Today Adam is joined by the one and only hardcore closer Ryan Stewman. Ryan shares his story of coming up from rock bottom (twice!) and strategies on avoiding the force of average through focus.
Ryan: One thing I realized is that I had to be the business guy so I could grow my business. Before I could teach marketing I had to be good at marketing, before I could teach business I had to be good at business. But then I realized, I’m actually pretty good at life. And because I’m good at life, business falls into place.
I’ve got several hot businesses and a lot of people don’t know I run some of the biggest brands on the internet. I’m just the behind the scenes guy and I don’t talk about it because
A: I don’t want to mess the brands up, and
B: Why bring myself into something that’s already working well publicly?
The reason why I share all of that man is I found out that my calling is to help people live a better life.
Adam: I love that. I want to dive into that with you, because if you don’t mind, people may not know your backstory. When you talk about leveling up life and winning a life, you’re one of the few other people I know in the internet marketing and business world that had as bad a backstory as mine.
You’ve had problems that I never had to deal with, and in the nicest way you kind of got a worse hand than mine. And I grew up as a janitor’s son in the wrong neck of the woods, living next door to drug dealers.
Learning to Focus: Climbing Back from Rock Bottom
Ryan: There’s lots of people who have had it worse than me, there’s levels. There’s levels of people who really think what rock bottom is, but for me, I was adopted at age seven, changed my identity. It’s one thing to be adopted as if you were a kid in an orphanage, it’s another to have a name and then that name be changed and you have to go back to the same school the next day. Kids are so mean, but then because of that, I hated school, so I left.
I was kicked out all this time, I’ve been polite and said I left school when I was in the ninth grade, but the truth is I got kicked out of school when I was in the ninth grade. And like most people that were adopted and kicked out of school, I ended up on drugs. And like most people that get kicked out of school, adopted, and end up on drugs, I went to prison. But I went to prison and I got my act together and made a promise never to get back on drugs or do dumb stuff again.
I did a pretty good job of that and got out of prison in 2002-2004. I had been washing cars since I got out of prison and I swore by everything holy on this planet, I was going to be the best car wash guy on the planet. That was my goal in life and I was on my way to doing that. And because I was dominating, somebody offered me a job in the banking industry. And I was like, lady, I don’t even have a credit card.
This person saw potential in me. What’s weird is the things this person saw potential in me, everybody else made fun of me for. Nobody had ever seen these as qualities before. She was like, “dude, you’re like a hustler and you talk fast and all these other things”, back in the day construction workers, car wash guys, and prison people made fun of me for the same qualities that I’m now a millionaire because of, and I want you to think about that.
Back in the day construction workers, car wash guys, and prison people made fun of me for the same qualities that I’m now a millionaire because of.Ryan Stewman
The stuff that you do as a young man or a young woman out there that the average person around you laughs at are probably the same things that can be the attribution to you becoming successful later in life. I just wanna point that out. This lady believed in me for the first time and maybe the only time. She got me a job working for her company in the mortgage industry and within two months I had made almost $30,000. I was rich by my definition.
This lady saved my life. In 2004 I made $100k, in 2005 I made $773,000, then in 2006 the feds kicked in my door and arrested me for crimes I did not commit, but ended up pleading guilty because it was better than serving a life sentence. I ended up going to prison for 15 months for something that I didn’t do. It was a firearms related charge and while in prison, my then wife divorced me, married somebody else and took all my money.
Back from the bottom again…
And when I got out of prison just 15 months later, 15 short months later, I got out of prison, I had to move in with my mom and my stepdad. I don’t like or talk to my mom and my stepdad if that puts it into perspective. I walked into prison as a married millionaire. I walked out of federal prison, just a year later with $25 to my name, moving into a halfway house until my mom could make space in the extra room of the house for me to live there.
But the story gets better. I landed a job in the mortgage industry and started making $300,000 a year again during the worst time to do business and the best, 2005. I made $700k in a year, and the worst time, 2009, I made $300,000. However, there was a law passed by President Obama called the DODD Frank, and it said, if you were a felon, you couldn’t work in the banking industry anymore.
I knew two things, how to wash cars and how to be a banker. Once you’ve been a banker, ain’t no way on God’s green earth you’re going back to washing cars. That’s how I got into this internet business. I needed something that didn’t require a license, didn’t have a boss, and this fit the mold.
I’d like to tell you that I got rich on the internet overnight, but it took me six years before I had my first seven-figure year. Which is tough because you watch people all the time on the internet talking about how I went from zero to $100 million in 12 months.
But here I am almost 10 years later, it was March of 2010, it’s 2019 when we’re doing this, so almost 10 years later of being in this business, I run multiple eight-figure per year businesses and live a dream life. I wouldn’t trade my life with Bill Gates’ life… Now I would trade my bank account with Bill Gates’s bank account, I would trade my house for Bill Gates house, but I wouldn’t trade my wife for his, I wouldn’t trade my kids for his.
I wouldn’t trade what I get to do on a daily basis versus what he has to do on a daily basis. I wouldn’t trade with anybody, and when you can get to that spot in life where you wouldn’t want to trade with anybody else, it doesn’t mean I’m done. I’m still in the pursuit, I’m still in the chase. But when you can get to a point where you don’t want to trade with anybody else, that’s real power.
The True Definition of Success
Adam: That’s the true definition of success, when you are living the life that you love. Just like you, I’m always experimenting and trying new things. Last time we spoke, I told you I took a six figure client to do some work and I just didn’t like the work. So I gave them the money back and told them that this is not what I’ll be doing anymore. They were shocked because they couldn’t imagine anyone would do that, but I was creating a life I didn’t enjoy, it wasn’t worth the money.
Ryan: That’s the beautiful thing, it’s about being a business owner. You can refuse anybody as long as it’s not a gay person’s cake. You can pretty much refuse anything these days as a business owner. If somebody’s just not a fit for you, you can say, “Hey, it doesn’t fit into what we’re doing right now.” And that’s real power too. The worst clients are the ones that you take on when you need the money.
The Force of Average
Adam: You spoke about the Force of Average and it’s one of my favorite concepts that you’ve come up with and I would be honored if you’d share it because it affects so many people.
Ryan: It does and I’m so passionate about this. I started off as a sales trainer because that was all I knew. As a person that’s been doing anything for nine years, you’re going to get better at it. I don’t know how you wouldn’t, I think the only thing that’s acceptable to be doing for long periods of time and never improve is driving. When you finally buy a Maserati or a Ferrari or anything of that stature, you never realize how bad the drivers were around you until you’re trying to protect something you really care about right.
But that’s the only thing that you can do every single day and never get better at right. I started off because all I knew was sales and being a loan officer because that was the only business I’d ever done. So I started off in the sales world with loan officers, became successful and built my business from there. I knew right when I started in the sales world that this really wasn’t my calling.
I knew that I needed to make an example and what I’m about to share with you guys, this Force of Average/G-Code process, sounds like hell and was like being in prison. Like you see on TV where people walk down the prison and they’re like, “Hey fish, I can’t wait to see you in the shower tonight!” You see the stuff on TV but that’s one prison. In the two years I was in State Prison, I went to eight or nine different prisons in two years. I had to make that walk eight or nine different freaking times.
I have been through some hell in my life and when I finally got a piece of heaven about five years ago, when things started clicking, I was starting to make more money than I’ve ever made in my life, and I’ve made good money before. I didn’t want to mess this up. The first time I started making decent money, I was selling drugs, I went to prison. The second time I started making decent money, I was in the banking industry and I went to prison. How do I not repeat that process?
I’ve been up and down my whole life, what I didn’t tell you is prior to me being adopted, my family was wealthy and stuff happened to them. So my whole life has been this up and down and finally I started looking about two years ago and said, “Okay, how can I avoid the downs?” Because my life hasn’t just been up and down. It’s been rocket ship trips to the moon highs followed by Jack hammer low’s. Two years ago I had a life changing event where I said, “man, I don’t want to go back, I have three kids I love and there’s no way they’re gonna visit me in prison, no way.”
So I start looking for answers and I discover that this theory I’m gonna share with you. First, I need you to take your religious hat off. Let’s say that God didn’t create us and we’re here in a computer simulation. And let’s say that what we’re doing here God is the person that coded that computer simulation, like Mark Zuckerberg, coded Facebook or whatever.
In order for any simulation to work with intelligence, there has to be algorithms and boundaries. Even for you to be a human being, there has to be algorithms. You live by the patterns you run and their boundaries, things you will and won’t do well, same thing happens on this earth.
If you look at Newton’s law, for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. I call that the Force of Average. You see, if you live below average, physically, mentally, financially, with the people around you it’s pretty easy life on this planet. You can be poor and the government will send you money. You don’t have to work for it. Starbucks will give you free coffee. If you live in California, you can sleep on the streets because the weather’s nice.
Poor isn’t really that hard. It seems almost as if when you’re poor, the world tries to push you up to become average. Have you ever realized that if you’re a subpar person, the world tries to push you to get on par and they’ll do almost anything they can to help you. I know as a person that makes a significant income, I give back to people who can’t help themselves. Their life because of the things that I give to them, is easier because I’m making it easy. Whereas I had to work for that money that I’m giving to them.
Average people on the baseline, they got it the best. They live in what I call the comfort zone. They’re the biggest victims of the Force of Average because they don’t know that they’re average. These are the people financially that make $100k a year and go “I’m top 1%”. Naw, you’re a 60%er. You don’t realize in America, $100k a year is not a lot of money anymore. The Force Average has you. These are people that are 25% body fat and go, I’m still skinny. Nah bro, you’re in bad shape, you’re number one candidate to get diabetes later in life.
I’m not here trying to knock people for their financial and physical situation. I’m just saying that if you’re average and you’re comfortable, that doesn’t keep you from getting diabetes. That doesn’t keep you from catching cancer. We see people that try to strive to be great, guys like you Adam, guys like me, guys like Grant Cardone or Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. We’re trying to do great things.
Well the Force of Average, if it’s trying to keep you average, that means you’re below average. If you’re average, it’s trying to keep you there. But what about those of us that are trying to be more than average? Those of us that are in a quest for greatness? It’s like a gravitational pool against us, trying to get us back to average.
If you’re below, it’s trying to pick you up to be average. It’s easy. If you live on the baseline, it just keeps you there. But for those of us, it’s like, we’re the smart kids in class up the grading curve for everybody else. We’re going to get beat up after school, behind the football field, by the jocks because we got good scores on our class.
The crabs in the bucket are going to try to pull us back as we try to escape their Force of Average. What happens is we have good months followed by bad months. Part of it is because of the surroundings and the algorithm on this planet, and part of it is because the people around us and the algorithm on this planet make us feel like we shouldn’t have the things that we want the most.
For example, we have a good month and we make $20,000. We feel like, “my family’s poor and I come from humble beginnings. I shouldn’t be making this kind of money.” Then the next month you make $5,000 but you tell yourself it’s okay because you made $20,000 once in a month, so you tell yourself I make $20k a month. How many people do you know that have gone through that cycle?
Ryan Stewman’s Psychological Hack…plant seeds
Adam: I ask everyone at the end of each episode to give me one psychological hack that you would give someone. One mindset shift or one thing they could do that would be an instant win for them, to help them be more successful or grow their business or something practical that they can apply. Maybe something that you don’t normally share. What would that be?
Ryan: Man, I don’t have any tips for instant anything. It’s because I don’t have instant anything in my life right now! I don’t have one case study where I’ve got instant results, because that’s typically not how this world works.
One thing I’m obsessed with is how the world works, and one thing I noticed is you reap what you sow. A lot of the natural things such as farming, living, and organic stuff are supernatural. As far as uncovered hidden stuff that maybe you didn’t realize, but it’s there in plain sight. The natural farming cycle is about three to six months. You plant a seed, three to six months later, you can harvest whatever the fruit or vegetable seed was.
In most cases our lives are a lot like that. I don’t think it’s instant, I think what we do today affects us 90 days to six months from now and you need to be thinking about that. So many people are selling the idea like, I ran an ad today and I made a million dollars. Yes, because you’ve been running that same ad for five years now and today it’s starting to catch up from 90 days ago.
Or people who say, “Oh, my business is blowing up.” It’s like, no, it’s blowing up because of the work you did 90 to 180 days ago, that’s why your business is blowing up today. And if you don’t keep doing that work 90-180 days later, your land will be barren and you won’t have any fruit or vegetables. That being said, I don’t believe that anything happens instantly, but I can give you a hack that will happen over the next 60 to 90 days.
First thing I do every morning when I wake up is I pull up my phone and I write down five things that I’m grateful for. It’s nothing new, but let me explain why because I think a lot of people need to know why before they do something. First thing in the morning we wake up, most people are grumpy. We hear people all the time say, “Oh, I’m not a morning person. Don’t mess with me until I have my coffee.” And that’s fine, but what if first thing in the morning you woke up and you made your brain search for five things that you were grateful for?
It’s going to be really hard to be in a bad mood after that. Especially if you take a minute to remember, it might be my wife or my kids or a car or freedom or whatever, my bed. I’ve been doing this for 500 days now and I’ve had to come up with a lot to be grateful for. Every day I wake up and even I can wake up mad, like man, we should have got 10 million listeners on that podcast, blah, blah, blah…
Oh wait. I’m grateful for being on the podcast. Grateful for my kids. Grateful that I woke up next to my wife. It changes everything and it gets your days started off right. Here’s the other part of this equation though. You have to do both of them in order for this to work. I explained to you the G-Code? At the end of the night, write down on that same note you wrote down the five things or more that you’re grateful for. Go back to that note at the end of the night and write down everywhere that you won in those four areas for the day.
Here’s what happens after a couple months. Your mind automatically wakes up grateful and your mind automatically goes to sleep a winner. That my friend is real power, forget instant results. That’s real long term sustainable power. Power doesn’t happen instantly. If you charge a battery, it takes hours. The sun, the most powerful thing that any of us could probably comprehend, took 6.8 billion years to become powerful enough to run this planet.
But many of us won’t even take 90 days to become powerful enough to influence our marketplace, to become powerful enough to control our own mind, to become powerful enough for what we need to do to power through the life we’re going to live anyway. So stop looking for instant results. I know I probably messed your question up for all future people on this show, but I hope that resonates with a lot of people.
Are you ready to unlock the power of focus?
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