Full Interview with Brett Gilliland and Ben Newman
Brett Gilliland: And we’ve all heard it said different ways, right, but I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. And so, when I know that, like Robin Sharma says, “Clarity proceeds mastery,” and so when I know those things, and I know why — you know, Asher’s running inside your house with your daughter right now, and looking at those kids in the eye, looking my wife in the eye, and I know exactly what we’re gonna do and when we’re gonna do it, ‘cause it’s written down, and then I spend time with it.
Ben Newman: Welcome back to another episode of The Burn. I think one of the things you guys have started to realize is that relationships mean a great deal to me. I know relationships mean a lot to this guy, but Brett Gilliland Gilliland is another individual we go way back. And I’ve got gray in the beard; he makes gray on the head look really good. But we go back over 15 years. We really cut our teeth professionally in the financial services arena. I’ve gone on to do the speaking and coaching work, and what I think is so amazing about you, Brett Gilliland, with your continued work is you’re still making an unbelievable impact with Visionary Wealth Advisors as the managing partner and CEO there, and everything that you’re doing, it’s just incredible. And you’ve taken it so much further than just the impact in financial services, right? So, from there, you decide to start the Circuit of Success podcast. And you talk about podcast like — I actually need you to send an email for me, so that I can interview some of the guests that you’ve had. I mean, it’s just incredible. I’d recommend everybody to look up the —
Brett Gilliland: Thank you.
Ben Newman: — Circuit of Success. And we’ve had some fun on there cutting up together. And then, the stuff, I definitely want to make sure that we hit in our time together is the seeing for hope. And I always look at you, and what admire is I think we’ve always pushed each other.
Brett Gilliland: Right.
Ben Newman: It’s been this competitive push, but awesome level of love and respect for each other. But you have just tremendous capacity, and so that’s what I really want to hit on is for you to just keep finding more to do and more to do. And I think you guys — you and Julie have what, 18, boys now?
Brett Gilliland: Yeah, something like that, yeah.
Ben Newman: So, I know you have to work hard for all these kids that you keep having.
Brett Gilliland: Right, exactly. College is gonna be expensive.
Ben Newman: Four beautiful boys. I mean, you guys are busy.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ben Newman: I mean, it’s a wild ride. So, if you could just help us understand — and you know what these episodes are all about, like you have to have a significant burn, right, what lights you up inside to do the things you’re doing, so tell us about that.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah, and well, one, thanks for having me. This is fun, and looking forward to it. But, you know, I think it is — there is a burn, and I think I look back to when I started in the financial services industry. I was 22 or 23 years old. And back then it was like, can I just get tickets to the Cardinals, right? And so, but I think that point of that is, is that it’s constantly having your goals, your dreams, your aspirations in front of you at all times. But it was more than that. I mean, I knew that eventually we wanted to have children. I knew eventually there were things that we wanted to do, but I was always looking and focusing 10, 15, 20 years in advance. But at the end of the day, man, you know, our biggest thing, it’s our firm’s mission, it’s my personal mission, is helping people achieve a future greater than their past. And so, whether it’s though Visionary Wealth Advisors, through the Circuit of Success, through any speaking stuff that we may do, or our Swing for Hope stuff, is helping people see that vision is greater than their past.
Ben Newman: So, I know for you, and what I always love, journaling, writing things down, and —
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ben Newman: We recently did this 30-day burn challenge, and I know some people listening right now are thinking, like, why is this dude writing down the same thing every day for 30 days? And I know you know it.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ben Newman: You know, the consistency of controlling your thoughts makes a huge difference, and I know that’s played an important role for you. So, how have you stayed connected to your burn? Has it been the journaling? Like, how do you keep the consistent fire going?
Brett Gilliland: That’s a great question, and I think one we talk about a lot with people is, one, I call it strategic think time. So, strategic think time is on my calendar every single week. You’ve got to have it. And what’s that mean? Well, it’s me and an hour and a half to two hours, my little black journal, a piece of paper, technology away and off, and it’s me and my mind, and I’m just sitting there thinking about stuff. And so, you know, a lot of drive time, so you’ll be — I’ll have Siri remind me, hey, remind me to journal about this. Because people are like, “What do you journal about all the time?” I’m like, “I don’t know, but I always find to fill that time.” And so, I think it’s so important to slow down, so we can speed up. I mean, with life, you know, like you said, with all the kids, and work, and different stuff, life is not calm. And so, for me, I have to slow myself down to really think and challenge myself. And real quick on the gratitude thing, is something I started this year, is how many times do we get our phones out, and how many times do you actually go back through the pictures that you have on your phone? Not that often, right? But — so, now, every 90 days, in my journal, I’m going through from — you know, so starting January 1, right, through March, I went through every single picture and video. And if you know me, I love to take pictures. I love videos.
Ben Newman: Yeah.
Brett Gilliland: All that stuff. So, there’s hundreds of them. But I go through every single picture and I write down in my journal exactly what I’m thankful for, what the date was, what we were doing, and it’s amazing what you go out and you do with your kids, or your friends, or your family in 90 days. It’s incredible.
Ben Newman: So, hearing you say all this, the word that comes to mind, which I love, is intentional.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ben Newman: Right? So, you’ve been very, very intentional. So, if you were to make a recommendation on one intentional behavior that somebody can change, ‘cause you do a lot of them, what would be like — for somebody who is watching right now going, gosh, that’s it for me, right? I can — I have these spurts, but to have a burn, to have that desire for the next level, what would be an intentional behavior if you said, just give this a try. It’s worked for me, give it a try to stay connected and to drive action.
Brett Gilliland: I’ve got about 50 things I would say.
Ben Newman: I know there are.
Brett Gilliland: But if I had to say one —
Ben Newman: You’ve got to start them easy.
Brett Gilliland: — it is — I heard this saying when we were young, in our low 20s, and somebody said, “When you know your why, any how is possible.” And we’ve all heard it said different ways, right, but I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. And so, when I know that, like Robin Sharma says, “Clarity proceeds mastery,” and so when I know those things, and I know why — you know, Asher’s running inside your house with your daughter right now, and looking at those kids in the eye, looking my wife in the eye, and I know exactly what we’re gonna do and when we’re gonna do it, ‘cause it’s written down, and then I spend time with it. Don’t write it down and then put it in your top desk drawer and then never see it again. I mean, I’m with it every single day. And I have a thing I call Focus 90, so maybe the answer to that question is this Focus 90. I walk in my office, I set my bag down in the same chair, I grab my water bottle, I go out, I say hi to people in the office, I get my water, I come back in, I’ve got my journal laid open, I’ve got my gratitude journal laid open, I’ve got the book that I’m reading, and I spend 90 minutes conquering my day. ‘Cause I know if I can win that first 90 minutes, I’ll win the rest of the day, right? And so, that’s probably — I guess that would be the answer to that. Focus 90 is the one thing I would do.
Ben Newman: I love it. It’s awesome. Let me take you here. So, from being CEO of Visionary Wealth Advisors, the impact you guys have all across the country, right —
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ben Newman: I mean, there are advisors wanting to join your firm that aren’t even in this area, which is really cool. That means you’re making a big impact. And then, you have everything that you’ve done with the Circuit of Success and the events that you’ve started to throw, the summits thought the Circuit of Success, and then I know many people listening are going, I don’t have time for this. I don’t — like, swing for hope, because I know the burn is what allows you to say, you know what, we have to give back. We’ve got — so, I’ve seen you guys build Swing For Hope, from when I played in the first golf tournament to seeing how you’ve grown it now to all the ancillary events. Tell us a little bit about what Swing For Hope means to you and why you said I’m not making any excuses.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ben Newman: Julie and I are going all in on Swing For Hope.
Brett Gilliland: Well, I think — so, I go back to 2007 when it started, but even before that, I go back to when Julie’s mom, her grandma, and two of her aunts were all diagnosed with cancer. And, you know, you sit there, and it’s obviously terrible news. One of the aunts, unfortunately, lost that battle and passed away. But, you know, we just thought to ourselves, what can we do to give back? And I’ve always subscribed to the theory that if you take a living from a community, you’ve got to give back to that community. And so, me being a golfer, I said, we’re gonna have a golf tournament. I called the golf course and said, “What’s it take to shut it down?” They said, “Ten grand.” And I said, “Okay, that’s a big number,” but we did it. We said, we’re gonna figure it out and we’ll do it, and we did that first year. We paid the $10,000 for the expenses and we made $10,000. And then, we saw what that actually did for Siteman Cancer Center here locally, and then we started to see what it did for families locally.
So, I know a lot of people, you get this bad news, and things happen, but we want to be the people that can help you — give you some hope, right. And so, again, that future greater than your past is sometimes when people are going through that battle with cancer, they just want to have hope. And if we can do that, whether it’s — you know, we’ve paid for so many people just to get driven that don’t have family around, to drive them to chemotherapy, just to be there for them, right, to put a ramp in their house, you know, get family pictures taken at the very end, I mean, any of those things. And that’s what our donors want to have too, is they want to make a huge impact in those people’s lives.
Ben Newman: And you guys are doing it, and I know that your intentionality and the commitment to doing things for the right reasons is fill out all the — to continue to grow.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah, and I think it’s just my wife too. I mean, it’s so inspiring for me to be able to sit there and watch the energy and the passion behind that. And so, you know, I may be the one on here talking about it, but at the end of the day, I mean it is her drive, her passion. It’s my passion as well, but I mean, I’ll tell you, she inspires me every single day to watch the work and the energy she puts into that thing, all for the Ben Newmanefit of other people. Pretty cool.
Ben Newman: That’s incredible.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah.
Ben Newman: So, if you were to leave everybody with one thing what would the one thing be? So, I know you’ve got the one action item, but some piece of motivation that you consistently turn to and that you think about. And I know you’re tremendously focused, because even though we’re old men now, did you guys see our level of focus? I hope everybody knew the athleticism. Like, we got it. We still got it.
Brett Gilliland: Exactly, we got it.
Ben Newman: So, everything we’ve got going on, we’ve still got it. So, what would be that final piece, right? There’s focus, there’s intentionality, doing things for the right reasons, but is there a quote that you constantly go back to? What keeps you centered? What keeps your focused?
Brett Gilliland: Yeah, I mean, I read — to this day, I don’t even read anymore, I just say it, but people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. And I’m not, you know, arrogant enough to think I can change the world, but if I can change the world that I’m sitting in right in that moment, then that’s what matters to me. So, if I can do that — but I think — again, I know you say one, but I think for me it’s a step of stuff, and I think, you know, we all have these two people on our shoulder, the good and the bad buy talking to us. And you’ve got to knock that bad guy off, ‘cause he’s gonna continually tell you you can’t do this, you’re not good enough, who do you think you are, this kid from Mattoon, Illinois, all those things, but you’ve got to quiet that guy. And the way I do it is minimally 10 pages of reading per day. I know you’re a big reader as well.
Ben Newman: Yeah, same thing.
Brett Gilliland: But I’ve got to read 10 pages every single day when I get up in the morning. And I know that’s gonna be on average, about 20 to 25 books a year. You put that over 5 years, you put that over 10 years, if I read 200 to 300 books and you read five, who’s probably gonna have a better chance of winning? Me, right? And so, I think that, again, one thing would be that Focus 90, but then also if I can feed the positive dog every single day, that’s a game changer.
Ben Newman: I appreciate you so much.
Brett Gilliland: Absolutely.
Ben Newman: And, you know, it’s one of those things we — as our lives get busy with kids and all these things that we’re managing, we don’t get to spend as much time, but every time we do, we always pick right up where we left off.
Brett Gilliland: That’s right.
Ben Newman: And that’s the sign of a great relationship. So, I appreciate you. Thank you.
Brett Gilliland: Appreciate you.