Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with Erik Salzenstein
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Introducing Erik Salzenstein
Today’s guest joining us on the Join Up Dots podcast has a similar story to one or two of the guests who have appeared on the show over the years.
One of a series of bad life choices that led to a determined approach to change his life forever, by changing the lives of others.
He had a difficult childhood and an even more difficult start to adulthood.
Moving around the country, he was borne in Maine grew up in Orlando and was naturally gifted at sports.
That of course all sounds great, sporty and living near the home of the mouse.
What could go wrong?
Well through displaying natural athleticism, the young Erik Salzenstein was the kind of player that people wanted on their teams, and played for a number of different ones across a range of different sports.
How The Dots Joined Up For Erik
Many of the other members of the travelling team were from public schools, and were almost all older.
His newfound teammates introduced him to alcohol and marijuana when he was in sixth grade and the slope was very much getting slippery.
Erik is a now a sought-after transformational coach and speaker who’s passionate about helping others break free of their own walls, and his story will inspire you to turn adversity into impact and lasting success.
During the show we discussed such deep weighty subjects with Erik Salzenstein such as:
Why we often don’t get the chance to realise that we are going to deep into a situation to change that process.
Erik talks about the moment when he took a phone call from his Dad in jail, and how he started his transformation to the person he wanted to be.
Erik shares his belief that you have to have a blueprint and path to follow if you ever want a share of success.
How To Connect With Erik Salzenstein
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Interview Transcription Of Erik Salzenstein Interview
David Ralph [0:01]
Once upon a time, there was a guy with a dream, a dream to teach jobs for himself online and have a kick ass life working when he wanted him where he wanted across the world. Little did he know that dream would lead him into a world of struggle, burnout and debt, until he found the magic ingredient and nose struggles became a thing of the past. Of course, what’s bad person? And now My dream is to make things happen to you. Welcome to Join Up Dots.
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be but somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:56]
Yes, hello. Good morning. Good morning. Good morning, and welcome. To Join Up Dots thank you so much for being here. Now, today’s guest joining us on the podcast has a similar story to one or two of the guests who appeared on the show over the years one of a series of bad life choices, but led to a determined approach to change his life forever. By changing the lives of others, he had a difficult childhood and an even more difficult start to adulthood moving around the country. He was born in Maine, but grew up in Orlando, and was naturally gifted at sports. Now that all sounds great, sporty and living in a home in a mouse. What could go wrong? Well, through displaying natural athleticism, the young man was the kind of player that people wanted on their teams. And so he paid for a number of different ones across a range of different sports and many of the other members of the trapping team were from public schools. He wasn’t and we’re almost all older, that his newfound teammates introduced him to alcohol and marijuana when he was in sixth grade. And the slope was very much getting slippery. Move on. In a few years and just 23 year old, he was facing life in prison for armed robbery charges following a drug deal gone bad now today, he’s sharing his powerful story of overcoming life in prison, and how spending time behind bars was the key to changing his mindset but better. While each of us is not necessarily living behind bars, we might still be living inside the prison of our mind. He’s now so after transformational coach and speaker who’s passionate about helping others break free of their own walls, and his story will inspire you to turn adversity into impact and lasting success. So where does he see the majority of these efforts truly making lasting changes nowadays? And is he now 100% different person or someone simply working day on day to stay on the path? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show, to start joining up dance with the one and only Erik Salzenstein. Morning Erik Salzenstein
Erik Salzenstein [3:00]
I am doing great David ppreciate that man what an intro. We had sports. We had Disney. We had drugs we had prison we had transformation. That was something right there. Yeah, it’s awesome to be connecting with you and looking forward to it.
David Ralph [3:14]
Now with old fat in your back history is a bit boring for you know, Eric, did you wake up and think to yourself, actually, it’s all become a bit humdrum?
Erik Salzenstein [3:25]
No far from that far from that and what I’ve recognised now is his routine and discipline and structure has actually been able to give me freedom. So you know, living this where I am now compared to where I was, you know, way before it’s it’s day and night, but definitely it’s it’s very exciting and and I’m waking up feeling, you know, with purpose and fulfilment and yeah, we’re attacking life. Now, of
David Ralph [3:49]
course, we’re going to touch on your your sort of centres and your prison and stuff, but from the outside, I’ve only committed a crime once Eric, and I’m going to confess to you why Yeah, all right. I shoplifted say you say me by Lionel Richie on vinyl. And I was so panicked. I took it back and slipped it back into the thing. So I kind of just borrowed it for an afternoon and gave it back. Because I knew it was kind of it was just wrong. Now, when you get into big stuff from the outside, most of us would go, What an idiot. Why did he do that? Connie see that it’s going to end up badly. But of course, when you’re in it, it’s just kind of a gradual, slippery slope. What’s your viewpoint on it? Now? When you see somebody getting into that situation? Do you think what an idiot or do you think it is so gradual? Maybe you haven’t seen the park view on?
Erik Salzenstein [4:45]
Yeah, great question and talking, you know, as far as gradual step See, the thing is, David, we all know when we’re veering off the path we all know we have, we have that that consciousness that says hey, you know, maybe we shouldn’t be out here. So you know, maybe we should, we should Bring it back in a little bit. And if we don’t listen to that voice, we keep going further out and further out, and then that that territory becomes normal. And that’s what happened with me. adventured It started with just a little bit of weeds and alcohol very, you know, it’s harmless and or at least that was the the thought at that time and and then you continue and you build and you kind of go a little further out, you test the water, you go a little further out, and then it becomes just a part of your life. And eventually, it just it goes out, you know, it gets out of control. And so I would, I would definitely say that we have to be we have to be able to call ourselves out and just say, Hey, you know, I’m venturing too far out, I need to bring it back in.
David Ralph [5:40]
Now, you said something that was very interesting, because I always say to my kids with drugs, I say to them, the trouble with drugs. I’ve never tried anything. I went to Amsterdam for a whole weekend and panicked, but I was going to get high just by what other people were doing. is not on my radar at all. And I always say to my kids The reason it’s not is because I think I might like it too much and then I might go on to something else. Is that kind of is that naive? Do people naturally progress through? Or do they just stay at the other one because you made that fascinating point of looking back it wasn’t a big thing, but it was a working as well.
Erik Salzenstein [6:21]
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I had no idea that that first hit was what it was going to lead to I had no idea it was going to wreck my life I had no I had no idea I was going to become completely addicted and dependent on these drugs I had no idea I was going to start selling these drugs and make it my lifestyle and basically live day to day based on two things my phone and and and that, you know, when I was going to be getting high. So you know, you don’t really know what is going you know that the effect right you don’t you’re in you’re in the moment and at that moment, you wanted that CD, and you thought it was a good idea because you didn’t have the money to go ahead and just take that CD
David Ralph [7:01]
vinyl, we bought Wow, the CD. Right?
Erik Salzenstein [7:06]
So, you know, I just think it’s one of those things where consciousness being aware of is this in alignment with, you know with me with who I am How does this feel and and being conscious of that and knowing that, hey, this doesn’t feel right, that’s when you have to be able to call it, cut it off and say this isn’t this isn’t for me
David Ralph [7:26]
is interesting with drugs because quite honestly, it must be brilliant, because so many people do it. You know, we can’t just say it’s a bad thing. Don’t do it. Because there are health reasons why people do it. There’s enjoyment. You know, you can’t look at anything as black and white. And I think that’s one of the issues about people like me have where I go, Eric, what an idiot, Eric, because I haven’t been there and I haven’t seen the points that he brings into your life.
Erik Salzenstein [7:57]
Yeah, so one of the things I say for dropping In especially with addiction is people are using for two things. It’s the double E, it’s the double E’s. So it’s either to enhance situations because they feel they’re not enough. They don’t have the confidence. They don’t. They they’re lacking in some way, at least in their minds they think they are. And so they use drugs to enhance situations or enhance themselves. The other E is to escape. So at this point that that person who’s using them is trying to get away from something they’re trying to get away from their day to day life. They’re trying to get away from their, their stress, they’re trying to get away from their, their identity issues, whatever it is. So that’s how I have it to where if you’re really battling with addiction, you’re either using to escape you’re either using to enhance or a little bit of both.
David Ralph [8:48]
Now, the big question is and you haven’t brought this up, which I’m proud of you Eric should only have stolen something better than say you say me by Lionel Richie.
Erik Salzenstein [9:01]
Now I don’t think I don’t think you should have stolen I think you did the right thing. I think you felt it in your heart. And that’s, that’s exactly what I was saying, right? Like, we know, if we set that diet down and we set the goal and a week into our diet, we’re breaking it. And we really feel conviction there. And we’re like, again, we’re failing again, I’m going off track, like we know to bring it back. And we either choose to, or we live with that guilt and you couldn’t live with it. You felt off you felt it was wrong. You brought it back. So I think you learned your lesson. I mean, that was the only time right did you go out and steal some vinyl later that year? I stole my wife’s heart. And that’s the only thing other than that. Right, perfect.
David Ralph [9:40]
Perfect. Now moving on, Ben, because obviously we want Join Up Dots is all about positivity. But you have had a journey to where you are now. And I think in many regards, you’re probably sick, although it’s it’s your story and it’s the legacy that has made what’s possible now. There must be a point where you go okay. Every single person asks me the same questions. So I’m going to try and think of different ones. Okay? So the armed robbery, okay? There must have been a point in your head when you thought to yourself, this isn’t a good idea. You know? I look at anyone who murders someone I think you must know that morally. And legally it’s wrong. Armed Robbery it’s just not a good thing. Why didn’t you flag back up? Why didn’t you go now? Hang on? It was a couple of years betters but this has gone too far.
Erik Salzenstein [10:35]
Yeah, I think at that time, I was just so wrapped up in that life and battling with addiction and then independence, right? Of the drugs and getting high and then and then it was the money part. And then you have the people that were involved. So now it’s a matter of living up to their expectations and fear of judgement, fear of criticism, all wrapped up into one. And yeah, there were some feelings like Hey, is this the Right move, you know, is this is this the right decision? There were those little thoughts, but they just weren’t strong enough to override everything else that had been built up over the years. I
David Ralph [11:11]
just don’t understand how,
Erik Salzenstein [11:12]
yeah, because it’s a gradual thing. So like, right now, it’s funny, like, I’ll be at the grocery store. And this has happened several times since since I’ve gotten out and I got out two years and a few months ago, so I’ll be at the grocery store. And I’ll be checking out and they’ll be in like, maybe I’ll forget the water bottles of the, you know, the gallon water jugs on the bottom of the cart. Or maybe at one time recently, the lady checked me out, put the stuff in the bag, but she didn’t scan one of the things. And it was in I was in a self checkout line. So I easily could have left that or I could have put that item in the bag with the other items that she scanned. She walked away. It was a self checkout. So I could have done that. And like that thought actually did come to my head like I can easily walk away with this. But what’s funny now is that when any of these situations happen Like my thought process is so far from what it used to be it used to be okay I’m getting over I’m this was a I’m able to get over on this person or get over in this situation take advantage of it now my thought process is like no, that is not my values. That’s not who I am I would not I don’t even consider it. I’m like, man, we got to check this out or I go ahead and bring it up whatever the you know, whatever the situation entails. But it’s that gradual process. So over the years I built up and under like, I built up a comfortability with making these types of decisions, drugs, drug dealing, stealing, like these were normal decisions that were in my comfort zone, based on the years built up to this big event that ultimately led to me losing my freedom.
David Ralph [12:46]
I totally understand that. I totally understand that because there are so many things you know, I say, but I’ve never committed a crime. I probably have committed so many crimes. Were that bad reason you park in a parking space. You realise but you’re not got charged for it. And so somebody should pay for it. But oh, I’ll just drive away and get huzzah. We are constantly getting away with stuff. Now, I generally always had this thing, but if it’s a big company, if I go into a company, and for some reason they screw up, I think job done. That’s brilliant. If it’s a one man business where it’s somebody’s livelihood, and I managed to get away with something, I’ve taken it away from the individual, then I will always say to them, you know, you’ve shortchanged, or you should have charged for this. So yeah, I see exactly what you’re saying. It’s just your perspective at that time of whether you can get away with it or not, I suppose. But it still doesn’t get away from the fact that you’re not getting the way we’ve armed robbery. Oh, yeah.
Erik Salzenstein [13:48]
No, no, not. I definitely did it and a crime like that. I mean, it’s just that it’s definitely a heavy one. I knew that I bit off more than I could chew and my back was Against the wall and everything came crashing down for sure.
David Ralph [14:02]
Is it terrifying when you inbox? Is it an adrenaline rush? Are you just desperately trying to get in and out? Do you feel like you’re in control of that kind of grade?
Erik Salzenstein [14:13]
Yeah. So I mean, when when I first started the journey, I remember being in county jail and phone call I’ll never forget, I told my dad so we had we were still waiting to find out how much time I was going to get how much they were going to offer me. The charge itself is punishable by life. But we knew I wasn’t going to get life based on this is my first time getting or being charged with a felony to a higher degree charged then what would be a misdemeanour So, so we knew I wasn’t going to work. I wasn’t gonna get life but we were thinking potentially 1015 years like we didn’t know. And I was on the phone, my dad in county jail. I said, I said pops, I said, Listen, I’m ready to do whatever time God wants me to do. For to change my life. I don’t want a day longer. I don’t want to date early. I just want the amount of time I need to transform and step into something greater because I obviously don’t know how to live, I don’t know how to function. And he’s like, Alright, we’re going to make it happen. We’re gonna, you know, we’re here to support, we’re going to get through this. And so maybe about a month later, finally, we were offered a plea and the minimum amount of time you can get on this charges, three years, that’s the minimum. And so they offered me one year over the minimum, which was four years, and we took that plea, and that’s when the journey started. And to to answer your question, David, yeah, that that place is, I mean, it’s a whole nother world. It truly is. And it’s the one type of show when you see a documentary about prison, if you watch an action flick, or a scary movie, it’s going to be you know, dramatise, right there’s going to be a bunch of guns that could never happen. You’re going to know like, this stuff is fake, but it’s, you know, it’s entertainment, prison documentaries, they probably tone it down. It’s the one type of movie that if you watch every single thing about that is is happening in prison. And and to some extent, like I said, they’re probably toning it down because it’s too much for the audience to it’s just a whole nother world and so when you go in there, you have to adjust right you have to now become present into this new place that you’re at. And so where I was definitely not the majority of people I’m trying to create this change in this transformation where the majority is, is staying exactly in that type of mindset that they came in with and sharpening those those skills and and going deeper down the rabbit hole. So it was definitely a lot of friction, especially at the start. But but that that was the true journey man. I it forever changed my life. So I’m definitely grateful for it.
David Ralph [16:46]
Now, being a sporty guy, you obviously used to working in teams and finding your position and your strength within both teams. I imagine that is very similar to being in prison. You look For they people that you can get on with you look for the people that can protect you, you look for the people that actually make your situation stronger. Was there sort of connections between your previous life and what you was enduring in Joe?
Erik Salzenstein [17:16]
Yeah, absolutely. So the first six months I basically wasted and this is a big talking point that I have for, for clients for for just when I get on these podcasts or when I speak, you got to have a game plan, you have to have a blueprint in place. So whatever it is that you’re looking to achieve in your life, whether it’s health goals, financial goals, marriage, marital goals, career goals, you have to have a blueprint to follow. And so when I got in there, I had the best intentions I wanted to change. Remember that phone call with my dad. But here’s the thing, I did not know how I had no idea how to create the change that I wanted. And so I basically reverted back to what I knew, I went back to what was comfortable and that’s what we all do, and that’s why we end up getting frustrated. Doubt because we’re like, why am? Why aren’t we Why am I not getting these results? It’s because we’re not following a game plan a blueprint that’s going to get us the results we want. And so the first six months that I was in, I basically, I mean, I was selling and smoking cigarettes, I was talking about my what I was doing on the streets wearing it as a badge of honour. I was hanging around with people who were also living that same. Like I was basically doing the same behaviour in there that I was doing in this on the streets. So nothing was nothing, nothing changed. And at the six month mark, I woke up and basically just said, Eric, what are you doing? You’re going to throw this entire thing away, you’re going to come out the exact same person, if not worse, if you do not change, and that’s when I made a decision. I reached out to my older brother, this guy is like, like, David, we’re talking to complete different paths. So we’ve got let me just break this real quick down for you here. We got Stanford Graduate, high school dropout. We’ve got professional tennis player top hundred in the world at one point, drug dealer and drug addict. We’ve got successful entrepreneur and high performance coach. We’ve got convicted felon and ex convicts. So we took complete two different paths in life. And this is definitely the golden child version, first black sheep story. But I reached out to my brother, I said, Jeff, I said, I need your help man. I said, I got no idea how to create this change. And that’s where he gave me the blueprint. He gave me 72 books. He said, read these and then we’re going to do a coaching call every week after that. And so, to go back to your question about clicking up and joining groups at the start, I was definitely with running with the wrong people. Once I got clear on my vision once I got clear on my blueprint, once I got clear on what I wanted to create, now I was able to confidently speak that and although I still had to defend myself in certain situations gang still approached me. I was able to navigate through those situations I never joined a gang for protection or anything like that I was able to just basically fight my battles stand my own two feet and and kind of just stay clear and stay focused on my path. So I really didn’t have much of a team so to speak. Going through the process and along the four years I definitely met some some really good people who are, you know, who made bad decisions and we’re also looking to make the a similar change that I was so yeah,
David Ralph [20:30]
well, let’s hear some words now and then come back to Eric. Here is Rocky.
Rocky Balboa [20:34]
me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take a keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.
David Ralph [20:50]
Now, when I listen to your story, Eric, I always think to myself, I don’t know how hard I can be hit. Yes, I’ve been hit pretty hard in a business. situation, but I don’t think I would have the strength to actually go through prison. I really don’t I it’s something that terrifies me. So I’m never going to make it happen. God forbid, it never occurs. Where do you find that strength to man up and be stronger than your surroundings? Because I know you had numerous fights. Some of them you want some of them that you didn’t? You know, I found out a fight in my life. I don’t think I would I would survive in prison.
Erik Salzenstein [21:30]
Yeah, it’s one of those things, you just have to be really conscious. There’s a lot of politics involved. So what happens is if you’re if you’re not with a gang and you’re by yourself, you What’s your what’s your what’s going to end up happening, especially if depending on what race you are, because that plays a big role in prison races. We’re definitely not in 2019 coexisting, you go to prison. It’s definitely very segregated. Gang, gang gang affiliation and racial racial discrimination is just running. I mean, that’s a What it is, and so you have to be very conscious about the politics and so like what would happen is like if you’re just kind of sharing my experience if you’re a white dude who’s not in a gang and you fight a black guy and you happen to really win or you start winning and really winning the fight and it’s a one on one fight, there’s a likelihood that you’re going to end up getting jumped or afterwards just because the colour of your skin he can come back to you and and and and do something even worse, to prove because it’s such a you know, it was like a dislike he disrespect almost type of thing based on race. And so it can get really tricky. And basically for me what what I was kind of told put on gain from from somebody who’d been down for many, many years. He said, Listen, you just always want to fight like if someone tests you, you just have to throw you just have to fight. You don’t have to worry about winning or losing you just have to go and that basically once you do that people say You’re willing to stand up for yourself. And at that point is, you know, you hope if you’re in a fairly decent, not to what, you know, cowboy West type of camp, most likely after that initial fight he there’s not much that’s going to happen. And again, it depends on the camp you’re at depends on the people you’re around, and how hard they’re going. But for me, I was able to basically when I got in these different dorms, and I got tested, they call it a to H, which is called a test of heart. And basically, someone would come to me and they say, Hey, man, you’re either going to give me your food, or you need to come fight me right now type of thing. And at that point, I’d have to go ahead and do that. And I’d like you said, I want some I lost some. But you know, the bottom line is, as long as there wasn’t a weapon involved, I was going because that’s what I was taught. You just have to do it. And luckily for me, I never had I never had a weapon pulled on me or anything like that. So yeah, it’s one of those things, man, you’re in another world. You kind of have to play by the rules to some extent you have to navigate through it. So,
David Ralph [24:04]
but do you need somebody to show you the rules, I imagine it’s always a beast when you get in.
Erik Salzenstein [24:11]
So it’s a mix. So it’s definitely observation. One of the first things that I was taught was you just got to watch your surroundings. So when you go into a new dorm, because you transfer all the time you go to get transferred to different camps, different dorms within the camp. And so when you get inside your dorm, one of the first things you want to do is you want to unpack your stuff. You just want to sit on your bunk and you just want to watch you want to watch how people are moving you want to watch who’s talking to who you want to watch like who’s making who’s who’s doing the you know, the drugs, the drug trade, who’s got that who’s doing the, the the gambling who’s doing the tattooing like you basically just want to learn everything about your specific small culture, this little bubble that you’re in. So part of it is just observation skills and and why People really listening to how they talk not just to you but to talk to other people. And so you can see, okay, this guy is constantly looking to manipulate. He’s constantly looking to get things from people stay away from him. This guy seems like he’s all right. He’s pretty, like you just, it’s a constant just like intake, intake, intake intake process process, okay? Make a decision. And a lot, you got to go with your gut a lot of times. The second part of it besides observation would be if you and you got to be careful about this as well. But if you get someone that you feel is a good guy, to some extent, where you can, you know, trust his word, that would be an as someone who’s putting you up on game, he’s kind of he’s laying the the ground rules of the dorm. He’s letting you know, like, this is what it is. And so if you get in that situation where you have one of those people I was, I was fortunate that I’ve had, I had a couple of those people. Throughout my sentence. You also want to take heed to what they’re saying and then and use that information as well.
David Ralph [25:58]
So I imagine this is like Amazing training, you go in there as a blunt instrument and you come out with spider senses of how people operate. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s in prison, it doesn’t matter if it’s in school or business, people generally operate in the same way. So now you’re in that situation that you aren’t building your own Empire has that given us or networking skills, which you wouldn’t have heard. Can you now go into a room and appraise the situation and see who is the movers and shakers probably quicker than you could have done before?
Erik Salzenstein [26:33]
Yeah, I can confidently say that it’s played a part there’s, you know, I as your as you were asking, I was trying to pinpoint like an example but a lot of times I just I’m huge on intuition. As far as judge a character I don’t judge like right off the bat by looks or you know, it’s I’m just I’m still I’m still in that mindset where I intake so I’m always processing and I’m always in taking and from From a conversation from, from an exchange just from from energy from an energy exchange, like, I’m just always looking to to, okay, how can I add value? Is this a person that I want in my life? Is this a person who’s going to look to add value in my life? Or is this person just after what what it is that they want? And I think that there’s been plenty of times where I felt like, hey, there’s something off here. And it ended up working out. That was the right decision. And I moved, I moved away from that decision. There’s also been times where I went forward in something where I had that feeling, but I didn’t listen to it. And so then it came and got exposed that hey, this person wasn’t the you know, he wasn’t the right option. He definitely was in more for himself. It wasn’t a good fit, whatever the case is, and I should have listened to that to that to Mike to my gut instinct, and that, that those are skills that I’ve definitely gained from prison and just being able to read people, observation, communication, all those things. Yeah, you got to think about if you’re in the if you’re in a dorm with 70 other individuals who every single day constant manipulation, it’s basically chess every single day, both mentally and physically, every day 70 different personalities, many of whom are never going to be getting out. Many of them have 30 4020 years long, long sentences and then you’ve got many of you know, a good fraction like myself who are just visiting for shorter duration, but 70 different personalities in the dorm where it’s constant manipulation. It’s it’s going to sharpen your your your spidey senses, so to speak.
David Ralph [28:36]
Now, I could obviously talk about this as most people do, because it’s so alien to us. But this is a course of business show. Now, we’ve had guys like yourself who have been in prison and they’ve come out with all the all the motivation to change and they find that the world isn’t ready to change with them and then not give them the chances and literally every single one k Ready to get a job and couldn’t get a job? So had to start creating it themselves. Did you find the same?
Erik Salzenstein [29:07]
Yeah, absolutely. I had a couple sales jobs that I know I would have just a man I would have excelled I was I had some time experience in timeshare before timeshare sales before I went into prison when I was younger. And I, I got promoted at both companies that I worked for. I’ve always had a skill set with sales, I guess both legally and illegally. But yeah, I was denied jobs. I was denied apartments applying to live in certain places. And I was background check. I was denied that. Now I did hold down two jobs as a server at two different restaurants and I was fortunate enough to make it to work release. So the last nine months of my sentence, I was actually at a work release centre here in Orlando, Florida. And that’s where you can go out during the day you have a job, you’re wearing an ankle monitor and you have to come back by a certain time. And that’s to where you can save up some money before you get released. And that final transition. So I had a job as a server. And it’s funny because David, when I got this job, I had no experience as a server. And I told myself I said, Eric, this is this is finally your opportunity to now take all this personal development, all this stuff that you’ve been living and breathing for the last three years, three net, you know, whatever years, now it’s time to put it to the test. And I got that job and within one month, I became their top in sales in every single category they had. I became an opener closer a lot. I was I was the highest paid server at that restaurant and I was wearing an ankle monitor at the time and taking the bus to and from work now. Here’s here get this though. But now reality hits. And about right before I got out of work release, somebody sent a letter to corporate and we believe it was one of the other servers right. But someone sent a letter to corporate basically saying I don’t know how You would let this criminal this this convicted felon handle money in this restaurant I never coming back here again. I know that he was charged with armed robbery and to think that he’s handling my credit card is just crazy. And so they ended up basically letting me go. And so again, life hitting me. And like I was like, What the heck, like I’m doing great like this is is this always going to happen? And this was at the very, very start. This was before the other rejections came. So that was definitely a big, a big roadblock or a big bump in the road. I should say.
David Ralph [31:33]
What was interesting with you, though, Eric, and I’ve been reflecting on this is that most people come out of prison, not knowing what they want to do. And so they they literally get sucked back into their previous life. Now, when you was in prison, you’d actually started coaching, running workshops and mastermind groups and you were inspiring other inmates to change but then when you came Now I understand you’ve been started looking for jobs. Well, why did that not scream at you? But actually, I’ve already started my business in prison. Let’s just expand upon it.
Erik Salzenstein [32:12]
It’s a great question. So while I was in prison, the speaking started taking place. I joined the gavel club. It’s an offshoot of Toastmasters International, I started speaking fell in love with it. I set up a mastermind in my dorm for some like minded individuals. And this is before I even knew what a mastermind was. I just I was basically a think tank and we were meeting once a week and I was holding this like leadership talk type thing. And so I was definitely heavy into self development. inmates were coming to me and asking, Hey, man, like I see you’re operating to a different beat, like what do you What’s the secret sauce and so started coaching. We were seeing some changes and it was it was great. And so getting to work release naturally, they make you get a job, so I had to get a job. I got a job as a server and I While I was still speaking behind video at that time, because I had a phone, so I was now doing some motivation on camera. I was still walking in that light. The problem was that I didn’t know again, this goes back to the blueprint. I didn’t know how to create it. I didn’t know how to become a paid speaker. I didn’t even know what a life coach was at the time. I remember calling my brother and saying, Hey, I think I want to become a therapist. I’ve been helping a lot of people in here and people seem to seem to be making changes when they work with me. And he’s like, you don’t Eric, you don’t have to go to school. You don’t have to become a therapist. He’s He’s a high performance coach. And he’s like, I’ll show you. I’ll show you how we can do that. And so when I officially got out in July of 2017, you know, I had to pay bills. I got a place started up my mom’s but then I got a place and so I had to pay bills. And I didn’t know how to create this. this. You know what I really wanted to do. I didn’t know how to create it. And so I stayed in the service hospitality industry. And I was basically Working two different serving jobs, doubles during the week, weekends, on brunches, and I was building the business basically putting pieces together in the early mornings and late nights. And yeah, it was just slowly building these cave. Oh, but
David Ralph [34:16]
everybody has to realise but nobody knows how to start these beings. Yes, you can hire a coach. Yes, you can hire a mentor and stuff. But if you do it yourself, every single person from Branson to jobs to gates to whoever literally wake up on a daily basis and think what the hell am I doing today? I just don’t know. The next step. It’s not obvious is it?
Erik Salzenstein [34:39]
No, no not at all. And it’s it’s one of those things like getting the blueprint is to me it’s mandatory and having a coach it’s not even about I mean money is it money is going to come and go right. So you’re always gonna, money is constantly flowing in, it’s flowing out. It’s this energy that’s just always there time. You can’t get more time. So like for me You buy a coach you hire a coach you work with a coach not not for to make more money it’s to save yourself time and that’s exactly what I’ve done. So when I started working with my first coach and you know got into a mastermind I got the programme over here I slowly developed this I got into it did it went to another mastermind, and now I’m fast tracking everything. And so the first year I was out, I was definitely kind of just trying things on my own. And it was a lot of trial and error is a lot of wasted time. I went down the rabbit hole over here with the car sales. I did some I mean, it was I was I was jumping around. Finally I zeroed in and back into what I wanted to do, which is help people and and that’s when things really started to gain momentum for me.
David Ralph [35:47]
It does become easy, doesn’t it? This is the key thing, but once you find the thing that you should be doing. First of all, you think why didn’t I see this burst? Secondly, you think to yourself, well, it’s too late. I can’t charge for it. But when it comes about how to find the clients, and I literally always ask this question now because I know that it’s a stumbling block, but people struggle with, they’re brilliant at something, but how did they convince somebody to pay for it?
Erik Salzenstein [36:18]
Yeah, so the first thing I’m going to ask you is what problem do you solve for people? and Eli? I think it’s Eli musk says, you’re going to get paid based on how big the problem is that you solve. And so I would ask you, What problem do you solve for people and then depending on what problem that is, and that goes, that goes based on your experiences that goes based on your expertise, your skill set your passion, so you’ll find that answer based around those categories. And when you have that answer now it’s okay well, who struggles with that problem the most is it men is it women? Is it men between this age to that age who are those people who struggle now you have your you have your target audience, you have the problem that you solve and now It’s about communicating that properly, effectively and powerfully to them and letting them know, Hey, I can help you with this problem, I can get you from A to B, and I can get you in this place. And when you paint that picture, and you’re showing up, day in and day out, and you’re all your content, and everything, just you as a person is in alignment with all of that right there. It’s only natural that the people with that problem is going to start coming to you. They’re going to start prob they’re going to start asking questions, they’re going to their their interest is going to be piqued and that’s when you start having conversations and then in turn, building your, you know, gaining clients. And as far as the value goes, you got to you have to get away one of the things I tell my clients is you need to get away from this hour exchange, you are not trading your time by hour, you’re not charging this person by hour. You’re charging based on the result that you’re going to bring this person. So if you help someone lose 30 pounds in 90 days, or if you help someone gain a whole new sense of confidence and now is out in the dating world and show and help them fall in love and meet their meet their future husband or wife. If you can produce that sort of result for somebody, what’s that worth? to a lot of people, it’s priceless to a lot of people, depending on their bank accounts, it’s 10,015 20,000 is what they pay for those sort of results. And you don’t have to charge that much. But you can charge a lot more than what you probably think you’re worth. You’ve got to look at the overall value the result that you’re giving somebody. So what is your result of it? Because
David Ralph [38:33]
if you go over to your website, as you know, it sounds from prison to prosperity, which is it’s a good slogan, but how does that actually impact on your direct audience? So I’m looking at it and I’m seeing that you have a twin approach. You either go to students, I educators, or business. Now if you’ve got that two prong, what is your highest results because Is it the same on both sides? Or is it different for both sides? Tell us about it.
Erik Salzenstein [39:03]
Yeah, so I’ve definitely been beta testing with the with the speaking and that website is solely for speaking, that’s not for my coaching. We’re going to be doing a hybrid, and I’m going to be making those changes. And that’s in the works. The big thing there is kind of just confusion and even this one, it’s a great point you brought up because there’s some confusion there. And it’s like, you know, I can definitely add value to a workplace and most of your listeners are, you know, definitely not, not middle and high school. And I’m sure a lot of people are gaining value from from from listening to this for this episode. But what I’m seeing is where I’m at right now, with my speaking career, my ideal audience, my hot audience is middle schools, high schools and more entrepreneurs than it actually is businesses. So I’m most likely going to be tweaking and taking making some adjustments on that website. And again, it’s one of those things it’s trial and error. It’s Don’t be afraid, don’t overthink it. Just get it started. I was overthinking that website. So for A long time and I was scared because, you know, I didn’t want to mess it up. I didn’t want people to think this or whatever. And I said, Eric, what do you do and take action. And so we put that thing together. And I’m fairly happy with it. It definitely has a lot of improvements to be made. And I think that’s one adjustment that I’m going to be making is saying, Hey, I’m going to take the businesses down right now I’m going to focus on my speaking with middle and high schools. And I’m not even going to advertise entrepreneurial events. But that is a that is a market. He definitely that I can that. That seems I’m getting some invitations to speak for entrepreneurial stages. So that’s something that’s there, it’s happening. And then as far as my coaching, what’s interesting, David is I’m in a bit of a transition myself so my coaching business is completely separate than my speaking business. Right. And I can’t sell to middle school kids. There’s no back end offer from stage when I’m when I’m talking to middle school kids, or high school kids. So my coaching is, is a whole nother thing and that’s been man. Again, you talk about journeys, and for all your listeners out there is Don’t be so concerned with where you’re going to end up and how you’re going to get there. Just start moving. Because my first coaching business was fitness and life coaching. That’s what it was. It was a hybrid. I had a 12 week high ticket programme. It was started with fitness or started with life coaching, then fitness came in and then I put them together and I had success with that I got up to almost a 10 k a month. And we had some real I mean, we had great months and so now my passion is helping other entrepreneurs and other coaches build their brand and step into the online space and hit their first five k month hit their first 10 k month and so again yeah don’t overthink just start moving and things are going to get mapped out the adjustments are going to be made. You’re going to go with what feels right and what’s how the markets responding, but the biggest thing is you just have to take action just have to start moving. That’s the biggest thing.
David Ralph [41:57]
Yeah, I agree with that. I agree with that. Totally and coas make it clear to the person who whoever is ultimately opening their wallet for your services. It has to be clear and it has to speak. Now we talked all the time about creating your ideal avatar. But what I think people mistaken, Eric is the fact that that avatar is going to change as your business changes as well. That’s
Erik Salzenstein [42:22]
exactly what happened with me. That’s exact and I didn’t even ask for it. So one of my old clients came to me and said, he was my life coach. He was in my life coaching programme and he said, Eric, he said, Man, I’m seeing you’re having success with your your coaching, I see that you’ve been mentoring and working with some top coaches, can you help me with my online business? It can you help me get some results and this guy was a trainer and he worked at a gym and he had some awesome programmes, but he had only sold like about 1000 to 1500 dollars worth of programmes online for for the for the prior year before hiring me. He just couldn’t break the code. And so he hired me Me and David within 40 days I got into $10,500 in new online business. So that was the market out of nowhere. He came to me I had nothing even mapped out. And he said, Can you help me and I said, Give me a week, let me put something together. And I drew something up that in my heart, I felt this is valuable. This can help this person based on my last the last two years, I’ve spent, you know, going through all this and working and failing and learning and I said, this is valuable. And so I said, Yeah, here’s what I got for you. He said, Okay, I’m in and we got some amazing results.
David Ralph [43:35]
Well, let’s hear from a guy who got amazing results as well. But amazingly, he’s no longer with us, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [43:42]
Of course, 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 [44:17]
So what is your big don’t when you look back over the Steve Jobs timeline of your own life, joining up those dots, what was the moment the situation that you really think has changed it for you?
Erik Salzenstein [44:31]
situation or a thing that played a huge role in my demise and then to the to the to the change? You tell me?
David Ralph [44:42]
Whatever you want to go? Yeah.
Erik Salzenstein [44:43]
Okay. So I miss this. This is still this goes back to that example I gave you with the website. When I was growing up. I was so so conscious and afraid of what people thought about me. Like I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be liked. I want It’d be cool. I wanted to have a bunch of friends I wanted to be loved. I wanted to like all these things and the thought of someone making fun of me or breaking me down or saying I wasn’t cool or like, whatever. That scared me. Like, it scares me to the point where I wouldn’t take action because I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid of judgement. I was afraid of all that stuff. And that’s played a big part in always, you know, saying, okay, sure, I’ll do it. Well, you don’t think I’ll do it? Yeah, I’ll do it and doing something stupid. Or, you know, Eric, try this. Yeah, absolutely. Like just without thinking because it wasn’t necessarily about me it was about the other people and what they thought and so now getting out as a transformed, heart centred alpha male attacking life full force looking to add value in people’s lives every day make a difference on this earth. I still will run into that and the website was a great example. What are people going to think this website’s not 100% professional and it’s not it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles and one of the languages off over here and I’m gonna look stupid and and and then I’ll say this to David there was a point where I actually was going to throw in the towel and not continue to try to be a speaker. Because I said Eric said to myself Eric, there’s so many great speakers What makes you so special? What you so what you went to prison so what you changed your life? Like, what if what if you’re really not as good as you think? What if you get out there and you’re just, you know, you just okay. And then now like people are going to look at you like he’s trying too hard or he’s a he’s a he’s a fraud, like we can beat ourselves down and so judgement of others, the fear of being judged by others the fear of what other people are going to think about us. That right there has played such a big role in all the bad decisions that I’ve ever made. And and now if I let it will still play a role in holding me back and I’ve had to check myself time and time again. I have it on my whiteboard right above my head right now. It says keep your blinders on. Stay in your own lane.
David Ralph [47:01]
Moving forward, where’s that lane going to be heading? I know where it’s heading on this podcast towards the Sermon on the mic, but but your own personal life, where’s it heading?
Erik Salzenstein [47:10]
So 2020 I intend to bring in 175,000 with speaking, impacting over 50,000 kids lives and the coaching business I’m still mapping out now or definitely drawing that out for 2020 and laying laying some plans down. But my biggest thing is just I want to stay in a place where I’m waking up excited to do what I do, waking up excited to go through my day, and always always looking to add value. I’m huge on relationships. So the thought that now me and you can connect one day on a pub with some fish and chips or whatever the case is like that makes me feel good. I’m all about relationships. So as long as I’m staying in my values on my mission and building relationships, I’m happy
David Ralph [48:01]
175 K, that seemed a strange figure for you to quote.
Erik Salzenstein [48:06]
Yeah, no, it’s just basically the math that I’ve done. And and so that’s that’s the number that I came came with for 2020. Well, I
David Ralph [48:15]
hope you achieve it.
Unknown Speaker [48:16]
Thank you. Thank you appreciate that.
David Ralph [48:18]
So this is the part of the show that we’ve been building up to. This is the part that we called a sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Eric, what advice would you give him? And what age would you talk to? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music and when it bites you up, this is a sermon on the mic.
Erik Salzenstein [49:03]
Stop, slow down. Think, think about what this is going to do. What what what can happen from this decision right here right now? This decision that you’re about to make? Think it through? And is it something that’s going to move you closer to where you want to go? to who you want to be? Or is it something that’s going to take you away from where you want to go and who you want to be? This decision right here is going to play a big part. In your next decision, and next decision, it’s going to continue to stack and I want you to weigh this, I want you to really look at the decisions you’re making and ask yourself if they’re helping you or hurting you. All right, you’re way smarter than you’re giving yourself credit for your way too hard on yourself. You care too much about what people are thinking. All right. Just ask yourself do you want to be in pain? Do you want to hurt or do you want to find happiness and enjoy life? make the right decision.
David Ralph [50:08]
Eric, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Erik Salzenstein [50:12]
Yeah, absolutely. I’m always going to say just keep it simple send me a direct message so whether that’s on Facebook or Instagram, first name is Eric with a K last name is Saul’s enstein Instagram my handle is just at Saul’s enstein and then of course, my website is Eric Saul’s enstein calm and you could send me a message I said just direct message probably the best way and we’re send me an email and yeah, let’s get the conversation started. I’m here to serve. So whether that’s to come speak to your your, you know your if you’re if you’re in the education, your business if you if you’re looking for an impactful and dynamic speaker, to inspire and motivate your team, please let me know and if there’s any way I can help you in your endeavours as a coach if you’re looking to step more into the online space and develop Your message, I’m here to help you do exactly that.
David Ralph [51:03]
Well, Eric, thank you so much for spending time with us today and joining up those dots. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is always the best way to build our futures. Eric, thank you so much.
Erik Salzenstein [51:18]
Oh, thank you, David. Awesome, awesome time and
David Ralph [51:23]
wow, that was an interesting one, wasn’t it now. There’s there’s always a business element to it. And the fact that he literally started the business but then still couldn’t see the business until a kind of stumbled across it again, once you’ve left prison, you’re going to be the same. Every single one of you is out there and you’re living a life where you’re going, Oh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. You can always find it. Now. There is a 15 part video series that I’ve got called to freedom started.com come over to Join Up Dots go to resources totally free, which will help you start connecting the dots and seeing a different way of operating. It’s just dying. point, but more often than not your starting points already around you. Hundred percent believe that. Until next time, thank you so much for everyone. Thank you so much for the people going through the process at the moment and building those online businesses with us. I really appreciate your time and effort if you’re listening, and until next time, I’ll see you again look after yourself by join me each month as I show you how you can follow our process to start an own your own life changing online business. This is business masterclass at its best, head over to Join Up dots.com and book your place for the next training session. And I’ll see you there