Hard Work, Habits, and Baseball with Joel Goldberg
Hard Work, Habits, and Baseball Show Notes
The good habits that help people achieve successful retirements don’t only pertain to finance. Decades of research, interviews, and studies show that these same strengths help people become extraordinary businessmen, leaders, and athletes, among many other things.
As this year has taught us all, life almost never goes the way we plan for it. However, discipline, consistency, and the ability to show up, day after day, can take us far. A financial plan built with these principles in mind, even now, can help you achieve your goals and live the life you aspire to at every stage of your career.
Today, I’m interviewing Joel Goldberg. Joel is the host of Rounding the Bases, a podcast where he interviews entrepreneurs and leaders in sports and business. He’s also the announcer for the Kansas City Royals and an experienced TV sportscaster. In our conversation, Joel doesn’t just share stories from his astounding career, but digs deep into the lessons he’s learned from the extraordinary people he’s met along the way.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- What made “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Will Ferrell, and Ned Yost some of Joel’s greatest interviews.
- How the Royals organization has shifted its operations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The common traits between entrepreneurs, CEOs, and professional athletes – and why “lucky” people are mostly lucky because they put themselves in that position.
- Why there are no quick fixes to getting what we want in life – and how Joel got his first job in television.
- The importance of building lasting relationships in every field.
- “You don’t have to be the smartest or the best at anything you do. All you have to do is work harder than everyone else and you’re going to look like a rock star.” – Dean Barber
- “You can outwork everybody, but if you piss people off along the way, you better be really, really good at what you do.” – Joel Goldberg
[00:00:08] Dean Barber: Hey, everybody. It’s Dean Barber, your host of The Guided Retirement Show. I am super excited to have with us today, Joel Goldberg. And you may recognize that name, you may not, but after you listen to this podcast with Joel Goldberg, I promise you, you’re going to want to hear more. Joel Goldberg is the host of his own podcast called Rounding the Bases with Joel Goldberg. He does in-depth interviews with successful entrepreneurs and leaders.
He compares the winning traits of sports to business. He’s a longtime television sportscaster, and also one of the announcers for the Kansas City Royals. So, please sit back and enjoy this interview with Joel Goldberg whether you’re watching us on YouTube or whether you’re listening on your favorite podcast app.
[00:00:59] Dean Barber: Joel Goldberg. All right. Buddy, thanks so much for taking some time to join us here on The Guided Retirement Show. And people might think, well, what in the world would Dean have a guy like Joel Goldberg on The Guided Retirement Show for? And I think as we get into our conversation, Joel, people are really going to understand the similarities between successful entrepreneurs, successful athletes, and those people that are able to reach retirement successfully. There’s a lot of things that all of these people have in common. So, welcome. It’s great to have you here.
[00:01:34] Joel Goldberg: Dean, thanks for having me on. I agree with you. There are a lot of similarities. And so, I think that’s one of the exciting parts about telling these stories. You do it all the time and I do it all the time is that it doesn’t have to be a finance guy. It doesn’t have to be a baseball guy but there are successful habits and practices every day that ultimately lead to in your world that’s successful retirement.
[00:01:55] Dean Barber: Absolutely. So, Joel, let’s start by I want to understand what drove you to get out there and start your podcast Rounding the Bases with Joel Goldberg which by the way I’ve listened to and they’re a blast. You’ve got an opportunity to interview some really successful business owners but let’s start with why. What was it that drove you to do that?
[00:02:20] Joel Goldberg: Well, I wish I could sit here and say I had this amazing plan that it’s turned into a plan, and sometimes you accidentally stumble into things. Maybe it’s not accidentally but I’ve been in TV now for 25 years and last 12 years Royals baseball and I’ve always had access and been around these high-level performing athletes even before I got to Kansas City covering baseball and NHL hockey and NFL football.
And so, I knew all of that. I think I always knew that maybe one day I’ll write a book I didn’t really know about what. And somebody about three years ago, a friend said, “You know, you should start speaking to organizations. You have so many lessons that would apply to them.” And I think a lot of people in my world and there aren’t that many of us on the broadcast side, we don’t think that way because we don’t really live in the business world. And this is so much of what I know you talk about. There are so many similarities and maybe I knew that, but I didn’t realize that it was something that I could leverage or that I could use to help others.
So, when I started this speaking career three years ago, going along the side of the television career, the very short rest of the story is everyone said, “You got to write a book. You want to be a speaker, you got to write a book.” And I’m thinking, “What do I write? I don’t know how to write a book. I’m just a baseball announcer.” And so, I met with an author and she looked at me and she said, “You’re not ready to write a book,” and that sounds offensive, except for that I’m like, she’s in my head right now.
That’s exactly what I’m thinking. She said, “Start a podcast instead. You’re a storyteller. You are an interviewer.” And so, that’s what I started and I didn’t want to do a baseball podcast. So, I just started interviewing entrepreneurs and executives and what I realized exactly what’s your theme here is that there are so many similarities so I’ve just evolved the passion. And I think, Dean, it’s all storytelling. You’re storytelling, I’m storytelling, when I get into the baseball world, I’m storytelling. So, I think it all crosses over.
[00:04:18] Dean Barber: So, as you have had the opportunity, Joel, to interview, you have a favorite interview that you’ve done that one that kind of sticks out the top of your head?
[00:04:28] Joel Goldberg: There’s thousands and thousands of them so I almost have to categorize. This is like when someone says what’s your favorite stadiums. I’ve been to all of them except for the new Texas one. We’re not going to make it there this year with the pandemic but there are different reasons for different. So, the two interviews that always stick in my head, which really have no value to this conversation, but they’re just fun and that it’s good name dropping, was Will Ferrell because it was as funny as you would think. And the old wrestler if you remember “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was actually my hands down favorite interview.
He showed up at Wrigley Field and we scrapped the whole segment. This is before I got to Kansas City. We scrapped the whole segment and just brought him into the booth. And he’s wearing the kilt and, I mean, it was unbelievable. You remember those things because those don’t happen every day. I mean, I’ve interviewed thousands of baseball players, but I think there were a couple that really stands out to me. One was after the Royals have clinched one of their spots that I’m interviewing.
I think it was to get to the World Series. I’m interviewing Ned Yost, kind of gruff and tough old-school manager and I could hear his voice choking up a little bit. Same thing for my last ever interview I did with Ned, which was last September, his final game, 10 years as manager, two pennants World Championship, and he actually walked off. I had one more question and he finished his last answer and he walked off and it dawned on me that he knew he was about to lose it emotionally, this tough guy.
So, that’ll always stand out to me. Any interview I ever do with Dayton Moore, the Royals General Manager is he’s such a culture guy and he’s such a leader that I just always feel like those are conversations that I learned from every single time.
[00:06:11] Dean Barber: Yeah. So, let’s talk a little bit about Ned Yost because I think all of us in Kansas City with those two amazing years and I want you to talk about the discipline that Ned Yost had to build that team and it was like nobody thought that the Royals were going to be what they were but he had a vision and he worked tirelessly day in and day out on executing that vision and even more importantly, he got every player and every coach to buy into that vision and had everybody moving in the same direction. How does a guy get to be able to do it? I mean, there’s something special there.
[00:07:03] Joel Goldberg: Yeah. I think that there’s certainly a discipline and a consistency to it and we all know and I say this often, Dean, that of all of the sports and you could sit there and say, well, this one’s tougher or this one, the full contact in football or hockey or the hand-eye coordination in baseball or golf or whatever it is, they all work hard, especially at that level. We’re talking about the top one or beyond percent in the world, right?
It’s like the equivalent of in your world, the handful of billionaires. There aren’t very many of them but there’s a consistency that enables them to keep doing what they’re doing and the reason why baseball is the best teaching tool of all the sports to what I call the “real world” is it’s every day. Again, it doesn’t mean that they work harder than football.
Football, they work their butts off all week long to get ready for one day but for baseball, good day, bad day, whatever it is, you have to show up again and do it tomorrow and the next day, and the next day, sometimes for 7, 15 days in a row. If you’re lucky, you get a day off in there. That’s a lot of pressure to me on a leader to keep things going in the right direction. And you know as well as I do that things don’t always go as planned.
They usually don’t go as planned, whether that’s a pandemic whether that is in my world a technical difficulty, whatever it is, nothing in life ever were, to use the baseball term, we’re throwing curveballs every single day. So, to lead and have that consistency and to have helped build something, that vision, by the way, came from Dayton Moore, the man that hired Ned Yost. But I think what stands out to me the most on Ned Yost being gruff and tough like I mentioned, and he beat up on us a lot. It was usually a subtle sense of humor in there though. It was never personal. Because here’s a guy a game would end and it would just be a bad game.
[00:09:04] Joel Goldberg: I mean, forget about a string of losses and we have plenty of those but it just be a bad game where I look to my partner, Jeff Montgomery, on our postgame show, former Royals closer, and he’s looking at me like what can we possibly talk about from this game? And so, we go on and then they’re just a handful of games and then it’s going to happen to everybody in baseball where you say this was just a bad night. There’s just nothing good about tonight. Move on to tomorrow. And then we go down to the live press conference and Ned Yost is talking about all the positives.
And there was something there to me in that. It wasn’t a matter of lacking authenticity. It was a matter of saying, “I’m not going to bury my guys. If they’re going about things the right way then we’re going to highlight that they’re working and they’re getting better. If they’re doing things the wrong way, then we’ll have those conversations, but they’re going to be in private. They’re not going to happen out in public.” So, I think that that group always knew that they had a leader that had their back, a leader that was cheering them on while still holding them accountable. And I think that goes a long way into the consistency that you’re talking about especially with the daily grind of saying, “Look, I’m not going to beat the heck out of you guys every single day. I’m here to help make you better.”
[00:10:12] Dean Barber: Yeah. It’s interesting because you can relate that that consistency and that positivity to just about every single aspect of life and every single one of us is going to have a bad day. We might have a bad week. We may even have a bad month. Economically, we can have things happen that are bad, that kind of throw people off the track of retirement.
And if you don’t have a game plan, if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to tackle those tough times, and if you haven’t thought about the possibility of all the different tough times that are going to be ahead and come up with a contingency plan, this is what I’m going to do if this happened. It’s like the pre-game. Like you said, it doesn’t always go the way you planned. In fact, it almost never goes the way you planned. In my world, Joel, that I live in for the last 33 years of building financial plans and retirement plans, not just to get people to retirement, but to get them through retirement and to do it successfully.
We know that when we build that plan, it’s in a fairy tale world because as soon as we start to implement, things are going to change, and it’s going to throw us a curveball, just like what you talked about. And we’re going to have to be able to make adjustments on the fly and if we haven’t thought through all of the potential things that could go wrong and come up with a contingency plan of what our plan is, then all of a sudden we wind up being reactive.
And so, when somebody says, “Well, Ned Yost say they got lucky.” No, they didn’t. They didn’t get lucky at all. “Will Ferrell, oh, he got lucky. He got a lucky break.” No, he didn’t get lucky. I’m telling you. Nobody that is successful at anything that they do got lucky. That’s not the way it works.
[00:11:50] Joel Goldberg: I totally agree with you. And I think that the luck end of it, look, there is such a thing as right place right time. We all know that one, right? But what do you do with it? Because you could be handed that getting lucky piece and you could fail. You could struggle. You can mess it up. So, it’s what do you do with it? Or the flip side is when you’re dealt in unlucky situation or that curveball that we’ve been talking about, how do you handle it? What do you do with it? And oh, by the way, if you swing and miss, how do you get back up and keep swinging and doing it again?
So, there’s certainly a message of resiliency too and I’m seeing that right now with the Royals. And I can’t speak for other teams in baseball, but I think it’s a fascinating study, and one that we can all learn from. I’m sure, just like all the rest of us, that there are plenty of people lamenting this pandemic. We’ve all been affected. I say this all the time and you know this from the financial side, Dean, that it doesn’t matter whether you are a millionaire and a billionaire or you’re struggling to find a roof over your head.
There’s a perspective discussion there too like I keep saying to myself, as the guy that’s been out of work in baseball for the last three, four months, and oh, by the way, I’m a freelance guy. I get paid by the game. People don’t realize that. I got a roof over my head. My family’s healthy. So, there is a really good perspective to that. But this pandemic has affected everyone, from people from a wealth standpoint to the top to the bottom where we’ve never had anything in our lifetime that truly affected everyone.
Even a business that is essential business that is thriving, some of these CEOs I’ve talked to, that are actually up in terms of what they’re doing and they’re hiring and they’re doing well. Maybe they’re in logistics or something like that. They’re still having to deal with whether it’s PPP money and that running out and do I have to furlough employees and let people go and communication through Zoom and Zoom fatigue. I mean, everybody’s dealing with stuff.
[00:13:48] Joel Goldberg: What’s impressed me the most about the Royals is they’ve embraced this. And so, this massive curveball that has been thrown all of our way worldwide, which way you’re going to go with it? And what I’m seeing from the Royals right now is let’s embrace this. Let’s take this opportunity. The man that replaced Ned Yost, Mike Matheny, I called them in the offseason and I said, “You had such good momentum and first impression in spring training, and you built all this trust with your guys. How tough is this to be away now?” And he said, “I want to look at it as an opportunity.”
He said, “The foundation of care leads to trust an opportunity so let’s embrace this and leverage it and turn it into something else.” And so, I think there’s a great lesson and the message there of handling that curveball. And I don’t know if it’s a competitive advantage or not but I’ve got to imagine that every team in baseball isn’t embracing this the way the Royals are. Yeah, we can’t do things the same way. Yeah, we have to separate and not hang out in the clubhouse.
And I heard a picture the other day. I don’t remember who it was talking about you usually come in, if you’re starting pitching that day, and you have your routine. We get back that discussion of routine. This is when I stretch and when I go on to the massage therapist, and this is what I do mentally listening to my music and visualization. Well, they don’t want us coming in as early and hanging around as much. So, I’m starting to do the foam roller and stretching at home. I’ll do this and do that. We all have to make those adjustments every single day. And we can have our plans, right? I mean, this is your world. We can have our plans. Just because we have the best plan in the world, doesn’t mean everything is going to go the way we expected.
[00:15:36] Dean Barber: No. And I think this whole pandemic COVID-19 has I’ve had so many conversations with people who are business owners and people that are retired, people that were going to retire and it’s affected every single person and it’s affected almost every aspect of how we live our daily lives, right? We’ve had to adapt. But I’ve also seen what you’ve seen from the financial perspective of people taking advantage of this and saying, “You know what? All right.” Nobody could have called this.
Nobody in the summer of 2019 said, “Hey, you better watch out for a pandemic coming and the whole economy is going to shut down and we’re not going to have sporting events. And your kids aren’t going to be able to go to school and everybody’s going to have to work from home.” Nobody could have called that, right?
But there are people and there are businesses that have done just what you said the Royals do, they’re embracing it and so, okay, how do we make the most of this? What are we going to learn from this? And how are we going to come out of this on the other side in better shape, than we entered into it? From a financial perspective or from a personal perspective, I’m going to tell you from a health perspective, Joel, if this hasn’t changed the way that people think about their health, I don’t know what’s ever going to cause that to happen.
You know what, we have all this talk about, “Oh, wear a face mask. Social distance.” Why don’t we talk about what a person can do to improve their health by proactive saying, “Hey, if I exercise more, if I eat a better diet, if I get the levels in my body and boost my immune system,” and people should be thinking about that stuff every day and the people that are actually successful at their health, do that. Do you know who David Goggins is?
[00:17:48] Joel Goldberg: I don’t.
[00:17:49] Dean Barber: All right. So, you got to check this guy out and you need to get him on your podcast Rounding the Bases with Joel Goldberg. David Goggins born in 1975 American ultra-marathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, motivational speaker, and author, a retired United States Navy SEAL, a former United States Air Force Tactical Air Control party member who served in Iraq war, this guy, he also holds the world record for the most pull-ups in a 24-hour period. Now, this was a guy when you hear his story was sitting around extremely obese, sitting on the couch feeling sorry for himself.
And you know what he did? He said, “I’m going to join the Marines,” and he failed the Marine Corps test multiple times before he finally got in. But the story that this guy tells about that self-discipline and being able to change who you are from a physical level and a health level, if this doesn’t cause people to step back and say, you know what, I got to rethink how I’m taking care of my body and what I’m putting into my body. Think about the athletes, man. They do that every single day. That’s part of their regimen.
[00:19:08] Joel Goldberg: So, as you were saying that, I googled him and the first thing I noticed was, okay, there’s somebody else that has the same physique as Alex Gordon of the Royals, that they’re in the elite level. And then as I saw his picture, I’m like, “Wait a minute, I’ve seen that picture before.” Somebody actually recommended his book to me. So, it’s actually sitting in my audible in I have this list of books that I have to get through because you know as well as I do, the more you do this, the more you get suggestions from people every single day.
And so, he’s on my list and I’ll see if I can track him down as a guest, but there’s such a good message there. And, look, we could all only be so lucky to end up looking like and having the habits of a David Goggins but your point is so well taken in terms of habits and in terms of just taking care of yourself. You know, it’s like that message and, look, I shouldn’t be the one to preach on this one. I’ve got to have better habits and I’m guilty like a lot of people have putting on those pandemic pounds out of probably stress.
And now it’s like, “Wait a minute. Knock it off. Like kind of get back to some normalcy here and take care of yourself.” It’s like when you get on an airplane and what do they tell you? Whatever the exact words are, if we have a situation and the plane is going down or there’s an emergency, take the mask, if you have a child, and put it on yourself first. You have to still take care of yourself.
And I know that that’s true in every walk of life. We have to be able to take care of it. That’s not a selfish thing or if it’s selfish. It’s the greatest selfishness you could have. So, you’re right. We all need to be able to take care of ourselves and then take care of each other and also figure out I won’t get into a whole speech about the pandemic and masks and all that type of thing but we’re at a time right now in this world or in this country, I should say, where everyone’s arguing with each other.
[00:21:08] Joel Goldberg: I oftentimes when I’m speaking to groups use the image of the Royals championship parade, 800,000 people down at Union Station in the World War I museum, and they’re all getting along. We had 800,000 people. We couldn’t do that, obviously, with social distancing now, but the spirit of what happened that day should exist in us, and it is in us as human beings.
And so, there was nothing about left and right or anything like that in terms of that day. Everybody was Royals fans and everybody was chanting, “Let’s go Royals.” And I think that there were, depending on who you ask, there were two or three arrests out of 800,000 people. I joke all the time. I grew up in Philadelphia before my family moved to Chicago when I was 13. When the Eagles won the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, I guarantee there were two or three arrests every minute. We had two to three arrests in that whole day. So, it’s in us, but to your point, we have to take care of ourselves and then take care of each other.
[00:22:07] Dean Barber: Yeah. And I think, man, I wish that we could get to a point, Joel, where everybody was an American first. Especially in this world that we live in today, let’s be an American first and…
[00:22:19] Joel Goldberg: And human beings.
[00:22:20] Dean Barber: Yeah.
[00:22:21] Joel Goldberg: Like who, who doesn’t love it? You don’t have to agree like let’s remember and I’m not an extremely, extremely religious person. I am religious, but you don’t want me reciting the Bible but what in all of our studies has told us not to love each other. I mean, I’m getting very Kumbaya like here, but there’s a lot of common sense.
[00:22:45] Dean Barber: Yeah, no doubt. No doubt. So, let’s move away from that for just a minute. Let’s go to the similarity between the traits of a successful entrepreneur or a successful CEO and the similarity to a successful professional athlete? Can you tie those things together? Because you spent a lot of time. You spent a lot more time with professional athletes than I have.
Now, I did have a brother that he quarterback at Yale, and he’s done the Iron Man’s and he actually went over into Europe, and he played in the European Football League for a few years. He was a great athlete but he wasn’t like one of the best, but he had far more discipline than I ever had. And I see today in what he’s able to accomplish at the age of 48, compared to what I was able to accomplish at the age of 48.
It’s totally different, but he does. He’s got a special discipline. I think that it was something that he learned in sports, and it’s carried them along the way in business too. So, there are some real similarities to the way people think, what they do, the habits that they have. So, what have you observed there, Joel?
[00:24:05] Joel Goldberg: Well, it’s the habits for sure. I was doing a podcast with a guy who was an elite college football player and he’s now going to Stanford Business School. So, perhaps the best business school in the country and he had not only NFL aspirations but legitimate NFL talent. He ruptured his Achilles three times and so that was the end of his football career. But he was as good in the classroom, an engineer, and then went on to work for Exxon Mobil and now just got accepted into Stanford’s Business School and going for his MBA. But we talked about this exact thing, and it’s just this consistency.
So, for him, it was things like getting the right amount of sleep, getting the right amount of moving around, and making those a part of their schedule. I’m sure and when you mentioned that your brother at 48, who is doing a lot more Iron Man’s than me at 48 and I am 48 but there’s got to be a daily consistency I’m assuming to what your brother does.
You don’t just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to try an Iron Man,” and then take care of that once a week. It is. And so, I use that example of your brother or of this athlete that I was talking about. It’s an everyday thing. It doesn’t mean you can’t take a day off every now and then but it’s all of those habits. There are a lot of habits that I don’t have in terms of that.
But in terms of the fitness, and that’s something I need to work on, diet and all that type of thing, but the work ethic to me, I never take a day off. The passion, I just don’t ever do anything 50%. I got a lot to learn of course, like everybody else, but I want to work every day. I want that. And so, what I see from these entrepreneurs, these executives, these athletes is that consistent work ethic to put themselves, we talked before about not getting lucky. The reason why guys like that get “lucky” is because they put themselves in that position.
[00:26:09] Joel Goldberg: Or on baseball terms, they’ve set themselves up to hit that fastball. They’re ready for it because of all the preparation. I think so much in life with those successful executives, with some of your clients, with the athletes is all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into what we would call the final product, the game, the show, the board meeting, whatever it is.
It’s all of those countless hours that are put in, which also, as I mentioned before, by the way, might include the right amount of sleep or getting up in. I mean, this kid that I interviewed gets up at 4:30 every day, probably a little bit too much for me. He gets up at 4:30 to work out and if he’s not working out, it’s because he’s doing some type of an online class. So, it’s creating these habits where they become a part of you which there’s no one snap of a finger magic, whatever.
And by the way, you can have all the talent in the world, in whatever your field is, broadcasting, business, banking, baseball. You can be one of the most talented people. You really have to be at that elite level, Michael Jordan level type of talent, to have that alone be enough. Well, Michael Jordan was the greatest player of all time, not just because of the talent. It was because of the fire, the work ethic, all of that type of stuff. When you put all that together, it’s magical.
[00:27:30] Dean Barber: Okay, let’s take a quick break. This is The Guided Retirement Show. I’m Dean Barber. We’ll be right back.
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[00:28:51] Joel Goldberg: The two interviews that always stick in my head which really have no value to this conversation, but they’re just fun and it’s good name dropping was Will Ferrell and old wrestler if you remember “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, which actually my hands down favorite interview. He showed up at Wrigley Field and we scrapped the whole segment. This is before he got to Kansas City and just brought him into the booth, and he’s wearing the kilt and it was unbelievable.
[00:29:27] Dean Barber: Welcome back to our program. I’m Dean Barber. So, I had a mentor early on in my career. He said something to me and I really didn’t understand it for probably a couple of years, and I just kind of let it marinate. He said, “You know, Dean,” he said, “The harder you work, the luckier you’ll get.” Okay. And you think about the hard work that the athlete puts in, and the hard work that the successful entrepreneur or the CEO puts in, they didn’t just get lucky. They put in a lot of hard work to put themselves in a position where opportunities were going to be in front of them.
And so, I think there’s a lot to that, that hard work and the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get. So, I try to stay in good physical shape, I try to eat the right things, and I have my cheat days and things like that. But I get up at 4:45 every morning, and my first thing in the morning is I got to get a good workout in and it’s got to be a tough workout, one that kicks my butt and makes me.
I’ve got to do something that I don’t think I’m capable of doing. And when I am able to do that, it creates a mental toughness that I can then carry into any obstacle that I might run into in business, in my personal life or whatever. Because I think all of us have some self-limiting thoughts of things that we don’t think are possible for us to do, and we hold ourselves back. We limit ourselves on what’s really capable.
I think most of us are capable of far more than what we realize. And I think what’s happened is that these elite athletes, these successful entrepreneurs, these successful CEOs and businesspeople, what they’ve done is they figured out a way to limit that self-limiting thought or they push through a few things and I said, “Okay, I can do that.” Well, let me try something a little bit more and I can do that. Oh, wow. I had no idea that this was possible. Are you seeing the same thing when you’re interviewing these athletes and CEOs?
[00:31:40] Joel Goldberg: There’s a common thread. And by the way, they don’t all have the same level of it. They don’t all have that same dedication. Here’s something that may or may not surprise people. Not every major league baseball player or NFL player or NBA player loves the game. And so, that’s sometimes can lead to lesser work habits or less of that dedication. They’re getting by on their town alone. Again, they’re in that elite 1% but they haven’t put it all together. You know, I would think that everybody that had the opportunity to play at that level would love the game.
They don’t all. They just happen to get there because they had free talent. Oh, and by the way, when you have some that doesn’t quite have that level of talent, sometimes they make up before in all these habits in that work ethic, and they can get themselves there. When you put the two together, as I said before, it’s magical. But yes, there’s a common thread between the athletes between the entrepreneurs. I’ll add in another group and really, you already brought it up with David Goggins.
The military folks, whether it be the veterans or the DI. And, again, they’re not all the same, but they do have to get it right to be a part of that culture. You have to get through there. So, one guy that I interviewed a couple of years ago, who is now the CEO of a company that raises cattle and beef up in Western Missouri, he’s a former Army Ranger and he was talking about going through Ranger School and how it just beats you down mentally and physically every single day.
But when you got through it, and he said by the second four weeks of that thing in the second phase, I mean, he had shin splints, and dislocated this and on and on. And it’s just like, you suddenly start to learn that you can push through those things, that the limitations that you think are there, you can push through. The elite ones, Dean, and this doesn’t, by the way, they don’t have to be physical either.
[00:33:36] Dean Barber: Exactly.
[00:33:37] Joel Goldberg: It could be mental. It could be habits of being in the office or it could be networking. It could be this amount of calls per day, it could be all of that. That’s where those traits are very consistent across the board. There’s a certain something special when you talk about getting up every single day and getting that workout and that’s your life. That’s who you are now. And so, those are those habits that I see from the best of them. And I want to repeat this again from before. The best ones, you don’t see those habits. You see the results.
[00:34:16] Dean Barber: That’s right.
[00:34:17] Joel Goldberg: So, much of what makes us successful, so much of what enables us to hit that curveball, so much of what puts us in a position to get “lucky” is the getting up at 4:45 in the morning, is putting in those extra hours. And it’s different for every single person. That’s the challenge. You have to figure out what it is.
[00:34:37] Dean Barber: Yeah, but it’s hard work. When we were talking, Joel, you reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs. Perhaps one of the most amazing visionaries that we’ve had in our lifetimes. So, Steve Jobs when he came out with the little iPod, right? You’re going to have music in your pocket, right? And the people were saying, “Steve, people don’t want this. This will never work.” And you know what he said? He said that people don’t know what they want until you give it to them. He said they don’t even know it exists.
So, he had that vision of saying, I’m going to come up with something that doesn’t even exist today and he was super successful with that. And there are so many of those great stories out there. If you’ve never read or done an audible on Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs, it’s really, really fascinating about what that guy went through. And it wasn’t easy for him and he didn’t get lucky. I mean, that guy was the most determined. He just was going to get what he wanted, no matter what it took.
[00: 35:49] Joel Goldberg: And by the way, you could probably say the same thing about Walter Isaacson.
[00:35:52] Dean Barber: Absolutely.
[00:35:52] Joel Goldberg: I mean, the books that he has written and the amount of research and time that goes into projects like that, there might be a reason why he can tell the stories of the Steve Jobs and some of the great political figures and more in our career, the amount of hours and dedication that he has. And so, I think to me one of the most fascinating parts of what I do, and I’m guessing you would feel the same with your show is just the ability to learn about these stories and tell them because they’re often not told because it is sort of the secret sauce, right?
I mean, if everybody wants you see this a lot in your world, some of these books that come out, here’s the secret to being a millionaire. Here’s the secret to blah, blah, blah, like there’s some kind of switch to be. Here’s how to lose 10 pounds in two weeks while, yeah, you drop that water weight really easy, right?
So, we’re in a society, maybe it’s always been this way, feels like it’s more so now than ever, because of the instantaneous element of social media, where we have poor attention spans, thanks to the cell phones, I’m guilty of all this too, we were all over the place, and we want the quick fix. And there’s no quick fix in building wealth. I don’t need to tell you that. There’s no quick fix in getting on to TV the way that I did.
By the way, I’ll give you this one and I didn’t even know that I was doing it at the time but I got out of college in 1994 University of Wisconsin and my dream was to be on TV. Just wanted to be one of the local sports guys, wherever that was. I wanted to hopefully get to Sports Center or get to Chicago one day and then be on the news and I got rejected everywhere I applied.
[00:37:49] Joel Goldberg: This is like right early stages of the internet. So, I’m mailing out tapes and I’m getting rejection letters back in the mail a couple of weeks later, one after the next after the next. And when the last rejection letter that sort of slapped me in the face came from a TV station in Missoula, Montana and there’s nothing against anyone in Montana. I’ve actually still never been to Montana. And I’d like to go but to me being a kid sitting at my parents’ house in Chicago, I was thinking, “If I can’t get a job in a small market in the state of Montana, I’m never getting in. Do I need to think about something else?
Do I need to go back in and work at the hotdog stand in my town, or I’d work through high school and summers in college?” And I’m not a cold calling type. I just started calling TV stations. And I would call and I asked the receptionist to the news director was. You couldn’t look this up online at this point. Nobody had websites. And she’d give me the name. It’s Stan Smith. And I’d hang up and I’d call back 10 minutes later, hoping she didn’t recognize my voice, “Hi, can I speak to Dan Smith?”
Every one of them all across the country, I’d say, “Hey, I’m passing through your town next Wednesday or in two weeks on Tuesday,” which was not true, “Could I pop in and shake your hand and drop off a resume thing?” I just started driving around the country and had the one sport coat that I had sitting in the back of my car. I’d stay at some $50 motel, and I’d walk in and at the minimum of get a two-minute conversation at the maximum, I might get a tour of the whole station and get to know the whole staff. And within two months, I was hired at a small TV station in Northern Wisconsin.
Within a few months later, I had multiple other offers. And so, I went from the back of the list to the front of the list just by working everyone else. Those were early habits and if that doesn’t happen, I take the job at the restaurant, which by the way, they offered me $25,000 to manage the thing back in 1994 and I ended up taking the job for $13,500 a year on TV instead.
[00:39:50] Dean Barber: Isn’t that amazing? But you know what, you said something there really, really critical Joel. You outworked everyone, you were determined, and uyou had that sheer determination that you were going to make it happen.
[00:40:05] Joel Goldberg: And I’m proud of that, Dean, because I think my parents taught me that. Working at that restaurant taught me that. I mean, I saw guys working there that were from families that had come over from Mexico and they’re working day after day to provide for extended families sending money back home, and I was surrounded by hard work. So, it was a very black and white answer or situation for me. Do you want this or don’t you want this? And I don’t know that I sat down and thought about it that way or I’m going to outwork everyone. We hear this expression a lot too and I think it applies to everything we’re talking about, control the controllable. So, I couldn’t guarantee that anyone would hire me but I could guarantee that they were going to see me and learn what I do.
[00:40:56] Dean Barber: You know, and this goes back to how we raise our children as well. So, I’m a father of five children, one that’s going to turn 30 this year, and then the youngest one’s turning 20 here in just a few weeks. And I told them from the time that they were old enough to comprehend that you don’t have to be the smartest or the best that anything you do. All you have to do is work harder than everyone else and you’re going to look like a rock star.
Why? Because by and large, we live in a society of extremely lazy people that just want to do enough to get by. And so, those people that are willing to put in that extra effort are the ones that are going to come out looking like, “Wow, what just happened? What did you do?” I worked hard in order to make it happen. And I would venture to guess that if you go around and you’ve interviewed a lot of these CEOs, I’ve interviewed several and I belonged to a nationwide CEO group. It’s the same theme, right?
What did you do? I worked hard, had a vision, and I set out to do it and I worked and outworked everybody else. And now you know what’s happening? My kids are out in business and they’re like, “Dad, you wouldn’t believe what you said all those years ago and you kept telling us. I don’t have to be the smart one. All I got to do is work harder. And you know what, the people that are above me, they recognize it and I’m getting raised. I’m getting promotions, I’m getting offers from other companies,” and that’s what happens when you outwork everybody else.
[00:42:28] Joel Goldberg: And the only other element I’ll add to that one, not that you’re neglecting it is just treating people right. Because you can outwork everybody but if you piss people off along the way, you better be really, really good at what you do. Because if you’re that good, if you’re that elite talent, then they live with it. I don’t know that I was ever that elite talent but I tried to outwork everyone and I wanted to be noticed and part of that then once I got noticed was treating people right and building relationships. So much of your field and my field is about relationships, everything’s about people, of course.
[00:43:06] Dean Barber: 100%. Absolutely.
[00:43:09] Joel Goldberg: But there are a million people out there that can handle your finances. And by the way, I hear from every one of them every single day via LinkedIn, just want to reach out, wait a minute here. So, there is an art to connecting with people, to building trust, to building relationships, and in essence, and maybe they teach it in business school or other things. I mean, I was taking journalism classes and double majored in history.
And so, I’ve never took business classes, but even in my television, in my journalism classes, they talk to you about sources. They talk to you about writing. They talk to you about all that, but they didn’t teach you how to build those relationships. And when I figured out in baseball, how to build those relationships with players, which, oh, by the way, doesn’t mean you need to be best friends or suddenly started hanging out. But how do you build that trust and relationship?
Once you do that, I know that when I walk into a locker room, which won’t happen this year, because we’re not going to have access to locker rooms with the pandemic, but the Zoom calls and all that, but my mantra every time I walk into a locker room is to make sure when I walk in, they’re not walking away. And you do that by building trust so that they understand that you’re not out to get them, that you’re not going to monopolize their time, that you’re going to do what you said you did, and not say if I say, “Hey, I just need two minutes of your time,” it doesn’t turn into 20 minutes of your time.
That’s it. And this gets back to habits and consistency too. That’s something that you build over and over and over again. So, that’s sort of my secret sauce. In the same way that I was able to build these relationships traveling around the country in at least a handful of minutes. I work on that every day. I mean, I’ve been around Alex Gordon for 12 years. I’ve been around Salvador Perez for 10 years. When the new guys come up, my hope, if it comes up in discussion is that those older guys say to the newer guys, “Hey, never really know how to look at the media. What about this guy?” “Oh, this guy’s okay,” this guy says.
[00:45:14] Joel Goldberg: And so, that’s another one but that gets back to your habits that you talked about, waking up at 4:45 or whatever it is. So, I need to be true to that every single day in reading people and taking care of people. When I do that, if things are going well, and people say to me, “Hey, it looks like those guys are really comfortable with you,” or, “Hey, we love that interview,” and that was a lot of fun. The reason why it happens with me and sometimes doesn’t happen with someone else is that we built that trusting relationship.
[00:45:41] Dean Barber: Yeah, that’s awesome. You know, people might be saying, “Okay, this is really fascinating, Dean and Joel, but what does this have to do with money?” Well, here’s what I think and I’ve thought this for a long period of time, Joel. I believe that every single individual is the CEO of their own finances, right? They’re in charge.
And I don’t know a successful CEO, who said, “Well, I’m going to do all of my legal work in my company by myself. I can look it up online, right?
I’m going to do all of the tax planning and tax preparation for my company because you know what, I can save some money doing that. I’m going to go out and I’m going to do all of the technology for my company because I don’t want to hire anybody to do that. I’ll save some money.” I could go around and on and on, right? No successful CEO does that. What do they do?
They understand that their job as the CEO is to clearly communicate the vision of that individual, for the company, and for a person. You need to clearly communicate that to a good team of financial experts that you’re saying, “Okay, I need my tax preparer or my tax planner to work alongside of my financial planner, to work on alongside of my risk management expert, to work alongside my estate planning attorney, to work alongside of my investment professional,” all these people have to have your vision so clear and they all have to work together on that.
And when you see people that have reached that pinnacle of success in their finances where they get to that point, and they’re able to retire, and they’re no longer worried about money, they’re worried about what is it we’re going to do today? And because they’ve worked hard and they’ve had discipline, and they’ve hired a professional team to work on their behalf, collaboratively, and they all have to be together.
[00:47:41] Dean Barber: It can’t be let’s have my investment guy call my CPA and see if they can talk about this. They don’t know everything. They’re not sitting in the same room collaborating, and a good CEO of a corporation I liken it to a person who really is success with their finances. They’ve got that vision. I am the CEO. I need to clearly communicate that to the people that I want to help me achieve my success because no CEO, no athlete, they don’t do it on their own. It takes a team.
[00:48:07] Joel Goldberg: There’s no question and that is true in everything, even for a solopreneur or take in sports, the tennis player or the star golfer. They’re not the only ones in that world. They got a nutritionist or they got a strength and conditioning coach. They might have a marketing person, an agent. They’re not doing all that by themselves. Some of the best advice that I received in life came from, I believe, the most successful business person that I knew.
And that was the late David Glass, who I was very fortunate enough, the former owner of the Royals, former CEO of Walmart, to have spent the last 12 years with him. You know, he sold the team for a billion dollars last fall. He passed away in January. I think there were some health issues. From everything I understand, I don’t think there was a thought or a concern that he was going to pass away when he did.
I know actually a handful of days before he passed away, I sent him a text message. No, I didn’t send him a text message. He doesn’t do texting. I called him and left a message and he didn’t return it. And that wasn’t like him. I was actually a little bit worried. His daughter told me at his celebration of life that he had actually heard that message, which meant a lot to me.
But David Glass said to me once in an interview, he said, “You do everything in life through people.” Essentially, what he said was that, “You do nothing good in life on your own.” So, there’s a little bit of a juxtaposition there because the doing stuff on your own part is everything we’ve been talking about for the last half hour, whatever it’s been about all of your own habits but you have to then combine those habits with the right people around you. That’s certainly true in finance, in wealth management. That’s true in my world.
[00:50:09] Joel Goldberg: I say this all the time too. Everyone sees if they watch Royals baseball, they see me on camera. They see that interview with the postgame Salvy splash and the Gatorade bucket dump. What they don’t see is the guy in the truck putting up the graphics, the person monitoring and handling all the audio. They don’t see the work of the – but you know this because I hear it from people on social media.
If that little box up in the corner with the pitch speed is down, it’s a matter of 15 to 30 seconds before I get a tweet, “Where’s the pitch speed?” If the scoreboard goes down, if whatever it is, you hear that. Now, this gets back to what we talked about before in terms of nothing ever goes as planned. Stuff doesn’t work all the time. But it’s interesting to me that you only notice that when it’s going wrong.
[00:51:01] Dean Barber: That’s true. Yes, yes, yes.
[00:51:03] Joel Goldberg: So, there is that reminder of how important a team is and how often those roles that aren’t front and center are so critical and they’re so important because we only notice if – it’s like an offensive lineman in football. Nobody says, “What a great play by the linemen.” Every now and then you’ll see him paying kick someone and you say, “Hey.” Did you really notice those guys? When do you notice the snap of the center or the long snapper? You only notice them when they mess up, right? That’s the discussion right there. I mean, that’s everything that you’re saying.
[00:51:38] Dean Barber: Yeah. Joel, I really appreciate you joining me here on The Guided Retirement Show. Make sure you tune into Joel Goldberg’s podcast Surrounding the Bases with Joel Goldberg. Keep up the great work, man, and congratulations on all of your success. And thanks for taking time to share your thoughts and some of your life lessons with our listeners.
[00:52:01] Joel Goldberg: Well, Dean, I appreciate you having me on. Congratulations on all your success. And I would say if you have successfully raised five children, you have done plenty. That, to me, sounds harder than the 4:45 AM part.
[00:52:16] Dean Barber: That is harder than running a business, it’s harder than the self-discipline, absolutely, and the biggest responsibility that I’ve ever had,
[00:52:27] Joel Goldberg: it’s the biggest business and the most important one and I’ve got two and that seems like enough. But we adjust, we adapt, and we figure it out. And so, congrats on all that. Yeah, my pleasure. Great to be on with you.
[00:52:46] Dean Barber: All right, buddy. Have a good day.
[00:52:47] Joel Goldberg: Thanks, Dean.
[00:52:48] Dean Barber: What an awesome time there with Joel Goldberg. I just want to remind everybody that Joel also does speaking engagements. So, if you’re interested in booking Joel for a speaking engagement, all that information is in the show notes here on the podcast. Once again, thanks for joining us on The Guided Retirement Show. Make sure that you subscribe to The Guided Retirement Show and share this with all of your friends.
Investment advisory service is offered through Barber Financial Group, an SEC-registered investment advisor.
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The views expressed represent the opinion of Barber Financial Group an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Barber Financial Group does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.