People are more important than things
Having a successful business and being a prosperous entrepreneur was a priority for Randy, but his driving force and inspiration came from his parents. Seeing his friends coming up to his house to hang out with his father gave Randy a clear picture of what he was supposed to pursue in life: being a good husband, father, and friend was way more important than anything else.
Rob Shallenberger: Welcome back to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners! This is Rob Shallenberger, your host today. And I feel honored to have one of my closest friends who I would call heroes in life who I just look up to and admire. And I think we can all relate to this, there are just certain people that you come in contact with throughout your life that you just say, “That, right there, is a good person.” And that is who Randy Garn is. He’s not just a good person, he’s a great person. And I think anybody who’s ever met Randy just senses his goodness, his light, the virtues that he brings to the world. And we could go through a resume and a background, but I’ll just leave it at this: he’s accomplished a lot, he’s done a lot, he has an incredible family, he’s an amazing father, and he’s influenced a lot of lives for good. And he recently relaunched a book called Prosper, which is an amazing book. It’s a book that I hope everyone will get and read and apply to their lives, and we’ll talk a little bit about that book today. And then, some of the other things that Randy’s observed through his life that had impacts on him and other people. This is just a great chance for anyone listening to really tap into some insights of an amazing individual. So, first of all, Randy, thank you for being here and we’re grateful that you’re with us today.
Randy Garn: Rob, it’s so good to be here. I honestly echo what you say. I’m humbled to be on but I’m grateful for your influence in my life as well. I mean, I read all your books, you come and train some of our companies. I know so many people that have had you out and so I just try to keep up with you. That’s about it, Rob.
Rob Shallenberger: I know the truth here. Well, tell our listeners just a little bit about you, Randy – your background, something about you, things you like; just give us a little background about you, Randy.
Randy Garn: Well, I grew up in a sweet little place called Sugar City, Idaho, and my dad was a high school football coach. He was a rancher, we had cattle and horses. So my whole life was, one, I had a father that was a coach and everybody calls me coach Garn because he really helped push me and he still does. He’s 87 years old and he’s just a machine; he is still going strong. And everybody that knows my father loves him. And I literally think that I had one of the best childhoods ever growing up and I’m grateful for that. I know a lot of people that had abusive relationships or tough relationships with their parents or grew up in severe poverty and overcame that. I had to overcome quite a bit; I can’t say we were poor, I didn’t ever miss a meal and go hungry on purpose as some people did. We didn’t really have a lot, but I didn’t know that then, growing up. And so, I think that formed a lot of who I am, an appreciation for hard work, an appreciation for coaching, an appreciation for accountability. So, just growing up in that environment I was the fifth of six kids, and so, sometimes we had to eat cereal with a fork, so we could save milk for the next guy— that’s how it always ended up sometimes. But it was such a great fun childhood that I literally understand what it means to be a great father. One of the things in my life is to have great success in business and be a very, very successful entrepreneur. But for me, even more important is that “Was I a good husband? Was I a good father? Was I a good dad? Do I have a relationship with the people that matter most of my life?” And I think that’s my goal now, building and growing companies and things but my goal now is to ensure that my posterity is well taken care of and that we love each other and that there’s that kind of a bond. Because I think that’s just missing in life. So, I’ve got six kids now, I’ve got two sets of twins, I’ve got an amazing wife, Char. She keeps me going, she’s a powerhouse. And so, it’s really fun because we do everything together, she’s like my best friend. That, I think for me, it’s been a huge win in my life.
Rob Shallenberger: I love that. And there’s an old saying that says, “A wise man said no success in business can compensate for failure in the home.” And certainly, you’re a product of two amazing parents. Your dad – I think you mentioned – your dad was a high school football coach, right?
Randy Garn: Yeah.
Rob Shallenberger: So, you talk about your parents and I know that you just adore your parents because I see you share posts about them on social media and you talked about them here. What’s one thing that you learned from your parents that has really stood out to you through the years?
Randy Garn: I watched my dad—and again, I think everybody that knows my dad loves him. And my friends used to just come over to my house to hang out with my pops. And so, that’s the kind of person I want to be whether that’s at work or here. I know he struggled, I know that there were things that went on in our family that were tough and difficult and we fought through difficult financial things but he seemed to always have faith, he seemed to always be like, “Hey, what’s the solution?” I never heard him complain, he never complained. And yet, he was just such a rock. He’s like the Rock of Gibraltar for us as far as being somebody that “Hey, we’re going to figure this out. Let’s be solution-oriented.” And he always put people ahead of things. And he always said, “Randy, in your life, I want you to remember this. One, if you don’t have your own goals, someone else will use you for theirs. Two, always remember that people are more important than things. The relationships that you build and grow in your life will actually bring you the greatest joy, the greatest satisfaction, and the greatest wealth. Your net worth is not your network, your network is not your net worth. It’s actually, do people like you? Do they respect you? Do they love you? And do those that know you the best love you the most? And I think the other thing is, it doesn’t matter in this life who knows you; it’s who knows you and what they say about you that matters most. And so, he always taught me that, one, people are more important than things and that’s been kind of a really just strong guiding principle for me.
Rob Shallenberger: Man, I love that. I hope that everyone listening to this will consider rewinding the podcast for about two minutes and re-listening to that. I’m going to do that. I mean, there are such wise words there. And Randy and I share a common bond. His father-in-law passed away from early-onset Alzheimer’s and many of our listeners know that my mom recently passed away from that. And just to echo what you’re saying there, Randy, I remember standing in my mom’s closet a week later and I had that same epiphany that all of the things that she has, are left behind, other than two things: who she’s become and the relationships that she’s formed.
Randy Garn: Wow.
Rob Shallenberger: And I thought, what a powerful reinforcement of what you just said right there that people are more important than things. And that’s a good reminder for me. I think we could talk a lot more about that. I’d love to jump into your book, Randy. So, you just recently re-released Prosper, a book that you had written, but then made some additions, changes, adjustments in it, and you just re-released that. It’s a great book, I’ve read through it. It’s a book I hope everyone will read if they get the chance to. Talk a little bit about what that book is, Randy. What’s the big picture in Prosper? What’s the book about? Just tell us a little bit about why you wrote it and what the big picture, big takeaways are.
Randy Garn: I wanted to, one, write a book to prove that I could get in the New York Times. In the time when we were doing this, we had a really explosive company that we were growing and we were a really good online digital learning company back BG—back Before Google. And so, we actually helped quite a bit of authors and speakers hit New York Times and do all that. I remember one time somebody said, “Well, you’re helping all these other people. Why haven’t you written a book?” And that actually kept happening in 2001, 2003, 2004. And I’m like “You know what? I’m going to write a book.” So Ethan and I – he was my business partner at the time and he still is, we’re still best friends – we started the company when we were juniors in college in Nevada, just a phenomenal ride and phenomenal friendship. But the book was really helping articulate the balance between money, happiness, and sustainability. And prosperity isn’t all about wealth. It’s not all about how much money can I accumulate and then I’ll give. For us, it’s not… Wealth and money are so important, so I’m not actually saying don’t become wealthy, I’m actually saying to become wealthy and use it for the right reasons, but become wealthy doing things that you absolutely love and that bring you joy, and that bring you confidence, and that bring you happiness, and bring you fulfillment. That’s the second piece. And the third piece is, is it sustainable? Can you do it over long periods of time? Can you leave a legacy with it? And actually, is what you’re doing good for the community? Is it good for the earth? Does it make people better? Does it make the world better what you’re doing? So, prosperity for us, it’s money, happiness, and sustainability. So, that is kind of the core concept of the book and we have some great modules in there, the chapters are phenomenal. Really teaching you certain things on prosperity is not far away and everybody can achieve it.
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, I love that thought. That all-encompassing word of Prosper, the way you described it right there. If you were to choose – and this is always a tough question when people ask me, it’s always a tough question – if you were to choose one chapter or topic from the book to expand on and say, “This is really the key topic.” or “This is my favorite part of the book, my favorite chapter.” what would that be in the book?
Randy Garn: Well, I think one of the chapters that really, for me, dive deep is called “When We’re Earning From Our Core.” – when we’re actually literally understanding who we truly are. And I truly believe this with anybody. And again, it goes back to what my dad said that if you don’t have your own goals, somebody else will use you for theirs. And so, the very first one is, “Are you living in your prosperity zone? Are you living your true Polaris point?” And that Polaris point is that North Star. What did God create you to do? What are you best at? And what are the things that you’re best at that can drive an income for you and to drive happiness for you? So, I think it’s like really taking time to find out what your Polaris point is. There are so many times… I mean, we spend money on trips and cars and all that, but we don’t spend money, we don’t spend time making sure and ensuring that we’re moving in the right direction. And so, we have some formulas for that. So, I think a really good chapter for me is that the Earning From Your Core chapter is really finding out what drives that happiness for you. And a good example is that we have a really close friend that was an entertainment attorney in LA and making well over six figures and driving all over, meeting with tons of famous people and doing huge contracts and everybody knows who he is and you know his clients if I mentioned the names of what he does. But he said, “I don’t have a relationship with my kids. I don’t have a relationship with my family.” And then, there was another gentleman that’s our friend that lives in the same area, Brent Hatch, Dr. Detail, and he did great financially but he detailed cars. And his kids went to work with him. He woke up at 4 am and he was finished work by two. And then spent the rest of the time with his family. Did really, really well. Actually set a system up and taught his kids how to work and taught his kids trade. And I remember sitting with the attorney, and he’s like, “I would do anything to have his life and the relationship he has with his kids.” So, you think about what are we earning an income for? How do we give back appropriately? Is what we’re earning and doing part of who we are? And so, I think there are too many people that go to college to earn money, and not enough people really take that time to think, “How do I leave a legacy for my life and my family?” And so, that’s for us what we really think is prosperity.
Rob Shallenberger: I love that definition. You’re talking about money in general, I believe that money is just a magnifier. It’s just a magnifier of who we are. For other people, for sure with other people, for angry, for self-serving money just magnifies the ability to do that. If we’re giving, charitable, kind, loving, money magnifies the ability to do that. Money is not the source of happiness, it just magnifies who we already are for either side of that equation. I love the way you talked about that. Anything else you want to say in the book Prosper, Randy? I mean, we could talk about the book the entire time but I know that there are some other things that I’d like to talk about and maybe you’d like to talk about. Before we move away from the book on a couple of these other points that I want to bring up, is there anything else you want to mention from the book?
Randy Garn: No. I mean, if you want to read it, I mean, we wanted to make sure that the book was you could read the book from a flight from LA to New York. So, super awesome, simple read with some good frameworks for creating the life you really want. Really, that’s what it is. Prosper is really creating that life that you really want. If you’re frustrated or if you feel like you’re in a spot right now where you don’t feel like you’re magnifying what God created you to do or you need some direction on how to find that joy or the sustainability— because if you don’t love what you’re doing, you can’t do it over long periods of time. It’s not sustainable.
Rob Shallenberger: Amen.
Randy Garn: And so, if you want to have a really good just framework for creating that life you really want it’s a great read. And so, you can go pick it up at prosperbook.com and find out what your Polaris point is.
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, there you go. Alright, so prosperbook.com, that’s the place to get it. I encourage everyone to get it. I read it, it’s an awesome book. Okay, so there’s Prosper, let’s shift gears a little bit because one of the things about you, Randy, that I love is you’ve had the chance to work with – like you alluded to – people all over the world. Some very influential people, startups, from beginning to end across that whole spectrum. So, as you’ve gone through the years meeting these different people, leaders, startups, all different walks of life, what have been some of your observations just amongst the two decades plus that you’ve been working with and observing people? What have been some of your observations of what makes a person successful? What sets certain people apart from others in a positive way, if that makes sense?
Randy Garn: Yes, it does. Dude, I’m going to nail this because I’m actually thinking about this a lot right now and just my career and what I want to do, and who I want to align myself with is that I made a list. And this is a good takeaway for the audience, too. I made a list of 25 people a few years ago that I loved, liked, and respected and wanted to work with, wanted to get to know more, wanted to be more with. I wanted to just level up the humans that I surrounded myself with. I want you to think about that: in your phone – I literally have 25 people on my favorites; and if you’re in there, then I’m talking to you regularly. Literally, that is my go-to list. And so, I said, “I want to get to know these people better, I want to do business with them, I like them, I want to drive value for them.” And so, I made a list of those people. And now I’ve checked every single one of them off. A lot of them I’m doing work with them, business with right now, and partnerships with right now. Many of them have actually been massively impactful and influential in my life and now we’re great friends. And so, I think a lot of us have a strategy for our business. Well, I say a lot of us do, but a lot of us need it. But how many of us have a strategy for the relationships and the kind of people we want to be with and be around and do things with? That’s what’s going to be impactful at the end of the day. So, the people that make the most impact for me are the ones that are true, true. They are who they say they are. And you really find that out when you get to know someone on a deep level. So, there’s a lot of very, very successful people financially that are not to their core good. And then, there are other people that I’ve met with that are hugely financially successful, to their core are amazing, amazing humans. Like, Sam Maloof is the CEO of an amazing company. He is good inside and out as good as a person you could ever be from Logan, Utah, and just a powerhouse. And he doesn’t care about the accolades and everything else but he gives so much and doesn’t – and I mean, probably now that I’m even sharing this with you guys – because he’s just that humble and just that amazing. And there are other people that I really, really love. I’ve been on the advisory board of Harvey Mackay for years. He has written I don’t know how many books, 25+ books; he’s 87 years old and still is going, still plays golf every day, still never misses my birthday, still always calls me on holidays. I’m sure I’ll get something on the Fourth of July from him. And he just is true and good as they can come and he just attracts people like crazy. And so, those are the kinds of people that I want to hang around, that I want to be with, that I want to spend my life with because we live this life one time. Who is it that we surround ourselves with that makes the biggest impact?
Rob Shallenberger: Well, it goes back to your original comment that relationships or people are more important than things. And what you just talked about reinforces that and I love the list of the 25 people, it’s a great exercise. Building on that, one of the things that I found helpful is to think of the mentors or influences in our life who are having a positive impact and to identify what it is about those people that really stood out to us. Why that was the case? And I just think about your list of 25 people and what a powerful activity or exercise that would be to go through and identify those 25 people and say, “Well, what is it about them? And if that’s what I love about them, wouldn’t that be better if I could emulate some of the things that they’re doing that has had such a positive impact?” So, I love that, Randy. Let’s talk about one more thing that I know is something in your life right now that you’re really passionate about. You use the term high-performance habits, so expand on what you mean when you say high-performance habits. Because I know we’ve talked about this quite a bit.
Randy Garn: Well, one of those people on the list too that I’ve been just amazing friends with and just one amazing human is Brendon Burchard. He has dedicated his whole life, the last 30 years have been dedicated to human performance. And we’re partnering on a company called High Performance Institute and really teaching companies, people, individuals how to maximize and squeeze the most out of every single day. And he has spent around $30 million of research with the University of Pennsylvania, UC Santa Barbara on what are the six habits that will make the most impact in our life. Now all of us have bad habits, all of us have good habits. But what are the most, what are the six most impactful habits that we need to have and then to live by them? So, Brendon has a book called High Performing Habits it’s awesome. I listen to it all the time, we’ve got a little over 2 million subscribers, and growing that on his growth and what he’s doing with Growth Day, which just launched and phenomenal program. But really, for me, it’s like what kind of habits do we have in our life that will make us be amazing humans? Because it is our habits that really form who we become and our character and everything else, too. So, I’m really focused on my personal habits right now. How am I doing every day? And one of those as I do – and I got this from Brendon too when I really started diving in and being a student and a partner with him – is I journal every single night and I know exactly what I’m doing the next day. I have complete clarity on what I’m doing the next day. I work out every single day, I’m getting ready for two triathlons as we talked about. Mentally, physically, emotionally, how are your habits doing to help you be the very best version of yourself?
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, I love that. And I don’t know if our listeners ever heard this poem or read it. There’s a poem out there and just search for “I am habit”. The final question the poem that describes these different things, and I memorized it once – it’s too long to share right here – but the final question is, “Who am I? I am habit.” And it is a great poem because really, we are a reflection of our habits. For good or for bad. What are just one or two that stick, real quick, Randy?
Randy Garn: If you really want to dive into habits, the very first one is to seek clarity. And that really correlates with, are you very clear on what you’re doing with your life? Do you have not just your goals but do you have things in your life that “Yes, that’s it.” You hear the angelic choir sing, you’re like, “Yes, this is what I’m doing.” Number one is to seek clarity. Number two is to generate energy. Number three is to raise necessity. Number four is to increase productivity. Then number five is to develop influence. And number six is to demonstrate courage. And so, a couple of those that really I’m working on right now is to generate energy. That means what kind of energy do you show up with when you come. Like on this podcast, we all have a different energy, Rob. You have different energy than I do. But is it positive energy? To generate energy, it doesn’t mean that you have energy. We can have energy for short periods of time, but do we generate energy? A power plant generates energy, takes it from a lower state of energy to a higher state of energy – from a river, from the wind, from nuclear power plants. So, are you generating energy with those that you work with? I want to be with Rob? When I’m with Rob, I freaking love it. He puts a smile on my face, he puts joy in my heart. And then on the other side, there are people that I do not want to answer that phone call. Oh, my gosh, why is that email? How am I going to do this? So, you think about it when you show up somewhere, what kind of energy are you generating. That is a habit of high performers.
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, I love it. Amen. Amen and amen to everything you just said right there. Let me ask you this, Randy, as we get close to the end here – I can’t believe we’re coming up on 30 minutes already – this is something that maybe I’ve been more cognizant of over the last year, is it’s easy to look at someone like you and say, “Man, Randy is perfect.” or “Randy has this amazing life. He doesn’t have any challenges like I have.” Do you know what I mean? Or there is this maybe perception that certain people are challenge-free and that they have this wonderful life and, man, they’re just up there, and I can never be like that. And I think sometimes in our society there’s that perception – I think social media is a big contributor to that – there’s this false perception on social media that people are just amazing without challenges. And part of this journey over the last year and a half, I think, for all of us is to understand that we all have different challenges. Some people know nothing about those challenges, but I think it’s safe to assume that we all have challenges. And we’re all working through this mortal experience, this journey of life, becoming better versions of ourselves. Learning and growing and developing, taking five steps forward, and two or three steps back sometimes and that’s okay. So, if you don’t mind, Randy, one of the things I’d love if you don’t mind sharing is what’s the challenge or something you’ve experienced in your life that was a challenge for you and how did you face that, overcome it or learn from it? What was something that you went through in your life that you would feel comfortable sharing?
Randy Garn: I mean, some really interesting challenges that we’ve faced too and I always say, I will tell you this, challenges always happen up here. It’s actually how we handle those challenges that make the biggest impact and difference. And I’m a huge student of Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, his story just, I mean I’ve read that several times but I try to kind of keep my head in the right thought. Yes, we all go through challenges. And I will tell you this, I believe hugely in angels. Whenever I’m having challenges, I literally will get on my knees and I will ask God to send down angels to help me and support me. And those are some very tender times that things that have happened, challenges will really build our character and we really find that challenge will introduce a man to himself. And the big challenge that we had was that I have two sets of twins and this was several years ago. We had four kids under the age of four, I was serving in a significant church calling, my father in law was really deteriorating with early-onset dementia and muscular dystrophy and he needed a place to go. And she’s a dear sweet lady, my mother-in-law decided she couldn’t handle it anymore. And so, my wife who is awesome – this will just to tell you the caliber of human that I married – she said, “Randy, I’m going to move my dad in with us and we’re going to take care of him.” And I was like, “What?” I was thinking to myself, “How are we going to do this?” My business was exploding, I have a church calling that is taking up tons of time, I have six kids with four kids under the age of four and I don’t even remember that time. I just know and I said, “Honey, do you believe in angels?” And she said, “Yes.” And I was like, “Have you ever seen one or witnessed one?” And she’s like, “Yeah, every single day. You married one.” I think about it, that’s why I talked about angels. I know that times of challenge when they come that those are times where we can actually ask for heavenly help, and also help from others. So many people showed up to help during that time as well. It was just an overwhelming experience in that I know there are angels around, but I also know that that’s when good people show up, that’s when great people show up. And you will find out who your true friends are during times of challenge. And so, that’s why I try to show up for people in times of challenge. And one of my favorite people, he’s actually coming out fly fishing with me tomorrow is Brandon Steiner. And he always says this, “Do as much as you can for as many people as you can as often as you can without expecting anything in return and watch what will happen to your life.” And that’s how I literally remember him saying that about six years ago. Do as much as you can for as many people as you can, as often as you can, and expect nothing in return. And that’s what I tried to do. It’s been amazing, I’ve never been happier, I’ve never been more productive, I’ve never developed better habits and I just want to keep getting better.
Rob Shallenberger: I love it. I love it, Randy. As we get ready to wrap up any final thoughts that you’d like to share?
Randy Garn: If you haven’t read Rob’s new book that just came out, you’ve got to do it. Rob is the man. And the last thing I want to share is just I am so grateful for awesome friends like you. And my friends mean everything to me. And you’ll find out who your real friends are. And I know that if I needed anything, I could call you at three o’clock in the morning and you would be there. I know, we don’t hang out all the time or see each other all the time. I have this group of just amazing men and amazing women that I know them in my light core and I’m just grateful for people like you, Rob, that are trying to make this world a better place. And so, I would suggest to everybody that you find that group of people that inspire you, find your list of 25 people in your life that mean the most to you, that you want to spend your life with. And even the people I work with, the people that I hire. I don’t hire people to do a job; I hire people that I want to be with. And so, just think about your life and who you’re surrounding yourself with because it’s too short to hang around grumpy people. That’s my last words.
Rob Shallenberger: Well, first of all, I want to thank Randy for being here and I hope you sensed his goodness, his wisdom. And I like to use the word wisdom because this is knowledge applied the right way. And there are a few podcasts that I like to go back and listen to multiple times, this will be one of those podcasts. There are so many things in here that are worth thinking about that are introspective, and that will make us better humans as we apply them. So, a couple of things, I’d encourage everyone to read Randy’s book, Prosper. Thank you, Randy, for the nice plug for Do What Matters Most. But I’d encourage everyone to read Prosper, it’s filled with so much wisdom that Randy is sharing from a lifelong journey of experiences. And second, find Randy on Facebook, Instagram – he’s always posting quotes and little stories, and they’re always inspiring. We need that kind of positivity in our lives and in the world. So, this is the whole spirit of Becoming Your Best. And when we chose that term, that phrase, we didn’t use the word become; we actually spent two or three weeks trying to decide, “Do we call this Become Your Best or Becoming?” We thought ‘become’ is a destination that I don’t think we’re going to achieve in this life, in most areas of our life. But we are on the journey of becoming. And everything we’ve heard here today is about becoming. Relationships are more important and people are more important than things, the importance of our habits. So, there are just so many things that I’ve been able to reflect on, Randy, as you’re talking. And I can sense your goodness in your life. So, thank you, Randy, for being you, for being the amazing friend that you are, the person you are. And to all of our listeners, I hope this has been as beneficial to you as it has been for me. So, Randy, thank you for being here. We sure appreciate you. To all of our listeners, we love and appreciate you as well. We thank you and we hope you’ll have a great day.
CEO, Becoming Your Best
Leading authority on leadership and execution, F-16 Fighter Pilot, and father
Partner at High Performance Institute (HPI)
New York Times Best-Selling Author. Passionate about helping people grow to their best.