Like most catalysts for transformation, Bradley Callow, Founder of Rich Legacy, loves helping people to succeed. But unlike most of them, he focuses on working with the affluent families. When asked about that, Bradley says that there may be different pressures that exist, but at the end of the day, human beings are much the same. Bradley grew up in a good two-parent home that it’s often surprising to people to know that he started selling drugs at eleven years old and almost killed himself with a gun by the time he was 26. He chose to focus on entrepreneurs and executives for the most part because he wants to create maximum impact and believes if he can change the hearts and minds of those executives and entrepreneurs around how they feel about work life integration, they can take that to their work culture and impact all their employees.
We have Bradley Callow here. He is the Founder of Rich Legacy. He’s an international speaker, an entrepreneur and a catalyst for transformation. A real-life situation changed what he did when he found himself with a .45 caliber handgun press hard against his temple. His life has never been the same since and he’s taken what he’s learned from that and he’s helping others.
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The Rich Legacy: Blazing Your Own Path with Bradley Callow
I am here with Bradley Callow, who is the Founder of Rich Legacy. He’s an international speaker, conscious entrepreneur and catalyst for transformation. Consulting with businesses on advertising, marketing and public relations strategies before the age of twenty, Callow is no stranger to blazing his own path. He’s committed to challenging the status quo and has a passion for helping others to succeed. Welcome.
We have a lot in common in terms of what we want to do to help people succeed. I wanted to talk to you about what you’re doing now. You were the Founder of Rich Legacy, but you’re also a Founder of Moderation Institute in the past and other things. You’ve got an interesting background. You want to give me some of your background here so people know who you are?
Yes and no. A lot of that stuff are not all that important. I definitely have been an entrepreneur since I can remember. Unlike most people, my first business wasn’t a lemonade stand or cutting grass. I sold weed at eleven years old. The irony and the crazy part of that is that I came from one of the wealthiest counties in the country and had no financial motivation for doing so and no real specific hardship that I was trying to overcome. I had some internal demons that I was battling and that was one of the ways that I expressed my frustrations, by being a pain.
You’ve had some experiences in the past that lead you down a negative road. You’ve written about that and you came out in a positive way. Would you rather give the back drop of that or go onto what you’re doing now?
I’m happy to share it. It’s important because it’s at the root of what I’m doing now. Coming from a good family, it’s often surprising to people that I’d start selling drugs at eleven years old. I started smoking weed at eleven years old as well. Usually, the knee-jerk response from people is, “How did your parents not know that? Are you kidding me? That’s horrible. What do you mean you came from a good family? How would they not know you’re doing drugs at eleven years old?” My response is always, “When was the last time you looked eleven-year-old in the eyes and like, “That kid’s high right now.””
I started at a young age and things progressed pretty quickly. I kept up a relatively good front. Certainly had some warning signs but like any parents, they always wanted to see the best in me. “Not my kid or not my child” is a conversation I have all the time with families. They know something’s wrong in their gut but they don’t want to believe it. Things for me got worse. By the time I was 26, I found myself on my knees with a gun to my own head in a Los Angeles apartment. I still, to this day, have no idea why I didn’t take my own life. The challenges that that brought about and the desire to change that brought about led me down this journey of personal discovery and a desire to help other people.
How can I not prevent other people from experiencing pain? I don’t believe in that. How do I change people’s relationship to pain? How do I change people’s relationship with that knowing voice that tells them they’re not good enough for? That everything they do is inadequate. That voice did come from my father for the most part. Him, like most, I call them high performing parents, are inherently good problem solvers. That’s what makes them successful. My dad’s way of showing me love was always to show me the right way to do things. That undermined my self-esteem at every turn.
Five years old is the first memory I have of this. I’m washing the dishes and there are bubbles flying everywhere and I’m super excited. I’m standing on my little stool and my dad walks into the kitchen and he says, “That’s great. I’m proud of you. That’s cool what you’re doing. Just so you know, it’s the friction of the brush that gets the food off the plate. You don’t have to use the hot water, running the water on full blast.” You can imagine this little boy a crumbling under the weight of being disappointed. That was a recurring theme. It was his way of showing love. You thought he was teaching me all these things, but for this little boy who was fragile to begin with, I became that voice of nothing I ever do is good enough. I chased that and I look for external ways of feeling good about myself, whether that was feeling like I had power because I was selling drugs, chasing women, fighting or all these other stupid things that I was trying to feel better about myself, this wounded little boy.
At 26, I decided to turn my life around and spent three months in a wilderness program in Colorado and Utah. I didn’t shave the whole time. I showered five times, six times. It sounds horrible, but it’s the best thing I ever did. It changed my world. Now, I’ve turned that journey after working in mental and behavioral health for about five years. I opened my own company helping people control or quit drinking. I went on and opened another company that helps affluent families teach their kids life skills. What I realized is that at the end of the day, I didn’t have the life skills to deal with life. I’m seeing more and more and we all are as a society, especially in the affluent where you’ve got an adolescent suicide rate that has quadrupled since 1950 and the highest increases are coming in that fluent demographic that there’s a real need for some change there.
I’m doing family retreats and father-son and father-daughter retreats, going and speaking at business organizations, Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Young Presidents’ Organization all around the world. Helping these families understand what are some of those things my family could have done differently. Based on the work I’ve done with these thousands of families, what these other families are doing to help keep their kids moving in the right direction.
That’s an amazing transformation and I appreciate you sharing that story. You live where I live in this area now. Did you grow up here in Arizona?
I did not. I grew up in Howard County, in between Baltimore and DC.
You now live in Arizona and you deal mostly with families in Arizona or do you go around the country?
No, mostly around the world. Very much an international client base, which has been exciting and fun for me. At first, there was some apprehension around how is this message going to translate in these different cultures? I’ve spoken all over the Middle East and I thought there’d be this huge disconnect. At the end of the day, the core elements are the same. There are slight variations but the core tenets are the same. It’s getting that clarity and being intentional on how you’re going to ensure your kids have these life skills. That you have a trusting relationship with them so that when they are in a bad spot, they can come to you for help.
The work I do, it’s very similar. I worked with Rishi and Preeti Dixit who have a Leader Kid Academy, which is for kids in the K through twelve group. I work on their board to help them with that organization. They work with a certain group of kids and families to help them become more in soft skills, emotional intelligence and that type of thing. I talked to you a little bit about people who have been on my show in the past from Europe. They’re dealing with underprivileged. Going into the more inner cities and helping people get a year of experience in learning skills before they get into the working world or going for a job or whatever, going into school. You’re going with the affluent, which is a different kind of animal, so to speak. Some people might say, “Why is this group?” Maybe because that’s your background and why do they have this problem as compared to other groups? What’s unique to them that you’re helping them with that other groups don’t have?
I get asked this a lot, “Why are you focused on the affluent families? There are all these other families that need this help,” and you’re absolutely right. Virtually, every family out there could benefit. I work with families on a spectrum of, “My son threatened to commit suicide,” to “We’re solid family.” We’ve got a good thing going but we’re trying to be even more intentional and help put some things in place to improve our odds of strengthening our relationship and communication in order to do so. The thing that I’ve seen through working in mental and behavioral health, especially in the drug and alcohol, eating disorders, sex addiction, all those kinds of things, the rehab space. I found myself surrounded by other people like myself that at this point in my life, I just want to help people.
When you want to help people, you have a tendency to screw yourself as a businessperson. “Here’s a scholarship for treatment. Here’s this discount for treatment.” Those things add up. I’d see friends and peers that would start a business and without fail, two to five years into it, they weren’t in business anymore. These were the good ones. These were the ones that wanted to help people. I took note of this and for me it was, “I’m going to start with the affluent demographic,” and by focusing on that population first, I can create a thriving business that at some point, I can take in the direction of helping everyone. If I start at the other end where I’ve seen a lot of people go, I haven’t seen that work.
I’m all about thinking differently as an entrepreneur. I also chose to focus on entrepreneurs and executives for the most part because my feeling is if I want to create impact, if I want to create the maximum impact, if I can change the hearts and minds of those executives and entrepreneurs around how they feel about work and family balance, if there is such a thing, I call it work and family or work-life integration. If I can change the way they view that, if I can show them that in their own family and they can benefit from it, they can take that to their work culture and impact all their employees. I also encourage all the families we work with volunteer. I’m looking to impact those other communities that aren’t affluent, just not in the same direct fashion that you might be used to with a nonprofit or something geared towards those folks.
Your next question was around what is different about this population. Like cultures, human beings are much the same. There is a different pressure that exists and it’s different because even if you have a set of parents, I knew both parents but sometimes you can just have one, makes all the difference. Two parents that are very supportive and not a, “You have to get straight A’s, you have to go to Harvard, you have to be a doctor.” Whatever that is, they don’t have those unrealistic or in a lot of times ego-driven expectations. These kids are under a different pressure. If you come from an affluent family, society expects more of you because you’ve got no excuse. You’ve had every opportunity and if you still aren’t amazing, because you’re supposed to be amazing if you come from money, there’s something wrong with you. They internalize that.
Even if you’ve got a family system that’s supportive, the outside communal system isn’t supportive. It’s telling you you’re good enough all the time. You combine that with the impulsiveness that is already inherent in today’s generations, with the fact that they can get a lot of the things that they want. When you get all the things that you want without having to work for them, it sets up a false expectation and unrealistic way of viewing the world. That can start to impact your work ethic. The greatest advantage you could have is to come from a family without resources up until you’re about halfway through high school, maybe, and then get the money. Let’s say your parents are entrepreneurs and started to take off at that point. At that point, you’ve still seen, and you have that work ethic, you didn’t get everything you ever wanted and then now all of a sudden you have the resources to catapult you even further. It’s a real advantage to get that grit and resilience that comes from not having things handed to you.
I came from a family that was wealthy and you see the sense of some people wanting. Not my family necessarily, but every family that I knew. There was a sense of entitlement that you don’t need to do that much. It was a strange background that I had because neither of my parents worked. My father was born legally blind and he couldn’t work. My mother was a housewife. The family paid them to live. I never saw anybody working growing up. Like you, I had anything I wanted. I didn’t have to worry about things. It’s interesting to see the people who grew up like I did that don’t have any drive or desire to work. You couldn’t keep me from working. Some of it is who you are.
Don’t you think there’s some sense of what you’re born with? That’s probably why I’m writing a book about curiosity because you were saying something about the right way to do things that your father was telling you. You’ve got to clean the dish this way and there’s your environment around you that what he said to you would maybe make you back down. What if you said the same thing to your brother or sister? They wouldn’t even hear it. It’s interesting to see the impact, what our environment has on our curiosity and our ability to succeed. Have you found families like one will be this completely different than the other sibling?
I’m a huge believer in trauma, which is a different conversation. It’s the same conversation. I believe there is big T trauma and little T trauma. Big T trauma is sexual violence, abuse, witnessing a horrific event, combat, these kinds of things. Little T traumas are more emotionally driven, abandonment issues, self-esteem, those kinds of things. Those experiences reside in your nervous system. When you experienced trauma, these things get locked into your nervous system. Over time, it builds up. If the nervous system becomes dysregulated, you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. The levels of that differ based on your inherent sensitivity to begin with and then combined with what types of trauma, combinations or ages you experienced them and all these kinds of things.
At the end of the day, I could sit in a chair in a room with no other stimulus whatsoever. Let’s say all white walls, nothing and I would be crawling out of my skin. That’s why I was always looking for something to feel okay. I may have had some big T trauma that I’ve blocked out. It’s something I struggle with. I have this gnawing feeling that there’s something but I can’t pinpoint it. I spent a lot of my life frustrated as why am I crazy? I didn’t know all these things. I didn’t know about trauma and all these things or little T trauma or big T trauma. I always felt like, “Why am I crazy all the time? This is absurd. Why am I destroying myself?” Then I started to learn about how the stress that the mom is under in the womb can impact the genetics of some sort.
That fragility, I’ve worked with families on this all the time and it’s usually a red flag in the talks that I give, where they say, “My kid’s really sensitive.” That sensitive kid is going to respond way more dramatically to all of these experiences like my dad telling me the right way to do things. A kid that isn’t as fragile or as nervous system or as dis-regulated, that might roll off their back, no problem. For those that it is, it’s when you start doing those outside stimulus to try and make yourself feel better, the experience is that much more dramatic. If my level of discomfort on a daily basis is we’ll say between a seven and nine, and I do drugs and it comes down to zero even for ten minutes, that feels like the best rollercoaster ride I’ve ever been on and I want to ride over and over again. Whereas maybe I’m a three or a two in terms of regulation on my nervous system and I do drugs it’s like, “That was cool but I’m not overwhelmed. I’m only to ride that ride again for a while.” It reinforces the behavior.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin, but he’s got a child who is extra sensitive and they keep showing them on a rollercoaster to simulate what their life is like. It’s a very good movie but I haven’t seen it in a while. Perception’s fascinating to me because in my family, I have one sibling who sees my father, who’s now deceased, as the best guy ever. Not one thing wrong. I have another sibling who sees him as the worst guy ever created. I look at him as just a guy. It’s the same guy. We all were raised in the same household. That has shaped so much of how they do things and how I do things. There are perceptions and it’s great that you’re getting to people at a young age to discuss this stuff because that’s what I’m interested in curiosity of what directs us this way and what makes us be successful. In my situation, we were raised to be super competitive. I don’t know if that’s something you see a lot in affluent families but there was like trip the guy next to you if you have to to win the race. I use my family a lot in my ethics courses I teach as to not do that.
We were raised that you win. It’s pitiful if you don’t win. My dad even would lock my brother out of that house if he didn’t win the baseball game. It was you won. That was that. It’s interesting that he’s the one who sees him as the good one. He’s the one who got locked out. I’m like, “Why is that perception so skewed?” Have you seen a lot of that kind of thing?
That’s why I tell people I don’t know everything. I don’t pretend to know everything. Our focus and the root of Rich Legacy is the child’s perspective. I don’t have kids. When I first started telling people that, when I’m up here talking about parenting, family systems and all this stuff, I’d say it, stand back, and ready to protect myself. Someone’s going to punch me in the face and tell me to shut up. Over time, especially working with entrepreneurs, executives and even more so the entrepreneurs, they’re all about different angles on things, different perspectives. I would share with them and say, “This is another lens. You can take this and do with it what you want.”
I’m seeing it working. I’m seeing it work a lot and I’m seeing it work well. Does it work every time? No. It’s like anything. Timing is important. The receptiveness of the family and the mindset that they’re in at the time, all these things are important. If you’re not in the right place for it, you might not connect. At the same time, perspective is huge, especially today. The gap in parent and child understanding is significant because of technology. That rapid growth and change in technology has shifted our culture in such a way that growing up 30 years ago is 100 times different than it would have been for my parents and myself. That was even pretty dramatic. It increases that gap and understanding. That perspective becomes increasingly important and they really look to the child to, “I didn’t get enough likes on my Instagram post today,” or, “My Snapchat I didn’t keep up my streak on it,” and you say that to a parent and they look at their kid like, “Get over it. Are you crazy? Why is that a problem?” That’s the most important thing that happened to that kid that day.
Without that child’s perspective, you’re not going to get that. Yes, there are different perspectives for each kid, for each parent. It’s an evolutionary thing that is constantly changing and that’s why we put some key principles and approaches into place that don’t seem to rely as much on the difference in approaches of parents as much. As you know, working with people yourself, everybody’s a little different. I always laugh, and I tell people, “If somebody gets up there and tries to tell you they have all the answers, you run in the other direction.”
It’s so unique. Each family is different. You brought to mind a couple movies and things I’ve been watching too as you’re saying these things. In Camelot, it’s a very famous old movie when I was a kid that we used to watch. I remember the king had this entitled young child show up that he didn’t know he had. He wanted everything and the king said something to him like the term, “Blood is thicker than water was created by less than deserving relatives.” There are some people that have certain perceptions. I’m watching a show on Netflix called Safe, which has the guy that played Dexter on it. There’s a family dynamic in that TV show that’s just horrible. They’re very well off and it’s interesting to look at the successful families and their way of perceiving things and it is a lot different.
I found it interesting that you also said that what helped you was getting out into the wilderness. John Patterson wrote a book, Against Medical Advice, which is a true story of a kid that had Tourette’s. They tried everything to give him all these medications to get him better and they would just make him miserable. One of the things that finally helped him was this wilderness training thing. I’m curious about the wilderness aspect and why you think that was helpful to you. Do you take your people out into the wilderness and what’s that entail?
The experience is hard to explain. The healing power of nature is undeniable. The getting away from the madness, to not have a cell phone for three months was life changing. It’s groundedness, it’s connectedness, it’s stopping and pausing. It’s mindfulness and I’m huge on mindfulness. Meditation is the most positive catalysts for changing people’s lives and in my life, period, without fail. I can’t even articulate exactly what it is about the wilderness that’s so life changing. I’ve certainly never seen somebody come out of the wilderness worse than they came in.
I did a river rafting trip in the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. There is something about when you’re out there. That was even before the cell phones were so big that you can’t leave your cell phone. We need more of that. We see Simon Sinek talk about things like that. You’ve got to put the phones outside of the meeting rooms or whatever. All the different people saying that you have to disconnect. I’ve heard that the next generation Z is going to be a little bit different than the millennials in terms of if they need it as much. How low in age are you dealing right now? Are you seeing any difference past millennials in the next group?
The sweet spot is eight to thirteen just because they’re there at that point of self-aware, are starting to be more self-aware of how their actions affect others, whether it’s in the family or in their community. After that, puberty kicks in and that’s a whole another animal. We certainly work with teenagers and have done some amazing things, but it’s a tough road. We’ve also done a lot of work with young adults and had some great experiences with families with kids that age. Younger than that, anything that we talk about is beneficial to kids younger than that just by putting these practices in place. For example, one of our big things is once a quarter, do something one on one with each kid. As a parent, do something one on one with each kid.
Often people are like, “We do stuff as a family a lot, but none of that one on one,” and it is transformational for the relationship. It also serves as a great reference point to check in and set some goals or have a benchmark. As a parent, you can record what is happening at each of these quarterly one on one experiences. It can be a few hours. Where you’re really engaged, you’re not on your cell phone, it’s something you put on the calendar, you plan ahead, you’re looking forward to. It’s transformational without fail. Sometimes, especially in these affluent families, once a year or several times a year, they’ll do these cool things where they’ll go on a father-son retreat like we provide. We encourage those families, depending on the age of the child. The child plans the logistics, how they come up with the budget, and you help them correct that budget. How are you going to get there? What’s your backup plan? What’s the transportation look life? Just life skill things. Depending on how old they are, it might start being a relationship around, “How much at minimum wage would it cost to be able to afford this experience? If we slashed this budget by 20%, how would you adjust? How would you adapt?” Creating those kinds of opportunities, doing those kinds of things is huge. That makes a huge difference for folks.
You’re bringing back some of the things I remember doing with my kids. I had one child who wanted to be right on top of me, in my face the whole time. It kept the other one from getting a chance to get close to me. I would spend certain amount of time saying, “No, this is her time.” You couldn’t get her to not want to watch TV on the time you had together. You were fighting to try and get some of the right time, which is tough. I found you had to pick battles. How do you know which battles to win? I had certain things that I wanted for my kids. I want them to go to college. I wasn’t one of those parents that said, “You have to go to Harvard.” They didn’t have to get 4.0 or whatever. Are we putting too much stress on them to even say we’d like them to go to college? How do you know which battles to pick and how much stress? Some kids get stressed.
It’s case by case. There’s no blanket answer for that. I’m certainly of the general belief that kids are overwhelmed these days. When I talked to high school seniors that are missing a senior dinner or something because they’ve got too much homework, that’s a once in a lifetime experience. You’ve got your whole life to work your ass off, plenty of time. I’m not saying instilling laziness. It’s unnecessary.
You see it almost the other extreme too. I have a lot of friends who have kids that are in their 30s who lives at home still and never have had any work experience at all yet. They like to have them home with them or there’s no rush for them to get out. Is that bad?
I believe you should be moving on. If you’re still at home at that age, there are some other things at play there, in my experience.
What age do we cut the cord? How do you know?
It’s case by case. Every kid is different. I will say I’ve certainly seen a pattern where parents have focused so much on academics than everything else. The other life skills aren’t there.
It’s tough. I remember when my daughter went to ASU, both my daughters and I, we all graduated from ASU. She spoke four languages and I’m thinking, “You might want to take international business. That’d be great. You can speak all these languages.” After the first business course, she called me going, “I hate this.” I said, “You don’t have to do that. It was a suggestion.” I would never want her to do that if she hated it. She ended up getting a Portuguese communication. She was thrilled with what she got. She knew she could tell me she hated it. Some kids feel they’re stuck in this thing that their parents are telling. How do we know if we’re pushing them too far?
By the time they get to college, they should be making most of their own decisions. If they don’t like something, I’m always a proponent that you finish whatever you started. If you signed up for band for the year and halfway through you’re like, “I hate this,” you made a commitment. You’re going to see that year through. You don’t have to do it next year.
That’s exactly how I see it.
It’s also having a conversation around it. I’m such an advocate for treating kids like adults wherever possible. Giving them choices. How do you get the buy in? Once you have the buy in, it’s a whole different conversation. For example, if something’s my idea, get out of my way, I’m going to make it happen. If it’s someone else’s idea, I’m like, “I might get around to that.” That’s just human, regardless of how old you are. When you started giving kids choices, starting at a young age, “Do you want to do your homework before dinner or after dinner? You’ve got to do your homework, but you can do it before or after,” at least then there’s some ownership there. There’s some buy in, “You want to do the dishes now or do you want to do them after this? You want to go to college or do you want to do this other thing that sounds super horrible?” They want to go to college or whatever it is. At least then they’re making choices and making decisions for themselves and starting to create that internal dialogue. That inherently good problem solver that’s prevalent in these high performing families, anything you’re good at, you want to show off, whether it’s your kids or somebody else. It’s like, “Let me fix this problem for you, little one. I’ll show you how to do this. Let me do this for you.”
It’s like riding a bike. We always use this analogy. When it comes to riding a bike, you can leave those training wheels on for as long as you want. If you see a 40-year-old with training wheels you’re going to get concerned or mom running along behind them, it’s time to have a conversation. There are many beautiful things that you learn from riding a bike. You learn that you can fall down and get back up again. You learn that if you go too fast around a corner, you’re going to fall and it’s going to hurt. You learn boundaries. Some of these kids, they get ten DUIs and their parents keep bailing them out and they’re not learning any boundaries. Freedom that comes with riding a bike and independence, but you don’t get any of those things.
I’ve gone beyond helicopter parents, I wrote an article, I haven’t put it out yet, called Bubble Parenting. It’s gone beyond this idea of being overtop of the child, it’s now I’m not even going to let the kid do anything. I’m going to do everything for them because I’m afraid of them failing, being hurt or any of these other things. Those kids get to college and they implode. They go off on their own and they implode or they get out of college and they implode because they don’t have that grit or resilience that comes from failure. You need that failure.
I remember having a conversation with one of my daughters. One of her friends was in jail for DUI or did something bad. I go, “I’d leave her in there overnight,” I made sure she knew that happens to you, I’m not going to run and pull you right out. I didn’t want her to think I wouldn’t leave her in there forever, but I’d want her to think that there’s going to be some consequence. I’m not a typical person probably as a mother. I have ten jobs, I do a million things and I always worry that I’m causing my kids stress because they may not want to do as much as I do and maybe they think, “You do all that. I feel like I have to do all that.” How can we let our kids know that just because I do this doesn’t mean you have to do this? You can pick this or that. Do you have those kinds of conversations?
One of the most powerful questions you can ask your kids, and this depends on the relationship you have and how often you ask these questions and have these conversations and what response you’ll get. You might have to ask it multiple times, but it’s, “What expectations do you feel that we, as your parents or I as your parent, have of you that we haven’t verbalized? What expectations do we have of you that we haven’t verbalized?” I talk to kids all the time that think they’re supposed to be a doctor. Don’t feel that way at all.
Why do they feel that way, do you think?
A lot is communicated through actions and overhearing. Kids are sponges. Think about in your own experience. I talk to parents all the time. You know those little quirky mannerisms that your mom or dad had or those odd things they used to say. It’s always weird and then all of a sudden you find yourself doing that thing and you’re like, “What just happened? No.” Parents are your role models. The number one complaint from kids I get these days is, “If my mom or dad tells me to get off my cell phone one more time while they’re on their cell phone, lose it.”
I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I’m feeling pretty good right now. My kids are much older now. I have millennial kids. I didn’t have that as the cell phones were after that time. Each generation has its unique issues. Do you think it’s harder to parent now because of technology?
It’s harder than ever to be a parent or a child, but there are some more amazing and beautiful opportunities that exist as well. For example, the marijuana conversation. Back in the day a parent could say, “Smoking weed will give you cancer and rot your brain out.” The kid will come back with 45 pages printed out from the internet with ear marks and everything else. “If you want to go to section C, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with that.” It’s incredibly difficult. That gap and understanding is so dramatic, it’s like they’re speaking a different language. That’s why we focus for the most part on the whole family system versus just the parents or just the kids. You can teach the language to one group or another group and then they come together and they lose it because it’s not sustainable because they’re not speaking the same language.
Just with anything, people who need something are you going to be the last person probably looking to solve that because they’ve grown accustomed to what they do. How do you get people to know they need you?
That’s still a work in progress. Some people just get it. The line of conversation I’ve been having a lot that people seem to connect with and understand, especially with entrepreneurs and executives, as I say to them, “What are your goals for your business? How much time do you have?” Would you like my five-year goals, my three-year goals, my one-year goal? Next quarter, next week? What are we talking here?” I’m like, “Let’s hold on to that.” “What are you doing to ensure that you reach those goals?” “We’ve got a solid business plan. We’ve got quarterly employee reviews, we’ve got training. These outside consultants, we do these corporate retreats.” You name it. They do all these things.
I say, “What are your goals for your family?” “Happy, healthy, successful?” I’m like, “What are you doing to help ensure that happens?” Then they get it. How people say, “My parents didn’t have a plan.” I’m like, “No, they probably didn’t. You turned out all right. Maybe your friends disagree with me but you’re all right to me.” Several years ago, you didn’t need a business plan either because you were the only cobbler or blacksmith in your town. You didn’t have this global economy and this gregarious entry and competition and all these things. Now, times have changed. The internet will teach your kid how to be an adult if you don’t. We had a client who found pornography on their daughter’s iPad, a history of it, at seven years old. Pretending that these things aren’t happening and these kids aren’t exposed to these things, you have to be more intentional and more goal-oriented when it comes to your family. It’s sad but it’s the reality.
Do you have to get as specific as smarter goals where you actually smart goals with it? Specific, measurable and all the things. Is it that intense?
It depends. Less is more for the most part. When we do these quarterly one-on-ones with a parent and the child that they’re doing or the father-son retreat, the father-daughter retreat, or the private family retreats where they do their mission, vision, values and do some goal setting and all stuff. We’ve learned over time to keep it simple because we’re all busy and overwhelmed as it is. What’s the one thing you’re going to work on this month? What’s the one thing you’ve got to try and do differently? We’re going to try and have family dinners twice out of the week for this month and then next month we’ll work on another goal. If you try and do too much at one time, the net gain is nothing because unfortunately it’s easy for the family pieces to fall down the list. Especially for someone who’s working. It’s like, “I’m always going to be there,” but this deal is not going to be there next week if I don’t do this right now. You need to move past that.
I could see a lot of business people wanting to do a SWOT analysis on their family and see how they can. I’ve had students do that personally, in class. When I have them do that personally, when they come up with weaknesses or threats, that they come up with solutions as well and that would be an important thing. Is that something that you do?
That’s what we look at within the context of opportunities, for sure. Great point.
How long do you spend with these families?
A private family retreat is a little more than 48 hours. We started doing them. We’ll either go to a location. Maybe they bolted onto the beginning or end of their vacation, or they want to get out of town. A lot of these folks have second homes so we’ll go to their second home to get out of the environment. We’ve also found not only for convenience, which is how it started, but for impact doing it in their own home. We joked to see the animals in their natural habitat. To see them in their normal environment and how they interact is powerful as well. We’ve got the father-son retreats, father-daughter retreats, three to five days just depending on the experience. The five days are a little more involved and usually has some cool hot air balloon rides, white water rafting or something cool added on. The three days might just have zip lines and tubing and something. We still do great stuff regardless, but there are added in a little more one on one experience there too.
Do you find that it’s the men or the women are more drawn to it? Do you have more like the father saying they want to do it or the mothers?
That’s a question I cannot answer in an unbiased fashion because the main two organizations that I speak to and where our clients come from, our EO and YPO and they’re predominantly male. Certainly, the spouses, the male, female sense. If it’s a female they tend to get more excited about it and are a little more proactive about reaching out to us and making it happen. I find a lot of dads are onboard too. Especially when you use the business comparison, they’re like, “That hurt a little bit.”
I can see you probably want to follow up with these families, like in a longitudinal study type thought process to see how they’re progressing. Do you keep up with them once they’ve got out of the nest?
We’ve only been around as a company for two years. This happened by accident in some ways and we didn’t offer coaching and retreats right away. It’s something that came over time as we saw the need or had requests for them. It’s too early to have longitudinal data. The results so far have been awesome. I always joke I had the best job ever.
I’m sure your parents are happy with what you’ve done. We talked about this last time how parents feel a sense of guilt like, “What did I do to cause this?” What have your parents thought of your ride, your rollercoaster that ended up on a high note?
It goes back to that idea of not my kid, which is a very common conversation. No one wants to believe it. You know in your gut something’s maybe off. It’s hard to go there. That’s the value of an outside perspective. I say it’s hard to see the branches through the leaves. It’s the Rich Legacy thing because of our logo versus the forest through the trees. It’s a tough road and everybody we’ve talked about, everyone’s different and unique. My dad was always receptive to it and he’s like, “I could’ve done things differently, but I didn’t know these things, just like I could’ve done things differently if I had known different things.” That’s why I’m excited to impart these life skills and self-awareness to kids because I wish I had this.
I wish I had a life coach when I was in middle and high school. That would have been amazing, life changing in college. My mom was more resistant when I started; proud of me all the way through as I made my transformation, but certainly had some reservations and challenges around sharing. I’d post a video on my Facebook page and it would say six years ago I had a gun to my own head and it was a felon. I was arrested for shooting a gun out the window in Baltimore City, Maryland because I had a life plan of robbing drug dealers. My life was an absolute mess. To share something that for her was mortifying. We continue to have open dialogue around it and I’m very close with both my parents at this point in my life. The conversation was always around how much strength I found from not trying to hide those things because many people that that changed their life in the way I did pretend like that other stuff never happened. Don’t find out about my skeletons in my closet. It became a source of power instead of a source of weakness. That’s what happened for my mom. Now she gets to share her story and help other parents feel better about what they’re going through.
You’ve got to take your ego out of it. It’s hard because you want to think you did the right thing. You don’t want to feel like you did something bad and wrong. I had my kids on super young and I look back I’m like, “It’s a wonder I lived through it.” You’re just so young. I never babysat, “Here’s a baby. Don’t mess it up.” You do what you think is the best at the time and nobody’s thinking that these people, most of them, are doing something deliberately wrong. You do what you do based on what you were taught and the times are and your gut instincts. Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re not right. It helps to get coaching and anything in mentoring and anything. It’s like work. It’s the same thing. There’s always somebody who knows more than you do.
Even an outside perspective as well.
You don’t know what you don’t know and you’re in it and you can’t see outside of it. I think that that’s important and a lot of people could benefit from what you do. This is all fascinating. A lot of people are going to know how they can find out more about your services and how to contact you. Can you share that?
We’re making some changes to the website as we speak, but most of the stuff is up there. Regardless, it’s RichLegacy.com. The email you can reach out is a Thrive@RichLegacy.com. You can find me on Facebook, just Bradley Callow and those were the main things.
If you had to give some suggested tips if they didn’t go through your program, but they could do a couple things that would make a huge difference with how they raised their kids based on what you’ve taught, is there a couple of tips you can give them as a little freebie advice of what they can do?
The number one thing you can do is to make time for that one-on-one experience. Get it on the calendar; have them come up with the idea of whatever it is. Have it be something that they’re excited about and looking forward to. Have them plan the logistics depending on how old they are. Give them a budget, have those conversations, think about, “How can I create an opportunity for this kid to learn something through this experience and have fun at the same time?” What is one goal they can work on for that quarter? You look at over the course of their life; those goals add up and can start to make some positive changes, either a SWOT analysis or a best and worst conversation to get a benchmark for where they are and how they want the next quarter to look. That alone can be absolutely transformational.
Thank you, Bradley. This was so interesting. I’m sure a lot of people can benefit from your work. I’m so glad to hear such a happy ending to your story and I’m impressed by the work you do.
Thank you, Diane. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
You’re welcome. Thank you so much to Bradley for his inspirational story and for what he’s doing for our next generation of kids and what he does is amazing. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Bradley Callow
Bradley Callow is the Founder of Rich Legacy. He is an international speaker, conscious entrepreneur, and catalyst for transformation. Consulting with businesses on advertising, marketing, and public relations strategies before the age of 20, Callow is no stranger to blazing his own path. Bradley is committed to challenging the status quo and has a passion for helping others to succeed. He has created a life dedicated to entrepreneurship, speaking, and most recently behavioral health innovation.