.” It is just because life – it’s so easy for life to come in and take over if we’re not being intentional planning and doing the things you’re talking about. Because, in our society, unlike in some others around the world, wow it’s so fast paced here and so we’re not intentional we run the risk of something else taking over our lives and suddenly we look back and say, “Wait a second, where’d time go and our kids around the house and our relationships? You know, what happened?” So I love that! If you want, Randy, since we’re about twenty minutes or so. I can’t believe it goes by that fast and I got to tell our listeners, something cool about Randy, that we don’t know, we’re in the very early stages but I just had this thought, it’d be fun to go to the Everest base camp store talking about experiential and this experience economy, and so we got on the phone and I asked for Randy, “Hey Randy, how would you like to go? And would this be some you might be interested in?” And we want to keep this to a small group and Randy was like, “Man I had this is as a dream of mine forever!” You know, I was thinking maybe it might be fun to take my will be, at the time my 18 old son with us now and we talk about these experiences and we’re in the early stages of planning and just before the podcast we’re thinking, you know, maybe 2019/2020, the thought is if we don’t plan it now, what’s the odds it’s something like that’s ever going to happen?
Randy: It’s so true, Rob and just think about that both! It will help us to get in shape to do that – that’s some serious, serious hiking but just think of the experience that we have that the group that will go will do something that we’ll never forget, right? And so you’re exactly right but we’re planning that after two 2019 or 2020 and you have to do that because time flies! Time flies so fast that if you’re not staying on top of the stuff you’ll miss out on living the intentional life is what I call it.
Rob: Hopefully my mother in law is not listening in this podcast because she doesn’t know that yet. So as we get ready to wrap up, maybe one more thing if you don’t mind Randy. I haven’t really asked you this yet. What’s an experience in your life that really, if you look back to say maybe that experience or one of the experiences that were one of the most influential experiences on you, help shape you and who you’ve become today? Would you mind sharing that?
Randy: Yeah, I mean, one that just comes to my mind that I’ll share with you. As you know, back in our company we started company back in 1999 and you know, it just exploded and back after two and a half years of being business and really profitable and growing and we had some people that came in and said, “Hey, we’ll give you all this money and you know we’ll take you IPO and we’ll do a reverse merger and you know we ended up doing the deal and it took us 3.5 or over 3 years to unwind it and it’ll cost millions of dollars to be able to do so and so that was one of my most valuable experiences because we said you know what these guys are really super smart you know they’re in their forties, they’re amazing, they’ve done business stuff but come to find out that it was really not what it was all out to be. I remember my business partner looking at me and he said, “You know what, if we’re waiting for all the smart people to show up, we’re actually here.” And we’re literally just looking at each other and so I think one of the biggest things is that I’ve learned in my life is to have confidence in myself, in that, if somebody else can do it, I can do it. So you can’t fear those things and it’s just like what’s the difference between a $4,000,000 company a $40,000,000 company and a $400,000,000 dollar company – that really is really good people and strategy but it’s a really good leader. Leadership is everything and so I stopped looking at other people to be my leaders and I started looking inward and started to build my own leadership qualities and traits and that’s been a big focus of mine I’d really say for the last 18 years or so. But it all stemmed from that experience.
Rob: How was that when you’re going through it at the time?
Randy: Oh bro, it was the worst ever. It was dark days, you know. It was it was really, really hard because we had all our employees that were also rooting and fighting for an understanding but it was a lot of prayers and in a lot of good things but we ended up you know really, really exploding after that as well, so I mean it’s those things that build character and put hair on your chest when you go through tough experiences so it was good.
Rob: It is. You know it’s interesting that’s what you shared and I think a lot of our listeners know that my dad went through similar experiences and it took him seven years. I remember him going down to the office with him. You know, speaking of being intentional, bringing everything back together. I remember running around the building – it’s a dark building but I’m down there in his office with him until like 9 pm. He’d work these 15 hour days – trying to get out of a similar dark period and from that experience, that was kind of a refiners fire for him to really shape him to who he became later on in life and they’re certain principles as a result of that and standards that we live by now as a company, for example, we will not operate with debt. I know that’s not the case in every industry and companies there are, you know, different thoughts on that but that’s one of the things that we will do. He will never get in that position again. It’s one of my personal mottos – the same principle. So it’s amazing what can come from those refiner prior experiences. Boy, they’re tough when you’re in the middle of them, aren’t they?
Randy: Yeah, and I learned too, you can’t go sometimes in life you can’t go around things or over things. Sometimes you just have to go right through them, you know?
Rob: That’s why you got the nickname. What do they call you as a fullback in high school? The little ball of hate?
Randy: Yeah, the little ball of hate. Back in the day. It’s a ton of fun!
Rob: Randy, thank you so much for being on this podcast. I mean you’re such an incredible friend, mentor, example and I think all of our listeners – I’m extremely confident they felt not only sincerity but who you are and why you’ve had the influence on people that you’ve had and who you’ve become. So if you wouldn’t mind, if there’s any way they can either contact you or any details that you share about how they can learn more about you? If someone wanted to reach out in some form or fashion – is that something you could share with them?
Randy: Yeah you know what, this is gonna be awesome because one of the software technology companies that we have is a marketing communications technology and it allows you to get really good at personal relationships and following up. It’s a company called Skipio and so the best way to get a hold of me as I’m really on my V. I. P. line and if you will just text me the words S K I P I O at 801 332 9909 and I’ll be able to be able to follow up with you and you’ll get a reply from me on some of the cool things that we’re working with on the how to be a really, really amazing communicator and how to be really good on follow up. So again it’s Skipio, just text keywords Skipio to 801 332 9909 and you’ll get a text right back from me with all my contact info.
Rob: Awesome, so text Skipio – S-K-I-P-I-O to 801 332 9909 is that right?
Randy: That’s correct.
Rob: And Randy will respond to you and we use Skipio. This is a great service if you’re in any type of business where the customer experience is important which should be just about all businesses. You can also go to skipio.com and see what they do is a business a little bit more. Very, very cool what they do and Randy will respond so that’s very generous of you to offer that out there for them Randy. Any parting thoughts?
Randy: You know the last parting thought that I have is that I hope that all the listeners are you know utilizing Becoming Your Best tools. Honestly, Rob, you came in and you spoke our company about what was it three months ago?
Rob: Yeah that in there. Somewhere in there.
Randy: And it has been it’s been amazing, both for myself but other people keep referencing it in our office so all of the listeners I’d say you know the most important thing to do is to continue to work on yourself and continue to become the best individual, the best human, the best person that you can, and that way you can really reach out to others in a big way. And so I’m just that’s the one thing but I’m trying to do a lot better is to be the best you know leader that I can be and change as many lives but I possibly can before I go to the other side. And, so the other thing is one last thing – relating back to that story, is that a lot of people think you know in today’s society it’s like you know well I should deserve that or I should you know that’s something that I deserve. I should deserve to be the CEO or I should deserve to have lots of money. I will tell you, that you really don’t get what you deserve in life. You get what you work hard for and what you negotiate. So those are the two things – the two principles I live by: you don’t get what you deserve in life you get what you fight, scratch, beg and plead for and negotiate. That’s what you end up getting in life so that’s part of my last leadership tip for everyone.
Rob: Well, that is so true and I certainly echo and feel the exact same as you do so. Randy you’re amazing! Thanks so much for being on the podcast. I know this is a huge deal for our listeners. It impacts me and it will certainly impact them so thank you for being here and everyone remember that one person can make a difference and it’s just like Randy said it’s you and I asking what can we do to make a difference so wishing you a great day and wonderful week where you’re at in the world.