Posted on: September 23, 2020

In this special episode of the Wholesaling Inc. podcast, we tackled something very important (but rarely talked about)—the struggles and challenges men face as entrepreneurs and leaders.

Chris was joined by Richard E. Simmons III, best-selling author, renowned speaker, and esteemed leader. Richard is also the founding director of The Center for Executive Leadership, a faith-based ministry based in Birmingham, Alabama.

In this episode, Richard answered many of the questions men are afraid to ask with so much candor. He also shared some of the valuable insights and lessons that has helped him become the man he is now.

If you are man who would like to unlock your potential and become a better version of yourself (or someone who would like to understand and support that special man in your life), this is one episode you just can’t miss!

Key Takeaways

  • Why he only works with men
  • How men develop their ideas of manhood or masculinity
  • Why men struggle to be more transparent with other men
  • Biggest epidemic for entrepreneurs especially men
  • What false masculinity is
  • What happens if you attach your identity as a man to your business performance
  • The greatest fear of men
  • What the performance trap is
  • What many people don’t realize about failure
  • What comparison does
  • What life’s greatest paradox is
  • How men should measure themselves
  • Why your response to adversities is everything
  • How people can find him or reach out to him

RESOURCES:

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Episode Transcription

Chris Arnold:
Welcome to the Wholesaling Inc Podcast. I’m Chris Arnold, your host today, and I am super excited about my guest coming on today, Richard Simmons. I always tell you guys, when it comes to running a business, there’s two sides to this. Two sides of the leadership. There’s the performing side, which is the strategy and everything you have to do from a method standpoint to be successful. But the other side, which I find over time, I spend more on and of course is the most important is the becoming side, the being side of a leader. These are the internal things what’s happening in the mind of us as entrepreneurs that keep us from leveling up.
So let me tell you about how I came across Richard because I get the question a lot of times. “Chris, how do you come across the coaches? You’re so big on having coaches in your life, mentors.” So it’s funny how this story happened. My older brother will occasionally send me something that he finds valuable and he’s like, “You got to listen to this talk by Richard Simmons.” So I listened to it and it’s what you’re going to hear today. And it hit me and I was like, “I got to get this guy’s book.” So went out, bought his book, I read it. And then through this found out that he does coaching as well. And so I emailed him. And so now Richard and I have been dialoguing. We’ve had a few conversations and it looks like he’s potentially going to be coming down to Tulum to our Multipliers Brotherhood that we do.
I am super excited about Richard. Let me tell you a little bit about him. He is the author and publisher of 11 books. He runs the center of executive leadership. He’s been doing this for about 20 years. And today this talk is geared towards men. The challenge and struggle we as men have as entrepreneurs, as leaders, even outside of that, but you’re going to hear what this is and it’s going to resonate. This is one of those talks Richard, I wish I had heard earlier in the game because I personally fell into this trap early on. And so your content has been super valuable.
And if you’re tuning in as a female, as a woman today, if you really want to understand what men struggle with at the deepest level, this is something that could be valuable for you to understand about the man in your life or even the sons that you might potentially be raising. So Richard, excited to have you on today. What’s happening buddy? Welcome to the show.

Richard Simmons:
Well thank you Chris. I really do appreciate it. It’s an honor for me to be with you. And let me just say right off the bat, whenever I speak to a group of men and women, I’m always asked, “Why do you just work with men?” And my first response is, and I really mean this. Is that, “I really believe that women particularly emotionally and psychologically are healthier than men.” I truly do believe this, but as you noted, I had a woman. Her husband was a college basketball coach and she read the book and she said, and they’d been married probably 15 years at the time. She said, “I finally understand my husband and what drives him.” And so you’re right. It can be very valuable for a woman in your audience.

Chris Arnold:
So let’s hop in, let’s get to the meat. If you’re listening today, here’s what you’re going to get by the end of this show. What is the true measure of a man? How do we, as men measure ourselves? And the real question is, are we measuring ourselves against the right thing? So we’re going to go through this process, but know by the end of this, and when [inaudible 00:04:38] when I realize is the rod that you might be considering to measure yourself be some type of performance could be causing a lot of pain, stress, dissatisfaction. I think that language could go on and on. So let’s get to the meat. First question I want to ask you Richard is how do men develop their ideas about manhood and masculinity?

Richard Simmons:
Well, as you can imagine, it starts when they are young boys. The men in your audience can probably relate to this as they were growing up at some point maybe when they were five or six or seven or 10 or whatever. They heard these words, be a man. And usually it’s at a time that maybe they’ve struggled. They’ve cried. They’ve not measured up to maybe their father or their coach or their brother. And they hear that statement demanding them, be a man. And for most young man, young boys, they have no idea what that means because nobody’s ever taught them. They begin to imagine, I guess that means I’m supposed to be tough. I’m supposed to be strong. I’m not supposed to be emotional. I’m never supposed to cry. And so it really begins to mess with their lives.
I read something really interesting, you’ll like this. There’s a Dr. Michael Kimmel. He teaches at a college up in New York called Stony Brook. I’m not that familiar with it, but he teaches a course called The Study of Men and Masculinity. And the first day of class, he stands up and he writes on the board, what is a good man? And he says… And he has usually 30 or 40 men in the class. And they just stare at him and they have no idea how to answer that. And finally, he might get one to say, “Well, to be caring or just to be kind.” And he doesn’t get much from him. And then he stands up and writes the question, what is a real man? And they get all excited and they’ll say, “It means to be tough. It means to be willing to take risks. It means willing to step out.” One young man said, “To be a real man, you have to walk like a man and talk like a man.”
And so this is what ends up happening as men’s lives develop. And then when you throw in the media that we have and social media, it’s so easy for us to develop a certain picture of what we think a real man is.

Chris Arnold:
So what’s your finding is culturally either one, that question is difficult for us to answer as men because we’ve received confusing examples and signicals about that. Or if there is confidence about what that looks like, what you’re finding is it tends to be off base. And so this is why this message, and even the book that you wrote, which is fundamentally what we’re talking about today, the true measure of a man becomes so relevant. So let me ask you another question. So why do men struggle to be more transparent with other men? Why is that? Why when this starts to happen, a discussion like this, is this discussion not even taking place?

Richard Simmons:
Great question. This is really the heart of the book, is that men and women, we all struggle with life. But men don’t ever want to talk about it to anybody because we believe that real men are not supposed to struggle. We’re not supposed to be afraid. And by all means, we should never get depressed. And so when we do struggle, what do we end up doing? We keep it a secret. Some men won’t even share it with their wives. And so what happens to you when you’ve got all of this going on internally and it never comes out, it never comes out to the light of day. It can lead up to all kinds of internal struggles. It can lead to all kinds of mental and emotional and psychological struggles.
And not to be too extreme, but I think it’s important to notice in the book that eight out of 10 suicides are men. Eight out of 10 people that go to rehab for drugs or alcohol are men. So what does that say about us as men? And then I just read this the other day because I was curious about it. It appears that women struggle with depression more than men, but then this particular research center [inaudible 00:08:56] said, “Well, we’re not really sure because so many men never come out of the closet and share the fact they’re depressed because they think that real man should not be depressed. So I’m just going to hold it in and box it in and never tell anybody.”

Chris Arnold:
Because what you’re saying is if I express this weakness, whether it be depression or fear, et cetera. The challenge of that is it’s challenging my very core of understanding of masculinity. So the reason I isolate is because if I talk about this, I’m fundamentally from a culture standpoint, feel that I’m going to be less of a man overall. And you talk about it coming out, I’ll tell you a term Richard, that a buddy of mine uses a lot. He’s been a coach for me, is via that isolation and keeping it in, it will come out, but it will come out sideways.

Richard Simmons:
Yes.

Chris Arnold:
Right? And that’s that bad behavior that you’re talking about that you see occur with entrepreneurs. So keep going.

Richard Simmons:
And I would just add is that, that’s a really good description of how so many men live. They live in isolation and they live all alone. I mean, you may see them out being a great guy and full of life. Internally, there’s a loneliness there and there’s an isolation and it really, really can do a great deal of harm.

Chris Arnold:
This is why we started Multipliers Brotherhood. This is what you’re coming to speak to our community about. The biggest, let’s call it epidemic that I see for entrepreneurs, particularly men, is isolation. You go to most men and let’s just say it. When the shit hits the fan, when hard things become really hard, they don’t have one person in their life that they can get vulnerable with and open up. And this is why leaders and entrepreneurs are not finishing the race well. This is why businesses are collapsing because of some type of moral misstep.
So I want to move on to, because we’re talking about masculinity and I loved in your book and I think you’re going to touch on it here. The 3Bs of how we measure ourselves growing up. This hit me so hard because I was like, this is so true. I can remember each phase. And now that I’m 40, I’m in that third phase and I see it with people that I know in the industry. But what is false masculinity and how are we starting to measure it from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood?

Richard Simmons:
Before I share that, just one insight that I think is important. One of the most brilliant man to ever live was a guy by the name of Blaise Pascal. And Pascal says that one of the reasons that people struggle so much in life is that we have false ideas about reality. And the false idea that you just brought up is a major problem in men’s lives. This idea of false masculinity. And I got this from a wonderful book called Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx. And it’s about the life of Joe Ehrmann. Ehrmann was all pro football player with the Baltimore Colts. And then, really the book’s about what he teaches young man as a coach, he coaches. And he talks about how we develop what he calls false masculinity. And he says, it starts with kids on the athletic field. And as young boys are growing up, you have all types of different competitions.
And in the process, the kid, that’s the great athlete, everybody begins to look at him as being the most masculine, the most successful. And those that might not have the athletic ability begin to feel that they’re inferior. I mean, just imagine kids on a ball field and they’re choosing sides and you’ve got two guys that are great athletes and they choose people. And they start choosing one another. And I never really thought about it until I read this book. What do you think it feels like for the young boy that’s chosen last all the time? How do you think it makes him feel about his masculinity, his develop-

Chris Arnold:
The first time in his life that he as a kid, which you don’t think about is, I guess I don’t measure up.

Richard Simmons:
Yap.

Chris Arnold:
And because now the new standard for popularity, for the measure of myself as a man, as a young boy on the ball field is, well, I guess it’s athleticism, right? That’s where it begins. And that’s the measuring rod.

Richard Simmons:
And what happens at this point is when a young boy begins to develop a sense of value and identity. Then you move on to puberty. When puberty hits, you began to change. I guess the way you keep score changes a little bit. You began to consider how well do I do with the opposite sex? Not only how are attracted are they to me, but how the issue of sexual conquests. As you can imagine, the person that seemed in high school to be most masculine is the one who’s the star quarterback of the football team who dates the head cheerleader. And that’s the way everything is measured as young men are growing up.
And of course, then you get out into the work force and you look at the marketplace and ultimately you began to measure your life by financial success. And so it causes us, all of this causes us to develop a false idea of what it really means to be a man and what Ehrmann calls it. He calls it the 3Bs. It starts on the ball field when you’re a kid, then the bedroom, when you get into your teenage years and then your billfold as you become an adult. And that’s the way so many men have developed their understanding of what it means to be a man and what masculinity is. It is a truly false view and a false understanding. But when you have that particular perspective, you’re setting yourself up for all kinds of disappointment and confusion.

Chris Arnold:
When I read that Richard, I can remember all those phases. I think any guy can remember where you stood and how you felt about yourself when it came to athleticism, and high school and college being how you fared with girls. And now, what I would ask, and I think this is true. The billfold being the third thing is the season that just continues to go on. Because a lot of the, let’s say business world and groups that I’ve run into in real estate, outside of real estate, every guy is walking around measuring themselves by the size of their bank accounts.
Now, that can be by the size of your business and how much revenue that you do. But it seems like men, for the most part, if they don’t graduate out of this thinking, get stuck on the financial side pretty much for the rest of their life. And that becomes the ultimate measurement of chasing bigger and better. Is that correct?

Richard Simmons:
That’s correct. And you can see what it does when you go through a financial crisis like we did back in 2009, 2010. If everything is measured by your financial success and because of circumstances that you really have no control over, it goes South on you, and you lose everything. Look what it does to a man’s life. That’s why the suicide rate just skyrocketed during that period of time. Men thought they were failures.

Chris Arnold:
Wow. So I want to make sure you heard that if you’re listening. So the challenge is if you attach your identity, your value as a man to performance, particularly performance within business. It’s unstable because there are things, and this is why it’s such a relevant topic, 2020 COVID, that will come and literally shake the foundations of your finances. And if that’s your identity, you’re in trouble. Because your whole self-worth, the way that you view yourself as… I loved the way you said it in your book. It goes up and down with the market. So when the market’s good and my business is good, I feel great about myself.

Richard Simmons:
Exactly.

Chris Arnold:
When the market goes down and even if it’s outside of my control, I feel like crap. And so therefore just like stock goes up and down, my personal stock about myself is just being manipulated by the performance of business, which is outside of my control because it’s economy driven.

Richard Simmons:
I couldn’t say it any better. What you just said. I really can’t.

Chris Arnold:
It’s really powerful. It’s so powerful. That was the piece that really hit me of how unstable it is. And so that’s where we’re going to get to. But the big question you should be asking yourself is, well, if I’m not measuring myself by athleticism in the ball field or by women, being the bedroom and finances being my billfold, then how do you truly measure a man, which is what we’re going to get to. So I want to go into this next question. You talk a lot about men’s fear in your book. What would you define as men’s greatest fear or fears, plural?

Richard Simmons:
Well, ultimately, and you got to dig into it because there’s layers and layers that go into this. But for most men, their greatest fear is failure. Failure for most men is a psychological death. I really do believe Chris, that so many men are not driven to succeed, they are driven not to fail.

Chris Arnold:
That’s good.

Richard Simmons:
I have a really good for round here. He’s one of the top commercial real estate in the… I guess you call it the top commercial realtors and our city. And I’ve met with him, I’ve counseled him and coached him over the years. And I haven’t seen him in a while, but I’ll never forget he told me this. He says, “When my feet hit the floor, the one thing that drives me every day is the fear of failing.” At the time, I was shocked because he’s been so successful. And you look at his house, all of his houses and his cars, and you think, “How can you say that?”
But what happens is, is that, that he knows deep down what failure does, it can lead to shame. It can lead to depression. Those in fear of failing, what ends up happening. And this is really pertinent to anybody in the real estate world. It causes people to play it safe. I don’t want to fail. So I end up not taking certain risks in life that I probably ought to take. And so what ends up happening is that for so many men, they look for ways to arrange their lives, to make everything predictable.
This is a true survey that was done where a large group… I want to say like 5,000 people aged 95 and old or older were asked this one question. “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?” And one of the top answers was, “I would have taken more risks in life. I was afraid to fail.” And they live with great regret because of that. I’m not saying go out and take unwise risks. But the fact of the matter is, ask yourself, have you arranged your life in such a way that there’s no way you’ll ever fail, because if you do, you all get to the end of your life and you’ll find yourself very disappointed.

Chris Arnold:
And those are some big dots you just connected because what you’re now describing is a domino effect in the life of the entrepreneur, right? And particularly as a man, if my value and my identity is in my performance. And therefore if my performance fails, I have to then step back and not take risks, not go for it. Because when I fail, it goes to the very core of my identity. So at that point, it becomes a massive limitation. I can’t go to the next level. I can’t level up because I’m so protective of my identity knowing that in order to level up, I have to fail. But if I fail, then it’s going to challenge the very way in which I feel about myself. Because I think what’s, you’re really nailing, right? Richard is that men are fundamentally defining themselves by performance. This is like a performance trap. Is that right?

Richard Simmons:
That’s it. In fact, one of the talks that I do when I give a public presentation on this, I call it the performance trap. How do you measure a man’s life? So what you just said was right. And I really didn’t put this in the book, but I wrote it 10 years ago, but if I had to add something to it, I would talk about the fact that what people don’t realize is sometimes failure can be one of the great blessings of life, depending on how you respond to it. And so that’s, I think a critical piece to this as well.

Chris Arnold:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s good. And I totally agree with you. So if men are comparing themselves to one another, comparing themselves by their performance, their business, their bank account. If that’s my measurement, how is that affecting my life as a man? If that is the primary grid or filter in which I am determining my value. What begins to happen in my life?

Richard Simmons:
Comparison is so dangerous. Dangerous might not be the best word, but it can be so… I heard someone say, I thought this was pretty it. “Comparison can suck the joy out of your life.” And I don’t think we realize how much and how often we compare ourselves with others or our stuff with others or our families with other people’s families, or most significantly our children with other people’s children. This is something that happens very naturally to us. You would think that we could live our lives, be focused on what we’re doing and not have to look and say, “Well, what’s my neighbor doing over here or what’s my competitor doing over here?” But for so many people, again, part of the measuring process is how do I measure up compared to them?
And so we compare our accomplishments. We compare our possessions. But the one that gets me is how we compare our children, and it’s included. That’s why so many parents push their kids so hard. They’re helicopter parents. They want their kids to be better than other people’s kids, because it will be a reflection on me. But what this ends up happening Chris, is we compare. There’re times it will lead to arrogance because you’ll look at people and you’ll compare yourself and you’ll feel like, “I’m superior to him. In whatever realm that you do the comparison, my kids are superior to them and so I’m superior.” And that’s what arrogance can be and what arrogance is really all about.
But then it can suck the joy out of you as you start comparing yourself and you realize, “I don’t measure up compared to everybody else.” Or my business doesn’t measure up or the house that I live in doesn’t measure up to all the people around me. Our kids don’t measure up. It can really suck the joy out of you.
I read a very interesting book. Let me just share this real quick. It was about an older wiser man. He was, I guess you could say mentoring this young man who was in his teen years. And he started talking to him about comparison. And he said something very wise. I’ll never forget. He said, “There’s nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man.” He says, “True nobility is being superior to your former self.” And what are you talking about, are you superior to the man you were three years ago? He said, “Don’t look at everybody else. Focus on yourself.” Are you growing? Are you developing? Are you continually improving?
And I had a conversation with this the other day with a man who is in a very competitive industry. It’s a very visible industry. Well, I will tell you it’s the construction industry, the commercial construction industry. For some reason, our town has four of the biggest contractors in the country and they’re always comparing theirselves. And I was talking to one of them that I coach and he says, “We’ve had to learn to really focus on really getting away from comparing ourselves to others.” He says, “So part of our mission statement now is we are in the relentless pursuit of improvement.” In other words, we’re focusing on ourselves and seeking to always grow and continually improve.

Chris Arnold:
And I love that quote that you gave right at the beginning of that. And what are you comparing yourself against, your former self for everyone else around you? So Richard, when I read your book, the phrase that I put my self for… Again, I take content and I like to boil it down to a phrase that I can carry with me for the rest of my life. With this whole comparison and performance. What I said to myself is what I feel like Richard has taught me, or the point that you’re driving home is comparison will consume you. And performance will punish you because in comparison, I’m consumed always by how everyone else is doing around me. And performance, it will punish me because something like the COVID will come along and if my life is dependent and valued on that, I’m going to get punished internally, emotionally, psychologically. And that’s what I felt like was the big trap. I was like, “Man, either you’re going to be consumed or you’re going to be punished utilizing that as a grit for measurement.

Richard Simmons:
Chris also I’ll say this. You really get this book. You get the message of the book. And to me, if men can really get this and then as you get into… And integrate it into your life, it can change you radically and really set you free.

Chris Arnold:
That’s the key. It’s being set free from this. I hope if you’re listening to it and you struggle with this, you are literally physically, emotionally filling the weight if you live in a world of comparison, right? And I see this with women as well. I’m sure a lot of us men that have wives know what it’s like for our wives to compare themselves to other women. It’s so tough because it pulls out a lot of insecurities of she’s skinnier and she has better clothes. And I mean, I went through all of that living in uptown Dallas. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to get out of there and come to Mexico. Nobody cares what you wear here.
So let’s start to bring this home because people are listening and going, “Okay, you guys had diagnosed the problem here. What I need is a solution. Don’t leave me hanging here.” The best part of your book is this solution you’re about to bring, because again, I hear people talk about things like this, but then you brought it home. Before we go to, how do you truly measure a man, I do want to hit on this one last question before the final question. And as you have a chapter about life’s greatest paradox, what is that?

Richard Simmons:
This is so important. In fact, it’s so important, I’ve written a whole other book on it called the Power of a Humble Life. The paradox is this. Strength is found in humility because arrogance leads to weakness. Now, I was reading something recently about the Pentagon Papers and a lot of your listeners do not even know what that is. But it had to do with the Vietnam War. And it looked like the United States… It became apparent in order for us to win the war, we would have to put up so much more money and lose the lives of so many. And so we should have just pulled out, but we didn’t. And then these Pentagon Papers, one of the things you learn is that Lyndon Johnson, the president, and I’m not picking on him, but one of the thing… This is documented.
He says, “We can’t pull out because it won’t make me look very manly if we do that.” And so you have to wonder how world events have been shaped. This is a big picture over time because of our pride and our arrogance. Harvard did a study on why leaders fail. One of the main reasons leaders fail there are several factors. But one of the main one was arrogance. And then Jim Collins wrote a wonderful book called Good to Great. But after it, he wrote a book, not as popular, but really good call How the Mighty Fall. And he studied companies. There were once large and profitable and how over time they faded and they eventually collapsed. And he said, “They went through five stages. And he says, “The first stage is arrogance.”
He says, “They believe we’re so good. We don’t have to change anything we’re doing. We don’t have to continually improve.” And he says that was what started the process of them going down the tubes. And so I get in and talk a lot about what humility is, how you cultivate a humble heart. And to me, it’s a very, very important thing because that’s where real strength is found. And there’s a lot in that chapter that I think your readers will find real profitable.

Chris Arnold:
Thank you for that. So here’s the question, Richard. We’re listening to this. What you’re saying is resonating with me, right? I’m putting myself in this shoes of a man right now. Driving down the road, listening to this, going, “Dude, this is all over me. I’m resonating this.” How Richard do we truly measure a man? How do we do that? What is the rod or the thing that I should be comparing myself against in a healthy way? What performance should I be gauging? What is it?

Richard Simmons:
Yeah. And what I’m going to share you with you, for all the men in the audience, this is what we need to be teaching our young boys as they’re growing up. Because as we’ve already said, most of them as it is, they measure their lives based on how they perform. Their accomplishments, how much they accumulate as they get out into the workforce. And so what they’re focusing on, if you think about it, Chris is they’re focusing on and they’re driven to accomplish, to perform, to achieve. And in the process they don’t… And you said this right when you started this podcast. They don’t focus instead on what kind of man am I becoming? That’s a whole different issue. Focusing on what am I becoming?
And so I would say, and it’s all in the book and I speak at it. I speak to each of these at length. It starts with your character. Character is everything. Basically we all have reputations. Everybody is listed as you have a reputation with the people that know you. And some people that maybe they don’t know you, but they know of you. And the main determinant of a person’s reputation is their character. And of course, to me, the most important character quality again, is humility, which we just talked about.
Second then, this is a biggie. It’s wisdom. Do you possess wisdom? Are you growing wiser? Because wisdom has so much to do with the choices and the decisions that you make. You see, most people in our culture will say that there’s choices and decisions you make, most of them are moral issues and you have to make good moral choices. And that’s true. But most of the decisions you make are not moral issues. They’re judgment issues. Should I do this deal? Should I make this investment? Should I take this job? Should I marry this person? How do you raise children? What are my priorities? These are all judgment issues. And if we have wisdom, it assists us in making good life decisions.
And then finally, and I think everybody listening to this will agree. Your ability to love, your ability to love, to have strong substantive relationships. I think there’s not anybody listening to this that would not agree that life is bankrupt without good relationships. And the thing that I would just say is this, that you can pursue strong character, something that you can develop. You can pursue wisdom and you can pursue better relationships. At the end of the day, as you get to the… Let’s say I put it this way. When you get to the end of your life. If people look at you as having being a man of strong character, one of great wisdom and one with great relationships, that’s what real manhood’s about.

Chris Arnold:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And I think as you say it, I don’t think that there’s a person listening that, that doesn’t just hit. And don’t you find the challenges though, that particularly in American culture, the men that are elevated, the ones that are writing a lot of the books, are on social media. They’re elevated simply because our culture measures a man by the billfold. So just because they’re a billionaire, just because they’ve sold X company, they’re automatically on the pedestal. But here’s what I’ve seen Richard. There’s some of those guys that I know, and even being involved in bigger networking groups with guys that are worth tens, hundreds of millions of dollars.
Even though they add all that money, I would meet these men that didn’t have character, that had no wisdom. And on top of that, their relationships being with a wife and kids was an absolute wreck. And I’m asking myself, “Well, why is this person still being put on a pedestal within this community?” And it was simply because the measurement was the billfold. But when you step back and you look deeply into the happiness in that person’s life and their overall health, they were miserable. You know what I’m saying?

Richard Simmons:
I do. And I essentially had a conversation with my two youngest children who at the time were probably sophomores and freshmen in college. And I asked this question. I said to, “Take Mrs. Cooley,” And I can’t remember the other teacher’s name. It was a van who taught mathematics. And my kid, these two teachers, high school teachers had a… Mr. Hurry was his name. Had a huge impact on my children. And I asked them a question, “You consider Ms. Cooley and Mr. Hurry to be successful people?”
I mean, they teach high school. One teaches math, one teaches English, but they had a profound impact on my children’s lives. And I said, “Compare it to…” And I won’t mention the person’s name. He’s on the Forbes 400. He’s in the top 10. I said, “Here’s a man with $50 billion, but he’s been married four times and nobody likes him. Historically his goal has been to surpass Bill Gates on the Forbes 400 list is one of the richest people in the world.” And that’s what his life… I said, “What is true success?” That gets back to false ideas about reality. And so what you just said is just so spot on.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. And let me hit this last point, which I think is important. If you’re listening to this, this is 2020. We’re in COVID. If I’m measuring myself based on performance, something like COVID is going to come and challenge that. And trust me, I don’t care who you are listening, top or bottom. The amount of depression, fear, anxiety I’ve seen going around the real estate community is unprecedented. Now guys might come on and act like you got it all together, but I’m telling you it’s all BS.
But here’s the thing. If I flip it to character, wisdom and love, COVID actually strengthens those things, right? A pandemic, a downfall in the economy because I grow wiser because of the challenging circumstance that I’m in. It causes me to value the relationships in my life more because it reminds me of what matters most, right? And then my character, if experiencing this the right way, will strengthen my character through the difficult choices and decisions. So rather than my identity going up and down because of a crisis, when it’s measured the right way crisis, actually strengthens me rather than throwing me into depression. Is that right to say?

Richard Simmons:
But I would add this. It has the potential to do that, depending on how you respond to it. The response is everything. Rarely are we given opportunities or really grow like we’re being presented now with this COVID. But the key is, is to recognize how this can be used in my life. As you said to strengthen my character, to increase my wisdom and to greatly enhance my relationships. And if you can see it that way, it can be a great blessing in your life, which is just a great paradox as well.

Chris Arnold:
And that’s the way your books helped me see it. That was the reframing I took away from your book, which was again, [inaudible 00:36:43] I just want to say thank you for taking the time to create that content, to write that book because when I read it, it was at the right time to me to step back and go, “And am I measuring myself as a man in the right way during this crisis?”

Richard Simmons:
That’s right.

Chris Arnold:
[crosstalk 00:36:58] powerful. So for those that listened again, pick up the book, The True Measure of a Man by Richard Simmons. The other book you have Richard that you recommended, what was the title on that?

Richard Simmons:
It’s called The Power of a Humble Life.

Chris Arnold:
Okay. The Power of a Humble Life.

Richard Simmons:
Yeah. If you read the first one and it really impacts you, this is a follow to it and it will resonate, I assure you.

Chris Arnold:
And I know you coach and do other things. If someone wants to reach out to you because like, “Dude, I don’t want to start following this guy. Love his content, or I’d be interested in learning more about coaching.” How do people reach out to you?

Richard Simmons:
Well, probably the best way… The organization I work for, The Center for Executive Leadership. We have a website and then I have my own personal website, and either one of them would be helpful. My website is it’s all lowercase, richardesimmons3.com. And then you’ve got The Center for Executive Leadership. It’s thecenterbham.org. [crosstalk 00:38:09] will get you to all the blogs, the books. We have all these recorded messages I’ve done. So it’s having done this for 20 years, we’ve got a lot of material.

Chris Arnold:
I love it. And again, we’ll put those in the show notes, so you can just easily click the link. And Richard, thank you so much for your time. What a great conversation, a transformational conversation. So, appreciate your time buddy. And so the rest of you, thanks for tuning in. Until next time we will catch you soon to add more value. Talk to you soon. Thanks.

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