Brent Freeman Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
Introducing Brent Freeman
Brent Freeman is the Founder & President of Stealth Venture Labs and a serial entrepreneur who’s passionate about using business to generate both profits & social impact.
As he says “My journey in business began earlier than most. While pursuing my undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California, I launched a commodities trading firm focused on generating as much money as quickly as possible. With offices in Dubai and Los Angeles, I chased the money with fervor.
Once I reached a place of success, I realized that success can be meaningless without a purpose. I felt no happier than before, and this realization changed my worldview for good.”
Reinvigorated by my personal discovery, I made a conscious choice to build and advise for-profit businesses to create true social impact in the world.
Which lead him inn 2009, Brent founded Roozt.com, an online marketplace platform for social good consumer brands which was featured in Mashable, Forbes, Huff Post, INC, The Today Show, NBC, and ABC. He was honoured by Forbes as a Name You Need to Know in 2011.
How The Dots Joined Up For Brent
Today, Brent is an angel investor, former venture capitalist, and writes for Entrepreneur and INC on start-up life.
He is the Founder & President at Stealth Venture Labs, has co-founded five ecommerce brands, and is the Chairman of the Board of the Bay Area chapter of the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship that teaches entrepreneurship to inner-city kids.
In his free time, he loves to travel to Italy, give back and spend time with his family and friends.
In 2020, Brent received the high honour to be knighted by the Italian Royal Family, Casa di Savoia, for his commitment to philanthropy and giving back.
So is it true to say that going for the money is not as good as going for the meaningful?
And if this is the case why do so many new business owners look inward instead of focusing where their greatest value can be delivered?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Brent Freeman
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with Brent Freeman Such as…..
We discuss the failure of Woodstock’s 50th anniversary, and why businesses need to focus in on the why first and foremost.
Brent shares the stages that he has took to find his “Why” in business and life, and why it took so long to get it.
Brent reveals a moment in his life when he felt his life was at an end and there was nothing more to live for.
Brent shares the deep insight of how the more he slowed down in life, the better the results he has been getting.
And how to reframe your mindset to build a slow down of the information input we allow into our minds and our lives.
How To Connect With Brent Freeman
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here– enjoy
Full Transcription Of Brent Freeman Interview
Life shouldn’t be hard life should be a fun filled adventure every day. So now start joining up dots tap into your talents, your skills, your God given gifts and tell your boss, you don’t deserve me. I’m out of here. It’s time for you to smash that alarm clock and start getting the dream business and wife You will of course, are dreaming of. Let’s join your host David route from the back of his garden in the UK, or wherever he might be today with another JAM PACKED episode of the number one hit podcast. Join Up Dots.
David Ralph [0:38]
Yeah, good morning tea and good morning and welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you very much for choosing us against the other six podcasts out there or whatever is probably more than six nowadays, but I’m certainly there wasn’t when we started. Now, today’s guest is the founder and president of stealth Venture Labs and a serial entrepreneur who’s passionate about using business to generate both profits and social impact. As he says my journey in business began earlier than most while pursuing my undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California, I launched a commodities trading firm focused on generating as much money as quickly as possible. And we have offices in Dubai and Los Angeles, I chased the money with fervour. Now, once I reached a place of success, I realised that success can be meaningless without a purpose, I felt no happier than before. And this realisation changed my worldview for good, reinvigorated by his personal discovery, he then made a conscious choice to build and advise for profit businesses to create true social impact in the world. He led him in 2009, to a found roots, an online marketplace platform for social good consumer brands, which was featured in Mashable, Forbes, Huffington Post, and ink and loads of other places. Today, he’s an angel investor, former venture capitalist and writes for entrepreneur and Inc, on start up live. And in his free time, he loves to travel to Italy and give back and spend time with his family and friends. And in 2020, yes, when we resort in pandemic and not being able to come out of our garden, I don’t know he did this. He received the high honour to be knighted by the Italian royal family, for his commitment to philanthropy and giving back. So is it true to say that going for the money is not as good as going for the meaningful? And if this is the case? Why do so many new business owners look inward instead of focusing where their greatest value can be delivered? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Brent Freeman. Good morning to you.
Brent Freeman [2:49]
Morning, David, how are you? Man? I’m very, very well.
David Ralph [2:52]
So I’m gonna cut to the chase 2020 You get knighted? What United virtually? Or did you actually get there? Do they do it like we do over here? When you kneel down and they put a sword on your shoulder? How did it occur?
Brent Freeman [3:04]
Yeah. Yeah. So it was honestly one of the biggest moments of my life, when I found out I had gone through a series of interviews and diligence, and all of that the year or two prior. And then obviously, pandemic, we’re all sitting in our houses locked down. And I live in Lake Tahoe, Northern California area. And I was sitting by myself in the kitchen when I got the notification. And it was like, wow, this is, this is a paradox of the universe happening right now. You know, I’m getting the highest honour of my life. And I found out I’m sitting in my kitchen, the kitchen table, and I know that the ceremony was postponed, it’s actually going to happen this year in, in September, in Geneva, or Rome, or maybe in New York, they kind of have different ceremonies that they do throughout the world. So we now that we’re coming back ceremony is, is going to happen, and not quite like the English, although I’m half British and, and half Italian and not quite like the English No, no formal sword over the head and such but it is a big pomp and circumstance, ceremony at the church, and then big balls and gowns, and you know, the whole little thing with with the Crown Prince and whatnot.
David Ralph [4:15]
So if you’re half Italian and half English, where does the American bit come in?
Brent Freeman [4:20]
Yeah, where I was born. So I was born in San Francisco born or is my father was born actually in London, and emigrated here when he was about six or seven years old, and my mother’s of Italian heritage. And they linked up and married in San Francisco, and then I was born in San Francisco.
David Ralph [4:40]
Now, obviously, the classic statement of San Francisco is sort of freedom and love and sex and all that kind of stuff. Where your mum and dad sort of hippies were they three spirits or were they very much business people that sort of landed in in San Francisco.
Brent Freeman [4:58]
Oh, I am. I’m a hippie blood through and through and I yeah, for all of that, you know, up until I like that connected to the universe bit up until you know the recent history of my life but my mom was at Woodstock and my mom and dad basically met in the Haight Ashbury and they weren’t entrepreneurs, but they were free spirits. And my father is a cinematographer, Director photography has been for 50 years independent filmmaker, nominated for Academy Awards, and won Emmys and, but was very anti Hollywood anti establishment, focusing on the free spirit side, and he always told me follow your heart, and the money will come. And that’s stuck with me, you know, and as you mentioned, in the opening of the show, you know, I got caught up in the programme, you know, going to a top notch University, and everyone’s becoming I bankers, and, you know, I was graduating with a quarter million dollars of student loan debt. And it was like, well, crap, how do I, how do I pay all this back as quick as possible? And you know, you’re told that once you make money, then everything else falls into place, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
David Ralph [6:04]
Now just kind of jump into something that maybe you can’t answer, but I was pondering it as he was speaking to Woodstock. I was actually up into Woodstock a few times. And I actually thought that’s where the festival was. I didn’t realise it was Breton. Is it about 20 miles outside? I was there on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. And it was failure. They didn’t they didn’t make anything of it. Now, we’ve businesses, is it about planning? Or is it striking when the lightning sort of hits? You know, Why would something like that? Do you think be a complete failure? 50th anniversary of Woodstock, you would have thought it would have been a global success, like sort of Live Aid or something?
Brent Freeman [6:47]
Well, yeah, that’s a really good question. So when you when you look at the modern day comp, to what Woodstock created in terms of ideals, and love, and utopia, and it was, you know, people coming together for a period of time to celebrate that and the freedom around it, especially during that time in the era, the I think the only monitoring comp of the Zeitgeist that’s happening is what’s happening out in the desert in in Nevada every year in August and Burning Man. And what happens in the Burning Man, culture and community is that there’s an organisation and org behind it that is fostering their 10 principles of community and radical self reliance and participation and connection to keep the thread through. So that 50 years from when they first started on Baker Beach in San Francisco, there will be a major celebration of it, because it continues, it’s not just a one time event. And when you look at what happened with Woodstock, and I’ll tie this into business here in a second, but when you look at what happened in Woodstock, and 50 years later, there’s no there’s no there there behind it, because it was an ideal an organisation, it was a collection of people into one. And that’s what made it so magical and special. At that time. It wasn’t about the establishment. And it wasn’t about that it was about the celebration of, of the freedom, which at that time was was was a new thought and idea breaking from the you know, the boomer generation. And when you look at what what’s happened in business, and what happens in businesses, you have the one hit wonders, and then you have sustaining lasting businesses. And then you have businesses that create and get to the top of the world, the Nokia’s, and the blackberries and whatnot, and then they then they fall off because they don’t innovate, and they don’t create the behemoth Enos of it. And so, you know, the the market environment, there’s a lot to be learned from, from what happens at Burning Man, what happened at Woodstock? Or what happens in these festivals to say, you know, what is what is happening? Is it did you create something once? Or is it is it a sustaining movement? And, and I think that that is one of the biggest lessons that I have learned over the years is that you have business plans, and the business and market realities. And, and I don’t think Woodstock planned to be that movement from the beginning. It just happened. Right? And Burning Man. Similarly, it just happened as a group of people got together to share ideas on a beach in San Francisco in the late 80s. And sometimes that’s the way the best businesses starts. It just happens, the market tells you there’s something there and it builds on itself. You know,
David Ralph [9:11]
as you took Vamp rain, actually excites me the feeling of being part of a movement, not just a thing. And it makes me wonder why more people don’t look for that, you know, Simon Sinek famously did the speech, which they’re still talking about, you know, many years start with why. And it’s a brilliant speech. And if you haven’t seen it, I’ll be amazed. But it’s out there. And I always wonder, can you find your why beforehand or does wise come later?
Brent Freeman [9:45]
That’s a great question. So I know Simon, and I’m close with a lot of his people that run his company. And we just did for my my entrepreneur, organisation for a retreat, Simon Sinek led the US I’m very familiar with the work and met Simon for the first time over a decade ago, right when He had come out with that, that talk and it always stuck with me. You know, people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. And as I have grown and developed in my own entrepreneurial career, my why has become more and more and more clear. And as I look now forward and project to the next 50 years plus of you know, of my my life, it’s really clear what my Y is. And it’s to create and spread joy, so that I can live a life that makes me smile from the inside out. And I believe in a world where people can wake up and feel hopeful, they can feel optimistic, and they feel excited to go to work, they can feel optimistic and hopeful about their future and what they can create in the world, and that they can also live a life of joy. 10 years ago, David, I didn’t, I didn’t have the words for it, I was kind of searching for it. And I was failing a lot. And trying things and it didn’t work and having heartbreak, whether it be through business failures, or divorce, or business partner breakups, or whatever it is. And it what I’ve realised is that it takes a little bit of time for people to live their life to understand their true why Yeah, and the reason being is because the duality and the polarity of life, right? The opposites, the positive and negative electrons, the nights in the day times, those are things that is that is the natural force of the balance of life. And so what we think that we try to avoid negatives and our lives at all cost, because they feel so much heavier than positives. But the truth is, is that the hardships that we experience become the seedlings of our joy. And when we’re in it, we don’t get to oftentimes have that perspective to the future that what we’re going through that’s hard and difficult and frustrating, it’s going to form and shape some beautiful times in the future if we if we so let it. And so when you’re younger, and I do a lot of coaching with youth entrepreneurs, inner city, teen entrepreneurs, we actually have a nonprofit that teaches ecommerce and digital marketing to inner city kids here in the US, I coach them that it’s you don’t need to put the pressure on, you need to figure out exactly what you need to do. And you don’t even need to figure out your quote unquote, y yet, because they haven’t lived enough to really understand that y is going to evolve and change. And so what I anchor them to is moments of joy in their life where they felt in flow, where they felt truly happy and at peace. Or, or as I described, my definition of joy is making people smile from the inside out. When you can drop into a memory, and you just go wow, that was amazing. It could be just a simple thing of like, I rode my bike one day when I was 10 years old, and a warm summer night and I felt the breeze doing through my hair or could be, you know, I remember going to this location with my family or just all of us laughing. We all have these moments of joy. And when you start to when you start to connect back to those, and you start to be in touch with those, and you start to focus on the things that bring you joy, and then invest in those things every day, whether it be big things or little things, the compounding effect of that investment into daily joy. I call the ROI day the return on joy becomes that why David it becomes it becomes informs into the why statement over time. And it is it is I think sometimes when people read Simon’s books or literature or hear his talk are expired, and then they don’t know what to do. But the truth is, it’s it’s simpler than they think it just connected to those things that those moments that make them smile from the inside out and try to invest into more and more of those every day.
David Ralph [13:36]
So give us your why, again, your elevator pitch as I call it, so that we can really nail it.
Brent Freeman [13:43]
Yeah, my Why is to create and spread joy, so that I can live a life that makes me smile from the inside out.
David Ralph [13:53]
Now I’m going to ask you a question. That is beautiful. But can you have that if you haven’t quite got to the point of paying your bills. You know, in the early days when you’re scrabbling around and you’re trying to get things going? Can you have a poetic elevator pitch like that which is extremely meaningful? Or do you have to have something that is more self centred? Do you is it about about yourself?
Brent Freeman [14:20]
Great question. I only recently have been able to put that into a concise statement. But when you go back just five years ago, my business was on the brink of failure. And we were close to bankruptcy. We were running a business model that no longer served us. We I was going through a divorce I was 3040 pounds overweight. And I was I had all the fancy things that you know people say you make you successful penthouse apartment and amazing car and you know all this views and fancy things and you know what the society tells you Success. But I lived in San Francisco and I looked out my window and it was a beautiful, unobstructed view of the bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge. And, and I remember thinking to myself, I wonder if I should just jump. And, and, and so physical things don’t equate to happiness. And what happened to me that day is when I looked out at the sky, and I’m having these dark thoughts, I saw a very simple, white fluffy cloud passing me by and reminded me of a meditation technique that I had learned while trying to figure out how to meditate, which was through the headspace app, you know, five minutes a day of sitting on what add is really difficult. And it’s called noting, and basically it’s when you have a you separate your mind from your thoughts, and you are not your thoughts. It’s not like a cloud passing you by it’s only just temporary. It’s always just passing in the sun is always shining behind it. And I had this, this moment of, it’s not about the physical things, I didn’t have the words for it that David Right, I didn’t, I wasn’t able to create and spend joy I didn’t. But I just knew that I was removed from joy. And I remembered I said, Well, what used to make me happy as a kid. And what really made me happy as a kid and I had great memories with my family was watching a sunset. And so that day I went in, I watched a sunset out of the Baker Beach, actually in San Francisco, and I watched the sun go down and I reflected on life. And I cried and I realised that I had gotten so busy and so caught up in the bullshit that I had neglected the things, the little things that don’t cost any money. That don’t mean you don’t need to have any any sort of money in the bank or any sort of things, just investing in a sunset in the time to take in reflection. And you know, that open focus out on the horizon and my heart bursting wide open. I made a I made a commitment and a promise to myself that day to never stray so far from from my joy again, because it didn’t cost anything. And that I could do these things if I just made them a priority. And so I made what I now call my it’s an annual process, I made what I call my list of joy. And my list of joy are the things that make me smile from the inside out, sunsets are on them things like Italy. And I said, I’m going to do one thing every day from Elissa joy, little things. And then over the years, I’ve added on to it. And now you know, I started with 20 items, and now it’s I think 150 or 60. You know, it’s small things like fresh fallen snow, or, you know, the smile, you know, of my girlfriend.
David Ralph [17:31]
Because it is so simple isn’t it is so simple. And you know, 10 years ago, when I started this podcast, people used to say those kinds of things to me, and I just felt really, really, I just wasn’t there. I just wasn’t there. But now I can get it. And as she was talking about the Golden Gate Bridge, I remember watching a film I’m sure it’s on Amazon Prime called the Bridge, where this camera crew set up cameras, and they just basically filmed the bridge for a whole year. Because I think 24 people plus just jump off. And Ben they went back and they found the the families and they interviewed the families to find out, you know, what was going through their mind, you know, and a lot of the time there was nothing going through their minds, it was just a moment in their life, it might have been a breakup just for a couple of days, you know. And that’s one of the things that I love about your story there. The difference between where you were five years ago, and now. And there’s no difference other than sort of mindset and willing to go again, you know, you could have lobbed yourself off that bridge quite easily. But the fact that you’re still here, and you’re successful, and you’re happy and you’re full of gratitude, you know, the seasons do change, don’t they? And you’ve got to be aware of that. Because sometimes, no matter how hard you work at something, you’re not going to get the success you want. Because it’s kind of not right. It’s not right to get it at that time.
Brent Freeman [19:02]
Yeah, you know, I, I now again, have I have words and methodologies. Because after that moment, that dark moment of the soul that I had, I dove in to personal growth, and you know, from going to meditation retreats to reading books, I’ve read three some odd 100 books since then, and just really dove into understanding okay, what’s going on in the neuroscience, what’s going on with, you know, around depression, what’s going on with the business, I research things like Tao is concepts of the wu wei, which basically just means like, go with the flow of the river don’t cut against the grain. And man I have for the first 10 some odd years of my entrepreneurial career, you know, we’re sold this hustle and grind culture, you know, the Gary V’s of the world and you just gotta get up and you got to grind and you got to work hard. And that’s not necessarily false that you need to work hard. But I think the thing that’s missing is you need to work smart and you need to you need to listen to the market. And if something’s not working, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad entrepreneur. doesn’t mean that you’re you have a bad business, it just means that you need to, you need to adapt, you need to pivot. And you need to change and you need to evolve. And the state of this world is all about evolution. And sometimes we get so we, you know, we get so caught up that our idea, our baby’s not ugly, right? That we think on it, we just need to Persevere, persevere. But the truth is, you need to be malleable as you persevere. And you need to listen to the market, and you need to adapt, adjust, and adapt and grow. And not just as a business, as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, or if you’re a solopreneur, or entrepreneur wanting to jump into it. It is, it is your business plan is the way you see the world. But then you have the business realities of the way the world reacts to your idea. And that fundamental process of listening to the market is something that I had to learn the hard way, and I did wrong, and that’s a business has failed because of it. And it’s a major heartbreak around it. And I think you’re right, you know, you know, I grew up in San Francisco, and so well aware of the amount of people that do jump off the bridge and actually had a friend from high school sister, who was one of those souls and, and so I am acutely aware that the dark times can feel all consuming. And you know, what I want any listener here to understand is that the dark times pass, but they need and they require massive action. And taking action in any direction is, is just critical. And you need to change the energy when the energy is spiralling down. And that could be spiralling down to the business perspective and changing business model or it could be spiralling down from an emotional perspective, you have to change the entity change the environment. The first rule of epigenetics is that the environments control the genes, right? And not that not the other way around. Meaning that your environment really affects how your organism reacts to the world and how you can live in the world. And so you know, that day for me, changing the environment of getting out of that house, changing that thoughts, removing the dark thought from saying, Oh, I am depressed, I have a depressed thought those are two different things. And then changing the environment so that I can get I can clear my mind and start what I call catalysing to the bottom so you can bounce off and rebound into into a joyful future.
David Ralph [22:22]
Let’s hear from Oprah. And we’d be back with Brent all
Oprah Winfrey [22:24]
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, oh, I got all of this stuff. What is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you, because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [22:56]
Now, the strapline of Join Up Dots is it’s time to start living the easy life. And what I mean by that is if we take the concept of the Taoist principle of Huawei, now, I actually think that and I’ve been saying it on the podcast, I think I’m now a Taoist. And for years, I used to read the Doughty Chang and think this is interesting. And then one day I read it and I bought, this is just what I do. This is how I live, this is what I believe. And one of the things that really hit home and made me think this is the way that people should be operating was the concept of getting into the easy stream. So if you’ve got like a series of three way, you’ve got one that is a carpool line, and you’ve got another one that’s full of traffic, we’re all going to get into the one that’s empty, and just go along. Now. That’s how I kind of operate my life. And that’s how I operate my business. I’m always looking at it thinking, Is this too hard? Is this difficult? Should there be an easier way? Can I move to the left and get into the sort of effortless action when things just flow? And I think that comes with experience as well when you realise that it’s okay, not to grind. It’s okay not to hustle. But it is okay to actually be quiet, reflect, do your measurements, your metrics, and, you know, split test and do all the kinds of things to realise whether you’re right in the right lane or not. Do you think Brent?
Brent Freeman [24:28]
Yeah, yeah, I love that you’re into the data as well. I mean, that the I call it the paradox of the universe as well, when the paradox of the universe for me has been the more that I’ve slowed down and reconnected to my joy, the faster My dreams have come true. Whereas previously I have like, grasp that sand and the harder I grasped at it, the more came went through my fingers, right. And what’s interesting is that when you’re grasping at Sandy, you’re forcing it as you know, and like you’re saying here and it feels too hard to decipher. called that hustle and grind culture. You know, narrative is just work hard at work more hours pushed through grunt. Actually, I think it does a lot. It does a lot of bad because it leads to burnout, it leads to frustration leads to, you know, divorces and financial situations. Whereas when you have product market fit on something, you know it, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard. But it’s a different type of hard work because you are in the flow of the stream of the river rather than trying to swim upstream. Yeah, yeah. And so that paradox of the universe of slowing down and reconnecting with the things that actually matter to you, is critical. Now, you know, I love the quote, you just you just played from Oprah. Because the the neuroscience again, behind what happens when you’re, when you slow down, and you stop, is you get out of what’s called high beta brainwaves, which is this analysis paralysis, right? It’s the fight or flight mode is the reptilian part of our brain. And you’re not making good decisions from there. Because it’s just that reptilian fight or flight, or freeze mode. But when we actually slow down either through meditation, or going for a walk, or going for a gym, or just stopping for a second, or sleeping or being in the shower, or whatever it is, you come down into the next level of brainwaves, which is either low beta or alpha state, which is typically flow state, that’s where you can start creating again, in a manner that allows you to solve a problem that you didn’t see previously decision didn’t see previously. So that slowing down is actually how our brain is wired to be able to solve the process and it feels crazy, you feel like you’re slacking, you feel like you’re not doing enough. You feel like you are procrastinating, you know, there’s, there’s some real emotions that come with slowing down. And so what I recommend people to do if they’re, if they’re hitting that wall, it’s like, go for a walk, take a day off, you know, do something, go skiing, do something active, go to the gym, something to break the state of the analysis, paralysis, and then come back in a new, a new state to try be able to solve the problem.
David Ralph [27:02]
Yeah, I agree. One of the things that I got into with the pandemic was gardening, and I’ve never been interested in gardening at all. But I was sitting out in the garden, we couldn’t go anywhere, we were locked in as I started to putter around, and now you find me puttering around all the time out there. And it’s just one of those things where your, your brains nowhere, but is everywhere. And then quite often, I just find myself gazing up at the blue sky, and then thinking, Oh, I know, and I scampered back to my office, and I sit at a computer and I do something I go back. So that’s what he was. That’s what he was, you know. And I always say to people, nobody ever screamed Eureka in front of a laptop, you know, nobody day, it was always under a tree or in a bath or something like that.
Brent Freeman [27:48]
That’s right. That’s right. You know, and I think the other thing you just mentioned there too, is is your your physical grounding and connection, I guess is where the hippie comes in, right? The physical connection and grounding back to nature, and the earth are so in cities and in our busy day to day life that we get so disconnected from it. But we are, you know, we are creatures of nature. And we need to have nature in our life in some fashion. And so, you know, grounding your hands into the soil is really, really good for the soul for the spirit and just for the energetic body, you know, of your organism as a whole. And so yeah, good for you. I think. I think a lot of people in the pandemic really struggled when they were cooped inside for that reason. And so, you know, now that we’re the world’s coming back a little bit, I think people have a chance, you know, I really view this as a renaissance, a lot of things have changed, and will never be the same. And people have an opportunity to reinvent themselves and go towards a direction of their dreams. And if that’s breaking away from a job that they hate or don’t like, or don’t want to go back into the office and starting their own thing, or taking their own thing to the next level. Right and and getting back to social good for me being a social entrepreneur isn’t just about buy one, give one model, it’s about how you create a company that creates lasting impact in the world, from the products you serve to the employees and team members that you lead from the end from the inside out of the organisation as well.
David Ralph [29:16]
Through the pandemic, obviously, whenever anyone listens to this podcast, it might be years down the line and thinking what we’re talking about, but for a couple of years, it was it was unbelievable, really VAT the Queen of England was experiencing the same life as I was and every single person was experiencing the same you know, difficulties, hassles, mental issues. Now, through that I realised that we were far more connected at that time then at any time personally, I would if I saw my next door neighbour, I would actually talk to them. If people walk past me on the street because we were allowed to go out for a walk, we’d say hello, now we’re getting back to the point where people look down at the pavement and they just walk past. And when you go into supermarkets, no one’s talking to each other. They’re just doing their thing. Have you noticed the same thing in America? But there was this god given opportunity to build something amazing, but it’s now slipping back into the old way say was before?
Brent Freeman [30:21]
Yeah, you know, yes, I think is the answer to that. And I think that I viewed what happened in the pandemic. As a it was it was this great equaliser for everyone staying home. And, you know, my heart goes out to families who lost loved ones. And obviously, it was you hit really hard in China and Italy and other countries as well. And at the same time, you saw these, these stories of great human nature coming together, of the Italians at 6pm, opening up there shutters and all singing together. And, you know, joining together in this unity in the solidarity in this moment, great moment of beauty. And I’m going to, you know, I’m obviously very connected with Italy. And so looking at the canals in Venice, going from muck and mud and totally, you know, brown to crystal clear, and dolphins and fish coming back. And it was as if Earth had this moment in time to kind of breathe and equalise again. And then as we come back and reuse Earth, we have a moment as humans and as entrepreneurs and as neighbours and as brothers and sisters, to not forget what we just went through, but to take it and say how do we adjust our demeanour, our businesses, our how we treat the environment and make some changes moving forward. Because it doesn’t take it doesn’t take much. But it does take some and it is good for you, I think David for you know, for really keeping the spirit of Hello, and how are you and they’re connected in solidarity because it just takes, you know, just takes one in the you know, the, the British are a little bit more inward. I mean, having, you know, having that, in my heritage have seen that. It’s not quite like the Italian culture of you know, very
David Ralph [32:20]
much. So yeah, we don’t even share with our family, let alone a complete stranger. You know, it’s a strange thing. But you can
Brent Freeman [32:29]
you can change that not just you, but the proverbial you, right, we can change that and how we, we come back and say, I’m going to keep this, I’m gonna anchor it, I’m gonna take this hardship. And I’m going to use it as a ceiling of joy forever. And I’m and we need more leaders like that. And so you know, anyone listening to this, whether it be five years down the line, or five days after publishing, I think it’s incumbent upon us as entrepreneurs, we see the world differently. We’re the crazy ones, we’re the rebels. We’re the ones that are unreasonable and how we think about things. And it’s up to us to not go back to business as usual, it’s up to us to truly, truly implement the changes that we want to see in the for the future generations through because business is the most powerful economic engine there is period. And more and more entrepreneurs embodying that and creating cultures of that, and environments of that, I believe is how we change the world.
David Ralph [33:21]
I think you’re 100%. Right. And I think the message through this podcast is reframe, basically is reframing your mindset is reframing your body. Reframing, you know, somebody said to me, I was I was in a pub the other day, and I don’t drink but I was in a pub. And this guy was basically saying how crap everything is everything’s terrible, the welds going to pot. And you know, the Ukrainians are getting blown up left, right and centre, which is, you know, terrible, no getting away from it. And this other guy said, that’s only because you’re looking at the bad things. What about all these people taking in Ukrainians that I’ve never met? But look about all these things, no matter what’s going on, there’s an equal balance of good there’s the yin and the yang, you know? And it is that sort of mindset of when you’re in a business situation or in a live situation and things same black The Dark Night of the Soul to actually reframe it and think well Now where’s the goodness because there is that there’s got to be you can’t just have bad without the good.
Brent Freeman [34:26]
Yeah, yeah, that’s the polarity as well. And it’s a mindset shift in the cynical nature. First of all, you know, what, what is happening in the news, not just now but in general is it is poisoning our hearts, our minds and our souls. It is a huge a went from it went from a headline a day or one piece of breaking news a week to every moment breaking news, and putting us into that high stress state. And I like watching the news daily to going and eating McDonald’s every day. Why would you go and have a Big Mac and fries and a shake two, three times a day, you poisoned your body, it’s really clear that that’s the case. But when it comes to your mental setting your mindset and your emotional said in the news also does that. And it’s not that I don’t believe in being an informed citizen, I very much believe in that. I’m a voter I’m uh, you know, I believe very, very, very much in that I just believe in surgical understanding of when there’s an issue trying to go in and drill in and search for the information I want, get educated and then pull out rather than be polluted. Because what you just talked about, for me is about the cynical versus optimist, mindset or scarcity versus abundance is a better way to put it. And I think the most powerful thing any one person can do is learn how to control not only the inputs that are coming into their minds, and their bodies, of course, but learning when they have a worldview and a rule set that is oftentimes embedded into us from our parents, society, news, whatever it may be, that, that they have learned how to reframe, taking the Ukrainian situation is terrible, what’s happening over there and what Russia is doing to the this sovereign nation, and the people and the atrocities that are happening there. But you can look at all of that and get down and depressed about the world and go into downloads about or you can say what is happening in that Polish folder, and the people all across the world, taking in Ukrainian refugees, or a friend of mine, who lives in San Diego, who has been crossing daily into Tijuana, Mexico, to bring Ukrainian refugees and walk them through the border into temporary housing and then into refugee housing in the United States. There’s beauty in that and inspiration in that even though it is the hardship that is the joy even though the hardship is coming from a terrible atrocity that is going on. And I choose even though it is a constant daily practice, I am not a guy who’s like, Oh, happy, happy joy, joy every single day. That’s even though my life mission and y is about creating and spreading joy, it is a choice. It is a choice. And when should you things happen and life happens and it will and they do we can choose to wallow in our sorrow, we can choose to say what can be great about this? And what can be good about this? And where’s their where’s their beauty? And how do we reframe it. And, and that, for me is I think the hardest part for most people because we’re not practising what taught that. And we are inundated with negativity in our brains. survival mechanisms are wired for the negativity bias. And so we take it in and it feels heavier than the positivity you need 10 positive things for one negative thing to counterbalance it. And but getting in the art and practice of reframing as an entrepreneur especially, is fundamentally critical to staying positive about the world because you’re gonna have a lot of crap thrown at your doorstep? And how do you make lemonade out of lemons that may be given to you because there’s beautiful lemonade to be made. And we need more people who view the world that
David Ralph [38:01]
way. So when we spoke earlier about slowing down and making that conscious decision to slow down, is it as important to slow down the amount of information we allow into our lives, you know, to reference to Ukraine, I don’t watch the news at all. I look at the soccer results. And I don’t don’t look at the news at all. And somebody said to me, Oh, isn’t it terrible? What’s going on there about three weeks into it? And I went, Oh, what is going on there and then I looked and then you know, you sort of get a bit hooked on it. And the same with when the pandemic occurred, I was obsessed at the beginning, looking on where it was spreading and where it was coming. And then when I sort of disconnected, I realised that it’s the information that was causing me the problem, not the problem itself. As Captain Jack spammer always says in in the Pirates of the Caribbean, the problems not the problem, it’s the way you think of a problem.
Brent Freeman [38:58]
Yes, is the answer to that. I cut news out of my life five years ago, right after that day that I told you about earlier. Now when I realised that I was taking in such toxicity, I would wake up and obsessively look at CNN and then do the really manic thing and then look at the opposing side at Fox News and then compare and contrast and then complain to friends and I realised Wow, I’m just in the negativity cycle. And I also looked not just at the news that I was taking into the media I was taking and I looked at my surroundings, who around me was was poisoning me friends family that were negative and that were inputs, looked at employees, I looked at team members or clients and I looked at all the kind of toxic inputs in my life and I started to purge and I started to cut those out some cold turkey some on a slower phase because it’s not as easy when it’s maybe a family member or whatnot. And I started to really say you know I need to control the inputs into my life just like I would I don’t you know eat fast food everyday I control the food inputs into my life. And so like you I don’t watch the news. When in a good Little bit happens. Turns out, we’re connected fellows. And so we’ll hear about it relatively quick. And then if I want to know, I will Google it, search more, ask friends about it in the know, and then and then go from there. And what I found is that I’m not being I was told a story in middle school growing up about, you know, connected citizen is one that is informed and looks at the news, and this is what you need to be. And so I really took that seriously. And what I realised is that an informed citizen is one that can also make their own decisions and not be controlled by any way shape or form of the sides, it doesn’t matter what political aisle you’re on, they all have a narrative. And in the media companies, there are companies there, they want your eyeballs there, because they make money off of advertising. And I run an advertising company, right, so I understand how that model of that model works. And so for me, it is the controlling of the inputs into my, into my mind, really, really helped because it’s very difficult to be healthy. If going back to the fast food model, if every single day you’re eating a Big Mac and fries and a milkshake. Even if you want to be it’s hard to reframe if you’re being inundated. And I’ll even go one step further, I have a very, your subconscious mind is very susceptible in the evenings in the morning. And so I have a very specific wind down and wind up routine in the mornings and evenings about programming and reprogramming my subconscious mind, towards the direction of my dreams into affirmations and how I do it and how I connected with an elevated emotion. Because once I cut out negative news that kind of put me into somewhat of neutral, then I realised I had 30 plus years of reprogramming of somebody else’s programme, and priorities that I needed to then kind of undo the narrative of the story have to go into the directions of things that I wanted to accomplish in my life. And so even to this day, I every morning, and every evening, I do my subconscious priming and affirmation. And find things happen. When you really start to gain momentum, all of a sudden, your dreams start to come true and things that you didn’t know how you would be able to achieve start to happen in the most unexpected ways. And once you start feeling that and seeing that you start to believe in this law of attraction, it isn’t just, I write down a goal and doesn’t happen. The thought is the is the is the frequency that you put out into the universe. But it’s not until you attach a an emotion that is elevated in some fashion of gratitude and happiness, feeling it before the feeling the feeling of what it would be like to live the life of your dreams before it happens. Feeling it now before before it happens, that actually creates the emotional signature that we need to draw the event back to you. And and that that piece is, is it starts with cutting out the negative inputs, right, then you can get to neutral, and then you can start building on top of it. Otherwise, it’s very, very difficult. It’s very difficult. Well, let’s
David Ralph [42:54]
play some words that really summarise what Brent was just saying, of course,
Unknown Speaker [42:58]
it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [43:33]
Now how powerful of those words after you know, 1520 years or whatever, I’m listening to them, they still hit home. And sometimes I really listened to him. And sometimes you know, I hear him every day because I do this show. But the word that I never not hear is trust.
Brent Freeman [43:51]
So what Steve Jobs is saying there is trust in the universe. And that’s that’s the saying that I in my affirmations. I surrender and I trust the universe. Connecting the Dots in hindsight, is is easy, because you have all the information. Connecting the dots in the future is impossible, because there’s no way you can have the information. And, and so that requires trust. And so this is the paradox of university I was talking about earlier, the slowing down and reconnecting to the things that bring you joy and trusting in the universe is is really critical. Because that is that is the way to get life of your dreams. And it is it is not what we’re sold. It doesn’t mean don’t take aligned action. Now. Let’s be clear, taking aligned action. You have to do things to get there. But you also have to understand when is enough enough and when do you surrender to the universe? The how you connect the dots moving forward is not really up to us. That’s the that’s the universe and that’s where the trust comes in. And it’s really difficult. When you feel like the universe hasn’t Have your back or you haven’t really connected with it previously in some fashion, but the more you do it, the more you could say, Okay, this life, this life event happened to me and it sucks. But it didn’t happen to me, it happened for me. And now I need to trust in the universe that it has my back. And I’m going to take action. And just, I don’t know what the outcome is going to necessarily be yet, but I’m going to trust the right aligned actions, and the right level of, of, you know, surrendering, that all will be okay. And it will.
David Ralph [45:30]
And that’s the reframing, that’s the duality of the dark dots. We always say that the dark dots in life, when you move too far away from them, they become the white dots, they’re the ones that you look back on, and you think, bloody hell, you know, that was terrible that time that was dreadful, but look where I am now, because of it.
Brent Freeman [45:50]
That’s where hardships become the seedlings of joy. And it’s, it’s really difficult when you’re in it, because you oftentimes, when it’s when it’s midnight, and there’s no moon, and it’s cold, and you’re in it, it doesn’t matter that, you know, the sun will rise at 6am, just six hours from them. When you’re in it, and you’re cold, it feels like forever. And, and that is the the part of the surrendering to try to trust and understand that the sun will rise, and it will be glorious. When it does rise, it always rises for millennia now. But when we get into that dark night of the soul or a moment in business or some hardship, we want to try to force sun to rise earlier than it than it does. But we don’t control that. And that’s where that’s where the surrendering and the trust in the universe becomes critical. Trusting that the sun will always rise. And that doesn’t mean when you’re in that dark night, don’t find shelter, don’t you know, bundle up and you know, all that stuff, it doesn’t mean just say oh, I’m gonna lay out in the elements and expose myself. No, you take aligned action, and hunker down, because the sun does rise.
David Ralph [47:02]
Well, this is the partner shoulder we’ve been leading up to. And so it’s a shame to get to this point, I could let this conversation go on for the next three hours. But this is the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with the young Brent. And if you could speak to him, What advice would you like to give him? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme. And when it fades is your time to talk. This is the Sermon on the mic here we go with the best bit of the show on the mind, the sermon on.
Brent Freeman [47:51]
So a little buddy, I know you’re excited to be an entrepreneur, and you’re about to embark on some really amazing ventures. And the reason you’re an entrepreneur is because you see the world in a different way than others, not because you’re motivated necessarily by making money. But I want to give you something that I’ve learned along the last 15 plus years that might help you in your journey. And that is this notion of trusting in the universe, and the universe has your back. And when you get into some really difficult situations where you have a vision for the world. It’s great to be a visionary. And it’s great to try to be a leader. But now is the is the time to also be flexible, to be malleable, to listen to your market the market to listen to customers to listen to the world and and not be so stubborn thinking you know it all. The Universe does have your back and it works out. Amazingly. I can promise you that. But it really only starts working out for you when you learn how to surrender. And so the advice I give you is continue your passion, continue your visionary view of the world and your non status quo energy, but be flexible, and keep your ear to the ground. And when things get tough, and things get hard. Don’t believe that they happened to you trust that they happened for you? Because they did. And they led you to some absolutely beautiful, incredible joyful moments in your life. And so I leave you just really with this, this one phrase which is just that trust in the universe. It has your back. And the more that you slow down and connect the thing does that bring you joy? True joy for you? What the world’s telling you should bring you happy things that truly bring you joy, the faster your dreams will come true.
David Ralph [50:10]
Brent, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, sir?
Brent Freeman [50:15]
Yeah, they can shoot me an email. Actually, that’s a really good way Brent’s dot Freeman at stealth venture labs.com. They can hit me up on Instagram, if they want. Brant double underscore Freeman, also on LinkedIn. And, you know, our company’s website is stealth venture labs.com. That’s our day to day job. And also Brent freeman.me, my personal website. So lots of different ways they can connect me whatever works well for them, and always happy to help connect with young, aspiring entrepreneurs. However, I can’t
David Ralph [50:49]
wait to have over links in the show notes to make it as easy as possible. Brent, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our past is actually the best way to build our futures. Brent Freeman, thank you so much. Thank you, David. Mr. Brent Freeman. So how do you reframe your life? Do you look at things as they’re negative? Everything’s crap, or do you go now there’s something in this for me to learn. When you are building businesses and changing your life, let’s forget about businesses. But when you’re changing your life quite often, you’re trying different things and it doesn’t quite work. But little by little, you know, it fine tunes. It really does. Until you go this feels right. And once you feel that you’re in the fast lane, and the fast lane will take you wherever you want to be. And more often than not, it will take you to where you started. It takes you to what you should have known in the first place. It was there all along. You just can’t see it. So yeah, if you want to join up those dots and connect your past, it’s the best way to build your futures. Until next time, I will see you again look after yourselves. Oh, cheers. See ya. Bye bye.
That’s the end of Join Up Dots. You heard the conversation. Now it’s time for you to start taking massive action. Create your future create your life is the only life you’ve got. We’ll be back again real soon. Join Up Dots during the gods Join Up Dots Jolina Join Up Dots