Interview with Rick Jordan (CEO of ReachOut Technology)
Katerina: Hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of the mental wealth podcast, the podcast for resilient intrapreneurs. I have the pleasure to have a very special guest today. Rick Jordan, who is the CEO and the founder of ReachOut Technology. Rick, it’s nice to have you in the studio.
Rick: Oh, thank you. It’s great to be on. I love good conversations with good people, but all the good stuff today, all the good.
Katerina: Good, good, good, you are a very special guest. First of all, because this podcast is… is generally for female entrepreneurs. So you are our special bonus episode because several times throughout the interviews we’ve discussed issues such as… you know we need to kind of look at what men are doing and because sometimes it’s best to learn from men. So, and especially on this topic of mental wealth, I guess it would be great to have your view on this topic as well so it’s my pleasure to have you in the studio.
Rick: Awesome it’s my pleasure. I wish a lot of men would look at what women are doing too in the reverse because I think it’s just amazing. For real you know especially women that are entrepreneurs that have families that have kids, you know, it’s mind-blowing to me how a woman is able to handle so much… I mean a dude can’t do that. There’s no way.
Katerina: Yeah. Well, yeah, I guess that sometimes they can but we… I can multitask, when I’m writing or when I’m doing something and my husband is talking to me and I’m like, I can’t hear you. I can’t focus on you because I’m doing something else. And he is like, “You’re a woman you’re supposed to be able to multitask.” And I’m like “No, I can’t.”
Rick: Yeah. Also, a lot of female entrepreneurs that I met… I’m, I really really enjoy scotch, that’s my drink of choice. You know I haven’t found many women that enjoy scotch except in the entrepreneurial community, and they’ll drink MacAllan with me all day long. It’s awesome, I love it…
Katerina: Yeah, you should… you should meet me about 20 years ago I was drinking, just scotch… now it’s wine time for me.
Rick: Yeah. the first responsibility of every wine is to be red. My drop.
Katerina: Yeah. But, Rick you are one of America’s leading voices on entrepreneurship, business, cybersecurity. You’ve got a best selling book — Situational ethics. You have your own podcast — ALL IN… How did it all start for you?
Rick: Oh my goodness, everything… it’s interesting everything you’re talking about has been really within the past couple of years, but it’s sort of like a culmination of things that I’ve been doing for the past 15. You ask, how did it start… with me and I… you know I have to bring up my wife in this too because she’s amazing. It takes an amazing woman to be married to a dude like me because I’m kind of all over the place. In good ways and good ways but it’s just… it’s difficult to kind of keep up because my brain has 27 new ideas every single day. And I honed in on those around 12 years ago when I was laid off and my twins were born just two weeks after I was laid off.
And that’s when I started my entrepreneurial journey. I had little side hustles if you want to call them that for maybe six years or so, and I always say that my biggest regret was not diving into something, all in. During those six years because I feel like I almost lost those six years you know just still working in the corporate world and trying to rise up the corporate ladder and get the promotion and the pay raise all of that. I really really wish that I had just jumped off the cliff a little bit sooner. Now, but I learned a lot during those times too, and it helped to shape who I am now.
But when you say, when it all started… I’ve been on stages for Geez, over 20 years now, as a musician, as a pastor in a church… of several churches. Really I was always the number two guy and I was always the one that was leading the music you know the frontman playing the guitar. I play the drums too. I did the maths the other day and I’ve been on stages, at least this is at a minimum, because of that you know in front of thousands of people… at least 1200 times over the past 20 years, it’s mind-blowing. I never sat down and did that maths, as you talked about where did it start… You know my dad put me on stage when I was 10 years old, playing the drums in the church because I was already an accomplished drummer even at 10, he started teaching me when I was five. So he shoved me on stage when I was 10 because the church band needed a drummer at that time it was a small church of about 200 people. But that was the first time I was in front of people was playing the drums and it was a lot of fun. So it takes me all the way back to the … that’s 30 years ago … was my first time on stage. If that’s where it all started awesomely that’s where it all started.
Katerina: Yeah, because your dad was very influential when you were growing up…. he was your role model.
Rick: Yeah, he sure was and he passed away when I was just 16 years old. Yeah, leukaemia so I knew him better than my brother and sister because my brother and sister are five and six years younger than me, very fortunate and grateful to have that time with him. And I always remember him being around. That was one of the biggest things and maybe that’s even something that I struggle with right now because I do travel a lot.
And I remember my dad was always home before school when I left, and he was always home before I… school was done when I came back home at the end of the day. And that was something he wanted to do. Yeah, he was, he was in sales and insurance, and he used to say that he had the best part-time job in the world. Just because he could do that that was his, his thing is he just always wanted to be home with family. And I’m trying to take a look back at that and the dude was an amazing man, an amazing influence in my life, always, always involved in everything that I was doing it’s awesome. And I think back it’s like I think almost because he… he never really made more than maybe 30,000 US dollars every year. So we were very very poor growing up.
I never had an allowance, you know I would get paid $5 to cut the lawn, you know that that was my thing what was mowing the lawn. And it was never a lot of money going around and I think back and you know to that influence that you’re talking about, those are really the only fights that my parents ever really had was over money, and being that growing up. I was, my dad was very free-flowing like I was you know and don’t care but even though I have a lot now, I still don’t really care much about it because I see it more as a tool that just to achieve some outcome or advance your purpose to level up to whatever you’re going to do that’s how money is to me. It’s something that continuously drives you forward into the next great experience the next mode of serving people.
My mom didn’t really see it that way. She always saw it as the end-all and be all, you know, meaning we’re always working for money it’s like you’re, you’re working to live rather than living to work you know… it was just an interesting scenario that I saw in there… fights were all our money. So maybe that was conditioning me to see, you know what, I’m never going to have an issue with money. I’ve had my problems with money still but that was the picture growing up you know that that… I don’t know if that was such a healthy thing from a mental perspective seeing my parents fight over that, you know. And I know from a divorce perspective, what is it, it’s something like sex and money other two top reasons right why people get divorced. I guess I don’t know my parents on the sex…
Katerina: Yeah I guess so. Or just a constant nag.. nag nag nag.
Rick: But what are they nagging about there’s always something that’s surrounding, you know, money is… that’s a big driver for conflict, seeing that growing up I was like — that’s never gonna be me… I started thinking back and reflecting years later, it’s like my dad was really really good at sales, he could have made millions really, and I feel that he almost settled in those ways.
A big influence on my life you know and he didn’t even realise the impact that he had by choosing to not make….that was his choice on his part because there were things that came out of his mouth when he would say that you now. And I would see my mom get upset about money and just, you know, not, not really understanding that it’s really meant to be a tool rather than helping you drive forward things in life you know… I don’t know… I think back to those days and I just thought I’m never going to be that way.
So now I’m, I travel… shoot I mean last year, you know… I’m an ambassador level with Marriott. Right, which means that I stay in a Marriott chain hotel so I’m in one of their hotels over 100 nights a year in order to achieve that level.
Rick: That is more like 150 nights and then there’s another just kind of like a sporadic hotel so I’m gone a lot, and I compare that to my dad, who was always home. And it’s like, how do we… how do we blend that and I feel that you really can by having …, you know as a man, I feel that you can by having an amazing wife that holds things together and that’s, that’s her amazing role and she’s pursuing other things right now to like, like entrepreneurial coaching, you know, for the partners of entrepreneurs, because, whether you’re male or female… I feel that you know whoever our partners in life, as an entrepreneur we kind of drive him crazy a little bit. It’s just the nature of it.
Katerina: It’s great to have a very supportive wife because we’ve… we’ve had some discussions on this programme with other female entrepreneurs, and some of them said that they sometimes can’t share everything with the husbands because they’ve been employees all their lives. Yeah, they don’t understand the difficulties they’re going through sometimes… and that’s why they have to find mentors or some other people to talk to about their business side of things.
Rick: They’re not wrong, for sure. I’ve been… I’ve had that struggle too. It’s a, it’s a little different. I mean, we’re, we’re 12 years into this, now you know so there’s the expectation now between my wife and me, that this is just this type of life. And there are things that we can do and she said something pretty amazing to me the other day because I mean we’ve had our struggles when it comes to marriage. When she said something amazing the other day it was just two weeks ago that you know, I realised because her friend is moving back from Phoenix, and is just not in a good place mentally right now because her husband is an entrepreneur, and her husband, they’re moving back to the Chicago area where we’re at… and my wife said you know I really appreciate what you do because I realised that if you didn’t do what you did, I couldn’t do what I did and I couldn’t be there for my friend right now, who’s also married to an entrepreneur and help them through that point.
But you’re dead on, you know, because there are things still that I can’t have a deep conversation with my wife because she’s been a W2 employee… that’s the only thing she’s known, and it, it happens and I don’t think that’s gender-specific either because females who are entrepreneurs I could see that with their husbands you know… even husbands can be completely supportive. And I’m sure you’ve probably run into this too, which is an interesting perspective. Female entrepreneurs on the positive head have a completely different battle… you know than I do because it’s typically men have a very proud stature right as the breadwinner, the moneymaker. So when a female can make more money than a man being an entrepreneur. That’s got to dig into the metal a little bit, I would think so I’m sure that a greater struggle for that you know and I don’t see… I think that’s almost like a lack of identity for one part on a male’s perspective. I can see that, you know, only because I am an entrepreneur if my wife was doing way better than me and making millions more than me, I’d be like, awesome. Go get it.
But for me, I would still have that competitive nature inside of me being a man being like, Hey, I’m still going to try to top her. It’s just, you know, even though she could blow, blow by me but for a man you know if this is for women speaking. Hopefully, as a husband of a female entrepreneur, it would help drive them and pull them up to an even higher level in their lives.
I know that’s how it would be for me. Even if it’s, they’re working a regular nine to five job the male… maybe they could try to go for the next promotion and or just continuing to move that way so I want to encourage your listeners… if that’s the case, use it as … man you know men are extremely competitive — it’s just our nature, you know, probably more than, than women. And it goes back to our innate nature you know just even back to caveman days or whatever, you know, and then we’re always the ones that are just out there… the beast’s rights.
But we’ve all… we always have to have dominance in some way so maybe in that way, you know, my brother, he’s, he makes less than my sister in law does, and his wife, you know, and they’re both working regular jobs. And he’s actually pretty secure in what he does, which I commend him for that, because even though his wife is making more and it’s awesome because it’s a good relationship between those two that they just know what their lanes are, you know, and he’s… he has two, two girls. His daughters you know… no sons so that he’s amazing with them and I don’t know I mean if I had all girls as kids — it would be a different story for me, I would think, you know, I might not be able to relate to them as well as I do… but since I have a mix, it’s better for me. God knew what he was doing there for real.
Katerina: Yeah, it’s … you know you mentioned that you’ve chosen your past … because of your, you know, parents and the way they influenced… I mean I grew up in a family with three sisters so we were four girls. And we were never really encouraged… We’ve actually, I mean my father now passed away, but he even said to me once “You know, you have good looks… so, just use your looks before its time”… And I was like Gee dad thanks for that.
Rick: Oh my goodness. Wow. That’s a tool right?
Katerina: Entrepreneurship was never encouraged in our family that’s for sure… Yeah, but you know you… you said 12 years ago, you were employed, right. So, so you didn’t think about … well, before, before you employment to become an entrepreneur… you decided to find a nine to five job right? What was the reason for that?
Rick: For that, I am… did things on the side, you know, even if it was a second job, you know I was working for BestBuy for a few years, just just just for something to do a little extra money. And then I was thinking you know maybe I can have a small consulting business on the side just for extra money. I really thought that my main gig was just being an employee, but I always had this thing to where I sort of pushed against authority, because I always felt like it was dumb, you know, because this is going to sound arrogant and it’s not at all… I always felt like I was the smartest person in the room, and that bugged me and you need to leave that room.
Katerina: And you need to leave that room…
Rick: Yeah, exactly. So why can’t I be in rooms where I’m the dumbest person in the room because I’m going to learn more. And so that was the struggle that I had in the corporate world is that everybody was just in a system… in this lane… in this mode of just trying to one-up everybody else. And that’s all they cared about so when I would walk in and just blow their minds with some concepts. And, I’m like guys this shouldn’t be the case, you know I get that I’m intelligent, I get that I have drive and passion, but I want to be in rooms where I feel like I’m the dumbest person in the room. That way I know that I’ll be able to be brought up and you can help lift me, and then maybe we’ll, you know, I can be the smartest person in the room 40 years from now, cool. And then I can mentor others, you know like I’m doing right now.
But still, I strive… I strive so much to be the dumbest person in the room because I know how much I’m going to learn. But even to the point where a couple of years ago I was a little bit insecure with my own value because I was being invited into rooms to where I knew that I was going to be the dumbest person there. But, you know, I was like oh I really want to be in there like what kind of value can I bring to the room. So… and I learned very quickly that even though there are other people that have achieved more than me in that room, there are still things that I do and expertise that I have that I can always bring to any room, that will benefit them.
So if I may not have accomplished the 150 things that they have so far in life, I will still be able to bring them value in that they’ll see somebody to pour into like me and be like “Hey Rick, this is what I’ve learned from all my failures and successes. I see where you’re at and that’s cool you’ve got some good knowledge, but maybe you should try this.” I walked out of there, just lifted up because I knew that I brought them value in whatever little way that I could. And at the same time, they were able to pour into me and I learned something just by teaching somebody else.
Katerina: Yeah, so I guess them laying you off was kind of a blessing for you right?
Rick: It really was, and I had a… I had a client of BestBuy that I was working with because I was in business to business sales… I wrote their playbook there, and he was telling us like “Rick if you ever go in for three years”… he was telling me “Rick if you ever do something on your own. I’m there with you. I think you need to, I think you need to push that”… And you know this was in cybersecurity he did this with his mechanic to for his cars you know he older cars, and he listened. You know, it was really the push that I needed, and I think I was talking about this little the other day too… I was one of those dudes, not so much a planner because I would take the punches, as they would come… but I had this weird idea in my head, and it was more of like a safety and security thing that really was insecurity. And then I wanted everything laid out in front of me to where I could see all the steps, I could see exactly, you know if I picked a career choice and where I wanted to end up 10 years from now… I wanted to see all the steps and all the actions I needed to take in that 10 year period to get there to completely strategize this.
I did this with kids too… so I’m the reason why we waited so long to have kids, six years into our marriage because I use a stupid phrase that I just wanted all my ducks in a row. And then it was at some point to where it was just a knockdown drag-out fight with my wife.
And this was again nine months before I got laid off before I was fired. Whereas, fine, I give up. I’m just gonna give up control, and that was the best moment, I ever had in my life because from there on, it’s like … screw it. I’m just going to go after what I’m ever going to go after no matter what comes at me, I don’t even need to see the next 10 steps, all I need to know is the destination and I’ll figure it out along the way. And that’s when I also learned like money, there’s always money to be made. You know, there’s never a reason why I need to struggle with money. Even though you might take some financial hits and I’ve had those… every entrepreneur has but taking those financial hits as part of it and then you figure out “Wow. Well, that didn’t work too well maybe I just need to shift a little bit and try something different you know from the plan of action”… And the money should not be tough even my son gets that. I wanted to do… do you want to talk about something real quick about my daughter because this is me… because I love the format of your show. Out of anybody because I have three kids… I have two twin 13-year-olds, and then a 10-year-old son my twins are boy girl. So, Ariel who’s my daughter, my only daughter, out of all three of my kids, is the one that’s showing that entrepreneurial spark. She’s 13 now. Ever since she was five years old. I remember when she was just that young she was thinking you know I love milkshakes, and I love waffles, how would I have a store or a restaurant that just does shakes and waffles.
Like, that’s awesome… I mean she was just five years old but she was doing… Over the course of the year, she’s honed them into baking and now. I mean, we’ve actually honed this vision of hers over the past six months to where it probably just two years from now she’s going to sit at 15, I can’t believe that she’s going to look at launching a national franchise of cupcake stores. And I can’t… The whole plan isn’t hashed out yet but I tell you I travel… I come home — there are three cakes waiting for me because she’s just messing around with stuff you know but she’s not thinking. Yeah, this looks like fun. And the conversation I had with her the other week was, you know, do you want to do this just for one store and have fun. She’s like “No, I don’t think so I want to have a lot of stores because I want a lot of people to be able to experience this concept like that’s the way to think about it.”
You don’t want to go into this because an entrepreneur, to me, whether it’s male or female, it doesn’t matter is not somebody that just does a job for themselves versus someone else. An entrepreneur has a vision that is much larger because if you’re just doing it saying… you know I want to open up a cupcake store, or I want to open up a restaurant or I want to be a financial coach, whatever it is, there’s a lot of good coaches out there you know or, you know, good insurance agents and they’re doing it for themselves and producers are making a good living. That’s great.
But if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re truly trying to build something that’s bigger than yourself. You must have a team, in my opinion, that’s one of the dividing lines between someone who’s an entrepreneur and somebody who’s just doing a job. Because of the reason why we should be an entrepreneur. Yes, to enhance our own lives, but we almost have an obligation to bring others along that journey with us to help them to show them ways that they can go. So when my daughter says “Hey I want to open up a cupcake” so I’m like “Just one?”… and she is like “Well, no I want to… I want to create jobs”… I mean she’s saying this and she’s 13… I want to have people have a lot of money and security and everything like… that’s awesome. That’s way more than one store, we should talk about a franchise model. And she is like “What’s that dad?” So then I’m explaining to her what a franchise model is you know. Like you can be just this amazing gourmet cupcake person that just, you know, enhance it because who doesn’t like a cupcake first of…
Good too… I know I’m biassed but we’ve got a bakery right down the street, that has two master bakers… it’s one of the only 25 bakeries in the whole US that actually has two master bakers… her stuff is way better than theirs. And she’s only 13 like you can just hold this stuff in cookie-cutter this you know to cupcakes and you can mass produce, you can be the first real competitor to Sprinkles.
Katerina: Yeah. No, I mean it’s great to encourage your kids to do this I mean it’s… I don’t want to go into much more detail but my sort of backgrounds and passion is that I’m writing a book about artificial intelligence and the impact on jobs and yeah I mean it’s you… You are going to be employed in business but you have to understand artificial intelligence and be able to work with it. Or another way for you to be relevant is to be an entrepreneur. And I guess this is something they don’t teach in schools. If parents don’t… show kids ways… to how to be more entrepreneurial who’s going to teach them.
Rick: Exactly. Yeah.
Katerina: But, you know, going back to, to the time when you lost your job.
Rick: Yeah, sorry.
Katerina: Yeah. Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur, because you could just simply find another job?
Rick: I could have… yeah, you’re right. I could make it easy. Probably making seven figures working for anybody as a CIO, or whatever in cyber… it… it really came down and this was sort of the passion because I’m an ordained pastor too, and I’ve helped launch three churches. I had this desire, you might even want to call it a disease, to help other people, you know, and I heard business owners and even working for corporate America, you know, they would always have budgets for payroll, you know, and it’s always annoyed the crap out of me because they were only certain amounts that they could give for increases that were budgeted. No matter how well the store did or whatever it is. It’s why is that the case? And I even hear business owners now even clients of mine right now that complain about payroll, you know, especially during COVID, how we just had it…
That’s one thing that I’ve always said to me, it’s like, I love payroll time. I love signing checks because I know what I’m doing is paying for somebody’s mortgage. You know it’s not like I have really just three kids, my own house it’s like I have 100 kids because of all the families of the people that work for me that I’m able to enhance and provide a living for them. It’s such a fulfilling thing for me. So even though. Yeah, you know I… I always thought I could come up with a better way you know the entrepreneur whatever you know… It’s hard for me to fit into a system, there’s all that that’s traditional with entrepreneurs yeah that’s pretty much textbook, but for me, it was more…
I just want to enhance the lives of everybody else. I want to create jobs. I want to show people that there’s a better way than you know just fitting into the system, you know, and allowing them to really determine their own success level too because almost everybody in my company has incentive-based compensation based upon performance, you know, all the way down to a freaking receptionist, you know… Not minimising that role because she does an amazing job with that but still I mean whether it’s you know, call answer rates you know how much time people aren’t held… whatever it is so that they fit into the vision and they understand what the overall scope of that vision is and they believe in it.
They believe in driving. That’s the culture that I’ve created and it has to be that way, you know other people aren’t just around to work for you, just to fit into the machine and do a job. They’re there to really help pull more out of you. You know, pull the best out of you as an entrepreneur, though and payroll comes around… I love just randomly doing bonuses too. You know, I’ve had people start for me… I have a new executive director high-level position key employee that started in the past three months, female, she’s amazing you know she has an entrepreneurial mindset.
What’s really cool is that entrepreneurs can even work for other entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur, you can fit into this entrepreneurial machine to help enhance somebody else’s vision because you have the same mindset. And she’s working on building and she even has equity in the business you know because she’s a key employee… I’m like this is what I’m hiring for …she’s like, what about bonuses, as you’re really determining yourself right here I said, trust me on this and even in just four months has been little things you know a couple thousand here a couple thousand there, and she’s gotten that have just blown her mind when it’s there, it’s always gonna come your way.
But either way, you’re still building up your own base, your own foundational financial stability because you have skin in the game, you have equity here so if we fail, you’re going to fail to. If we succeed, you’re going to make so much more because everybody’s making so much more. Everybody feels like they’re really a part of it not just from a mental perspective but literally from a financial perspective, too.
Katerina: So, what was the most difficult time since you started the ReachOut Technology business? What was the most challenging time since the beginning of the company?
Rick: Dying. Literally. That was five years ago there was a… I had a… I had a black necrotic gangrenous gallbladder. This was 2015. Yeah, and it was eight months, this is… prior to that, you know, I had a couple of team members, you know, and we were doing well, you know, everybody was making what they needed to nothing over the top, you know. I still, I hate to minimise it to this but I still wasn’t wearing you know nice watches or driving an Aston Martin like I am right now.
Katerina: That’s my favourite car.
Rick: Yeah, that’s my favourite car too. There are fun, there is a lot of fun. Even though they are tools too, you know, for real because as you buy those things that becomes a marketing side of it. Say hey look, this the most of the world looks at those things is like a level of status right and this is a little bit of a tangent but it… If it’s marketing or whatever it is still those kinds of things get you into different circles to where you can help a different level of people and you can make even more money which means you can employ more people and they can make more money, but everything’s still a tool.
And yes, there are a lot of freaking fun too. So there’s a reason. Just the tool to have them is just a freaking have them, you know, I don’t have it just to say look at me I have to have fun and I have it to get to gain access into a higher level of society in order to do business with a different circle of people reasons. Yeah but five years ago I. I went through eight months of not knowing what was wrong with me from a physical perspective…. and finally getting to the point where I had a pain, like this the only thing we had to go on in the surgeons like well if I go in, I’m just taking it up here. I am like good… The only thing he goes in there and a 45-minute surgery, turn into it… that was supposed to be robotically turned into a three hour by hand surgery because this thing almost became like a zombie organ and grew attachments to my liver my pancreas, my kidney on that side just sucking the life out of me.
But during that time I learned because it was a good year recovery after that too, because I was less than a day away from dying that’s what the surgeon said, and I didn’t even know that the eight months before and the year after I really really learned how to lean on my team. How to trust in other people because even to that point…. Even though I trusted them, I still had a measure of control over them, rather than giving them complete freedom. And I learned something during that time, you know, there was a phrase I don’t remember where I saw it but it said it’s time to delegate what you’re doing when somebody else can do it 70% as well as you can.
And so I’m thinking you know my logical side of my brain is like well that means, seven out of ten times we’re going to get it right, which also means that three out of ten times you’re going to get completely wrong. That’s the that was the mental threshold you know the wellness in my brain that I had to cross in order to completely trust in a team. So almost dying allowed me actually forced me to put more faith in my team and just let them do things. And I wish I had known this lesson prior to them… I wish I had learned a different way to rather than being almost dead and being forced to trust my team that much, but that’s where we started exponentially growing everything that I was doing. So it was after that that I started going on TV that I wrote my book… that I launched my podcast… that I really launched my personal brand understanding that everything is dependent upon me and people do business with people.
And in order for everything to grow underneath me, there has to be a face to it, there has to be a personality, there has to be heart. There has to be a core of it to where other people can latch onto it. Before that it was just a business — now it’s a vision.
Katerina: And I mean it’s incredible. So again, this brings me to another question. Work-life balance. I mean, you’ve… How do you achieve it… you grew your business into a multi-million dollar business. So how do you balance work and your personal life?
Rick: Oh, I love that question… that’s one of my favourite questions for real.
Katerina: It’s because everyone kind of wants to know this because it’s probably the worse state for entrepreneurs… the entrepreneurial burnout is mentioned everywhere in the press… you know that this is what what what interpreters suffer from so how do you balance your life?
Rick: I will say this because after this it’s gonna sound like I have it all together because I don’t know… I just want to say that I don’t have it all together. It’s still a constant struggle and a constant mental discipline to try to do this. Now we’ll go into the part that I usually talk about you know that was me being vulnerable there for a minute because it’s still, it’s always a struggle with something like this, especially when you have kids and they’re getting it for… my kids are getting into… Every age is a crucial age, you know, but now they understand so much more in the world, they always have because I’ve always been just very open with them.
But now, I mean, their intellect is so much more mature being 13 years old and 10 years old, it’s mind-blowing to me how smart kids are. And I don’t think that they get enough credit… they really understand what’s going on, it’s, it’s crazy that… Now the part that makes me sound like I really have it all together, which I say that jokingly and sarcastically. But this is, this is how I approach this because I really do believe that a work-life balance is stupid. I think it’s one of the facades that exists, that will just say as a buzzword is a cliche, you know, to try to say hey this is how your life should be.
It’s the stupidest principle in the world. And I… for me it’s been that way. After almost dying I started realising you know cuz before the last… Hey, how do you do it, Rick you know you run a business but now it’s like you’ve run businesses, and you do all these things and you travel I mean I was at the White House two days ago, consulting them on cybersecurity. So it’s all these things that go on in my life but there’s always a word that I come back to really two words but integration is the overall principle, and I even had an episode of this my own podcast I think it was episode three… the third one I ever did you know a year and a half ago called Balance is stupid.
That was one of my favourites ever because balance is ridiculous. I don’t understand how you can achieve that balance to where you can separate those worlds, you know it’s it for me it’s like a multiple personality disorder if I tried to do that. I felt like different sides and we were always at war with each other. So now it’s, I believe in what I call integration when it comes to the family when it comes to personal life and work-life is that everything has to be this one cohesive thing. And it’s not perfect, but it’s something to where I involve my kids like when I, when I go to TV studios right… I’ve brought all of my kids individually, one-on-one with me into TV appearances so they can experience this world. Last year one of the driving forces… this is pre-COVID us pulling our kids out of public school and putting them in an online private university. It’s structured just like colleges that the young age that they are, they have Zoom teachers, they have you know they learn a lot by videos they do self to self-teaching.
It’s an amazing system but the whole reason we did that one of the primary ones is so that they can travel with me or my entire family can come with me. We started you know I had my first movie last year Cybercrime… we had a premiere in Hollywood in LA. And we got a nasty note from the school, saying that your kids miss so much and this wasn’t the end of the school year… this was in May too. That was the last straw for me… I’m like that’s enough. You know all my kids are getting straight A’s, which I also think is a problem, even though they’re really smart… I think it’s an issue that they all just got good grades, all the stinking time. You know, my background has changed isn’t that fun? Somebody’s playing with something that’s, that’s interesting. At least you know that it’s real and that it’s a real studio. My kids come with me to places… my whole family comes with me to places.
That’s what I love about this is that integration perspective I enjoy having my family around, and they get to see the life that I live and get to be a part of it, so that they can try to structure their lives and their families, the same way. I have, employees that say how do you do it… you know even when you’re home … how do you do it. And the second one I live by is proximity. Proximity is key. Meaning if you just even have to go to the grocery store, and you have kids, just take a kid with you. If you don’t have kids and you have a spouse or, you know, just a boyfriend or whatever it is, just take them with you know just to hang around them being in the same car being in the same space. That’s part of integration because those conversations can happen literally anytime. It’s difficult to try to schedule a time to have those meaningful conversations. That’s that balance that people try to achieve that I think is ridiculous because it doesn’t make sense to put time on a calendar for me to go through and actually have a deep, meaningful conversation with my wife, you know cuz something’s always going to come up so take that proximity approach to allow integration to really just do this at any point in your life.
Katerina: Yeah. No, I mean it’s great… I guess why I’m asking… I think I’ve read somewhere in one of Seth Godin’s book that he was staying… because he’s got a big blog right and then he, he was talking in one of his books about him writing something for his blog at two o’clock in the morning somewhere. I don’t know where on a holiday… on some Island.. he was in a motel so the couple that was like half-drunk, passing by and then they made some snide comments about him working in the middle of the night… saying like poor sod… and he said well actually if you love something you don’t treat it as a job… as work and you can work at the weekends because if something is your passion — you really all in and this is something you want to do in your life, you don’t treat it as your job and, you know, you, you just enjoy yourself.
Rick: You got it. You know, you know I have a technology company in here I have my studio and I’ve got technology glitches here too in the background you know it’s a video wall behind me. Nobody knew and that seemed like…
Katerina: It’s actually better… I was a bit dark before… your face is all lit up — it’s nice…
Rick: It’s like the work-life balance you know it’s like, I don’t have it all together. I don’t think I’ve ever… you know I just know what I’m pursuing and I know what’s right for my family. And if what helps me can help other people just by sharing — that’s what I’m here for… and try the integration, you know, but even as a tech company you know I still, I’m still victim the tech problems do it happens nobody’s immune to the stuff that they’re trying to help everybody else with it. How do you think we got here? How do you think we learned it because of stupid things like this you know when things break, you know, and then you figure it out and then you’re able to share those stories and those laughs.
Katerina: Yeah. You know… you came to this podcast and thank you so much for sharing your views about, you know, your journey. I guess the question I want to ask… Have you ever experienced anxiety or stress toxic stress, or maybe depression in your life? And how did you deal with it?
Rick: Yeah, it was during those, the time when I first really understood what ended up anxiety was, and depression was during that eight months that I didn’t know what was going on with me physically, and it was all the things that were going on in my head, not just… I don’t know what’s wrong with me, you know, from a physical perspective from a medical perspective, but it was also what’s going to happen to my business, you know what’s going to happen to my family. Can I still provide from them even if I’m sick, and that sent me into the spiral and it was really the unknown? I mean, that’s even like the biggest deal I think with COVID going on now too is the unknown and it’s just the fear of the unknown. That’s what I went through for eight months was just not knowing what was wrong with me or what the outcome was going to be. And still, now it took… you talking about mental wealth… after finding out what was wrong with me — it’s like my brain get to this pattern… this, this toxic spiral of anxiety and depression so even though what was wrong was fixed it still took a lot of mental discipline to come out of that.
I had to train my brain to think the same way again and I looked at it because I dropped… I had a weight loss journey, seven or eight years ago I dropped 80 pounds, and just by nutrition. After that, you know, after I was almost dead, I started on a fitness journey after that now nutrition and fitness are different you know so nutrition to me was just eating the right way and that’s how I dropped my weight… fitness was actually physically enhancing my body and getting into a fifth state, which is a discipline. And I look at the mental wealth, and the mental wellness in that way too and that you have to constantly train your brain and you have to flex the muscles in your brain in a positive way and cause yourself to intentionally think down paths that are good for you.
And I know it’s difficult because there are… I’m sure I’m positive I had a chemical imbalance in my brain during this time because things would just pop up into my head that Rick Jordan as who I am and who is on my course … would never think these things. You know what would never go down these negative paths and it because it was just I kept getting hit over and over and over again for eight months, you know, from a medical perspective and then seeing… wondering what my business was going to do wondering if I’d be able to pay my mortgage if I go into some kind of disability or something like that. All these negative thoughts just hit you all at once and were any of it my fault — no, not none of it.
Yeah, but I had to deal with that and learn how to deal with that and coming out of it, figuring out how to retrain my brain it’s just like right now I mean I’ve got. I’m pretty cut on my upper body because I’ve been doing fitness now for five straight years after coming out of that near-death experience. It took a good year and a half to get to a point where I really felt fits, not just physically but also mentally. So while I was working out you know I tied my mental wealth to my physical fitness during that time. That’s why it’s so important to me now because I know that’s what helps me think the right way. And just as it still comes you know I don’t have it all together. There’s morning so it’s like you know what I don’t feel like working out today. And then I’ll just sit at the table drink an extra cup of coffee after my breakfast, thumb through on Facebook, just like the rest of the world does. And then I leave there and I beat myself up because like, why the hell did you do that, you know, you should have been on the bench, you should have been lifting today you should have been on the rower, and you would have had set yourself up for an amazing day that way, but then it’s like… alright, that’s all the negative thoughts and I’m not wrong in beating myself up that way but it’s like tomorrow is another new day to where I can do it right.
And during that time I mean, there’s science behind this to where, when you think a certain way for so long, just like you build up physical muscle, when you’re lifting and you make those micro-tears in your biceps or whatever and they heal and they get bigger and stronger. In the same way, whether you think negative or positive thoughts, the same thought builds neural connections in your brain. And the more you think down those paths means the stronger, those connections are going to get. So when it comes a time you can’t just come out of anxiety and depression at the snap of a finger. It’s impossible.
You can make a decision at the snap of a finger that… that’s what you’re going to do, but those thoughts are going to continuously creep up. And I still feel five years later because sometimes they still come up. It might be once or twice a year now, you know, or there might be just little tiny inklings on a monthly basis, something like that, but I know now that that’s not the way that I need to think because my brain remembers. Just like your muscle remembers like if I had surgery, you know, a year and a half ago just super minor, but I couldn’t work out for two weeks. And I was thinking it’s like, oh it looks like my muscles are going into atrophy or something you know my arms aren’t as big as what they were.
But, two weeks pass and I get back on the bench one time and they pop right back. Your body remembers, your brain remembers — both the negative and the positive. If you can tie something this is the biggest piece of advice I can give for mental health if you can tie your mental wealth into something physical or some other discipline, they will feed off each other in such a positive way. That’s the only way I was able to come out of that spiral that I did.
Katerina: But you see man is so reserved, how do you even talk to a man about his mental health. How do you bring this about?
Rick: Oh man, you are not wrong. I think I’m a little different from most men in this way. And because I’m a little discipline that way. It’s what men typically want… I mean in the general population they want to feel supported right. They want to feel validated from a mental perspective and that they’re doing a good job, you know. I’m sure most men have a love language you know the Five Love Languages most men probably have a love language of one of their top two being words of affirmation. Yeah, they want to feel needed. They want to feel supported they want to feel like they’re doing something good for the people that are around them. And so, if you can tie it that you know that from a female’s perspective. And this is just coming from a man, if you can tie… you know, whatever issues you’re here, man has in that aspect you know tied to something good that he’s doing. And that’ll hopefully help break that cycle, because even though they’re that way you know men are also very direct, but men also compartmentalise things.
It’s difficult you know I remember the analogy of a waffle right to where there are all the little squares on the waffle somehow the women are the syrup right the sweet stuff that goes on top of thoughtful and you have the amazing ability to cross those barriers between those little squares, because you just go all around, which is amazing right? So find, find one of those little compartments that the dude is proud of right now, no matter how small it is, there’s something there that you can continuously build him up in and just say he’s doing a great job in, and then he’ll be more open into hearing about some of those things he doesn’t like talking about as men always want to feel supported. They want to feel validated by any partner if it’s a woman that they’re with.
Katerina: No that’s a great source of great advice for women, because we sometimes, well we want to support, but at the same time, if the man is not in the right mental state he can’t give all the support he can.
Rick: It’s tough too because it takes a lot of time because man is proud, it’s just the way that we are. And it sucks that way time, I’ve tried to train myself to try to be more open to hearing the things that are not right with me, because there’s a laundry list, you know. You look on my Instagram page whatever it looks like I’ve got it all together, right, and I’m just like anybody else. I have things that I struggle with.
So, when it comes to supporting men yeah they want to hear about the good things that they’re doing. But it will take time because I’m sure that there are women in your audience that are listening that are in abusive relationships, you know, and I’m not even talking physically I’m talking mentally. No, but that’s a place that men go to and it’s stupid, you know, I don’t know why it is it’s not something that I struggle with this is one thing I don’t struggle with. But I see this with men because that’s a diversion tactic, when they hear things or see things about themselves that they don’t like they will project it on to other people, especially the woman that they’re with. It’s sucks I feel so bad for women who are in these positions. Now, but if you can continuously find something try this, it’ll take time. And sometimes, you know, I don’t know you might not ever breakthrough. That’s the truth of it that’s the straight truth. And you might not ever breakthrough because he might not want to be helped. And that’s the switch that has to flip but it’ll be easier to switch to flip that switch when you’re supporting him in an area that he is proud of right now, that he is doing things right and that you notice and you can affirm him in that one small tiny area.
He might be an idiot in 99 other areas, but this one area is probably the reason you might be with them maybe the reason you married him, to begin with, focus on that, to build him up, and then he’ll be more open to hearing about those other 99. Yeah.
Katerina: Yeah, I guess another question I just kind of dying to ask you, you, you’ve been doing entrepreneurship for 12 years and you do exercise to keep yourself healthy physically and mentally…. But at the same time, one of your passion is to chase tornadoes right? So, isn’t entrepreneurship is not risky enough for you, not thrilling enough for you, what’s going on there?
Rick: Oh my gosh, how did you know that oh goodness. That’s usually something I bring up for the question of like tell us one thing that nobody else knows and that was when I was seven years old, that my first career choice what I wanted to be was a meteorologist, I was just fascinated with weather. But even more specifically tornadoes at the age of seven like those things are cool, you know, and then understanding the destructive power of them and just seeing how they’re able to hit one house and completely miss the next, it’s just mind-boggling to me. I understand why that happens now because I’ve studied them, but it’s, it still comes back to almost like that protective nature made because I was going to be law enforcement you know I’m in cybersecurity now I’ve been trained by the CIA. I do a lot of protective things I even had a security company that was guns and guards, you know, I’ve been on people like Rahm Emanuel the mayor of Chicago… I’ve protected people like Caitlyn Jenner, and so there’s a protective nature of me and that even almost fulfils that so it’s not just this raw natural power of nature which is so impressive to me. It’s also if I’m on it, I can also make a phone call that nobody else can and say this is what’s coming. You know, because I’m an advanced trainspotter for the National Weather Service to it sort of a hobby, but it’s also that that fear thing that we’re going back to right.
I’ve never been afraid of them, but the more you understand about something, the less fear, you’re going to have about those so now I know that I’m more safe being, you know, 100 yards from a tornado than I am being 10 miles away because there’s so much that can happen in those times and I can see it I get I understand it, I have the knowledge, and I can see where it’s going to move and I know that even if my house with my family is in the path — we’re all getting into the truck, and we’re all chasing the tornado together because we can see just as amazing, the beautiful raw power of nature and we can also be safer at the same time. It’s intriguing to me how these things form how they dissipate, it still is and there’s still not completely understood, which is also mind-boggling to me.
Katerina: Yeah, I guess maybe it’s a reminder that you are the end of the day mortal.
Katerina: And that life could end any moment and you should really go for it, be All In which is the name of your podcast.
Rick: Yeah, you got it. That’s a great perspective on that too. I think everybody needs those reminders, here and there that we’re still mortal. And that tomorrow, nobody’s promised tomorrow. And that, that shouldn’t matter you know it should only matter in the aspect that you should try to do as much today as possible for other people because if you’re going tomorrow, you know, whether you believe in heaven, whatever it is, it. Regardless, you can’t take anything with you know… you can’t do like load up this angelic u haul or something like that with all of your possessions really what you’re doing is to build for the people around you, it’s always that case, you’re never promised tomorrow so do everything you possibly can today.
Katerina: Yes, and guess what would be the advice for starting and perhaps entrepreneurs that going through a very difficult time right now what would be your advice to them.
Rick: Yeah, if I’m for an entrepreneur it’d be different for both of those categories if it’s those that want to start just freaking do it. Don’t wait, you know, that’s what I waited for six years now that if it’s a regret fine you can call it that just because everybody understands that word, but jump off the cliff, you’ll figure it out. And it wasn’t that one thing you’ll figure something else out and I hope to God that you fail, numerous times because the only way I’m here where I am today is because of the failures that I’ve had, and the mentors that I’ve had along the way to get me to where I am now.
And so I hope that you fall flat on your face even my son when he didn’t want to join swimming he’s like I’m worried I’m not going to be the best. Like, that’s good. I hope you suck on a couple of your races because you’re going to learn. He’s like oh I never thought about it that way then I’m like, I know. Like when you, when you look around you and you see that so many people are doing something better than you and you didn’t bring everything you could to the table that day, you’re gonna want to do the best you possibly can the very next day. So, for that group that’s thinking about taking that plunge that’s diving, do it now, you know, don’t worry about the safety net burn the freaking net, because if you have a side hustle or something that you feel that you can go back to, you’re never going to be all in, in that dream in that vision that you have because you’re always gonna have some kind of tether back to where you were.
It’s like when you lose weight, it’s like keeping your fat clothes in your closets, thinking that you know, these are five sizes bigger than what I am right now but maybe someday, why don’t you get rid of those. It’s the same thing burn them none of your old careers your old job, you need to go all-in where you’re at right now. When I dropped my weight, all the clothes went out the door. You know, every single size they were just gone because I knew that I was never going back to that. And now it’s like, I don’t have bigger clothes so if I see myself put on two pounds five pounds and stuff gets a little tight. Like, I, I can’t, I don’t have any other clothes that could fit me if I get bigger, so I’m just been right now, and I like my clothes, I’m a big fashion item. I don’t want to buy fatter or clothes you know that’s the thing I like my 33 size waist I like my 42-inch chest. It’s how I need to be for the rest of my life so it’s a decision.
Now for the group of entrepreneurs, that’s struggling right now. I would, I would break this down into two categories. Take a look like we were talking about earlier. Are you just doing the same job but now you’re just doing it for yourself rather than working for somebody else. Are you truly trying to build something that’s bigger than, you know, if you’re the former, you should probably go back and work for somebody else? You know, because if you choose, doing the same thing you’re thinking I can just do it and not have a boss. Right, that’s the wrong reason you’re not an entrepreneur, that’s just the straight truth. You’re just out there doing your own thing because you don’t want to do it for anybody else it’s the same garbage.
If you’re in the second group, you’re struggling but you’re really trying to build this vision and really trying to structure things to where you can see it 10 years from now you’ve got 100 people working for you, they’re looking to you for direction, don’t give up on that now, because when the struggle gets the hardest is the moment that you’re going to have the biggest breakthrough. I’ve seen that in my life, to where things just come against me so hard, and I’ve started to recognise that now to where it’s just on the other side. That’s a moment where you’re going through the fire, and you’re being groomed for the next phase in your journey. So if you’re at the hardest point you’ve ever been at right now. That’s awesome. I’m glad you’re going through all the suck, right now, because in a month in three months, whatever it is you’re going to come through this and be like, Oh my gosh, I learned so much during that time period now look at me coming out of my desk…. I call it my death because it was like a mental death for me during that time. That’s when everything started taking off because I went through that fire because I had to realise and deal with things that I’ve never had to deal with before face fears and insecurities I was just too scared to prior that if you’re going to be the roughest time right now — keep at it, face him, don’t run from those fears those insecurities because you’re when on the other side is coming.
Katerina: Rick, thank you so much for being on the podcast it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on.
Rick: Thank you for having me. I hope I brought some value to your audience.
Katerina: Immense value. Thank you for much.