Flip the Switch Episode 68: Ryan Berman Pt. 3

John Saunders
By John Saunders

PAT: Today on Flip the Switch, the guys kick off the new year with our first three-peat guest: author, entrepreneur and speaker, Mr. Ryan Berman. Since the last time we spoke, he has released his long-awaited book, return on courage. We talk about the mission of the book, the process of having written it, and the impact he thinks it will have on businesses and individuals alike. If you’re looking to kick 2019 off on the right note, this is the episode for you. Let’s get into it. 

01:05 PAT: Welcome to Episode Number 68 of Flip the Switch podcast, presented by Power Digital Marketing. We’re very happy to have you. Happy New Year. Very Happy New Year, actually. 

01:13 JOE: That’s a late one. New year, new room. 

01:16 PAT: New year, new room. New year, new me. New year, new John. New year, new Joe. New Year… Austin’s gone right now, actually. Vacationing in Panama. So, extravagant. That all said though, we do have an awesome interview for you guys today. We have Ryan Berman on the show. He’s our first ever repeat guest. It’s actually his third time coming on. He’s gonna talk about his new book that he just released, return on courage. And definitely a great way to kick off the new year. Kind of fits with that theme that we were just kind of joking about, new year, new me. So, without any further ado let’s get right into the interview. 

01:52 PAT: All right. So, with us today we have Ryan Berman. Ryan, it’s been a while since you came in. This is actually his third time on the show. First three-peat ever, which is awesome. 

02:01 RYAN: I’m sort of… I’m getting teary-eyed, guys. 

02:04 JOE: It’s the only returning guest so far. 

02:06 PAT: Is it? The only? Yeah, it’s the only returning guest, in a three-peat no less, which is crazy. 

02:11 RYAN: That’s actually the name of my second book is return on podcast. 

02:14 PAT: Return on podcast. That actually leads into what we want to talk about with you. So, since the last time that we were talking together, you were putting together the concepts for and writing a book called return on courage. Which, let’s say somebody didn’t listen to the last podcast, just give us a quick run-through of kind of what the book is about at a high level. 

02:33 RYAN: Sure, yeah. So, it’s a playbook for courageous change. And I think if you’re having a conversation about courage, you are having a conversation about change. And where does change need to happen in a company? And the big aha moment that sort of sparked the concept of the book is that over 52% of the fortune 500 since 2000 are extinct. And that number is gonna hold. You’re gonna have 9,000 brands rattling on and off the fortune 500 over the next six decades. But people don’t think statistics like are about them, right? It’s… I wish there was a better way to say, it’s like… It’s a little bit like, Oh cancer. We know cancer happens. It’s a… Cancer’s not gonna happen to me. 

03:12 PAT: Right, yeah, I’ve heard that before. 

03:13 RYAN: So, it’s almost like, let’s just assume your business might at some point get cancer. You can say poor you or you could try to fight it and put a plan together. So, the concept really is ROC: return on courage. I do think any willing business being a brand can return on courage, on the courage platform. And ROC is how you maximize your ROI. And the rest sort of die or get passed. And so, if you’re somewhere between a coward brand or a courage brand, where would you rather be? And the book teaches you how to become a courage brand. 

03:46 PAT: That’s incredible. And so, that was kind of the genesis of… We started talking about this, kind of tracking your progress, seeing how everything was going with it. I know that this was a long process too. You’re talking about very little sleep over the last six, seven months. Very little sleep. 

04:00 RYAN: Yeah, just plug me into the wall. Always keep going, yeah. 

04:04 PAT: I’m sure. Well, so, let’s talk about now that the process has come to a close, and the book is out. It’s published. Like how are you feeling, first of all? Like looking back on the experience, hindsight 20/20, anything that you would have done differently or better? Or kind of what are your thoughts now, reflecting on that? 

04:21 RYAN: Real good questions. First of all, I’ll never ever write another book like this. And the reason I say that is this isn’t like… This isn’t a book where I’m so, smart and I know everything, and I’m… There are the 20 principles of Ryan Berman. This is not that book. This is… I describe the book writing process for this book more like a documentary. And when I didn’t have the answers, I got quiet and I went and listened to really, really smart people. And that brought me to leaders at Apple and Amazon and Google and Method, Domino’s Pizza, Royal Caribbean who really didn’t have a plan B when I was talking to them. They were talking about their moment. And then it took me to Navy seals and astronauts and tornado chasers and flight attendants who now have to be trained for terrorism. That’s crazy training. And then it took me to people that study the way that we’re wired. So, fear experts and Cambridge PhDs and clinical psychologists and the final group really actually were book writers, because I’ve never done a book, so, how do you do a good book? I didn’t just want to write a book. And so, I had an opportunity, even exchanged emails or phone calls or interview with Adam grant, who wrote Originals (an amazing book, by the way). Texts or emails with Seth Godin. Conversation with Brian Kramer or Joel coms. Sally hogshead who wrote the book called fascinate. Just people that have done it at the highest level. Because, again you go through this process and you run the race the right way and you want to create something that’s valuable to people. I’ve actually found myself saying now that it’s out like, like someone will post the book, which is cool to see and weird. And then like, I’m like, I hope you like it but more so, I hope you use it. I want you to use it. And it actually reminds… That idea also reminds of Jay Baer, who wrote the book Youtility. Y-o-u utility. About how brands today really are coming in and out of their… Our lives and the role that brands play. Recognizing from a service standpoint that they’re not the lead. You’re the lead. And so, I kind of see my book very similar. My hope is that you don’t just read it once and put it away, but that you’re taking notes and there’s an actual process in there, there’s worksheets in there to help you figure out how to actually unlock courage in a calculated fashion, not a careless fashion which is anything but courageous, frankly. 

06:52 PAT: Right. So, it’s like, it’s more of a blueprint, as opposed to an instruction manual, if that makes sense. 

06:57 RYAN: Yeah, yeah, I mean I’d say it’s a playbook. But yes, I mean… And I have described it as an instructional manual a little bit, frankly. But whatever it is, the front half of the book is why we need courage now, how terrifying it is out there. There’s these four daunting truths of the business apocalypse. If one of them was happening that would be brutal enough. The fact that they’re all happening at the same time, you wonder why we have like mental health issues and everybody stressed out and freaking out. It’s because of all these different issues. So, you’ve got number one companies are perishing at an alarming rate. Number two you need time but you don’t have time. Number three the thing that got to year isn’t gonna keep you here. Well, how the heck do you work on what’s next if you have no time to put to what’s next? And then the number four was…. Which sort of the big sort of scary part for me, and this will make sense in a minute, was that evolutionary the way we’re wired, we’re actually wired to fear change. We’re actually afraid, literally afraid of change. So, when I talked to like a guy named Nicolas Alp, who’s an immunologist and a Cambridge PhD, and he starts to talk about the way that our central nervous systems are, he’s like there… It’s almost like an onion. We can’t get rid of those archaic layers which is where a lot of fear and emotions, bad emotions sit and you’re stuck with those things. So, we have to come up with strategies to handle that fear. The core idea of the book is if 95 percent of us are in freeze or flight mode and only 5 percent of us are in fight mode… Well, if I could teach you to fight with clarity, that’s a massive competitive advantage. So, let me make let me say this another way. 95 percent of the population is in preservation mode. 5 percent is in liberation mode. 95 percent of companies are in preservation mode. Five percent are in liberation mode. Although I know you guys hire elite here, let me paint a picture for those who are listening. This office continues to grow by the way. Like every time I show up, they’re doing more construction and more people are showing up. 

08:58 PAT: The first time that he was on we were in an annex. And then now we’re in our podcast studio. We really made it. 

09:03 RYAN: They shared an elevator at first, and now it’s like, it’s awesome to see. So, let’s say there’s a hundred people in this office. And there’s probably more frankly, but let’s say there’s a hundred people in this office. And you walked around and you looked around and you go 95 people here are stuck in freeze or flight mode and I’m not. That would be a massive competitive advantage. And so, the way I look at Courage is it’s a competitive advantage. What if I could develop what I call your central courage system to combat the realities of your central nervous system? And the whole back half of the book is training people to build that central courage system. So, they can have this advantage and go out and do the things that they want to do. And if you remember from the first show, and this is like when we last left off… This is where you probably cut back… But in case you don’t want to do all that editing. The real problem was we don’t have a good idea. We don’t have the right sort of tools to identify a courageous opportunity as it’s happening in real time. So, because the definition of courage is the ability to do something that frightens one, I don’t know anybody who really wants to do that. So, my definition is knowledge, plus faith, plus action equals courage. And it has to be all three of those pillars. Knowledge and faith with no action is paralysis. Faith and action without knowledge is reckless. Knowledge and action without faith, if you don’t feel that on the inside, if that little voice isn’t going, this is kind of nuts, this is crazy… If it’s only knowledge and action but you’re numb, you’re working on status quo. So, it needs to be all three. So, same thing, the whole back half of the book is teaching you what knowledge to follow, which builds faith. And then I think the hardest part and I’d be interested in your take, guys, it’s like the action part. Like you thought you… This… How many times in your life you know what you should do and you feel it? The hard part is leaping. 

10:53 PAT: Oh yeah. No that and that’s like me to a tee, and something that I’ve definitely tried to work on. Because I’ll stand… I’m like pretty analytical in a sense, and so, there’ll be times where I know like I should… Like 80% of me, like my gut knows that I need to do this. But I don’t have that hundred percent reassurance. I kind of get stuck. And so, like, just kind of taking… It’s not like taking a leap, necessarily, but it’s just like getting going, like just doing something towards whatever needs to be done gets that momentum building. Because once you prove those little like micro wins if it’s a big undertaking…   What’s the saying? How do you eat a cow? Like one bite at a time or something like that. 

11:29 RYAN: How do you eat an elephant? 

11:30 PAT: Sure, yeah. I don’t know… Animals… 

11:32 RYAN: How do you eat a cow? With a knife and fork. 

11:34 PAT: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, a little seasoning. 

11:36 JOE: But I think even too, on that note, in this day and age it’s becoming even harder and harder, because you constantly have eyes on you. You’re constantly seeing all this kind of facade of people on social media and this life that you want to be living or should be living. And then you’re kind of looking at yourself and being like, what am I doing? Like, and you find yourself and, if I end up doing this, what’s the blowback gonna be if I’m publicizing it and things like that, because it’s so, easy. Where now before I heard someone talking about it like back in the 80s, when Harrison Ford was his movie star, he could walk into a restaurant and everyone would freak out, know who he was. Because during those times he didn’t have internet trolls and people just constantly hammering him about you suck, your movies suck, you’re not a good actor, and things like that. 

12:22 PAT: Yeah, just trying to beat him down. 

12:23 JOE: Yeah. And nowadays it’s more so, you have a lot more scrutiny. There’s a lot more room for error and to screw up and really kind of go down that path. And so, it’s an interesting way, where it’s like when you want to be courageous, you have to take a lot more into consideration now and sometimes just block it all out. 

12:38 RYAN: So, this begins the Tony Robbins part of the show. So, I’m gonna give you… And because you’re so, right and this is the reality. And we spend a lot of time looking at places we probably shouldn’t, right? So, I have a six-year-old son and I already know I’m like, he looks at what his sister gets. He’s like that’s not fair, right? And I think when you compare, beware and start there. Let’s just start simply there. When you compare, beware. All of a sudden you feel shitty about yourself. Am I allowed to curse on this? 

13:16 PAT: Oh yeah, no. 

13:17 RYAN: All of a sudden you feel bad about yourself. Often you feel beep about yourself. So, I start there. Second, the real problem and I think this is great because it’s as much about branding and people and businesses as it is about people. And if you know anything about the way businesses talk, they always talk about the North Star. Where are we going? What’s our North Star? Where are gonna end up? And I think the great companies and the great people, it’s exactly flipped. There’s no North Star out there. It’s exactly inside you. It’s exactly in there. And it’s about having clarity of what you’re about. So, you know what you’re supposed to do, how you’re supposed to act. If you pull a Ryan Berman string, you probably heard me even say it on the show at some point before. One of the seventeen times I’ve been on. Which is if you don’t know what you stand for you never know when to take a stand. That’s where courage plays is in those moments. So, a lot of what I’m asking people to do in the book is to get clarity. And we’re living in a clarity epidemic right now. Or there’s too much stuff, so, everybody’s cloudy. They don’t know where to focus. They might make a list and they think they can prioritize the list. There’s 77 things on your list. You’re not gonna get to them all. Do three things amazing this year, and get the clarity that you’re looking for, so, if someone does troll you… Someone’s gonna troll me on this book. Again, I always joke like, I’m the least qualified person to write a book on courage, the guy that wrote 50 one-liners buying a laptop. What could be more courageous than that?  Imagine sitting down with an astronaut, and Loretta her first thing to me is like, what makes you qualified to write a book about courage? Touché astronaut. So, you have to figure out like, why me? Why am I going on this journey? What am I really about? For me, as a storyteller it became clear, I’m a good storyteller and this is the story that needs to be told now. Companies are dying off. If a company dies off, people lose their jobs. People get stressed out. There’s a whole slew of a ripple effect that happens from that. Now you could play the other side. That means there’s new opportunity for other people. But for lots of people like, that’s the reality of when companies let go of people or they die off. It’s… And that… Then self-esteem drops and we can go on for hours on this particular concept. 

15:37 JOE: Yeah, it’s kind of an interesting concept or question to ask someone. Say hey, if you get laid off tomorrow or you get fired tomorrow, what would you do in the next 48 hours? What would be your next steps? And it’s so, easy…

15:49 RYAN: You thought of alcohol. Somebody thought of alcohol. 

15:52 PAT: I’m gonna grab a beer.

15:53 JOE: A lot of them. And it’s crazy too, because you would think in those… A lot of people, their initial reaction would be, oh shit, what am I going to do? And you can easily go down that path and that fear and everything. And it’s just an interesting way to think about it. And obviously I’m not saying to be fearful of your job, or I guess your security at all times. But in a way, it should be in the back of your head to at least take the time to think about where, if everything fell down around me tomorrow, how am I going to react? And what would be my next move? 

16:23 RYAN: Yeah. I mean, again, let’s bring it back up to the business. And what’s the business but just a shell of people. We’re talking about courageous leadership, and that means having clarity in what you’re about. You’re not defined by your job, although we work as… Very hard on the hours and we want our Rocket ships to go. So, it’s like getting that clarity that that’s what the book is about. It’s like, first figure out who you are before we move on to other things. Jerry Maguire was the movie of my generation. There’s three great lines in that movie. One, show me the money. Does anybody have a problem with that one? 

16:57 PAT: No. 

16:57 RYAN: That’s a good one. 

16:58 PAT: Yeah, it’s a very good one. 

16:59 RYAN: The group of concurs on show me the money. 

17:02 PAT: Yes, we’re all good with money. 

17:03 RYAN: Two, you had me at hello. That was sweet. You could feel the goosebumps on the back of your neck. 

17:08 PAT: Touching. 

17:09 RYAN: The third was, you complete me. I think you completely screwed my entire generation. So, I don’t believe in you complete me. I believe in me complete me. Yeah, I think the more you compromise, the more compromised you are. So, I think you have to get whole. Now my wife and I, we complement each other. Maybe it should have been, you complement me. But she knows who she is. I know who I am. We’ve worked hard on each other. There’s total love there. But the more you expect someone to complete you or a job to complete you or life to complete you, I think that’s a slippery slope on identity. 

17:43 PAT: Yeah. And kind of going back to what you were talking about earlier too is like that comparative mindset, right? You see like let’s say I’m working in a job and I’m like, oh my friend at this company is making two times as much as me. That’s somehow like devalues my worth, right? Like, I’m assigning a monetary value to myself as a result of how much I think I’m making that’s like less than them, right? But the problem is and something that I think a lot of people need to reprioritize is like, in those instances, the solution is oftentimes I’m just gonna work harder. I’m just gonna bury myself in my work and just get things done and I’ll figure the rest out later. When kind of what you’re saying is, you need to take a step back and realize who you are, so, that you… And understand what your inherent Worth is and what your values are, so, that you can try to emulate those in your work. And things will kind of go better in all facets. Is that kind of what you’re saying? 

18:32 RYAN: Totally. And I think when you land on your values then you can start to figure out what you really value, and that those are different. Cause what are we really talking about here, when you’re like you see someone else who’s making more money or double the money you’re making? What is that really about, right? Like feeling like you’re not worthy? That’s bigger than… That’s not the case. 

18:53 PAT: Yeah, I’ll leave that one up to Dr. Phil. I don’t know necessarily know.

18:55 RYAN: I’m not a doctor. But there’s more… My point is there’s more in there to understand… Like I can rattle off my personal core values. Playfulness is number one. And I take my work seriously but I don’t take myself that seriously. I think that’s pretty clear, right? 

19:12 PAT: Yeah. It’s good though.

19:12 RYAN: And that’s one for me. And I do really, really well with people like that. And when I didn’t have that clarity, I would get upset. Like I remember, when I was at IDEA, which is the company I founded and left to go do this courageous journey, but I remember being in a pitch without this clarity. And like there was a specific pitch where we had the long table. My only role was to like warm the room and get out of the way. It’s like my team was prepared. But you wanna make them feel comfortable. So, their whole team was on the other side. I was with my team on my side of the table. And we had… And this isn’t trying to be age discrimination, just what it was. 70-year-old 60-year-old white CEO, male, sitting across from me. And I’m like, crack a joke, get a smile, get out of the way. Crack a joke, crickets, nothing. Now the joke was good enough. 

20:08 PAT: Right. It wasn’t the comedic timing. It wasn’t the way joke was told. 

20:11 RYAN: Yeah, it wasn’t like Wakka Wakka. I mean it was like, to get something. I got nothing. So… 

20:16 PAT: Double down.

20:18 RYAN: No. I flipped the table. 

20:20 PAT: Right, yeah. Make a huge scene. 

20:22 RYAN: So, the presentation goes on. And I’m going, I don’t understand. Like what happened? Like it didn’t land. I can’t believe it didn’t land. My team goes on. They’re doing their thing. They’re on slide six. They’re on slide 13. They’re on slide 17. And where am I? I’m stuck on slide one still. Going am I a people-pleaser, right? So, now I’m feeling bad about myself, when realistically we’re just wired differently. 

20:48 PAT: Right. You just have a different set of priorities in your life. He might not value playfulness as much as he does conducting and leading like a business or being like a leader in that capacity.

20:59 RYAN: His version of it. 

21:00 PAT: Sure, yeah but it’s the way he perceives himself, it sounds like. 

21:03 RYAN: So, now… If I would have had that clarity… This concept, he would have bounced off me. It would have been like one second of my life that I would have lost from ago. We’re just wired differently. You know who else was really serious? Nathan down there is really serious. They could talk about serious things all day as he runs the business. This is not the client for me. It’s the number one thing I value. Somebody laughs at the value, we probably… The next thing we’re gonna have a beer, we’re talking about life, I want to hear about you, like kids, what’s your life like? That’s what I value and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean, like you said, he’s a bad person, he’s an evil human being. We’re just wired differently. So, when you get clarity on what you’re about and your values, what you’re really doing is you’re picking up time. You can decide who you spend your time with and who not to spend your time with. Maybe this… You go back to the worthy, the 2x, right? Maybe he or she is gloating on Facebook or Instagram and you’re like, you know what? Every time I see this person post, I feel bad about myself. That’s just a data point that the values aren’t aligned, frankly. 

22:03 PAT: Sure. And I think too, it’s to a certain extent, if you don’t have yourself figured out, you’re also like looking to those… Like they influenced… Your friends influence you a good amount. And just like seeing things that your friends are doing, where you’re like, oh I wouldn’t have thought of that. That looks cool, and now I’m a little jealous that they’re doing that instead of me. I think that all like gets accentuated more and more when you don’t have your own priority. So, it’s kind of what you’re saying, like if you can’t prioritize what you value and what your values are, then it’s… You’re gonna be stuck comparing yourself because you’re trying to figure out what those things are, whether you know it, like consciously or subconsciously. 

22:37 JOE: So, kind of going back to the beginning when… Was there a specific moment where you had an aha like I should write this book. I obviously don’t know what I’m gonna do, and then what’s my next step and then all of a sudden you start talking to these people, you start getting integrated and next thing you know it kind of snowballs. You’re talking to astronauts, you’re talking to Navy SEALs, like what was that moment and then kind of where were you started to go and then you started realizing okay, I’m on to something and I could really publish a book about this? 

23:06 RYAN: Yeah, yeah. And the thing is, if you… It goes back to awareness, right? So, the first… I guess you could say I’ve made a career as a compensated observationalist, right? Like that’s what you pay me for, is from a marketing standpoint you’re working through a problem, you want us to help you maybe smoke out a truth, a true insight that’s gonna connect with people, and you say it however you say if it’s cloudy and then you bring in the interpreters to translate what you really meant and like bring it to the surface. And so, I had one of those moments for myself where I was like, wow every time we sell a courageous idea to a client, it works. And at the moment they’re terrified to do it and they’re pacing and they’re sweaty palms and like, that’s the idea. That’s the idea we want you to pick. And by the way every time they actually allow us to do it, my staff’s happier, right? Because they’re like, great, another web banner. Yeah, versus like cool, like we’re actually gonna change the way somebody thinks about this household brand. So, every time we did the courageous idea, I had a happier team, the results of the idea reaped… That was the return on courage from doing it. And I’m like there’s something here. There’s something here. And I went to my two partners and I was like, I landed on this concept called courage brands. I don’t know what it means yet. I bought the URL. I trademarked it. And I’d like to like just come up with the definition of that. Because I think it’s our positioning. And they were awesome. They’re like Go, Go, Go. figure it out, like go figure out what this thing is. And so, in order to understand what a courage brand is you kind of have to go back and really dissect courage, which is where the definition came from. And the more people you talk to… The more people I talk to at first it was very clear that it was like a peripheral thing at best. And then the more people I spoke to, they’re like yeah, that really does kind of play in our business. That’s interesting. Yeah, if you get the core focus, just sort of like hone in on it, that was really a courageous move when we made it. And so, the parallel that I tried to make, at least to keep myself sane because I didn’t know if it was gonna take, was emotional intelligence. Here’s this thing called emotional intelligence that nobody took seriously. It’s the soft scale. And then Harvard starts writing about emotional intelligence. And that’s the difference between good leaders and great leaders is emotional intelligence. And then everyone believes that emotional intelligence is the new thing. So, in some crazy way I was like okay, I wonder if I can repair this amazing word that’s broken and not part of the business lexicon called courage. And I sometimes describe it as like, imagine there’s a word stock market. We’re gonna buy a low encourage and we’re gonna ride this up. And I really think that this is the thing. And that’s scary too because then you got to make sure you get your biases out of the way as you’re learning. I’m like, okay that’s interesting, so, you think it’s careless, you think it’s curious. Like some people are like are you sure it’s courage or is it curiosity? I’m like okay, there is something about curiosity actually. That’s if you’re curious you keep going down and the book writing process was rather curious. It’s like I don’t know where this is gonna take me but I trust if I stay open the answers will follow. So, then I landed on as what what’s the actual definition of a courage brand? Go back to knowledge faith and action. And the whole idea of a courage brand is any brand that willingly embraces change and addresses fear head-on by gathering knowledge, building faith, then taking swift action. And when I had that, I’m like I kind of have a lot of content here. So, like what do I want to do with this? And so, I kept going. And then it was like, I wonder if you can actually train people to be courageous. And I wonder I can figure out even like, it’s almost like deconstructing courage, and like what is the step-by-step way to help somebody, hold their hand through the steps so, they can actually figure out how to do it. And make it into a real muscle, like a real skill. You come out the other side and you’re like I got 55,000 words. I never thought I’d be an author. I’m the least qualified person in my family to be an author, which is probably why I’m the only one who wrote a book in our family. And yeah, it really is addressing the… Like I said the problem solution. Why courage now? Here’s a couple companies that are commodity categories that are not in Silicon Valley, that are not a four-person garage brand, massive companies that unlock courage for them, and are reaping the benefits in their stock price. Okay, so, if they can do it, you can do it. Here’s what you need. And then the rest is history. 

27:47 PAT: Hmm, that’s interesting. It kind of makes me think too, kind of talking about even the difference between courage and curiosity. Curiosity is kind of diving deeper into the rabbit hole, so, to speak, of something that’s interesting to you. But I still think the initial spark, like the initial action taking process has to come from somewhere that’s like courageous or brave. And I kind of wanted to pose that question to you. Did you consider the word bravery at all? Do we put that in the same category as courageous? Because I’ve heard of plenty of businesses that are doing brave things or brave. 

28:18 RYAN: Yeah, I mean I think there’s similarities to it. I don’t know if I just… It could be as simple as bravery was being over utilized or being brave still feels a little to me like being fearless, which is… And I don’t like the word fearless. I make a joke actually, I think you should fear more. I don’t think should fear less of anything, like you should flip it. And I know that’s not what it means. But I’d flip it that way because part of this is getting the knowledge you need. And I think when you think of words like fearless or bravery, they’re not… They don’t feel like words rooted in knowledge. 

28:57 PAT: It goes a little bit more to that reckless thing. 

29:00 RYAN: Exactly, yeah. 

29:02 PAT: So, it’s just faith in action without any knowledge. 

29:04 RYAN: Yeah. And so, I thought courage, there was an opportunity to be like you can learn how to be courageous. It’s a skill with the knowledge piece. I will say, because you try to like… Once you learn how to be courageous, which is also like it sounds a little presumptuous, like I’m courageous.  I think it’s easier to say we need to be courageous as a company, right? Than like, I’m your courageous leader you sound like… 

29:30 PAT: Right, it’s culty.

29:31 RYAN: Yeah, but once you have the skills to understand what you’re about, it… Courage kind of comes to the middle of a journey. It’s a journey word, like in the messy. You guys like, Garrity, if you start thinking about that definition in your own business, I’m gonna give it two weeks. You’re gonna be in some meeting, it may be with a client. It may be here. There’ll be a moment where the client disagrees with you, or maybe the leadership team, there’s some… And you’re like oh this is it. This is the Spotted moment where courage plays and you’ll see what I mean why by holding strong in the middle and the messy and being like, actually here’s why I don’t think we should do it this way… 

30:10 PAT: Being rooted in your values, right? With like rationality and like knowledge and like so, I kind of see… So, it’s basically equipping yourself for that situation. And we see that all the time too with clients and I’m sure you saw it on the agency side too. When you have a recommendation and they maybe disagree with it, you really have to… There is a reason why. And so, just reinforcing that reason more than not ends up painting out in a net positive. 

30:37 RYAN: And the why, you better have the why, which is the knowledge piece to back it up, right? 

30:41 PAT: Yeah exactly. You can’t just say it to have taken a stand at something. 

30:45 RYAN: Exactly or it’s reckless. And so, and that why is gonna show up. So, courage is really a destination word. And if you’re hold firm on your belief and you’re right, it’s ultimately to get something meaningful. Like is this actually meaningful when it actually sticks into the market? And that’s why you need to be courageous. My mentor and I’ve got two. One who’s actually one of my partners in Courage boot camp, which is an online portal we’re building for companies to train their employees how to actually unlock courage. We’re actually putting our first client through the beta in February, which we’re super excited about. When we finally reconnected cause it had been like a decade. I mean this guy hired me out of New York and he doesn’t need to… He’s made his money. This is passion for him. And helping the next generation. And so, he’s like what’s this thing you’re doing with courage, you know he’s a New York guy. And yeah, I first like responding, I like reverted back to the 23-year-old version of myself, like nervous to have a conversation with this guy who ran a 700-person agency. And I kind of went through all the things that were happening. And like he hasn’t said anything, and I’m like, and this is what I want to build. I want to build courageous as a consultancy and help people change, whether its story change and innovation change or culture change. And he finally goes, Ryan, I always said the two most underutilized words in business were courage and no. And I started laughing and thank god he laughed too. He’s like sometimes it takes courage to say no. And I’m like, well say yes to reading the book. 

32:19 PAT: Sure, exactly. That’s a courageous move. 

32:22 RYAN: And he liked the book and he liked… He thought he liked how thought out it was, in his opinion. And then we started to work on like, well how do we make this scalable? How do we actually make this possible from…? For companies to really unlock it? And that’s where the courage boot camp came about. And so, it’s exciting to launch this program, eight-week program like I said. All online, so, it’s not like you need to like fly anyone anywhere. We’re being really thoughtful of the business apocalypse too. So, that whole, you need time but you don’t have time, sort of was the genesis behind well we can’t like do a six-month program. I think this needs to be fast. We need to get the knowledge over to you. And we need to be realistic that you’re not going to be able to spend hundreds of hours on it. So, we’re dripping modules weekly, so, you can’t even jump ahead. 

33:09 PAT: Right, you don’t want to do it all in bulk or else the impact is lost. 

33:12 RYAN: Yeah, and then the cool thing also is that there’s all these different assessments throughout the program that allow you to make sure the knowledge transfer is happening. But also, like give candid feedback on the culture, or like… Is it setting in? Like I talk about clarity metrics, right? So, is the purpose clear within the organization? Is everyone beating to the same drum? There’s all this value that we can report back to our clients on, hey, this is awesome we know your next generation. They want to be invested in… They want a path. This is a way to give them a path. And hopefully then they take what they learn here and they help you operationalize courage back into your organization. And if you’re in the Fortune 1000, if you’re from 501 to a thousand, the strategy is we’re gonna give you the tools to get in there, and we know spots are gonna open up. 

33:58 PAT: Right. Makes a whole lot of sense. 

34:00 JOE: Yeah and so, even in kind of on that note, you have your company, courageous the consultancy. And through that you’re building courageous brands through that. You have your book as a part of that. You’re gonna have your online portal and the trainings. You have soc problems and so, you’re gonna continue to just expand and diversify and just almost see it as like an umbrella company with everything else. 

34:25 RYAN: Exactly, yeah. And I even say, soc problems, which is my courage brand, this isn’t like the legal side, but I call it like under courage ventures. And I don’t think you guys know this also, but I also have another courage brand called Robin Hood brands. Same thing, I’m not… I’m like the low man on the totem pole on this one, but we have a company called pure boost in that portfolio. That’s a Courage brand. It’s a clean antioxidant energy mix. And I’m just taking the method, the price method which is in the book. Which is the whole idea for the listener is that there’s a price of becoming a courage brand. If it was easy everyone would do it. Price is an acronym. These are the five steps: prioritize, rally, identify, commit, and execute. And I won’t go into the too many details cause it’s all in the book, and each one gets a chapter. But price is at the center of the talks. It’s at the center of courageous. It’s at the center of courage ventures. It really is a modern-day framework to getting the mechanics of any business tight. So, they have the clarity that they need to go be courageous in the market. 

35:25 JOE: Cool. Well, even on that note where can people get your book? Where can they purchase it? And more importantly, why should they read it? 

35:34 RYAN: I think anyone who wants… The last is easiest, right? Like anyone who wants to get ahead in their life, career, or they want to propel their company forward. This book is for you. So, if you are like, hey I want to do more in my company, I just like, I’m stuck. I think if anyone… If you’re actually listening to this podcast, you’ve already sort of opted in. Like you want to be better. 

35:55 PAT: Yeah, you’re trying to get better.   

35:57 RYAN: And so, I think your… This audience is the perfect audience for the book, cause like you want to advance your career, you want to advance your company, this book can help you. I will say and I recognize that this sounds really like shameless, shameless promotion alert… 

36:11 PAT: Do it. 

36:12 RYAN: I think having a closed-door conversation about change is absurdly hard. Like if you walked into your CEO’s office and are like, do you have a minute? I think it’s really hard for people to be like this is messed up. It’s like I don’t have a minute, actually. I’ve got 18 things on my list. Book a time in three weeks and we’ll talk. And now you feel deflated. But the idea of buying a book and handing a book to somebody, and be like, have you read that book about courage brands called return on courage? No? Here read mine. Now you sound smart and they’re gonna connect the dots in what you’re really trying to say, which is like, hey, maybe there’s a place in our business that we need to re-evaluate and think about. And so, they’ll connect the dots and like okay, I get it. Or tell me more. And then you look smart cause you’ve given someone a book about change, versus trying to have like this uncomfortable conversation about change. So, I always saw it as like… I always saw it as like a diffuser to hard conversation. You can pick up the book at Barnes & Noble, I know you can pick it up on amazon.com. And you can actually, I think pick it up now on couragebrands.com. And the audible is coming, so, if like you really like my voice, I’m narrating it.

37:26 PAT: Which we do, and these listeners do. I mean that’s why you’re here. 

37:30 RYAN: I’m still back. 

37:31 PAT: Yeah exactly. 

37:31 RYAN: I can just see the audience in their boxers on the elliptical with me in their ears at home. 

37:36 PAT: This is their morning time. 

37:37 RYAN: High black socks. Just get the soc problem socks if you’re gonna do that. 

37:41 PAT: Yeah exactly. 

37:42 RYAN: So, look, I don’t know how many books I’m writing in this university, so, while I’m here. So, I wanted to do it. I wanted to do the audible. And I really had a lot of fun. It was a week-long journey and a lot of what’s called throat coat, which is a tea that protects your voice. And so, yeah, that’s coming out in I’d say in about a week, so, there you have it. 

38:04 PAT: Awesome. Well we’ll post a couple links. I will post one to the courage brands website and to the Amazon store in our bio, and then also make sure that it’s in the description. Ryan, thank you so, much for coming on again. Looking forward to episode 4 with you. 

38:19 RYAN: Oh man. That’s a lot of pressure, guys. 

38:25 PAT: Huge thank you to Ryan Berman for coming on the show. Another great interview with him. Again, check out his book return on courage. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through the courage brands website. Again, everybody, thank you for tuning in. That just about wraps up episode 68 with podcast presented by Power Digital Marketing. We’ll be back again next week with some more great content for you. But until that time, this has been Pat Kreidler, Austin Mahaffy, John Saunders and Joe Hollerup signing off.

John is the Director of Web Development at Power Digital and thrives on the balance between creative and strategy. Using his experience in CRO, John approaches website builds with the user in mind, combining psychological and technical aspects of design.