Momentum Podcast: 662

How to Build a Legacy Business That Makes a Difference (Interview with George Bryant)

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

This episode of the Momentum Podcast is a mold-breaker. In this episode, we are sharing an unedited interview between George Bryant from the Mind of George podcast and Alex Charfen. This episode is longer than any other in the entire history of the Momentum Podcast, but it is also one of the most powerful. The message is simple, yet powerful. You can build a business that makes an impact on the world.

The topics discussed in this episode are things Alex has rarely been asked about, and the emotional conversation is one that will leave you with a better understanding of yourself as an entrepreneur and how you can make your greatest contribution.

Full Audio Transcript

This is the momentum podcast.

Hi everyone, today's podcast is going to be totally different than what you're used to hearing from me. It's going to be different in format, it's going to be different in timing. In fact, you might've thought that when you looked at the runtime of this podcast, that there was a mistake. It's not, let me tell you what's going on. I'm sharing with you uncut and unedited, a podcast that I did with a friend of mine, George Bryant, just a couple of weeks ago, we sat down on a Saturday morning and talked for about two hours and 15 minutes on his podcast and he released it. And almost immediately I started getting comments and feedback from people that it was one of the best interviews I've ever done, and so validating and confirming and moved them and change them. And I was actually kind of surprised at the response until I sat down and I listened to the podcast, start to finish with my wife and I was emotional several times when George and I recorded this, I was actually far more emotional listening to the recording play again.

And so I want to share this with yo, a lot of times people ask me about me, like who I am and how I feel about things. And George showed up on that weekend morning, ready to interview me, probably better than any interview ever has. And I think this podcast is probably 80% stuff that I haven't talked about anywhere else. So this is going to give you insight into who I am, my background, how I feel about the world and so much more.

I'm excited for you to also meet George because he's an extraordinary human being that has done a ridiculous amount in his life. You will hear some of it in the podcast, but at the end of this show, you will get an opportunity to join his Facebook group and get to know him better. And I can't recommend strongly enough that you take him up on the offer and do exactly that.

And with that, I'm going to let you listen to me and George Bryan on The Mind Of George uncut, unedited. And do me a favor, if you enjoy this podcast, two things, one, subscribe to George's podcast, and two, leave us a review on mine and let me know what you thought of it. And if you do post on social media, please tag me and tag George so that we can see, because if you have a reaction or a reflection or commentary about this, any type of feedback for us, I would love to be able to read it and know that you're putting it out there. So tag me, tag George, looking forward to seeing it. And with that, here's The Mind of George show. I hope you enjoy it.

I'm Alex Charfen. And this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate, there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be. George Bryant: All right, guys, welcome back to another episode of The Mind of George show, where I make up intros off the top of my head, because people are amazing and I'm stoked to have them. And today's guest is somebody that I've wanted to interview for probably five years, except I didn't have a podcast nor reason to talk to him. And then we became best friends overnight. And so I'm excited beyond belief to have somebody that I look up to, I've considered a mentor through his teachings and what he's done. He stands for absolutely everything that is ethical entrepreneurship, caring about human beings, making a difference, building legacy businesses and tolerates absolute zero bullshit while doing any of it while also leading by example, you know that magic thing that we don't see a lot of on the internet? Where it's do, as I say, not as I do, because I don't want you to see what I do. Well, Alex Charfen is here today, CEO of Charfen, he has built massively successful companies, navigated some of the biggest downturns of our world and my lifetime, and always come out on top with a smile on his face, grounded in the values that are important to him, his family, and leads by example. And so without further ado, Alex, welcome to the show. Alex Charfen: Thanks, George. That was one of the best intros I've ever gotten. And that was awesome. George Bryant: I feel like I'm going to have an eight mile on Sunday mornings at 8:00 AM before I have my coffee, right? Alex Charfen: I want that on my phone so I can play it each morning before I start working. George Bryant: We'll send you the audio clip. And then we can do it like The Rock used to do, his alarm codes, right? Like, "Get up." And he yells at you. [crosstalk 00:05:10]. Yeah, that one. So I'm super, super excited to have you, man, I'm honored. This has been a long time coming. And before we get into the deep, deep, deep stuff for the show, whatever navigating turns we're going to end up in today. The first question that I always ask everybody to set context, to humanize is... And you have a lot of these, so feel free to take creative freedom with this one. What is the biggest mistake that you've ever made in business? And what was the lesson that you took away from it? Alex Charfen: Dude, that's like trying to walk into an Amazon warehouse and say, "Which is the best box?" There's so many options. George, when I consider mistakes in business, so many of them that I don't look at them as mistakes anymore, because I've learned from them to find where I am now. I feel like almost every mistake, every huge challenge that I created has actually taught me something and moved me forward. And I think the one place where I would say that there were actual mistakes that I regret... And here's why I regret them, I don't regret the learning from them, but the mistakes that I made were with people. When I was younger, especially there was a tremendous amount of collateral damage in the businesses that I ran. I was one of those people, I'm not anymore, not at all anymore, but I was one of those people that if I was going to separate with somebody, I actually had to break the relationship, I had to make it okay with me, I had to make it so that it was so horrible, that we could never talk again. And when I looked back at some of the separations that I had, where people were either terminated or left the companies that I ran, I feel like those are some of the biggest mistakes I made. And if I could go back and do it over again, I would tell my younger self that you don't have to completely destroy a relationship, to put it on pause. And you don't have to completely demonize somebody to have them leave your company, those are all natural things that happen in the world. And today with contrast, when somebody leaves our organization now, or when somebody decides to go to another opportunity, which doesn't happen often anymore, but when it does, it's totally different. I've actually let several go here, because of COVID and some other reasons we've actually let a few people go. And it's interesting, because I've remained connected with them, we connect every once in a while, we talk. And so having that experience of being able to work with somebody and then continue the relationship, even though it's no longer a working relationship has been extraordinary. And when I was younger, I did not even allow space for that. And I think that was this [inaudible 00:07:44] long-term mistake, honestly, that comes from a childhood of trauma and a childhood of bullying and a childhood of really challenging relationships where I didn't understand how to navigate them, and I brought that forward into my business career. That's the biggest regret. George Bryant: Yeah, man. And there's so much gold in there. This is why we get along. So for some context guys, when Alex and I reconnected, we got on Zoom for a half an hour and then like, we need an hour, then we need three hours, now let's just keep talking all day, every day because we hadn't [crosstalk 00:08:13] Alex Charfen: My wife came out that day and she's like, "Are you okay? What happened? That was half hour phone call." It was three hours. George Bryant: I was like, "Sorry Katie, you can have him back now." I'm getting my very much dopamine hit and I'm not going to deny this, that I wanted this. This was very much my drug today. And I'm okay with this one. This is one of those like, I can go seek it as I need. Alex, one of the things that I think is so imperative and we talked about this, but you and I have so many similarities in this, is that in the beginning, it was this collateral damage where I got feedback that there were trails of dead bodies behind every success. And there were two sides of it for me that were tough. Number one is I never celebrated, there was no space because it was never good enough, right? And so that took from everybody and made it. And then really, I think, as an entrepreneur and a self-aware entrepreneur, and you talk about this as like evolutionary hunters. And the way that you do this, I think because you're EPT, your entrepreneurial personality types. One of the things that I think is so amazing as entrepreneurs is that we're driven, we're driven for change, we want things to be better. But I think what the razors edge is or the tight rope that we ride and ride unicycle down from is to come from when we go down the middle and there that part of us as entrepreneurs, we're down the middle, all the one side was insecurity ego, it doesn't matter, it's never enough, I'll sacrifice anything. And boom. And then we've spent our life at this point, working towards self-awareness, love, compassion, empathy, relationship. And like, even you just said like, "I didn't think this was possible a couple of years ago. Wait, somebody can leave my organization and be better than when they got there. And we still have a relationship. Like we can still text, we can talk, like this isn't purgatory exile, like we're going back in Mayan culture?" So what are some of the things, because you have like five core values at your company. You guys stand for humans, you stand for change, you stand for being, but I know this is prevalent everywhere. And I had one of my mentors at a very young age, Alex told me that... And I learned this as a Marine too, like my job wasn't to keep people underneath me, my job was to get myself fired and get them better than me. And there's a point where they have to leave the coop and they have to grow. But I think the biggest distinction is it was talked about in their world, but really it's our growth as a human, on ourselves, like the self-awareness side. So what are some of the things that you do that you focus on? Like you help companies with operations, with culture, with flow, with team and people, how do you go about that? And what are some of the things that you keep to keep your keel in the water as you navigate that? Alex Charfen: Oh man. There's so [inaudible 00:10:47] question, George. George Bryant: That's the point. Now I can drink my coffee over here and go to [crosstalk 00:10:52] Alex Charfen: Yeah, there you go. George, I think in order to answer that question, I kind of have to take a step back and talk about where I've come from. If you want to know how things have kept in motion now, I think we have to first draw contrast as to how things were before. George Bryant: Yes sir. Alex Charfen: When I look at when I was younger and well into my twenties, I experienced a tremendous amount of trauma and I had the same life [inaudible 00:11:20]. This came up in our... We just had a three-day event with 200 companies around the world and it came up this week. I talk openly about trauma and how it drives us in the present. And I often tell our clients, until you are ready to work through your trauma, you are destined to create more and you will, you will only continue to create trauma because it's a pattern, people hurt people and that's really how it works. When I look at somebody who's causing havoc in the world, what I see is somebody who's severely traumatized, and acting through those things. And so for me, when I was 26 years old, I went through a really severe breakup, I'm 47 now. And at the time [inaudible 00:11:57], I was uncomfortable enough that the only time I felt comfortable was when I was drinking, the only time I really fell asleep and stayed asleep was when I was kind of loaded. And I wasn't used to having those feelings. Like when I was younger, definitely, there was no lack of time in bars or drinking and entertaining and doing those things. But I hit this period where it almost became a necessity and not almost it became a necessity and it was severely challenging to go through that. And my mom was a therapist in California and I was talking to her about it. I had tried cognitive behavioral therapy. I don't know if you've tried this too. George Bryant: I have. Alex Charfen: You go in like... I don't want to demonize all cognitive behavioral therapy, but for me, CBT was so hard. Because you go in, you spill your guts and the person across the room goes, "I see, how does that make you feel?" And then you spill your guts more. And then they say, "I see, how does that make you feel?" And then you spill more. And by the third time they say, "I see, how does that make you feel?" I actually responded one time to a therapist. "It makes me feel like I want to get up across the room and knock you out because you're not helping me. I feel like this is frustrating. I feel agitated and triggered and all that stuff." And so I stopped doing that. And I remember calling my mom and she [inaudible 00:13:11] called EMDR and it's eye movement desensitization and reprogramming. It's a very weird sounding therapy, but it's actually amazing. George, it's interesting that you were in the military and we talked so much about trauma because even back then when I was 26, I had some friends that had been in the teams and there were EDMR for Navy Seals. It was actually this huge experiment in the military to see if EMDR would help with the offloading of trauma and return to service. And they were getting incredible results with it. So for me, that growth process has been understanding of my trauma, understanding where so much of my reactivity and almost automatic behaviors came from. And so much of processing what had happened to me has now allowed me to become more present and aware. And you know what's interesting George, I used to think that I was so present and so aware when I was in my twenties and now I look back and it's like the funniest thing in the world because I was so detached and not even feeling my feelings and understanding what it was going on. I didn't even know how to interpret what was happening. And then I thought I did so much better in my thirties and I'm like, "I nailed it." And then I look back and I'm like, "No, I just had a better understanding, but I was still working through so much of it." And finally, I feel like in about the past 10 years, I've gone into another gear of really being able to release things and process things and work through things. And that's been a combination of a ton of breath work, breath work, I think has been one of the most effective things that I've done, a tremendous amount of EMDR therapy and going back [inaudible 00:14:48] is needed, not just when it's acute, but when I feel stuck or when I feel like I have riding blocks or anything like that. And then really a lot of self exploration and a lot of... And if you wanted to put a layer on all of that it's process, structure and routine. And when I say that, this is what it is, the process structure and routine that allows you to grow a business, grow your life, have what you want in your life. But for most of my life, I fought process, structure and routine more than anything else. Because I had that impression that as an entrepreneur, what makes you successful is being [inaudible 00:15:25] you want, anytime that you want. And so I held onto that myth, that illusion, that totally illusory place, that does not exist where you can be a successful entrepreneur and just wake up and do whatever the heck you want every day, it doesn't really work. You might be able to be... Yeah, no, there's not a situation where it works. And so I think the biggest shift for me has been committing to process, structure and routine, like up to and including, even on a Sunday this morning, I got up, did my morning planning, went through my morning routine like I do every other day, sat down in a line with my family. It's like, now it's an edict, it's not an option anymore, because I know that's where my strength and really that's where my present and productive and persuasive and influential. That's where it comes from. George Bryant: Totally, totally. There's so much in that. And I want to nail some... So people have heard me talk about EMDR before, but I glance over it, because very rarely am I across from somebody who I'm like, "Oh, you too?" Right? Oh, I remember we did CBT and my wife actually walked us out. She was with me because I was trying to process childhood trauma, stacked on military trauma, stacked on bad entrepreneurial trauma. And she was like, "This is not going to help you this like [crosstalk 00:16:35]. Alex Charfen: Which created relationship trauma. George Bryant: Oh yeah. Oh, I was like a trauma definition, right? Like you opened the dictionary and it was a picture of every instance of my life, how they all exacerbated each other. Alex Charfen: George in different scenes. George Bryant: Yeah. Right? Yeah. It was almost like a storyboard for a movie film at this point. And I remember one EMDR appointment and I came out, my wife's like, "You're a different person." Like one appointment, one appointment. And I think you nailed something too. And I think what's so important, Alex, and this is like the undertow of what you're talking about. And if anybody hasn't caught this yet, the success as an entrepreneur on the outside comes from the commitment to the work on the inside. Alex Charfen: 100%. George Bryant: And it is a daily, I mean, daily committed practice to come in. And EMDR for me was two years of, I think once or twice a week. And then it was like a once a year if needed. And now I just text him and just texting him gets me back into where I need to go. But I think it's so important to reach the levels when we talk about this. The two things that being number one is this commitment to self, right? And it's what you teach now, it's the discipline, the intentionality, the process, the structure, everything that you're doing, but also the awareness of what really means to be an entrepreneur and what we're doing. And you hit this and we live in a world right now where it's like, "Oh, laptop lifestyle, and boom, boom, boom. And yeah, you do whatever you want." I'm like, "That's not what it's like. That Instagram life is not real." And entrepreneurship is amazing. It is the most freeing, powerful job, whatever business opportunity on the planet. But within that, we also have to create our own containers and structure to make it that efficient. If not, it's just a new form of addiction to hide from the traumas and the pain that we've never worked on. Alex Charfen: Yeah, no question. George Bryant: And I think for you, like you say, you're in your forties. I'm like, "I became aware yesterday of things I was doing that I wasn't aware of." I think [crosstalk 00:18:36] it's this process and awareness, but I think it was last year, maybe after the birth of my son, where I was looking at it and I was like, "Oh, you mean that my name can't carry everything, and I say something and magically a million dollars appears? Why?" Like, "I don't understand, why did my launch crush?" Like, "Why don't my Facebook ads work and nobody else's does? Why don't they just work, because I deserved them to work?" Like there was this thing that I had to be aware of it and process through and eat some humble pie. And so there's so many golden nuggets that you said. And the first question I asked you was, how do you operate forward at this point? And you nailed it. But I think one more thing I want to unpack before we even get there is in the very beginning, when I asked you what was the biggest mistake or lesson, you said something so subtle, but so empowering as a statement to where you are. And you said, "The challenges I created." Not the challenges that happen to me, not the challenges that somehow magically fell on my plate, like, "The challenge is I created." And there's this level of ownership that we do in breath, in work, in life, in modalities that puts us in this situation of awareness and the ability to shift something. But I see a whole lot of time... And we both coach entrepreneurs, a whole lot of like, "I don't know why this happened and this happened. And they did this to me and they did this to me." And it's like an advocation of responsibility. And it was so subtle when you said it, but it's so powerful to hear you talk about it. Can you unpack that a little bit of the difference between, "My business partner failed and walked away." Versus like, "I created this challenge." Alex Charfen: Yeah, no question George. So years ago I read this book, I can't remember who it was the author, I think it might've been Mark Victor Hansen. I think it was called The Millionaire Messenger. And it was a book that you read in two directions. Some very interesting book where it had kind of a non-fiction and a fiction book together. I don't remember a ton about that book, but I remember on one page they had this graphic and it was the word responsibility with a line and underneath it blame, and underneath it said live above the line. I actually have that on my wall now with a couple of other equations that we've created as a company, but that responsibility over blame. I remember when I read it, I saw it and it was so confronting. I'm like, "No, you can blame. You don't have to take responsibility for everything." And that was a journey, that was probably a few years of really working through that and understanding. And then I remember one day it just clicked. As entrepreneurs, the faster we realize that we are responsible for everything and we can take responsibility for everything, the faster we start to actually control our lives, be able to create our destiny, and be able to go in the direction that we want. I used to be the same as most people, when I was younger and I had my business, 9/11 happened about eight weeks before one of our biggest events, when I owned a huge events company in Latin America. And I remember it happening and having the feelings of like, "How could this happen to us? How insanely selfish and egotistical was the statement, "How can 9/11 happened to us?" As I say it right now, I actually get a kind of sick feeling in my stomach that I ever thought that way. But I remember actually saying it out loud, and not feeling the body reactions and negative feelings you should feel of making a statement that egotistical, which in retrospect shows me just how separated I was from my true self, just how detached I was. And as entrepreneurs, what we work with our members on is responsibility over blame. Like how do you live in a world where you take responsibility for everything that's going on? And I have people, especially in today's timeframe, say things like, "Oh, well, you can't be responsible for COVID." Sure you can, you can be responsible for your reactions. You can be responsible for how you show up. You can be responsible for what you're going to allow and not allow into your mind. You can be responsible for how you live through this situation. And you know what I always tell people, the bigger the crisis, the bigger the opportunity, there's going to be more self-made billionaires made in this timeframe than at any other timeframe in the human history. And anyone who wants to argue that, just go look it already, already. We're only six or seven months in, and look at the hundreds of billions of dollars of company value that has been added to the companies that were well positioned and ready to go forward. And I think for me, that's one of the things that's really shifted for me, is that now, regardless of what it is, I take responsibility and I put this on Facebook the other day. One of the observations that finally got through, I've learned so much of what I understand in business and so much of what I know about relationships and how to create momentum as an entrepreneur has been observational. And one of the observations that has become crystal clear over time is that the more successful and entrepreneur, the more quickly they turn every obstacle into an opportunity, the more quickly they turn every crisis into an opportunity. I've been around people that regardless of what's going on, they're just constantly shifting to housing an opportunity. How is this an opportunity? Most negative thing in their entire lives, how can I create something better out of this? How do I grow from this? How do I move from this? Not that I'm 100% there, I don't know that I ever will be, but I'm so much closer to seeing everything as an opportunity than I ever was before. So when COVID hit, I actually had somebody texted me after one of my lives. And they're like, "Hey man, it sounds like you're cheering the crisis on." I'm like, "Oh dude, that is not the impression I want to give. I'm not sharing it on, but I am fully conscious that this is the biggest opportunity a lot of us have had. And we should admit that to ourselves and get ready for it and go out and change the world because the world needs us now more than a number of has before." George Bryant: Totally. I think too, and you nailed this and, Oh man, there's so much here and you and I think we might've been separated at birth at this point, which is so- Alex Charfen: [crosstalk 00:24:27]. George Bryant: Yeah, no, no, it was, it was. And for those of you wondering, only like 32 people or so have my phone number and Alex doesn't give his out. And we're connected years ago and never really talked, and we both realized we both had our numbers in our phones and- Alex Charfen: Which never happens to me, ever. George Bryant: Whichever happens. And we we're like, "Okay, there's a reason, and the timing and everything." And what you said, Alex, it's about the pursuit of turning things into opportunities, not the perfection of what it looks like. And I think as an entrepreneur for me, because my ego needs some love at this point in this moment. So I'm going to make a statement because I'm learning so much in this time. But when I think about it, for me, one of the things that I really fell in love with after processing the belief around it was that there is no finish line, but it's what I choose to do every day about it. And there were parts of COVID, like I lost over a million dollars in a contract. I lost two companies and $70,000 a month in MRR, in basically like 60 days. And I'm still on paper, I'm in financially one of the hardest places I've ever been in. And I'm the happiest and clearest I've ever been. And it wasn't an overnight, it was a, "I feel like crap, but what am I going to do today?" "I feel like crap, what am I going to focus on today?" And instead of it taking six months or three years or eight years of depression, it took like a week. And it was, "I feel this way, I acknowledge how I feel. That's not going to change, what am I going to do about it?" And then that created the opportunity for opportunity. Like it created the ability to see the opportunity. And it's like when we sit in these rooms as entrepreneurs and consider it a virtual room, a made up room, a metaphorical room, whatever you want to call it, I say this all the time from breath work and the therapy trauma that I've done and the work that I've done in personal development, it's like the worst thing you can stay as stuck. We are evolutionary creatures, we are supposed to evolve, we are supposed to move forward. And I heard this the other day and it's like, you want to know what anxiety is? It's unused energy move. Alex Charfen: Yeah, no doubt George Bryant: And I was like, "Whoa." I've been doing it for years, but it was this simple thing. But then when I think about the compartment of entrepreneurship, what is anxiety? I'm like, it's stagnation in our biggest enemy, which is our brain. It knows our fears, it knows our insecurities, it knows our habits, it knows our addictions. And yet we think we can out convince it that somehow we're going to feel better about it. Where what you talk about is like, "Okay, this is how I feel. I'm aware this is how I feel." Breath gets you there, cold therapy gets you there, movement gets you there. "Okay, if this is how I feel, I have two choices. I can either succumb to this feeling and surrender and die, or I can acknowledge that this feeling is here and I can take a step in a different direction." And it's something that I've been obsessing about on a different level of obsession. And it's probably had one of the most profound effects on everything in my life. And financially the gain will come and it has already, but even outside of that, like the happiness, the joy, and I go back to deployments. Like I remember, I'll never forget, I hit some... I'm about to cry. I hit Somalia when I was 19 years old, I just turned 20. And I spent 13 months of my life in probably one of the worst places on this planet. And I'll never forget seeing people wrapped in carpets on the side of the road, because they couldn't afford to throw them out of them, burning dead body. And I was like, "I'm not a tough guy. I want to go home." I didn't have a home to go to, like I left trauma to get there. And I remember for 13 months I was like, "Get me out of here. I can't be here. I don't have it." I didn't have that choice. So luckily I found a few people that mentored me and I found weights and I found certain therapies and things that I could do. But I just remembered, like if I succumbed to any of that, I would have died, I would have just died. I would've just stopped moving, the whole world crashed and crushed on me and it wouldn't have gotten me anywhere. And it took me a long time to be able to talk about some of these things and to process them. And for me, what I struggle with sometimes is that, what I saw is like 1% of what some of my friends saw, like 1%. And I can't even imagine what that was there. But I think the biggest thing that I always took away from everything and I thank the Marine Court for this. It's like, I wasn't given the chance to stop, I wasn't. It was like, "Hey..." And we say this, they don't want you to feel, no, they do. They totally, totally do, but they don't want you to stop. And it's this thing of this pursuit for full word and growth and movement as we go. And so with what you're saying, the one thing that I wanted to hit, and this is a really big one and this is so subtle. But when I did personal [inaudible 00:00:29:09], I was getting coached and they were teaching the distinction, victim versus responsible, victim versus responsible. And they really push the boundary on the belief of this, like a 100% responsible, a 100% of the time. And it was this interesting thing because we would get in trouble for saying, I take responsibility. And I was like, "I don't get it. I'm taking..." They're like, "You can't take it. You never did..." There was no point in which you never had it. Alex Charfen: There was no point in what you gave it up. [crosstalk 00:29:36] George Bryant: And so you can't take it back. You just feel like it did. And this distinction, it probably took me 10 years to understand, because there's so many times in business, or as a consultant or with a student, or even in my own business that I like, "Oh, I'll take it." And then I have to be like, "Oh wait, no, it was mine the whole time." And it's like this embodiment of it, that is so powerful when we think about it. And so I've never talked about a lot of the stuff that I experienced... PART 1 OF 5 ENDS [00:30:04] George Bryant: ... I've never talked about a lot of the stuff that I experienced from a mindset perspective. I don't think I've ever been in the point to really processes, but what I love about you, Alex, and what I... You have this childlike curiosity and excitement masked with this tight container of structure that basically guaranteed success. Alex Charfen: Well, thank you. But I appreciate that. George Bryant: I think there's so many lessons- Alex Charfen: My wife would definitely agree with childlike by the way. George Bryant: Oh, me too. Right? I'm surprised I'm not walking around in diapers. Gets my son's out of them like at that level of management because there's times I feel that. But with that, I think what's so important and so powerful from what I noticed with you, it's when you get self-aware. So you were talking about basically being, self-aware identifying what's here, understanding that we're responsible understanding that resistance equals opportunity depending on how we choose to see it. What I also love about that is that as you do this work on yourself, that awareness gives you a tool to see possibility versus resistance. Right? And it gives you the ability to react or not to react, to respond on a diamond pivot because there's no insecurity written into it. I think about the times as an entrepreneur where I was stuck and it was stocked because I had a belief that I was supposed to look a certain way or it was supposed to be a certain way. Here's the newsflash entrepreneurship is basically a guaranteed it's not going to look you think it is every day of every moment for the rest of your life. Alex Charfen: It's commitment to chaos. George Bryant: It's a commitment to chaos and it's navigating that. And so in your journey and you've been in this game a long time, I mean, you... I don't even remember this specific award that you got, but single-handedly denting the real estate crash market recovery and building half a billion dollar businesses and I'm over here doing it for everybody else but myself, and I'm a self jab on that one but- Alex Charfen: You know what though, George? I've done some of that myself too. I don't want leave you on the hook there. As a coach, as a consultant, one of the things that I'm now dealing with at 47 is that I've helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build businesses bigger than I have. I really year before last, I sat down with Katie and I'm like, you know what Katie? I've done this too many times for other people this time, the business plan has to include us doing it for ourselves. George Bryant: That was me this year. Alex Charfen: Yeah. And this is my realization really in just the past 24 to 30 months. And when the reason we restarted this company from scratch was energetic, not legal or anything else. It was we wanted to shut everything down and start over because this is going to be different. And so July of 2017, Katie and I hit the reset button, shut everything down, went down to no team members started from zero and this is the business that we're going to create the success out of that is just we help other people do. George Bryant: Which, by the way, it's absolutely amazing. For those of you listening, if you can't tell, I've been an Alex fan boy for a long time, but out of respect, out of genuine, pure respect, because there's these things Alex, and I joke a lot. We talk about the state of the industry that we're in. We're probably going to unpack that a little while, but people don't even pretend to be snakes in the grass anymore. They're no, no, no, no, I don't care if they're grass that they're not, I want you to see me. And there's these people that walk it and they talk it and they believe it and they do it. And it's congruency. And Alex is one of those people, which I highly admire and respect. And I think it's an important point Alex is an entrepreneur. And I don't know about you, but for me, I needed to build it for other people to get those lessons, to have the awareness and understand why I was doing it to then be able to come in and be Oh, I still get to do it. And I've healed that part of me that didn't think I was good enough that I could only do it for other people. And also give myself a back door out of those daily routines and commitments and structure that would prove my core trauma wrong as a child. That I'm not good enough because that's really what it is for me. For me, it was like, oh, it's so easy. I'll go over here. I'll diagnose your problems. I'll give you the things. I'll help you do it. I'll pour all my energy into you. Then you'll like me, and then I'll be good enough. And then at the same time I'm living on that dopamine and validation will also deny my own sovereignty of that I can do this and I know this. And then the belief system there, and the pain that I had to experience was you do deserve this. You can have a bigger impact this way, but you're good enough. And that had to happen in silence. Yeah, you're worth it. Right? For me, my core wound is I'm not good enough. And so that's what it was for me on that side. Alex Charfen: Man, I'm having so many different... First, I just want you to know this is a very validating conversation. And when you operate at the level that you and I operate as entrepreneurs or not, maybe not the level, but when you operate at the level of awareness that we operate up, you often get invalidated because other people around you don't even understand the conversation that you're having. I think what you just said is so true for so much of my career. Now, in retrospect, it's only, you see this in retrospect, I was not in the pursuit of success for myself, because I didn't feel worthy. I actually felt the people around me were so much better than I was that I put all my energy into helping those people all my time into those people. I helped other people get become far more successful than I was because in so many ways I still felt I was the short Mex black, Latin, American accent, chubby kid in school, that everybody made fun of it. When I was a child, I did not have a lot of friends. I had a really challenging childhood. I wasn't good at relationships. And all of that carried forward to the business world to the point where it made me an incredible consultant because I wanted to help everybody so bad so that I would get validation and be okay and be worthy and not be that kid that I was running away from. And dude, Oh man, now I'm going to get emotional. As time went on, what I realized was and what I am realizing is that I could honor that kid and that I could actually love that child and be okay with who I used to be and understand why I was the way I was and understand everything that I went through. And the more that I was able to process it and be aware of it. The more I was able to let go of the common entrepreneurial belief that, oh, other people had it worse than I was, you kind of said it earlier. It's a habit for us. As soon as we claim any type of trauma, we almost have to let out this relief valve of, oh, well, but it wasn't as bad for... There was other people who had a much worse and it wasn't that bad for me but I'm just going to claim a little bit of it. The reality is every entrepreneur I've ever worked with has trauma that needs to be explored and validated and understood so that they can show up in the world the way that they want to. The excessive reactivity that we carry around with us and the feelings we carry around with us. George, it's one of the things that drives us into pursuit because here's where I am today in my career. I understand that the goal is not the goal. The goal is the journey. It really is. It's the process it's going through it because here's what I know as an entrepreneur is I have this analogy or theory that we are evolutionary hunters and I call it an analogy. But to me, I really do think this is evolutionary fact. We are that small percentage of the population that gets up every morning. Can't turn the motor off. It's always running. We can't relax. We don't sit still. We have this innate motivation to go into the future, create a new reality, come back to the present and then demand it becomes real, no matter what we put up with, but the reality is no matter what goal or outcome or whatever it is that we put out there, as we are crossing the finish line, it loses all importance to us. As we're approaching the finish line, we start going, does this really matter? And because if we're evolutionary hunters, the goal was never the hunt, the hunt just keeps the tribe alive. The goal is you go back on the hunt. The goal is you stay hunting. The goal is you keep doing it over and over and over again. And there's food for everybody for the whole time that we needed. And so when I look at it, I feel we are programmed to be in pursuit, but not really finish. And so the whole goal is entrepreneurs is how do you keep creating that future that is compelling enough and bright enough and exciting enough and engaging enough that you do what it takes to put yourself through the crucible of getting there. George Bryant: Oh man. When you said... And by the way, thank you for the accountability on the... I had it way worse or they had it way worse. Alex Charfen: I did it twice this week in my own event. I said it and I even pointed out like, hey, I just use the release valve. I want everyone to know that that's an unhealthy behavior of invalidating yourself. George Bryant: What it is. It's an advocation of sovereignty. And it's basically saying, I don't believe in myself enough or I'm not in my space or power enough to own the fact that this was my truth and what I'm looking for and quite frankly, it's, everybody wants to get into the mind of George, what I'm looking for is for you without realizing and me a little bit more, because I experienced that while also advocating it and doing it in a very subtle manipulative way and not in a bad manipulative way. It happens in our subconscious all the time, but this is why I love having friends Alex, we get to talk about these things. Alex Charfen: The real stuff. George Bryant: Yeah, the real stuff. Well, I think what's so important about the real stuff, Alex, is we talk about this. Right? We were talking about why we did what we did and why we consult, why we still consult. What I love is looking back is I love my process through all of it. I had to do that. I had to learn that I had to be there. I had to not get that check. They had to not pay me that million dollars. I had to have all that happen. Now looking at it too, the other side of it for me is I never understood the consequences of doing it for everybody else. The amount of sacrifices and collateral damage I caused because I wanted everybody else to like me versus everybody else respect me. It was I'll go to a dinner. I didn't need to be at that dinner. I'll go to an event. I didn't need to be at that event. I'll go to that meeting. That was not a meeting. There were all these ego fests that were validation collection, dopamine collection causing collateral damage. And the one thing that we swore as entrepreneurs that we were doing it, quote unquote for. Right? I'm doing it for my family. I'm well now pretty sure my three-year-old son, isn't going to be daddy, don't go to the zoo with me or don't see me for three days because you go to this meeting because you want these people to you versus do the work that it's there. I think if I could give a gift to any entrepreneur, it's the gift of awareness of the impact and the consequences, both positive and negative that happened when we do advocate that sovereignty as entrepreneurs and we get into that because it took me a long time. I think it's still a practice, but it's a practice that I love at this point. I kind of love saying no at this point. And they're like, "Oh, can you do now? Why we don't need to, can we have a dinner meeting?" I'm like, "No, we can have a Zoom meeting. I'm not leaving." Right? Alex Charfen: Yeah. Well, you get to the point where it's saying no, actually becomes the dopamine hit because you have... I mean, and this takes a while. So I don't want anyone listen, not to think that it's going to happen by Monday. But what happens is when you stop abdicating the responsibility you have to create the life you want. And you start actually, because now, George, when you were just talking about going to the meeting and doing this and doing that, you just described most of my thirties. If there was an attention, getting an opportunity, I was in that attention, getting an opportunity with a whole line of justification for it. If there was a time... And I got tons of opportunities. If I could get up on a really important with famous people, I was there, no matter what. A lot of the time it was for nothing else than the ego hit. It didn't even really build our business and build notoriety, but it was just building an ego hit. When I look back at so much of that need for approval, that need for validation that need for confirmation as an entrepreneur, when you finally realized that is so much of almost the automatic programming that's running the decisions you're making, when you can start backing out of that and rising to a level of intention, everything changes. I had this really confronting meeting with a coach of mine. I had this coach a while ago named Kirk Dando, super talented guy and Kirk and I became friends. That's why he was working with me. Most of the work that he did was with privately funded companies, where he took a percentage and he was a non-named board member in dozens of companies. We became friends. So he started working with me and we did a few, one days and he did a 360 for me and came and interviewed my team. He was doing the delivery of the 360. We were in the middle of talking about my team and what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. And he said, "You know what, Alex, you don't have investors behind you. Let's just cut the BS, man. What's the most important thing in your world?" And the reason he said, you didn't have investors behind you is because I had options. Most of his CEOs didn't have options. He was like, you have options let's talk about this. I said, well, George that is easy... Not George. I said, Kirk, that's easy. The most important thing in my world is Katie and my kids. And he goes, great. Let's take five minutes, get your calendar out and get your bank account out. Let's look if you're spending time and spending money on Katie and your kids. And that way we can see if you're going growing. You're the most important thing in your world. I know he could see the blood drain out of my face. Because at that point it was getting called to the principal's office. I remember immediately thinking, oh, there's no way my calendar or my bank account are going to show any type of allegiance or affiliation to my family. Because up to and including in the time I was with Kirk, I had been pushing them aside to get all this stuff done. Here's what's interesting that that meeting changed things. I actually went back to my room and sat down with Katie and I'm like, Katie, Kirk asked me this question that kind of knocked me backwards. I shared it with her and we talked about it for a long time. From that point forward, I started shifting and I started saying I need to assign responsibility to the things that are important to me. I needed to put more time into things that are important to me. I started building process, structure and routine around what was important to me. It's structured of spend time with family, structure to make sure I was connected with my daughters, structure to make sure that Katie and I had the time that we needed, otherwise, everything else just competes and wins. Here's what's interesting George, by demanding the space and time for myself, by making that the most important thing, suddenly my decision-making in business got infinitely better. Almost overnight, we started moving in the right direction rather than kind of spinning our wheels and not having things happen. This is the thing that always for most people feels an oxymoron when you first start doing this. I was putting less time in but getting more results because when you start throwing up the constraints that are important, you look at time differently and you spend it differently. When you start allocating time to where you should be to where you actually... When I say should be, when you start actually allocating time around what you want your life to look like your business will shift in a way that it actually gets to be the business that you want. You start building an organization that you really want. You start doing the things that you want. It's interesting today at 47, like I said, we reset a few years ago, were around a little over 2.1 or 2.2 million in recurring revenue. Right now we're building this company completely differently. I'm absolutely not responsible for delivery. I built myself out of a lot of the responsibilities. And today I have a business that I love. Working with people that are incredibly fun people to work with. I'm more focused on people development than anything else right now, because that's where we're going to grow the next time in our business. But what's most important is I wake up every morning. I align with my kids. They hang out with me, they know what we do. We talk openly. There's a completely different dialogue in our house. All of that I think makes me... Not I think. All of that I know makes me the entrepreneur I actually want to be. It actually allows me to start making decisions for the person I'm becoming instead of the person I'm running away from. I think for entrepreneurs I think I've heard the saying, make the decisions for the person you're becoming, not the person you are. I'm that's not how it works for entrepreneurs. We either make decisions for the person we're becoming or the person we're running away from. We don't make decisions for the person we are. We never get to the place where you're making decisions in the moment because we don't live in the present. What are that small percentage of the population that doesn't really even deal well with the present. George Bryant: No, no. That's why we have to practice breath work. Alex Charfen: Right? You know why I did it this morning. I did three huge empty breath holds this morning and just feeling the experience of whether my body was calling for oxygen or my mind. And where was it coming from and how does this make me react during the day? I get up from breath work sessions and I laid down on my floor. I do a breath work session. I actually feel I'm in the present moment for a period of time. Yeah. Interesting. You get up and you're Whoa, the world is really intense if you're here. George Bryant: Yeah. That's why I get up so early in the morning, I used to get up at 4:30 for my ego to show everybody I got up at 4:30. So now I get up at 3:30 so nobody knows. And some people think I'm nuts, but I was I wake up with my kids at 6:00. When I was getting before 35, I would get home, my son will be awake. My wife wanted to sleep in, but she'll be up and I was am I doing this? I'm doing this for the wrong reason if I get up at 3:30, I get two and a half hours of alone time. I'm home before my son wakes up, I'm done with my writing. I'm completely present for the day. I'm supporting my wife with what she wants based on her job and her responsibilities. I was yeah, that feels better. That's and by the way, I don't listen to music. I don't listen to podcasts. I work out in silence and I'd say five out of six times a week, I'm crying, I'm yelling. I'm looking at myself in the mirror. I'm a silverback gorilla and patting my chest and then crying two minutes later. Right? I'm processing whatever's coming up in that moment. Alex Charfen: Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Let's not run past that. Let's not run past that because that, what you just said is so crucial. So let me tell you how I used to work out. So what I would do is, and this is during my 4:30 in the morning taking a picture. So I could prove to everybody that I did it. So when I was doing the 4:30 in the morning to prove to everybody that you did it, it was get up at 4:30 in the morning, drink coffee, then wait about 20 or 30 minutes, drink a pre-workout because the coffee wasn't enough you need to back it up with a pre-workout. Then go into the gym, close the doors. We had a gym in our home. We close the doors, put towels under the doors and then put on limp biscuit or something ridiculous where it's just screaming and raging and yelling and then get myself into a state where I could lift weights and not feel it. So I would get myself into fight or flight and then fight for an hour and a half with my gym. It was going and I don't mean to use this term in a way that indicates that I don't understand what it is really to go to war because I don't want to minimize anything what guys you and the people that you were around did George. But I feel I went to my own little private war in the gym every morning. It was instead of feeling the feelings and moving through them, it was creating so much noise and so much pain that I could push the feelings away. I remember at my biggest, I looked back, it was probably seven or eight years ago. I was about 240 pounds and going on Fox News. I remember seeing myself in the suit, my shoulders didn't fit in the screen. I looked completely inflamed. My neck and my head were kind of one thing. Recently a person on my team found an old wiskier video of me on Fox. And she's man, I saw Alex on Fox News from a while ago. I'm so glad I worked for this Alex and not that guy. Just watching the video she could tell how accelerated and how angry and how detached I was. I think so many entrepreneurs think that they're doing this incredible thing working out and getting themselves in shape. And then I watched the workouts online and I'm like, man that might not be going in the right direction. George Bryant: Oh, workouts for me are a tool like breath and they didn't use to be, they used to be an escapism for me. Right? And trust me, I was doing three days. I taught a world record for standing box jump. I was a competitive CrossFit athlete. My numbers are stupid, stupid. I'm five, seven. I can dunk. It's mind blowing. I was also dead lifting six, 15, squatting, five 85. I weighed 170 pounds. It was gnarly. Nowhere does that help me be a better human to my family. Right? But my ego loved it. And now- Alex Charfen: And it also protected you. George Bryant: Totally. Protected everything. Alex Charfen: All of that stuff like standing there practicing the box jump protected you. George Bryant: Oh yeah. Alex Charfen: At one point I went from not being a runner to actually going out and winning races in Austin, winning five Ks, 10 Ks, going out and getting first, second or third place. And if there was a Clydesdale division I always won, it was a 7,000 person race. I was first placed in Clydesdale. I was 240 pounds. I was the first player in Clydesdale because I was willing to do whatever it took. I'd finished that race and threw up about seven or eight times because I pushed my body so hard. I still got first place that was all I cared about. But I look back now and I'm dude, not only were you not in your body, you weren't in Austin during that race. George Bryant: That's what it was for me. When I look back and this is so applicable to entrepreneurs, I came from trauma. I never healed that. I joined the Marine Corps. I was rewarded for that trauma and give it more tools to run and run really fast from it and then give it more trauma and then given more trauma and then came out without doing any of the work. And I remember my wife's you should do personal development. I read books. That was my answer. Yeah. That didn't go well. Right? Fast forward, eight years. And there we go. And here we are now. But yeah, I was, and then I had this really big shift after my son was born where I realized I can be in shape if I want, I can look, however I want, I can function however I want. But it's also a tool. It's an hour and a half a day or two hours a day that if I utilize it correctly, I can do it. I'll never forget. I was in the jungle with a shaman and lots of wise wisdom come from shamans to me. Right? And one of them was talking about relationships happening for a reason season our lifetime. And then a personal development teacher looked at me one day scrolling and said, what are you pretending not to know? Which hit me a ton of bricks. Right? And then somebody else is what are you trying to avoid feeling? And that was the one that caught me and it was the feeling part. Right? And so then I looked at my day and I was challenged by a shaman. He said, I want you to eliminate any music with lyrics for 30 days. Just get rid of it, get rid of it. And I'm okay, cool. And I would listen to music, upbeat music. I wasn't into bitches and hoes, all that stuff. But I would listen to music, but I would listen to music that allowed me to be romantic about who I used to be or pretend that something was going to shift for me by doing nothing. It was programming my brain into the stagnation. And I was okay, cool. I remember it was one of the hardest things ever to not have the radio on in the car because what did I have to be present? I had to be with whatever was coming up and then going to the gym. I was okay. Right. And I'm going to lift. And all of a sudden I lost a hundred pounds on lift because I didn't have anything to put me into that sympathetic state. It was crazy, crazy what happened. And then after a while, this adoption period, I started to fall in love with it. And then I realized that when I was there, the days that I was present and grounded, and I felt in my body and emotionally good, I was lifting crazy. And then there were days that it hurt to do a warmup and then I would scream or I would cry or I would laugh or I'd be I don't want to be here today. And then I could never walk out the door, but I was literally in the moment experiencing my experience and my feelings and it kind of became therapy for me. Alex Charfen: Oh, no doubt. George Bryant: And it was one of those things that I was just oh my God now it's funny I go to the gym and I have a private gym my buddy owns it and they come to class at 5:30 and I'm wrapping up about 5:15. And it's funny, they come in and the first thing to do is put music on it and I want to leave the moment that music comes on and I'm good, I'm complete, I watch everybody all groggy at 5:15 about to do it. I feel I'm one with the universe at this point, but there was this really, really big distinction for me. And to this day, Alex, the only music that I listened to with lyrics is shamanic music. From a shaman, it's about my soul. I said to a few of them recovery things that make me think about my body, my breath, breath work, transcendental meditation stuff. Because I realized we all have 24 hours in a day. And as an entrepreneur, my default is going to be to escape, to disconnect, to compensate sometimes. And so I'm how can I stay plugged in? How can I stay processed? How can I feel that feeling? Alex Charfen: Instead of what we used to do, which was the opposite was man. If I ever plug it in, how quickly can I then get out George Bryant: How can I then get out? Or where can I go plug into somebody else's world to avoid mine. Alex Charfen: Right. Right. George Bryant: And then it was I have more work to do. I have more work to do. I have more work to do. Listen entrepreneurs your list will never end. And that's why it's so important when you talk about structure, Alex. Structure gives us the container because no matter what we do we're going to fill it. So if you give yourself a 24 hour container, you're going to find ways to fill it. But if you give yourself a two hour container, you'll fill it. But you also have to fill it with the stuff that moves the needles, move the levers and eliminates the bullshit. That's been one of those things for me that I think in what you do. And I think there's this belief, this paradigm around entrepreneurship. Right? I can do whatever I want. I can do whatever I want. And I was yes. And you have to realize that the moment you start being that is you lose the thing that built it and you end up right back where you started. Alex Charfen: Yeah. Yeah. I love Maxwell's... There's a lot of stuff that John Maxwell's put out that it's just truth. He has this chart of the more leadership responsibility you have, the less freedom you have. It's this very confronting belief system that the more responsibility I take on as a leader, the less freedom that you actually have. What you're doing is you're exchanging that freedom for making a massive contribution. Entrepreneurs all the time want to argue that and debate it. I always at the end of the day, if you'd want to debate it, you can. But the fact is it's only going to slow you down over time. And man, George, that was intense what you just shared because I think it's probably seven or eight years ago. It's definitely living in this house. I know, because in my gym here, I have a huge sound system and I built it so that I could go down into the gym. So I didn't hear anything in the world. I didn't even hear the weights clanking together because the sound was so high. I probably haven't turned that on in six or seven years because now I look at my workouts, totally different. My workouts used to be an escape. It used to be go in, check out, get all this stuff done, working out with your body and then come out. But really not a lot of recall, a recollection of what happened and lot of feeling here, I did something, but not really connecting to everything that happened in the gym. That's only in retrospect that I see that. George Bryant: You're building somebody else's race car. Alex Charfen: A hundred percent and it and so often it was also I was doing it to get an outcome that I wasn't even really attached to it. And let's be honest. A lot of it was building body armor. A lot of it. George Bryant: Totally. Alex Charfen: There was a point in time in my life where I wanted to walk into a room and intimidate everybody. That was actually my desire. George Bryant: You mean, the guy over here covered in tattoos that had a blue Mohawk when you met him. Like that guy? Alex Charfen: Something that. It was I'm never going to be in a place of being traumatized again by a room. I'm the walk-in and have everyone take a step back. Now when I go work out, one of the best things I have for a workout is a dry erase pen. My whole gym is surrounded in mirrors and there so often I will be in the middle of a set. And this is the Cardinal sin of working out. You're almost to the place where you're done and I'll just drop the weights and go write down everything that just came to me because now it's more important. The realization is more important than finishing the set. The beliefs that I can work through. The processing that I do is so much more important than the weight that I'm lifting. I remember there was a point in my life where if I had a workout where the next workout, I didn't do more. I couldn't deal. It was demoralizing. George Bryant: Thousand percent. Alex Charfen: Now, I don't even feel it. I'm wow, that was a great workout. I lifted half the weights. But look at the whiteboard. George Bryant: Even the point of stopping a set, way to diminish seven reps of progress. Alex Charfen: Right, exactly. Exactly. George Bryant: There's so many- Alex Charfen: It's man, I just threw it all away. The beliefs that we build when we're in the gym, the last set is where you earn it. The last rep is where you earn it. So you're always chasing the last rep. Now I'm like, man, I don't want to lose this thigh. George Bryant: And then really looking at what sets us apart as leaders. Right? Because when we say entrepreneur, we're talking about leaders, we're talking about the small percentage of the world that's willing to stand in a new belief system. I love the way that you described, going into the future. But really when I wrote my personal mission statement for my life, it's to stand with structure in the face of resistance to create possibility. That's it. That's what we do. It's actually the win was when you made a commitment and you kept your word with integrity to get to the gym. You've already won. Everything at that point is bonus. Right? It's strengthening, it's fortification, it's reflection. If you have 30 pounds to lose and you do one rep, don't expect a result, but be aware of what's there, but it's really the intention that we put behind everything. And when you say it- PART 2 OF 5 ENDS [01:00:04] George Bryant: Really the intention that we put behind everything, and when you say it, right, you gut up the process, you create the structure, and you commit to the routine. And it's the combination of those things that that is the win. And you, I mean, I'm the same way, except for me right now, I realized in the last couple of years I fell out of love with myself, again, like at a deep, deep, deep level. And I was looking at it and I was working out crazy before lockdown. And I was like, okay, cool. And I was like, I'm posting videos every day. And I was looking back when it locked down and I didn't have a gym, we went up to the mountains and I was like, "Man, I really don't want to do anything. I don't want to do anything. I don't want to do anything." And I literally was like, "Why?" And I was like, "Because I can't. Because I don't like why I'm doing it. And I don't know why I want to." And I gained a lot of weight again, and I fell in love with my dad bod, but I gained a dad bod first, right. And then I looked at it and then I was playing with my son and I'm up here. And I'm like, "This isn't what I want." And I was like, "Why?" And I was like, I somehow fell out of love with myself. Or this was an opportunity where I hadn't fully loved myself yet. Like I hadn't loved where I was versus the guy with the big muscles or the tattoos, or could do this weight. So it was really interesting because I started working out again and it feels different. It feels different. And then all of a sudden I wanted to get up earlier and it felt different. And my workouts are very different. It felt different and I'm not humble bragging. I just enjoy the process, but what's really interesting, Alex. I went through this point and I always wear cutoff shirts, but I won't take my shirt off. I still was struggling with self-consciousness and everything else. And then this, then I'm going to cry. But like 35 days ago, I went to the gym one morning and I was like, "I'm not working out with a shirt on. I get to look at myself every moment of every rep every day. And every time I look in the mirror, I just get to tell myself I love myself." And it's really interesting because I started this challenge with my business partner to lose weight, right. I was like, "Okay, I'm 210. My fighting weight is like 175. I want to be back there." 55 days of eating macros that haven't felt hard, eating clean, going to the gym twice a day. I literally have not lost one pound. But my pants are down. My body is different. My mindset is different. I'm sleeping good. My endurance is up. I'm setting PRs across the world. And all I did was took my shirt off at the gym every morning by myself. And I look in the mirror, every single rep and I lean over and I'm like, "Oh, remember when it was bigger and you had stretch marks, look at what you come from. Look at that. Look at the story that leg tells, look at that scar." I literally am in the process as we speak of falling in love with myself again through my workouts. And it's as simple as taking my shirt off at the gym alone, which everyone's like, "Oh yeah." Well, I was bulimic for 15 years. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: Right. Alex Charfen: Did you have body dysmorphia during that time? George Bryant: Oh my god. Alex, when I was in Afghanistan, I had an eight pack and I was purging in port-a-potties on deployment of all places, where I should probably be pretty healthy, orthorexic, body dysmorphic. And I would look at myself and I look back now I have all the photos. It's mind blowing. I was probably 5 to 6% body fat. I had veins in my lower abs. Veins. And at that time, all I saw was fat. All I saw was, yeah, it was mind blowing. Alex Charfen: I've had severe body dysmorphia of my whole life. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: So much so that, I know that it's there because there's been more than one time where I'm in a gym ... So one of the programs that runs in my brain, when I walk into a gym that comes from my childhood is I walk into a gym, if it's a public gym or at a hotel or something, and I identify the person who's bigger or in better shape than me so that I can suck. George Bryant: Yep. Alex Charfen: And it's an automatic program. I don't even know I'm doing it, but I almost immediately have identified whoever's ahead of me. And I remember years ago, being in a gym and going, "Oh man, that's the guy today." And it was me. I was seeing myself in the reflection of two or three mirrors where my head was cut off, but I could see the body. And here's how profound body dysmorphia is. As soon as I shifted so I could see my head, I looked like a fat guy again. George Bryant: Totally. Alex Charfen: In that moment, I remember thinking, "Hold up, that's how severe it is. No wonder everybody keeps telling me this stuff." And so man, I'm 47 and I still deal with it sometimes, still. Still. Sometimes I'll catch an image out of the corner of my eye of a mirror and I'll think like, "Oh man, you are so huge. You look like crap today." And there's this almost automatic thing that is there. That is like, it's a rejection of self. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: And it's a complete rejection of self. And now in my adulthood now I understand that that was because I experienced so much trauma that I didn't admit, I didn't realize I didn't work through, I didn't process. I didn't understand it. And George, when I was younger, I definitely did some binging and purging when I was really overweight as a kid. I would come home and eat everything and then throw up. I never really dealt with bumelia long-term, but I did have several periods of my life, where I was anorexic. Where I would get up and eat like 600 calories a day and do everything I could the right way. And when you start doing that, you get into this pattern where now the body takes on fat because you're not getting enough calories. So then I got into that loop where no matter what, you're in the wrong place. And at the end of my 20s, I was about 300 pounds. I was on five prescription drugs about to be given a sixth, just to deal with the side effects of the first five. And it was completely and totally self-inflicted. I don't think I've ever publicly shared that stuff. It's hard to talk about it, especially as a guy. George Bryant: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I went public when I ran the paleo company about my bumelia, because it was a part of my healing and my process. And I got connected to the fact that like 53% of people with eating disorders are men, but it's not talked about. Alex Charfen: We don't talk about it at all. George Bryant: So you don't really know. And I was like, but for me as a man, but as an entrepreneur, it was just one pillar of the same conversation. It was an advocation of self-love. It was dis-self-respect, right. And it was a no matter what, I'm not good enough. And so when we think about it, one of the big distinctions in personal development is there are no compartments, right? We like to think that there are, right. I'm a bad-ass at the gym. And that means that I'm only bad at business. No. Right. Or I'm so good in my work, but I'm bad at my ... No, it's across the board. Right? Alex Charfen: How you do one thing is you do everything. George Bryant: And so for me, like what I find is that rather than trying to make it look a certain way, is wherever the avenue is right now in my life, that's calling me for growth. And right now it's my fitness and the alone time in gym, is I give it my all from that same place of self-love and that rising tide permeates through everything that I do. And so it's like, I use the gym as my vessel for better systems, clear communication, self-acceptance, self-love. And somehow my team's like, "God, these podcasts are great. And really love how you made me feel and the way that you had that call the other day, I felt so seen and respected." And I was like, "Got to love those weights at 3:45 in the morning," as I'm crying through my last set, that's half the weight that I've ever lifted in my life. I'm like, "I'm so weird. I love myself. I'm so strong," and I pushed through and create possibility. But I think it's really powerful. And I love that we're having this conversation Alex, because you know, one of the things that I come up against and people say this all the time, it's like, "God, when you say this stuff, it writes me this permission slip." I think one of my biggest challenges in the world that we live in is it glorifies disconnection and nobody bridges the conversations to the real stuff. Alex Charfen: Dude. Amen. George Bryant: And yeah. Alex Charfen: Amen. In fact, man, I'm going to probably get in trouble for this. But I think the majority of the personal development industry is avoidance. When you look at so much of what personal development tells us, and I don't want to name any names, but it's going to probably be obviously some of the people I'm talking about, but when you're in a situation where you're having a reaction, when there's an emotional reaction, somebody standing next to you and saying, "Hey, change your state. Let it go. You just focus on that." What you're really doing is you're denying the feelings you're experiencing yet again, for another point in time in your life. Now you're just denying them to the power of a hundred, because there's this other human being telling you it's okay. And now they're giving you frameworks that allow you to back away from and deny what you're actually experiencing. And just pretend like you can somehow go into the opposite direction permanently without dealing what just happened. And there's this atmosphere in so much personal development of toxic positivity and bypassing this spiritual like, "Hey, think positive. It's going to be okay. You're not looking at the right things. You need to go this way, change your state." And all of that language drives me crazy because what we really need to hear is, "Hey, let's stop for a second. That feeling you were feeling, where's it coming from? What's the background? What's the origin of it? How did, when when's the first time you ever felt that way?" And here's one of the most important questions, where do you feel that in your body? George Bryant: Exactly. Alex Charfen: George, this week, it was really interesting. We had this three-day event and on the third day, we separate out only the most successful companies that are in our world. The people who are in our accelerator and growing scale programs, they're all seven figure organizations. They're all building teams. They're all moving into this place of leadership. And one of our members actually shared that he doesn't really feel like he has feelings. He's like, I don't, I don't feel feelings. I just, my wife tells me I don't feel them. Everybody arounds me tells me I don't feel them. So we introduced him to Pia Mellody, who's one of my therapy heroes. She's amazing. George Bryant: Her books are amazing. Alex Charfen: Amazing, and [inaudible 01:10:08] CD that's free on YouTube should be a $5,000 ... If she was alive today, everything she sells would be 4997, but now it's free because ... not alive, if she was like getting her career started today, I think she's still alive in the Meadows in Dallas, but everything that should be sold for thousands of dollars is now given away free because people ended up going to her clinic. And overnight he listened to the shame CD. And it's the CD where she talks about your feelings are reflected in your body. Interpret what's going on in your body. If you're feeling like your feet are stuck to the ground, there's guilt and shame. If you're feeling it in your abdomen in this area, there's a resentment, there's an anger issue. You start being able to kind of use your body as a roadmap. And it was interesting. Overnight he listened to her CD, came back the next day, talking about it. And he was like, "Yeah, you know what? I listened to that CD and I totally have feelings. I didn't think I did. But now that I listen to Pia Mellody, I know that I absolutely do." And it completely shifted his outlook like overnight so that we can start to use our bodies as interpretation. You mentioned that entrepreneurial personality type earlier. I didn't realize how deep the definition I chose for the EPT was when I wrote this book years ago. But it's we are physiologically sensitive, momentum based beings that are highly reactive to constraint. That physiologically sensitive, that is where our feelings really are. If you can slow down and say, "Wait, where is this? Where am I feeling this in my body? How is this actually landing? How does it make me feel?" That's where we make this massive shift and really have realizations about [inaudible 01:11:41] George Bryant: Yeah. And so funny when I hear you talk, I'm like EMDR, I love it. I love it. I was like, that's when I had those questions. And what's interesting is that mine, Alex, was when I got out of the military, I told everybody I couldn't feel. I was numb. I couldn't feel, I was numb. And then it's actually one of my business partners, [inaudible 01:12:01] looked me dead in the eye and is like, "Numb is a feeling." It was just enough of a paradigm challenge or a pattern interrupt that I was like, wait, what? Whoa. Alex Charfen: It was enough of a cold, cold glass of water in the face. George Bryant: Yeah, and you're like, "Wait, it is. It is" Right. And getting into those things. But I think that that's a lot of it. And, Alex, I think what's so important about that is I believe in state changes when they're permanent. I believe in committing to a new action. But if you don't, you're basically getting behind the driver's seat blindfolded and expecting to make it to the finish line without crashing. You have to know what got you there, where it's coming from. And we store so much of our trauma and our fears in our actual physical body. And I started to understand this as a guy with brain injury and traumatic brain injury, and I've done stem cell therapy, and I've done everything you can imagine, including EMDR. And it's somehow miraculous that as I was beating my opiate addiction and doing EMDR, that the pain that I experienced most of my life disappeared when I no longer had charges around the emotions. Alex Charfen: It's so hard to break down what you just said, but- George Bryant: That might be a whole nother you need to come and spend three days with us in person to get. Alex Charfen: That could be a two day seminar right there. George Bryant: Yeah. But I think one of the things is, is we are training. No matter what we do, we're training ourselves, we're training ourselves. And when we're in the world of business and entrepreneurship, pick it, right. Or in the world of life, "Oh, my ad account got shut down." Well, in that moment, we have a trigger. We have a charge, we have a reaction. Right. And if the first thing we do is dive head first into it, without seeing where it came from, why it triggered us in the first place. Boom, boom, boom. We don't just create it again. We create it worse. And then it continues. The way that my wife said it to me, she's like, "The universe is going to keep kicking you in the nuts until you can't have kids anymore." Was basically what she had said to me. And she's like, "Or you can realize that it only has to kick you once and just let it hurt, learn the lesson. And then it goes away." Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: And it was this really profound concept for me. But I think, Alex, why I love what you do, and by the way, the first talk I ever heard you gave was on the EPT, the entrepreneurial type. I heard you give a talk somewhere. And that's when I became, I figured out who you were. And I think it was like 2017, right around when you guys relaunched the company. I have no idea where it was. I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. So we're screwed at that point. But it was good. Serendipitously we ended up here, which is amazing. But I think one of the things that I've wanted to normalize and never ... So two things for me, I wanted to normalize the conversation of authenticity. Right? Alex Charfen: Yeah. Well, the real content. George Bryant: The real conversation of authenticity. Alex Charfen: Not the authenticity. Well, if anybody's listening, I'm making air quotes. George Bryant: Air quotes, yeah. Alex Charfen: Because what authenticity has become is making up a story that makes you sound authentic. George Bryant: Totally. The way that I say it is if you have to say you're being authentic, you're not. Alex Charfen: You lost. George Bryant: Yeah. Right. But real authenticity. And it took me eight years to get here. Because I went through the Caveman Company and I remember I was giving a keynote on the three ways to use food to create breakthrough habits in your life. My wife's like, "Yeah, but you can't go give that keynote and lie." And I knew what she meant. And so I had to start that keynote with, "I've been lying to you for three years, I've been a paleo food blogger talking about loving yourself. And I've been, bulimic because I was sexually abused." I gave that at an opening keynote at Paleo Effects, Alex. Alex Charfen: Jeez. George Bryant: And I had every fear in the world. They're going to leave. I'm going to lose my friends. And the most amazing thing happened. Anyone standing sat down, Rob was in the audience. Melissa was in the audience. Terry Walls was in the audience. And I was like, "Oh, here we go. And like, well this is George, right?" And it just started this whole thing. And then I even branded unapologetically authentic because I wanted to practice it. Alex Charfen: Wait. I want to stop you. What happened when you gave the speech? How long was the standing ovation? George Bryant: It didn't really stop. Alex Charfen: Then people were coming up to you and talking. George Bryant: It changed my life, changed my life. And it was a culmination of a lot of events because at this point I'd already been a New York Times bestseller. Right. And I'd been this paleo food blogger, one of the top blogs. And everyone's like, "God, this guy gets it. He was this Marine. He was this bad-ass. And I was like, and you guys have no idea that I've been purging every day when I post those recipes." And here's why. And so yeah, it was one of those things where it was the first ... For me, it was the first door opening into accepting my sovereignty. It was the first door and it was the first step because it was really breaking down fears, beliefs. And that's when I was dealing with relationship trauma that I caused due to my lack of congruency and my lack of integrity with like how I was working and how I was living. And so I've been on this pursuit of authenticity, authenticity, authenticity. And then there became this point where authenticity became my new hiding spot. Alex Charfen: Yeah. That is so well said. That describes so many thought leaders today. So well said. George Bryant: Yeah. And then I realized that authenticity was my new survival tool because I could be authentic to the point where I could keep you where I wanted you without you ever getting to my heart. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: And that was the new game. Alex Charfen: That's so intense. George Bryant: And that was the game until a year ago. Alex Charfen: That is so intense. George Bryant: And it was the break, remember I told you about that break. It was when I had to walk away from Cave Man. Consulting was doing great, but my relationship was on the rocks. I was a horrible, I wasn't, I was being a horrible father, horrible relationship with myself. And I had to really unplug and start going deep into breath, into shamanic journeys, into some plant medicine. And I walked away from social media for a year and a half. I changed my phone number. I don't want to say I cut out the relationships. I honored myself for the first time. I was willing to be myself without relationships. And then it was on the other side of that, that I was like, "Holy shit." And I would realize how protective I was still, but my new armor was authenticity. And so I'd worked on everything. And I was like, "What's the armor that nobody can see as armor?" And I had this thing in my life as an entrepreneur and a human that if I hid in plain sight, nobody could catch me, right. So I'm in the Marine Corps, I'm bulimic and an addict, but yet I'm running a perfect physical fitness test, a perfect combat fitness test. I'm a Marine Corps martial arts instructor. I'm a rescue swimmer and I have the highest marks ever. So nobody's ever going to ask me a question or realize I'm abusing opiates. Right. And I was like, "Oh, I'm bulimic." Well, if I'm a paleo food blogger with a number one app, a 22 week New York Times bestselling cookbook, who the hell is going to question my eating disorder? Nobody. That became authenticity for me. I've never talked about this ever until this current moment. Ever. Alex Charfen: And it's so intense that you're talking about it, George, because we've all, I mean, I think anybody who's been in the public eye or who's been in that place has done stuff like this. I know there's definitely times ... There was actually a point in my career where we were showing other businesses how to grow, but I was doing do as I say, not as I do. There was stuff that I was showing other businesses that I wasn't actually putting it into my own life in business. There was stuff I was coaching entrepreneurs to do that I was kind of half assing myself. And so many of us have been in that place where, and honestly, George, what you just described I think is kind of the behind the scenes of so many people who go out to help other people. We're out there helping other people in the help that we need the most. And we're out there making the difference for other people in the difference that we really just need to turn towards ourselves. And so for me, there was this massive growth period. It's funny how you described that because I also got really deeper into therapy, tried some psychedelic medicines, not just plant medicine, but I did did some other stuff, both clinically and outside of a clinical environment, in a protected environment, but very particular- George Bryant: I'll add a disclaimer to the intro of this one. Alex Charfen: Totally. And I realized was I spent most of my career trying to help, man, I'm getting super emotional over this. George Bryant: Me too. I'm at the brink at this point right now. Alex Charfen: Yeah, no kidding. So I spent most of my career trying to help other people with the struggles that I was experiencing and still had not helped myself. And there was some broken equation in my mind that the more I helped other people, eventually it would come around to me. And a few years ago, I remember this transitionary period. It wasn't a day. It wasn't a moment. It wasn't a time. It was a period where started like actually putting the time into myself. And I started taking my own advice. I started doing the things that I told other people to do. I actually started something that was profound. I stopped telling anyone to do anything I wasn't doing. And if I found myself in a situation where I was like, "Oh, here's what you need to do." I doubled down and made a hundred percent certain that I was doing it first. And then I went back and told that person, and that has been the most profound shift in my life because I can't hide from that. George Bryant: Yeah. Hence why I write a daily email now. Alex Charfen: Yeah. Well, yeah. And you know what? I don't write the daily email. I have a different practice. George Bryant: That's my outlet. That was one of them. Alex Charfen: That's yours. George Bryant: Yeah. That was one of them. Alex Charfen: Mine is getting up and every day, going through our system, going through the system that I encourage other entrepreneurs to go through and making it so that it counts. And here's what's so fascinating. The results that we get today with other people are so off the charts compared to anything that I've ever been able to produce in my life. And they are so different and so profound and so real, they're not temporary. They're not elusive. People are actually changing massive things in their lives. And I absolutely believe it's because now I don't just have the knowledge and the understanding of what should be happening. Shit. This is hard to say. George Bryant: There's a tear running down my cheek as we speak because Alex is speaking to my current situation. Alex Charfen: Right. And George, here's what actually happened. I realized that energetically, energetically ... Energy changes everything. It's the energy behind what you're saying, it's the energy behind what you're doing. And now when I walk out on a stage or when I'm in front of other people, or when I have an opportunity, like I did this week with our members in our virtual event we did this week, when I say this is how you should be doing this. And this is how it works. I'm saying it from a place of not just authenticity, but actual function, process-driven congruency. People hear it now and they're like, "Oh, okay, well, I'll do that." I don't argue with people anymore. I don't have to sell people or persuade them anymore. I share my personal experience. And I literally can watch them shifting in the moment and saying, "This is what I'm going to do now. This is how it's going to work now." And it's because it's coming from a place of actually having done it, not experimenting with other people, which is what I think a lot of the consultants and coaches and thought leaders. And that's what we're out there doing until we make this shift. George Bryant: And I'm in the middle of this shift and I'll share something else that I've never shared because it's coming up as we speak I'm in the part of the transition where I'm actually believing that what I know and what I do can be made into a process and it is good enough as it is without the compensation. Alex Charfen: Hell yeah, man. Hell yeah. George Bryant: And that's where- Alex Charfen: It's such a real place in the process. George dude, when you, so you're going through that as we speak. George Bryant: As we speak. As we speak. I have my models, I have my processes that were all built, learning the game on other people's businesses, right. And I've joked that I got to play Monopoly with other people's money and luckily I was good at Monopoly. That was the joke that I make. And I mean that. I was so afraid of letting people down that I never lost, but at the same time I did it at the sacrifice of myself. Alex Charfen: Yeah. When you just said, "I was so afraid of letting people down," all I heard was how much of a sacrifice it is to you. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: Because what that really means is it's at all costs [crosstalk 01:24:14] George Bryant: It was at all costs. Alex Charfen: Same here. George Bryant: And there's still ramifications from two, three years ago that creep in today because of how deep those costs were. Alex Charfen: Yeah. Oh man. There's ramifications from 20 years ago for me. George Bryant: Totally. Alex Charfen: I'll see, or I'll talk to somebody that I knew as my former self or in that life and they still react to me like I was back then and I can feel it. I can feel how I was through their reactions, through how they speak to me through how we just connect. And I think to myself, "Man, how did I survive that?" But I'm so uncomfortable in the present day interaction that I know was completely driven by me and who I was in the past. And you feel that, and it's like a punch every time. George Bryant: Every time. Alex Charfen: Every time. And what it does for me is it drives me to be more committed and more grounded and more in a place where I won't share anything that I'm not doing myself. I always joke about the person in the room who is always the one that will most freely give advice and is the most enthusiastic about their advice is usually the one who knows the most and has experienced, sorry, who knows the least and has experienced the least. Because there's no responsibility to the advice they give. Now, given what I've been through and kind of making that shift through focusing on others, to make myself happy, then learning that the only way to really do it was focusing [inaudible 01:25:42] then taking that out to others that has really been the most profound learning experience. It's one of those that it's not like I'm done. I mean, I don't even know if I'm 5% of the way there. I just know that that realization in itself shifted everything in my world. George Bryant: I tell everybody I'm 4% of the game of a hundred at this point. That's where I am. Alex Charfen: That's what feels like. George Bryant: And to say that though, with excitement and humility is powerful as shit. Alex Charfen: Yeah. No kidding. George Bryant: Because three years ago, if you saw that last keynote I gave, I gave plenty of advice that worked, but it was not from a place of I'm doing this myself. It's I know this works, but I want you to like me, then I want you to come back. I want you to say it. And I think it's important that everybody hears this, that there's nothing wrong with that. It's a part of the process. That was my process. That was my awareness. And I'm very aware of it now, but it's just like this week, I've been meditating a lot on what I'm getting ready to come into and open up again. And I haven't knee jerked and opened. I'm getting really clear. And I was like, "Man, no, I really do know this stuff." This is so important. And the value in the simplicity versus the complexity. Alex Charfen: Yeah. That's what's really interesting. When you start doing it for yourself, you realize how much you can simplify everything. George Bryant: Everything, everything. Alex Charfen: Everything. And you realize how much noise you can suck out of the environment overnight. So yeah, oh man, I did not know that this podcast was going to go in this direction. I think pretty much we ... I think we've been going for about an hour and 30 minutes, I would say probably 85 of the 90 minutes is stuff I've talked about nowhere else ever in my life, except with a therapist. George Bryant: You know what, Alex, my whole thing is in the best way possible, I want to write permission slips for entrepreneurs to be themselves. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: And there's too much of, be a certain way. You have to make a look a certain way. My favorite part, you get into a room and when you come to one of the masterminds in person, which I can't wait. My favorite one is someone's like, "How are we doing this one?" I'm like, "I feel like shit." Like, wait, that's not what I expect. I'm like, "No, it's the truth." Doesn't mean we're not going to have an amazing day, but I couldn't deal with another circle jerk at another event of like, I'm great. Or how is your business? It's amazing. And I was like, "Oh yeah. Is that why you can't pay your credit card bill?" No. Authenticity, awareness, and clarity are really, really, what's supposed to be there. I don't believe you're quote unquote one funnel away. I believe you're a lot of work away and the 167 iterations of that funnel away and the three months of audience research away. But I just recorded a [inaudible 01:28:26] video. I said, I love a lot of what's taught, but I also don't like misguided beliefs and like ru rah rah happy systems. And I was like, "You're one funnel away from being exactly where you were three months ago with less time, money and energy." Alex Charfen: And with a funnel. George Bryant: With a funnel. Alex Charfen: Let's get real. And no, you can't be one week ahead of your clients and be authentic and be real. I agree. There's a lot of stuff out there that, the attitudes and the things that we're taught as mantras are holding us down in so many different cases. George Bryant: I went through something the other day, because I still love funnel hacking things, quote unquote, funnel hacking things. I just want to see how bad people's business really is. I had 11 upsells. 11. 11, and I took every one of them. I was like, let me see how deep this rabbit hole goes. Wow. And then I was like, "I can't even email these people. I can't even." I was like, "Aw, man, I just pray for them." I'm just going to pray for them at this point. But I think, Alex, we talked about this, there's these stages of entrepreneurship. You put them into your billionaire code, which by the way, if you guys aren't familiar go to or I think it's, right? Alex Charfen: George Bryant: Yeah, Check this thing out. It's legit. 25 plus years of experience put into image that you can meditate on for weeks at a time and still not understand everything that's in there, but that's a good thing to unpack. And when I think about that, of the phases and the stages, I think all of them require us as leaders to write permission slips for people through our actions and through our being that it's okay to be a human in this process. Alex Charfen: Yep. PART 3 OF 5 ENDS [01:30:04] George Bryant: Being that like, it's okay to be a human in this process. It's okay to have fears, to have emotions. I was talking to my team yesterday. Tyler's at the house right now. He's up. And like, I was crying about where I want to go. And he's like, what do you want your day to look like when we're doing $10 million a year? Because we're right around where you are, as the rebuilt of this. Right. And my only answer was, I want to spend more time with more people in person. That was it. That's all I could come up with. And it filled my heart in the same moment and then I looked at my current day and I'm like, that's not my day, but that's where I'm going. Right. And it's humbling. And then I cried because then I had this stark realization that I sit here and I say, "I'm doing this for people. I'm doing this for people." But yet, the more I "do," the less time I spent with people. And these levels, yeah. Alex Charfen: Isn't that interesting? It's like you actually have to stop yourself sometime and say, and what you just mentioned is kind of like the perfect day exercise. George Bryant: Yeah. Oh, I did this with Clay. Clay [Haber 01:30:57] did this to me at my event in front of everybody. Alex Charfen: Okay. Okay. So Clay did it first from a video on YouTube, by Frank Kern. George Bryant: Okay. Got it. Alex Charfen: It's pretty much the only thing I've ever watched from Frank Kern. Not that I truly dislike him, but I interacted with Frank Kern during his Viking hat wearing tequila shot taking on stage days. George Bryant: I remember. Alex Charfen: And I never was able to get over it because I was actually in person with them back then and he was such a challenging presence that I never went back to that well, but the perfect day exercise that he has on YouTube is intense. And three or four years ago, I started doing it. I started sitting down every six months and writing out my perfect day. And you know what's weird, George, if you do that exercise, I'm convinced that it manifests something in your life because you'll end up with that perfect day way faster than you thought you would. And what's interesting is, you're not asking for enough. George Bryant: Yeah. Oh, 1,000%. Alex Charfen: The first time, I mean, I remember doing it. And then about six months later going, I wonder what that thing said. I'm going to pull it out. I hadn't looked at it. Hadn't really planned anything around it. Didn't create a process around it. But somehow I had created that day and I looked at my calendar and I'm like, wow, I'm getting up and I'm hanging out with my kids. I've got calls that I want to be on. I'm doing podcasts. This is not my perfect day, but it was six months ago. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: It's exactly what I said I wanted to do. You know? And I've got time with my wife. I've got so, okay. Now it's time to demand more from the universe. Like what am I going to write on this perfect day? And I've continued to do that over and over and over again. And it's interesting. I think as entrepreneurs, we spend so much time in the future, that if we will just clarify one day, it becomes so much easier to see what you really want. George Bryant: 1000%. Jim, our buddy, Jim Kwik, talks about, right, like he always says, "If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them." Right? But what he always talks about on the other side is like we're programming the supercomputer that runs our day. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: And the moment you look at it and you give it a program, somehow magically it "manifests" in your life, right? Alex Charfen: Yeah. Exactly. George Bryant: i.e. You just programmed a thing. You got it done. Yeah. Clay came to one of our events and he had me do the perfect calendar exercise in front of my entire room. And so my perfect day, week, month, and year, and Holy moly, I didn't even like hard implement it after, even though I broke my word to my no promise but I owned to that. How much of it is true at this current day? And now what's funny is I can tell I'm due for a new one, because there's been a point for the last couple of days where I'm like, I'm "done" with what I have to get done, but I felt lost. And I was like, Oh, what's missing? There's something missing in my tank. Is it me time? Is it family time? Is it reflective time? But I think what you're talking about is so imperative. It's like, you remember when before we had Google maps and Apple maps and everything, right? Like you would either use a physical map or if you had the internet, you would print out MapQuest. Right? But no matter ... Alex Charfen: Yeah. You'd have a Thompson's guide or you get it through MapQuest. George Bryant: Yeah, exactly. But no matter what, no point did we memorize all 37 steps. We looked at it, we took the first three, four, then we came back and we measured what worked, what didn't work, did I make the right time? Right turn, am I on track? And then we all did it again. And I think in entrepreneurship, that's a lost art of coming back in and checking in. Right. Acknowledging progress, seeing where we've come from. Like you just said, plugging into the moment. Right. Which is why we talk so much about breath work and cold therapy and everything else. Alex Charfen: because at 32 degrees, you are in the moment. George Bryant: I will tell you right now, like everyone's like, man. I was like, let me be clear. I fucking hate the cold. I hate it. I am a snowflake that wants a heater. And I was like, but what I love is after the 90 seconds where I want to quit at every ounce of my body, being and soul, that I now have the ability to sit through it. And then the fact that if I do anything except breathe, I freeze and I hate being cold so much that I breathe to stay present and it is the most tightest container of forced meditation in my life. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: That's why I do it. And everyone's like, Oh, yeah. I'm like, yeah, because I'm stubborn. You can knock, like someone can get punched in the face by Mike Tyson once and learn the lesson. Like I'm going to have to be comatosed and missing every teeth based on my life experiences. And I was like cold therapy. It does it in literally three seconds. Alex Charfen: Yeah. What most people don't understand is cold therapy, it's a meditation. George Bryant: That's it. Alex Charfen: It's a meditation. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: For those of us, whenever somebody says, "Oh. Well, I can't meditate." I got a secret for you. George Bryant: And then when they're done, they're like, "Hey, you know what? I am really good at that meditation. I'll do it tomorrow. Don't worry. I don't need to come over and get in your ice bath." Alex Charfen: I'm pretty sure I can meditate without that. George Bryant: Yeah. And I think, Alex, like I think about these things and there's so many things that like, just even in this conversation already, are a testament to what you do and how you do it. Right. But they're wrapped. And I invite everybody to listen to this again and really take the time to listen to it with a piece of paper and a notepad and write down whatever comes to you because there are so many undertows to everything that's here that "might not have pretty wrapping paper, but the undertows are here and they're solid." And one of the things that you talk about, right, and you've said this quite a few times. You're like we as entrepreneurs, will you give me your famous quote about how we like to go out into the future again? Alex Charfen: So entrepreneurs are that small percentage of the population that goes out into the future, creates a new reality, comes back to the present and demands it becomes real and puts up with whatever we need to in order to make that happen. George Bryant: I love that. So that part I love and that's the destination we're going and this is what I challenge people. And I say this, I sound like a broken record. I hope I'm annoying the shit out of you at this point for anybody who's heard this more than seven times. You plugged that destination to Google maps. That's amazing. But if you hit go without a starting line, it can't go anywhere. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: And Alex has said this probably 10 times already. You have to plug into the moment, agnostic of fault, blame, guilt, or shame, to see where you are to know how to put that first way point in. Alex Charfen: No doubt. George Bryant: That. And what I will say as entrepreneurs, as business owners, as leaders, what prevented me for most of my life from getting into that spot was holding on to fault, blame, guilt, or shame. Alex Charfen: Yeah. It was ego. George Bryant: Ego. All day. Alex Charfen: It was the protection of the ego. It's all ego. George Bryant: All day. And so when we talk about what can you do or like I'm feeling anxious. Like I just did a podcast with [Stefanos 00:01:37:21]. I was like, Hey man. And I know him so I know like how to trigger the thoughts with his sexy Australian accent when he yells at you and it feels soft because he has that accent. Right. And I'm like, and they can, they're the only ones that can cuss and it's attractive. Right. Like I don't get it. I really don't. Alex Charfen: New Zealand and Australia. I agree. George Bryant: Yeah. I don't get it. I don't get it. And I was like, "so, you know, man, like I get it and I'm feeling this, so what I would do?" And he's like, "Sit with it longer." And I was like, "Oh, you mean I don't state change, avoid it, clap my hands with oversized fingers and pretend it goes away?" And he's like, "No. Yeah, sit with it longer." And I love said person and I definitely changing awareness, but there's a point of it where the Buffalo is the smartest, intelligent, most intelligent animal in the middle of Yellowstone. When there was a storm coming, they head directly towards it and they realize it's the fastest way through. And I think as entrepreneurs, the reason that this is so important, Alex does this, I do this. This is not a game that's supposed to be played alone. This is not a game that is a solo quest. There is no way to win this with I. It's about me. And it's about having a group of people, a community of people, that know themselves and are loving you from a place of loving themselves that will hold you and allow you to be in this process. Because if somebody hands you a fish, you're going to be hungry in a week. But if they bring you in a container and a community and you align with people and I mean align with people, like I'm going to soap box for a second, but get the fuck away from people that make you feel icky. If you have to give your soul ... Alex Charfen: And get away from people that make you feel like you can't be yourself. George Bryant: Like you can't be yourself. Alex Charfen: If you're around a group of people where you have to send your representative, you know what I'm saying? Right. Like you're faking. George Bryant: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Your alter ego. Alex Charfen: You're in the wrong group. George Bryant: Yeah. Exactly. Right. Like Alex and I have actually had some conversations and he's like that's a limiting belief. Like, no, it's not. And then I was like, boom. And then we go, but like that's the thing. It's like respecting yourself and being with it, but you have to realize that you, everybody listen to this. We are 100% responsible for where we get to go. 100%. And if you set your game up to win and when Alex talks about process, structure and routine, I talk about containers, right, like I talk about containers. Put yourself in a container where the only path is progress and the worst is neutrality. Like if you set it up the right way, you know where you want to go, you go out into the future, you create that thing, you do that thing and you're like, this is where I am. Okay. I'm not going to lose a hundred pounds tonight. I'm not, but you know what I can do? I can map out what I'm going to do tomorrow morning, what time and how much water I'm going to drink when I wake up. And then I'm going to tell somebody, and then they're going to celebrate the shit out of it with me, not break me down and convince me I need to give them more money because I didn't fucking do it. Right. Alex Charfen: No shit. George Bryant: Right? Because there's a couple of entrepreneurs and I haven't said this since I was in the military, but I want to reach down their throat or rip out their fucking spine when I see some of the things that they do. And it's important that all of us stand up for our sovereignty and what's best and we have the ability to do that because there are plenty of people that are here to support you. And that might mean I'm not your cup of tea, Alex, isn't your cup of tea, but somebody is your cup of tea and your flavor and I don't think this is said enough. Alex Charfen: I agree with you so, so, so deeply, George, that one of the myths perpetrated in the entrepreneurial world is the solo preneur, the happy solo preneur, the successful solo preneur. I want everyone listening to understand the words solo and entrepreneurship have nothing to do with each other. It has been made up. It's fake. It's a joke act. Let's go look at the people who are teaching people how to become successful solopreneurs and talk to their teams because they're not alone because there's no way you can do this alone. George Bryant: No. Alex Charfen: And we are evolutionary hunters, hunters hunt in packs. Hunting is not a singular exercise. It is a team exercise. And one of the most important things for us as entrepreneurs is when we can let go of this myth of the solo preneur and admit to ourselves that our success is only partially ours. It's shared with the people around us. It's shared with our team. It's shared with our network. It's shared with the people who influence us and inspire us. In the time that you and I've been talking, George, like I've had so many ideas. I don't know if you've noticed that I had to take notes over and over. George Bryant: I want to hear them. Alex Charfen: I've been like writing stuff down. And here's why? If I had sat in my room today by myself for the last two hours listening to other people's podcasts or reading a book or something, I might've had a couple of ideas, but because I'm in this exchange, iron sharpens iron, and we can talk to each other and I'm listening to George and I'm understanding his experience and it's validating mine so many times over today. I actually feel like I'm in this completely elevated intellectual space where I can think in a different plane of possibility than was even available to me two hours ago. And that's what entrepreneurship is all about. And George, I totally agree with something you just said, and I don't want us to just rush by it. I think that there's this epidemic in the coaching space today where so many coaches and so many thought leaders are replacing the abusive parent you had as a child or replacing the abusive energy that you had as a child. And so many thought leaders today literally present as an abusive human being, the way that they even go up on stage and talk. There's a lot of people that when they get on stage or when I'm in an event and they're speaking, I literally have to leave the room because I start feeling the violence behind what they're saying. I start feeling the apprehension behind what they're saying. And then I start seeing all the room who have existed in that energy start leaning in and like accepting it once again in their lives. And that is not necessary. If there's somebody who's helping you, they invalidate you, they are not helping you. If there's somebody who you are paying money to, but they're making you feel less than what you are, that is not a healthy relationship. And if there's a coaching or consulting relationship that you are in, where you don't feel like you're in momentum and you're moving forward and you're getting what you need, and there is any blame or shame being put back on you, that is a coach or consultant that doesn't have a clue what they're doing. And I say those things, but you're noticing I'm not hedging, like if you do this or if you do that or any of those things, because the reality is, if you come into our program, even if it doesn't work out for you, we're not going to send you away in pain. We're not going to send you away with blame. We're not going to send you away with shame, with any of those things. If there's a reason why we didn't work out, that's okay, but this is not an indictment of who you are and far too much of our world today has become a sink or swim, indictment of who you are, if you get in my space and that's just totally unfair and it comes from a thought leader or leader who just doesn't have the right level of experience. I'm convinced of that. George Bryant: I couldn't agree more and I think we talk about this online. One of the problems was is I ended up in that container and using them as a measuring stick. And it wasn't until I pulled my rip cord and said, you know what? I don't belong here. And I'd rather be alone on the outside in the fringe with the people that matter them playing this game and getting into how much do we charge for masterminds? And like how much can we make for delivering the least amount? And how many times can we get them to pay without coming? Like I can't. I just couldn't do it anymore. And there's ... Alex Charfen: Yeah. Well, and really, what psychological addiction can we set up so that the people around us continue to see us as the only path for their success, which by the way, I don't want that as an entrepreneur. I don't want that responsibility. I don't even want that feeling in my life. That's not a feeling of validation. That's a feeling of impatient. George Bryant: They have a 12 step program for that. It's called CODA. Co-dependence Anonymous. Alex Charfen: Co-dependence Anonymous. George Bryant: And it's a very, very real thing. If you at any moment are like, "I can't do this without said mentor," they've already ruined the entire game. You now are predicated on feeding your family and thinking and advocating your thinking, your sovereignty and your success to their ego. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: That is not the way to be. And like there's this amazing thing with sayings, right? There's probably a reason they've been along this fucking long. If you teach a man to fish, first, hand him a fish, right? Like, and I say this all the time, like Alex and I talked about this separately. We think about e-commerce. We think about consulting. We think about coaching. Alex does this too. What's the danger in giving somebody a win up front? They get to taste how amazing the fish they made was they come want more. Instead, most of the industry has spent starving people and then promising to give you food later and give you food later and all they do is move the fucking finish line, over and over and over again. Alex Charfen: Yeah. Just another product that ends in $9.97 that's going to give you the thing that was promised in the first one. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: Let's get real. George Bryant: I just need a new number. I think I want to do like 22.5 or something. Like, I don't know. Like I just want to pick a number. Alex Charfen: $98.50, from now on. Everything we sell is $98.50. George Bryant: Yeah, and here's the thing. I'm going to say this and I couldn't have said this a year ago. I was living with some fragile beliefs in what I did and I think if you've listened to this, you probably understood that it was because I wanted to do it for everybody else because I wanted them to like me and wanting them to have success, but I didn't really believe in myself and I'm not there anymore. Right. And so I never pressured anybody to join my mastermind or do my consulting. I just promised them that they would get a return no matter what. And I took a lot of the wrong clients, but I always delivered the result because I sacrificed myself. But here's the thing. If you have anybody in your life, anybody you're coaching, anybody you're consulting, anybody you want to learn from, and their first answer is, "I'll give it to you when you pay," you better run the fuck away. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: And don't be afraid to do an audit because something happened a month and a half ago or so that got Alex and I reconnected and I think it's really important to talk about and Alex is the first person who nailed this on my post the other day. I said, "What's the thing if you pay attention to guarantees the fastest success, and if you ignore guarantees the fastest failure," and its integrity. Alex Charfen: Easy. Yeah. George Bryant: And its integrity, right. And all the other answers I got were amazing. I was like, Oh my God, all of these apply. I'm going to have to do like 85 posts around this. Right. But there's this culture that's perpetuated and I'm going to say this because I struggled with this. There was a point in my career as a coach and a consultant that I believed that if I gave somebody else credit for what I was teaching, that it would devalue me. And that was my ego. And then this beautiful thing happened. I started giving people credit and I could teach 85 more things and my value skyrocketed through the roof. And then I wasn't just the muse. I was the guy who studied and learned and introduced and helped and people achieved a lot more results because my ego wasn't involved. And I want to say this because I was talking to Alex about this privately, and Alex was just ripped off by Dan Lok, which isn't the first time Dan's ripped anybody off. Right. Just use Google. It's an amazing tool to see how many times. Alex Charfen: It might be a business model. George Bryant: It might be. It really might be. I think it might be. But what I think is interesting and I'm saying this because it's not a conversation that's had enough and Alex and I were talking offline. There's two sides of it. Number one, is people need to be held accountable. But number two, we all have to advocate for ourselves and for the responsibility that comes with only accepting the things that are here because supporting it, buying it or doing nothing is complicit and also not calling it out and allowing it to continue is complicit. And I think it's a really, really important thing because no matter who you are, what you're investing in, who you're doing business with, who you're doing life with, at the end of the day, all you have is the integrity. And if people aren't being shining pillars and examples, or at least saying, I realize I'm not as shiny as I want to be, but I'm doing the work with you, then it should be an immediate cause for a red flag and you have the ability, like you know what? I need to trust myself. I'm not going to sacrifice myself. I'm not going to bow my morals or tilt my compass so I can say just this one time, because that is not a part of having process, structure, routine that will get you to your success. Alex Charfen: No question. I think that in our industry and one of the things that far too few of us talk about is that there's this complicit nature in allowing what happens. There's like this almost consistent, like people borrowing from each other and taking from each other and turning the other cheek and like not looking at it, not calling out, not saying anything, that big a deal, but the reality is over time, it really is a big deal. And it's gotten to the point where we're in an industry where influence trumps, like trumps responsibility and experience and likes and followers looks more important than actual customer results and what you've done in your career. And I think that there's this dynamic right now where far too many consumers are being taken advantage of in the way that you and I talked about where they're signing up for help from someone who has only gone as far as to learn how to sell the result, not create it. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: And there's so much of that out there right now, that I kind of see it as kind of a submission of mine now to say, not only am I going to do what I'm doing, but I'm only going to help people who are actually doing it in a real way, only going to work with those people who are actually getting real results. And if somebody comes in looking for just the accolade and the attention and the marketing result, but they're not actually providing it on the backend, they just don't fit in our membership. They really don't. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: And you know what, it's interesting, George, in the groups that we run now and our membership groups, we've had a couple people come in and we kind of feel suspect of them and almost just as quickly, there's a reason why they drop out or leave or can't be there anymore because it's fundamentally uncomfortable for them. They can't be around all these people who authentically actually trying to get a result when they're used to just trying to figure out what's the fastest way to sell this. Not deliver it, sell it. George Bryant: Yeah. The same thing happens a lot for us too. I mean, it even happens in our free Facebook group. The amount of people that come in and then I say them by name in a welcome video and tell them the rules and then I realized that three days later, they're out of the group. I'm like, Whoa, that was fast. Alex Charfen: [crosstalk 01:51:10]. George Bryant: Like guess I really wasn't your cup of tea. Right. But I think also, it's this openness and willingness. Like when we think about leadership, we think about entrepreneurship, we think about business, we think about success. The finish line is the awareness. The finish line is the awareness of the journey, of the awareness of the process. There's a really good book on this. Jamie smart wrote it. It's called The Little Book of Clarity and it breaks down toxic thinking. Right? I'll do this when, I'll be this when versus I am this now. And this level of awareness, I think, is one of the keels that we should always have in the water of our boat. Right. I stay nautical because I'm a lighthouse guy at this point, right? Like I have to ... Alex Charfen: I love your commitment to the [crosstalk 01:51:52]. George Bryant: I literally am committed for life. At this point, it's getting tattooed on my leg. It's not going anywhere. It's permanent. It's not leaving. Right. Like it's in. So everything is nautical at this point. But I think for entrepreneurs and business owners and leaders, what our job is, our job is to be aware and to be aware that it's never the wrapping paper that we're coming up against. Right. It might be email today. It might be social media marketing. It might be systems. It might be processes. It might be culture. But when we really rip back the layers of the onion, that always comes down to ourself, always, always, always, always. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: And I'll never forget. We did this at one of our events and I brought Stefanos in and I don't know. I like to Trojan horse people and ethically, right, so if you add the word ethical, it's okay. So I ethically Trojan horse people. And so people came to the event. I was like, and people know, I talk about self-awareness. I talk about personal development. I talk about a lot of those things, right? Because those are the things that we have to work on. They're the supportive muscles that make it able for us to lift or run or do anything, right. It's like sleep, hydration and food so you can be an entrepreneur. And I was like, "Hey guys, bring a pillow and be ready at 5:00 PM. We're just going to breathe." That's all I said. We didn't tell them anything. And we did an hour and a half of transformational breath work and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. There were people purging. There were people screaming. There were people crying. And this, by the way, this is cathartic and awesome. Not like anybody getting tortured, right? Alex Charfen: No, no. It's like one of the most transformational experiences you can have with just your breath igniting all of those reactions and releasing so much. George Bryant: All of them. And so what I thought was really interesting is that there were two camps that came up to me after, right, because I didn't tell anybody. I said, "Hey, we're just going to breathe with Stefanos." Right. We gave everybody now that you can leave at any moment. And then one of two camps, one is like, I never knew this is what I needed. I can't believe I've avoided doing this work. My life is crystal clear for me now. Or I've known needed this, but I've never felt safe or confident enough in my body or with the right people to do it. i.e. now my life is catapulting. And when we talk about this, Alex and I, we've talked about a ton. Breath work, structure, routine, processes, systems. But if you think about the undertow, what we've really talked about is the exploration, acceptance, forgiveness, and love of self. Alex Charfen: Of self. 100%. George Bryant: At every single level. Alex Charfen: Yep. George Bryant: And if you pick a mentor, one that isn't involved in some crazy stuff in the world right now, but one that like is a mentor and worth pursuing, you will find this exploration of self, this commitment to self. And I think it's probably the biggest "secret" to success, is this exploration of self and that having the people around you that allow you to get there, that supports you in being there. And the one distinction that I will make is that you need to be around people that hold you to your greatness, not support your mediocrity. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: And that's a big, big, big thing for me, a big, big, big thing for me. And so I want anybody listening to this, like as this permission slip, if you're like, Oh, I think I'm going to be a successful entrepreneur with just writing more emails or just doing more sales funnels or recording more videos, change the lens a little bit. Right. Those things are all projections of the work that's done inside. The success of those things is predicated on the success of self and the commitment to self. And it doesn't mean of like I'm some woowoo woke, like I can't go sit on top of a mountain and do Tummo breathing for 30 days and be warm with no food, like I'm not there. Right. But I can have that intention and that integrity in myself to get there. And so, I don't know. I just would love your thoughts on that, Alex, because you're somebody that like since you've come into my life again, you're a breath. I mean, by the way, and the validation is back and forth. Like I'm going to ball after this when I go on my walk, even some more, I'm like, yep. Got it. Got it. I know who's in my corner. We're friends. I got it. We're here. We're aware. We're doing the same things. But you've embodied this at a different level. You, from the moment I've known you, even when you're giving EPTs here, like your water challenge, right. Drink water, drink more, drink more. Right. And then like, it's funny to go from the kid who was afraid to walk in the world to now I tell everybody to chug water, wear blue light blockers, and we're vibrant five fingers. Right? Like what a big shift in confidence that you had at that point. Alex Charfen: No doubt. George Bryant: But like what are some of the things, like people listening right now, like people watching this, listening to this, like there's this part that could feel daunting or overwhelming or like I'm stuck, like what do I do? Like how do you go about breaking down, knowing where we want to go and what do I do today? Like what do I do in this moment? Where do I go? How do I start? Like how do I get into that momentum that you speak so highly of? Alex Charfen: You know, George, I think that as entrepreneurs, for the first long period of our lives, we pursue success in order to validate ourselves so that we'll feel better. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: And I think that there's this realization you get to where you realize that through validating yourself, you actually create success, because I've created success on paper and I've created success financially. I mean, I remember we were the 21st fastest growing company in United States. That's like one of the, and four years after bankruptcy. So Katie and I went from the lowest low to being the 21st fastest growing company in United States. And I don't share this. I don't think I've even shared this with people. But the day that we were at the Inc 500 event, I was in an arbitration for somebody who had like stolen our stuff and I didn't have the right people on my team. I didn't have enough help. I wasn't delegating. I was holding on to everything. I was growing this massive, like very successful business, better than I ever have in the past, but still in a place where I was like holding onto doing everything myself and pursuing the success as a way to validate who I was. And today, when I look at it, it's how do I improve myself? How do I get more in touch with myself? And then that creates my success. So I think if you're at the beginning of this journey, it's funny that you brought up water so many times, George. The reason I created the water challenge is because I look at it as, I always joke with people, water is a gateway drug to success. But you know what it really is? Water is a gateway drug to awareness. George Bryant: That's all it is. Yes. Alex Charfen: It really is. When you hydrate, when you sit down and when you consciously hydrate, you know what happens? You come right into the moment. You feel it. You understand it. You know that it's there. You can't be absentmindedly hydrating. You can't hyper hydrate, drink a whole bunch of water, absentmindedly. You'll choke on it. You'll gag. You actually have to be present. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: And so, for me, I think if you're in the place where you haven't really explored anything that George and I have talked about, if this is brand new to you, one of the entrepreneurial instincts is, okay, I want to do this all at once and right away. So I'm going to go make a list of everything that George and Alex said and by Monday, I'm going to have appointments for all of it, and I'm going to do everything. And here would be my suggestion. Start hydrating, like crazy, focus on it. Just focus on hydrating for the next two weeks. Go to and take our 10 day natural thirst challenge. And for 10 days, follow the directions and do nothing but drink water and see how you feel about not the world in general, not your business, not everything else. See how you feel about yourself at the end of 10 days. George, one of the most profound messages I ever got from somebody after doing the 10 day natural thirst challenge was from this woman who said, "By the third day of drinking water, I wanted to stop because I was having realizations about my childhood and what I had been through when I was younger and I didn't realize everything that was going on." And she said, "But I didn't stop. And by the fifth day, I started having more real," Oh my God, I'm getting a little choked up talking about this because we're talking about water. She's like, "And by the fifth day, I was having even more realizations. By the seventh day, I made an appointment with a therapist. Before I was done with the challenge, I was in my first therapy appointment and I was exploring and talking about things that I didn't really understand existed." And this is her words. "I think I had been dehydrated so long so I didn't have to face it." And it's that little step in a direction. I think there's definitely a lot to be said for the school of thought of taking massive action all at once and right away. But I've redefined action in my life. PART 4 OF 5 ENDS [02:00:04] Alex Charfen: ... away, but I've redefined massive action in my life. Massive action doesn't mean sitting down and making an unbeatable to-do list that I'm never going to be able to accomplish, and then using it as a whipping stick to tell myself I'm not good enough in yet a different way. What massive action means now in my life is committing to one modality, one thing, and making it really work for the timeframe that I've committed to. But one of the things that I'm going to start doing is I'm actually building the same ice chest system that George has because he sent me all the information, and instead of doing cold showers, I'm going to start doing the cold plunges, but I'm not going to add 25 things at that point. I'm going to do cold plunges every day, probably for 30 to 90 days, and explore what does that do for me, how does that open things up. So, if you're just starting out on this, I'm going to give you advice that I think is counterintuitive to most of the advice in the world today. Pick one thing, and go slow, and explore it and understand it. For me, the two best places to start are either a breath work practice or hydration, and hydration's the easiest one to pick up and do right now. George Bryant: Yeah. Imagine this, by the way. I would get emotional too, but the thing that raises awareness is also what, 87% of our body is made up of and gives us life- Alex Charfen: Exactly. George Bryant: ... and we die without it. Yeah. Alex Charfen: Exactly. George Bryant: Yeah. Interesting what happens when you actually love yourself through water. By the way, for anybody who's doubting this, I drink a gallon a day minimum. I get super aware about every 17 minutes when I'm about to get a UTI, and I wake up really quickly when I got to go to the bathroom. But it's really interesting, those little pattern interrupts, of how intentional that is, and when you say one thing, Alex, I want everybody to hear this because when you look at everything that you do in your life, in your day and where you go, if you take that intentionality into one area, that rises across. It's osmosis across the board. Alex Charfen: Every area. Yeah. George Bryant: Awareness isn't a compartment. It's not a thing. It's like, when you have awareness and you have that intentionality, it applies everywhere. You're going to start to realize there's distinctions in your day. You're going to start to realize the food that you're putting in your mouth, how you're responding to emails, how your body is feeling when that text message comes in. There was a point in my life as an entrepreneur last year that I made a rule that nobody could send me audio messages because I couldn't handle the feeling from the moment I got a message to hearing what was in the message, so I told them they had to text me. I would go six, seven, eight days without listening to those messages because I was making up all this stuff because I was in my head and disconnected from the present. I probably sound psycho saying that, but that was a true thing for me. Alex Charfen: I don't think you sound psycho at all. In fact, if anybody who's listening is willing to actually explore their own feelings, there's been times in my life where every message was an indictment that I was waiting to open. I had already created this story of what the indictment was. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: It's funny that you used the word Trojan Horse earlier, George, because I often share with people my Trojan Horse is water. George Bryant: Yeah, yeah. Alex Charfen: It's water because it's innocent. George Bryant: Yeah, totally. Alex Charfen: It's not threatening. George Bryant: When I was at Caveman, somebody asked me, looking back, because reflection's awesome, hindsight, and they're like, "So, why did you always post desserts?" and I was like, "Because paleo desserts were a gateway drug for me to get to their soul," and they're like, "What?" and I was like, "I don't care if you ate banana bread or the ribs or the cinnamon rolls, but no matter where I got you, all I was going to talk about was self-love. It's because that's what I needed," and I was like, "But if I was on the front," I'm like, "I'm going to teach you to love yourself, so come eat my banana bread." Nobody was coming in, but I was like, "Come eat my banana bread and realize why you keep turning to desserts instead of eating healthy food your body needs." Alex Charfen: I love that. George Bryant: It was one of those things, and now it's marketing. It's customer journey. It's the value of marketing. I mean, Alex and I jammed on customer journey for hours, and I have eight more hours of thoughts for him and Katie. I'm just trying not to drown them so they can survive through me. Alex Charfen: Man, you've already changed the way we approach so many... You mentioned it earlier, and I want to make sure that it doesn't get glossed over. If you're not in George's free Facebook group, you need to be for two reasons. The first one is it's just an amazing group with a lot of amazing people. I've invited several hundred of my friends to join in the past few weeks. But in addition to that, follow the process. Just watch the mastery when you're brought into the group, how it feels, the emotions that it triggers. Holy crap. I mean, I'm in this free Facebook group with George, and there's multiple times, exponentially more benefit than a lot of stuff that I paid for. Actually, exponentially more benefit than a lot of stuff that I paid thousands of dollars for in the free group, just if you watch the process and pick up on how things are being done in there. I just want everyone to join us in there. It's intense. George Bryant: Yeah, I appreciate it. It really, really is, and that's the thing. It's to your one thing, to validate that point. I have so many coachable moments of this that Alex has solidified himself as a mentor in my life just from this conversation that I'm going to go put into practice. That's what friendship does. That's what it does, but Alex said one thing. Here's what happened. I ran away from social media, and not ran away. I very intentionally ran away. I was like, "I'm out. I'm out, deleted, gone. I'm off. I'm not coming back," and then it got to a point where my wife said, "Hey, I think it's time," and I think what she really meant is, "You're talking too much at home, and I need you to have an outlet so our marriage can work." That's how I synthesized and summarized what was said, and I looked at it, and I was like, "Okay, cool," and I was like, "I don't want to be everywhere. I just want to be in a Facebook group. That's it," and that was it, and I started the Facebook group again. I was dark off social media for two years, no website, no email list, no nothing, started a Facebook group, and then in three months had 1,600 people, and everyone's like, "I'm getting results. I'm getting results." I'm like, because that's my one thing. That's where I'm going to focus my time. That's where I want to water my plants. The indoc process in that group has changed probably 17 times. Same concept, same after state, but looking at, oh, that worked, oh, that didn't work, oh, let's tweak it, let's break it down, let's go, and seeing the levers of, really, what does it take to move the needle, to create connection, to create commitment, and to teach people how to fish. But it's only because I look at that one thing. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: Some of the biggest mistakes when I come into companies, and I will share this right now, I can't believe I've been paid $50,000 to teach this shit. Ready? This is going to really devalue me while valuing me because I own it at this point. I come in and their one question, "Okay. So, we're going to be on all the platforms at once?" and I was like, "Okay, yep. Nothing like giving a 20% effort to 10 different things and expecting a 100% result." "Well, how do I know which one to be on? How do I know?" I was like, "Oh, cool." I said, "What's the first app you open on your phone in the morning?" "Instagram." I said, "Great. Delete every other platform." They're like, "Why?" I'm like, "Your avatar's an Instagram avatar. Done," and they're like, "How do you know?" I'm like, "I know." I'm like, "I don't need to do research. I don't need to do demographic." I was like, "I know." I was like, "That's what you're attracted to. That's what you'll attract. Go all the way in," and then all of a sudden, three months later they're like, "Our business quadrupled on Instagram," and I was like, "Because it's not a chore and it's not a doing this. It's a being this." Alex Charfen: Because you wouldn't have done it anyway. George Bryant: I was like, "When you start being is when you become a lighthouse. When you start doing is when you're a snake in the grass," and I was like, "What most people don't talk about," and I've done this before, "What most people don't talk about is this. You can have good video. You can have good image. You can have a good copy, but what you can't script is feeling and congruency." Alex Charfen: The energy. Yeah. George Bryant: I've gone to companies who I have not touched a funnel, I have not touched a copy, I've gotten them grounded and rerecorded an ad, and it went from a .3 ROAS to a 5.7 ROAS because of how they were being in the video, not the words they were using, anything, and it wasn't anything to do with marketing. When I say nobody has a marketing problem, everybody has a relationship problem, with yourself, your team, and your customers, informed in that order, yourself being the most important part, so when we say this and you pick that one thing, what I'm inviting you to do, because that is sage advice, muse-level advice from the billionaire entrepreneurial-type master of self-awareness over here, Alex, it's that whatever you do, in that time, when you look at your water consumption, authentically look at why you're doing it, what's coming up, and what can you learn. What's working? What's not working? How are you feeling? What are those feelings? Do everything in your power to be as congruently yourself as possible, and there will be absolutely no measuring stick for the level of success that you get throughout everything that you do. Alex Charfen: No question. George Bryant: No question, none. Alex Charfen: I shared this quote in my event this week, and a lot of people wrote it down, and it resonated with everyone, and it's until you are willing to take care of yourself, you will not defend and protect yourself in this world at all, and if you haven't been getting what you want out of the world, if you don't have the success you want, the business you want, the relationships you want, you aren't taking care of yourself in a way that will produce those things, and it is so hard to see because that's not the reflection that we get from the vast majority of the personal development world. In fact, the reflection we get from the vast majority of the personal development world is the more you abuse yourself, the more success you will experience. We see this all the time, and the fact is the path to the success you want goes through self-care 100% of the time, and until we're doing it in a way that's valid and real and actually supports us, we will not make the choices we need to to have the success we want. George Bryant: No, and I'm going to... You'll know who I'm talking about, but you can't out-hustle your self-care. Alex Charfen: Nope. George Bryant: You can't, and so- Alex Charfen: I know exactly who you're talking about, and it doesn't matter how many videos you get on and yell at everybody about how angry you are and how big your business is. Success doesn't mean you have the gross revenue number. George Bryant: Nope. Alex Charfen: Success means you actually are in a place where you appreciate the gross revenue number. George Bryant: I've never said this on a podcast, but I will say this because this is what breaks my heart. I grew up in a broken home. I didn't have parents. I had parents who were addicts. Entrepreneurship is an addiction as well. Dopamine validation and reach is an addiction as well, and I will never support you quote-unquote hustling more to live in a toxic thought life of when I do this, I'll then do this. Well, the only people that suffer in the moment are the ones that you are claiming to do it for, because I will never support somebody training their child that work is more important, or that you only get to see me three hours a week because I'm quote-unquote hustling. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: So, in everything that's here, understand, and understand more than ever, I don't talk about the fragility of life a lot. I've witnessed a lot. I've lost 28 Marines. I've witnessed three of them. I've seen death on a level that nobody should ever see, and it's in a moment's notice, it's gone. Our job, drink water, be present, be aware, that's when the needles move. That's when the impact is amplified because it's grounded in what it's supposed to be. So, take these practices, but plug in as much as you can, and don't be absolved. I get unplugged. I get afraid. I get triggered. I couldn't sleep last night. I was having nightmares about crazy stuff that I'm like, I couldn't script this for a television show. I couldn't. I woke up, and I'm like, fine, that's okay. Plug back in. Plug back in. Plug back in. Plug back in, but plug back into yourself, and make sure before you go to the world that you are in yourself first. Do not go to the world seeking self from a place of that's going to fill me, I'm going to get something. I forget 95% of the things that I post on social media, and I forget I posted them. I forget I posted them, and now my practice is making sure that if it's going out, it's already cleared, I'm through it to the other side. So, do your water. Do your practice. Grow in silence, and share the results of the gardening. Alex Charfen: Yeah. George Bryant: Share the results of the harvest, not the process of all of it. So, pick a practice. There are so many things, Alex, I just want to plug a USB stick into people's brains that took me so much pain and trauma and collateral damage to learn, and I was like, I get that that was my lesson and everybody has to do their own, but I'm like... What I love about you, and you're a shining example of this, is that you live it. So for everybody listening, Alex and I were going to do this podcast yesterday. Nope, because his daughter had something that was important to him, and of course, my only answer is, "Hell yeah, you better." Why? Because that week I sacrificed family time for something I shouldn't have, and I learned a lesson in that text message from Alex, and it happens all day as long as we're open to receiving it, and that's the game. Be open to it. Reward yourself for it, acknowledge myself, and then be proud of myself that I did it. Alex Charfen: Yeah, and surround yourself with people who are doing the same thing. George Bryant: 1,000%. Alex Charfen: Surround yourself with people who are doing the same thing. If you're in a mastermind where they're talking more about gross revenue than they are profitability, or they're talking more about social media metrics than they are how much time you spent with family, or they're talking more about how you're going to grow this business is going to change everything, without really focusing on yourself and changing first, there's probably a high level of toxicity in that environment, and you probably feel it, and you're in denial. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: So, lean into the feeling of that toxicity, and understand that it shouldn't feel that way. George Bryant: No. Alex Charfen: You said it's crucially important, and I think that my way of helping entrepreneurs to become wildly successful is to precipitously and exponentially lower the pressure and noise in their lives, and today in the entrepreneurial world, unfortunately, most of the examples we get, it looks like in order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to put up with more pressure and noise than anybody else, and that is just a fallacy. It's not true, and it's being perpetuated by people who are addicted to the state of being overwhelmed so that they don't have to face what's really going on with them. Like I said, I'm not going to name any names, but I'm sure you can guess some of the people that we're talking about, but once you get behind the scenes with some of the most wildly successful people in your space, what you find is people who are upset and frustrated and anxious and triggered right before they walk onstage could change everybody's lives. George Bryant: Yep, and then on the other side, the ones that aren't talking about it, you find with success you do realize one thing. They spend more time with themselves and the people they love- Alex Charfen: Than anybody else. George Bryant: ... without any influence of the outside world. Alex Charfen: Yep, 100%. George Bryant: I'll share because I think it's important to talk about. A lot of people here, you know the companies I've worked with. You know who I work with, but you notice I don't call them friends. I don't, and I went through a period in the last two years where I didn't have any quote-unquote friends, and I couldn't. Then magically, when I stopped looking for them and I wasn't collecting them, that they're all there now, Alex being one of them, Brad [Costanzo 02:15:14] another one, and [Stefano Stefandos 02:15:15], and then my number two, my number one, really, Tyler, who is like my brother in arms who spends every moment with me, and I have everybody I need in my life, everybody. I think it's so important to spend the time utilizing those and being in relations with those and being with those people that support us, and then the collection of those and those gifts and what they bring out of us, and then sharing that with the world. It's an abundant game. It's an abundant game, and really, at the end of the day, we don't even know if the dollar is going to fucking exist tomorrow, so let's just be really frank about this one. Currency's going to be food, water, and ammo, and I have plenty of ammo, so we're good. But I think it's really important to just keep that measuring stick and the barometer on what matters, and to be really plugged into it. Alex, I love that you say this. You have such a perspective and such an expertise with this. I just love it. [inaudible 02:16:05] on my podcast, the one podcast that we listened to, I'll never forget this. You say it. You say being present and aware, and we talked about the industry and how it's this perpetuated coaching and blah, blah, blah, and he did this whole rant on, "Oh, they go to a weekend meditation retreat and they think they're a meditator, they can teach meditation. He's like, "I sat in a monastery for nine years and I couldn't even count to 15," and he's like, "So, you can start teaching it when you can count to 100," and he's like, "It took me 10 years to get there," and he's like, "If you can't take a shit without your phone, you're not living." I was like, "God, there is so much wisdom in this. There is so much wisdom in this," and then now every time I go to the bathroom I'm like, "No phone. No phone. Be present. What am I feeling? How do I lean into it?" and I get it. But I think the undertoe of everything we talked about, man, it's self-awareness, it's self-love, it's acceptance, and I love your definition of massive action. I love your definition of the needle mover. For me, it's making sure that the action we take is intentional and disciplined, intentional being like we know where we're going, we know where we want to get to, and then we have the discipline, or as you call it, the process, the structure, and the routine to maintain that commitment, agnostic of feelings, because commitment isn't feelings. At the end of the day, integrity gets permeated through our industry by being integrous with ourselves, integrous with our words, and playing that game. I think it's just such a profound... For those of you listening, this is a Sunday morning conversation. This is my cup of coffee this morning, so I don't think I'm going to even need a cup of coffee today. I'm kind of jilted on life at this point. Alex Charfen: I feel the same way. Katie and I are about to go... We set up an appointment to get IVs today because we had [inaudible 02:17:46] this week, and we were pretty drained- George Bryant: Smart. Alex Charfen: ... and my normal process of going to the IV place is I pick a podcast or something to listen to, and as we're talking, I looked over, I'm like, "Okay, that's the notebook. That's the pen. I'm just going to go write," because there's so much that has come out of this conversation. I agree. I don't need coffee or any other stimulant right now. I want to go process what we've talked about, George, because I think the reality is so many of us are running away from who we are, and trying to create this environment where we're going to discover what we've really been trying to be, and the fact is if you stop and reverse that and start focusing and who you are and discover who you really want to be, the environment will build itself. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: Like you said, I feel very much the same way. The fact that you and I have reconnected at such a deep and validating level, it's like this just dropped in my lap when I needed it. This relationship just showed up when it was necessary, and it's bizarre because it's existed for five years on a very weird level, because I went back and looked at when we first text messaged, and it's like five years ago. George Bryant: Five years ago. Alex Charfen: I'm like, how did that even happen? I didn't even know I your number in my phone until you messaged me, and it was already there with your name, and I'm like, this is bizarre. George Bryant: Yeah. Alex Charfen: So, to me, the most opportune times come from focusing on myself, and the right things just show up. George Bryant: Yeah, yeah. Everything appears when it's supposed to. The teacher appears when the student is ready, and I feel the same way. I really, really do. You guys thought Zuckerberg was creepy. I got myself in Alex's phone five years ago. That's creepy. Yeah, buddy. That's how you really knew I was using that therapy and NOP with no feeling to get my way back then. That's a walking testament right there. His response was like, "I don't put anyone in my phone. How did you get here?" and I was like, "Man, I don't think you'd be proud of the person that you met, but I was really good back then, really, really good." But it's amazing. It's amazing. Alex, I actually couldn't have wished for a better morning recording and conversation. This has been a gift to me, and for everybody listening, I hope so as well. I just want to ask... I broke every structure with this. I'm just going to do every podcast like this at this point. I want to make sure everybody knows where to find you. So, first, it's Alex Charfen, C-H-A-R-F-E-N. You have Then you have The Billionaire Code, and then the water challenge, and listen. Let me be really direct. Go do the water challenge or I'm going to come hunt you down and kick you in the shins with love, I promise, just enough to get you going because I don't think there's any way to lose by loving yourself. There's no way to lose that, and so play with it. Try it. Go to get thirsty now. Anywhere else where you want people to find you? Are you still doing the podcast too? Alex Charfen: I am. In fact, George, we just had a huge month in the podcast. We got up to 70,000 downloads, I think, or 60-something-thousand downloads, and we just found out that out of all 800,000 podcasts worldwide, we're in the top 1,000. George Bryant: Nice. Alex Charfen: So, if you go to, we're on every major platform, but I didn't... So, I just found out that Chartable gives those numbers. I didn't realize we were that well-known of a podcast. George Bryant: I think I'm like number three in Sweden. Alex Charfen: I show up on the business list for the Philippines all the time, but there's been several weeks where we've been top 200 in the United States for entrepreneurship and business, so, short episodes, all with one solution, great place to get more info. George Bryant: I love it. I love it. Alex, I would love to end with your sage wisdom, your sage advice. Any closing words for anybody you want to leave people with? They get a day, a week, a month ahead of them, and what's that thing that rings true? Stick their heel deep in the water. I would love to hear your thoughts. Alex Charfen: I think for anyone listening, we've talked about a lot today, but there's one thing that I want you to understand. If you're listening to mine and George's podcast, that analogy that I gave earlier of the evolutionary hunter has existed throughout the entire course of humanity. If you look at the great hunters throughout history, and anyone who you remember, anyone who matters to be remembered was just like us. Einstein was so different. He didn't speak until he was four years old. He failed algebra. Edison was one of the weirdest people on the face of the planet. He proposed to his wife in Morse code by tapping on her arm, and she didn't speak Morse code. She didn't even understand it. He was upset that she didn't give him an answer. You look throughout history, and the most unique, the most challenged were also the ones who rose to the occasion. Helen Keller at the time that she was born should've been put in a sack and thrown in a river, and I'm not saying that judgment-wise. I'm saying that's what actually happened back then, and she was able to go on and change the world. So, for anyone listening, we've given you a lot of different directions to go, but I want to help you with one thing. If you feel like you can do something, if you're showing up to a podcast like this, if you have the motivation to be different, to go out and change the world, to make something happen, everyone who you remember, everyone who matters to be remembered is just like us. That doesn't mean that you're similar. That means that you are part of our tribe, and we are the most important tribe in history because evolutionary hunters are the people who get up every day, go create a new reality, challenge the status quo, and demand this world become a better place, so don't ever forget that you are one of us, and that is your birthright. That is who you are, and if your mind is pregnant with the question, can I do this, the answer is always yes. George Bryant: Well, now your mind is pregnant, and this has been The Mind Of George show. This is why I don't read scripted intros, because there's no way I could've ever captured this two hours and 20 minutes of Alex's brilliance and gift to the world, and the way that you just said your mind is pregnant will blow my mind for the rest of today. I will be stealing that and giving you credit, which means I'm borrowing it and bringing it back. Alex, there was no better way to end that, and that gave me goosebumps, especially the part where you said it was our birthright, and I think that that is the best gift that we could have as entrepreneurs, is to accept our sovereignty and realize that we don't get to become the difference. We are difference- Alex Charfen: Hell yeah. George Bryant: ... and that's what we get to remember as we go throughout our day. So, everybody listen to this. Please make sure you subscribe to the show. Please do yourself a favor and go subscribe to the show that's better than mine. It's a little bit more structured, but I'll get there. It's The Momentum Podcast, and I'm saying that jokingly. I love my show. I think it's absolutely amazing. Leave a review, and we will, guys, see you in the next episode. So, remember that no matter what you do, no matter where you are, that relationships will always beat algorithms. Thanks for being here, Alex. Alex Charfen: Love you, brother. Thank you. George Bryant: Thank you. PART 5 OF 5 ENDS [02:25:03]

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