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Pink Headphones: Risk Tolerance and Goal-Setting (W/ Rob Zweerman)

unsplash-logoMay Lawrence

Welcome folks to this epic-sode of the dreamers succeed podcast we are joined today by Rob Zweerman

For those of you who do not know Rob yet, you will [get to know him] throughout this episode and I guarantee that you are in for an incredible hour. Rob is a dear friend and someone that I am blessed to be accountability buddy-ing with for the last several years.

We’re very supportive of each other but we really know how to beat each other up. I’m blessed that I get to have him looking over what I’m doing in my projects. Rob is an investor, a strategic marketer, and an international speaker. Welcome, Rob!

Rob

Berta thank you so much it’s such a pleasure to be on the podcast, on the show, finally.

Berta

I’m so happy that you’re here and making the time. I know that you’re just coming into a great new year and you ended it on a really great note with your parents here from -- tell everyone where.

Rob

So my parents flew in from the Netherlands -- from Amsterdam to be exact -- because that’s where I was born. People always ask me from where is this accent. Let me tell you straight up: the accent was born in Amsterdam but I’m a world citizen now. I’ve been living in Florida; that’s where you and I got to know each other. But recently [I] said goodbye to South Florida and now moved to the deep south in Austin, Texas.

Berta

And I know that you love it there, Rob and it’s just a place that’s growing so much. I think it’s perfect for what you do. You’re really in the right place. We had an opportunity to visit middle of last year and it’s just a beautiful, beautiful place.

I know that you’ve enjoyed some holiday time with your parents. I know that they’re still here, so I appreciate you taking the time to be with us because I really wanted to get you in early in the year.  You’ve got some great gems for us as we go looking into this next year and this new decade with what our plans are to grow our business.

Rob

Well, it’s like I said: it’s such a pleasure!  You have a great following a great audience and I always will make time to have a good conversation so you can always count on me.

Berta

Great! Thank you, Rob. Rob, tell us a little bit… because I know your story I’m always inspired by your… journey of even getting here to the states. Can you walk us through a little bit about that little dream that was planted? You’ve turned it into something so beautiful.

Rob

Oh gosh. I don’t know if you have the time for that today, but I can try to consolidate it. Like you mentioned, I wasn’t born in the states so  I had to work my way here and I’m in Austin Texas now; South Florida before that.

It was never on the radar, but let me just rewind and back up a little bit. It all started for me when I was still living in Amsterdam. Most people [are] probably familiar with Amsterdam. I was from a little tiny town just above, so I will use Amsterdam as a reference point. That’s where I grew up most of my life and that’s where my journey started as an entrepreneur.

I’ve been to business school and I’ve taken so many years of education -- always in the direction of business -- because there was something inside me that always made me go against the grain. Sometimes you just have to be… you’re just a rebel on the inside but it doesn’t mean that you’re an annoying person; it just means that you’re channeling your energy in the wrong direction.

I believe that now when I see a rebel, I know that they’re probably at heart an entrepreneur. That’s really what happened for me and I never really had any guidance -- people pointing me in the right direction -- so it was always a journey for me. I wanted so much more so that kind of lead into travelling. The Netherlands is a great country, the economy is very stable, and there’s plenty of job opportunities and lots of interesting stuff to do. To me it was a little bit boring.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful at all but I have been doing so many different kinds of projects and jobs that I felt I needed to expand. I needed to go and seek some help somewhere else so that lead me to taking my first job in Italy. I went to a beautiful place nearby Venice… most people are probably familiar with Venice.

Have you been to Venice? [Berta: no] Oh you haven’t? Well Fort Lauderdale is similar and is based off of Venice, Italy.

Berta

I did not know that

Rob

Yeah, the canal structure. Gorgeous place. That’s really where I was thrown in front of the lions because this job, Berta… it involved selling tickets for a tour operator. For people who notice, Venice is such a touristic area; everything is about the water and boats because Venice is originally an island.

So I was selling boat tickets to tourists on the beach. People who go there to vacation: they don’t want to be bothered, right? Then there’s this annoying salesman asking them on the beach if they are interested in purchasing a tour. That was me. I think that that was probably single-handedly the most exciting opportunity because I was by myself.

The job was really simple: sell this ticket for a set amount x dollar value and you can get to keep a commission and the more you sell the more you make. It’s very simple. From that money I had to pay the bills, I had to get a phone… all of that. It was up to me, so that experience alone really forced me to get out of my comfort zone and I think that’s where I really learned how to sell.

Berta

How old were you, Rob?

Rob

I think I was probably 18 years old.

Berta

Holy moly.

Rob

Yeah I ventured off on my own. I didn’t really tell anybody about what this job was really about. Italy, for most Europeans, is pretty exciting. It’s like, okay, you’re going to go on a long vacation. It was anything but a vacation; it was hard work while having fun in the process.

But that’s where I learned. Even after all my education -- business education. They’re talking about concepts from 50… 60 years ago and still they’re concepts. Nobody teaches you to do the actual job, so I would say that was truly my first experience in hardcore selling and making money.

That’s kind of where it opened my eyes. Long story short and fast forward to after my experience in Italy that’s where the passion grew for me into marketing and sales that’s where I delved deeper and deeper. I would say it took 8 years to finally get to the states after I opened a company in Spain but I would say it all started for me in Italy.

Berta

Rob so how long were you in Italy? And like you said: you’re thrown into the lion’s den is the best way to learn almost right?

Rob

Yeah, absolutely! So… I think it was a solid 8 months because it was typical tourist season. After 8 months, when the job was done, I returned to Holland but I just couldn’t go back to regular society; get a job, sit in an office…

I had to keep going, so that’s really where my journey started and I started looking for other opportunities and that ultimately lead me to getting a position a partnership with a company in Spain in Barcelona. Directly after Italy I moved to Barcelona, Spain and that’s where I fused with a company. My background was also in large-scale events like conferences and music festivals back then so it kind of morphed into this conference company.

Fast-forward two years in, we got an opportunity in Miami and that’s really where my big moment came. I always felt deep down in my bones and heart that I had to be in the US. I didn’t know why, but I just felt it. When that opportunity came, there was no hesitation. I said, yes let’s do this, and we made that happen and that was probably back in 2011… 2012 .

Berta

My goodness, Rob. what I love is when you’re willing to force yourself out of the comfort zone. Not a lot of 18 year olds… I mean you want to party, you want to do your thing, you want to live at home so that your expenses are minimal. You were like, “No… I’m itching to get out and I’m itching to do something.”

I know how close you are to your parents, but I think it was just a calling of letting your destiny come to fruition. When you got to the states, were you still with that company originally or at the beginning?

Rob

Yeah, at the beginning. Basically what happened is that initially it was like a try-out. We had a headquarters in Barcelona and my colleagues in Barcelona were still there. It was only myself and my partner at the time. We moved over to Miami and we were received by another good friend of mine -- I will have to introduce you at one point because [he’s an] incredible entrepreneur as well but he kind of offered this opportunity.

He opened this office for us because we didn’t know the market… we didn’t have any connections. but He was kind enough make his office available that was on Brickell avenue. I still remember it was 848 Brickell Avenue. There used to be an American Century Bank there, so that’s where we were headed.

[It was] intended as like a try-out to kind of see how that goes. I kind of snowballed into permanently staying there because right after Miami we did our first event. [It] was incredibly successful. I think almost 1500 people showed up. It was exciting for Miami as well because there was this company from Spain, we had this reputation, so that helped out.

We on-boarded a couple of amazing sponsors that opened the doors. The first event for us was really successful and that lead to us moving to South America because there was an entrepreneur in the audience and he came up to us and said you know what you need to do this in Bogota, Colombia. That’s crazy! Everybody knows the reputation of Colombia, especially Europeans. All we think of is Pablo Escobar and drug trafficking and human trafficking and none of that is true. One of the great perks of an entrepreneur is the freedom to make decisions, so no hesitation there either and we went on to Bogota in that same year.

Berta

And you’re talking about… you’re not doing little changes. You’re making big changes but you’re just following the growth, for lack of a better word.

Rob

Yeah. On top of that, I think that you have to be able to recognize an opportunity.

Now I’ve come to know that entrepreneurship is really about developing your mindset. What happens usually when an opportunity presents itself? Most people will probably recognize the opportunity but then doubt and fear kicks in. [They] worry like, “I’m not prepared, I’m not ready for this.” Maybe it’s financially not possible.

I think what I learned throughout that journey is that if you just start saying yes and you commit first, you’ll figure this out. You just have to trust in yourself while trying to have some fun in the process. But you will figure this out and I think that can contribute to that snowball effect. We just said, “Yes.”

Maybe I was young; I don’t know. I tried to live by that mantra just try to say ‘yes’ a little bit more and you will see that it will open amazing opportunities for you.

Berta

And that’s huge, Rob. You mention fear and doubt which are things that just mess with all of us. Do you believe that the excitement -- if you’re focused on it -- can be enough to overcome the fear and the doubt?

Rob

Absolutely, yeah. Sometimes you need somebody else to tell you that it’s going to be alright. I think a lot of us can relate to that. That’s what we try to do for each other, right, Berta? Accountability and support… it is definitely effective to have some people around you that are rock-solid and that can tell you, ‘listen the opportunity sounds good, the numbers work right.’

You have to make an educated decision but it will help if somebody will be next to you that gives you that extra push and says, ‘man you can do this go for it.’ If anybody would practice their risk tolerance because that’s what it is: it’s risk tolerance.

I think for people -- maybe they came from a life of struggle before where they had to fight [for] every dollar to make every dollar count or to really work their way up – they have learned to practice that risk tolerance. Other people who have grown up in safe environments… they may be the ones that will need to work on this. In the end, the decisions are exactly the same; so are the results. It’s what is in [your] head at the moment you have to make the decision. It’s like a muscle, right? The more you practice it, the easier it gets.

Berta

Yeah, and how do you practice it?

Rob

Well one of the things that I mentioned is definitely having a support network around you. Itt’s not always easy because the question is always, “Where do I start?” “How do I find mentors?” or “How do I attract those people that can offer me this type of support besides my parents or relatives?”

That’s usually the easiest thing to do, but usually family is not really in a position to support you or to give you what you need because you don’t need emotional support: you need strategic support. Somebody that can you know from the outside can look into this opportunity for you and then give you the confidence to move forward.

I think practicing saying ‘yes’ more often because that applies to people as well. Sometimes people come up to you, present themselves, and shake your hand and say, “Hey let’s grab a coffee.” Don’t overthink that. Follow up with this person. Just say, ‘yes.’ Go and have that coffee.

Number two: try to attract these people around you. If you cannot have a mentor of your own at this moment – maybe you don’t have the money to be where they are -- go and attend events or conferences where you can not only learn but just try to be around those people. Just by looking at them and seeing how they make decisions it will affect your thinking, so that’s another way you can do that.

I would say the third aspect is if this opportunity make sense to you. You have run the numbers. If the numbers make sense, you know that there is a good chance you will get something really great out of it.  Don’t overthink it but just move forward.

It sounds simple. It’s easy to do, easy not to do. But so many times have I written it down on paper and my mind was kicking in saying, ‘oh you know you’re not ready for this.’ Then I shoved it aside and I said, ‘I’m gonna do it anyway.’ That single decision alone opened up so many doors for me, so I would say those three. Anybody can do those three things without money, without privileges, without having a strong support network. Those three things will change your life

Berta

I think you mentioned some keywords in there and key principles, and I know you and I really gel with together in that sense. We’re big believers in those. The overthinking: major. You also talked about investing. You’ve been very intentional about putting yourself in the right places and surrounding yourself with the people that are where you want to be. I’ve had a front-row seat to the Rob Zweerman journey which has been a huge blessing. I’ve seen the transformation and even when that fear and that doubt has kicked in you’ve, like you said, pushed it aside and done it anyway.

Talk to me a little bit about the importance of investing in yourself, in your personal development, in your business. That’s where people overthink.  [They think] “Oh if I put my money here what if I don’t have [enough] to pay my mortgage?” You’re always going to be worried about paying your mortgage if you’re not willing to invest in paying for your dream.

Rob

I have to say this is one of my favorite subjects: investing. To me I am an investor. Most people associate that with you’re investing in a company in like a tech startup or maybe you’re a property investor in real estate.

How about investing in education? Investing in people, which could be your team if you have a company? I call myself an investor because I believe that investing -- especially in my education but also in people -- will help me build the vehicles. I invest in mentorship, I invest in financial education, and on top of that I need people in my community in order to help me leverage those vehicles. For me, the topic of investing is so important.

A lot of times I get the question, “If I want to grow, I don’t necessarily have the financial means. Where do I invest in?” The first thing I say is, don’t go look in the stock market. You’re not financially sound enough to go and invest and take that risk. Don’t invest in real estate, don’t invest in business. Invest in your education. In the end, if you know the success will never come from your business or whatever it is that you’re working on, the success comes from your decisions.

What does investing in your education mean? It means developing the mindset, developing your vision, developing the decision-making process, and the risk tolerance that I mentioned earlier. Invest in those things and you will see your returns through business or maybe through your job if you’re working for a boss. The returns from your network, the people that you surround yourself with that you have attracted and connected with. Their results are so much greater just by investing in that type of education. In the end, it’s you behind everything. Whatever you do, whether you’re property investing, investing in business… invest in your education and the rest will follow.

Berta

And that makes so much sense. Speaking of investing in education, Rob, you and I are big readers. I think I know two people in my circle who we can match wits with as far as reading. I say this all the time: I missed my goal last year I wanted to read fifty books I only got to 48.

Rob

That’s incredible! By the way, do you know that Bill Gates -- the third richest man on this planet -- reads about 90 books per year? So if you’re at 48 you’re halfway there, Berta!

Berta

GOOD! I’m in good company. I know that a lot of our mindset comes from books. Usually with my clients if I see someone that’s sort of in a funk or they’re not meeting their objectives between sessions or they’re just not getting [anywhere], my first question is always, ‘what are you reading?’

Usually there is a hesitation. You can ask me right now and I’ll tell you what I’m reading. I can ask you right now and you’ll tell me what you’re reading. Usually they’re not reading. If there’s one thing that I know you’ll agree with me on is the importance of [reading]. That’s part of that mindset development, that mindset investment in how you’re feeding your brain and how you’re feeding your attitude and your positivity. So what are you reading?

Rob

I’m glad you asked! Yes, reading is a super big part of life and I have to. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this in person, Berta but -- it goes back to my days in my teenage years back in the Netherlands. Everybody knows when you’re in college you have to read so many books and they’re so boring… they’re so extremely boring! I developed this hatred for reading and I didn’t know if I was lazy back then, but I wasn’t motivated.

Especially Martin Cutler. Probably a lot of people are familiar with the work of Cutler. Those are the 500 page marketing concepts [textbooks] which were written in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Extremely boring. Simply because you can’t relate to it at that moment it feels like you’re forced to read that stuff. That’s when I always say obviously this is where people develop a dislike for reading: if they feel that they are made or forced to read.

I’m currently reading Dave Osprey’s Superhuman. I think I once gave you his predecessor, right, which was Headstrong. I’m super big in health and wellness as well. I got interested in biohacking. Dave Osprey is a biohacker from San Francisco. He has Silicone Labs, Bulletproof Coffee… a couple of brands you may have heard of. Incredibly interesting guy.

I got interested in it as well because I try I take a ton of supplements every single day. It’s all natural. It has nothing to do with any pharmaceutical drug. There are so many ways that you can enhance your brain capacity; your energy. There are so many ways to optimize the body so that’s what I’m interested in. My point to this is, since I’m so interested in this topic, just reading this book (and as you can see it’s a pretty thick book, it’s probably about 400 pages) everything he talks about is so interesting. It’s what I apply on a daily basis. You just have to find those subjects that interest you. If you don’t have any subject that interests you at this moment then I would say you have to go back to the drawing board and you have to figure out what triggers you.

Where does your passion lie? Your book, Berta, which I enjoyed so much reading… it all starts with why. If you don’t have the why, then honestly you have no direction. You need to lock in first your why, naturally develop your interests, and then go and find those books. You need to practice and grow your brain. In life, everything deteriorates or it grows.

I go to the gym and I know when I exercise the muscle, I will make little tears into the tissue and throughout the day and the night my body is feeding off the protein repairing itself and therefore it grows the muscle. This muscle mass makes me stronger, creates more resilience towards the weather or my immune system. Everything has a natural cause and effect. If you don’t read -- if you think that your education stops at college [or high school] -- you’re literally declining. It’s not just me saying that is what you should be doing; it’s science backed. Either you grow or you decline, so if you stop practicing and developing the brain and stimulating it with information that is interesting, you’re actually like coming to a stop and declining. Even if it’s 30 minutes a day, make it happen because this is so important for your overall success not just in business but even for your relationships and your health and wellness.

Berta

Yeah and I’m glad you mentioned that: two things that you said right there were crucial. I really believe that you need to go out and be intentional about finding your why, but you talked about relationships… I think you and Maji do one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Maji, his beautiful amazing partner is just a beautiful soul inside and out. Aside from what you’re reading individually you pick a book and you guys read it together every night! Tell me a little bit about that. I’ve always loved that idea and I know that if you’re growing together, it’s whole different ballgame for you. So can you tell me a little bit about that?

Rob

I’m not ashamed to talk about that. As a matter of fact, I’m an advocate! As a couple, you have to grow together. Like I mentioned I was in the event industry. Imagine that you’re attending a presentation and somebody is explaining that concept. Throughout the full day your brain is getting bombarded with all this amazing knowledge. Now imagine being there by yourself and then having to go home and there’s this opportunity for you that you are being asked to invest in learning…  just imagine trying to explain that to your partner.

Everything that you just absorbed throughout that day; trying to relate it to your partner. Your partner will never be able to relate, at least not at the level [you have], so for me from the beginning I have been very intentional about involving my partner. I am so blessed that Maji is so open and we’re -- in that sense -- 100% on the same journey. [We’re] always learning, growing, developing… over time of course she has topics of her interest I have mine, but we found mutual topics that we’re interested in.

We are both interested in making the relationship work on the long term. Everybody knows when you fall in love it’s just a short period of time -- it’s a chemical reaction that happens in the body. Naturally that wears off and we’re not very old yet so the only wisdom that we got was looking at older friends or even our parents that have been married for 30+ years. But that’s not enough: we need to be able to apply that every single day.

We decided that it would be good for us to just pick up books. Every month we choose one. We both have our individual reading, but just before bedtime we choose one book. Our goal for the relationship is one book a month. We try to read one chapter a night and we read to each other -- we take turns -- but it allows us to absorb new information that you can apply.

Second, it’s like a couples activity. Instead of like browsing on your phone or watching TV now you’re just having that moment together.

Third, you really kind of morph into each other because you start agreeing on certain things that you read in a book. You have this little discussion about it… the more and more you start to become aligned in the relationship. I see a lot of couple and long-term married couples have [arguments] about tiny little things that I think can easily be solved. As a third party it’s easy to identify them but inside the relationship somehow, because they’re so focused on arguing with each other, they can’t see the solution.  I think that’s what that couples book does for us: it provides the third party then we can talk about it and both agree to apply it.

Berta

That’s the key, Rob. I think what happens is… I know people that read all the time and they’ve been reading for years and they’re not getting anywhere because they’re not applying what they’re learning. They’re not executing on anything. You really treat every book like a workbook. Like, ‘okay we’re going to learn this, we’re going to apply it, and we’re going to move on.’

I’ve seen the trajectory of your success and your growth not only as a couple but just holistically in your business, in your health, in the way that you operate. The way you spoil your parents from afar! I know you just took them on this amazing trip to Sedona over the new year.

But that’s the key: you can read all you want but if you’re not applying the principles and the things that you’re learning or executing on continuing to move that needle and continuing to move your life and your business forward what good is it? It’s just going to sit there.

Rob

It will just remain a dream. Like any idea or plan without execution, it just remains up there somewhere inside your mind… in the cloud. That applies to almost anything! A lot of people love to listen and maybe even take notes, but in the end if you don’t apply it there’s really not going be any result. Only action will lead to results. I highly recommend just applying everything that you learn. The faster you do it, the easier it becomes. Another solution to it -- and you mentioned it earlier – we are accountibilibuddies together for the past couple of years.

Accountability is another way. If you feel that you don’t have it in you to stay disciplined and apply consistently… it is hard, you know? I would never say that it is easy. A great way to counter that is to find an accountability partner. That can be your spouse, but preferably somebody on the outside because they’re just more critical. Create a system where at least once a week you will set intentional goals and then you will have to submit your weekly report to your accountability partner and have that conversation. How far have you gotten with executing these goals? If the results are worthless then be prepared for your partner to call you out on it. That’s the whole point. You need to be held accountable and that is one of the ways if you don’t have that self-discipline. Have somebody else forcing you to implement.

Berta

Right. And I think it does create a lot of traction there. Rob, I see just in the corner of your screen a whiteboard. I know you and I are whiteboard people. I call them dream boards. Tell me what you would recommend to someone who doesn’t have a white board yet.

Rob

What I recommend if you don’t have a white board: first of all, guys, get a whiteboard! That’s get a white board period.

 if you don’t have a whiteboard just use a piece of paper. You want to systemize. Especially the left brainers among us -- they’re very creative people and they put their thoughts on paper and it’s kind of all over the place. Just having all these thoughts on paper is still not going to motivate you to take action.

A whiteboard allows you to organize your thoughts you can look at them you can erase them and reorganize. You want to plan, whether it’s mapping out your day or it’s scheduling your years. We just passed the 2020 [mark] so most people probably have new-years resolutions. It’s kind of fresh, so just map them out, write them down and put a deadline to it. Set a time frame for it and organize them [your goals]. That’s what a whiteboard does for you.

The way that I use it is, on one hand I have my goals that reinforce my mind in the direction that I should be heading in. It’s a couple of little pointers. It’s a reminder every single day why it is what I’m doing why do I do it. You need to be reminded, so that is one way.

The other thing is I just map out my priorities for the day. I have monthly goals, I have weekly goals, and then I have daily goals and the daily goals go on my whiteboard. They can change. It can be a simple as writing an email or it could be a reminder to read that thirty minutes a day.

Get a whiteboard, guys because you can erase it, reorganize yourself, and you need to have it in front of you.

I have my desk set up right here [near the board] so I just move over and this is where I do my journaling, my mind mapping… it all happens on there. Some of my students tell me it doesn’t match their design. It doesn’t fit into their room they don’t want to mount it on the wall. In a store like Walmart you can get and I think we talked about this one day…

Berta

You told me and I got it!

Rob

Guys that is what implementation is: taking action! Basically [there is] a whiteboard sticker. You get this huge roll and you can scissor it to the format -- to the size to your liking -- and it’s just a simple sticker. Paste it over the wall and now it’s a whiteboard. Make it as big as you want. I recently moved I had to take it down and it’s a sticker so it doesn’t leave any glue, doesn’t damage your wall… it’s another great solution. Probably costs you 20 bucks but it’s probably the greatest investment. You need to organize your thoughts so you can implement and take action.

Berta

And, Rob, I opened my office. You know the big thing was I needed a place to put the whiteboard. My daughter always jokes that I have a whiteboard with a little office around it. That’s the key. The things that happen there when we strategize there -- my clients say this is the magic board! I call it the dream board, but most people aren’t taking the time to get stuff out of their brains and on paper so that they can look at it.

You mentioned earlier how you write things down, so if there’s a fear or doubt or anything you’re going to move it aside. The power of writing things down -- that’s a whole other podcast and I know that you’re a firm believer in it, Rob.

I forgot to mention that Rob is also an author. Rob wrote a great book and I know that you’re going to offer that on your website. We’ll get to that at the end and how they can contact you and what they can do. Rob has many resources and that’s what I love. Rob can try something or read something in a book and he’ll create a resource after he’s done it.

Even the emotional chart that we’ve talked about, Rob, or your goal pyramid. It’s all these little tools that you just were playing around with. You tried it for a month and it worked and you said, you know what, I’m going to make this a resource available for my tribe. I’ve been the beneficiary on many occasions as a catalyst.

Tell me a little bit about why you do that, number one, and what impact your business [makes with them]. Guys, this is a trip, because every now and then I know Rob loves what he does so he can work on it whenever he needs to work on it.  Rob can be anywhere… you really have developed a laptop lifestyle and that’s what you help your students and your clients do. I’ll get a text from him saying, ‘hey are we zooming today?’ And I’ll get a picture of him next to a pool with his laptop in Puerto Rico or anywhere in the world, which is beautiful. I know that you help to create that for your clients. Can you tell me a little bit about the impact that you, as a businessman, are making in our world because I know it but I want them to hear it.

Rob

Yeah when you say it like that, I’m like, ‘Wow that’s amazing, I need to get that, I need to create that!’ I think freedom in every sense of the word is so important to me. That comes from when I said earlier that I’ve always been a rebel. Being a rebel, it’s very hard to take orders from somebody else. I’ve worked a corporate life but I always see ways that it can be so different. I’m also a right-brainer so what that means is that I’m systematic. It’s programmed in my DNA. I’m an analytical person, so whenever I look at the concepts, immediately I can tell that there are ways to improve this or to make it work.

Together with my own experiences, through reading and all the things that I do, I have these ideas which I just combine so it kind of morphs into (not a new but) an improved concept. Usually after I’ve been battle-testing this with my beta groups and on my own that’s usually where I feel confident enough that if it’s helping me and my group then I can definitely share this and make this available.

Some I use in my high-level coaching programs. Others I would be happy to make those available especially for your audiences, Berta, because things as simple as time management I have templates for. I have the goal pyramid -- it’s a concept on how to organize and break down your goals.

What surprises me is that a lot of people don’t know how to set goals properly, so I think that would be a relevant template right now here in January to use that for your resolutions if you have any. I just call them goals, I don’t call them resolutions -- that’s tied to a new years’ concept.

My analytical brain is automatically set to create systems and I also believe that if you want to create freedom in your life – let’s talk about business -- so many times I see somebody that has a good business going on, has a lot of cash flow, has a staff, a great product or service, but guess what? If you really look deeper underneath the surface you will see that these people are not so free as it seems.

A lot of people think, ‘Okay, they make money and they purchase materialistic things and maybe they go on vacation.’ It seems great, but under the surface they’re not free because their business requires them to be there. They’re the center of their business and without them their business stops.

I have broken down that concept and I have to thank my generation also -- I’m a millennial… I’m from the 80s -- I grew up with the internet and I leverage that. It allowed me to create freedom in my life by implementing systems.

Especially now in 2020, the technology is developing so rapidly. We have automation like almost anything can be automated right now. For people who don’t know what automation is or what it means: something that you used to do manually can now be programmed. I implement a lot of automated systems into my life and business which allows me to – for example – take out my parents to have them over for three weeks… take these road trips.  

Of course the business and the client calls and the coaching goes on and I can take that pretty much anywhere because all I need is an internet connection, a phone, and (most of the time) my laptop.

I can pretty much pack those up and almost anywhere in the world nowadays you can set up your system and continue as usual. I don’t need to be here. This is my home, and I’m grateful to have a great home, but I can be anywhere in the world and do the same thing. Technology and freedom for me goes hand in hand because through technology I’m able to create freedom.

Location freedom, time freedom… you know we’re till working on the money aspect. Of course, you want to create financial freedom. I think once you have those three in place, I would want to throw a freedom party for anybody who achieves that. A freedom party for the three F’s: time freedom, financial freedom, and location freedom. If you can live that, in my opinion, you have made it: you are the pinnacle of success.

You can pretty much be anywhere in the world while your business is impacting and creating a great product or service and you’re financially sound – you’re able to pay the bills, to pay for everything to give back your community. It was such a long stretch, but that is what freedom means to me.

Berta

Yeah and I love that, Rob, and I know that in your speaking a lot of what you’re doing is bringing that message to your audience. Not only can you do it, not only is it possible, but you can do it because I can do it and this is how I did it. I love that you shared so much of your journey and all these really powerful nuggets of things that we can apply and things that we need to be looking out for. Not only what the pitfalls can be but how you work around that.

I think that’s what attracts so many people to you is that not only did I do it, not only do I want to be impacting the world by sharing and showing people how to do it, but we’re gonna celebrate! You’re pulling, not pushing, and everybody just wants to follow. That’s how you’ve achieved the success that you have,which is amazing. I know it’s going to be a whole different story January 16th of next year. I know that it’s just what you’ve said, Rob: you’re just doing it from a place of service. You’re doing it from a place of “The more of us are out there having this freedom, the more people you get to play with.”

Rob

I feel that you need to have a purpose in life and I feel that my purpose is definitely teaching other people through my own experiences. The consulting business is incredibly powerful because true consulting, which is essentially coaching, is exchanging money for knowledge. A lot of times in my journey, the people that I encounter might have successful businesses or maybe a successful job but again it goes back to under the surface.

I have this concept: it’s called seven levels deep. Keep repeating the same question seven times… “Why? Why? Why?” Whatever answer they give you, you take that answer and you ask them why. It goes seven levels deep. That’s where you reveal the true core of what is important to people and it ties down to freedom.

They would always want to have the time to spend time with their friends and loved ones to create memorable experiences… not having to worry about money and to be able to afford it and the location.

How many people want to go on vacation a little more often or just take this dream trip that they always thought about and not just during Christmas or the typical holiday season – any time of the year. It’s usually cheaper to go off season, right? You save a ton of money, so not only is it good: it’s a smart thing to do.

Through consulting, I think that I’m able to bring that to the table. A lot of times where people present me their complicated structures I’m able to declutter and simplify it and put an emphasis among what is truly important. Then I paint them the picture of “This is the current model or the current approach that you’re taking and by simply doing it this way you could achieve these types of results.” Usually for people it’s a no-brainer where they say that’s all that they needed.

It’s an epiphany, this blueprint of how they can achieve that. That, to me, is what coaching and consulting. It’s giving a different perspective and allowing people to implement that to shape their own journeys. If they need an example on how to do that… somebody to follow, somebody encouraged to take their own steps, I would be happy to step forward and show them the way.

Berta

One of the things that you said about that freedom and being able to enjoy [your time]. You mentioned that brought your parents and they’ve been stateside for a number of weeks. I know you took a big road trip to Sedona with them recently. Tell me a little bit about how that was.

Rob

First of all, Berta, you inspired us to go to Sedona. You told us about this magical place: the little town Sedona in Arizona. We looked it up. We had been thinking about it we also [saw] it was a spiritual place as well. They have this energy vortex. Here’s the interesting thing that I learned about Sedona: Sedona is it’s a place full of canyons and red rocks but the reason why they’re red is that they’re filled with magnesium and iron. Naturally, the universe is drawn like a magnet to that. What happens to the environment is you will see trees that are completely -- you know when you have a wet towel and they twist? That same shape is how many of the trees and bushes are growing.

It’s because they’re drawn upwards towards the universe -- the cosmos -- because of that energy push and pull. It’s a very interesting place and I knew that it would be good for my parents. First of all to experience something different -- to be part of that energy. We scheduled this road trip, got a brand new car for it because the previous car was just a convertible not big enough to carry a whole family. I love it -- the car is called a touring so I thought it was a perfect match for the tour we were about to take.

My parents absolutely loved it; they got their exercise because it’s very challenging. It’s not an easy hike! We did that, created amazing memories. We’re able to do that any time of the day knowing that my team would have the operations ongoing. All of that was set and prepared ahead of time and I think that we just recapped the other day some of the videos and photos that we created. I could see that they enjoyed it so much. They were talking about it to their friends back home and that is what is important to me: creating experiences while we’re on this planet while impacting other people’s lives. Give them a different vision. In this case, it was my parents.

Berta

That’s very, very cool! I was so happy that you were able to do that. Rob, you mentioned something about just that connection that you have not only with the land when you’re in Sedona but really the energy that is created between you. When do your parents go back, next week?

Rob

No, actually tomorrow this is the last day.

Berta

Again thank them on my behalf for letting me borrow you for a little bit. Do they fly into Amsterdam airport?

Rob

Their flight is through London. So it’s Austin Texas to London, London to Amsterdam.

Berta

Let me tell you something. You know I travel. There is no airport in the world nicer than the airport in Amsterdam. Man, it’s like you’re in a giant Saks Fifth Avenue with everything that you could possibly want. We had a long layover there on the second trip to Kenya and nobody was complaining. I think we were stranded there for -- “stranded” with Louis Vuitton and Gucci everywhere -- for nine hours and we just didn’t want to leave the airport. It’s just a great place; I wanted to mention that.

Rob

I haven’t been back for a while but that’s what I hear from other people. Very glad that people have this experience.

Berta

And some great chocolate in those shops!

Rob

That I can attest to!

Berta

I always think of you as a lifestyle developer, you know? You mention the word blueprint, too, and your book which is really just that blueprint of how to create that lifestyle freedom that all of us crave. want I know you make it available through your website but tell me just quickly because we talked about the whole reading thing why you felt like putting that together. I’ve read it and I’ve been blessed by it and know it’s a great book. Why did you feel putting that together was important?

Rob

Like mentioned earlier first of all I’m so systematic. For me it all comes down to formulas. I wish that somebody could have given me the formula many, many years ago and just tell me, “Follow these steps and you will get to a certain outcome.” That’s what I tried to do with the book, especially lifestyle design. You have, in my opinion, two choices: either you can just live your life day to day and ten years from now you will find yourself in a certain position and basically life has determined for you what is going to happen for you in your life.

The other route is to live life by design and that comes down to goal setting, and visualizing. You have a vision and understanding of why you do it and then take relentless action towards accomplishing those goals and building that into your life.

That’s mainly what I’ve been doing: lifestyle by design. I believe that there’s a blueprint for it. I have read so many books and studied so many successful people and I’ve found the same habits [among them]. It comes down to habits. It’s not a particular tool but it’s more like a habit -- a thing that you adopt in your life that you do every single day. Like mentioned earlier it is the decision that ultimately will lead to the result. If you develop your mind and the way that you think so you can make better decisions that is what leads to the result. This book is really a blueprint of habits: the habits that you need to adopt in your life that will set you on a journey. I cannot determine your outcome, I can only show you mine, but I’m pretty sure that the habits that I have adopted and developed over time will serve you, too. That is really what this blueprint is about.

Understand first of all habits: how they serve you and your subconscious mind, how we’re all programmed by them. I see it like a scale; either they’re stacked with some negative aspects, aspects that are holding you back from unlocking that full potential, or you’re stacking them on the other end with success habits -- things that will benefit your life and move you forward.

The book talks a little bit about recognizing these; understanding how that works and then identifying certain habits that no longer serve you. Maybe at one point they did but they’re holding you back. Once you recognize them, then I will teach you how you can replace them.

This goes back to years and years of scientific studies, too, and tons of interviews with people. You cannot just cut a bad habit off. It’s like smoking: I cannot just take away your cigarettes or your drinking or whatever the bad habit may be – gambling -- and then expect you to get rid of it. It needs to be replaced. You can actually replace those habits with a better habit -- one that actually serves your journey. That is really what I’m hoping to achieve with this book. If people start to understand the formula they can start creating their own journey and create that life by design.

Berta

I really believe that! I know you and I talk a lot about habits and years where they’ve been habit-focused years… it just becomes organic and becomes part of the undertone. We can move on to other things but the habits are a big deal and I know that you’re big on them so I love that. Thank you for sharing more of what’s in the book because that’s you know I’m a huge fan.

Rob

Don’t forget to read Berta’s book because “The Why is the Way.” The why is another habit -- it’s developing an understanding of why you do things. That’s probably my analytical brain but that can be classified as a habit; the habit of being in pursuit of understanding why you do things.

That alone is a habit. Guys, go and pick up that book. It’s an amazing complement to my book. I’m currently working on the launch of my brand-new website -- it’s going to be available there currently in digital format. 2020 hopefully will be the year for me to finally release it in hard copy, too. That would be one of my big goals. Once the website launches, I would be happy to invite anybody to get a copy. I would say complement it with “The Why is the Way” and you have a solid blueprint for 2020 to really evaluate where you’re at, see if you can get rid of some of these habits that no longer serve you, adopting some that will push you forward on a journey. Again, find some accountability. Relentless implementation and that is what moves us forward!

Berta

Great words of wisdom, Rob! Rob, how can they find you?

Rob

So I have a YouTube channel so please find me Rob Zweerman Official -- that’s my YouTube channel. Connect with me on Instagram. I do a ton of stories both on Facebook and on Instagram. I’m always doing interesting stuff. I’m trying to share all my learning moments with the people that I meet and inspiration so Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. I try to be consistent with uploading new blogs and new video reviews on the website weekly. Of course if you’re on LinkedIn you can connect with me there. I try to publish my latest publications on there as well so that’s how you can find me.

Berta

Rob, so I know that you are a badass and you were already a badass at 18, but what advice would you give your 18 year old self knowing what you know now?

Rob

I love that question so we’ll cut down straight to the chase. If I could advise myself at 18 years old and I could look him in the eyes and say, “Listen forget about anything else and practice this.” I would say, “Practice your risk tolerance.”

Everything is related to risk. The biometrics of the body and the brain is designed… you’ve probably heard that we have a gut feeling. People make a lot of gut feeling decisions. That is a natural gift to us. [It’s something in] our species that we use to avoid danger.

If there was a lion, our gut feeling would tell us to run as fast as we can to avoid being eaten. Practice your risk tolerance, because you will see that the big decisions are equally as simple as the small decisions. Usually the brain that kicks in the gut feeling that tries to prevent you from it is because the body hasn’t developed over time and allowed us to get rid of those. We no longer need [as much] it so try to practice taking bigger risks and soon you will find they are equally as simple as the small decisions but the returns are so much greater when you take big risks.

Berta

Woo! Good stuff, Rob, this was fun! I am so grateful not only for your friendship and your wisdom and your mentoring but also grateful for you taking this time despite the fact I know it’s a busy, emotional, beautiful, celebratory day with your parents. I want you to go and enjoy them and give them a hug for me and give Maji a hug for me. Thank you, my friend, for being here and blessing us with so much beautiful wisdom.

Rob

It’s so much fun I’m glad we got to do this. You’ve been telling me about your show. I’ve been following you and I’m so grateful you considered me on the show today.

Berta

Folks you heard it here first. You’re welcome in advance I want you to just do good, be great, go outside and play. Have fun, everyone!

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