All right. We should be rolling and you go by Benjamin, is that correct?
Yeah, Ben is fine or Benjamin not OK.
Are you all right? Three, two, one. Welcome. Welcome back to Boss uncaged podcast. On today’s show, we have someone that I consider to be an action taker, right? He found me through a Facebook group. He sent me a message and he was like, hey, man, I want to be on your show. OK, so we had a little casual conversation off air and he kind of told me his story. And I was like, you know what, this show is designed exactly for people like you. So without further do, Benjamin, who are you?
Hey, I appreciate that, you know, I I appreciate your sharing that because I was always curious what makes you pick different guests? You know, and I do consider myself to be someone who’s looking for more attracted to the title of this podcast, Being Uncaged Boss, because I believe that that unengaging happens in the mind and that’s how it started for me. Like, I didn’t grow up in an affluent family. I didn’t grow up in a family of entrepreneurs. I grew up with people who, as well-meaning, as they are, really had limited ideas of what was possible in life. And I never even considered the possibility of being an entrepreneur until probably about two or three years ago. I it’s a new idea. So for me, I’m someone who is constantly in search of growth, in search of asking the question why and asking the question how can I do this better? And looking for that freedom, which is so well symbolized by the term uncaged.
Nice, nice. So I mean in our conversation off the air and we’re going to we’re going to bleed that conversation into air. Right. So, I mean, you kind of telling me your influence or you’re a life coach, you’re a musician like I mean, define yourself in three to five words.
I would say, first and foremost, I’m a communicator. And that might be a bit broad-sounding at first, but as you talked about, I started my journey as a musician. I’ve been a musician ever since I can remember. I never honestly remember a time where I didn’t go over to the piano and. Try to express myself through there, most of my life, I have been kind of a quiet, introverted person. I haven’t spent a lot of time going. New connections, people starting new conversations about a group full of one hundred people, you’re not going to see me just going around introducing myself to random strangers a lot. But I learned the value of communication through music first, which was I can take something that’s inside of me like a feeling and experience, maybe even a memory. And I can with the piano, which is what I play, I can take and express that to someone I don’t even know, to someone I’ve never met before and probably will never see again in a way that connects with them. They get that. And I started doing that, of course, at home first, and then opportunities started rising for me. I grew up in a very religious family, so I started going playing at church and I didn’t even read music. And in fact, I still don’t read music very well. And so it was like, how do I do this in a way that other people can follow in a way that there was congregational singing, there was structure there. And and the journey of saying not only how can I express myself, but how can I express myself in a way that’s relevant in this context and to this message that bled over into. The desire to not only express myself, but to have something positive, to express, to enjoy my life, because for a lot of years I wouldn’t say I was depressed, but I certainly wasn’t happy. I as a result of misinterpretation, misguided use of religion. I had a lot of guilt, a lot of just a lot of anxiety and uncertainty about where my life was going, how worthy I was of success as a person. All of that because. We know that culturally we live in a very limiting. People’s mindsets are limited, and that especially goes to a lot of times, sadly, people who are very religious, it’s all about we’ve got to keep things the way they are. We need to stay the traditions. You know, you’re in our club, you act this way. And I was kept I was with someone asking why? Because I realized partially through my interest in music that. The possibilities are limitless, art loves diversity, and in music, you don’t have beauty if you just have one note, you don’t have beauty. If you just have one rhythm, you have different things that are inherently. As opposed to each other, inherently different from each other, working together to create a common good, a common blessing. And that was something that intrigued me because I didn’t see that in my church. I didn’t see that in the people. I saw everyone trying to be the same. And so. I started asking those questions of. How can I improve my life, how can I attract these different energies that are not like me and then are new that I can learn from, that will ultimately elevate that experience?
So, I mean, what you just said and I want people to kind of like recap again. Right. Go back to three minutes and the beginning of this episode, I said that he was an influencer, he’s a life coach and he’s a musician. And that his answer, he just defined why he’s a life coach. He kind of just gave you a pure example of what life coaching is really all about. Right. Is about taking your condition, understanding your journey and understanding multiple people’s journey and helping them get from point A to point B. And he’s on that journey himself. So it makes sense that you want it to be a life coach. So just dove into that a little bit more like why did you want to become a life coach and what did that journey look like?
So about probably about five years ago now, I was riding in the back of my brother in law’s car. He lives over in Norway and. He put on a recording of a motivational speaker, Ziggler, after that point, yeah, after this point, I never listen to motivational speakers. To be honest, I thought it was kind of a pump up. You go here, someone tells you to feel good, you feel good for a little while, and then you go back to life the way it is. And so I wasn’t really into it. I didn’t check it out, but it wasn’t my car. So he put on this recording and I’m like, OK, what is this? And I was attracted to it, not because it made me feel good. You know, he tells lots of stories and and he was he was a very engaging he was funny. He was entertaining. Which entertainment is what I did as a musician. You know what I especially I’ve always been a student of music way more than a producer and a producer as a result of the things I learned. So the same thing when it came to this motivational speech. Entertaining, but it wasn’t just entertainment, it was. The message of empowerment that you can improve your life, which rumor, that’s the thing I was looking for how can I not just consume content, but how can I learn in a way that will elevate my experience? And so I started listening to other speakers. I started getting interested in the personal development world because. I. Recognized in that a message that I had been searching for, which was of empowerment, of engaging the mind precisely what it was all about. And so I I put money into it. I bought programs. I went to conferences and, you know, it grew over time, but remember, this is why I’m a part time musician, part time I’m working at Kroger. I worked at Starbucks for a while. I wasn’t swimming in cash. But my my desire, because of the unpleasant experiences, because of the anxiety and and all of that and then watching my siblings, I have three siblings watching them grow up, watching the life of my parents had and realizing I’m not really happy with the results. They’re getting nothing against them. And maybe that was their vision, but it wasn’t mine. And so I’m like in order for me to get a different life. I’m going to need other role models. I’m going to need. Advice and mentors that have achieved the experience I want, so I eventually did hire a life coach and. It was a good experience, it wasn’t perfect. I had, you know, pros and cons, but I saw the power in it. And if I got nothing else out of that experience of hiring a life coach, it was, I can do this. I can take this vision. And help other people apply it, because it’s not just I’m successful. Watch me and you can maybe become successful. It’s these are the things I’ve learned. Here’s how you apply it in a specific way. Do this and this and this. Check back the next time. Did you do what worked, what didn’t? It’s very practical, very pragmatic. And so that was attractive to me. Honestly, I’ve not been to college and I don’t say that to not college. But I just didn’t know what I wanted to study and I wasn’t interested in investing a lot of money if I didn’t have a clear direction, home life coaching from me gave me that clear direction because. The course was tailored to my life. It wasn’t about you can learn this career that a lot of people do and maybe find your pocket in that, but it’s what is it that you can do better than anyone else? What is your unique gift? And tailoring that career, that life mission to just me as an individual.
So, I mean, based upon that last response, it kind of leads me to another in-depth question, right? I can hear some similarities to you, to Tony Robbins, right. And and anybody that knows Tony Robbins, I’ve been to several Tony Robbins events. It’s kind of like it’s like going to a music concert, which goes back to your music background. It also goes it almost sounds like a spiritual uplifting feel to it, which kind of goes back to your spirituality a little bit. And then obviously, it’s life coaching, business development. Right. It’s it’s gathering those three things and putting it into an event, put it into an environment, and that makes his events so sticky so people get attached to it. It becomes addictive. Are you following that model to a certain extent? Do you see yourself potentially growing into like a Tony Robbins?
Absolutely. He’s definitely one of the mentors that I latched on to pretty early on. That being said. I try very hard. Not to follow one person exclusively and not just that, but not to model one person exclusively because. As much as I would love to be the next Tony Robbins in the scale of what he does, I don’t want to be the next Tony Robbins in the entirety of who he is because no one’s ever going to do that as successfully as he does it. No one’s ever going to be. The next uncage boss like you, it. Our goal in life where I believe we are created as individuals on purpose, so. The best thing that we can do is develop our individually, our individuality to its fullest potential, which is always going to take us. And if that means said. About. These ideas that Tony has, he didn’t originate this issue. OK, he’s applied things, he had flush them out. But of course, he listened to people like Les Brown, like Ziggler, of course, Jim Brown. And those people listen to other people. And so I’m going to take ideas that he has used and I’ll develop them in my way. And I have I also take ideas from different things, but I’ll draw from my musical experience. I’ll draw from my spiritual experience. I’ll draw from my entrepreneurial journey. And my goal is to. Deliver a package that works. It’s not going to work for everyone, but works for people who are seeking their own individuality, and that’s what I empower.
Mm hmm. So you’re saying stay on that path, right. I remember I went to a Tony Robbins event probably in the last 24 months. And in that event, he was on stage. He was still being Tony, but he was also suffering from mercury poisoning because on his trip, either he was coming back from Hawaii before he came to Atlanta to do that particular show. He ate a bunch of mercury. He was sick as hell on stage, but he was still Tony, jumping around. Right. So this question is, what’s the worst experience I have had, Tony, what his worst experience to date was? It would probably have been the mercury poisoning. Right. So what’s your worst experience you’ve ever had in your business that you’ve had to overcome?
There’s several different ways I can go with that. There’s, of course, experiences that affected me personally, which probably the worst one of that was I got a music job, which a couple of years ago. This is about three years ago now. That was my dream come true. It was a full time paid benefits, insurance, touring around the country. And I landed that and I moved up here, the Nashville area, which is where I’m still living now to do that. Did it for nine months and I got fired without any warning on the spot. I got fired. I wasn’t given a reason like, oh, you did this badly, so we’re letting you go. It was, frankly, because I stood up for something I really believed in. There was racial tension within the group, within the workplace. And one of my co-workers who was African-American wasn’t being treated well. And I stood up and said, this isn’t right. And we’re both let go like that. You know, it’s not a corporate environment. Musical culture is different. These bands are our run. Things are internal. In that time, there were only three people in a room. There was not that accountability. So that was the death of a dream for me. But not only was it the death of a dream, because obviously I could go out there and find another music job and do stuff and living in Nashville. But it was really a time where I questioned. Am I? In the right place, am I achieving that goal that I set out, which is to improve my life, like where am I headed? Because it wasn’t looking too good. Not only was I kicked out, but I had other people from the company, like in the board and everything calling me and say, hey, you messed up, you disrupted the cart. You know, we were doing things that we got to look for new people. And and it was really a thing where I was accused of being the problem. And I’m not saying all of this to to draw aside, you know, and be like I’m the same to here. Everyone is not about what I chose to do or didn’t choose to do. The point I’m making is. Those decisions we have to we have to live with our decisions and only we can tell ourselves if we made the right one or not, there’s always gonna be people around us saying that was the wrong decision. And I have plenty of people telling me that, in fact, most people were telling me that. And so that self doubt, I’m going to be honest, I existed in this apartment without really looking for a new job. Yeah, I left and did food shopping and all that, but I didn’t really find a new direction for several months because it was just. Such a an upheaval. And so ultimately. The gifts that I got from that. Was realizing that that moment that had felt like a weakness of me being cast aside and the group went on, they got new people and they’re still out touring now. But that moment was. I my first biggest victory because I had made a decision without ensuring that it would work in my favor, I didn’t do it for anyone else, I didn’t do it because it was beneficial for where I thought my life was going, because things change. They happen all the time. We we only have a limited perspective. But I made the decision because I believed it was right. And in hindsight, I’ve looked back at that and. Been proud of it. And yeah, things have been difficult that it’s been a journey from there, I did after that decided to go more into personal development. I as a career, I do still do music. But I realized. For me, the journey, the message about life, about how it affects. How I live my life and how I want to empower the people is ultimately more important to me. I want that to be at the forefront and then share the music because the music is more subject to context. Anyone can impose their meaning on my songs, and they do. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that but I realize I have a message that’s even more specific that I have to get out to people.
So, I mean, would any business write this all you brought up a solid topic about like not only the morale of the employees, but the responsibility to do what’s right. Right. And you hear about all these big companies all the time, whether it’s Wal-Mart, whether it’s Amazon. And you always hear that something went wrong in the company structure, something went wrong in the business. And the leader of that company is always in the news or trying to protect what their choices were. So if you you made what you thought was a positive decision and you look back at it as a turning point in your life, right. To move forward. And again, I think those philosophies are part of the reasons why you’re on the journey to become a life coach in that right. We always hear about the 20 years it takes someone to become successful, someone that’s on a journey, but it always is perceived as an overnight success. So in your journey, how long did it take you to get to where you are, including that landmark moment of you making a positive decision that had negative results?
I guess it depends on where you mean what you mean by to get where you are, because obviously I started getting where I am 20 years ago, but that’s not my ultimate success. But it is alike I believe every day. Is an opportunity to take it a step further, to realize that vision more, to clarify that, to refine the message, to gain that confidence. And so I guess I have a hard time. I don’t really view myself as being at a particular milestone right now, except in the sense that I feel like I’m more alive and more sure of what I’m doing today than I was yesterday. So I don’t know, maybe does that
make we’ll think about it if you’re a life coach, right? I mean, everything that you’re breathing and saying on this particular podcast, I know why you’re a life coach, because you’re the embodiment of being a life coach. You’re living it. You’re walking it. So on that journey. Right. So when did your journey start? Like, how many years ago did you journey start? And obviously we know that your journey is not ended, but you’re at the level of assurity knowing what you want to do. And in America, a lot of people in worldwide, most people are still trying to figure out what am I going to do? I hate my job. What’s your next job going to be OK? I hate my career. What’s my next career? You really kind of transition from that to knowing what your focus is, where you’re going and what your goals are going to be. So on that journey, how long did it take you to get there?
I as I told you before, I didn’t have any thought about being an entrepreneur growing up and graduating from high school when there was a lot of pressure to go into college that year. People are telling me if you don’t do it now, you’re never going to do it, and I still didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to do. I didn’t really come to a conclusion like a solid conclusion that I wanted to be a life coach until a couple of years ago. But I was on that journey, as I told you, through my music, through the experiences that I had in life, through religion, all of that has combined because I was on this journey of I want to have choices, I want to have freedom, and it’s kind of a broad thing to say, but when you’re growing up in a church that’s very rigid, very conservative. You don’t have a lot of choices, the choices that you aren’t, if you still have heaven on this side and hell on this side. No one is going to intentionally choose to go to hell, or at least I haven’t met them yet. So in that case, it’s sort of a it’s sort of. Yeah, I have two choices, but this one sucks, so it’s not really a choice. And I say that because the same thing, you know, growing up, I grew up with with parents who of course, wanted me to learn right from wrong, wanted me to keep me safe. And so they had rules and. You know, there’s that time where when you’re smaller, you don’t have a lot of choices about that, either you’re going to eat at this certain time, you get to go to bed at this certain time you’re going to do this. And that didn’t bother me. From a very young age, but what bothered me, I remember being five years old and thinking. I noticed some adults in my life that were living without choices, even my own parents. And that bothered me at in this crazy young age. And I don’t most people, I don’t think think that way. But for me, I remember noticing at that age, like people being a victim, whether it was a finance, whether it was a certain practices in relationships, whether it was of the way that they approached the religion, those those kind of thoughts started in me back then. And so as I grew older and especially my experience with religion, I got to be honest. It wasn’t a positive one because I started realizing that the more I grew older and the more I started to sort of push the envelope of wanting to make those choices, I want to start wearing different things. I want to start talking a different way. I want to start drinking certain things. The more tight the restriction became, know that this is the path, this is the way that we do things here. And yet it wasn’t teaching me to. To form a certain type of character, at least that’s not the way I perceived it, it wasn’t teach me empower me to make those decisions. It was just do this because. This is the proven this is the path that we take, this is the path that this church takes and whatnot, and so I met a family friend probably I’m trying to think probably about 15 years ago now came into our lives. And this guy was very much his own person. He was spiritual and all that, but he he carried this air about him where? No one tells me what to do if I’m going to be spiritual because I chose to do this. I’m going to study this out for myself. I learn these things. I’m going to choose what what I do. And yet he had flaws and he made those mistakes. But that principle, one, that principle was powerful to me because while he was confident in his decisions, he never tried imposing them upon other people that I saw, particularly me like he valued my voice and he empowered me to think for myself. And that was really the turning point for me. One of the turning points where I saw, like, it’s possible to be strong and not be dominating, not be overbearing. And to your point of of this idea of a boss, like a lot of people, for a lot of people, boss isn’t a great word because they think of, like, my boss is my slave master. My boss is my my like, he controls my life. This is when you’re going to do this. This what? You’re going to do this and. My thing is a boss should be a leader. That has this vision. Their job is to be visionary and to kind of chart out the future what we want to happen, but then to attract other people to them who have a similar vision so that when you’re organizing, you’re just giving them a structure where they can do the work. Maybe they’re not really interested in running a company or or charting out the next five or 10 years. But they love doing the task of this industry, of this this job. That’s what I’ve been chasing. That’s this goal. And so it gravitated into me. Taking more of that leadership position and saying, I want to help empower others, not just. I saw.
So, I mean, you alluded to to your family a little bit here and there throughout these questions, so are any of your family members like your mom, your dad, aunts, uncles, anybody throughout your life or any of them entrepreneurs?
No, I wouldn’t say so. Uh. There are some of them who are becoming entrepreneurs and some of them who have kind of gone with me on this journey, so maybe that’s a bit unfair to say, but. They’re not. I think my my brother in law is the one who sort of started it all when he met my sister, married him, and then he was already listening to Tony and zig into Jim Brown and all of that. And so I think that that’s sort of where that started and has infiltrated my family. But like my parents have always. Benmore. Where they’re following someone else’s vision, whether that’s the religion or whether that’s their company, they work for or for various things.
Hmm. So. Which your family so it seems like you know your big family guy, right? How do you juggle your work life with your family life?
That, for me, is a hugely important part, as you have noticed, I I recently got engaged about a year ago, got engaged and. My biggest question in approaching that journey is how do I do both I want to have my cake and eat it too. I don’t want to be someone who either can be successful and provide for a family that I am removed from by the work that fuels that success or just be a family man and. You kind of get by and so I guess what ultimately. It’s hard because I’m still in the process of that journey. I’m still in the process of of I’m sorry. Sorry about that. My phone is connected to my computer. I guess it made a call, so not a problem. I’ll turn this up anyway. Here we go. So, yeah, I’m still in the process of forming that, but I can say that family is always a priority in how I manage my time. So I set aside time every day to connect with my fiance. I make sure and have time multiple times a week to connect with other family members. My mother especially, I’m close to her. And I think that that’s kind of where it comes down to, we know that a career. Requires time. Mm hmm. You know, I’m going to work, whether you’re working for yourself or whether you’re working for someone else, you have to devote time for that. And so it’s a matter of saying, how much is that time worth? We can usually tell how much our time in our company, in our career is worth. We can put a dollar value on that. How much is your time with your family worth? And that’s something. That kind of goes it crosses the barrier between my success professionally and my success emotionally and spiritually, and because that’s something else that comes into that, I devote time to my spirituality, time to my health, time to my family, time to my career. And so I just make sure the family has a place at that table and always, you know, instead of putting your money where your mouth is like, put your time where your mouth is like, have that. That budget, that time budget where you’re showing the value by what you how you prioritize that.
So, I mean, you’re just like you’re scheduling blocks of time. And this is the question that I always like to hear a response because everybody has a unique way of waking up every single morning. So in order to have a new routine or unique habits, what are your morning routines? Your morning habits?
My morning routine. Honestly, I’m not a morning person, and I think I think that’s something that has been a little bit of a frustration, but I’m learning to embrace it because a lot of people in the personal development industry and a lot of people in the entrepreneurial industry and in space, they’re like, yeah, I get up at five o’clock in the morning and I do my shakes and do my workout and I do this and this. And then by seven a.m., I’ve already set my idea for success. And I’m like by seven a.m. I’m trying to get my ass out of bed. And so how how to do that? I discovered that it’s not as important about when you do it as to what you do when you get up. And there may be some limit to that. But my thing is. So I just wanted to put that out there for the people who are listening, who are also not mourning people just because you don’t do it at five or four or whatever, does it mean that you can’t still set your. For me, I still am. A spiritual person, and that’s been a whole journey getting back to that point, because a lot of negative experiences with church and with Christianity. But I did come back to that point. And so I prioritized that. I get up. I took this from from Tony. He has a thing called Hour of Power. And I modified it some, but it starts with a breathing exercise. And I do that because, again, I’m trying to wake up. I’m trying to activate to if I just go right into, like meditation or prayer, I’m the fall guy back asleep. So I do a breathing exercise for at least like five minutes. And I’m walking. I’m moving during that time. Then I do for me, I do a prayer. The main thing is I start with gratitude, I’ve heard, like everyone in this space say, gratitude is so important and. I realized. The reason why that gratitude is so important is because obviously it gets our state going, but also it reminds us of success and things that have gone right in the past, because I need to have faith. I need to have assurance that I can do this. I can conquer this day. And if I start with gratitude, I’m. Feeding my mind with the successes of my past or with things that have gone right for me, that God has helped me, that has done through me or things that I’m confident will go right in the future. So that’s the next thing. And that time has been increasing lately. Right now, it’s probably up to around 20 or 30 minutes that I spend just on gratitude. I write down a list of about 10 things really take time to feel those things that I’m thankful for. But I also write down because of my faith, like I write down Bible promises and not necessarily word for word, it’s not a it’s not a anything it’s graded or anything. But just to remind myself of why I believe in this book, because my whole formula for freedom, for success in the way I want to do things is, again, I want to be a leader, not necessarily a follower. So even when it comes to the Bible, I’m asking myself, why do I read this? Why do I need it? Because, let’s face it, there are plenty of people out there who believe in different books or they they would rather just follow a more. Mysterious higher power or the universe or whatnot, and I don’t judge anyone for that, I’m not here trying to convert everyone, but I am saying whatever you follow, you need to know why you need to have a foundation behind that. So I think that in the morning, by familiarizing myself with. Passages in the Bible that speak to me that I believe give me. And ability to win the day and after that, I. I pray about different things, about things I want to happen today for family, all that kind of stuff, and it’s a bit more fluid time frame there. After that, I usually eat and. Then after that, it’s just dependent on what I want to do for that day, like this morning, I was preparing for this interview, making sure that when I showed up here, my mind was right, that I had an idea of of what I wanted to accomplish, what I wanted to share, what message, because it’s not a matter of like preparing a sermon, but it’s a matter of what I believe about myself. What do I believe about. Like, what reality am I living so that when you ask me these questions, I have something to answer from because none of us has a clean slate. We have negative interactions and positive interactions from the past. We have things that we may see on the news. We have things that we feel based on. I love listening to music so that influences. And so I try to choose what am I going to be influenced by before I go to give something out, because that’s going to show up in that message.
So, I mean, I would think sooner or later in your lifetime, potentially, you’re going to be writing books, books yourself could I mean, you’re you’re in that space, you’re in that state of mind. You’re a big listener of Tony. You’re a big listener of Les Brown. What books are you reading right now that’s influencing you currently today?
I’m reading Limitless by Jim Quick, OK. He’s a coach, he focuses on developing your mind, developing. I’m reading the Bible in various parts of several books that I really enjoyed, I have read the book called Going to Crime by Trevor Noah. Studying other cultures and studying the experiences of other people is super important to me. And that is basically what grew out of that incident. I told you about getting fired because I started to realize that racism is alive and well today. I got to be honest, I grew up well-meaning people, but I didn’t have to learn that stuff to survive. And so I did. And I learned the basic principle of equality and of respecting and of loving others. But I didn’t learn how to. Apply that in a relevant way in my world, until I was confronted face on with the fact that it’s happening and it’s affecting the people around me. So I do study a good bit about that. I’m reading a book about the history of black gospel music called People Get Ready by Robert Darden. And so just things to learn about history and learn about other people’s experiences, things to learn about my spirituality and about how to improve my life. That’s probably the the the biggest things, but also music. I’m a huge student of music. I listen to jazz, I listen to Coldplay, I listen to Michael Bublé. I listen to Bobby McFerrin, who kind of does his own thing. I don’t know how you classify that, but I, I pride myself in listening to a lot of different music, again, because I’m trying to track that diversity. Jacob Cure is a huge fan of mine. I’m sorry. I’m a huge fan of his and snarky puppy. So just a lot of different things. I mentioned these because that’s to me is as important as the reading is. I listen to music to learn not to turn off my brain and just absorb it. Like, how can I do that? I’m not into what I do musically and what I say and how I live my life.
I mean, yeah, I can definitely attest to that because I think when we first met, you know, I pay attention to detail. I mean, it’s just something that I do. And if I remember, I’m trying to visualize it in my mind. I think you had a T-shirt on that said something about black Wall Street. I forgot the punch line above it. And I found that very interesting, considering that, you know, you’re Caucasian and you’re wearing a black Wall Street. And I just kind of like, what’s the story behind that? Like like how did you even one where did you get the shirt? Right. And why did you wear that shirt that particular day?
Yeah. So I got that shirt from a friend on Facebook. I’ve never actually met him in person but around. I don’t know, somewhat after the events of, of course, the murder of George Floyd, you started selling these shirts. By that point where this news came out about George Floyd, I’d already been studying social justice informally for probably a couple of years. And so I was ready like I. I to be honest, I never watched the video, not because I don’t care, but because I didn’t need it, I was already upset enough. Like I’m not needed to get nightmares because the purpose of to me what that video did is it will people up whether or not they were. They will come up to different ideas, but it woke everyone up, it got everyone thinking, and so I say that because that journey started, I watched like the Netflix series when they see us. I watched the movie The Hate You Give. I watched Selma, you know, historical things as well. But I started immersing myself because I’m like. I need to know if I’m going to. Interact in a positive way, and let’s face it, I’m a white man living in the South, so I’m one of the things like how can I have an opportunity to interact in a positive way with the people of color around me? Because everyone looking at me, I was a barista at Starbucks a little while and I noticed that people of color coming in, especially as I was new, would relate to me in very different ways. A lot of them were very conscious and informal or formal and like just standoffish. And some people would get offended and be like, why are you treating me like I’m a racist, I’m not a racist. And I’m like, I’m wearing the uniform in this by my face and my skin of someone that these people have to be cautious around. But at the same time, there were some people that were super friendly and super open right off the bat. So I started being interested in that idea, and the main thing is I started wearing the shirts like that because I’m like, this is something I can do to let people know whether they’re passing me on the street. I don’t have to say where they know I’m an ally and I can be one less white man in the south that can stress out someone’s day, that can make someone feel uncomfortable. And that’s that’s why I wear them.
Hmm. So you have a conscious awareness. And so with that. Right. And bringing it back to business like that’s always a subject when it comes down to business is like race. And there’s always a comment about, well, you know, by from your own or shop with your own. But, you know, we all are in the same economic system. So understanding both sides. And it seems like you’re very aware of both sides of the coin. How are you using that to fulfill? What you’re doing business wise, how do you see that growing your business and giving opportunities to other people?
I can definitely tell you how I see it in my vision of the future, because. This this whole white savior narrative, of course, is something that happens, you have people, other well-meaning, but they’re just like I have all this power over celebrities, so I’m going to hire people of color in my company. I’m going to donate money to feeding the homeless. I’m going to do, you know, send money to other countries. And this idea that. Because of my privilege, I can benefit the lives of others by. Sending money or sending resources to them? My vision is, and I know I’m not the only one to think this way, but what I’ve really been impressed with the people that make the most difference. Are the people who elevate the voices and the experiences of other people pass the mic on to those people who otherwise wouldn’t be given that platform and the words as I move forward, of course, I see myself not just being a coach, but sort of like Tony having a company that I do speaking events. I do mastermind’s, I hire coaches. I have a network that can benefit a lot of people. But in that I see myself like being involved with a podcast like yourself where I can bring. I can bring, like black CEOs and people who who want to be black entrepreneurs and whatever and say like. Tell us your experience. Because I have an audience who will listen to me, who will relate to me. Who won’t relate to you the same, and I don’t say that at all to be condescending, but it’s just the reality of the culture we live in. So I’m going to take and bring to that audience examples saying. This is something that I support, this is something that I believe is important and it has shaped me to become who I am and Tony has done that. He’s done a couple episodes of his podcast where he interviews leaders in the current civil rights movement. And that’s something that’s really been inspiring to me. But it goes so much beyond interviewing, but it comes into empowering. People to be leaders in their community. Going into education in the inner cities, again, busy building businesses, helping people of color, build businesses, all of that stuff, I want to be someone who empowers not just individuals, but who empowers leaders. Because representation is everything and have that representation among success and just a little plug for that as well. I found this I don’t know if you’re familiar with Ebon Carmichael.
Of course, the airplane I was always calling the airplane guy the guy that can reach the sky, right?
Yeah, I highly recommend and this isn’t a pay promotion or anything, but I highly recommend every white person, especially who’s listening to this, every black person. But but I’ll probably explain why to go to he offers these programs where he will send you a short YouTube video every day for two hundred and fifty four days. There’s one in there called Black Excellence. I highly recommend everyone subscribe to that. It’s completely free. And the reason is this, as I said before, we’re not a clean slate. I don’t have ultimate control over what’s coming into my senses every day, I have some control, but not not totally. So every day I see people of color who are. In the service positions, be working at a gas station, maybe working on the side of the highway, maybe not working at all to be home, very. I see those images of people of color who are. In more poverty, in the less influential careers, things like that, and because I’m taking that in and it’s beyond my control, my mind is going to start forming these beliefs as to why that is. And. People say, well, I’m not racist, I’m a racist consciously, but you have prejudices. Prejudice based on the things that you see, the things that you experience around you, that program black excellence, every day you see a person of color. Sorry, I keep interchanging those two terms. I’m hoping I’m making sense here, but you see that. But someone who’s successful, who’s doing what they do at the highest level, there are actors, there are athletes, there are business people, there are musicians, different walks of life, giving advice about how to succeed and I think it’s so important because it reconditioned our mind to say black people are successful. They learn this stuff. They’re on this equal playing. It may not be in the same numbers, but it has nothing to do with the fact that they’re black. Why why not that them being black doesn’t inhibit their growth and so that things like that, resources like that are just to help retrain the mind and to help educate me and people like me to view everyone on a way of like I want to help you succeed because I have full faith that you can succeed to my level and beyond, regardless of your background, regardless of your skin color, regardless of how I perceive like, it just kind of levels that. So hopefully that makes sense.
It does. I mean, to your point of bringing up that particular YouTube hoax, right. Karmichael is I remember when he first came out and I was following him and I was like, who’s this guy on YouTube? And I remember his first videos were like, he will refer to them as like garbage. Right. Because now his videos are like, well, branded. I call them the airplane guy because he has a paper. Airplane is yellow and black. He has branding down to a science. But he was the first YouTube channel of its time, to your point, that was giving equality to everyone. He may have Jay-Z, he may have Sean Puffy Combs, he may have Tony Robbins. And he goes through every single person’s life journey and how they got to success. One of his biggest series that I enjoyed was his ten key tips to success from every single person. And to your point, I mean, diversity is what his platform grew from. It was he didn’t discriminate against any individual race, creed or sex, for that matter. He had everybody and everybody had success stories that were were open your mind to be like like I know they’re successful, but I didn’t know how they became successful. And his show kind of gave you the opportunity to kind of see that on that journey. So on his journey. Right. It took him a period of time. Right. On your journey, where do you see yourself 20 years from now?
I see myself as being a global influencer, as having a movement, and not because I have anything so much new in the sense of my life coach or personal development, as I said, those ideas, I didn’t create them. Tony didn’t create them. I honestly believe. That my message, the message that I want to share. In my brand and I will spend the most time and resources doing is that. Diversity is beauty. And. That spirituality is also beauty, those two things, because they both elevate us in different ways. I was seeing that diversity and appreciating that that elevates us because it gives us resources of everyone from every walk of life. I’ve heard other people in your podcast in Times saying, like, the most valuable thing we have about relationships with relationships are valuable. How much more value do I have by approaching relationships from everyone, not just people that I perceive will benefit me? So that’s something, a message. I’m so glad that Evan is doing that. I think we need our voices in that space. I think Brendan Borchardt is another person in this space who’s consciously doing that, bringing diversity into the front. And so that’s definitely a crowd I plan to join and hopefully long before 20 years. But that’s that’s a goal. And then the other thing is spirituality, because. Let’s face it. Talking about the topic and it’s something that a lot of people, especially like in the professional business sense, are going to shy away from it because there’s a lot of negative connotations with that. And like, well, you know, it’s controversial. It’s like politics. I’m going to get involved in religion and all that. And so my burden with that is. Not to an. Not to persuade people to believe like me, but to relieve people of the reasons not to believe like me, to give them that true freedom of choice. So, for instance, I’m a Christian. People have beliefs about Christians while they’re judgmental or whether they are particular about working certain days or not working certain days, or they are never going to invest in a bar or they’re never going to it’s it’s perceived as a limitation. My perception of the Bible, for instance, everything I have learned from Tony, everything I have learned from Les Brown from Ziggler, those concepts are in the Bible like these, the concepts to grow your wealth, to manage your relationships, to improve your mind, like all of that’s in the Bible. And I say that because. I’m. If that resource has been there for thousands of years. Is it not worth exploring on a personal level, just like we do these influencers? But not only that. I believe the Bible is first and foremost. A love letter, an invitation to get to know a personal god and so many times like relationships are both our greatest ally and our greatest downfall, because if you look in politics, if you look in business. The scandals, almost always our relationships, we have good intentions, but, you know, the stereotype of men is that we want to just accomplish the next thing and we’re more and more career driven. I don’t believe that’s really the case. I believe that men are conditioned, are taught that we’re not really good at relationships and so let’s focus on something we’re good at because it’s kind of depressing to to just go around saying, well, you know, I’m not good at relationships, but I’m going to keep trying. If you keep trying with the same tools, you have to keep getting the same results. We know. I believe personally that developing a relationship with my higher, higher power, which is God gives me a blueprint, a foundation for my other relationships, which benefits my career benefits, my happiness benefits, my health, my family, all of that holistically improves my life, and some people might say, well, that’s easier said than done because people like to say you should have a relationship with God is not. There are so many different ways of of doing that. And I guess my response to that, without getting theological and all that is where focus goes, energy flows. It’s something that Tony says. If I’m telling myself this is complicated, it’s fraught with controversy, it’s something I can’t understand, I never will. But if I tell myself. I can form. Quality relationships, and I’m determined to do that, and if you believe that your. Due to your higher power is a force that you can personally interact with, some people do that through meditation and different ways. If you believe it’s possible you will put the energy into and the focus into improving and doing that and again. My thing is give people. That option to say. I don’t hate this religion, I’m not afraid of this religion, I’m not you know, I’m working through it. If they’ve had negative interactions, I’ve had negative interactions. One of the things I do is I’m a spiritual abuse recovery coach because I I’ve been there. I spent most of my life trying to run away from religion, to be honest. And so, again, it’s exploring like how do I? Overcome these obstacles and choose whether I want to go in this direction spiritually or this direction, and to me, I do that through looking at the positive. Does the Bible thing say things that can help my life? Are there things there that can benefit or is it all bad if it’s not all bad? It’s worth trying to discern the bad from the good. The same could be said for any other religion. And so I don’t know if that answers, I’m rambling a lot with these questions, but that’s that’s where I see myself as is really putting do my best to promote those two ideas side by side.
So would that what words of wisdom would you have for somebody coming from a life coach mentality if I’m somebody that’s maybe 10 years younger to you, 15 years younger than you, and I’m coming up in the system, I’m coming out of high school in my early 20s, per say, and I want to establish myself into becoming a life coach. What words of wisdom would you give to.
Pay attention to your environment. And pay attention to. Within that, what you’re feeding your mind, everyone has the power to do that. We teach kids from a young age to read. Everyone can go on YouTube and and find motivational content like it, like everyone has. Because our minds. They put out what we put into them. So to me, that’s the most important thing is really. Take the time to encourage yourself to listen to people who have done things, who are accomplishing things with their lives so that you have you train yourself to always say, I can do this, I can learn to do this, I can do this better. I can succeed because there’s me, plenty of people around you telling you that you can’t.
Yeah, definitely great, great insight. So where can people find you online social media website? How could I get in contact with you?
So the main thing is I’m on social media right now. I have Facebook and Instagram. I’ll be expanding that later on. But Ben Jenkins, twenty twenty-two is my username there. And it’s that because that’s the year of my wedding. So that’s the way to remember that. And I do have a website, Ben Jenkins media.Com and it’s a bit of a bit of a generic term, but that’s because I do plan as I expand that not just I have music on there, but I have courses for personal development on there and have books on there and have like. I’m a media guy. That’s that’s how you communicate, and so that’s the two places I would recommend that you.
So this next question, I’m very intrigued to see what your response would be, because I kind of it’s in my mind I have like a toss-up between who could possibly be. So I just accidentally fall into alignment. If you could spend twenty-four hours in a day with anybody dead or alive, who would it be and why?
And probably, I have to say, Bobby McFerrin. And and honestly, because I believe he is someone who you could probably gain about the most from in twenty-four hours, because he’s funny, he’s honest, he’s expressive, he’s musical, he’s philosophical, he’s spiritual. Like, I could spend a week with that guy and just just to ask and pick his brain and sing with him and maybe a very life-enriching spiritual experience.
That was that on my radar whatsoever.
I mean the people that I admire, I would love to spend twenty-four hours with Tony and I’d love to spend. But just if you say pick one person, that’s the guy that has the diversity to offer.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean he does. I mean, Bobby is is to your point, you don’t know what classification to put him in musically because he’s kind of like his, all his music is coming from him, is not instrumental, is not necessarily singing, but he’s taking all this kind of like beboping drumming all into one person’s vocal chords coming out from. So to your point, I mean, you Bobby’s definitely influenced in his own space and he’s a legend as well, too. I definitely see that now that you said it
that but like I’ve listened to it, watched documentaries where he’s speaking and profound, like he’s he’s someone who has studied. He’s someone who says and he’s a classic example of living his life through his music. Not he’s not separated from his art. He’s not hiding behind his art. It’s not a performance and. I have aimed to be like I, I walk around the house humming and singing and making all this noise to myself because I listen to Bobby like I have people when I was at Starbucks, people like I am singing all the time. And I realized I was doing it. Like, I just make your art yourself and make yourself out through what you express, like be authentic. That’s what people are looking at these days, because let’s be honest, there are so many people out here on social media who are trying to give us a curated. Message, a curated impression of themselves and people see through it and people are out here like on twenty twenty. Everyone’s online, but we’re also at home. And the two worlds have collided in a way that, like never before, where the barrier is growing thin between our anxiety and our our stress and our relationships at home and all that and our image that we’re putting out there. And so people are hungry for just that genuine connection with people. And that’s something, again, that Bobby does better than anyone else I know.
Oh, that’s a great answer. So in closing, obviously, I always give the microphone to my guests and give you opportunity. I mean, we talked about several different topics. And in those conversations, you may have questions for me. So the microphone is yours. What questions do you have for me?
One that I think kind of goes back to this idea of diversity and of race like. I have a lot of people of color in my life. In fact, you know, there’s this the stereotype oh, I have this one black friend. I was telling someone I think I have fewer white friends at this point just because because I have been attracted to the cultural experience and the the the depth of. A perception that people of color tend to have in this country and so my question for you, as a black man in America. What is something that you. Would want me to understand. To see in your experience that you feel like people who look like me are having have a difficult time grasping.
That is probably one of the the most intellectual questions I’ve ever had on this, I’ve had some intellectual questions, so and I have to kind of think about it because obviously there’s always more than one side to the coin. Right on one side of the coin, you have people that are essentially looking at the system of being. Undermined it and depressed and on the other hand, you have people that look at the system as saying, to hell with the system, I can make my life whatever I want it to be. Right. So understanding that, I think it’s going to be kind of hard to assess you as an individual person to anybody that presents themselves to you until they raise their hands and they let you know which side of the coin that they’re on. Right. And what that really means that on one side of the coin, they may look at you like you said before, before you started wearing the shirts of Starbucks, they would look at you as supposedly the man that the oppressor, because they have been raised that way. They’ve seen hardship. They have been kind of. Under the influence that the national Kwoh or the worldwide status of the war that we live in is. As a black person where cards are stacked against us and in some rights they are, but to your point, when you talk about Carmichael, he shows people that have overcome those things. Right. So from Oprah Winfrey to Jay-Z, Sean Puffy Combs, and obviously they’re part of the one percent. Right. So for you as an individual, you can’t really be judgmental when somebody presents themselves, you’re going to have to let them show you who they really are. And the way I’ve learned to do that is essentially I give people opportunities and whether they take the opportunities or not. That’s kind of like my first qualifications. If I say I have opportunely, I’m not saying you need to sign up or buy anything. It may be as simple as this podcast. For example, it’s an opportunity for you to learn from everybody else’s experience, to learn from my circle of people that I’ve had an opportunity like you. I’ve just met you, and I already know that you know that you can give information, you can give insight, you can give inspiration as well. Take hold of this podcast and utilize it. And in that journey of people to potentially be on this podcast in the early stages, a lot of people were kind of like, I don’t know right now, even though they know my track history, they know who I am they know what I’m capable of doing. And now a year into it, people are now coming around to be like, oh, not only is he achieved the podcast, not only has he had particular people of particular high wealth or particular influencers on this podcast, now they’re starting to take, take, listen. It’s like that no matter if you’re black or white, you kind of have to prove yourself. And so what I’m saying is that I would not look at anybody as black, white, Asian or anything else. I would look at them as are they seizing the opportunities? Do they understand the opportunities in front of them and are they taking advantage of it? And if they’re not, can I guide them in the right direction? And on that journey of guiding them in the right direction, are they listening to those steps? Are they taking action? And if they don’t fit those particular two things, to me, it doesn’t matter what color or race they are. If you’re not seizing the opportunity, you’re not taking actions and the opportunity and you’re stuck where you are, you’re not willing to transition forward. Unfortunately, at that point in time, you can’t save everybody, keep doing what you’re doing. And hopefully in your journey they would realize that, man, I should have got on that bandwagon six months ago. I should have got on that bandwagon 12 months ago. And then at that then they’ll represent themselves to you in a different light. Does that?
Yeah, so when I heard you say is like, give me a chance to prove myself beyond my skin color, like look at me and and because let’s be honest. We made a lot of people and through social media, it might be a comment, it might be a like like we have brief interactions and so it’s easy to pass by some profiles or to pay attention to some profiles. And that gets into the importance of branding and everything. But as individuals to take the time to say, OK, I see you, we all look different. There are millionaires who don’t come their hair in the morning and there are people who are Instagram models who can’t pay their rent. So as individuals, they look beyond the surface of skin color, of, you know, the way I present myself. And just give me a moment to peak your interest.
I mean, just really what it comes down to and to your point with social media, that’s the world that we live in, right? I would say that there is the online persona. Then there’s the real persona. And then it’s kind of like the gray area that somebody could potentially bleed into both sides. But the reality is, is that all three is a uniquely different and I don’t think there’s anybody including like Tony, including like Jim, all of them have multiple different levels of personas. But at some time or the other, that online persona has to pretty much be turned off, even though it bleeds into the normal everyday life. But you have to be that persona to attract more people to influence them. And get them on a journey. Go ahead.
Yeah, especially if you’re in a business space where you’re trying to get people to give you money, you have to have sort of a genuineness about you, because if you’re just keeping up a Prasanna, people say, why would I trust you with my money when you don’t even trust me with yourself, lik`4ce with your picture? Can I ask you one more question?
Yeah, go for it.
So as I said, I’m passionate about two things. Diversity is one. Spirituality is another. How do you see? Do you see that spirituality? Do you believe that it has a relevant place to entrepreneurs to. Business people and professionals like and if so? How do you like how do you believe people can access that?
So with that question? I think that not everybody is spiritual in the sense of religion, but I think that they’re spiritual on their own accord. Right. Some people may find that through yoga. Right. Some people may find that through meditation. Some people may find that on just closing their eyes and taking three minutes to become one with themselves. People that are successful have mastered everything that I’ve just listed. Some of them may attribute it to God. Some of them may attribute it to the old world greek mythology. Right. Some people may attribute it to taking that five minutes of breathing relaxation every single day as part of why they’re successful and not only successful, but they can maintain their success based upon that inner inner spirituality. So understanding that it doesn’t have to be religious, it doesn’t have to be meditation, but you have to find it whatever it is to you. Yeah, be authentic, choose it, yeah, and stick to it, I mean, and be be OK with adaptation, right. I mean, obviously you could wake up one day and be Muslim the next day. You could wake up and be Catholic. There’s no really reason why you couldn’t be incensed that you’re finding your purest moments while you are in that space of mind. And in addition to that, look for opportunities outside of religion. Right? I mean, think about it from a standpoint. I think Russell Simmons is a good person. As an example. He finds his inner spirituality every single day. He wakes up and he does. He has a meditation room in his house. He has like a yoga yoga center in his house. So he wakes up and he does this on a routine basis is almost like like praying to Allah, for Muslims for sense. They do it so routinely, so effortlessly that he’s done it to where it’s keeping him motivated. And it keeps him in alignment to juggle his work life balance on a day to day basis. You have to figure that out for you. So some people it may be rock-climbing, some people maybe kickboxing, whatever it is that makes you go from being frustrated or overuse and under appreciate and after you do that one thing, if you come out positive, taking the positive energy and converting negative into positive, that’s it. Whatever that is, figure it out. And the faster you figure it out, the more inclined you’re going to be successful in, the longer.
So what I’m understanding your answer then, is like. Show to your spirituality at your authentic self, just like we talked about showing up on your online interactions and in your view is with your authentic self, like use that as a modality, as a way to find that higher self, to improve, to center so that you have the presence and you have the the energy to take that onto your professional life, to your interactions with people the foundation.
Definitely. Definitely. Well, I mean, hopefully I answered your question. I mean, like I said, also some really like it kind of got into like a whole nother spectrum of interviewing. But I definitely appreciate to your point, I’m your life coach. I mean, that that’s part of who you are and you definitely delivered on that. So I definitely appreciate you taking time out of your schedule today. I think that my listeners would definitely get a unique spectrum on what life coaching is and that business structure and just the way you’re processing and you’re thinking it’s not just business, it’s about helping people, motivating people while also helping and motivate yourself on your journey.
Yeah, and that the core there is whatever I do. However you do anything is how you do everything. Whatever I do in my mind, whatever I believe in my spirit, how I treat my body, how I treat my future wife, all of that. It’s going to spill over into my business somehow, so I don’t have conversations about two business people to about spirituality, and some of these things make people a little bit squirmy. But it’s not, as I said, is not very persuasive. But it’s like you’ve got to get unified. You’ve got to get authentic, because the more you are any of these people, the Richard Branson’s of the world, the Tony Robbins of the world, Barack Obama’s in the world, they spend time there because otherwise that inner conflict and I’m not saying everyone’s, you know, a monk or they got to sort it out, but they’ve at least spent time because the more inner conflict you have, that’s going to slow you down everywhere. So that’s why I do that.
Great. Great. Well, again, I mean, I definitely appreciate you having you on the podcast. And I mean, I’m looking forward to see, you know, what you’re going to do in the next five, 10, 20 years. I’m just going to follow you. S.A Grant.