The Atlas Shrugged Interview – Part 3 of 5

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What’s up everybody. This is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to Marketing Secrets podcast. We’re about to start the third part of our five-part Atlas Shrugged interview series.

I hope you guys enjoyed part one and part two. I’m sure there are things that you agreed with, I’m sure there are things you disagreed with, that’s okay. This whole thing is not about me trying to force anything on you, it’s more just to get us all thinking and open the conversations and help us look at things from both sides.

With that said, we’re going to move now into the third part of the interview series. Again, we broke down our three and a half hour interview into five podcasts episodes. I know these are long, but I hope you’re enjoying them. And hopefully it’s just getting the wheels spinning. Hopefully, you’re enjoying it. And I really hope that it gives you the desire to go and read the Atlas Shrugged book and kind of see some of these principles through that lens.

So, with that said, we’ll queue up the theme song. When we get back, you’ll have a chance to listen to part three of my interview with Josh Forti.

Josh Forti:

Okay. I want to circle back to one quick thing and then we can move on.

Russell Brunson:

Okay.

Josh:

So the question I was trying to ask was, when you were like, “Hey, there’s the technician or there’s the plumber, there’s this, or there’s that or then there’s the person that comes in and makes it rain.”

There’s only a few people in an organization that like, make it rain, right? Like you in ClickFunnels, you make it rain. You’re the one that brings it in and, I’m sure there’s other people to a certain extent, but you are that person. And you probably have what, 100, 200 people on the support team? That don’t actually make the company any money, but they do play a critical role in the sense that the company couldn’t function without them. And so, to those people there, how does somebody who…

Two-part question. One, can you live your best life in a position like that? Can you be most alive and fulfilled and live a great life, doing something average like that?

Number two, does that person need to go learn how to make it rain? Does everybody need to be an entrepreneur? Does everybody need to be… Like, you are so fascinating, you got this whole community of funnel hackers and like, “We’re going to go out and choose a world. We think differently. We do it differently. We got all this stuff.” Would it be good if the whole world thought that way? Or do we need people that don’t think that way?

Russell:

There was a time in life where I thought everyone should think that way. I don’t think so now. I have family members who love what they do and they’re obsessed with the art, like the art is what they do. Some people… I’ve had good masseuses and bad masseuses. Some masseuses, that is their art, you can tell, you’re just like, “Oh, my gosh. They’re the best at their craft.” And I think that’s okay, I think if it brings fulfillment, that’s more important. But people aren’t fulfilled, that’s the second question. If you’re not fulfilled then why, you know? And I think one of the most powerful things, Myron Golden taught this at Funnel Hacking live, and he taught it at two comma club a couple times, he has a thing called the four levels of value. It’s so fascinating because…

Josh:
Such a good one.

Russell:

Yeah, it’s so good. The first level of value, for those who haven’t heard this before, is it just talks about I’m going to not do it justice, Martin’s the man. One of the greatest speakers of all-

Josh:

Tell YouTube. Actually I don’t even know, if it’s on YouTube.

Russell:

It’s on my… Anyway, yes. So bottom level is, people work their hands, right? And this is the hardest work. Like, the person that’s actually building the building. Or typing, you’re doing support, or whatever the thing is, they’re working with their hands. That’s the lowest level of value, right? Like the most you make when you’re, when you work with your hands is maybe 50, 60, $70,000 a year, but you’re tapped out, you can’t get higher than that. Now, if that’s your calling and you’re good at, and you love it, go all in. Become the best in the world at that thing, and that’s totally cool. But you cap out on salary, you can’t make more money at a certain point. Because that’s the value of that tier value.

The next tier value, if you move up one tier, is management. Somebody who can manage all of the workers. And there’s people… One of the big mistakes we made inside of ClickFunnels, we took the people inside of our team who were the best workers and we upgraded them to management and they were horrible managers, amazing workers moved into management. And they weren’t managers, this is a different mindset. They can go learn that, but that’s not where they were gifted. And a lot of times it was irreparable, we couldn’t move them back down because in their mind, like, “Oh I’m a manager now.” It’s like, “No.”

I think one of things we learned is someone can be a worker and make more money than the manager. Just because sometimes their skillset, like the programmers and developers, getting an amazing programmer to code something is, a lot of times, worth more than the managers managing that person.

But in most businesses, most organizations, manager’s next tier, right? Because you make more money as a manager because you’re managing a lot of workers, as opposed to one.

Then you go up the next tier value and it’s the communicators. People learn how to talk and to sell, that’s the next thing. You make more selling and you do managing, and you typically make more managing than you do actually doing the thing. And not everyone’s going to be great salespeople. I think it’s a teachable skill. I think you may have seen my early videos, everyone thinks this is a gift that I was born with. It is not, it is something that’s been developed.

Josh:

Guys, you should go look at Russell’s old videos, they’re so embarrassing.

Russell:

They are the worst ever. Yeah, when I was your age I would not have been able to do this, it’s crazy.

So that tier is the communicators and the top tier are the visionaries. Imagining it, you’re using your brain to make money. So your use your brain, your mouth, your management skills or your hands. Those are the four tiers of value. So I think wherever you fit in there, that’s cool, we need people all the tiers, but like… I did a podcast about this the other day, I’m like, “Whatever you going to be, don’t just be a person doing it, become the best in the world.”

We were in Oakville Tony’s Event and we’re in a hotel and it was kind of weird because there’s a spa, so like, all excited to get massages, but it’s also COVID right now. So the masseuses have masks on, they have plastic gloves, it was weird. And I got my very first massage, they paid for two massage it. So I was like, “It’ll be fun.” The first massage was so bad. I was like, “I never want to get a massage again, ever.” It was so bad and I’m sitting there on the table, it was only an hour long massage, by the time it was done I was like, “I want to get out of here, this is just weird and horrible.” I did not enjoy it. And I’m a massage person.

Josh:

Yeah. I love massage.

Russell:

And I was to the point I’d never want massage again, but they’d already booked us for the next day for the second one. And I was annoyed. I went to the second one and same thing. She’s got plastic gloves on like we have to do and the mask. And I’m just kind of like, “Oh, I don’t even want to be here.” And then she puts her hands on me and it’s just like, it was art, it was different. And both of them are doing the same job, right? But somebody was like, “I want to be the best the world.” Versus, “Oh, I’m just doing the thing.”

And you see that in every area of life, the chiropractors, there’s chiropractors, that are good and there’s ones that are great. Doctors, dentists, business. I’m more, wherever you’re at, don’t just be mediocre, become the best in the world there. That’s more important to me than… You know, if you can be a plumber, be the plumber who you walk in… Like we’ve had, our house, so many plumbers come in. We had some that come and they fix the leak and then something else breaks and they go “uh…” And other guys should come in to check everything, they make sure it’s perfect. I want that person, I want the artists I want the person that this is their art and not just like, “Ugh, best job I could find.”

Josh:

Yeah. All right, so now I’m about to ask you a question and I understand this is totally your opinion on it, maybe you have something to base it on. So, the person that is at those lower levels of value, the average worker that’s out there, that’s doing their thing, especially in today’s super soft victim mentality America that wants to vote for free stuff. Makes me so mad.

Anyway. The average person that’s out there, looks up at people that make a lot of money and the general consensus, I think, or the way that America slash the world is going is, rich people are bad, right? Like, “You’re so greedy, man. You got all his money and you’re not giving any to me, you get to go sit in your massive house and your cars and you can do whatever you want.” And so, even if they are doing what they are called to do, they’ll look up to a millionaire, a billionaire, somebody that has all this stuff and they’ll look at it as bad. Like that shouldn’t happen.

How do you create a society? And this is why… I know this is big picture type stuff, but how do you create a society that allows people to be okay with being the best version of themselves where they’re at without looking at you and being like, “You’re bad.”? You know what I mean?

Russell:

Yeah. Well, it’s not going to happen in our lifetime. It’s not going to happen, my belief, till Christ comes again. And when he does, it’ll be a perfect, you know, things will be great. But until then, it’s not going to happen because humans are humans. Right?

Josh:

You mean Donald Trump’s not going to just fix everything?

Russell:

Oh, if he does that’d be amazing but I’m not holding my breath.

But I would say more so just, for anyone who feels that way, I would look at that more… And I did a podcast about this, if you’re not someone who celebrates other people’s successes, everybody, I don’t care if you hate the person, if you’re a big fan or you’re not a big fan, if you don’t celebrate their success, then you are going to struggle to ever be successful because you’re going to be so scared of other people not celebrating your success.

I remember… I am not a huge Gary Vee fan, you know this, for reasons I’ll talk about in my next book. But-

Josh:

When I tweet this out on Twitter, Gary, when you follow me, shout out, by the way, The Patriots won the Superbowl more than The Jets. Just throw that out there. All right, continue. I just guaranteed he’d never come on my podcast.

Russell:

I do like Gary, I just, we had a thing, but whatever, he doesn’t remember it, I’m sure. But anyway, he got the shoe deal with… Whatever the shoes.

Josh:

Adidas.

Russell:

And he’s going to market and for half a second, I was like, “That sucks.” And then I was like, “You freaking he’s in our industry and he got a shoe deal!” And I ran to my computer.

Josh:

Or K-Swiss, yeah.

Russell:

The K-Swiss. I bought the shoes. I got them… And I did a podcast, celebrating the fact that someone in our community got a shoe deal and all these things. And most people that I know were like, “I thought you’re not a big Gary fan.” I’m like, “I’m not, but that’s a huge success, we should celebrate success.”

Because if you don’t, then what’s going to automatically happen in your head. If you’re Not celebrating people’s successes then you have the subconscious fear that someone’s not going to do yours. And so you’re going to stifle yourself and be successful. So I try when anybody around me is having success. Whether I like them or I don’t like them, I always am like, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to try to celebrate it.” And then by doing that it changes your brain to the spot where you’re okay having success, because you’re assuming everyone’s going to celebrate like you. And they’re not going to, but it’s different subconsciously. If you are not celebrating other people’s successes it will stifle you from ever having your own.

And so I think that’s a big part of… If that’s where you’re at right now, it’s something you got to change. And when you start making that little shift and start celebrating people’s successes above you, it’s freeing, it’s amazing. Because then all of a sudden you’re unlocking yourself, like I can succeed because they did and people are going to celebrate me. And it shifts those like psychological things that you do and it changes everything. It’s weird.

Josh:

Do you think… You’re not political, like hardly at all. Like, do you even pay attention?

Russell:

No, not too much. I was like, so those who read the book, Hank Rearden, and this is part of his demise, is he doesn’t pay attention to it at all. So as I read the book, I’m like, Hank Rearden, doesn’t pay attention, I don’t pay attention.

Real quick, can we do a shout out for these shirts again? You guys have seen them? By the way, how many of you guys would like one of these shirts?

Josh:

Ooh let’s make them comment for this first.

Russell Brunson:

Okay.

Josh:

Guys, how many of you want to shirt? Yes or no. Comment yes or no down below.

Russell:

So this is the Rearden Steel one. And this is who is John Galt? One.

Josh:

Very dope. I’m not going to lie though. Like that was pretty dope, but this one wins for one reason.

Russell:

The quote is cool. We can put that quote on this one too and make it silver.

Josh:

Ooh. Ooh.

Russell:

Okay. This is my selfish pitch. Can I do-

Josh:

Hey guys, can Russel do a pitch real quick?

Russell:

Is it okay if I sell something? He says something to you. Keep in mind. I make no money off of this. I don’t even know what he’s doing.

No, we have a little fun site we created just because that’d be fun called TshirtSmackdown.com where we have two shirts and then people vote with their wallets, which shirt they want better. So if you guys want these shirts, you could actually buy whichever one is your favorite, or both if you like them both. Just got to go to TshirtSmackdown.com and they’re up there right now. And guess who was the models on TshirtSmackdown? I assume. Are we the models?

Anyway, go to TshirtSmackdown.com, you can get one or two-

Josh:

Oh my gosh. Look at that big your team.

Russell:

We’re super models!

Josh:

Your team’s amazing, dude. They put it together that fast…

Okay. Let’s geek out the book here for a second.

Russell:

Yeah.

Josh:

The audible door. That, the password that was audible. When I read that I was like, “Yes!” That’s a brilliant mind at, it’s like you have to say it. And the part that I thought was interesting was, it wasn’t just the words he’s like, and it’s programmed to where it will not open unless the person that is saying it is actually like saying it with conviction or something to that effect. They actually have to like, mean it. Can’t just be like, “Duh duh duh duh duh. Okay, I’m in.” Like, now you guys want to read the book so bad. Okay. All right. We’ll come back to the TshirtSmackdown, comment.

down below. Let us know and let us know guys. Let’s not go down the comments, if you’re listening on audio you can go leave a rating and review and leave us in the comments. But like, if you’re just listening, YouTube, Facebook, wherever, comment down below your favorite part of the conversation was so far. I think that’d be super cool.

Okay. Let’s geek out on the book for a second here. I actually have a lot of questions about the book, but I want to know, what was your favorite scene?

Russell:

Oh, Oh, so many good scenes. My favorite scene in the book. So it’s kind of like the crescendo of the whole book. Because the whole book is asking, who’s John Galt. Who’s John Galt.

Josh:

Okay. Hold on. Sorry, David’s sitting in the background. Have you read the book, Dave? Okay. So I’m just making sure that you’re not just sitting over here, like freaking out. Dave’s like I have to read it too. I was like, I need to talk to somebody. Dave, go read this. I’ll see you in six months.

Russell:

So the whole books leader, who’s John Galt, who’s John Galt. We’re kind of introduced to him a little bit when Dagny meets them. And then she leaves and goes back to the real world. And all of a sudden, there’s this part where the looters and the government are trying to do this broadcast. And all of a sudden… (static noise) the broadcast is interrupted and they’re trying figure how to fix it. But all of the people who would fix it have been taken-

Josh:

Because all the great minds as society are gone.

Russell:

And all of a sudden over the loud speaker comes John Galt and he starts the speech. And the speech I think is 80 pages in the book. It’s four hours on the audio book, four hours. This is why you don’t watch you to movie you by the way. Cause it’s less than 30 seconds in the movie.

Josh:

How do you take out four hours?

Russell:

Oh, it’s such a good… Anyway, he gets on this microphone broadcasting to the entire world, nobody can cut them off. And he gives this speech about…

Josh:

The entire book.

Russell:

I’m just freaking out… The set up. It was so crazy, all of a sudden it happened. I was like, “Whoa.” And anyway, that was my-

Josh:

And he ends with this and he goes, and I’ll say it one last time “I pledged my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man nor ask another man to live for mine.”

Russell:

Anyway, that was my favorite part.

Josh:

The 80 page. Four hour long version of it? Okay.

Russell:

Oh yeah. So good.

Josh:

Okay. I like that. My favorite part of the book, I read this and I was like… So, I like play my life on and act like I’m in a movie, right. Sometimes I’m like, do this. So do you remember what the wedding?

Russell:

Oh, Francisco speech. Dude!

Josh:

That might’ve been better. I promised Leah I would be done after this chapter. And it ends, and I’m like, “No!”

Russell:

The John Galt had a better buildup and then I didn’t know it was coming, there’s a wedding and everything. And then all of a sudden it starts happening. I was like-

Josh:

Out of freaking nowhere.

Russell:

Yeah. So Francisco, he gives a speech that was like, yeah, I wasn’t expecting it. So I think it was less buildup, but it was amazing. Yeah. The John Galt buildup was like, this is like, I was waiting when you said movie. Because I was like, “It can be amazing.” Then it’s like, come on. Anyway. Yeah. Those are the two best parts.

Josh:

Yeah. Yeah. At that wedding… I’m reading this and it was like that moment I was like, “Okay. She finally made it all…” And that was relatively early on in the book. I was like, Oh, if the book follows anything like this, this is going to be such a good book. Right. Because he gets done with that and you’re just… It’s something you’d want to watch out in real life and know that somebody thought this up and they wrote down. You’re just like, yeah, yeah, yeah. That was so good. That was, that was hands down my favorite part.

Russell:

I want to read the book again, I wish it wasn’t 1200 pages because I want to go back to experience it but it’s so big.

Josh:

Okay. Have you read the cliff notes version of the book?

Russell:

No.

Josh:

Okay. So yeah. So there is there’s, I think there’s the cliff notes, like the one that you buy. I think it’s like a four-hour audio book, I haven’t listened to that one. But usually on cliffsnotes.com, can like read the book. You can basically get a summary of the whole book in like, 30 to 45 minutes. I read it.

Russell:

It’s still worth reading though, you guys.

Josh:

Oh, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. But that’s the reason I’m bring it up because I notice 1200 pages, but if you just read the Clifton, but you’re like, “Oh, okay. Cool storyline.” But you miss the effect of it all.

Russell:

One of the things that I thought was fascinating. Just because I’m working on my next book, which is not a how-to book, so I’m learning how to write differently. So I’ve been-

Josh:

Ooh, you want to tell us all about it?

Russell:

I’m really proud, excited for it. But one thing was interesting, if you look Ayn Rand did the dialogue in the book, she did all the dialogue, but it’s just one person speaking. So it’s fascinating. Every time you notice that, like when her partner was in the cafeteria with some guy we didn’t know, you only hear his words, you never hear the other side.

Josh:

That’s so true.

Russell:

Most of her dialogues were just, you heard the one person talking and you could get the gist of the conversation by reading one side, but they never had the other side and I’d never seen someone write that way before. And there’s a lot of cool things like that where it’s just like… Again, I’ve written three books now, but I wrote books with Google Docs, with editors and people. Like imagine writing a book in the fifties with a typewriter. Think how much forethought has to go to something like this.

Josh:

Yeah, that’s wild.

Russell:

It is insane to think that. Yeah. So I have so much respect for people who wrote then. And especially, I’m trying to learn how to write as a story as opposed to how to, and the art of it is just fascinating. As a book, it’s worth reading just to see how she wrote is fascinating as well.

Josh:

What was your biggest… Actually, I want to go down that rabbit hole a little bit further. So writing, is your next book fiction or not?

Russell:

No, it’s just the next book is about bootstrap.com. Bootstrapping is the ClickFunnels story, but it’s not like the how-to, it’s telling the story as the story, which is going to be cool.

Josh:

Oh, that’s going to be so good.

Russell:

First thing we’re doing is all the core people who’ve been part of ClickFunnels story. We’re flying them out and interviewing them for… I’ve been mapping out the entire timeline of events as close as I can remember and I’m going to interview… All the pieces from their point of view. Trying to get that from like 50 different people and then take all that stuff, think the timelines up and write the book as a story. So it’s a different writing style I’ve never done before.

Josh:

That’s interesting.

Russell:

Oh yeah. Dave wants to tell you the cool part. So I’m also like been re-geeking out on The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Hero’s 2 Journeys and all that stuff. Because I want to make sure… Well someday I want to try to sell it to Hollywood or something. So who knows? I don’t have the end of the story yet, but like-

Josh:

Which is by the way, super fascinating because of how the concept concept of going for a target and then going towards it. Like, you don’t know the end now you’re just like, that is so cool.

Russell:

Oh yeah, and so it’s cool. But I was like-

Josh:

Russell’s so much fun to watch.

Russell:

So I’ve been, I’ve been geeking out on the hero’s journey. So I’m like, I’m trying to sync the timeline of the ClickFunnels startup story to the timeline of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, all the core things. To see if I can get it to fit inside that framework, which I think we’ll be able to do. it’s going to be amazing. Then what I’m trying to do in my new office is I’m going to build the rumors, like a timeline, so the entire room wraps in a huge chalkboard with a timeline that goes around and it has the dates and the years of the journey and stuff. And then writing in each core thing on the wall. And then, you know how in the spy movies, you have like a string that goes and you have the pieces of paper.

Josh:

Yeah.

Russell:

As I’m writing the book, I’m going to have the whole thing timed out in a square room. And so you see it all and they can see all the pieces, how they all fit together. And then when the book’s done, in that room, that’ll be the wallpaper on the room.

Josh:

Oh my gosh. Okay. All right. So here’s deal. Here’s a great idea. So you do that up until a certain point, like this is modern day, and then there’s an end of the wall. And then from that point to there, that’s when you’re writing and when you get to the end of the wall you have to sell everything and go into hiding and become John Galt. Like that book’s done, I’m out. That’s fascinating.

Russell:

But I get to write a story that’s way different. It’s not, like all my other books are how-to books so they’re written differently. And so it’s just been fun-

Josh:

Which by the way is why when I first got into entrepreneurship I was like, “I don’t know why anybody would write a book that’s not like that.” Like I’m like, “Why would anybody write a book like this? This is so lame.” And now I’m reading it and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is so cool.”

Russell:

I tend to respect the books I’m reading now, I just finished Shoe Dog, which is the story of-

Josh:

Oh that’s a great book.

Russell:

American Kingpin, which is the story of the silk road and the dark web, one of my favorite stories I’ve ever read, I’ve read it twice already. And the writer is probably the best writers I’ve ever. I read it and I was so depressed. I was like, I’ll never write… Because I tried to hire him to write my book for me. And he’s too busy.

Josh:

I will give you a blank check, just write this book. You’re so much better than I could ever dream of.

Russell:

So I had to go and learn how to do it.

Josh:

What was the most fascinating thing about Atlas Shrugged, to you? Like, the way it was written or the concepts of the character, anything. What was the overall, the most fascinating part for you?

Russell:

Character development was so cool. I think the coolest thing for me was… I’d love to see a sim diagram because I don’t know it, but each of the characters each played, like they were a character, they played a role that is like this magnified society as a group, almost. Right?

Josh:

Yeah. That’s actually super true.

Russell:

Like, you have Hank Rearden and Dagny, and then…

Josh:

James Taggart.

Russell:

Taggart’s wife. All the people, they were humans, but they were personification of a segment of society, which is really cool. And so seeing that where you’re getting this micro versions, macro problem. That was cool because I never, again I don’t study politics, I’m not deep into it so I don’t know all these things. And you hear this character and you hear the story, and all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh my gosh, that represents this group of people that I…” And so for me, it was cool because I was able to understand things at a different level. And I’m not the best at this, I always try to put myself in other people’s shoes. I try to understand… That’s why I’m not super political, because they get so divisive and I see good on both sides. Like, I understand, I can love people on both sides of it. I think it was so cool for me because you see the pros and the cons of each thing. Right? You see the positives, negatives, each belief pattern.

Josh:

Yeah.

Russell:

I think Rearden, as much as I related to him, it was like, there’s the good and evil, right? And all of them have that. So it was just cool because it gave me this perspective, I didn’t know of so many different segments of society. It made this really cool tapestry and picture for me.

Josh:

Huh. All right. So now the polar opposite. What do you think the book lacked in? Or didn’t communicate well or left out?

Russell:

I think, something we talked about today, I do feel like most of the producers in the book, they didn’t have the other side of it. Right? The social stuff is important, helping other people is important and I get why she did it. Like I said, the Phil Donahue interview, she’s like, “People should be social. They shouldn’t do it with a gun.” But she never showed that she, didn’t show, Hank Rearden going in like, “Oh, this is a cause I care about like, let me go and…”

Josh:

At all, in any part.

Russell:

I think that stuff’s important, that’s why we talk about political. On the left side, what they’re trying to do is good it’s right, it’s from God, it’s so good things. Right? But there’s ways that people twist and all sorts of stuff like that. And I wish they would have showed more of that because I felt like the characters were one sided where it’s just, the people that are looters and the people that are producers. And I feel like there’s more blend for all of us, we have blends of those things. And they did a good job as dissect-

Josh:

Super, yeah.

Russell:

You know? I think we all have all those things, I want to give, I want to serve, I want to do things, but I also want to produce, I want to do both those things. like how do I, what’s the world look like where we do both of those things. And I don’t know how to. In my little universe that I’ve created for myself and my family, I’m trying to produce. I’m trying to contribute and try and do my version of what I think is right. All we can do is what we think is right in our own little world that we create. And so this is my world I’ve created, I’m trying my best to do it. And I wish that they would have showed some of that side. But I think that that was a part, I feel, that the characters were missing just that part of it.

Josh:

So what’s interesting-

Russell:

Christ-like, charity, love stuff.

Josh:

Okay. Well, and I’m so glad you brought this up, what I think is interesting, the thing that I felt like the book was lacking the most is nobody had kids.

Russell:

I didn’t think about that.

Josh:

Think about this, none of them… Because one of my questions, she was going to be like, “How Was having a kid?” And I kind of asked her… Kind of changing perspective, but I’m like-

Russell:

Interesting.

Josh:

Nobody had kids. And I don’t have kids. I’m not married, I don’t have kids. I’m getting married.

Russell:

Yeah, woo hoo!

Josh:

By the way. Shout out to my beautiful fiance.

All right. But for me, I’m so focused right now. So I grew up in a big family, right. Eight kids. I’m the oldest living. I had one other brother who passed away, but like six younger siblings. And like, my whole life changes once there’s kids in it. And I know that even though I haven’t experienced it, because I’ve seen it. And so for me, and Leah and I have talked about this like, “The twenties are for us, thirties are for kids.” And so I’m like, “I got to make as much money as I possibly can before the because ah!”

And I even told Colette this, I said, “If there’s there was one thing that I would sacrifice my career for in order to be able to do, it’d be to homeschool my kids.” I can’t fathom sending my kids to public school, that’s just me because I grew up homeschooled or whatnot. But as I was going through the book, I’m like, “I can relate to all of these people, but like they’re leaving out like this key component.” Imagine being Hank Rearden and living like he did, with your five kids. Or do you have?

Russell:

I have five.

Josh:

Yeah, I was going to say, before I was like, “Oh my gosh.”

So think about that. You know what I mean? And so I feel like one of the, because there’s a lot of people I know that I’ve read Atlas Shrugged, like, “Heck yeah man, this is the greatest book ever, like for-profit blah, blah, blah.” And I’m like, “Yeah. But like imagine living your life that way with a family.” Imagine living your life like that with the kids and responsibilities, people that you actually like. How-

Russell:

I think about this. Because like our timeline, it comes back, we talk about growth and contribution. Right? So most of us, we get born. All of us, we get born right. Only way to get here, we’re all born. Right? And from when you’re born until you’re, whatever, for me I got married at 22, I was 22. And so it’s like the first 21 years, it’s all about you. Right? It’s selfish, it’s growth. It’s whatever it is, it’s you, you, you. And everyone’s very inward focused. And then all of a sudden you meet this beautiful person and then you fall in love, that’s amazing. And also what happens is it shifts from you, you, you, to us. And you’re giving, taking, giving taking, and it’s cool because, all of a sudden all your focus isn’t on you, it’s on somebody else. But they’re focused on you too and it’s this amazing thing where like, I’m giving, but I’m also getting, it’s this amazing thing.

It’s this transition that’s easing you into kids because then kids come out and it flips now where it’s like the opposite where you’re just serving a hundred percent, especially the very beginning with kids. I was joking my kids about this one night when they’re like, “Why are you guys so mean?” And I’m like, “Do you realize we get no value from this. We don’t get paid a penny from this, there’s nothing in parenting. We kill ourselves, we serve, we don’t sleep. We work. We hate money.” And that’s not true, there’s value.

Josh:

I’m just sitting here imagine Russel telling his kids, “We get no value, you do not pay us.”

Russell:

I’m like, I’m killing myself.

Josh:

To be fair, you do get a tax break.

Russell:

Yeah. But especially when they’re first born, they’re cute and you get lots but they’re in the selfish space now where you’re giving a hundred percent and they’re not giving back. Other than they giggle and cute and you’re like, “Oh, so cute.” But for the most part, you get this time where you’re selfish and then it’s like, “Oh, I’m serving someone else, but they’re serving me.” And amazing, then all of a sudden it’s a hundred percent service there. And I think that that’s a good point. Hank Rearden had only done this thing. And then, he never had a chance to like, a hundred percent serve somebody else and see what that’s like. Because the value you get as a parent is when you serve a hundred percent of kids and you see like who they become, that’s the value. But it doesn’t come from the quid pro quo that you normally get with like, “I’m going to buy this thing or pay for this thing.”

Josh:

Right.

Russell:

It’s like, “I’m gonna serve, and serve, and serve.” And eventually hope that someday they turn out to be cool.

Josh:

Yeah. And that’s a super interesting point. And maybe that’s why she left that part out of it because she was like, “None of these people would ever have kids-”

Russell:

And she didn’t have kids, so that’s a big… that might be the part, she’s never seen that. At least not that I’m aware of, I’m pretty sure-

Josh:

That’s crazy. Because going through I’m like, “This book I think would mean so much diff…” So when I first read it, like I said, whenever I first learned about this, back in high school, right. I read it. I hated reading. I publicly declared, and it’s actually funny. When I graduated high school, I bought myself a pickup truck, I stood on the top of the pickup truck and I publicly declared to the world, I would never read another book ever again in life. I hated reading. So that’s funny because now I’m reading 1200 page books and I’ve read every one of those books back there.

It didn’t really take on the same effect as now, being an entrepreneur, being someone at… Like at one point I had five employees and I’m 26 years old. So now I’m reading it and I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” But if I read it with kids, I feel like that would even give you a completely different perspective on like… How has having kids changed your… Because you’re an entrepreneur basically from day one, right? You never really had a job. Right?

Russell:

I’ve served tables and stuff, I didn’t have a job more than three months.

Josh:

Okay. So you’re, you’re a failure in the normal society, right? You can’t hold a job, you get fired for… But how’s having kids and having to balance… Because man, like, dude, you’re running a… ClickFunnels is a billion dollar company. Right? We’re allowed to say that? Like that’s a thing, right? Like roughly, I’m not off on that. All right.

Russell:

The value is based what you will pay for so hopefully somebody pays that some day.

Josh:

So we’re going to say a billion dollar company. So you’re running this billion dollar company, you’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars, you’ve been payed a million dollars an hour from stage before… By the way, big props, congratulations. How has balancing work now with that, with the kids growing up, I feel like now they’re at, because you’re oldest is what, 12, 14 or 15. Right? So how has that changed the way that you view your work? Do you struggle with that? Like the balance.

Russell:

Yeah. Especially now with COVID stuff happening. Kids being homeschooled. Because before it was easy to separate because they’re going to school, I’m going to here. Separation is easy. Now it’s harder because it’s they’re still home. And it’s like, “Oh, should I be there?” It’s definitely tough. Yeah. It’s interesting. I have so many entrepreneur friends, I always tease them because it’s like, who don’t have any kids and they’re doing amazing things. I’m like, “Yeah. But I’m doing this stuff and I got five kids and a beautiful wife and I got callings in my church.” And there’s so many things.

I hired a trainer, Dave knows a safe trainer. I remember when he started working with us, he said the biggest thing he knows me start working with me is that you’ll be shocked what your body can actually endure. I think that most people don’t understand what they could actually do. How do you run a company this big and have a family and have a successful marriage and have these… You can do it, and most people don’t because they sedate. And like, I don’t watch four hours of football a night because I have all these other things. Right. I don’t know, it’s just you take away the excuse of sedation you can produce so much more than people are able to understand. I don’t know.

So it’s interesting. And then it’s been such a weird thing too, with kids, because I think when you first start having kids, you assume they’re all going to be like you. Like, “Oh, they’re all going to be entrepreneurs.” And then I had twins, it was crazy, our first two that came out are twins. Now they’re 14, almost 15. It’s crazy because I assumed they’d all be the same, the same as me or the same together. And they are so polar opposites.

Josh:

Yeah, I didn’t even know, I just found out today that they were twins. I had no clue. Colette’s like, “Yeah they’re both turning 15.” I’m like, “Wait, what?”

Russell:

Yeah. They don’t look like each other, they don’t act like each other. One’s more entrepreneurial. One’s more, if you look at disc profile, I have a DI and we have an SC.

Josh:

Oh my God.

Russell:

Introvert, extrovert. All the things are different. And I always thought, you know, my kids are going to be entrepreneurs like me and now I don’t think they have to be. It goes back to what we talked about earlier. With my kids, I’m like, “What do you want to do?” And I think some of my kids are very entrepreneurial, a lot of them aren’t. I think some of my kids are super smart, hard workers who are going to be amazing at the roles they play in something, they’re going to be a huge part of changing somebody’s world, but it’s not going to be the front person of it.

And so it’s been interesting watching that and fulfilling and hard and it’s all the things wrapped into one. It’s an interesting experience, you’re going to love it. You should start having kids right away.

Josh:

Yeah. That’s not going to happen. But why though?

Russell:

Because you should know, it takes time.

Josh:

Okay. But how long did you go? How long did you wait?

Russell:

Uh, two? Let’s see, we had our 18 year anniversary, the kids are turning 15. So almost three years. We tried earlier, but we had fertility drugs, stuff like that and everything, But yeah, so about probably two years and when started trying.

Josh:

Yeah. I can’t… Kids scare me dude. But it’s interesting because like I grew up with six younger siblings. So I was definitely old enough to remember the whole diaper phase and like, you know… Obviously I wasn’t a parent with it. And the church that I went to, eight was like average to small amount of kids. A lot of them were like 13 kids, 12 kids, 14 kids, whatever. I think the smallest in our whole church was four, and they were the weird ones.

Russell:

“You only have four kids? What’s wrong with you?”

Josh:

Right. And so everywhere we went, that’s just what it was. So for me, I had that rebellion phase, if you will. I don’t want to call it rebellion phase, but where I was like, “I don’t want any of this. Why would you… They’re expensive and they suck all the time. And I can’t go do this.” I’m like, “I want to be so filthy read before I go having kids.” And I taught Sunday school and was very involved in the church growing up and things like that. So for me it was like, “I want to go build my business, doing that is more fun.”

The interesting thing about kids. And I told my parents this, I don’t remember when it was, but my parents aren’t super wealthy or successful when it comes to business or anything like that. But I look at my parents as some of the most successful people that I’ve ever met in my life, because my mom’s favorite… There’s little things that my mom told me over and over and over again.

And one of her famous lines is, “The only thing I need to know in life is I just need to know that my children walk in truth.” Right. And my mom, particularly, and my dad too, like both of them, but I relate it with my mom, cause she’d keep saying it, it’s like my mom’s definition of success and achievement was, “Do my children walk in truth?” That is what was success to her. And she’s like, “Yeah, money would have been great, like all these different things.” But that was kind of the pinnacle of success for her is, do my kids walk in truth. And so as I have gone through my own journey of faith, which has been, I mean, it has been rough at times, right?

I’ve watched her struggle with it and freak out because she’s like, “I just want…” But that’s not her journey to bear, but it is at the same time. And so it’s always been interesting, kids are this thing where I feel like once I have them, obviously I’m there for the rest of my life, but I feel like there’s this stress or there’s this new piece of my life that’s unlocked that I’ve never explored before. I don’t know anything about it. And I’m like, afraid isn’t the right word, but I’m pushing that off as long as I possibly can because once that’s opened then I never get to close it again. And that mystery is almost fun to like look forward to, but at the same time, I get to focus over here.

Russell:

Essentially I remember thinking about this a lot, especially for the first two years. I was like, “his is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.” Flat out, way harder. But also remember feeling and thinking out loud, “This is so much cooler than I ever dreamt it was going to be.” Like this double-edged sword. And I was like, “Man, I didn’t realize how tired and worn out.” And all these things. But then so much better than I thought. It’s funny. Cause I had a lot of friends who are like, “well, I want to make money, and then I’ll have kids”. I don’t think, I don’t know. It’s different. I would just have kids, you can do both. It’s not impossible. Especially when they’re first born, they just sit there. I would spend a year or two and just not-

Josh:

Right, right, right.

Russell:

But I wouldn’t wait until like, “Oh, I need a million bucks in the bank.” I get people all the time, I know people that are broke, that have eight kids. They’re not that expensive. Like, Cheerios are not that expensive, if you need to. It’s just being willing to be there and be loving and be being present for as much as you can. Another thing that’s been interesting, especially now that our kids are going to be teenagers, it’s like so much harder. That’s harder.

Josh:

Really that’s harder than when they’re young.

Russell:

Oh, for sure. Yeah.

Josh:

Dave’s over here just laughing.

Russell:

It’s different-

Josh:

Oh gosh. What am I in for Dave? Oh no.

Russell:

Yeah. The young part is like, “I’m tired.” That’s a hard part when they’re young. When they’re older, it’s just like, am I messing these kids up, I just want them to be successful. That’s the bigger fear. I remember a little thing that gave me some grace, Tom Bilyeu, I heard of this Instagram post about him talking about being a parent, and it was so funny because he’s like, “Who here is scared that you’re going to eff up your kids?” That was how he would have said it.

Josh:

Right, yeah.

Russell:

I would say “mess up”. Who’s gonna mess up your kids. And everyone’s hands like, “Yeah. I’m scared.” He’s like, “Guess what?…” I got to make sure I gets right. He’s like, “My parents messed me up. You’re going to mess your kids up. But guess what? We turned out okay in the end. Just be okay with the fact that you’re going to mess your kids up because you are.” And I remember, I was like, “Okay, everyone messed up their kids, that’s part of it.” That’s part of the whole journey, that’s the journey. And it gave me some grace of just like, “Look, I’m going to do my best. I’m probably going to mess them up.” But at the same time you have to have faith, they’re going to do their thing and they’re going to hopefully make the decisions. And if not, that’s why we have God. That’s why we have repentance. And just in the kind of leaving it to leave it to him and do your best.

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