Episode 166 – Living on Purpose with Brandon Steiner

Rob: All right Rob Shallenberger here. Welcome back to our listeners! Excited to have you with us wherever you’re at in the world. We have a great guest for the show today. This is Brandon Steiner out of New York. You’re going to hear a little bit more about him and his background. Very cool guy. First guy I know and have ever met to make a lot of money selling dirt and doing some other very cool things. You know Brandon is a seasoned veteran. He’s been around on a lot of cool things. He’s a CEO of Steiner Sports, which is the country’s leading sports and collectible and athlete marketing business. Has done a lot with the Yankees, big Yankees fan. So that’s going to get some of you excited and some not so excited. And he just finished a book called Living on Purpose which is a fabulous book, I’m holding in my hand right now. So out of New York, Brandon, grateful to have you here and thanks for being on the show today.

Brandon: Well thanks for having me on. I love a lot of teams, not just the New York ones and I’ve done really well with many teams around the country and loved sports been doing this for 30 years so this is my 30th year at Steiner Sports and grateful to be out with you today.

Rob: Some of our listeners may have heard your name others may not have. So if you don’t mind, take maybe a couple minutes to give a little bit of background about what you do and what Steiner Sports is all about and just help them learn a little bit more about you. If that’s all right Brandon.

Brandon: Some of the things I do will seem a little more common now but not so common when I started. So, I mean Steiner Sports, basically we market athletes. We’ve been doing that since 1987 and we help companies find the right athletes. we represent the companies. So if you have a company out there and you’re probably intimidated about how to find that athlete for spokesperson, that can be used for a trade show or PR play. We help find you the right match. Find you the right talent even if you’re a small company or a company who’s never used athletes before. And then we have the Steiner Collectibles which is licensing its sports collectibles. That’s the brand name many more people know us for. And we have partnerships for the lot of players. Mariano Rivera, Eli Manning and many teams around the country. We’ve had over the years from the Dodgers to the Yankees to the Nets to the Garden to Notre Dame and now we create collectibles and experiences for the fans and then get them actually pieces of the game as well. The game used football, a game used bat, a base and then stuff for the actual players and teams. So that’s kind of that’s the main gist.

Rob: Yeah. And I remember when we were together in Utah you had this you know, you had this dirt with you from Yankee Stadium and what a great entrepreneurial mind. The whole point is you can own a piece of Yankee Stadium or name the venue and you sell the dirt. And people love it. You know it’s a piece of history. So I was just fascinated by that. I thought that was a brilliant idea I’ve never seen anyone do that before. And very cool.

Brandon: Well there are several hundred sku’s on Steiner about the dirt. You know the thing about the dirt that I want people to not to get the wrong idea is that you’re in your first idea was never your best idea. And when the economy was bad you know, we were really trying to figure out something to be cool, inexpensive and that’s when we came up with the dirt and it just spiraled and it just turned into hundreds of different items: pens and coasters and photos and all kinds of different things that were able to build out from the dirt. So it’s been a fun product line and it’s not, I mean we do a lot of other stuff but people really note the dirt because it’s such a, I mean it’s great margins frankly. And we do really well with the dirt but and it really just came out of necessity to come up with something inexpensive that was fun for our customers.

Rob: Well let’s talk about your book. So you wrote this book Living on Purpose. You know there’s a wide swath of listeners, we have business executives around the world. We have a stay at home mom or dad. And everywhere in between and different range of experiences, ages across the board. So tell us Brandon what inspired you to write this book Living on Purpose? Why did you write it? And what’s the essence of it?

Brandon: I think the essence really is about most people think about doing well and then at some point they’ll do good. And I think it’s complete reversed. I think people are completely delusional that are on the road map. They’re just doing as well as they possibly can then somewhere down the road, they’ll do good when you should be doing as much good as you can and the byproduct of that will help you do well.

You know it’s with your health. You know when we get through this quarter then I go home I’ll have a catch my kid or I’ll take my wife out on a nice date. Let me just get through this one year. I got a lot of stress at work that’s why I can’t eat right and get healthy. And the book is really about faith, fortune, and fitness. And what most people don’t realize that success is so hinging on those three things. I’m not here to say get work/life balance, slow down. No. Keep going but go on a much more firmer platform by getting your health right and incorporating faith into your day to day work space and most importantly, you know, family and friends have to be respected. You can’t just assume that they’re going to just always be there even though you’re not.

So you know you’ve got to, you know, you gotta work your time management and your relationship with time and that’s the general gist of the book is a lot of people probably get much further than ever thought they were going to get. And I’m asking them to not stop but to take a pause. That’s the number one button on your remote that you use the least by the way a pause button. And I’m asking you to use that button, to take a little break and think a little bit about where you been, what you like, what you don’t like and make some adjustments and keep going. So that’s that’s the book. It’s done really, really well because it’s a book that for people that had some success but aren’t willing to just compromise just be successful just be good or great at what they do. They want to be significant. They want to be extraordinary. And if you’re somebody who wants to blow past success you’re not willing to just settle for being really good or great you want to be extraordinary then this is the book for you.

Rob: Yeah. So let’s get into just a little bit more specifically. You hinted at a few different areas there with the faith fitness and if you had to look at this book and say you know as you wrote it, what are two or three of the biggest lessons learned that you had while you wrote it and that now you feel like you’d like to communicate to others? I mean as far as take home value, we’ll use that phraseology. What would be two or three things that you learn in that you would really love to see people take from this book they can actually do and implement in their lives?

Brandon: The one thing you probably wouldn’t expect is that money does not resolve all your problems.

Rob: Nope.

Brandon: You know it’s so important that you know if you’re working really hard. I love the money grab. I like making money I don’t want there to be any confusion but it won’t resolve all your problems. I think the one thing that you probably wouldn’t expect out of the book was I would probably talk about how to make more money all day and I get into a spiritual conversation but I’m not sure that that will but so I think that you need to incorporate more spiritual conversations. But the one big takeaway would be fitness and you know most people don’t realize how important being, feeling good and working in their diet, sleep, exercise is. Now I’m not an expert. I went I’m just telling you what I did. You know I ran into a place where I ended up somewhat obese. I mean just not feeling well, overweight, overly stressed, and had no routine or working out, eating right. So I went to these fitness and health gurus and really took the best advice I could. And this is not over a year or two this is over about 15 years. And one of my favorite lines in the book is don’t worry about gaining or losing weight. Worry about gaining health.

Every day you should be worrying about gaining health the same way you’re trying to gain wealth. And if you manage your checkbook the same way you manage your health and that same kind of category of calories and just your numbers that your body consists of between protein, weight, muscle, you’re going to be on a road to a lot more success because with more energy and feeling better you’re gonna do more. You’re going to be better with your family, you’re going to be better with your kids and you’re going to be better at business. So I know there’s a lot of books out there. There’s no get fit scheme in this book. You know if you want to lose a lot of weight I mean or get fit quick you can cut off your arm and lose a lot of weight. I mean there’s a lot of ways to lose weight but I think it’s about gaining health and really understanding. Try to break it down so everyone’s body is different and everybody’s health is different. But the important part is to keep digging and keep searching and keep scratching till you figure out the keys of how to manage your body. The same way you’ve figured out and schemed and dreamed and hustle to figure out the way to make money in your business. I want you to scheme and hustle and grind to figure out how your body works the same way you did for your business.

Rob: You know I love that Brandon. It’s interesting because I’m sure you’ve seen this and we’ve talked about on this podcast before. Harvard did a study and there was a book that was just released from a guy that went over and lived in a village for a couple of months amongst these people whose average lifespan was in the 90s and he wanted to figure out you know why are these people living so long. Harvard asked a similar question. And what they found was there are five predictors of longevity. Number one are relationships. Number two is to have a clear purpose, in other words a vision. Number three and four and five you just touched on which is diet – what we eat, exercise and sleep. Those are the five predictors of longevity and you know it’s interesting how easy it is for any of us to let those things slip away from us in this busy chaotic world that we live in isn’t it. I mean life can just get a hold of us. I think we can all relate to that. And that’s exactly right. I’m looking right now at the table contents in your book and I’d like you to expound on two areas you have here in Chapter 7 – the negative energy trap. We talk a lot about energy and our focus on being great leaders and these high performance habits and how energy is such a big part of that in leadership whether we’re talking about leading our own life leading our family a team whoever it might be. What do you mean there by the negative energy trap? I’d love to have you expound on that.

Brandon: Well I think it’s such a critical thing about getting in touch with your past and get everything organized and cleared up and cleaned up in order to move to your present. And I think people don’t realize they think I don’t worry about that. I’m not talking to a brother or a sister or a friend or have a boss that screwed me. Many of us been have been dumped by boyfriend or girlfriend. I’ll give you two quick examples one you know I have an indoor basketball court at my house, and I have a hundred basketballs in my house, one hundred balls. I’m 60 I still play but I was turning to my trainer about a month ago and I looked at him and said can you believe I have 100 basketballs here I mean there’s no way I could use these hundred balls it’s insane. You know I’m a full court. People come over you have four or five balls. And the reason I have one hundred balls is because when I was a kid playing in the playgrounds of Brooklyn and we’d rub the balls all the way through to the point we didn’t have a ball. And many times we go out and play and we don’t have a ball to play. And it was like hours to find somebody that had a basketball. In my delusional mind I don’t want to wake up ever again and thinking we’re not going to have a ball to play. And in case one of the balls we’re using gets ruined I have a backup and a backup and a backup a hundred times over. Now how that story relates to some of the people listening is that that’s a trite thing that happened 45 years ago and I’m still carrying it forward at 60. Imagine that all the other things you’re carrying for when you’re a kid. Good, bad, and indifferent that I haven’t resolved. And all I need is sit down and resolve is say, “Brandon you’re never going to be without a basketball ever again. That was then this is now the circumstances have changed. If you need another ball, there’s always a store and you have the money to get whatever balls you want.” You’ve been dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend. You first thing you do when you meet somebody new. You know I’ve got to move slow. I got to take it easy I’m coming off a really rough relationship. Somebody just dumped me. Why? What is that new person have anything to do with a person who you broke up with that you’re heartbroken about? Nothing. And you carry it forward.

Rob: It’s almost like this the intent behind it is this internal defensive barrier, right? So that we don’t have to experience pain again. But in the very essence of protecting ourselves we’re also hurting ourselves.

Brandon: And what it ends up happening is the negative energy trap is about expectations. When expectations are not met or when you go through experiences of frustration and disappointment. You need to turn those expectations to appreciations. I’m glad I couldn’t find that ball because now every time I pick up a ball and it’s a really nice ball I appreciate it. And that was then. Times were tough. But now I appreciate that I’m able to have a few balls. I appreciate that I have a loving wife. I’m sure my wife’s not going to come home one day just break up with me like some girl did 35 40 years ago that broke my heart. But you got to go and get that clarity and I think most people get caught up in disappointment. That’s a negative energy trap. It’s just disappointment. It’s something you forecasted and what you thought you deserved and that is what the world gave you and the gap between that is disappointment. It’s expectations that are just not met. And those just linger. And that’s what stops you from passing success and moving from significant to extraordinary that negative energy trap that doesn’t allow more room for more success because it’s clogged up with some of the disappointments and failures. And until you go back and get it to forgiveness and until you go back and get into clearing up, and maybe you were just a bad boyfriend or girlfriend. You know all those things you just need to clear up and sometimes you need to forgive people if they’re not deserving of it. We call that mercy. But I think it’s a really huge part about why some people stop at success. Why would you stop it just being really good or great when you could be extraordinary. You see it all the time in sports. You see players that have talent to maybe be the best there ever was. And somehow, they get stuck and just being really good. Why? And I think it’s the negative energy stop stuff that’s happened before then that kind of clogs them down and holds them down with that negative energy trap.

Rob: And there’s I’ll even throw out one other thing Brandon I love that you just brought that up. I’ll throw out one other thing too as to why people stop. It’s been my opinion and experience that as you go out around the world and you look at all these different people including ourselves, I mean we’re all the same as humans and it takes a real focus on certain principles and high performance habits to get past this complacency trap that you’re talking about. The other one that I would suggest as a part of this is comfort people get into survival mode and they’ll do anything to survive. You talk about that when you were younger you do whatever it takes to go find a basketball. We’re gonna go do it. We’d talk for hours we’re gonna go find a basketball when we’re in survival mode we’ll fight, kick, and scratch to survive. Yet isn’t it ironic that people oftentimes have these “midlife crisis” in their forties or so and that also happens to be the time where many people are making enough money that they’re comfortable and they’re in a relationship where its comfortable, life is comfortable at that stage. And that’s so easy to settle and get complacent when we get comfortable and that’s…

Brandon: The worst thing you can say to yourself is I’m good.

Rob: Yeah.

Brandon: Like somebody you haven’t talked to in a while like how you doing I’m good. I’m like “oh God…”

Rob: Isn’t it true that when we get comfortable that’s when we put ourselves at the greatest risk of complacency? It happens in the fighter pilot world where I was for 11 years. If we…

Brandon: I heard a lot that I I’d love to ask you about your flying days and I think did you fly on Air Force One?

Rob: I was an Air Force One advance agent yes.

Brandon: That’s cool man. I want to go on that plane one day that’s one of my goals.

Rob: It’s a cool plane.

Brandon: It’s funny like funny like how you do all these things and that’s really what makes you into who you are today. The key is to keep doing them. You know good is I mean I last them I was good I think I was like two or three years old I think I was taking a nap and I was good. I don’t remember if I’ve been good ever since, I’m happy to some degree because I’m progressing, I’m challenged. That’s happiness: progressing, being challenged. Having the people that you love around you and happy that you they are around you that’s happiness. But you know you don’t want to be good you know when it comes to some of your challenges. Some of your successes you want to be constantly trying to move forward and just because you’re 45 or 50 and that’s who this book is really aimed towards people in their 40s and 50s saying wait wait wait a minute get back to that 20 year old mindset. Get back to a twenty five year old that was willing to work weekends nights or just find out and do whatever it took.

Rob: Yeah the fighter. I love it. There’s one more that I want you to touch on from the book here and then then we can wrap up the podcast before we do though you know just the thought of being comfortable and complacent. It’s something that can really happen to all of us. In fact in the fighter pilot community since we brought that up before we go fly there what we call these human factors. And as a flight lead we touch on these human factors every flight because those can kill us. Task saturation, mis prioritization, and complacency is one of those. And man it’s just so easy for any of us to settle in life and likely get complacent and I’ll just take 30 seconds here because I want to focus on you in this next topic. A good friend of ours and one of our seminars we were talking about the power of reading and that simple habit and how impactful maintaining that slight edge or that sharp edge in our minds. And he said you know I used to just read voraciously up until about four years ago. And ironically as I look back he had never connected that dot until that moment he said that’s when I lost my edge as a leader things started going down. I started making poor decisions and he was at the point in his life where he actually felt like it was time to hang it up in his business. And he said but I going to actually go back and experiment on this and so for three months he started reading voraciously in 20 minutes a day. And within the three month window he had his edge back. You know he said well why did I stop reading. If it was such a powerful habit throughout my entire life, why did I stop. And I think he’s just human. You know that can happen to any of us along the way if we’re not careful if we don’t maintain those habits that you’re talking about. So here’s the other one I wanted to just briefly touch on. I think it’s Chapter Two here. And it says fill yourself, forget yourself. And I’m not sure I understand that, but I think from what I do understand just by reading that title I love it. And so I’d like you to expound on that just a little bit.

Brandon: I think that again that’s a little bit of a faithful proposition. But I don’t think we’re all placed here. You just get down to it and we could talk about religion and if you believe in God and all these other things. But I just can’t imagine we’re all placed here so we could individually just fill our pockets as much as we possibly can just as we individually could be as rich as we can and simply just worry about ourselves. I just can’t imagine that was the premise of us and this planet and us as humans. I think if you really want to fill yourself, forget yourself and try to help as many people as you can as often as you can. And if you can play the grownup game do as much as you can for as many people as you can as often as you can expect nothing back. I think that people misunderstand, you know they think helping people is a burden. And I look at it as an opportunity that will lead you to share joy. And I think that regardless of how much money you’re making, regardless of what particular position you are in your life I think that when you can go and spend a part of your day to try to help others and expect nothing back, it’s the most joyful thing you could do. It’s unfortunate that a lot of people don’t realize that more towards the end of their life. And I urge people not to wait and don’t put anything in a finite way or write a check or do this do that. I mean any giving whether it be your time helping somebody in any way with guidance or money or just thinking of someone that you’re not really expecting anything back on will lead you to share joy. And I think that when you see teams especially because people relate to sports and I’m a sports guy I think you see some of the best teams are the ones that are willing to sacrifice whether it be their minutes or whether it just be maybe getting a shot up or I think the teams that want to sacrifice for themselves and the communities that are willing to sacrifice themselves, for others is the communities that really excel and thrive. And we’ve seen that even around this country and around this world. And I think we’re all put here more to help each other anywhere than to help ourselves. I use a reference in the back of book if you watch that movie “Oh God” with George Burns. I love that movie by the way. Everyone should watch it. It’s an oldie but goodie. And at the end John Denver who gets visited by God he’s complaining he’s talking about all the problems we have. And God says listen I’m not really sure that necessarily I have all the answers to all our problems, but I gave you the one big solution to just about every problem that you’ll face on Earth which is each other. That’s what we have to start gearing up towards is really using each other much much more. And looking to help each other much much more to resolve our own problems and community problems our worldwide problems. I’m faithful that we can all do that one day.

Rob: Now isn’t it ironic Brandon just as a side note and an observation that when typically we’re serving others that’s what we typically feel the best about ourselves. From the world’s perspective it should be all about ourselves. And that’s what brings almost the least amount of satisfaction. You said at the beginning you know money is, I call money a magnifier. It just magnifies who we are forgiving, kind, charitable before it magnifies our ability to do that if we’re selfish for a jerk magnifies our ability to do that to others. So I just love what you’re talking about there. It’s a good self-assessment for any of us.

Brandon: If you’re in your 40s you’re at half time if you’re an on any team you go into the locker room and you take a break and you say here’s what I like here’s what I don’t like. Let’s do more of this less than this. Let’s make some adjustments. Why wouldn’t you do it in your life? Why won’t you take a little break go into the locker room and most people just don’t have the ability and I’m urging them to use that button that you never use on your remote like I said earlier and use that button. The pause button. Get into the locker room. Take a breath. Sit down with the people that are most important to you and figure out what you want to do more of and less of it make the adjustments and there’s nothing wrong with going for bigger money grab. I’m not here to say don’t worry about the money. Now go for more money because if you make more money you can do more good. I feel like more money I make the more good I could do. I’m happy to do it. I still like making money. I like the game of making money so I enjoy that I’m not going to give it up. But I also enjoy helping people and giving up some of that money and some of my time to do that too and I’m not going to give that up either.

Rob: And I’m gonna throw one more thing in there. It’s been my observation Brandon that this what I mean by money is a magnifier and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Do what you can. If we’re not already giving it this moment right now of what we have you know the widow’s mite is a good analogy from the Bible. If we’re not already getting of what we have right now there’s no magic amount where that changes has been my observation. If a person is making one hundred thousand and they’re not giving already of their time and of their resources and means nothing’s gonna change typically at a million dollars that’s a moving target. Same thing a million all a sudden the next is 10 million that ten million now it’s 100 million. You know I could easily go spend 10 million.

Brandon: But what I would say is it’s never too late to be the person you want to be. And it’s never too late to start tomorrow and enjoy that feeling and don’t wait till it’s too late.

Rob: And that’s exactly I’m trying to get at is it doesn’t matter where we’re at financially today, start today for any of us because money is just a moving target. For most people the more they make the more they spend, and it just is never enough and that’s why we should start today and I love what you’re saying there. Brandon just reiterating how wholeheartedly I agree with you on that. So let’s finish this podcast with this. If you could just give someone and you’ve already given some great advice. One final piece of advice what would that be? If you were to sit across the campfire from someone you had a couple minutes with them and they’re just saying Brandon from your life share with me one or two pieces advice across the board that you feel could have the biggest impact.

Brandon: Well manage your body the same way you manage your bank account and take sleep and take rest and take you know something to scrap all that. Leave your cell phone home on a date night. Oh you know you tell me you work as hard as you do because you do it for your family, your wife, your husband, your kids, then when you go out a few hours a week leave your phone home don’t bring it with you. Don’t say you’re not going to look at it. Leave it home and tell your wife, send that message. I send that message to my wife twice a week that says when we go on a date night we go out for lunch on a Saturday afternoon you’re the most important thing and I want to catch up on everything that’s going on. I don’t want anything to interrupt that. And even though you are sidetracked during the week your wife or husband knows that those two or three times during the week they will have your undivided attention. And that’s what will keep your marriage fruitful and partnerships, marriage that’s important. The objective is not to get married. It’s to stay married and leaving your cellphone at home believe me your wife will drop when you tell her you’re not taking the phone with you bring the phone in case the kids are calling whatever, but don’t bring it with you. I urge you to try it. I know it’s going to be hard. Do not bring that phone into the bedroom and don’t bring it with you on date night.

Rob: I love it and I guarantee if my wife listens to this she will love it too.

Brandon: Try it. It’s a game changer. I changed my relationship with my wife because now I know those hours during the week where my wife’s coming from and she knows where I’m coming from we have those five, six hours of exchange and it’s been a game changer for me and I highly recommend trying and I know it’s gonna be hard because you think God knows what’s going to happen in those three hours when you’re out on a Friday night but that’s not true.

Rob: Well how about this. I won’t even try, I’ll commit to do it.

Brandon: Let me know how it works out. I think I’d like to go get it to be national. I’d like everybody and try it.

Rob: Yeah let’s do it. You know I’m sure there’s a lot of smiles on people’s phones and radios right now as they’re listening this podcast because they’re thinking oh yeah you know how many times are, we not really present, we’re there, but we’re not present. So I love it. I’m going to do that.

Brandon: There’s nuggets. The, book is filled with these nuggets and I’m a little bit of an out-of-the-box thinker. I’m not the smartest tack in the box. So a lot of these little things that just you’re going to read this book and you’re going to you’re going to find these little nuggets but it’s hard to find a book. I try to do this book I’m not telling you what to do but I showed you what I did, and I think our problems are that much different. Most of us. So I try to face the problems I found the right people to help me cure those problems and I try to share those resolutions in the book.

Rob: I love it. So where can people get the book and how could they find you Brandon if they want to know a little bit more about you?

Brandon: Well you got to follow me on LinkedIn, I’m a big LinkedIn guy. I’m on there all day. I love LinkedIn. though if you want to order the book, you want it signed and you get my twenty two laws of negotiating on there for free this week. So it’s a really cool thing. You can always get on Amazon too. you can go register for the blog and everything else it’s a cool place to go if you need to communicate with me, hire me as a speaker or anything like that. Bam. But love LinkedIn. Definitely follow me. Message me on the LinkedIn and love hear from you.

Rob: Good. Yeah. So if you’re even close on Google and it’ll come up. I’ve tried that several times so. Brandon thanks so much for being on the show. Sure appreciate it. Great advice here for all of us to apply no matter really where we’re at in life. So thank you so much for being on the show Brandon I sure appreciate your listeners appreciate it.

Brandon: Rob I’m not done with you man. I’m going to get it’s your story man. I heard your amazing I got it I’ve got a lot of questions dude. We’re gonna go all at home on this.

Rob: Look forward to it. All right brother well thank you, Brandon and to all the listeners. Thank you for being a part of the show today. Have a fabulous day a great week. And there’s something we can all do. Let’s leave our cell phone behind whether it’s on a date with our kids our spouse. That’s a simple easy one we’d do right now. So thanks again Brandon. Have a fabulous day. Thanks.

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