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My brother, Ryan, was in town to visit.

We were sitting on the couch having this great conversation when I asked him, “How would you feel about having this conversation on the microphones and sharing it?”

He chuckled and said he thought I’d ask that.

It’s a very serious conversation about who your friends are, who you hang out with, and who is worthy of your time. You can’t be close friends with everyone.

It’s also a conversation about the power of your words.

Here’s how Ryan puts it: “Everywhere I go, the relationships I have, the people I speak to, I have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the way that they see life and the way they treat other people.”

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • It’s our responsibility in every waking moment of every day to choose what our response will be to any given situation.
  • People often react to things instead of responding.
  • The space between a stimuli and a reaction can be as long as you choose to take to decide how you’re going to respond to a situation.
  • People are looking to you for how to feel.
  • You have the ability to change someone’s life in every single conversation that you have.
  • Everything you say for good or for worse is going to have a profound and lasting impact.
  • What you focus on, dwell upon, write about, and talk about is what you’re going to exhibit in your life.
  • If you greet someone with an enthusiastic smile, and you’re warm and inviting, people will attach the feeling they had to you.
  • There has to be a positive influence that offsets the negativity in your life.
  • You can’t be close friends with everyone—you have to be intentional with who’s worthy of your time.
  • Your mindset will tend to deviate toward the people you surround yourself with.

You can Follow Ryan on Twitter.
Subscribe to RyanMcCabeMusic on YouTube.

Show Notes
  • 02:38 Sean: Ryan, my younger brother is on the show today. Ryan and I are about two years apart in age, so we grew up together. We had our fights when we were younger but we really grew into the best of friends. It’s unfortunate that he lives five hours away.
  • 03:44 Ryan: At the same time, I think there’s a richness and a deeper appreciation when you live far away from those that you love. Not that that’s ideal, but it makes the time you do get together sweeter and more enjoyable because it’s so invaluable. You make the most of it.
  • 04:11 Sean: I agree. It’s always great to see you. Even more than Ryan’s musical talent, what stands out to me is his mindset. You have a very good mindset. One of the best of anyone that I know—it’s very positive, focused, and encouraging. You take responsibility. Over Christmas break, you were telling me that you’d wake up in the morning and think, “I’m only going to speak positive things today.” Can you explain a little more about that, Ryan?

Happiness Is a Choice

  • 04:53 Ryan: A lot of people are probably familiar with this quote but I forgot about it and ran across it two days ago: Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. For a good while I was able to live that out. I saw the effects of it and I decided that I was going to be happy, that no matter what happened in my life, whatever the circumstances were, I would choose to be joyful and positive. Somewhere along the way I had lost that mentality and I was reminded of that again recently. I saw in my day-to-day work and in my relationships there was a lot of me that wasn’t content or satisfied and my mindset wasn’t in the place it needed to be. There was a lot of negativity and a lot of focusing on the problem and not on the solution. Ultimately, it comes down to a personal responsibility.

It’s our responsibility in every waking moment of every day to choose what our response will be to any given situation.

  • 06:08 That’s what I decided to take to heart. I was meeting with a couple of friends of mine that were helping instill that idea into me and it was something where I had to actually say, “I’m going to be positive and happy.” I work in dispatch with high volume phone calls in stressful situations. If anything goes wrong, people are chewing you out left and right, so it’s very easy to get in over your head, get overwhelmed, and react to a situation instead of thoughtfully responding to it.
  • 06:44 I wanted to eliminate knee-jerk reactions of negativity and the only way to truly do that is to have a plan. If you wake up every day and you write it out, speak it out, talk with someone else about it, and you say, “My response is always going to be one filled with hope, positivity, and encouragement. I’ll identify what the problem is but once that’s done, I’ll focus on what the solution is.” As soon as I adopted that mindset again, I truly saw a complete flip within a couple of days in the way I approached not only work, but my personal life. I saw a huge turnaround. I need to give a shout out to another one of our brothers, Cory, here, because he has really inspired me in this way. If something goes wrong, whether it’s a car breaking down or what, he has this easy going mentality of, “It’s already happened, let’s figure out what we can do from this point on.” It really is as simple as that.
  • 07:53 Sean: It’s funny because it took me a moment to get that with him working here. It’s funny because I operate the same way, but most people don’t so I don’t immediately recognize it when other people are like that. Cory and I have had instances where something goes wrong or we lose footage and I almost expect him to be more upset. You almost think, “Do you not realize the weight of the situation?” because you’re so used to people reacting. This is the situation and reacting to it isn’t going to solve the problem or make it better—we can only move forward from here.
  • 08:38 Ryan used the word “choose”. You choose how to respond to a situation and so many people react to things instead of responding. I was reading a book of positive quotes I got for Christmas and I came across one quote that I don’t remember who it was attributed to or how it was worded, but that most people don’t recognize the space between an event happening and you responding to it. They see it as being jammed up against each other: there’s the stimuli and there’s the reaction. It’s, “I did this because that.” There’s no acknowledging the space in between.

The space between a stimuli and a reaction can be as long as you choose to take to decide how you’re going to respond to a situation.

  • 09:36 Ryan: I think what’s important that you highlighted there is that it’s a choice. Anytime something happens, it’s our choice how we respond. As soon as you say, “I did this because someone else provoked me to do it,” or, “They made me do that,” or you try to shift the blame onto the circumstance, you surrender your personal responsibility. You shift the blame outwardly instead of focusing on being the master of yourself and controlling how you respond to a situation. You set the tone. When I walk into a room and something goes wrong, whether you realize it or not, people are always watching you. First impressions are huge, but even after that, people are constantly subconsciously looking at you and formulating an opinion of you based on the words you speak, your demeanor, and your response or reaction to an event.

We Look to Others for How to Feel

  • 10:41 It’s incredibly important to realize, first and foremost, that other people take note of how you respond to a situation and that your response to a situation can set the tone around you. For instance, when I started working in the dispatch job I have now, I went in there and there was a lot of negativity, deception, and lies. I was encouraged and heavily pressured to buy into that culture of, “Things are always going to go wrong. It’s the industry, get used to it.” If something went wrong, there was no personal responsibility—if something went wrong, I was told to lie about it. I said no! I challenged that. I became a trend follower setter instead of a trend follower.
  • 11:42 It took time, but over the course of a year, I completely flipped the culture, expectation, and the integrity levels of that team working there. These were people who had already been working there a long time and they were trying to suck me into that environment. I decided to not follow that trend. I said, “We’re going to expect the best. We’re going to prepare for the best. If something comes up, we’ll find the solution. We’re always going to expect the best and we’re going to be honest about the way we handle things. We’re not going to react emotionally about these things.” Frankly, our job exists because there will be problems. To have that mindset going in, you realize it’s your responsibility and it’s your responsibility to do it well.

We are the facilitators of the solution.

  • 12:45 Sean: What do you see as the difference between someone that is a trend follower and a trend setter?
  • 12:52 Ryan: People who set trends are confident and in order to have confidence, you have to believe in yourself. It sounds cliché, but you have to believe that the words you speak and the things you say are important, and that other people are listening and that they should listen. For me to go in there and attempt to reverse that culture, I had to believe in what I was saying. I had to believe that I had the authority and that other people should respect my opinion. It’s the old adage “you fake till you make it,” but if you believe that you’re confident, people will look to you as an authority. If you are confident, people will respect that. I think the difference between being a trend setter and a trend follower boils down to confidence and knowing what you say has value. You have to believe that.

The Power of Your Words

  • 13:58 Sean: Earlier we were talking about the power of your words and you were saying that you have the ability to change someone’s life in every single conversation that you have. How does that mindset affect the way you approach how you interact with other people?
  • 14:26 Ryan: It effects my mindset by realizing that everywhere I go, the relationships I have, the people I speak to, I have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the way that they see life and the way they treat other people. There’s always an opportunity to change someone’s mindset. I know there have been several key conversations with various people, Sean being one of them, where through the course of one conversation—be it 30 minutes or several hours—they were able to make a lasting impact on me that’s lasted years and decades.
  • 15:18 It’s shaped and changed who I am as a person and it’s allowed me to step into the realm of confidence and believing that what I have to say is important. I realized that those people spoke into my life and had a profound and lasting impact. Why is that? How did they achieve that level of influence in my life? I found that was because I believed what they said was important. I had to ask myself further, why did I believe that? It’s because they believed it themselves. When you look at the root issue, it’s because they spoke with an authority. There was no, “I think…” When you speak with an authority, you have the opportunity to make a change in someone’s life.
  • 16:27 I met up with a friend last night and we were talking about different things that were going on in our lives. We were catching up, but we were also being intentional about how we were talking about things. The focus is always to improve, better someone else’s life, and to enrich the relationship. He sent me a message this morning that said, “I truly believe that the conversation we had last night has changed my life.” I’ve only had a handful of people ever say that to me. When someone tells you that, you realize that every opportunity you have to speak with someone could literally alter the destiny of their life based on the words you speak. When you realize you have that power and level of influence, you realize what you say is extremely important.

Everything you say for good or for worse is going to have a profound and lasting impact.

  • 17:53 When you realize that your words are powerful, you carry yourself in a different way because you realize you have the ability to build or create and the ability to tear down. There are people who’s lives are in the balance depending on how you carry yourself. I look back on the relationships with people who I’ve had conversations with that have changed the course of my life, and I’m so thankful those people took the time to invest in my life. When someone has invested into your life and you truly have an appreciation for that, you’re able to take in what they’ve taught you and share it with other people. One guy spoke with me and said, “If I’m able to impact one person in a profound way, then I’ve done my job and that’s all that matters.”
  • 18:56 Sean: You mention that if you impact one life, you can impact many lives, and just as you had a conversation with your friend yesterday, just as we’ve had conversations, you are impacting those people, you’re altering the course of their life. It is true that if you have an impact on one person, that’s what matters. Ryan just came over to hang out and all this happened, but earlier I was asking him if he’d thought about sharing all of this. I don’t know what it would look like, but I would follow a SnapChat, YouTube, or Twitter of Ryan’s that was some kind of positive message delivery.
  • 19:45 I like the way you think. I like your mindset and if I had a message from you every day that was like, “Take responsibility for this day and speak positively to people,” even if it was 10 seconds, I would like that and I can tell other people would too. That’s part of why I started doing a podcast and sharing this kind of stuff, because I absolutely believe that if you impact one person, that’s monumental, but why not impact more people? We have the internet and the replicating abilities of media to reach more people. We were already having this conversation and I just asked Ryan if he wanted to share the rest of our conversation. He said yes, but he also said something else.
  • 20:44 Ryan: I don’t know what to make of it yet, but yesterday I was driving down to San Antonio—I knew I’d be seeing Sean—and I had this knowing that Sean was going to ask me to go on the air with him. I told myself that I needed to mentally prepare for this and be ready. I’ve had a couple of instances like that where I’ve had a gut feeling that I’ve acted on because it was there for a reason. I was surprised when you asked me and even though I knew to expect it, I didn’t think it would happen. It’s hard to explain.
  • 22:07 Sean: My thought was that you could share this message of positivity with people more than just the one-on-one conversations that you’re having and yes, that would be beneficial to other people, but you’re also trying to build up an audience for your music as well. Music is a form of art and it can be difficult to get traction with art in the beginning. You might do fan art or popular covers because people are drawn to that, but then you create originals. You have to appreciate the art behind originals and invest time. My thought was that you have a great mindset and a great message here, what if you were to project that and share that with people? I think people will respond to that and they’ll get on board, and through that, they’ll come to appreciate you and then I think they’ll end up discovering the music. I think they’ll appreciate the music because you made it, because they are about you. What are your thoughts on that?

Written Word Has Lasting Power

  • 23:40 Ryan: I think what’s unique and powerful about getting a message out there is that sometimes, even when you don’t necessarily fully believe something, when you attempt to teach it and implement it in your life, there’s something that solidifies in your brain and it increases your resolve even more. It goes back to what Sean says about the Magic of 7—it solidifies in your brain after seven times. It also gives you a level of accountability because if you’re speaking about these things, it gives you the responsibility to make sure you’re living up to it yourself—nobody wants to be a hypocrite. It’s not only the responsibility and accountability with close friends, but if you’re posting it on the internet, it’s for anyone to see. You realize that everything you say is going to have weight in the sense that you’re now obligated to back that up.

We often back down from opportunities because we’re afraid to hold ourself to a standard.

  • 24:56 I’ve seen it in my work. Certain customers we work with will ask for updates and in the beginning, I would try to find a way to dodge that. I would shy away from that responsibility because I was nervous in that new environment. Over time, when I started recognizing that behavior, I realized there was an opportunity for me to make a stand-out example of how to offer good customer service and how to be intentional with commitments that you make. I actually started looking for opportunities and I would tell people, “Hey, I’m going to do this,” just to create that opportunity to follow up on and to impress someone. Anything I committed to, I would write it down so I didn’t lose track of it—put a reminder on your phone or write it down. If someone would ask for something to be done or I volunteered it, I tracked it to make sure I followed through on it.
  • 26:02 Sean: Have you written down anything that has affected what the outcome was? What’s an example of something you wrote down that later had some kind of significant impact? Start with personal, but if you have business examples, that would be good too.
  • 26:25 Ryan: Personally, I find that I can say things and talk about them, but especially what I write down has a lasting power. For example, I met up with a friend once, and we had a great conversation, but at the end he told me I was looking too serious. He gave me a pat on the shoulder and told me to lighten up. I went home that night and I wrote down, “I want to be known as someone who’s incredibly joyful. I want to be a joyful person. I want it to be contagious. I want there to be laughter. I want there to be a good time wherever I go and I want people to see that. I want people to be affected by it.” It was simple, but I took the time to write down who I wanted to be. Within a few hours, I found that what I had written down and focused on became my reality. Someone had commented to me, “Man, you just can’t stop smiling and laughing tonight.” You could say it’s because I wrote it down before.

What you focus on, dwell upon, write about, and talk about is what you’re going to exhibit in your life.

  • 28:06 It was something I saw the effects of in just a matter of hours. There are multiple other examples I could draw upon, but the point I want to make is that I truly believe that you can write your own destiny. I know I’ve seen the effects of it in my life and that whatever you focus on, that’s what you will become.

The Power of Relationship

  • 28:34 Sean: You said that people really like working with you at your work and companies that work with the company you work for. Why do you think they love it?
  • 28:55 Ryan: They love it because there’s an attention to detail and they know that whatever I take care of for them is going to be taken care of and it’s going to be taken care of well, and if there’s any issues, it will be communicated. Also, it goes with integrity. When you’re upfront and honest with people, you start to build a track record. The industry I work in is incredibly competitive with rates and money. If you say you can do something for $400 and someone else says they’ll do it for $300, you’ll lose the sale. That being said, I’ve had people cold call me out of the blue and offer me more money than the market rate because they said they know it will be taken care of well: “I want to book with Ryan McCabe because I know he’s going to bring a level of professionalism, honesty, and integrity, and make sure that it’s taken care of.” It comes down to trust.
  • 30:01 Sean: That’s the power of relationship. You don’t have to compete on a commodity level.
  • 30:08 Ryan: One thing that our CEO preaches is that business moves at the speed of trust. I love that. If people trust you, then they’ll continue to give you their business. That goes for personal application as well. If you have friends that can trust you, they know that if they share something with you, that you’re going to treat it with respect and you’re going to give advice on it to the best of your ability if it’s needed. They also know that anything they share with you is in confidence. Trust is huge for business or personally. I’ll never forget the couple of times I’ve quoted someone on something—like $750—and he said, “You know what? I’m going to give you $850.” That just doesn’t happen!
  • 31:08 He said, “You guys do such a great job, I’m going to give you more than what you asked for.” Why did he say that? Because it boils down to trust. That was the moment I realized that everything I’ve been working towards achieving at my workplace was coming into fruition and that not only had I made a difference in the way we had been operating, but it had made a difference in how people perceive us. It becomes not negotiating on a commodity basis, like you said, it becomes, “We want to give it to you and nobody else,” and they call us directly to take care of it instead of posting it in the market. That’s power.
  • 31:49 Sean: That’s huge. Everyone is always trying to compete. They’re looking at what other people are offering, charging, pricing, and how that can be undercut. What you’re describing sounds so much more appealing in the end, who wouldn’t want someone to say, “I want to work with you specifically?” You give them a price that’s higher than the market average and they pay you even more. Why would you not want that? It takes a lot of investment, operating with integrity, over-delivering, paying attention to details, and caring about people. I’m assuming it’s more than just you taking care of the details and doing your job well. Do you invest in the person? Do you talk with them personally, like ask them how they’re doing? How do you handle the relationship with the people you do business with?
  • 32:51 Ryan: The relationship is extremely important. There has to be a balance. There are some days you’re so focused and you’re so busy with work that you have to be off the phone calls quickly, otherwise you won’t have a productive day, but at the same time it’s important to recognize that the people you’re working with are human. They’re individuals, they’re unique in their own way, and there’s always an opportunity for you to invest in them and relate to them. You find the niches that each person is interested in.
  • 33:30 I work with so many different brokers on regularly that I’m on a first name basis with. We know each other’s general tendencies and we joke together. The aim is to create an enjoyable experience. I was talking with a friend about first impressions recently and something that came up was:

If you greet someone with an enthusiastic smile, and you’re warm and inviting, people will attach the feeling they had to you.

  • 35:02 They’ll say, “Ryan equals happiness, warmth, and joy. I know when I speak to him, those are the feelings I’m going to get.” Find a way to make a positive, fun, and welcoming environment so that people want to come back because it’s a good place to be.

Audit Who Surrounds You

  • 34:46 Sean: How important is the group of people you choose to spend time with? Do you audit your friendship circles for people who have good or bad mindsets in your opinion, and do you intentionally spend time with people who you perceive to have a good mindset? How do you balance that with the time you invest in others who maybe aren’t quite at that level yet?
  • 35:13 Ryan: You have to strike a balance. It’s a requirement at this point in my life that my inner group of friends have to be people that motivate me, inspire me, encourage me, and correct me. That last one is actually really important. You need people that you trust and give access to to correct you when you need correction and also maybe when you don’t ask for it. That takes a dose of humility and trust but it’s extremely important. For the people that I grant access to in my life, it’s imperative that they have that same mindset. Similar to the studies people run about your salary being like the average of the five closest people around you, unless you’re really strong and investing in people that need help, I believe:

Your mindset will tend to deviate toward the people you surround yourself with.

  • 36:22 It’s the old adage “garbage in, garbage out.” If you have people in your life that are constantly speaking negatively and you’re allowing yourself to engage in that, unfortunately, that’s the characteristics you’re going to start to exhibit. It’ll be gradual at first, but then you’ll wake up one day and say, “When did I start thinking like this?” I have to catch myself at work because there are very negative people that I work with. Our brother Caleb actually works with me in a different department and I’m thankful for him. I told him, “If I’m saying something or not carrying myself in the way I need to be, I expect you to call me out on it.” He’ll catch me when I’m saying something that someone else says in an attempt to relate to them, but it’s in the wrong way. I’m going down to their level instead of bringing them up to the level we should be at.
  • 37:53 I’ll say a phrase and it’s not the words I want to be speaking and I look up to find Caleb staring at me with this drilling look. It’s comical, but I can tell it’s also very serious. He’s staring into me saying, without saying a word, “What are you doing right now?” and immediately I’m corrected, as I should be. As soon as those words come out, he’s correcting me with a single glance. That’s why it’s important to know what your standards are, to know what you expect of yourself, and of the people around you so that when you deviate from those standards, you recognize it and you make it a point to right yourself.
  • 38:55 Sean: I also subscribe to what you mentioned about being the average of the five people around you. If I’m taking this and hearing that you’re around negative people in your job, yet you have the mindset that you do, logic dictates there’s got to be a pretty strong influence on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. There has to be a very strong positive influence (Related: e249 Who Are You Positioning Yourself Around? (and 3 Things You Should Stop Doing Immediately)). It’s the people you put yourself around, but I would include podcasts with that too. You can have a relationship with someone over the phone, meet in person, or listen to their podcast. I include podcasts in that. There has to be a positive influence that offsets the negativity, so for you, where do you find that? Is it people, is it resources?
  • 40:03 Ryan: Initially it was on a personal level. It was something that I said to myself, “This is something I have to write down, say out loud, and set the standard for.” It’s important to have that standard that says, “This is who I am and I don’t deviate from it.” It’s a very intentional and focused decision. That being said, you’re correct in saying if you’re constantly surrounded by negativity, there has to be something else balancing that out and I’ve realized that. I combat that primarily through personal one-on-one friendships, connections, and conversations. There’s a group of four individuals that I’ve made a point to be around and make sure that I’m drawing from their positivity, while I also give back to them. I focus on making sure it’s a two way street there. It has to be intentional. I seek out those relationships to invest in. You can listen to podcasts, like I listen to Sean’s podcast, you can listen to people speak, and have conversations. You can even read to shape your mindset.
  • 41:31 It comes down to: what is the content you’re consuming? For me, primarily it’s been friendships and one-on-one connections. It goes back to what you were saying earlier, Sean, you want to reach the most people by having an internet presence and being able to reach multiple people. I like that, but there’s still something really powerful about having a face-to-face connection. It’s a two-way street that way. You can glean from a YouTube video or podcast, but that one-on-one feedback is why there’s consultants. We pay a premium to pay a consultant, otherwise we just read a book about it. When you get that personalized, one-on-one, individualized feedback, it’s invaluable. For you to take a personal or business thing you’re going through and say, “Here’s how I’m approaching this situation. How can I improve?” then iron sharpens iron. You feed off of that.
  • 42:40 Sean: I completely agree. There’s nothing like the one-on-one interaction. You’ve talked to me about how people have influence in your life and they invest their time very intentionally. The people that have invested in you see you as a worthy investment of their time and I think you operate in a similar manner, as do I. I am not going to waste an ounce of energy on the wrong people. I’m not going to try to convert the wrong type of person. I’m going to put all my energy in the person with the most potential. If I’m giving someone my time, I see them as a worthy investment.
  • 43:39 I see them as someone who’s worth me spending personalized time. Where the podcast and other forms of media come into play is putting this media out attracts a certain kind of person, someone who is resonating with that message, and it actually makes it easier for me to identify people who are worth investments of my time. It attracts candidates for me investing one-on-one. I still hold the one-on-one with high regard, but I basically use this to get out 90% of the quality of a one-on-one interaction and then find the people I can give that attention to. It doesn’t have to be the exclusion of those one-on-one interactions. It’s almost like you might as well give the world some of that.
  • 44:42 Ryan: It’s a worthy addition. I didn’t mean to undermine that by any means, I just want to highlight the importance of a one-on-one connection because I’ve seen it have such an impact on my life. It’s completely focused and when you have those moments where you can affect someone’s life, you can’t pass them up. I’m thankful I’ve been able to receive and benefit from those conversations and I’m thankful I’ve been able to give that to other people. I do agree though, that the next step for me is to get that out on the internet, whatever medium it is. It creates accountability like we talked about earlier.

Levels of Friendship

  • 45:32 Sean: Just a few years ago you told me that everyone should have equal access to you and equal access to your time, but in recent years that’s changed. You said you see the value in allowing certain levels of access to you and your time. If you think of the people you allow into your life, the people you give that one-on-one attention to, as a small circle around you, you have that influence right there.
  • 46:00 Then, you have a second circle a little bit outside of it, like a dart board, and that circle has a bigger area—it’s a bigger influence. It’s not quite one-on-one, but maybe it’s the friends you hang out with in a group. Out from that circle, maybe people who hear you speak at an event, and out from that, you have yet another bigger circle. The actual area of that large circle could be huge, especially with the internet. Am I on track with this idea of levels of access to you?
  • 47:05 Ryan: Going back about five years, when I said that, I had this well-intentioned but naive belief that everyone should have the same level of access to me. To give perspective on why I thought that growing up, we were raised well and we were taught to be honest. I carried that over and said, “Well, as long as I’m living the life I should be, being honest with people, if anyone needs to know anything about me or if they can learn anything about me, I can share whatever people need to know.” If anyone needed to ask me a question, for the most part I would tell them about it. However, that’s not sustainable.

You can’t be close friends with everyone—you have to be intentional with who’s worthy of your time.

  • 48:09 Say for instance I share something that’s really important to me with you directly, but if I choose to broadcast that to the world, that effectively reduces the level of intimacy there. It’s no longer special or sacred—it’s available for whoever wants it. For me, it was important to manage my friendships and place them in tiers. The things you share should be shared in confidence and the only way you can do that is to know that you can trust those people.
  • 48:45 Sean: Are we still talking about how you thought before or are you describing this currently?
  • 48:50 Ryan: I transitioned somewhere in there. I thought before that everyone should have equal levels of access to me. Now, I realize that there should be levels of intimacy.
  • 49:02 Sean: If I can drill down on the intimacy thing: I see podcasts as an intimate form of media and connection with people. Except for your significant other, who else do you allow three inches from your ear? The way people are hearing us is exactly the same as if you were hearing someone a few inches away from your ear, because we are as many inches away from this microphone and people have earbuds in. The message I’m saying, the conversation we’re having, is one that we were having on the couch just a few moments ago. We were having the same conversation. You could say maybe it’s not quite the same conversation, but I wonder if there is actually intimacy that can happen at scale. Does the scale completely negate the level of intimacy?
  • 50:06 Ryan: It doesn’t negate it if you don’t let it negate it. If you intend to be intimate and release all this information to whoever is able to tune into your podcast, then yes, you can be intimate on a large scale. To give clarification though, the conversation I was having with Sean earlier was more specific. The details and circumstances I shared with Sean I would not feel comfortable blasting to the public. I can relay the lesson that was learned from an experience or generalize and give nuggets of wisdom. As I mentioned earlier, details shared in confidence are expected to stay with you./li>
  • 50:45 Friendship is a privilege, so when people share things with you, it’s to be expected. Unless they encourage you to pass it on, it should stay with you. In saying that, I believe you can create a personal and intimate way of sharing over the internet, but not everything should be shared that way. It’s important to be selective with what you share and know what’s appropriate for the given audience. I wouldn’t share details of my situation over the air, but that’s me. There’s no right or wrong way.

Friends & Family

  • 51:36 Sean: Sarah has a question for you, “Ryan, do you encourage people to burn bridges with bad influences? What about when it’s family members?”
  • 52:06 Ryan: I can’t give a hard answer on the first question. I think it’s situational. It depends on who you are as a person. I know the place I was a year ago, if there was a bad influence in my life, them being in my life would bring me down more than I would be able to mentally and emotionally pull them up with me.
  • 52:33 Sean: I think of it as someone being in a hole, they have gravity on their side.
  • 52:38 Ryan: It’s important to identify and know what your mental fortitude is as an individual. Each person needs to know that for themselves. When you’re around this person, are you the one influencing them, or do you notice they’re the ones influencing you? If you’re able to answer that question, then there’s your answer. If you’re able to still hold the standard you have and carry yourself in a way that doesn’t change, and you’re able to make a lasting impact on their life, then absolutely it’s worth it.
  • 53:15 There are people in my life that I don’t want to emulate how they’re living their lives, but I allow myself to be in their life to a degree, and not on that intimate level, because I believe there’s things I can give to them. I can inspire, encourage, and motivate them in a positive way. The moment that becomes damaging to you, becomes too much, or it effects you emotionally, I think that’s when you need to take a step back and realize it’s effecting you in a negative way more than you’re able to pull them up in a positive way.
  • 53:53 Sean: I’m going to present a contrary perspective and see what you think. I think it’s a given that people who are bad influences are influencing you. Everyone influences you. If you’re spending time around someone, they do influence you. If you have the mental fortitude, it may be to a lesser degree. I’m ruthless, I just cut bad influences out. Nip it in the bud. I have zero energy for that. I can help more people that want to be helped rather than move this person who doesn’t want to be helped one notch closer and still leave them in a bad place. I cut people out, but if it’s family or a relationship I care about, I try not to jump to cutting them out.

If you don’t want to cut a negative person out of your life, limit the time you spend with them and offset that negativity by 5 times the positivity.

  • 55:08 Ryan: To follow up on the family question, again this depends on the importance of that relationship to you, so for family that’s relatively high. I handle this by realizing nobody is ever going to be perfect or always open to receiving instruction, but if the relationship is important enough, I believe in the concept of unconditional love. If they’re family, you may deem them to be some of the select few people whose lives you’ll continue to be in no matter what. This goes back to a conversation we had earlier about what kinds of commitments you want to make in relationships, addressing questions like, can people burn you, when should you walk away, and how much should you open yourself up to that risk?
  • 56:10 I think that when we show unconditional love to people we deem worthy and we continually invest in them, I believe that’s a worthy investment. Nine times out of 10, even if it’s not a perfect track record, that person cannot help but be effected by the empathy, compassion, and level of dedication to investing in them, whether you’re around to see the results of that or not. If you believe in the things you’re sharing with them, you say them with conviction, and you let them know they’re loved and important. Even if you have to scale back your time with them, if you let them know you’ll always continue to invest in them, there’s very few people who have a hard enough heart that that won’t effect.
  • 57:02 Sean: That conversation you were describing was talking about marriage and relationships before marriage. As I’m thinking about it, the ways I approach a marriage relationship—the commitment, understanding, and the communication—also applies to good friendships. The way I described it was I look for someone with the kind of mindset and openness who can understand the importance of communication to me. What I mean by communication is, in a good relationship, there’s a Vinn Diagram—two overlapping circles—where the overlapping part represents your shared interests and each of the outer crescents represent the interests that don’t eclipse with the other. It’s typically not all the same, there’s some that won’t overlap. In relationships that aren’t very compatible, there’s going ot be very little overlap. You want to at least have some overlap.
  • 58:20 You enjoy the shared interests, but in areas where you are not interested in what the other person is interested in, you should support them. The way Laci and I operate is we have always been enabling. It’s our goal to be supportive and enabling. I think 80% of marriages operate the opposite way, where each person has a trump card, where one person says they want to do something and the other person says no and they lay down their trump card. Then, the other person is like, “Now I get a trump card so when you want to go do something, I get to say no because you didn’t let me do this.” I prefer to see it the other way around, where you give up yourself when you enter into a relationship, more so when it’s a marital one. Even in any good friendship, you’re giving up yourself and saying, “I care about this other person. I want to put them before me.” In a good relationship it’s symbiotic—the other person is also giving up of themselves and putting you first, so that each of you get to enjoy the benefit of that and enjoy the relationship.
  • 1:00:13 Ryan: Especially when you’re talking about marriage or any relationship, it’s not about keeping score or holding the “no” cards. It’s about saying, “What’s important to you?”

People should never have to doubt that what’s important to them is important to the people that love them.

  • 1:00:35 Ryan: If something’s important to someone that I love and loves me, I should know what’s important to them and visa versa. If I’m in a relationship with someone, whatever is important to them need to be important to me and if it’s not, there’s going to be a disconnect there. There’s a pastor at Bethel Church in California named Danny Lee Silk who’s really big on healthy relationships, but one thing I loved that he said was, “The people in close relationships with you should never have any doubt that you love them.” You cannot over-communicate that. If you say, “I love you,” the worst that could happen is they say, “I know, you tell me every day!”
  • 1:01:21 Sean: You can’t say, “I’ll let you know if anything changes.”
  • 1:01:27 Ryan: It’s always important to over-communicate the fact that what’s important to other people is important to you and the fact you love them. That’s the way to keep a healthy relationship going.