#277 – What Did You Learn From…? With Jordan Harbinger

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service on the episode today we have Jordan’s Harbinger, Jordan welcome. Hey, thanks for having me on, man, it is very much my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do. Sure, I run the creatively titled Jordan Harbinger show it’s a podcast that I’ve been running in one form or another for going on 15 plus years now. So one of the original podcasts and I just fell in love with it right away, you know, I really enjoyed talking with people. I enjoyed the conversations, I enjoyed the prepared outline stuff that I’d created, I enjoyed the audience interaction, it was really something that was essentially built for me almost, you know, at every level. Um I did a brief stint in radio after starting podcasting, so I, I thought, oh, this is the next evolution, right. And then I just stayed with podcasting because I thought, you know, radio, you don’t own it, it’s live, there’s callers, they don’t really deeply interact. The guests have to be, remember my station manager saying things like get the guests in and out in 10 to 15 minutes and I thought, I’m, I’m not even warmed up by then, you know, with this person there, there were scratching the surface of pleasantries at that point and maybe getting into some stuff.

I need another hour with this person to really get the good stuff. And so podcasting just sort of always stuck with me for that reason and I think now people finally finally finally finally get it right. Like it’s now a thing where people realize, hey, this is kind of the point, it is supposed to be long format, you are supposed to involve the host in the reeds, you are supposed to make the show a little bit about yourself and not just straight up journalism, it’s just, it’s, it’s just such a delightful mix of, of things that are great for for creators. Well, thank you for the introduction and you touched on pretty much the theme that I’m going to go for in this episode. And it’s a little game, not probably very original, but a little game called what you learned from. And so looking back over your, over your podcast, you’ve interviewed some pretty amazing people. Um And so the first question is Jourdan, what did you learn from?

Shock? Ah So shock. This is gonna be an interesting quiz because I’ve had like 1500 interviews. So it’s like, do you this game should be called, do you remember? Uh But yeah, what I learned from shock actually, he’s a really interesting guy. You wouldn’t say this diplomatically, you wouldn’t necessarily expect that if you don’t care about basketball, you might think, what am I gonna learn from this guy. But I asked him, hey man, you’ve got a career that has had longevity outside the N. B. A. How do you make decisions? And one of the things that he told me that stuck with me for a really long time was he has a panel of people that he trusts that help him make decisions. Now that’s not necessarily terribly original for a business, but for a person, it’s actually a really good idea because he’ll have his old, I want to say is his old basketball coach from high school who just isn’t gonna make any money from him. He just cares about him as a person, probably mentored him when he was young and that guy will say, I think you should do this because this or I don’t think you should do this because of that or I have no opinion on this, but then he’s got his lawyer, he’s got his accountant, but you don’t want to just ask your lawyer whether you should do something because the answer is always no right?

Because you know, you can incur liability, you don’t want to ask your financial planner, your manager, your accountant. However, if you should do something because the answer is always yes because they’re like, well we’re gonna make money doing it. And then he has, I want to say his mom is on the panel, his uncle’s on the panel, so there’s people on there that will say yes, this is lucrative, yes, you might be able to do it without incurring liability, but you’re gonna hate it, it’s stupid, it’s not your style, you’re gonna be bored, you’re gonna think it’s dumb. Other people are gonna think you’re dumb for doing it what It is. And so he can take all of those inputs and weigh them and decide whether he’s going to do something and you still see him doing some things where you think what are you doing man? But the answer is probably making a ton of money, right? That like when you see him doing those insurance ads and you think that can’t be that fun and it’s not that great for your brand. The answer is probably, yeah, but they paid me 50 million bucks, who knows? So I just thought that was a really interesting way to make decisions because if I’m looking and I look at this in my own life, if I let’s say I get a sponsor for the Jordan Harbinger show and it’s something that I don’t necessarily love as a product, but they’re offering me a lot of money.

I’ll bounce it off my wife, I’ll bounce it off my producer, I’ll bounce it off the person who sold the campaign. I’ll bounce it off people at my network podcast one and they’ll each have different inputs. They might say this is a pretty lucrative campaign, you should do it. Somebody else might say you’re gonna feel like an idiot for doing it. So I’m able to weigh those inputs. And I thought this is a really good idea to have Shaq calls it the panel and I do the same. You bounce it off the panel and it stops you from making decisions based on one factor or based on one argument. And you really do get to weigh i a diverse bucket of inputs in your life and I don’t think you should just do that for business. I think you should do that for your personal life to do. I want to work more and make more money. Well, that sounds great. Well maybe I should ask my wife, no, I want to go to find family trips, I want to be able to go to dinner at night. I want you to be done by 5:30 p.m. So you can play with the kids. You know, that’s an important factor that I might not wear when I’m going, oh, I could probably make a couple of 100,000 extra dollars every year if I just had no free time. You know, that those decisions have to be made in concert with those who matter the most in your life and whether that’s your spouse and your kids or other people that you trust.

Uh, and the other function of that is people can’t get away with anything, right? So if you have a manager and they’re crooked or corrupt or they’re pocketing your cash. Well, if they’re in meetings with your lawyer and your accountant all the time, it’s gonna be really hard for them to get away with that. Right? Where’s the money from the insurance campaign? I don’t know. You know, everyone’s in in your business for better or for worse. But that means that it’s harder to get away with stuff. It’s harder to get away with a convincing me. I got to do something when everybody else thinks it’s a bad idea because you’re doing it in a forum where other people are involved. So it’s hard to, it’s hard for one person to have your ear and steer you the wrong way, even if that person is yourself, it’s a great answer and yeah, not something I would have thought of and it’s cool to hear that you’ve implemented it in your own life as well. And to your point, initially I thought how would I feel if someone did this with me and I haven’t done anywhere near as many episodes as you have and I think I’d struggle in some instances and not in others because obviously certain episodes or conversations, they have more of an impact on you than others do, but this one’s a personal favorite of mine and I think you’ll probably be fine with this one, it’s joke, oh, what do you learn from Joko Jacko’s concepts are really similar, Alright, sorry, really simple, I should say, but they’re not always easy.

And one of the, he’s got a book called Extreme Ownership, He’s got a couple of books, but I think the first one was called Extreme ownership and what that was, was essentially looking for, what is I guess your fault in anything that goes wrong or something that’s under your control in anything that goes wrong. And so it’s actually a really empowering concept because if you look at something that happens to you, like this person stole from me and then they kicked me out of the company and it’s so unfair and if you look for the part that you contributed to that, even if it’s it’s minor, like you trusted them and you shouldn’t have. Okay, well, you know the answer can’t be don’t trust anyone. How do I repair the criteria that I used to trust people? Okay, I’m gonna do this, this and this. Well, how did they get away with that? Well, they did this thing where I relied on them for this and I decided not to put it in writing because it was gonna be uncomfortable to have a conversation with a lawyer. Well, I’m not gonna make that mistake again. You know, So you find these little things where even if you’ve really been dealt a bad hand, you can find places where you could have controlled it.

Even if that answer is I never should have hired this person because a bunch of people told me that they were bad and I just didn’t listen. You know, or I shouldn’t have been so trusting as long as you don’t make yourself the victim in that situation and you find areas where you can control things, you actually end up really empowered and you end up not, you end up, I should say in a position where you can at least try not to repeat that same mistake. You know? So even if you have, let’s say you have bad metabolism and you’ve gained weight, but you have a medical reason because you injured your knee? Well, okay, But I still gained weight. Why? Well, the way that I shop didn’t change after I injured my knee. So, even though I couldn’t move as much and do all the sports, I love, I was still buying cheetos and coke and drinking it for lunch and having a bag of cheetos and Fritos every night, which sounds delicious by the way, you know? So, I didn’t change my eating habits. Okay, so it’s like maybe 80% not your fault because you got injured and yet a metabolic disease, but also you didn’t change your habits. Okay. So I can change my habits doesn’t mean you’re gonna lose all the weight and be back to where you were, but it means that you are now taking control of the situation because you can’t wish your metabolism better and you can’t wish your knee injury to go away, but you can change your environment, change the way you shop, change the way you look at food or think about food, whatever.

So, whenever you start to think that something is happening to you, that’s totally outside your control, you all you have to do is sort of go up the timeline or upstream and find the places where you could control things in the future or could have done something differently. Not to beat yourself up, like, oh, I shouldn’t have ever done X. But just to find the places where you can modify behavior or thinking patterns or whatever it is in the future. And that turns out to be really empowering because then whenever something happens to you, all you have to do is pay attention and analyze what went wrong, do a postmortem on the situation and you can maybe come up with some really useful stuff to not have that happen to you again, because wishing, wishing that bad things would never happen to you in life is futile uh complaining and beating yourself up about bad things that happened to you in life is also not a good, it’s not good for you and it’s pointless, but figuring out why or how bad things have happened to you and then figuring out how to avoid those or change the outcome or whatever in the future is a very, very useful exercise.

Would you say that that impacted you personally? Because I kind of feel like you probably quite a that’s a capable person at that point. Anyway, so would you say that it had an impact on you personally or not? The the interview with jocko where he where we talked about this? Yeah, I would say so, because I think it’s really human to go, oh well this unfair thing happened to me and it’s really woe is me and this all sucks and there’s nothing that can be done. So I’m just gonna whine about it and then allow it to mean that bad things happen to good people and you know, and I and that I think that’s very human, I don’t think it’s even a bad thing that people do that, it’s just totally a normal thing. I don’t think it’s the most helpful thing. I think better is to go, okay, that happened to me. This is not good, but it’s something I can survive. Other people have survived far worse. I’m gonna come out the other side much stronger, but not just like I’m gonna come out the other side much stronger. Yeah, pat myself on the back. But okay, I’m gonna come out the other side much stronger. Here’s why, Okay, where did I go wrong?

Even if it’s even if you gotta travel really far upstream because you really didn’t do anything to deserve what happened to you and you have to find some place. It’s like, oh, okay, maybe where I went wrong was not having the self confidence to start the business on my own. Therefore I looked for a partner. Therefore when I found a partner who maybe I thought was kind of a shyster, I still accepted them and their behavior because I didn’t have the confidence to start the business on my own. You know, and and that’s not something you need to beat yourself up for. But it’s a really good insight to have uh for yourself, if you are that person, if that’s if that’s indeed true because otherwise you could easily repeat that mistake, right? Your business partner screws you over. Okay, well when a business partner screw you over, but if you still have that same confidence issue where you think, but I can’t just rebuild this on my own. I need a partner, you’re gonna make that same mistake again. And I’ve been in those shoes where I’ve had business partners do bad things and try to sue me when I left and all this stuff, and I thought, oh no. And then I jumped right back into another partnership with somebody else, and my wife was like, what are you doing?

Just do this on your own. And I’m like, I can’t, it’s too hard, there’s too much work and she’s like, this guy is also a piece of crap, what are you doing? You’re just repeating the same mistake. And I thought that’s a really, really good point. So I just ditched that that person and started over and it was the best thing ever. But it was tough because I had to come to the realization that like, oh I’m relying on other people to sort of outsource the confidence in building this business when I really can do it on my own. And and that was a really realization, but I wouldn’t have come to that without one, the panel of other people telling me and to being able to take extreme ownership by going really far up the chain and thinking about, okay, why did I do this? You know why am I thinking like this, what part did I play in this really unfair thing that happened to me because even my lawyers and the judge was like, wow, this guy really got screwed over, it’s really a crappy situation. And I thought, okay, yes, good. They all agree. But I could have stopped there and then like everyone thinks that I got screwed over, so I’m right. Yes, it’s true. But also what’s my real take away from this? The real takeaway isn’t these people are bad and I’m a victim.

The real takeaway is you can always control something next time. And what you find to control is by you just have to really examine your situation and go really, really far upstream because sometimes it has nothing to do with those other people or whatever the situation is. Sometimes it’s a mindset that you adopted when you were a kid that got you into this situation of getting into let’s say relationships with bad people. You know, if you if you find yourself dating terrible guys, you know, or or women whatever, but you know, a lot of women will say I did terrible guys have terrible taste in guys. Okay, well is it the guy’s fault that you’re picking them? Yes, it’s their fault that they’re abusing you or mistreating you. Like that’s definitely their fault. But what is it that you are doing or have done or a mindset that you have and you probably need to work this out with a therapist, if you’re in the situation where you’re a track those people in your life and then tolerating their behavior in the beginning to the point where it escalates into something really bad and and you know, it’s controversial to say that because people go, you’re victim blaming. It’s like, well, no, I’m not blaming you.

I’m just asking you to maybe understand where you can control things in the future and avoid these same problems. But people don’t want to do that because extreme ownership is extremely uncomfortable. Mhm. I’ve actually heard um the only thing that we can control is our response. So it’s kind of the same, it’s kind of the same thing. But also really what you’re looking at is not just your response. You’re looking at what you have done to contribute to any situation, even if it’s not that specific situation itself, but like your particular position that put you in a vulnerable spot in the first place you touched on something which I was considering asking you about. And it was you did a post on the website which is looking back on the worst chapter of my life four years on. And I think that probably isn’t four years on at this point in summary, is that all concluded? Uh that was all concluded. Yeah. That’s been concluded for a while. That was concluded before I wrote that post because I don’t think you can really read the label from inside the jar.

So I needed, you know, two years to get through the legal nonsense with that, and then I probably needed another year or so to get clarity around it. And instead of just being angry or annoyed or whatever, or, like, I think, you know, flailing around and then people kept asking me about it, and then I wrote that post Yeah, probably two years ago now. So it’s old news is what you’re saying, Jordan’s Yeah, it’s old news. I mean, the truth is that that was the post really discussed, discusses where, you know, I was able to take extreme ownership of that situation, look at and reflect on it, find out how it made me better and stronger. And it’s interesting because whenever I go through tough situations now I’m often just thinking one, at least it’s not that situation again, because that was terrible. And to I realized all these different factors that went into that and all the stress that I had that I didn’t need to have because of the way that it turned out, and now I can sort of, take that whenever anything is is bad. And I go, well, I remember catastrophizing back then about this much worse situation and nothing ever came to pass, why would this be even worse when it’s not, you know, why am I convincing myself that it’s worse when it’s not.

So there was a lot of that kind of thing. And so I hate to be the, like, mr cliche here, but a lot of times when you go through something really horrible, it really does make you stronger uh in a way, like, when the worst thing that you can think of in your business happens to your business and you make it through the other side, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to you, and in retrospect, it really is hard to then start crying in your cereal about some other perceived setback that might actually be something really amazing great answer. This one is actually featured on the channel, so, my guess is it was a big, big interview for you, It’s Kobe Bryant, Yeah, Kobe Bryant, I’m not a big basketball guy, despite Shaq and Kobe being on the site here, but and Dwyane wade, but Kobe was really interesting, especially because, you know, we, we had talked a few months before he passed and it was just this really candid conversation that was sort of done almost on the fly, you know, they invited me to fly down there, but his people were like, oh crap, this is today, he’s got a Sports illustrated thing or ESPN thing in 15 minutes, and I was like, I need 45 they’re like fine, you know, because he flew down here and got a hotel and a camera crew, Okay, so it was really, really nice to do that.

He wasn’t, he wasn’t prepped by media trainers? His publicist was sitting right there off camera, but you know what are you gonna do? And it was just a really candid conversation and since I don’t care about basketball at all, I asked about parenting and prioritizing and all of these things that were important to me that I knew were going to be important to him in that moment, because if you looked at his instagram when he was still around all it was was like photographs of his daughter playing soccer or whatever they were doing, you know, it wasn’t highlight reels from his career in the NBA it was just personal stuff. He had completely switched from self promotion, NBA basketball, whatever it is, he had completely switched from that too. I’m just a parent now and I’m creating books for kids and he didn’t lean on any of his past accomplishments. It was almost like he just started over, it was really an incredible kind of thing because I think if you are the best at some world, if you’re world famous in some area, it would be really hard to go, you know, I’m just gonna start over in this other area because I like it.

You would, most of us myself included would just be like, hell no, I’m riding this wave until I’m dead because this is where I get my fame and my validation and all of my money, why am I going to start something new? It’s like I’m I got the Jordan Harbinger show, it’s a popular podcast. It makes a good living for me and my family. I’m not gonna be like, I want to be a professional trail runner or whatever. I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna start hang gliding and be like, this is my new thing, I got to be a professional at this, I gotta be the best I gotta be, I gotta make my name in this area, why would I ever do that? But he was really, he was a true champion. I am obviously, you know, I’m a podcaster but not far from the same level as Kobe would would have been at anything. And so I just didn’t, I just could never do that. And I think most people are like that. You know, you get really good at something, it becomes part of your identity and then you lean on it. He got really good at something, it became part of his identity and then he went, okay, I’m done next. It was just like who does that? Only people like Kobe Bryant. So that was the interest that was the interesting look inside the mind of that guy.

I was, I don’t care about championships or team member stuff, none of that. I just don’t care about basketball or sports. Most of the time I just thought it was a really insightful look inside this guy’s head because he was just not afraid to start over and it’s not like he went from basketball to golf, you know, that he’d been doing for 20 years or 10 years. He went from basketball to writing children’s books. What the heck? I mean, what the heck This is not even I’m trying to think of something of one thing that that that writing a Children’s book about a girl who plays tennis and lives in a magical kingdom has anything to do with basketball. And I’m drawing a blank. I mean, he really picked one of these things that was furthest away from his core competency as he could get. There was no physical skill involved. It was all writing, it was all production, it was all creativity. I mean it’s really like in so many ways the opposite of professional athletics. And he went in, he went all in. Well, I’ve got, believe it or not, I’ve got a fairly long list of people I want to ask you about, but I don’t think we’re going to get to it.

So you want to do, do you want to do a quick fire on them challenging. So the next one was Mark Cuban. Yeah, okay, quick fire. Let’s remember, Quick fire. Mark Cuban was interesting because he’s super accessible. That was the one thing I remember about him is you can literally just email him and he’ll reply if he’s interested and he won’t if he’s not and he is very as you’ve seen on shark tank, he’ll speak his mind, but he’s got a great business mind and it’s fun to see him get things wrong, not because of schadenfreude or anything like that, but it’s fun to see somebody who’s really smart, really switched on, get something totally wrong and then be like fine, that’s just how this game goes next. And he’s really good at that. And I think that’s one reason for his tremendous success is he’s not afraid to pivot, he’s not afraid to say this is wrong. I’m under the next thing and he’s very well versed in a ton of different areas. So you know, poly goats tend to do well when they’re trying to dabble in a lot of areas. Next one is Russell Brand, Russell brand. Really interesting guys. So that interview almost didn’t happen. They kept trying to cancel it and I was like, I flew down here and I’m outside the door and they’re like what door?

And I’m like the door you told me to go to and they’re like, oh crap! So we did it in the green room of like Ellen de generous or something while he was eating a sandwich. I mean it was just like the most, oh crap, we gotta do this interview, you know, last minute type thing, Really smart dude. Uh in many, many ways, a deep thinker kind of surprised me because he doesn’t come across as a genius in a lot of his movies and certainly not his comedy sets, but he is actually quite smart and he’s also very charming, which is, you know, he’s very well known for that. Um I thought he was a very friendly guy, deep thinker and he’s been through a lot and he’s reflected on that a lot. You know, he’s a recovering, I want to say heroin addict or at least alcoholic and he, that’s been a core part of his identity and now he’s you know, sort of seeking his spiritual stuff through his podcast. I don’t always agree with everything he says, but you can’t really argue that he doesn’t think deeply about a lot of things even if I disagree with his conclusions.

Well, last one I’ll go with, I got to choose from my list. I’m gonna go with Matthew McConaughey. Oh yeah, so he was of course also very charming, very interesting guy. A guy who really knows himself well I think and that’s unusual. I think a lot of celebrities actually don’t know themselves well. I think a lot of celebrities avoid trying to get to know themselves because their persona is what makes them the money and maybe they developed a persona to get away from themselves. Matthew McConaughey is either really, really good at that to the point where everybody’s bought it hook line and sinker into who his persona is or that’s really who he is and he knows himself really well and he leans into that. So authenticity tends to shine through with that guy and the way he tells stories is really captivating and frankly it’s just a fun conversation. He treats you like a lot of times when you talk to somebody who’s well known or famous, they treat you like you are their audience and they are performing and with him, it was really just a conversation And same with Russell brand, you know, a lot of these guys like Matthew and Russell are really good at having 1-1 conversations. They’re really good at connecting with people and I that really stands out because I think even a lot of people who are academics or authors can’t turn off the I’m on stage lecturing at ted they just can’t do it.

They can’t sit there, look you in the eye and be like, you know, what’s going on here with this? Are their talking points with these guys. Yes, because they’re doing 100 podcasts or whatever, so that’s still a thing, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not having a real conversation at least in between. And if you’re good at conversation, if you’re a good host like you are, they’re still they’re gonna come out of their shell a little bit, they’re gonna come away from their talking points and that’s really special because a lot of times these guys are not only trained and told not to do that, but they can’t do that, they just don’t have a personality to fall back on a lot of the time? And that’s well, it’s a shame. Um, but it’s not that unusual. Well, um let’s say, I go on a podcast and someone asks me, what did you learn from Jordan Harbinger? Would you want me to say, you know what I want you to say? Is that is that a fair question? What, what would I want you to say? Is that really, I don’t know if that’s a fair question, what lesson would you want to share with me that I can reproduce in that instance? Oh man. You know, uh I’ve got my own talking points, right?

So, so I would say build relationships before you need them. Always show maybe not always most of the time. Open up and show the truest version of yourself that you can muster in that moment, because that’s what’s really gonna inspire other people to open up and talk about with you. I mean before the show you were like, how are you doing? Most people say, oh good, I’m like, well my kid is sick and throwing up. My wife’s kind of annoyed because she’s not sleeping and then I took the kids puke and I put it down the sink instead of in the toilet because it was closer right now. She’s pissed off about that. Like, that’s the beginning of a real conversation between people that actually want to connect. I could have just said, oh, I’m fine. Anyway, what does this start? 10 o’clock, okay let’s do it, you know, and I I think you should not do that, especially when other people are being put in a position to learn from you, not that you’re learning from me, but you know the audience is learning from me. Hopefully you should always start like that and you should always take the opportunity to do that because otherwise you’re kind of just wasting your breath right? Why have a conversation? That doesn’t mean anything. That’s a great answer and yeah, I didn’t, I I appreciate it now that you’ve shed a light on that, so thank you.

Is there anything I should have asked you about today, jeez, probably, but whether I know what those things are is a different question entirely and I don’t, I think you did a fine job. Thank you, I appreciate that. Especially coming from you. Where do people find you Jordan? The Jordan Harbinger show anywhere you find your podcasts, you know Apple Spotify, wherever you might find them. Thank you for being a great guest today. Hey man, thank you for having me on, I appreciate the opportunity