Giuseppe Grammatico: Welcome to the Franchise Freedom Podcast. I’m your host, Giuseppe Grammatico, your franchise guide, and today we have a very special guest. Today, we are speaking with Greg Rex. Greg is the author of Stoked: A Spiritual Journey From Employee to Lifestyle Entrepreneur. He’s also a frequent speaker at medical conferences, health conferences, business and personal development conferences throughout North America. He has been interviewed by ABC, CBS and Fox about his work on health coaching, corporate wellness and work-life balance. Greg, welcome to the show.
Greg: Thanks, Giuseppe. Looking forward to our conversation.
Giuseppe: Yeah, very excited and want to dive right in. And just if you can let the audience know, just a little bit on your background, how you got into this business and what does that journey look like?
Greg’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Greg: Well, I’ve always been the kind of person who wanted to make people happy. I always wanted to help people. That’s kind of been my passion. So from a very young age, I was blessed that I had parents that said, you can do anything you set your mind to and, you know, if you follow your heart. So I started following my heart and I set some big goals. At first, I wanted to be a doctor. My dad was a physician assistant. So I went into pre-med at San Diego State University.
And while I was there, I had some medical problems of my own. And I was going through corpsman school. I couldn’t quite afford to pay everything. You know, my mom and dad were, you know, very average middle-class folks, but they were very loving. So I had to get a couple jobs. So I was working, going to school. I got a job in the Navy. And while I was in the Navy, I had these medical problems.
And when they went to do some work on me, it actually, I had a side effect, a complication where I was basically dead for about five minutes. I was flatlined. And when I woke up from that experience, and the more I seem to learn about health and wellness and the body’s amazing ability to heal itself, the more I was kind of convinced that we didn’t really have much of a health care system. We really had a sick care system. And I decided that wasn’t for me. And luckily, I stumbled into a, well, it wasn’t luck, actually. I went for the, I went big. I went for the home run.
He said what could, what would I do if I could do anything I wanted to do? And I said I would make a living in the personal development field. I would work for Tony Robbins. And I read his book, it kind of woke me up. And I went out and I got hired by Tony Robbins. And I was surprised because I pulled it off. I have no real sales experience. No, my first real job out of college. But I found my gift. I was good at sharing something that I was passionate about. I was sharing about personal development. I was learning and teaching and learning and teaching.
And it was amazing. I was Rookie of the Year, the first year and I became Manager of the Year the second year. And I went on to study with him for four beautiful, amazing years. And that started being to a path of really learning how to learn. That was the biggest gift that Tony gave me was he taught me how to model success, how to find people who are great in their field and go into their world and figure out what are the three key elements to duplicate that success. So that really led me on this journey that led to me becoming a health coach.
Giuseppe: Wow, that’s pretty amazing. And big fan of Tony Robbins myself. I started with my personal development, worked with a few people affiliated with Tony. I guess they were franchise owners, franchisees and learned a ton. and I continue to listen to him today. So that is great. You know, we talk about personal development. Sometimes people tend to push that to the side, right? They just say I’ll figure it out when I have time for it. And the importance of hiring a coach.
And that’s something that you know, I did years and years ago and it just completely transformed, changed my life, not realizing some of the things that were out there, some of the help some of the assistance. Things I could be doing to really improve myself. And as we mentioned in the beginning of the show, we have a lot of people that, you know, they’re an employee, they’re working a lot of hours and they just want to take control of their time and, you know, what they’re doing every day. We talked about, you know, time and financial freedom, just freedom in general.
And, you know, entrepreneurship in general, some people from my experience in, you know, 15 years in franchising and then prior to that owning my own non-franchise business, people tend to almost, you know, they leave their jobs, they almost, it’s not even that they’re leaving their jobs, they’re getting a business and it’s almost like they’re an employee of the business working just as hard and never having that balance.
So, you know, can you talk a little bit about, you know, being a lifestyle entrepreneur and kind of prior to the show touching on the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. We had talked about, and I want to, I don’t want to take up and I just want to have you talk about it. But just your experience with that book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad and being a lifestyle entrepreneur.
Growth and Change as an Entrepreneur
Greg: Well, after I had done some years with Tony and I developed some skills, I really did get burnt out because I found myself in the corporate world. I had a lot of opportunities because I became good at speaking, training, leading, developing sales forces. So I got offered a great job. Basically, I couldn’t say no. It’s one of my best friends is named John Assaraf, he’s a, you know, three-time bestselling author. He’s a consummate, you know, prolific entrepreneur himself. And we were going to start this business, it was in the tech field. And it was a company called bamboo.com, and we were going to bring virtual tours to the real estate industry.
We were going to take somebody instead of having to drive around, look at 20 homes in a car, you could sit in your computer and you could take a virtual tour of those 20 homes and pick the top two. So we took that company public and it was an amazing ride. But then, you know, we got, we merged with the biggest, our biggest competitor. And then I realized what really happens in the, you go from a corporate startup to being like an industry giant. And then we merged with another company that was in our space.
And then the culture changed completely because we went from having this entrepreneurial, very spiritual, conscious leadership team, to a beam cruncher military colonel who the first meeting that he had with his sales team was, there’s no one in this room who I can’t fire and everyone in this room, I can fire. I’m the boss. That was his frame to start the meeting with. And from there, it just decayed so quickly. We went from being the most predominant leader in the field to just decaying on the vine because the culture was bad. And then, you know, the tech bubble popped.
And so during this time, I was just putting up with the corporate nastiness, having to go from the sales force of 250 down to 60 people and I was responsible for laying people off and saying, I’m sorry, we got to let you go. And it really tore up my soul. So I went from busting my butt to build this company, stock grew to $46 a share and then within two weeks, it was $4 a share. It was brutal. A bloodbath. And then I, so then I was going through this transit, how do I figure this out. And in the process, I completely lost my own sense of balance. I stopped doing the things that matter to me.
I stopped surfing, I stopped exercising, I stopped having fun with my family and friends. It was all about taking the company public, saving the company, and trying to revive this dying, you know, ship. So when 911 hit, this has, I’m dating when this happened, this all happened right around 911. I got laid off with 800 other people. It’s a big $2 billion corporation and I got laid off. So I got kicked out of the corporate world mercilessly and said, on kind of like a sabbatical, I went down to Costa Rica, I was supposed to be there for two weeks, I decided to take two months because, you know, I didn’t have anything else to do.
No one was hiring, the world was in chaos and I said, I gotta figure out what to do with the next, you know, a couple years, decades of my life. And I looked around at these people that were having the simplest beautiful life. They had chickens and papayas and a fish and they had dirt floors with grass huts, but they were happy and healthy. And I was like, Man, I’m killing myself in this corporate rat race, this concrete jungle. And I’m not happy. I’m 50 pounds overweight.
My soul is just decaying from not having been able to do what I love to do, not feeling really on purpose and I’m $100,000 in debt from student loans and just you know, not managing my money. Just living beyond my means. And it was one of those wake-up calls where I said to myself, I said, Look, I can’t go back to this. I have to find a way to be my own boss. And I changed my definition of success. Instead of having, you know, being a millionaire by certain age, my definition of success was I want to make an impact. I want to earn at least six figures, but I want to have a balanced life.
I want to have fun in the process. So I came back with this new philosophy to say I’m going to find a business or create a business that I can organize my life around what matters most to be around my values. And that included simplifying my life. And I took a big chunk, several months to really simplify and kind of get lean, mentally, spiritually, financially, emotionally, get lean with all my stuff. And then, you know, wouldn’t fate have it, I ran into a guy who I kind of consider him the Anthony Robbins of health. His name is Dr. Wayne Anderson. And he was just starting a new coaching business and he told me about his vision.
And I said, I need to coach myself. I mean, I’m 50 pounds overweight, I got to get my own health in order. This sounds like exactly what I’ve been looking for. One of my big mentors has been, two of my big mentors in business has been Robert Kiyosaki, as you mentioned, and Paul Pilzer, Paul Pilzer wrote the book, Unlimited Wealth, which is the economic theory of alchemy. I highly recommend it to all of your listeners. And he also wrote the book, The New Wellness Revolution. And the New Wellness Revolution predicted this next trillion-dollar industry would be the antidote to our sick care industry.
Our sick care industry, he said, was basically all about, you know, symptoms and disease and prolonging death without really fixing anything. And he said, but the wellness industry is going to be a trillion-dollar industry, it’s going to boom over the next couple decades. So when I came back, and I met Dr. Anderson, he had this model that fit all of the criteria that I look for in a business. And I was like, This is it. I’ve been waiting since my days with Tony for this. I finally found it.
And so I jumped in, I got in the program for myself, I got myself healthy, I lost 50 pounds, I started a business, we started when the stock was at 23 cents a share. We grew it to now it’s over $177 a share. And we’re one of the fastest-growing companies in America. We’re probably the largest coaching and wellbeing company in America and we’re just getting started, we’re just starting to go international. So it’s been a heck of a ride. But I had to really go through some ups and downs and some false starts and banging my head a few times until I could get on the right track.
Giuseppe: And what is the name of that company?
Greg: It’s Optavia. Basically, it’s a hybrid name, we made it up. Opta meaning optimal and via meaning path. So it’s the optimal path to well being. And yeah, t’s a comprehensive approach to creating healthy body, healthy mind healthy finances, and really giving people that life balance I was talking about.
Giuseppe: Which is crucial, right? I mean, you know, it’s, we talk about life balance And you see a lot of and you continue to see a lot of burnout, right? People put their health to the side and, you know, physical health and mental health and say, Okay, you know what, I’m going to work 20 hours a day, I’m only going to do it for the first year, maybe that first year turns into two or three. But I have this new business and then what happens? It just, you get really far behind to the point of Okay, I can’t continue anymore.
I’ve been putting in so many hours, I’m not resting, I’m not taking vacation. And I just think people are, I don’t know what, if it’s the rush or, you know, what is it that, you know, people have, you know, they tend to put the most important thing their family, their health, you know, that mental and physical to the side in order to grow their business. You know, what is, why are we having that issue? Why does that continue? And you see that mistake be being made over and over again.
Adopt a Long-Term Focus
Greg: Well, that’s a complex question. I think there’s a couple of answers. One is, this is a phrase that Tony taught me, you know, 20 years ago, is most people overestimate what they can do in a year, but underestimate what they can do in a decade. And I think most people are very short-term focused, and they’ve been fed these overnight success stories. They see and interview and they see, you know, from rags to riches, and, you know, the American dream has kind of gotten hijacked.
You know, used to be, you know, work hard and, you know, do good work, and, you know, make a difference, and, you know, save your money, and then you can have a good life and make your, you know, give your children a better life than you had. But now, it’s like, how quick can I be rich and how many followers can I have on Facebook? You know, if you build it, they will come. I don’t know.
I just don’t think that’s true. I’ve seen a lot of people these days, especially with the internet coming out, they’ve just, you know, get a bunch of eyeballs, get a bunch of people following you and then sell them stuff. And I just don’t buy into that. It’s just not sustainable to me. I’ve always looked long term and I’ve always looked for things that could be sustainable. So if you’re thinking long term, you got to remember that, you know, if you got kids to feed and you got, you know, the old classic example of you’re on a plane and the oxygen goes out, you got to put that oxygen mask on yourself.
If you don’t take care of the goose that lays the golden egg, which is you, an entrepreneur, you’re no good to no one. So it’s like, it’s a fundamental flaw of thinking that, how many people do we know that actually reach financial success, but then, you know, they get addicted to alcohol or they get, you know, they’re so busy that they never have time for their kids and their kids are all messed up because they haven’t been there to parent them or whatever.
So, balance has to do with managing several things at once. And the thing is, a lot of people I think are overly confident and that’s just as dangerous as being, you know, lacking confidence. If you don’t know what you don’t know but you think you do, you know, you go in running west looking for a sunrise, you’re going to be running a long time. So people have to get the right theory, they have to have the right mentorship, they have to have the right fundamental principles. And I think also, you know, there’s a theory called ikigai that I talked about in my book. Have you heard of ikigai?
Giuseppe: Yeah, from the Blue Zones, right? Is that
Greg: it’s a Japanese term. And it says, it’s a Venn diagram with four circles. And basically, the first circle is, you want to identify your passions. Like, what really matters to you? The second, this is like in the context of having a balanced life and career. You find out what your passions are and you get really clear on that.
Second, you identify your gifts and talents, what you’re good at. Your strengths. Then you create a business model that allows you, or you find a business model or create a business model that allows you to do what you love to do, that you’re good at doing. And then the fourth component is finding something that the world really needs. And that has to do with like, looking at the trends. So right now, would you want to become a travel agent? No. Would you want to get into the oil business? I don’t know.
I don’t think so. I think it’s not sustainable. But if you’re going to get into the green business, or the wellness business, when you got a $5 trillion industry called the sick care business, right? We call it the healthcare, but it’s really sick care. It’s $5 trillion. It’s one-fifth of our total economy. And it’s completely dysfunctional. It’s completely unsustainable. You’re getting charged, you know, $30 for a single vitamin, for a single, you know, pill. You know, it’s the third leading cause of preventable death, the health care system itself.
Complications of drugs, mistakes, infections in the hospital. It’s completely unsustainable. So do you want to get into that business right now? I don’t know. I wouldn’t. But the wellness business, or the green technology, those businesses have just, they’re the need, that’s what the planet needs. It’s what humanity needs. So if you can find your Ikigui, that’s what I coach people on how they really get clear on those four components.
Giuseppe: That’s great. Yeah, that’s, I remember it was, I just as you were talking, I had pulled up the screen on the Blue Zones. Dan Buettner, he talks about a reason for being. And I love that. That was one of the things that the centenarians across the world had in common. So and, you know, to your point, the one major shift for me, and I forget who, I’m sure I’ve read this in working with coaches, was, you know, you have to enjoy the ride.
To many of us, you know, we work our butts off and, you know, we’re entrepreneurs, and it’s, you know, we’re 60 years old, 65,70, whatever the age is, and we finally slow down. And I have friends and I’ve come across some of my family members, and, you know, they come to their end then they’re not able to enjoy it because they went so hard for so long, 40, 50 plus years, and now they’re, you know, they’ve slowed down, they’re not working, but now they’re dealing with medical conditions.
So absolutely, you know, you have to enjoy that ride. And enjoying that ride, one of my coaches throughout the years, and I forget who it was, I’ve worked with a few, said one thing to me and this definitely stuck with me and I’m sure you talk about this as well. You know, when I know I have a Google Calendar I share with my wife, we put the most important things on the calendar before anything else.
And it has nothing to do with work. It’s, you know, one day a week, you know, or, you know, we schedule, okay, this is, you know, when we’re having dinner and it’s maybe different times due to soccer or, you know, music classes and things like that. But, you know, we try to do one day, one night, a week, date night, we haven’t been eating at restaurants. So maybe it’s takeout in the porch in the backyard, but we tend to put these blocks, we started to put these blocks and it was a game-changer. Because if you wait until the very end, work will consume that calendar to the point where there’s nothing left and then you’re just crossing your fingers that you can catch up on the weekend.
So, you know, one piece of advice, I actually talk about this, with all my candidates that we talk to and discuss more than franchising we talk about just balance as well. Kind of similar to what we were talking about. So really important stuff and it’s very basic. It’s not rocket science, it’s just more of a reminder of what you should be doing and just kind of prioritizing the real important things over everything else. So really good stuff. And I’m glad we’re talking the same language and the exact same thing. Makes me feel a lot better. Some days, I think I’m the only one saying this.
Greg: I have a phrase, simplify, eliminate and prioritize. So, if you can simplify like, what I found is a lot of people are very, they’re spreading themselves too thin. They’re trying to do too many things or trying to, you know, and in my book, Stoked, by the way, if anyone is interested in getting the book, they can get it for free. Just go to stokedthebook.com and just you can get a softback copy for free, all you gotta do is pay the shipping. But I talk about the fox and the hedgehog. Remember that story by any chance.
Giuseppe: Fox and the hedgehog. Refresh my memory.
Greg: The first time I heard it was in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. And in that book, he talks about the fox is the entrepreneur or the business, who is sniffing around looking for the shortcut. They’re looking for the quick fix, the quick win. You know, they’re opportunists. The hedgehog, he’s good at one thing. He’s good at just curling up into a ball and becoming indispensable. So the biggest bear in the forest can’t touch him when he’s curled up into a little ball. So the fox is like all over the place. Whereas the hedgehog is clearly focused on one thing.
And so if you can find your, what you get good at, you know, as we all know, to commit to mastery, you got to play the long game. We’re talking 10 years, or, you know, 10,000 hours, maybe you can shorten the curve if you find an amazing mentor and you get some really good systems in place. But, you know, you got to think long term. So the hedgehog is that long term thinking. And if you’re, if you have too many balls, you just can’t juggle them all. And even if you are capable of juggling, like you said, you get burnt out. You’re not having fun.
That’s why I simplify my life into like, the trilogy, or tetralogy is what I came up with this new term I made up called tetralogy. Which I was looking in science, I was looking at nature, trying to say, okay, what’s the simplest structure? And for a long time, I thought it was the triangle. Because you’ve heard this in geometry, that geometry, that triangles are very simple structure because three equal sides, it leans on itself. But the thing about the triangle doesn’t exist in nature, it doesn’t exist. In reality. It’s a two-dimensional concept of our minds. So what does exist in nature is a tetrahedron, which is the four elements. It’s a three-dimensional triangle, okay? Tetrahedron. And what that is the most simple, stable structure.
So I’ve decided to focus my life on four big categories, healthy body, healthy mind, healthy finances, and healthy spirit. And when I click those four things and those are my priorities, those are the buckets that I pay attention to. And if it doesn’t fit into one of those buckets and it’s not on purpose, and I don’t have like 20 goals, I have like two goals in each category. That’s it. And when I get done with those then I add more goals. But I kind of keep it simple. I eliminate anything that doesn’t, it’s not related to those priorities, those goals, and then I prioritize those big rocks, like we talked about, I put those big things in my calendar first.
And then I know that other things are to come and grab my attention. And by the way, if you haven’t read the book, there’s a great book called Indestructible. any entrepreneur who wants to have some balance and have some control of their life should read that book and do the exercises. But that’s the thing is like, it’s so easy to be distracted these days. You know, social media, time wasters. You know, advertisers are getting really good at getting our attention, especially social media.
Giuseppe: Yes. And I have to admit, I’m guilty of that as well. Especially if there’s a video, whatever the video is, it suggests another one and you fall down and you end up in that rabbit hole. So I am guilty of that and working on it. So I’m recovering YouTube viewer, I guess, if you want to call it that.
Greg: There’s a lot of value on YouTube. But is it are you intentional? Is it are you choosing the learning? Or are you getting sucked down the rabbit hole? That’s the key question and that book could be a big help for you.
Giuseppe: Oh, wow, that’s great. No, I appreciate that. So stokedthebook.com. You guys can grab a free copy of that book. So I guess Greg, so if someone’s like, Alright, I’m gonna look into the book, but I really want to speak with you. You know, who is your ideal client? How exactly does that work? Should they read the book first? You know, how can they get ahold of you? If you can just give us all that info?
Greg: Sure. Well, read the book would be fun. You get some great lessons in it. There’s some great principles in there. My ideal client that I work with is somebody who is ready to transform their health and they want to make lifelong changes. They’re not looking for a quick fix. So for a client, if somebody is an entrepreneur and they need a life coach to keep them on track and help them find their Ikigui and find their balance, that could be a great candidate for me. Also, anyone who’s looking to start a business and doesn’t want to build something from scratch, they just want to get on a bike that’s already been built and ride it.
So if you have any passion or interest in the health and wellness field, I coach and train coaches all over the country. I have a certification program that I put them through. And I have helped over, well, about 2000 coaches that I trained and support and probably over 150,000 clients that collectively we’ve helped transform their health and their lives. So if you’re interested in the health field, just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org or go to gregrex.com and put a little note in the comment section. There’s a little contact me section there.
Or get the book. Start there, that’s a great way to start, you know, get the book, pay the shipping. It’s a fun read. It’ll give you an idea of like, the principles that I teach. And it’s always worth exploring, having a conversation. I always enjoy meeting cool people, entrepreneurs, whether they’re just getting started in their journey, or if they’re starting their next journey. And I find a lot of entrepreneurs who’ve done it, you know, they rode it for a while and that horse is kind of getting tired of they want to start on a new one. So a lot of serial entrepreneurs like me, and you, I bet.
Giuseppe: Yeah, no, and I appreciate that. We’re gonna, I know there was some websites there, information. So we’ll summarize, we’ll put everything in the show notes. So we’ll have the HTMLs and everything listed. Greg, this has been a great show. What. you know, what would you recommend? So as I mentioned, we have a lot of corporate executives, you know, jokingly sometimes we call them corporate refugees, you know, that are looking at entrepreneurship and maybe looking a little bit closer, given what’s going on in the world. And, you know, they’ve maybe been furloughed, or they’ve been recently laid off.
You know, what advice would you give to someone? You know, a lot going on. you talked about September 11, going to Costa Rica for a few months. You know, we’ve been, I mean, obviously, it will, hopefully things will improve. We, you know, time will tell. But what do you tell someone that kind of is in between, you know, they’ve lost a job, you have, you know, COVID going on, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world, they’re thinking about owning a business. Any advice or maybe first steps that person should take?
Steps to Take When Considering Business Ownership
Greg: I think it starts with them going inside and knowing themselves and what’s important to them and what are their values. Checking in on what kind of lifestyle they want to have. It’s very frustrating to work your butt off to build something and find out when you get to the top of a ladder, you’re on the wrong, you know, you’re on the wrong building.
So, you know, one thing I would say is to be cautious of brick and mortar, heavy investments, unless you have, unless you’re all in and you’re ready to go and you’ve got, you know, you’re ready to make that decision. There’s a lot of businesses that you can do, that you can build incrementally using technology. So we’re working from home, especially right now in these times with the craziness of these lockdowns, having a virtual business is a really good thing to consider.
Learning how to leverage technology in a way that doesn’t take away from the high touch, but still, you can still have high tech and high touch. That’s a really good thing to consider is how can you use technology to leverage and create a lifestyle that you want. But I think the biggest thing, Giuseppe, is think about your lifestyle and then look at what are those companies, industries, experts, maybe somebody who’s already done it, right?
If you can find a mentor who’s been successful in the field that you want to get into, they’ve created the impact that you would love to create. They have a healthy lifestyle, the kind of lifestyle you aspire to and be willing to humble yourself and be an apprentice for a little while. That’s what I did. I humbled myself with Tony and Depak and all the people who’ve become my, you know, lifetime friends and mentors, I got behind their coattails and I learned from them until I had the skill set and the business model figured out so that I could go out and do it on my own.
Giuseppe: Yeah, that’s some really good advice and I myself went back to school got my MBA, you know, worked for a company making pretty much minimum wage from a six-figure-plus income to minimum wage and people thought I was nuts. A lot of people, and for a while, I thought I was nuts as well. But I learned a lot. You know, got into, you know, you have to, you got to learn and when you do work with some of these owners, these mentors of these businesses, you learn a ton and that, there’s no price you can place on that.
So minimum wage, no wage, completely worth it. You really get inspired, you learn a lot. And these are lifelong lessons, some lessons that, you know, that I’ll never forget. So I could not agree any more. It is an absolute, you know, that’s some really solid advice and I definitely need to be a, you know, I’m glad you reminded me of that because when I’m speaking with my candidates, I need to do the same as well. Put ego aside.
You know, this is obviously for the short term, but yeah, as you mentioned, made some great relationships and has definitely benefited me. So great advice. Greg, we definitely could be, you know, our businesses are similar in many ways and I’m sure we could be talking for hours. So I really appreciate your time. I want to be respectful of your time and keep it out here about a half an hour. But thank you, once again, we will put all that information in the show notes and looking forward to speaking with you very soon.
Greg: My pleasure. Great connecting with you, and hopefully, we’ll meet in person someday.
Giuseppe: Yes, absolutely. Thank you.