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Insuring success in work and life

Episode 35 – Insuring Success in Work and Life with Greg Scheinman

Episode highlights

0:02:48 – Greg’s background and journey from filmmaking to risk management

0:05:14 – More about Greg’s journey as he speaks of personal loss and adversity

0:11:32 – Why he made another pivot in his 40s

0:14:40 – How do you define success?

0:18:44 – Insuring Success and achieving success in health

0:24:35 – You can’t redline it every single day and expect to “not blow” your engine 

0:27:27 – How ROW Studios was born

0:34:54 – Control what you can control and strike the right balance in work and life

0:42:12 – What sets the successful apart? 

0:48:29 – You win the game based on your preparation

0:51:55 – Five key actions to help you succeed in work and life

1:01:38 – It is difficult to succeed without the support of family and those close to us

Links

Transcript

Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad podcast where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way, without spending hours in the gym. Here is your host, Darren Kirby. 

Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the #1 podcast for dads in their 40s who want to improve their health. This is Episode 35 and in today’s show, we are joined by Greg Scheinman from the Midlife Male podcast. Greg had a pivot in his early 40s and regained his health to become a top executive athlete and transition from risk taker to risk manager, becoming a multimillion dollar producer and partner with Insgroup, one of the largest independent insurance firms in the United States. Greg’s methodology regarding work and life is simple: surround yourself with the people and ideas you love, bringing passion, authenticity, humility and experience to everything you do. Hi, Greg, thanks for joining me on the show today.

Greg: Hey, Darren, it’s awesome to be here. Thank you so much. I’m excited.

Darren: Yeah, thanks for joining me. I know it’s early morning your time, isn’t it? Is it very early?

Greg: It’s 9 a.m. here in Houston, Texas. I’m not sure when you plan to air the show, but like you guys over there, I’m sure, we’re all dealing with the effects right now in the ever changing landscape of this Coronavirus. So I’m in my office very early and dealing with clients and what is transpiring and changing on a moment to moment basis.

Darren: Yeah, it’s crazy, isn’t it, what’s unfolding? I actually listened to something on Joe Rogan last night, a particular doctor that’s actually studied this virus. Not meaning to create more hysteria for the listeners that are going to listen to this because this will go out in two weeks, but he thinks that this is something that’s going to be with us for quite a few months. 

Greg: (You broke off for a quick second.) I definitely think the trickle down effects of this will be felt for a very long period of time.

Darren: Yeah, 100%. I think it’s only started unfolding now and like you said it’s ever changing, moment by moment. But, obviously, we’re not here to talk about that today. We’re here to talk about men’s health and fitness and nutrition. Before we kind of kick off with the conversation, Greg, it’d be really great for me and the listeners if you can give us some background on you and your journey to where you are today.

Greg: Sure. First and foremost, I’m 47 years old, married to my wonderful wife, Kate, 19 years at this point, together 24. We’ve got two amazing boys who are 16 and 13, Auden and Harper; hey guys! And that’s the most important thing to me, is family. I was born and raised in New York, went to college at the University of Michigan, came out of school thinking I wanted to be in the entertainment business and was for several years. Starting with Miramax Films, producing some independent films on my own and ultimately a sports video company called Team Baby Entertainment. Cutting to the chase, after I had sold that company, kind of jumped sides from risk taker and entrepreneur to risk manager and got involved with risk management and insurance and investing in a firm here in Houston. 

Now I get to represent the kinds of entrepreneurs and risk takers in health and fitness and entertainment and hospitality and consumer products goods, all the stuff I’m into–get to work with them and represent them from a different side. And it’s been a really interesting journey to kind of combine my personal passions with professional experience and expertise. It’s taken a while to figure that out, I’m still learning as we go, but as you said, it’s a journey and learning every day.

Darren: Yeah, like you say, it sounds a bit cliché but it is a journey. I think for me personally, being able to do something which you are hugely passionate about on a personal level, but then combine that into your career, into your business, is one which I don’t think many people are able to achieve, so the fact that you’ve been able to achieve that is hugely impressive and I’ve got huge admiration for that. But you’ve had quite a varied journey, haven’t you, to the place where you are now?

Greg: Absolutely. I don’t know if anybody’s journey per se or trajectory goes in a perfectly straight upward line. I mean, I hope it does for some, that would be great. But for me, it’s been a very rocky road, up and down, starting back even in my teens. Everything in life was going along quite well in my life personally and family and into my teens. My father got sick with cancer when I was 15 and ultimately passed away when I was 17 and just gone off to college and that traumatic experience itself with two younger brothers and the effects that that had on my family, derailed a lot. Up until that point (we) hadn’t had any adversity. 

For a long period of time, I felt very rudderless: didn’t have a mentor, didn’t have that support system, there wasn’t a family business, if you will, to go into. All of a sudden, while it opened up a lot of opportunities, meaning, okay, I guess I could do anything and go in any direction right now, that also created a lot of uncertainty and misdirection for me. Trying to figure out how to navigate my life and where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do and ultimately tried a number of different things. Healthy, unhealthy, successful, unsuccessful, all of it.

Darren: Fortunately I’ve not been in that position but, kind of unconsciously, I think, our guiding star, particularly with men and guys, our father is our guiding star, isn’t it? When we’re trying to figure out what we want to do in life or where we want to go, we kind of reflect back on to the path that our dad has taken. And so for you, I can relate to what you’re saying in the sense that you kind of felt directionless, right? You were at the starting point of your adult life, but you had no kind of signpost as to where you could potentially go.

Greg: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. For me in particular, I was very, very close to my dad, he was certainly my hero, I looked up to him more than anybody. He was a self-made man who didn’t graduate college himself but went on to become successful in business and successful with a family and successful philanthropically and in the community and was a really well-liked man, and has a great memory and legacy because of that. So yeah, losing that had a profound effect on me. 

And as I get older… I’m 47 now–this is the same age that my dad was when he passed away. I’ve always looked at it as, “Can I get to this time?” and “How am I going to get to this time?” And anything beyond this time is really a blessing and a bonus and how can I take advantage in the most positive manner of my life and with my own family now? And I will tell you, Darren, not to digress, that was not always the case. I lived many years very recklessly after he passed away and I’d say in a spectacularly unhealthy fashion. 

Darren: It’s interesting. It’s almost like, I guess, in some ways you were kind of rebelling or maybe just very angry at what happened in life. And so therefore you decided, “Well, I’m just going to go all out.” And it’s almost like a form of self-harm, isn’t it? It’s like, “Right, this has happened to me. I’m really annoyed about it (to say it cleanly) and I’m just going to go out and see what I can really throw at myself as a punishment.”

Greg: Yeah, I think there are two ways that you can go. There’s probably more, but the two ways that I can think of are: like you said, you can be reckless, unhealthy, throw caution to the wind and say, “Look, nothing else can hurt me or damage me worse than this. I’m just going to go and do whatever I want right now. Because life can end in an instant and I’m in pain and I don’t know…” Or you can go the opposite way, which is, “Okay, he passed away, he suffered from cancer, he smoked. There were decisions and choices that he made that were not great for his longevity, obviously.” And I can say, “Listen, I’m not going to repeat that and I’m going to live healthier, I’m going to be smarter, I’m going to live life to the fullest, but I’m going to do it in a sustainable, healthy, and longevity-based manner.” I think those are the two ways you can go and when you’ve got a little bit of ADD or obsessive compulsive disorder or you’re type A, whichever one of those two directions you go, you kind of go full bore. 

Darren: Yeah, I definitely can relate to that. And that actually brings me quite nicely on to one of the questions I wanted to ask you. Because you state that in your 40s again, you had another kind of pivot. What caused you in your 40s to have another pivot? Presumably, you’d got through your early 20s, you’d really gone at it, like we just said, in one or two ways and you obviously chose the party way or whatever. And then in the 40s, you’ve pivoted again–what was the reason? Are you able to share the pivot in your 40s? Because this is something that really interests me.

Greg: Yeah, 100% percent. A great question. The pivot in my 40s was really a direct correlation to not being personally happy and fulfilled and failing, quite frankly, in a business. To an extent, it was a successful failure. I had a company called Team Baby Entertainment after our first son was born and we were creating sports videos for children. The company blew up, it became a big success and I was on CNBC and the Home Shopping Network and I went from selling these DVDs out of the trunk of my car to being in thousands of retailers across the country and having a very high profile partner in Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Disney. So this was the entrepreneurial story, the Shark Tank story before it’s time. 

And I remember this distinctly like it’s yesterday, like it happened yesterday. The business had this explosive trajectory and then kind of almost overnight, the DVD market went south. Retailers started closing in the US–Best Buy, Circuit City–I don’t know if you had them where you are. A lot of the bookstores started closing, entertainment became much more streamed and online and paediatricians were telling parents not to let their children watch TV. And I remember watching our valuation fail and go down and my high profile partner basically say, “We’re done. We failed. I’m not funding this anymore.”

And it was that moment where I was out of a job again, publicly people knew me as this success with this company, my identity was being challenged and I was unhappy. And I started to look for greater enjoyment or fulfilment or kind of reground myself and say I don’t want to be necessarily known through somebody else and I want to find something that’s more fulfilling and sustainable and maybe not so much tied to the ebb and flow of things totally outside of my control.

Darren: Before that happened with the market changing, and obviously the business failing, what was your definition of success? Because I think, and I’ll just talk from my personal experiences… When I used to work in finance and in the hedge fund world, my definition of success was materialistic and money. So it’d be interesting to hear your thoughts.

Greg: Yeah, another great question. I grew up with money so I have an interesting, I think, relationship with money and finances and definition of success. I grew up with money in our family and in a way not realising how successful and how good we had it, and everybody around us had it too. I’m a firm believer that money does not buy happiness but I’m also a believer that money provides you opportunities and outlets to be happier in a way. It’s not going to make you happy but the experiences that having means and resources provide, is a wonderful thing. So I’m certainly not against money or a minimalist in any way, shape or form. We live a very, very nice life and I, fortunately, make a very good living. However, it’s not the driver of my happiness and I would say I am far less materialistic and possession- driven or ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ kind of driven than I was earlier. 

Again, right now, it’s much more about experiences to me over things. If I can curse on the show a little bit, if that’s okay, I always kind of say I just want to have a little bit of f**k you money to be able to just make the decisions I want to make and the choices I want to make and do the things for my family that I want to do. But I really don’t care that much about having the biggest house in the block or the fanciest car or… And I’m not even wearing a watch today. Like, I have some of that stuff but it really doesn’t mean anything to me. 

Darren: I completely agree with what you’re saying from the perspective of, yes, you do want to have the ability to be able to give your family the experiences, but it is more about having your family and having those experiences with your family than it is the money. The way that I like to look at it now is that money is just a vehicle. For me, money is just a car, right? And so, using the analogy of the UK, you can have a Ford that gets you from A to B and it might get you there in a little bit of a bumpy road, or you can have (for want of a better one) a Mercedes that gets you there in a lot smoother way and a lot easier. And that’s the way that I see it.

Greg: I agree with you 100%. It’s ironic in that I work with very, very wealthy individuals, high net worth individuals, families, family offices, entrepreneurs, these businesses, these brands and lifestyles that my clients lead, and I identify with it. Again, I was raised in similar fashion so I understand it, I guess, and I’m comfortable in that world. But for me, it’s more about the experiences that we share, the individuals, the people, the companies, the brands, the family aspect of it, from a quality of life and from a quality of relationship standpoint. The other accoutrements are wonderful but if you’re not happy and authentic in what you’re doing, it’s not going to make the difference, if that makes sense.

Darren: Yeah, 100%. I agree. So your personal motto is Insuring Success, which is something that the majority of us aspire to. But what would you say, specifically around health… What would you say are the keys to achieving success in health? What do you define that as?

Greg: One, I can’t take credit for the motto. I don’t even know exactly who at our firm created it because it’s a firm-wide motto that I’ve adopted personally and professionally because I feel it exemplifies the manner in which I try to live and perform in all aspects. But think about it in a risk aspect, in a risk mitigation aspect. You know, health is the single most important thing that we have. If you are unhealthy or by definition if you can’t perform, you’re unfit. So everything starts and stops with health.

And I don’t mean that you have to be an elite level athlete, that you have to be 100% out of balance with your focus on health and wellness to be able to perform in life at a high level. I think it is about sustainability and it is about longevity and it is about discipline and consistency and maintaining a focus on your health and wellness–and I include mental in that as well as physical–so that you can perform well in all other aspects of your life. I kind of refer to it in the ways of chasing total life wellness. It’s what can we do to have total wellness in our life? And that is that balance of health, fitness, nutrition, finances, family, philanthropy, faith for some more than others. 

Balance, I think, is an overused term at this point but to a certain extent being a balanced man. And for some that might mean 20% in one direction and 30 or 40 or 50 in another–how they balance their kind of pie chart. But for me, I try to keep that pie pretty small and pretty focused on a few key areas which for me are: fitness, family, finance as it relates to my career, and friends, which I put clients and friendships and relationships all in that category as well.

Darren: Yeah. I think it’s interesting how what I term the fitness and health market to be evolving. Because I think it’s becoming a lot more complete now. What I mean by that is something that you just said there, and that is, it’s not just about going to smash yourself at the gym, it’s not just about having a green smoothie; it’s about how can we, on a daily basis, maintain our overall health. And I think one of the key things for me now is actually maintenance. The analogy that I like to use, Greg, is that we, on a regular basis, maintain our cars. Our car goes to the garage, you get service and all the rest of it. How many times do we as dads, as men, do that for ourselves? And I would say pretty much the majority of people, not at all until they have a problem.

Greg: Yes, I agree with you. I think on a societal level, we tend to be far more reactive than proactive and I see that in my business also every day. The nature of insurance is to be proactive against the potential loss. The nature of what you’re talking about with maintenance is if you put yourself on the right path and you are doing the right things proactively, preventative maintenance is to prevent you from having a problem, a health problem down the road. Now, we can’t mitigate or eliminate everything, but we certainly can put the odds heavily in our favour by doing that. And the analogy you use with a car is a fantastic one, but from an exercise and a health and fitness standpoint, if you can put yourself on a simple yet effective programme, once you’re on that programme, it really is more about maintenance all the time. 

I get people assuming, I think people make incorrect assumptions a lot, be careful with that… That, oh, you must work out two hours a day every day and do all those things. It’s not the case. It may not be the case for you, Darren, even with all of the accomplishments you have, and it may be different when you’re training for a big event. But for example, I’ve been training, I think in an efficient and effective manner, for a very long time now. 15–20 years in total, so it’s a lot more for me about maintenance. Yes, I push it hard, but I take a lot more time off. My workouts are shorter in a way than they’ve ever been, my recovery is longer than it’s ever been, my active recovery and days off are more than they’ve ever been as I’ve gotten older and adapted, but that foundation is there. You know, the long term care and maintenance that I’ve been doing allows for that now.

Darren: Yeah. And that’s really key and something which science has proven and more and more research is coming out about this. The actual gains you get is from the recovery, is from the rest and recovery after your fitness. So yeah, I wholeheartedly agree with that.

Greg: You know, there’s one thing that sticks out to me. There’s a gentleman who does a great podcast also his name is Jay Ferruggia, Renegade Radio, and Jay is in his 40s, I think just turned 40. He said something about “minimum effective dose” which I really identified with, which is really the minimum that you need to do in order to get the results that you want. And why would you do more?

We see a lot of overtraining, a lot of extremism right now, a lot of what you mentioned earlier, these workouts that are designed to drive you into the ground rather than build you up. And I think that scares a lot of people off, I think it intimidates a lot of people and I think if that’s the case, maybe you’re looking in the wrong place. Maybe they need to be looking and turning towards somebody like yourself, again, who’s more accepting and more open to the concepts of “fitness and health and wellness should fill your tank; it shouldn’t empty it.” 

Darren: Absolutely. Yeah. I think that’s key and I think the other thing is that it’s this classic, it’s almost like this testosterone-driven caveman approach, isn’t it? It’s like, we’ve got to go hard, it’s kind of like the old days when you’re in the big kind of what I call ‘spit and sawdust gyms’ and you’re there pumping iron, pumping iron because you should actually destroy yourself, because that’s what’s going to make you better. Well, we now know that’s not the case.

Greg: Don’t get me wrong; I love some of that, too. I think there’s a time and place for going hard in there and I’ve been in that and I enjoy it a lot. However, it has to be balanced, if I use that word again, with sustainability and longevity. You can’t redline it every single day and expect to not blow your engine. 

Darren: Exactly. Yeah, it comes back to the car analogy. Absolutely. And it comes back to the balance; you have to have that balance. You can’t have one end of the spectrum or the other to get consistent results, so, yeah, I absolutely agree with that. So, in your entrepreneurial endeavours, Greg, you also founded a brand of indoor rowing gyms, which I’m hugely interested in because they’re also becoming very popular here in the UK. What was it about the sport of rowing which led you to bring that into the gym concept? Was it through your own discovery? 

Greg: Yeah, it was. It’s a funny segue now because I got introduced to rowing on a Concept2 rowing machine called an Erg that they use. I got introduced to it through CrossFit, speaking of hardcore workouts. When I was heavily involved in CrossFit and that was my method of training for a while, I got introduced to rowing. And because I’ve never really enjoyed running and the impact on my body and I’ve had three knee surgeries, I would always substitute the run aspect of these workouts with the rowing. And there were a lot of rowing intensive workouts on the CrossFit box that I was going to, but I started to enjoy the rowing machine. I started to see the benefits of the full body workout of the rowing machine without the impact and strain on my body that things like running would put on it, or box jumps, or any type of impact that would bother my knees, bother my hips. 

And again, it just wasn’t my mode of workout. I never got that runner’s high. Even when I had done triathlons and trained for some of that, the run part was the bane of my existence in there. So I enjoyed the rowing machine, had kind of a love hate relationship with it that you could never beat it and that it worked your entire body. And had this idea that as I was getting a bit older, did non-impact… again, sustainability and longevity. These were all things that I could build a fitness concept around and make rowing the centrepiece. And having seen the success that spinning had, my thought was that rowing could become kind of the new spinning and we could do something different. And that’s how ROW Studios was born in Houston. 

Like most small businesses, we put a few guys together to fund this and tried to take it from idea to execution and we did. We’ve been open for six years now. I actually sold my interest in the studio this past January at the five-year mark. My wife goes every day, I still drop in from time to time. And yes, there’s been, I think, a huge surge in the popularity in rowing throughout the US and the world now, where we’re seeing other brands and other concepts using rowing as the foundation of their workout. And I think it’s great; I think there’s room for everybody.

Darren: Yeah, I definitely agree and I can relate to the running element of sport and triathlon and all the rest of it because it is such a harsh activity on the body. And particularly for guys like us that are in our 40s, it is prone to a lot of injuries. I think the concept of rowing is the way to get that high intensity effect but without absolutely kind of pounding your joints, so, yeah, I think it is a great concept and I agree with you. I think it can be the new spinning and it’s just another way to keep variety into your workouts. Because I think that’s hugely important as well, to have that variety. 

Greg: Absolutely. Again, I think there’s room for everybody out there. If you are executing on a good concept, I think there’s a place for you. I think the beauty of health and wellness and fitness is that there’s a variety of ways for people to get fit and find what makes them happy and what they have fun doing. I think you certainly want to make sure that there is substance to the style, as we see a lot of boutique fitness studios in various concepts. I think so long as they have the substance to match with the style, whatever kind of environment you want to train in, you should. Because if it’s not fun, you’re not going to keep it up, really, or you’re not seeing the results that you want; it becomes harder to keep it up. 

So while the basics… I still feel that the basics work best. The tried and true, the things that you really don’t need to spend money for. You know, you can walk, you can do push ups you can do pull ups, you can do sit ups. Bodyweight movements are fantastic: there’s so many programmes you can find online in this day and age that you can do with your friends or find just a great coach to programme for you and have some accountability in there. But it’s such a wide open space that any type of activity people are taking on that keeps them from being sedentary… I’m a supporter of anything that keeps people moving.

Darren: Yeah, definitely. I agree and this is something I keep talking about on my social media and stuff like that. And that is this whole concept of ‘should.’ I should go to the gym because I want to get fit. No, don’t go to the gym. If you don’t bloody like it, don’t go to the gym because when it’s raining outside or it’s cold and the rest of it, you’re not going to go to the gym. Find something that really fires you up and you really enjoy doing, otherwise, what’s the point in punishing yourself?

Greg: Absolutely. And one more point I’ll make on that is it’s okay to change and it’s okay to mix it up. I go through cycles also of things I’m interested in or want to try because by nature, I’m curious like you. I mean, that’s why I do a podcast as well. I’m curious by nature, I want to hear people’s stories, I want to tell their stories, I want to know what they’re into, what’s working for them, how they’re doing things, and then try it out. And some of it works for me, some of it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s a combination of things I’ve learned from multiple people or multiple places that I’ve gone, but you keep gleaning knowledge from each and every one of your experiences. 

And I’ll go through these phases, too, where I won’t lift any weight for a while. I’m just tired of it and now I want to box or I’ll be in the pool a little bit more often or mentally I’m just drained from work and family and stress and everything, and I just want to do yoga for a little while and like meditate, and that’s fine. That’s fine, too. Again, you don’t have to fixate. You don’t.

Darren: No. I agree. We talked about this a little bit at the beginning of the show. You’ve got a methodology of kind of ‘work-life.’ For the listeners, can you share what that is and also looking from the outside, to me, it really appears that you’ve managed to accomplish that but I would imagine that’s not something that’s happened overnight. That’s a conscious effort that you’ve made.

Greg: I appreciate that. You know, the first thing I want to say to everybody is from the outside looking in of anybody else’s life, it always looks better. It looks better, it looks easier, and comparison is something that’s easy to do, especially with social media or hearing people speaking and putting out content versus receiving it and so on and so forth. But it’s not easy, it’s not perfect, it is a constant work in progress, an evolution, and the first word you used when we started, ‘journey.’

And yes, it’s taken a long time for me to get more comfortable with it and to realise some success and comfort in the decisions that I’ve made and in the life I’m trying to live, but I’m still working on that. I’ve turned over clients because of that, my quality of life is important. I know I’m sacrificing some financial gain by living the way I am, meaning that I am going to exercise every day. I coached all of my kids’ teams for years, I don’t see clients really anymore in the evenings for dinners or drinks. I will meet anybody at any time for a workout or a breakfast, you know, just kind of consciously crafting this lifestyle. It hasn’t been received well by everybody, too. You’ve got to take the good with the bad. 

People can become resentful people can want to work with somebody else, they’re living their lives their own way, but I believe that there’s enough out there for all of us. There are as many people if not more, that maybe want to work with me, that may want to exercise with me, that may understand why I’m here or there or doing something. And yet I can still be very, very productive in my professional life. And efficiency and effectiveness, again, I think it’s there. If you are maximising your time and your productivity, it opens up a lot of opportunity.

Darren: Yeah, it does. And I think to kind of make that conscious decision that you are going to live your life your way and not jump by somebody else’s demands or tunes and all the rest of it, and be confident enough in yourself and comfortable with your own values, that that is how you’re going to live. Some people could see that as quite arrogant, but it’s not. It’s you’ve made a decision in your life that this is how you’re going to live your life. Like you said, there’ll be people who will resonate with that, there will be people who will be drawn towards you for that, but equally there’ll be people that will shy away and decide to do business with somebody else. And I think making that decision is really, really valid.

Greg: You know, you can make that decision. Again, control what you can control. You can’t make anybody else agree with that decision or make any decision that they don’t want to make or any choice that they don’t want to make. I will say this: that as you do a better job of qualifying relationships, qualifying individuals, qualifying opportunities and learning from your mistakes–of which I’ve made many and continue. I just tried to make fewer; I still make them. When you are more equally yoked, when you are aligned in your values, in your habits, in your hobbies, in your lifestyles, it does make things certainly easier. You have less conflict than when, again… 

If I wake up at 7 a.m. and I’ve got a client that wakes up at 10, and I want to go to bed at 10 and he wants to work from 10 to midnight every day, it’s not a great fit there, overall. At the same time, you can’t be so rigid, I think, in your principles or in your ‘this is the only way I’m going to do it’ that it also heavily cost you. I do jump. When my clients need me, I jump. When things have to happen, yes, you’ve got to compromise, you’ve got to do it, but overall, you live within a framework that is of your design.

Darren: Yeah, definitely. But I think on that, though, when you mention about when your clients need you, you jump, my view on that is that that works because you guys are aligned, right? If you weren’t aligned, you’d be resistant to that.

Greg: Yes, absolutely. I do tell myself all the time that if my phone rings and I look down at the number, and I don’t want to answer that call, that’s not the right client for me. 

Darren: Yeah, I’d agree to that.

Greg: If somebody’s calling me and, boom, my instinctive reaction is that is somebody I genuinely like, genuinely care for and genuinely want to help, what can I possibly do? I’ll answer that call at any time. I’ll stop anything for that. But these are also individuals that relationships develop that they also understand that, hey, we know Greg’s going to be coaching his kids’ baseball team from 5:00 to 7:00. They get that and a lot of them, they’re doing the same thing, too, or we know that that guy is up at five, six o’clock every morning. You know, I’ve got stuff in my inbox from him or a message from him or a text or I’m meeting him (for breakfast) and he’s just finished a workout. Again, there’s that alignment and it works. 

When it’s forced or it’s inauthentic and it’s not aligned, I think that’s where you have a lot of problems. And those problems are not just professional, regardless of the revenue–you might be able to generate revenue from it and sustain it for a while–but the problems start to creep into other aspects of your life. Again, you’re not happy, you don’t want to answer the phone, you don’t want to serve, maybe you’re distracted at the workout because you’re thinking of the stress and the anxiety and the angst in this relationship. You know, it creeps into all of these other areas and everything is connected to a degree.

Darren: Yeah, definitely. You mentioned earlier on that you have your own podcast and on your podcast you are interviewing successful experts, entrepreneurs, many of them who are from the health and wellness space. So I’m really curious, what would you say sets them apart–the successful ones from those that don’t achieve the level of success that they aspire to?

Greg: Well, first of all, they’re individuals like you and you just came on, and thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story and your journey. They’re individuals like you, so thank you for putting out the content that you do and sharing the story and your continued stories that you have. That’s what helps us. 

What separates? I wish I would have asked you this question also. But what separates them? I think if I could kind of generalise it a little bit, it’s consistency, it’s discipline, I think there’s a lot of humility. There isn’t anybody I’ve had on that isn’t open and honest and willing to talk about the mistakes or the setbacks that they’ve experienced. But that perseverance and grit of continuing to move forward, and it’s remarkable to me how significantly people can change their lives for the better when they make that decision and stick with it. 

While they’re all extraordinary individuals, at the same time, I don’t know if any of them would describe themselves as extraordinary, but rather regular, normal people who have just made a commitment to do the work, you know. To push through the setbacks and the challenges and the failures, that have an idea or a concept or a lifestyle that they wanted to change or a product that they wanted to put out into the marketplace and they just stuck it out. To the general public, in a lot of ways there are all these overnight successes, but there’s no real overnight success. It’s a 10-year overnight success, a 20-year overnight success, a lifetime overnight success. You’re just only hearing about the good sh*t, you’re only hearing about it a lot of times when they’re at the top of their game.

Darren: I think it comes back to what you said earlier around my previous question to you about the perception of you got the life mastered and your comments were, “Don’t look at social media. Don’t look at the highlight reel. We all go through trials and tribulations.” And for me, I think successful people and whatever you want to define success as, it’s these entrepreneurs, business owners or experts or whatever you want to term them as. They’ve got a kind of a mission or desire that’s bigger than themselves and they’re not connected, necessarily, to the outcome. They’re just connected to doing the best that they can for as long as it takes. 

And it kind of comes back to this whole success iceberg, doesn’t it? Where you only ever see the contents of an iceberg from outside of it, from the top. You don’t get to see all the stuff that goes on underneath.

Greg: It’s 100% true. You know, there’s that photo similar to the iceberg analogy, I think it’s a duck. There’s a picture of the duck and the duck looks so smooth on the water and underneath, he’s paddling away like crazy in there. And I think it’s the ideal analogy. To break down the barriers or the misperceptions that when you’re successful, it may appear that you’re coasting or gliding along the water and it’s smooth, but underneath you are still paddling away. 

I mean, we wake up to problems every day; we’re struggling every day. I get told ‘no’ every day by multiple people. I get rejected every single day in there. There’s a plan I have for my day that gets derailed every single day by something. And it’s just a question of how, a matter of how you deal with it and how you work through it. Look, I don’t take rejection well, especially right now what I go after; everything I’m going after is something I really want. I want you as a client, I want to train in your place, I want to become friendly with you, or whatever it may be. It’s something I really want. When I get rejected or they don’t want me back, it’s hard.

Darren: Yeah, absolutely.

Greg: It is much easier to focus on what’s going wrong sometimes than it is of what’s going right so I try to spend a lot of time stepping back and trying to be grateful and appreciating what it is I do have, not all of these other opportunities and things that I want that I’m just not getting right now.

Darren: Yeah, I think that’s an important distinction. The other thing that I wanted to mention as well is that I draw a lot of parallels from entrepreneurship business to sports. And what I mean by that is when you see these kinds of successful people in sports, marathon runners, world champions, all the rest of it, again, it comes back to the iceberg. You only get to see them crossing the finish line and picking up the accolades. What you don’t get to see is the hours and hours and grinds and setbacks that they have in training. To bring this back around to fitness and nutrition, it’s no different for the average guy, the average dad. He has challenges with the kids, he has challenges with relationships, has challenges with the jobs but it’s a case of just keeping on going, isn’t it? It’s a case of just learning to deal with it–being okay with being uncomfortable.

Greg: Mm-hmm. 100% I love the training more than the game itself. I really enjoy that aspect of it. And as it pertains to the training, I’ve also had these theories about… I think exercise should be fun, I think fitness and the opportunity to train and to be healthy and play and do–I think that’s such a privilege. I never understood, like even in youth sports and as a coach and with my kids coming, I never understood why if people misbehaved… You know, if kids misbehaved, they would force them to run. 

I never understood some of this stuff. I always felt like, okay, if you misbehave or you don’t want to be part of the training or the team, the punishment should be you have to sit. The running is the good part, that’s the training, that’s what’s making you healthier, that’s what’s going to help you win the game. Why do I want reward…? I don’t want negative connotations to be associated with positive activity, if that makes sense. Even when I’m watching, like I really love watching all these shows now where they go behind the scenes of sports teams. Where they go into the training camps and they follow them for the season on the road or the race teams. I love looking at what goes into that because you win the game based on all the preparation, by everything else you do. The game is like secondary. It’s everything else you’re doing. 

Darren: Yeah, absolutely. And when you listen to a lot of these professional athletes, that’s what they say. At the time when it’s the event or the particular race that they have come up to, they’ve done that 100 times in training if they’ve trained properly. And so it’s just the execution at the end of the day.

Greg: Totally. Look, the game is fun, competition is amazing, I certainly don’t like to lose, but I’ve always maintained the attitude and even with my kids and everything out there, that if you’ve prepared and you’ve trained hard and you do your best out there, competition is a great thing. I do not really mind losing to a formidable or better opponent out there. I mind very much not doing the work to prepare ahead of time and not being able to perform and do your best out there on the field. If you do that, whether you win or lose, I think by score, you’ve actually won. I’d like to go up against better competition all the time.

Darren: Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this phrase, “Don’t wish for less problems. Just wish for better skills,” right?

Greg: Absolutely. Yeah, we could do an hour of clichés if we want.

Darren: So to sum up then, Greg, what five key actions would you say the listeners could take away today to help them bring some of the learnings from your life into their lives to ensure that they can get some success in work and life?

Greg: Great question. Okay, five. Let’s see if I can count and come up with a good five, catching me on the spot. I think the number one is not just to look to any one individual. Don’t just look to me or to my life; go out and ask questions. Find multiple individuals, businesses, whatever it may be, with contrasting viewpoints also. I think number one is do your homework, do your research, find a number of individuals or people that you can look to that see things differently in a way, and try to extrapolate from there what you believe in and what really works for you. Because I don’t think there’s any one thing from any one person, that you can live somebody else’s life exactly for yourself. I think that’s number one. 

Number two is I wouldn’t look at the destination, as you mentioned. I would look at the actual daily steps you can take to become better than yesterday. I’m working with a clothing company right now called Ten Thousand Gear and their motto is just that: Better Than Yesterday. If you’re not exercising at this point, well, I think it’s unrealistic to think that you’re going to all of a sudden spend two hours in the gym every day. Get up and take a walk, you know. Start with one. Start with one little step and then make it two and three. If you’re drinking, you don’t have to go to zero. If you’re drinking three drinks a day, make it two then make it one. Take it in baby steps would be number two.

Three, get help. By help, it could be whatever you need. Friends, family, get a training partner, a colleague from work. You need somebody to help hold you accountable. This is not easy. Especially if you’re changing your lifestyle and you’re trying to take yourself out of environments and routines that have been ingrained for a long period of time, it can get lonely. So get some help there where you can, and if you don’t have that support structure, go find somebody that is a professional that you can hire out there. They’re available to you also. I think that’s three. 

Four, I would focus on experiences over things. I would absolutely focus on experiences over things. I have things. I’ve had a lot of things. As I’ve divested myself of things, I’ve become a lot happier. As I’ve stopped buying things for gratification purposes or instant gratification purposes, I’ve found myself much happier. And because of that, I’ve also had the means to throw towards more experiences. So that’s another one there. 

I think the last one, this may bring us to five, it’s a little touch on the health aspect of it. When you feel better physically, everything else becomes better. The food tastes better, your relationships become better, your career becomes better, your energy level is higher. I cannot stress that aspect enough. You have time in your day, whatever you are doing. If you focus on just getting a little bit healthier, I am a big believer that everything else in your world will improve.

Darren: Yeah, definitely. I think that’s a fantastic point to finish on. I think it is so true and obviously you can speak from experience, I can speak from experience. But I think the key aspect of that is that it’s not overnight. Just like success is not overnight, change is not overnight. Just do little things daily, consistently, and you will yield results.

Greg: Totally. Nothing that I’m saying, I think, is particularly original in there. There are a lot of people out there that are saying these things. I think there’s a tremendous amount of great content out there, too. And as you ask these questions, I think about people in my life and in my world that I learned from, that I admire, that I try to apply what they’re doing into my life. My buddy Justin at a calisthenics gym in Houston at Mekanix, it’s ‘One Percent Better Every Day’ in there. That’s not much different than saying Better Than Yesterday, if at all. There’s a lot of great messaging out there but you have to live the message. 

It’s like, hey, there’s putting in the work. What does putting in the work really mean? It’s different for everybody, too. I can tell you one thing: It’s very easy to post ‘put in the work.’ It’s very easy to post, ‘Better Than Yesterday.’ You could be paralysed by all the motivational sh*t that’s out there every day. The question becomes, okay, what actions are you actually taking? Are you producing or consuming? That I wrote about a few weeks ago. Are you moving the needle forward if you were just consuming versus if you spent the time actually producing and making progress for yourself?

Darren: Yeah, I completely agree with that. So Greg, it’s been amazing to talk to you today. I really appreciate your time, I love your enthusiasm, I love your passion. Before we wrap up, though, Greg, is there anything that you feel that I didn’t ask you that you think I should have asked you that would benefit listeners?

Greg: This is my favourite question because it’s so hard and you do this a lot. And again, I thank you for having me. On my podcast, I try not to talk much at all. When somebody starts asking me these questions and I get a chance to kind of throw up all over everybody out there, you almost don’t even remember what you said 56 minutes ago because it just keeps coming out. But if there’s a question you didn’t ask that you wanted to be asked? One of the things I really… I really like talking about family and the relationship dynamic at home. At 40 now, this comes up a lot.

If I was going to be asked anything that I want to talk about more, it would be more on the aspects of family and marriage because the majority of us or a lot of us now–again, at my age, at 47–we have been engaged in a relationship for a very long time. And it’s how do you keep it fresh? How do you continue to date your wife? How do you keep passion there? How do you manage the realities of life when you’ve been with somebody for such a long time? And there’s a theory or there’s a school of thought: how much are people willing to work through together? Or how much are they willing to say, again, ‘life is short and time is precious and I’m moving on?’ That, to me, is a fascinating subject. 

And statistically, I don’t want to end on a low or anything, but statistically, look, most relationships do not make it. The divorce rate is high. At this stage of my life, I’m seeing a lot of my contemporaries dealing with that issue. So that’s something I’m spending some more time trying to learn about and talk about and evaluate in my own home.

Darren: Yeah. And I’m no expert on this but I think some of my theories around that is that a lot of it is down to communication and a lot of it is also down to making sure that you plan stuff with your spouse. We all talk about planning business, planning health and fitness and all the rest of it–planning our lives. But how many of us actually sit down with our spouses and say, well, we’re going to plan to do this, you and I. We’re going to start learning about this or we’re going to do stuff together. But how many of us actually do that? And I’ll hold my hands up. I’ve not done that in the past. 

Greg: Yeah, you know, this raises a very good point which is: any of the changes or anything we’re talking about people doing in their lives, myself included, it would be almost impossible… I don’t want to say impossible–almost impossible to achieve what you want to achieve without the support of your significant other, and/ or family or anybody in your world. Because then it becomes an obstacle; they have to be on board. And I experienced this for a while. 

I didn’t always have one, but I have a coach that I pay and I was having these conversations with my coach, getting advice, trying to make changes and then having some trouble implementing those changes. The reason I was having as much trouble as I was having implementing the changes is I was having these conversations with my coach and my coach only. I wasn’t having the conversations with other people I really needed to have them with: my wife, my kids, my friends, my clients. It’s like I had the plan and I had a sympathetic ear and I had good advice, but my execution and implementation was all wrong because I wasn’t getting buy in from anybody but me.

Darren: Yeah. It’s crazy, isn’t it? How simple stuff can be once you start to reflect and understand it?

Greg: Yes. And it’s hard to ask. It’s hard to admit vulnerability, it’s hard to admit maybe you’re doing something wrong and therefore you have to change or things are not as right as you want them to be. And it’s hard to have those conversations, but they’re absolutely necessary. You mentioned this before: you’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable and those hard conversations are the ones that you have to have if you really want to make progress.

Darren: Yeah, brilliant. I think that’s a fantastic note to end on, Greg. And I think listeners would do well to listen to that again and reflect on that again, because I think that’s hugely valuable. Greg, how can people connect with you? Where can they find you? What’s your podcast called? All that kind of good stuff.

Greg: Thank you, Darren. You’re awesome. This was a lot of fun and you do a tremendous, tremendous job. The questions were great, hopefully I answered them to your and your listeners’ satisfaction or you can edit this down to exactly what you want. But to find me, the easiest place is just go to GregScheinman.com. That’s got my blog, links to the podcast, and even a link back to my business and stuff. So everything’s there, or I’m on Instagram a lot @GregScheinman and LinkedIn as well. Our demographic seems to be more LinkedIn, in that kind of area, so that’s been a good spot as well.

Darren: Awesome. All right, Greg, it’s been amazing talking to you. Thanks for having me on your podcast as well and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Greg: Darren, stay safe, stay healthy and congrats on everything, and good luck in all your upcoming events. 

Darren: Thanks, Greg.

Greg: Take care. 

Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please hit subscribe, and I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes. All the links mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at FitterHealthierDad.com. 

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