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Today’s guest is Greg Denning.
Greg Denning is a husband, father of seven, and life and business coach to executive businessmen. He’s also a podcaster for the Extraordinary Family Life podcast (with his wife Rachel) and the Be The Man podcast. His first book — Becoming Dangerous — will be released later this year.
Greg is known for his positive energy and his unique ability to inspire others. He left home at the age of 16 due to family circumstances and spent some tough years hungry, lonely, and discouraged.
Determined to discover the secrets to creating a happy life — and IF it was even possible — he started a journey of personal growth and development that continues to this day and which led him to create the life of his dreams. He married his best friend Rachel, created a beautiful family and traveled with them to 40+ countries, and created a multiple six-figure location independent business. Now he helps other men to level-up and live deliberately.
Find Greg online at:
Be The Man Masterclass & Tribe
Be The Man Podcast
The Extraordinary Family Life Podcast
BE THE MAN Podcast
The EXTRAORDINARY Family Life Podcast
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. I'm joined today by Greg Denning on this episode called the recipe to an extraordinary family life and how to be the man. Greg Denning is a husband, father of seven, and life and business coach to executive businessman. He's also a podcaster for the extraordinary family life podcast with his wife Rachel, and the be the man podcast. His first book becoming dangerous will be released later this year. Greg is known for his positive energy and his unique ability to inspire others. He left home at the age of 16 due to family circumstances, and spent some tough, years hungry, lonely and discouraged, determined to discover the secrets to creating a happy life and if it was even possible, he started a journey of personal growth and development that continues to this day, and which led him to create the life of his dreams. He married his best friend Rachel created a beautiful family and traveled with them to 40 plus countries and created a multiple six figure location independent business. Now he helps other men to level up and live deliberately. You can find Greg online at Greg denning.com Be the man podcast, the extraordinary family life podcast. And I've got a few more links in the show notes at Dad.Work slash podcast to find his be the man masterclass and tribe, and the extraordinary family life website, guys, when his bio says that he is positive and uplifting and encouraging to others and inspiring to others. That is 100% fact, I was on Greg's podcast not too long ago, and I bissman. After talking to him, I was like you gotta come on. Because the energy that this guy puts off, and the authenticity and the rawness of the things that he shares, including a near death experience with one of his children, men, this episode was very touching. And I came away from this, almost like reprioritizing what I'm doing, because of the stories he shared, I think this is important for all of us as dads to put our families first, obviously, but it can get so easy to put everything else first. Because we're struggling with business, we're stressed about money we are, you know, whatever the case is with you. Let's get back to basics. And let's put our family first because as you'll hear in this episode, I mean, Greg drops a number of wisdom bombs, including his philosophy journal, which I literally took, and I got the next day because it was such a good idea. But he shares a story where man, it puts things in perspective. And I hope that you guys enjoy this because this was this one really touched me. So guys, if you want to support the show at all, if you've been getting value out of this, would you please consider leaving an apple review, you can go to Apple podcasts on your phone, scroll down to the downward podcast and the bottom there is you can leave a rating and a review, it would really really help get this in the ears of more men so that we can live in a better world because the more men hear this kind of stuff, the more men do this kind of work that you are doing as a listener of this show, the more we are going to have families that thrive and families with thriving children grow up to become families of those children who end up thriving and the world becomes a better place because of this. So if you have a minute, leave us a review on Apple leave us a rating on Spotify, and anything else you can find a dad dot work slash podcast, you can join us on Instagram On Twitter, all those places we'd love to have you as well. But let's get into this episode today with Greg Denning. I'm very excited for this. Thank you guys for listening as usual. Here we go.
Alright guys, we're here for another episode of the Dad.Work podcast and I've got Greg Denning with me today. And man, I was on your show a little while ago and the electric energy that you give off I think is gonna pump guys up so welcome. Thank you so much for doing this bro. We're gonna have a DAGs brother. I'm excited to be here again, reconnect with you, man. You do such great work such important thing. So I love connecting with you, man. I appreciate that man. And I'm super curious about your story. Because you're showing up in really amazing ways guiding and leading men right now you've got an amazing family. You've traveled a time. And it seems like you know, outside looking in. And I know that you've had some challenges along the way. But things look like you've figured this out in a long in a large sense. What I mean, was that always the case you just started having kids, you're like, Man, this is so easy. What did that journey look like to become a father and how did you become the man you are today?
Greg Denning 4:02
Yeah, kids, let's go. Let's let's keep having this. Right. That's why we all have a right.
I can just keep going indefinitely. This kids are easy. No, man, what's unique about my story. And, and I do gotta say this not not in a not in a boastful way. But we have been so deliberate and intentional about how we do family life, that we have figured some things out. And it's not that we're special or unique or like have some secret thing is there's a formula. There's a recipe, and I was so dead set on figuring it out and working on it making it happen, which I'll tell them my background story of why I was so almost desperate about it. But But I want to like start right off from the gates of like, if I can do this, anyone can do this. And when we follow the recipe, it is it's amazing. It's better than
And good. It's like it's better than you hope for right and dream about. And then you're like, Nah, man, when when we do this, it works. And it's, it's real genuine, like joy, and deep gratitude. It's awesome. And family life is is literally the best. But but the reason it was so intense for me starting out was because my parents split when I was really young, and stepdads came and went. And so I just thought I saw this kind of, and experienced firsthand
marriage, things Okay, honeymoon phase, and then fighting and then misery and then divorce and then kind of repeat the pattern, repeat the pattern. And I didn't have for years, as a young man, I really didn't have a solid example of what it meant to be a man, like just really awesome husband and father and provider and protector. And man, I didn't have that. And so I ended up I just left home at 16. Like, I'm out, man. And it was so hard, brutally hard. And I remember, like a pivotal moment was Christmas Eve of 16 years old. By myself in this rundown part of town in a rundown shack of a house, we didn't have adequate heat. I'm sitting there. I'm like, watching my breath in the air just like, right? Like, this sucks. So bad. Nobody on Christmas Eve should be sitting by themselves like, and it was cool, because it was it was pivotal for me, it really sank. These, I wrote this the other day, I've been working on my book, and I wrote down this, this idea that hard times, sink the most important seeds into the soil of the soul.
Right, and this, just shove those in there like this will not happen again, I'm going to figure out anything I have to do whatever I've got to do, I'm going to figure it out. So that one day I can marry an amazing woman. And we can together create an extraordinary marriage. And we're going to raise kids that never even come close to experiencing what I'm experiencing. And because during those years, I didn't have an example. And I desperately needed and wanted one. Man I vowed I vowed to be that man, not only for my kids, but for anyone else I could. And as the years went along, and there was mentors, occasionally that stepped up and gave me this example or put an arm around my shoulder and said, Hey, man, this, this will help. Wow, I had I had to give that back right had to share what I was learning in this journey. And so for 25 years now I've been voraciously devouring, and studying what it means like peak human performance. And then sharing it so and I get to share that with across five continents now, right, this
Curt Storring 7:41
amazing, man. Okay, yeah, thanks for sharing that man. And the thing about the seeds, I have often said that the our greatest gifts grow in the, in the gardens of our deepest wounds, and it's dark, and it's terrible. And we hate it at the time. And I just found there's so much to be grateful for and all the things that we go through that at the time are suffering. And if we can be grateful for the suffering and put meaning into the suffering, oftentimes, we can take control over that and not be a victim. But say, Wow, I must be being forged right now. Yes. And on the other side of that there's greatness, but you got to tap into that not be a victim. So how did you How do you think you did? Because I don't know what the differences man between guys who go through this, you know, shivering Christmas, and vow to do better versus guys who crumble? Do you have any insights on what the difference between those two guys are? And I, I've thought about this so often is so many times
Greg Denning 8:37
I, at the end, I'm like now I give credit to God because I don't know how I figure this out. But at some point in that, that next year, two things became an absolute reality to me. Number one, I had to stop playing the victim. Like you just said, like at that point, brother. I was the mayor of Victorville man. I was like it was everybody's fault. And you know, my circumstances, the government, the weather, whatever, people's bad decisions, and it was true. They had made bad decisions that led to me into being in some tough circumstances. But somehow, I think it was late 16, early 17 I'm like, wait a minute, I am done. Like I'm done. Giving people power of my life like, and I drew a line in the proverbial sand there and I'm like, Hey, yes, their decisions affected me. But from this point forward, my life will be what I make of it. I am done. I take full ownership for everything. And like I'm going here. So I stopped blaming I stopped complaining stop making excuses. Whatever I felt tempted I'm like so what? Okay, yeah, they did that. And this is happening okay, I'm I'm just gonna lay down here and die. Most gonna give up or I'm going to do what I can what's in my power to make a difference. And what's critical may we circle back to this but low it's critical as I started reading books that totally changed my life. Like it reframed my entire life.
perspective at 16. Where I think that's the key it gave me. It gave me this perspective, like women, I can think differently. I don't have to lay down and die here. Dude, that's so good that and that is like, I look back at my life too. And I go, I think that's it. I look at like all the teenagers that I know who are thriving, either their fathers have led them to read the good books, or they've picked it up on their own. And it's just this expanding of the mind. And this is like so important. My kids are nine, seven and two, and I'm reading the older ones, epics, we read Homer's Odyssey, we're reading Musashi right now, and it just expands their mind to such an extent. But I want to make sure they're getting into these mindset books as well, to see what's possible to know that growth mindset is possible. Do you want to just what were some of those books man, I'm super interest, I gotta get into this now. So the one that became like sacred to me, I do not know how I found it. I don't even think it had a cover on it. Like the cupboard fallen off. It was just the pages. And it was a book called the hiding place by Corrie 10. Boom. And it was a world war two book about this Christian family living in the Netherlands. And they decided to create a false room in their attic to hide Jews. And they did this for a long time saved hundreds and hundreds of lives, and then their neighbors betrayed them. They all got captured, they all got taken off concentration camps. And every one of them died except Cory. And then when she got out, she rebuilt her life and then wrote this book and wrote her story. And so in a very real way, as a 16 year old young man living in tough circumstances, Corrie 10, boom became my first mentor. And as she told her story, going through concentration camps, as bad as it was, and as negative and negative, as I was doubtful and fearful and angry, I'm reading her story going.
Okay, it's not that bad. That was the first thing. It's not that bad. And then she tells a story of how she and her sister responded. And her sister was an angel. And in the concentration camps, her sister, Betsy was consistently praying for the Nazi guards. I'm like, what, like, I want to beat the dude that stole my stuff. Like, I want to find him and make him pay. And she's like, Nah, let's pray for our guards. Because they were worse off that they're the ones that are more miserable. And so those ideas, shifted everything for me right? And started this process. So she was literally mentoring me through this. And then I read Victor Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning. Some good soul saw how much I was struggling and gave me how to how to win friends and influence people. So like, look, boy, you need this.
I read that excellent book, I read the power of positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. And that was the beginning of 16. Man, they're putting these ideas in my head. And, and I was totally alone. I had no friends, because I was super shy. Right? So I didn't talk to people. I didn't connect no friends, no family around. I was just just existing surviving. But I was reading these books. And so I was filling my every day, I was putting ideas in my head. I'm like, and so of course, it expands the mind. And the mind wants expanded, can't go back to former dimensions. And so I'm like, Oh, this, this is how this works. And this is the second thing that I learned it was just pivotal. So I realized that nothing would get better in my life until I got better.
Yes, and I don't know how I figured that out of 17, man, but I get I give credit to God. But I like I just realized, I'm like, wait a minute, this is how this works. When I become better, my circumstances just follow. My relationships get better, my health gets better. Everything in my life gets better as I get better. And so I got on this quest for personal growth and personal development, cultivation, personal greatness. And and for some reason, man, I had this deep conviction. I refused. absolutely refused to suck.
Right? Yes. It's just like, Oh, man. So you got physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, financial. I'm like, No, I just absolutely want to present for us to suck at any of those. I will not do it.
And so that's been this driving force in my life now. And we're, as I've put this all together for my, my, I have a masterclass for men. And I wanted to be concise. I'm like, what, what are the elements that I could bring all together in one place? That makes a whole man and I created what I call the triple trifecta. And it's this these elements, right? It's three things and three things in each string. So it's nine things that just, that's it. And if we just commit like, No, I just won't suck at that.
Then, man, everything just gets gets better, easier and faster, and far quicker and much more dramatic, I think than we often realize.
Curt Storring 14:55
Man that touched on so many points. And I even said yesterday, I love
Love I wrote down personal greatness. And then right after you're talking about like your refuse to suck in my, in one of my men's groups last night, I asked the guys to think about this, like, where are you not excellent. And why is that, okay? And it's like, man you have, you've got the one life, you're you're fully responsible for it, you cannot blame other people. And so, at the end of the day, it seems scary to some guys, but it's also a great gift because you now get to decide how the life goes. Nobody else. And if you put in the work, and if you put in the dedication, which you have done, then yeah, like, why would you? Why would you be like, oh, yeah, I'm sort of like, okay, at my job, and I could do better. But like, Whatever, I'm good at family. It's like, No, dude, you're good at everything, or you're good at nothing. In my opinion, you need to have that holistic thing, you have to have all elements which, which you just said, working together, I there's just no, I don't know, as a dad, especially, this is the thing that really helped me grow as a father. Average is unacceptable. And my kids are going to be seeing me and living their lives based on who I am and how I show up. And if I'm like, Yeah, you can be sort of, okay, it's gonna be it's gonna, you know, it might hurt once in a while you won't get anything you want. You're always at someone else's whim. But hey, at least not to work that hard. It's like no, man. It's all on me. Let's go. Yeah, I love that. You said that, man, thank you so much for pumping me up. Like, no, you're you're spot on, and especially with our children, because they are watching so closely. And for the most part for the first several years of their lives, they're just sponges, they don't, they can't do anything else, but just absorb what we are.
Greg Denning 16:32
There's this book called The courage to teach by Parker Palmer. And he's just a world class teacher. And he says that he teaches that whole principle he's like, no matter what topic you're teaching, no matter what subject it is, you cannot avoid teaching what you are. And that can't be more true anywhere than in fatherhood. You teach what you are, and your kids see that and they'll monitor that model their life after it. So we have to step up. And you get I've been there brother, where like, you get the spot where you're like, yeah, it's okay, that's good enough there, or are this part of my life, it won't be that big of a deal. But the visual that worked for me that we like to share my wife and I love talking about this. You take a wheel. And you can do with anything, you can take the wheel of life, the wheel of business, the wheel of manhood, the wheel of marriage, the wheel of health, and you say, what are the spokes in there? And you get those spokes, and then you rate yourself. And so let's say you just suck on one of those spokes. When you're like, Yeah, but the rest of the tire looks good. I'm like, Okay, start rolling down the road like that. Every time you hit that spoke, it's like, wow.
And you're trying to get momentum, and you're trying to get somewhere. And every time you will roll around, bam, you hit that thing again, you're like, Why? Why am I going so slow? Why is this so rough? Why does every time that comes up, it just hurts so bad? And that's the piece. We I'm with you, brother, in my estimation, my observation. The only way to do this is optimization and a whole life level. Absolutely, man, that's so good. I love that. And it reminds me when you're when you're putting these mental models out, like the visual of that wheel, because I use that with the guys that we work with as well. It's like the Wheel of Life self audit. Where are you? What does that feel like? How can you get better at that sort of thing? Right? It reminds me of Well, honestly, like the word recipe came up. And I remember that you said this recipe, this recipe for family life. And I would be I mean guys would hate me if I didn't ask you about that. Can you give us some of those ingredients? I don't know if this is like a secret sauce sort of thing. But when you started this with the recipe of a successful family life, what are some of those things that have given you just the best meal of life that you've had? Yeah. Interestingly, it started back at sort of 16 I started thinking like, Okay, well, wait a minute, what, what, what kind of wife do I want? That's where it started started kind of like what kind of life do I want? And so let 16 I started right now qualities that I wanted in my spouse, right. And I kept I kept that with me until I met Rachel. I like and I started traveling experience myself and I'd see things I liked and see things I didn't like, and I'd write it on the list. I was getting clearer and clearer about what I wanted. And then I started writing about the quality of the marriage. And then fortunately, in there somehow I'm like, oh, wait a minute. This is my list actually. Because if this girl exists, she's not going to even give me a second chance where I am I gotta rise. So it was actually listening soon become. And so well, one of those things right out the gates gentleman is the most important thing any of us can do is to work harder on ourselves than we do on anything else. We've got to be green and growing. And when I met Rachel, we talked about that and she was right on so I'm like, Yes, we grow together. We read together, we learned together, we're going to invest in ourselves. When we first got married brother, we were broke man. I was milking cows at 3:30am is a second job to just try to pay bills.
And we would buy books. And then if there was leftover, we'd pay the bills man. Like, we were like, we will learn, we will look we're gonna figure this out. And so we were committed to learning. And now that love of learning, we pass it on to our kids. So they are devouring books I'm I'm with you way to go reading to your kids, by the way, I read to my children every single night, and I have for over 20 years, right, our oldest daughter just turned 20. So I read to my kids, and then we do audiobooks. We listen to audiobooks when we're driving working out and now they're listening on their own. They're listening audiobooks, and, and we're constantly reading I read every morning, when I get up every night before bed, I book in my days with learning. And so then then you start, you start fitting that piece in. But, man, we can go on and on about this. But another critical element that I think is unique to us, is we value experience over everything else. And we will throw down money, we spend 10s of 1000s of dollars every year, to make sure that as a family, we're having priceless experiences and creating memories. So it's the learning element, you know, the kind of practical mind work, but then it's like, let's, let's go do this. Let's get our hands on it. Whether it's an international experience, or humanitarian experience, or just something really hard, let's go face a challenge together, and a modeling for them, how to handle difficulty, how to work with other people they're seeing, they're sitting back watching, and man they're learning. You're showing them how to live. And so that's, that's another ingredient there that I think has been an absolute game changer for us. We've taken our kids to over 35 countries so far.
Well, just because again, that you don't have to do that you don't have to travel but for us travels our family dream. We all love it. And so that's we're chasing that. So whatever the you know, those of who listening, like whatever your dream is, make sure you're clear about it, and chase it and show your kids how to chase dreams. And then help them chase their own dreams help them discover that like what what do you want to do? Do you want to become what do you want to develop her have like, let's figure this out. Let's go. And that's that's made all the difference.
Curt Storring 22:14
Man, the there's so much in there. And the thing that is crystal clear to me is just the intentionality and the clarity behind all these things you do. And when you started out saying it's 17, you're making a list of who you wanted to marry, and then who you need to become to attract that woman, like men. I think everyone needs to be having lists like that in their entire lives right now for the rest of their lives. And that is like the one of the most simple actionable steps that guys can take from that is get a journal and start writing down what you want. I talked to so many guys who are like, well, I don't even know what I want. It's like Well, dude, start writing that's in your heart. Like, what life would be ideal for you and just start writing and then go from there and start building and start chopping away at the things that are not serving that like you did. And then you'll like you can't wind up other than getting closer to what that thing is even if it's not perfect. And man the timing was a huge you nailed it. Kurt. You nailed it, man. It seems so Elementary. So simple. Like really just start writing and like, yeah, just start writing. Like what works? What doesn't? What do you want? What don't you want just start there. And early on. Of course, my list was what I didn't want, what not to do, because I saw all those stepdads come through. And literally early on my list. My list was what not to do. But I want to share this thing that just struck me with so much force one day, I realized, gentlemen, it is hard, almost impossible to get lost in life. If you check in with the map every morning,
Greg Denning 23:41
bro, please continue on this. This is like I've been trying to come on. Okay, lay it on us. Let's go. So the one thing I did, so reading was a big part of that right? And I'm like, Okay, what's what's my morning map because I don't want to get lost. And sometimes, I'm sure everyone listening has felt or maybe you've wandered off and felt lost or totally stuck. I had a guy reach out to me yesterday. He's like, Man, I'm stuck. I'm just stuck. I don't know how to get out help me here. Or another guy. He's like, Hey, man, he reached out last night. He's like, Hey, I'm 100 pounds overweight. Can you help me lose him? Of course I can. Right? Whatever it is, you can do that. But I started you know, in my wanderings, even even with so much intentionality, and deliberateness, I would still wander, it's still going off path and you're like, idiot. Come on, man, you set a goal to do this. What are you doing over here? And so I would keep bringing myself back here and myself. And finally I'm like, How do I get this to stick?
And so two things happen. One is I grabbed two books that I was like, okay, these, these here are the guiding force and I'm going to read and I did this literally, I'm going to read a couple of pages every single day. Until it's a part of me until like this is so deeply ingrained in who I am. And it was a little book called As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
I read a page or two from that every single day for over two years. And then how to win friends and influence people. I went back to that one, because I had no social skills. None. I couldn't look people in the eye. I couldn't hold a conversation. I would get hurt, I would get physically ill thinking about like a 30 minute drive because I was like, Dude, what, what can we possibly talk about for 30 minutes? I'm out. Like, no, I can't make it. I got something, because I was so afraid. And so I'm like, I'm overcoming that. So every single day I read those and read them and reread them and reread, I just kept going until finally I'm like, oh, it's in here. It's in me. Now. This is mine.
And then, that later developed into what I call the philosophy journal. I grabbed a leather journal, and this right here is the constitution for Greg Denning. This is my guiding
book, this is any great quote, great philosophy, great idea. Great scripture goes in here, and I read and reread it and read and reread it. And if you check in with it every morning, right? Every single morning, you get up, you read a couple pages of your own constitution. Dude, it's so hard to get off course. Because you check in every morning. Wow, man. And then it keeps you it keeps you in the path. It's just you're trying to make it easier on yourself where most of us are operating and self sabotage.
Instead of support.
Curt Storring 26:24
That I'm like, I'm literally mind blown right now, reading your own journal that you've collected the best of the best. Like, dude, that is the simplest and smartest thing that I've heard in a long time. And I never considered that because I can see
five journals on my desk right now. And you know, I'll read them. Once in a while. I'll flip through, okay, what was I writing about? And I like, you know, I've got some on my computer, I've got some of my phone and it's all over the place. And I've consistently gone. Where do I keep the best stuff? Yes. Where do I keep the verses that I want to remember? Where do I keep this where I keep like the quotes. And it's like, dude, that so Greg just held up, if you guys are listening, he held up as this big journal, thick journal by the looks of it. So there's a lot of room in there. And you just reread what you know is important because it gets you at that point in your day or your life. You write it down, then you read that Holy smokes, man, this might be Elementary to some guys. But dude, I'm like, I'm literally mind blown. And I'm going to get one of these as soon as we're off our call. Yes. You might you very well could have just changed my life right now. So thank you, because that's one of the best ideas come across in a long time. Yeah, man nailed it. Right, right, where you're just send me go, like, where do I put the best stuff? Right here, you make a place for it. And you get over and over and over it. And like, it's, it's now your constitution, your path. It's your philosophy. Just check in with that thing constantly. And you can't, you can't lose. I remember I was interviewed a long time ago by this sports psychologist.
Greg Denning 27:56
And he, his is this is rad man, his job. He's the psychology guy for the most elite military forces in the world. Right? That's awesome. Because those guys are the most mentally tough people on the planet. And he's like, look, here's that I have my guys rewrite their major goals, literally, pen pencil, rewrite your major goals every single morning is like, here's why only one of two things can happen. You're either going to stop writing, or you're going to achieve it.
And it's that same principle. Like if you touch if you touch base with the things that matter most you even for a moment, every morning, it has a magnifying power throughout the day. And then if you just touch it again in the evening, say how did I do? You just create these simple touch points. It's not even have to be that much time. But if you can create these touch points, man, it's so hard to get off course.
Or so one of the things I've been thinking about Greg is like, how am I prioritizing all of these important things that I write down that I say I want to do that are in my journal, and it's like, Dude, I've got 100 things I want to do. And for a lot of guys who are new to doing this journaling work, they're gonna come up with a list of like, Oh, I've got to be better at my fitness, I gotta be better. My finances got to be better in my marriage. Like, how do you think about prioritization in all of these things, which are actually important? How do you break down what to do first? Yeah, no, you're exactly right. Because it is all important. I guess that was one of the that was one of the, I guess, kind of coolest and most important realizations early on. Is it in order to be a true high performer in order to really have an extraordinary life? We have, we have no other option, but to become really good at several things. It can't just be like, Hey, I'm really good at work. Or I'm really good at marriage. But the rest kind of struggles is, if we're going to have that whole life optimization. We have to become really good at several things, but it can't You're right now
I can't be, it can't be 40 things. And so one of the things that I like to do is
just check in with your like, it's kind of like a values hierarchy, where you write down like what is most important to me and why. And then then what I always did, right, because I still read voraciously I still read a book a week, is I'm constantly checking in with the greatest thinkers and leaders and people who have the most holistically optimized life. And I'm like, what, what are they value most? What's on their hierarchy. And then I, you know, kind of compare that with where mine is to make sure that I'm not over valuing something that's maybe not be may or may not be that important over the long haul, right? So I get clear about my values. I'm writing those down and create the values hierarchy. And then the whole concept of having prioritizing our priorities is that you prioritize them. Right? Which is key. Sometimes we're like, yeah, I got 20 priorities like No, man, that means you have none. So you get that down. And then Then here's, here's the game changer rolling it again. It's so simple, but so few people do it, is get that into your schedule, get it in your calendar. So anyone we're talking to you right now. So hey, man, show me your calendar. And does your calendar reflect your priorities? Does your schedule reflect the dream you're chasing?
Can you see it in there? Can you see skill development and growth? Can Can you see family time and time with your kids time with your wife? You have dates on there as your or your date scheduled with your wife or your date scheduled with your kids? Are you putting the most important things in first and then fitting the rest of it into your schedule? And that that right there would will change the course of your life?
Curt Storring 31:48
Yeah, dude, that is so good. And I agree 100%, I was actually talking to a client about this yesterday. It's like, okay, I'm doing these things that I want to do some days. And I'm like, okay, are all your business meetings in your calendar? He's like, Oh, yeah, of course they are. I was like, Dude, why don't you schedule, the things that you're telling me are more more important than business? Put them in your calendar. And that is such a good thing, man. Because I have been on this path for I don't know, like, probably eight years now of doing the work to make myself better. When I finally realized I could kind of like you reading a book, it was me seeing someone do something that changed their life. And I was like, Oh, I didn't know I could do that. But I have been on this. And it's only been recently that I've actually done this because I have been talking about I do it here and there. But this last, I don't know the last year or two. I've been like way more intentional about putting things in the schedule, such that they just like you can't build around them. You can't miss them. Because they're in there. And like you said, pay, I almost looked at it like pay yourself first. Right? What do you do in your business? In your finances, pay yourself first same sort of thing here. Pay yourself and your family first in your schedule. And if you can't look at your schedule, like Greg was just saying, and prove to anybody that your family is number one. I think you've got some work to do here. Because at the end of the day, man, like,
how do you think about this, like the end of the day? I know, there's a lot of guys working and businessmen listening. But it's like, I think that you know, sitting on more money at the end of the day is going to be very lonely. If your family is not there beside you at your deathbed. Is this the kind of thing that you think about frequently, how do you stay grounded and what's most important and know that
Greg Denning 33:31
if you'll let me off, I can get really personal right now.
Please, brother if you're willing today's my little brother's birthday.
And he died of a drug overdose 18 months ago.
And man, I miss him.
Unknown Speaker 33:51
Man, I miss him.
Greg Denning 33:54
He would have been 39 today.
And when I think about him,
Rachel, Rachel, my wife, Rachel, her father got diagnosed with colon cancer, like the week after we met. And they gave him three to six months to live. And so we started our relationship together, watching him slowly and painfully leave life.
And it's those reminders, if I can get really serious with everybody. It's those reminders to say, man, keep First things first.
Like we can't afford
to be chasing things that are again, money's important. I hope you're all wealthy and abundant. I really do. Because it provides so many opportunities, but not at the expense of your family. Do not mortgage your marriage for money.
Do not go into debt with your kids. So that you can chase something else.
That's That's not how it works. And you know, as we've gone through like her life, Kurt, we've had, we've been privileged to have some really tough experiences like that, that reminded us of what's more important than, than those other pursuits. Again, not I'm not minimizing them, we have to be good at a lot of things. Money, you know, finances is one of my triple trifectas. You gotta be really great at how money comes into your life, how money goes out of your life, and how you manage your investments. Right? Those are the three in that in that trifecta. Can I share a story, Brother, please, it was so pivotal for us. We were living where we'd gotten this cool. We'd gone to India, to work with people who had been affected by leprosy and took the family over there. And we're serving and helping and I guess that's another critical piece of the recipe we're talking about earlier. Man, you have got to find a way to do good. And a difference in the life others like our family model, we got a few of them, but one of them is to be a great force for good in the world. Like that's just the driving force for our family be a great force for good. So we're over there. We're helping my wife gets pregnant and she gets she gets pretty. She gets morning sickness pretty bad, especially around smells. Anyone who's traveled to India. Oh, man, there's a lot of smells over there. And so we roll out of there and we went to Alaska with my mouse got it. Let's go live in Alaska for a while. So we drove up the the Alcan the Alaska, you know, to Canadian highway, there was beautiful. And we went out and spent a year up there. And then it was Dude, it was this month, bro.
It was this month, 12 years ago. We'd gone to this little little party for the kids. And they were kind of dressed up. It was like a Halloween thing. Right. So a few weeks from now. And
they were dressed up. It was so cute. And then we went and watched a movie at a friend's house. And they all fell asleep. It was like, it was like nine o'clock. And they all just passed out cold, right? And it's cold outside. It's Alaska is dark. And so we're only about three or four blocks from our house. And it's in the sleepy sleepy little town in winter. There's no buddy there. So we put the kids in the van and we're driving back to the house. I may be got up to 20 miles an hour. We were just kind of just going home and they were all bundled up and asleep. And I see these out of the distance. I see these headlights bombing at us. And my ass weird. I'm like, well, it'll stop I have the right away. Man, this kid never even slowed down. He never even hit the brakes. And he slammed into the driver's side of our minivan has spun us around into the ditch like a 180 into the ditch. And I had been an EMT. And so I go into EMT mode, right? I'm like, Okay, let's let's go home. And for me, it was just kind of a jolt I looked over her wife was just she was fine. And so I'm jumping out of the driver's seat to run around to the passenger side to open our sliding door there to check all my kids, right. We had five kids at the time. And as I jumped out of my driver's side door
to my utter horror,
my little three year old was laying in the weeds across the ditch.
And she she had been ejected from the van.
And I ran over to her she was conscious, she was alert. I'm like what hurts sweetie. She's like my leg hurts. So which leg and she points down and her right femur had snapped in half. That's the big bone between the knee and the hip. Right.
And my other my other son got, you know, his head got basically scalped. And those were the two the two injuries and they you know, took us up to the hospital and then she and I had to take a helicopter up to a trauma one unit. And then she had a big operation and she ended up in a full body cast both legs, both ankles all the way up to her armpits for 14 weeks in a frozen winter hell of Alaska, right? But, brother we that that moment, I almost lost my little girl.
With that close inches
away from losing my little girl.
And everything. I was worried about everything I was stressed about everything else working for fighting for gone. One day, oh my God, all this stuff. All these things. The next day, I didn't give a crap about any of it.
I just wanted my little girl to be okay.
And that experience was it was a tough one. Now we call that our horrible Night of Miracles.
But that experience is still so instructive for me of how to live my life
and how to make sure I'm prioritizing the things that deserve my effort, attention and focus because man, it is so easy to lose perspective. Man. Thank you for sharing that. Man. I'm I'm so grateful to hear that because it puts me
Curt Storring 39:54
like I feel so many emotions coming up right now and it just puts me in this place of gratitude that you
You shoulder that burden for us in a way, like you're serving us right now, because you had to go through that. And we get to hear from you the pain and what might have been and apply it in our own lives. And I'm just thinking of my own life going like, man, none of it matters except for what truly matters. And that, and you said something earlier, you said you were privileged to have gone through some of these sufferings and that mindset shift man that I wrote that down. Because that's what we're talking about before, like, these greatest wounds are miracles now, they're gonna lead you to never take that for granted again, and you've just gifted that to us, too. So, thank you, man, like, I don't even know what to do with that other than just sit with it.
Greg Denning 40:49
So I'm just gonna stay with it. Yes, and let it I don't, this is what I do. And I do I do count it a privilege. You know, when you're, when you're in the hard times, you're like, just take this away from me. But then afterwards, if you're open to it, and you let it instruct you,
that it becomes like your worst days become your best teachers. And you do you sit with them, and you just say, you know, I'm gonna let that struck me. I'm gonna let that educate me. I'm gonna let that refine me I'm gonna let that guide my actions. So when I get up in the morning, I'm checking in with what really matters and I'm making sure that my calendar is like that, that my life reflects that and my my words my actions, my habits are all reflecting that one thing I really like to ask my ask my soaker is like, what if my life were were a silent film?
Right, let that sink in. What if my life were a silent film? And all the things that I say are important and all all the talking I do is gone.
And people can only see what I do.
And that I did to me is so instructive. Like man
would it hold up in court?
What my priorities hold up in court like undeniable evidence like no, they do the Greg his family matters man his his marriage his relationship with his kids and making a difference in the world pursuing personal greatness that matters.
And if we're living it
again yeah, it changes everything
Curt Storring 42:28
that's so convicting
that's incredible. And one thing I just wanted to that came up as you were saying,
you know, looking for the the tragedies or the the suffering or whatever and and looking for where those seeds have been planted. I think this is a great exercise for guys to do if they are holding on to some pain from their past either their dad wasn't the daddy wanted to be or something like this has happened and they haven't processed it themselves yet. But do you have then you found the meaning in the suffering for you? And it's become probably like a critical part of who you are these days? Absolutely. So just want to remind guys to look back in their life and and and go to digest what they had not yet digested now and write it down and feel through that and see what's there for you what lessons are there for you like Greg was just saying, and then all of this, everything we've been talking about? Like the holistic nature of all this and the intentionality of all this and the service aspect of all this, it makes me just want to, I'm gonna steal your phrase just be the man right? Like, that's what this is all about. So can you just like maybe the last couple of minutes your tie this all in to our role as man and how we just be the man, it's all the things we've talked about? What? Maybe just bring us home with that, with that that phrase, be the man? Yeah. And that's it. Thanks, you framed it up perfectly. Because this it became this driving force as I was having these experiences of, of not having a good father figure, then, you know, then wanting a marriage and then having people we love paths. And then, you know, we have seven kids now. And we want to live this this extraordinary life. We we asked our kids where they wanted to spend Christmas and they're like Norway, what what like, Okay, so we're going to spend a whole month of December in in Norway and then travel across like 15 countries by train through Europe. And if everything goes, well, I'm gonna hop on a plane here and in about 36 hours to fly down to Cuba to help with disaster relief, right from from the here at hurricane. So we've got a lot going on, and it's awesome. But all of those lessons, and all of the books and all the experiences and the 1000s of guys I've been able to work with and families, literally across five continents, it's all been this instruction of like, wait a minute, what's the point here? And for me, it's like not to be dumb, man. And what does that entail? And I spent a lot of time thinking about that writing about them writing a book about right now. It's like ultimately, what is it what does it mean to be a man and what is it we want most? It's the whole package. Right? We want to have that man
Greg Denning 44:59
Magic in our marriage, the romance and the connection and to be best friends, and then great sex, and we want influence and connection with our kids. And we want them to just succeed far beyond what we're doing. We don't want our kids to grow and just be happy and healthy. We want to be fit, right? We want to be healthy and fit and get in, get in the best shape of our life and stay there for the rest of our lives. And we want to be leaders who want to succeed in business, and in finances will have great investments. And we want to do things that the matter make a difference from meaning and fulfillment and on and on, right. And ultimately, it comes back to like, be the man in this holistic whole life optimization, like I get each part of my life and I just work on it strategically. So it's not overwhelming, but it's definitely not underwhelming either. I think that's an important point there, right? Some of us are just seriously underwhelmed. Our goals are too small. I came up I came up with an acronym acronym several years ago, because we've all heard of SMART goals, right? You set SMART goals, but I'm like, Nah, man, we need some dumb goals. And so I took I took the acronym dumb, and it stands for demanding, unrealistic, meaningful, and bold.
That is awesome, man. I'm like, we need some more dumb goals. And we need to be be our best selves as providers, but as protectors, right, and there's, there's a place where we as men, we need to become dangerous.
Where people don't mess with us. Like, it's especially not that we're dangerous to
innocent people, but that someone who is filled with malevolence, or really has, you know, ill intent, like those guys say, hey, no, you know, you don't mess don't mess with me or anyone I love or anyone I'm near Mike, because if there's there'll be trouble if you do, right. And so it's just taking all those important aspects of what it means to be a man and then be it
with whole heart and soul conviction to be the man.
Like, drop. That's it, man. That's beautiful. Thank you so much for finishing us off on that. And I want to make sure that the guys can follow you because this has been incredible man. Like, I'm absolutely convicted with so much of the stuff you're saying here. So where is the best place for guys to learn more to be in your orbit? And to hopefully join you? Wherever you're wherever you're at? Yeah, I'll actually start with something that maybe you know, for the for the gentleman and their wives, right. My wife and I we co host the podcast called The extraordinary family life podcast. And so you know, there's we're you and I we're creating a place for men and it's so needed and it's it's beautiful. And the coaching you're doing the work you're doing the communities you're building brother, like kudos and honor to you, man. That's so awesome. But but for family stuff, that's their extraordinaire family life podcast. I have a podcast called Be the man podcast. And then we don't have on social. So Greg dot Denning on Instagram on my Facebook and LinkedIn. And just happy to help and happy to serve this is this has become a part of my life's work. I live I live for this stuff. And here's why. Because I started out with so little.
And I just cannot escape this, this overwhelming reality that if I can do it, anyone can do it.
But it was it was just finding the tools and I had to figure it out on my own. It took years of research and experimentation to find this stuff. And I keep I still today. I'm like, Man, I wish I had known this stuff sooner. So I live to help. So now I'm happy to help anyone has questions reach out, I answer all all the inquiries and stuff of questions, do whatever it is, I'm here to help and serve. Because there's, there's nothing better in life than having a big noble goal or dream with your family. And to achieve it, it is so fulfilling and so rewarding and Life can be so so good. And we're experiencing that right we're live we've been intentional about it and it's it's working it works like magic. But it'll work for everybody. That's my point. And so man I'm just I'm happy to do this and so proud of you man and what you're doing I'm grateful we can connect and kind of collaborate and work together to to just offer some goodness and some tools things that are working for us right and share with with with anyone and everyone that's that's ready to take their life to the next level.
Curt Storring 49:30
Yes, thank you, man. And I will put all those links in the show notes Dad.Work slash podcast so you can find everything Greg is doing there. And then I'm also so grateful for you because you have just lit a fire under me. I'm sure you've lit a fire and everyone listening I don't know how you could not have and I'm so grateful that you're doing the work you are and actually like doing it right like that's what we're talking about. You're doing the service you're doing. The bringing other guys alongside you're doing the leadership in your family, and that's what we need.
Greg Denning 50:00
rose thank you
Curt Storring 50:09
thank you for listening to the Dad.Work podcast. That's it for this episode. But if you would like to stay in touch between weekly episodes, why don't you go over to Instagram and follow me there because I dropped a number of things throughout the week that are related to what we talked about on this podcast but usually go a little bit deeper, provide some tips you can find me on Instagram at dad work dot Kurt. That's da d w o RK dot c u r t. And please, if you have been getting something out of this podcast, if it has touched you if it has improved your marriage or parenting your life, would you please leave a quick review on Apple or Spotify, leave a rating. If you have a few extra seconds leave a quick review. That's the best way that we can get this work in the hands of more fathers. And I truly believe that we change the world. One fathered at a time because each father that parents better that loves better raises children who do the same. And in just a couple of generations. I feel like we could be living in a world much better than the one we live in today. Your review will help along that path. And I thank you so much for being here to listen until next week. We'll see you then.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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