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Brent Yates, author of The Gravity of Up, is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and speaker. Over 10 years ago, Brent was falling apart. Everything he knew about his life was changing. But a group of people came into his life that changed his trajectory. He worked hard to reject negative mindsets and move towards happiness. 

In this week’s episode, Brent shares his story, from childhood to his later years, and how he went from a bully to humble and kind.

The biggest one is the discipline in the morning, that programming of positivity and gratefulness. That’s the gravity of up and the gravity of up has to start every day. For me, that discipline that you have that I have, that all elite athletes have, like if I want to live the life that I want to live for my wife and my family, that discipline, it’s not sometimes it’s every day.

– Brent Yates

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Key Takeaways

  • Everyone has a story
  • Untangling a complex past
  • Overcoming being a bully
  • Pain motivated transformation
  • Humble and kind
  • How to bring people up around you
  • How he views his senior years


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Sonya Looney: Brent, welcome to the show.

Brent Yates: Hey, good to be here. Good morning.

Sonya: Before we hit record, we were talking a little bit and it sounds like your wife has been a big inspiration in your life. Can you tell us about that?

Brent: Absolutely. Yeah. So I met my wife six years ago, and my wife’s a cancer survivor. She had cancer before I met her; 18 years ago is when she had cancer. I met her six years ago. And she’s a force of nature and positivity, positivity. And everybody I meet along the way these days that they have had a trial, if they’re still here, they figured out the positive activity piece. So that’s a lot about what I talked about what I talked about gratefulness and positivity is comes to people like my wife. So she is my force. She’s my rock. She’s beautiful. It’s so good. I’m very blessed to have her.

Sonya: Nobody can see you that’s listening, but you have a big smile on your face. 

Brent: Hell, yes, I do. And now I’m laughing now. You got me laughing? My cheeks are turning red.

Sonya: Almost everybody has some kind of story, something that they’ve been through, or maybe some people are stuck in their current story wanting to change their story? Where does your start?

Brent: Oh, boy. My story really started…I’ll be 62 years old this year. And I think programming as a child and who my parents were and how they were raised. Like, that’s where we all start. And I think good or bad, we have our DNA. And then we have the people around us. And I have a 13 year old granddaughter who just did a podcast with me. I guess now, it’s been six months ago. But that’s what we got to talk about was who’s programmed you, who’s been your influence. I know, I’m an influence, and I want to be a bigger influence. But soon, it was Eva Grace, and hopefully you’ll get to see that podcast. That’s one I’m really, really proud of. I said soon you have to become your own person and make your own decisions on where do you want to go to college, you want to be a model? What do you want to be? Is it a wife and you want to stay at home, whatever that is, Eva has to decide. So for me our programming and who we are as a child, like, Who is that? Right? Like we’re, we’re born pure and, and no real thoughts and who we’re supposed to be. But somewhere, we have to decide in ourselves what we’re supposed to be. And I think finding purpose and, and figuring that all out is tough. But someone like myself coming along and saying, hey, you know, you have all the employees influences? What makes Eva feel really good about Eva? And what do you think you would inspire you to be your best. So that’s what I want you to do. So I think for me my story, my parents were entrepreneurs. My mom was a great athlete. And I felt like when I wrote the book and as I lived a lot of my life up to 47, when I had the biggest problem in my life, it was them kind of putting measurements around me. I was a good athlete, as well, college basketball player, scratch golfer, and, but I didn’t know that wasn’t all me. And then my dad wanted me to take over the business and support him in his older age in which I did. But I wanted to be a stuntman. And so I wanted to go to Hollywood, I felt like I was this guy had all this big energy. AndI had a couple attributes. And I thought, you know, I can do that I can step in for those guys. And, and so I just didn’t want to grow up. Basically, I went to college and played basketball. But I really went just to play basketball, I went to college to play basketball, as I said, and I think for me, you know, I just, I didn’t really want to grow up. And so those influences, and that’s really where it started for me. And my mom was a very, very strong personality in our family. My dad was the leader, but my mom, she ruled. And so when I went into my marriage, no woman was going to tell me anything. And I think my life kind of started that way as a young child as well. When a bully picked on me early on, and I came home and they knew something was up and they just said, hey, you have to take care of yourself, and that will never happen again. And then I kind of took that way over the edge and I became the bully, basically. And and I also saw in second grade, I had a teacher Mrs. Davidson, and somebody in the class bullied Mrs. Davidson and what I remember from being in second grade and she was just ancient. I don’t know how old she really was, but she was ancient. And somebody used to always pick on her and I don’t know what I did to this boy, but I stopped it whatever I did. I have no clue. But then when I got to the next grade, the teachers, like I was special, they knew that something was different about me. And I really love that. So I love standing out. But yet at the same time, the pressures as you know, for standing out can become a huge weight. And so for me, I think the pressures have taken over a family business and then my dad was just this big, big figure, loved, was an amazing craftsman, and had a successful very, very small business. And I just wanted to be bigger than him. And so for about, I don’t know, 25 years in my life, that’s what I spent doing, was trying to be bigger than my father and be more loved than my father. And then support them, which I think all those things happen other than the part of me going over top of my father. So I think, in the book I come to grips with, now my son’s in the business, I handled that in a different way where, he respected me, and yet I’m lifting him up. And yet, I’m staying on top of him, because I don’t want him to get all cocky, right. But at the same time, there’s a perspective there that he respected. And I got to see with him. I’m pulling him he’s pushing me and I think the big piece with with me is, I didn’t want him to get over top of me, but I wanted him to have space too. So there’s been this cool dialogue of, or thought process of my father, whom I just kept trying to go over top of where he recognized me, he loved me, he was my biggest cheerleader, but I just didn’t quite respect the relationship. I just wanted to be so big. And so at the end of the day, my father and my mother, those were my influences. And I just didn’t live life right until 47. My relationship with my wife wasn’t good because she couldn’t tell me anything, because my mom ruled my father at home. And it just, I was going the other way, and I can’t blame it on her, she was obviously raised a certain way. But at the end of the day, you know, that’s the path I chose. And I just wanted to fight everything. And in that bullying, in second grade, the bully in sixth grade, like I became that guy, and I forced my way through everything, through life, through business, through my relationships, like, I wanted to fight everything, and that’s so unhealthy. Until finally it took over. So I don’t know if that completely answered your question, probably more than answered your question. But the influences are everybody that’s around you as a as a child, and, you know, rate rate to when you’re making your own decisions, and then that goes on with family. So anyway, those were my first one.

Sonya: It sounds like you spent a lot of time untangling a lot of complex, or just complexities that were going on inside of you growing up with having two very strong parental roles. The way that you felt seen or maybe didn’t feel seen, you mentioned, you felt really competitive with your father wanting to be better and bigger than him. But you also said that when you got to third grade, you wanted to feel special, you wanted to be to be seen and to be valued. And maybe in so much that you became the bully because you wanted so much to feel that way. But then realizing that, wow, I’ve been a bully my whole life, what was like it whenever you figured that out? And how did you figure that out?

Brent: I it made it. How do I say it allowed me? That’s the way I dealt with life. In business, I thought that’s what people wanted to see. I ran a construction company ended up being 700 people at one time. And I was the guy that I was taking everybody up the hill. And if somebody got in my way, I’d pushed them out of the way. So my success I felt like was tied to that tough, tough character. What’s really interesting is when I went through the enlightenment, and I don’t know if you want to go there already, but at 47 one when I got ill, I had MRSA in my forehead, in my ears, convulsions. I’d gone through the financial crisis, it was 2007 a divorce the same year and a lawsuit. There’s several other little things right, but it just, it beat the hell out of me. And so when I went through that, I started to realize that’s all I did was fight the lawsuit, I just wanted to fight. I wanted to fight out these guys were picking on me and it became a racial lawsuit when it was a real estate lawsuit. And I tried to do the right thing in the situation, but they weren’t having anything to do it. So I wanted to fight them to…they were wrong. And so, about the same time, my life coach came along, and he helped me to realize that I wanted to fight everybody and that was either gonna kill me, but it wasn’t gonna take me any further. That fighting that constant, wanting to battle. I would have dreams. And I helped my pastor who just passed about last summer. One of the best men I ever knew. I helped him build a couple of churches. And I used to have dreams about my pastor getting in my way. And me pushing him out of the way. I was so bent on going to where I thought I was supposed to be, like you didn’t want to get in my way. And what’s really interesting is the only person I never intimidated was my mother. And there were times where my mom was like, what are you doing, son, and I was like, well she’s gonna get intimidated too, and not my mom. I just flew her out of Florida yesterday to get her out of the storm. And she’s in the house right there right now. And the toughest person that I know. And the most loving to me today, and the one that makes me toe the line. And really the only one I listened to. I listen to my wife too. But there’s just that there was that twist in there somewhere where I was like, yeah, she really does get it. And I should have listened a lot, a lot along the way. I don’t know if that answers your question.

Sonya: So you mentioned that at 47 basically the bottom fell out. MRSA is the flesh eating bacteria, correct? And the lawsuit, just all these things happening to you. And you also mentioned that’s when you got a life coach.

Brent: So what happened was I considered suicide. And in the suicide, I realized that I didn’t want to die. And so in that moment, or the moments that followed, I knew I had to do life differently. And it scared the hell out of me in that moment, so I knew I had to do life differently. But I didn’t know how. I had faith. I had God, but at the time, the faith was way down the list. And I’m trying to survive, and God wasn’t the tool I was using. And so what I then realized is, you’re either going to live or you’re going to die. And I chose to live and in the mind process, and what happened in that moment was, I was just open to people helping me and my mind changed. And I had experienced Phoenix, about, I don’t know, eight years earlier. I followed the buckeyes out for a football game to Phoenix, and I always thought if I got divorced, I’m going to go to Phoenix, people seem different. The the moon was different. The stars were different. I know the weather is different. But people live there with a different energy. And I thought, well if I get divorced, or if this all goes bad, I’m going to Phoenix and that’s what I did. Soon met a trainer, I wasn’t training, I was on crutches as well. So my body had totally shut down. What you see today, I was about 175 pounds, I’m 200 today, but my body had, like I was nothing. I was mind body, so it was all gone. And so I’ve got pictures that are in alignment with the book from where I started at 47 to where I am today or, and in the middle. I mean I had a two year period where I didn’t think I’d make it to 50. And so when I got to Phoenix, the first guy that came into my life was a trainer. I’m on crutches. I’d been there about a month, but I was seeing that I wanted to be there. I felt the energy I felt like there and the most amazing trainers still to this day came into my life. And just like I was at the Montelucia spa in Paradise Valley, and I’m standing out among a second level gym, and I’m just standing there thinking about going in and maybe doing a little little lifting but I didn’t train at that time or workout. And this guy comes up who ended up being Tom Draft, trainer at the Montelucia Spa. Have you ever been there like Paradise Valley?

Sonya: I’ve been to Phoenix, but just not not there. Sedona more Sedona. Anyway, there’s some good mountain biking in Phoenix.

Brent: Oh, yeah. So he comes up and he puts his arm around me. And he says how you doing? And so I was kind of insulted right? Because I still had that little bit of edge, ego. I needed help with crutches. So I was insecure. But still a dude. Right? I’m still like, I thought I was somewhat tough. And he meant that, that he really meant, how are you doing? And we ended up developing this amazing relationship. His name is Tom Draft. And we lived together, we worked out together, we were developing a training device for rehab purposes. I mean, we had about a year and a half where like, this guy was completely off the edge like what he ate, how he thought, how he meditated, how he lived his life, what he put in his body. And I say off the edge like, like I’m kind of over the edge as well. So but I’d never seen anything like that. So focused on himself and so focused on being better. And I’d never ever witnessed that and that’s what I needed somebody that was all I am somebody that put out like his spirit. Like I’ve met three or four people on the planet, I think I told you I’m 61, who have the spirit that when you see them and you have one of them, too… Where you’re just like blown away. Tom, when we walked in a room, nobody saw me, they only saw Tom. Tom floated in, and Tom loved on everybody. And he had a great body; he completely took care of itself. He was a real deal. And he had been at it for a long time, he was a former model and weightlifter, but I met him he was probably 53 or 54. I’m 47 or 48. And this guy, just took me under his wing. So he was the first one. Same time within a month, I mean, Al Fuentes, who’s in the book, he gives visualizations in our book and kind of takes you through my timeline. We have 550 visualizations over the last 12 years. And so he’s connected those to the book and the timeframes that we use them. So I met Al Fuentes, who became my life coach, still is my life coach, mental coach, whatever you want to call it. But so within two months, I meet these two amazing men of integrity, men of spirit, men of character, and then then it was a church. And then a church came in, like God threw it all at me and I had already been in church. But I went into the most amazing church in Phoenix, the largest fastest growing that didn’t know the pastor, and elders and all these people came around me, and I was pretty beat. I’m on crutches, MRSA, still got this circle in the center of my forehead from MRSA, got it out of my ears. And that was all crazy story as well. But you name it, like I had broken down, and God threw the kitchen sink at me, and got me off my knees. And so Phoenix, I’m going to speak in Phoenix in a couple of weeks. And when I get there, it’s just high, high energy because of my roots because the people what they what they did. They’re all still out there. And so when I go there, as soon as I get in the airplane, and start flying that way, about halfway, my energy changes. I’m in a book, I’m focused on tuning in. And it’s it’s just so cool out there. I know why you love Sedona. We go up there, my wife and I, we have an apartment in Phoenix. So we spent maybe about three or four months there a year, but Phoenix is it. Phoenix is the place for me.

Sonya: Yeah, that’s so amazing that you’re able to find that place for you. Number one, you found that place. And then number two, you realized I have to move somewhere; I have to change my physical environment and go somewhere else. And that drove you. And then by making that decision, it opened up all of these doors, you met these people that were massive inspirations in your life that pulled you out of that chip on the shoulder, bully mentality to be open to somebody helping you which it sounds like in the past, that wasn’t something that you were very open to. It was more like this, you have to do it my way. And that’s a massive transformation. And it sounds really easy whenever you tell the story, but I’m sure that that was not an easy process, shifting, essentially, your identity and who you are and how you approach the world. But finding these people was so important for you.

Brent: Yeah, it’s, it was so all well said. And you’re right in tune with it. And I think I was still had a business back in Ohio, so I was doing Phoenix like a couple weeks and go back, a couple of weeks and back. And once I became I’ll call it enlightened, it took a couple of seasons for me really, through the churches and all the people feed into my life.

Sonya: I’m going to interrupt you and ask you, like you said, when you became enlightened, when you had that big shift, what was that process?

Brent: For me, my life coach would work with me. Now Tom would work with me through music through getting quiet. It didn’t happen for me until about a year after both of those came into my life. And I read Tolle, Awakening to your Life’s Purpose. Have you ever read it?

Sonya: I haven’t read that one, no. Just the Power of Now.

Brent: He was an Oprah star or whatever, somebody suggested to him. And so he was like the fourth or fifth thing that came into my life. And when I read Tolle, I was actually sick in a hotel room. My oldest daughter was getting ready to get married in Ohio. So I’d flown back to Ohio. And I had some cold or swine flu or something. This is 12 years ago. And I read Tolle while sick in bed. And as soon as I closed the book, I went outside, this is a Hilton parking lot, and I started really meditating. And I had this most amazing experience. The moon was right there. And I was running in this parking lot, as I see it today. And even then I described it like a deer. I don’t know what that all really was. But I had that moment where I changed and through spirit, through all the things that came in to me. It changed me and enlightened me. I now looked into the future instead of wondering what’s the future going to be like, for me now I was excited about the future. And now I greet people and really take people in and I bring my energy, where that wasn’t the case for me. I would take your energy. And if you had nothing else for me, like, I’d flip the lid down here. I wasn’t that guy. So a big part of my transformation also was I went to the beach in Santa Monica, this was like 2011, I’ve got this rope climb that if you’re on my social media, you might see, but my life coach made me engage with the homeless. And I was so shut down, this is before I became enlightened also, it’s just one of those other things. I was so shut down that, again, I didn’t engage people saw me coming. And they moved out of my way, still, like I was still fighting, trying to figure it out. He took me to the beach. And I engaged people on the beach under palm trees. And when you know that people have gotten to the beach, know that they’ve totally disconnected with society, right? They’re one step away from the water. So now I’ve got lunches, I’ve got water, I’m taking these people on the beach. They’re looking at me like I’m the FBI, like MMA, but what I realized was like, I was one step away from the beach so many times, the actual water and I ended up in the water. And I think in our lives, we don’t know where people were at, but we know that at some point, like, you’re probably about ready to throw in the towel, and you’ve probably been there. So by getting that empathy, that compassion for people change me. So I had about a two year period where I got Tolle, I got my life coach, I had Tom, my trainer, I got the church, I got these elders, I got these people feeding into my life, who are amazing men. And I had some already, but they all just got through it all at me and said, son, he knew that one or two wasn’t going to work for me. Like he gave it all to me.

Sonya: You mentioned that earlier on that your parents were really big personalities. And that you also mentioned when you were talking about your granddaughter that there’s a lot of shaping that happens. How are these people different from your parents?

Brent: I think I think I had to fall down first. I think I had to be beat up. I think I had to be close to death before I changed. And so I think I’m gonna guess most people unfortunately, have to get to that place before they open their mind. And I think once they open their mind then the world is possible. And I see life as a as a team game. Like all the people around me, I keep putting more people around me. And I can’t wait to see how high we really truly go because I’m just getting started. And that’s a whole other subject. But it’s truly these people, I was beaten and beaten hard enough to have to make a choice. So now when I looked at people, I was at least they saw somebody that was open now. My ego, I shed some of the ego because I just about taking my life, disease it about taking my life. So I was open to it.

Sonya: Pain is fortunately and unfortunately, a great motivator. And also it sounds like the empathy and compassion piece really changed how you viewed the world and viewed yourself.

Brent: So this was 2007 to 09 when I when I became a different person. But I’d have to go back to Ohio. And so Ohio was very dark for me. That’s where I went through the divorce and 20 rough years of marriage. And it’s where I was beating everything up and fighting and working 60-70 hours a week. And you know, it was just dark to me. And so I’d have to now go back, I’m now enlightened, I’ve now been inspired to do more. And there’s a cool story. They brought a guy and then I’ll switch into Ohio. And I’ll talk about that back and forth. But know that Ohio was very, very dark for me. And I was frightened that I couldn’t maintain what you see today in the spirit. When I go back to Ohio and it was very difficult. But a guide came to speak, it was like the last piece before I before I went okay, I’m ready to go. And I feel like I can go do what I’m supposed to do and that is run a business, take care of a family and create a foundation for my family that I had broken. And so a guy came to speak named Barry Cameron to our church at Church Christ in the Valley in Phoenix and his message inspired me to get up. He wrote a book. It’s called Contagious Generosity. But the message was, make more, save more and give more and I’m sitting there in the congregation and going, what am I doing to give more? What am I doing? Like everybody’s helping me and I’m I’m not contributing, I felt like I wasn’t contributing. But I felt strong enough that I was ready to go. It took about two weeks to give everything away I had brought to Phoenix, which I now had nothing because Ohio I just left two years earlier. Now, I’ve got an apartment everywhere, but I really have nothing. So I gave my car to the church, I gave all the furniture away, whoever would come and get it in. I just went I gotta go back to Ohio. And I had to cut strings with Phoenix. Because I knew I’d just want to come back. So it was very difficult, didn’t want to go back. But I had to go back. But that guy inspired me to… I could do more. When I got back in 2011 fracking hit in the Midwest, and where are you from?

Sonya: I’m originally from New Mexico.

Brent: And you live now where?

Sonya: I live in Canada on the West Coast.

Brent: Okay. And so you know about oil and gas then. And so I was in the oil and gas business, we put in installed pipelines. And so fracking hit in within, I don’t know, 100 miles of where I live. So 30 years rough and tough business that I was in pipeline, construction workers and fighting and grinding for every dime, fracking hit. And I didn’t frack, but installed pipelines. So when when the natural gas got booming, I installed the pipelines from the wellhead out to infrastructure that sold, companies that sold the natural gas. And my business grew about 100% a year, five years in a row. And so 30 years in business, grind, made decent money, but lots of risks. And I heard that guy speak, like six months later fracking it, and I’m back in Ohio. Now I’m trying to navigate who I was, who I am, and who am I gonna be right to all these men who know me as really, really tough and rugged. And I set high expectations because I knew how to do the work. I’ve done the work. I’ve been in the battles with these guys. And so that was a tough balance for me.

Sonya: I was actually going to ask you, how your approach to running your business because you’re the owner, and probably the CEO, of your business, how has your leadership style changed with these major realizations and life changes?

Brent: Yeah, I think what I got people to do was number one, I kind of cared about people if they could give me what I wanted. Right? I set these expectations, you meet them, life’s good. I’m going to take care of you. You took care of me. I changed here and here [heart and head], so when I got empathy, and I realized that if I could feed people to want to be better, to change, to have a greater purpose, and that’s what I wanted for them now that I’m back and you know, I’m enlightened, which we just discussed and think differently, but yet they had this still know that I was the guy that could take them up the hill right, 100%. I was still that guy, but I didn’t want to take it up with blood and spears and you know, I wanted to clear the path and use my mind and my energies but now I started tying people into their hearts and what’s next for them and what’s greater purpose. So I started feeding my tools which are Tolle or Maxwell Bsiness Bible or, you know, any the any of the influences song. Tim McGraw’s in my book, humble and kind and so 2015. We may get to that, but like, everything started to shift. But yet I when I needed to engage that I’ll still take you up the mountain, they were all still there. They knew I was they loved I think a little better who I was now, because it wasn’t all about blood and guts. And it transformed my company over a few years, to where it ended up in 2018.

Sonya: Leadership, and culture starts at the top. And I’m sure that it was almost like whiplash for some of those people whenever the leadership style changed. And you change so much. And are there people that left because they actually just couldn’t handle the change?

Brent: No, I don’t think so. And I think because you’re talking about it right there in the change. Great question. I also had to be careful with my family because I didn’t disconnect but your dad’s gone. Your dad’s living somewhere else. My kids are just are all we’re all in college. But you know that that foundation was was crumbled, right? Mom and Dad are split. And now who are they and my kids only knew me as tough and rugged and like I’m taking the hill. So that was a delicate balance as well because they saw that dad was different, and I didn’t want to scare them. I wanted to love on them differently. I wanted to see who I now was, but I wanted him to know I was still there for him if there was battle. So I had it with my family as well. But no, nobody left. I don’t remember anybody leaving. I probably still let people go. But I don’t remember anybody running. We were very successful when I came back. And that was God, that was God’s grace, the fracking. Again, I went from probably doing 10-12 million a year doing 150 million a year, in five years. And now I’m a nice company, a really nice, solid company. We always profitable, but profitable on 10 million is a lot different than 150 million. And so I was attracting people. Now I’ve got this new personality, I’ve got this new energy, but they knew I was still going to be there if there was a fire.

Sonya: Yeah, wow, there’s a lot there, especially you talking about your relationship with your kids. I think a lot of times people are afraid to make a transformation in their life because they see this new identity or this new person that they’re going to become, and they’re afraid that they’re going to alienate people around them. And for me, one of those things was I changed my diet to eating a plant based diet in 2013 and I didn’t tell anybody about the way that I ate for four or five years, because I was so afraid of alienating people. And I was worried people would think that I was judging them. And really, I just was doing it for me, because that was the best thing for me. And whenever I finally told people about that, it felt good, but people weren’t running the other direction. And it was just, okay, that’s fine. But it’s just an example of being afraid to step into something that you’re passionate about, and that you’re doing. And that’s really helping you because you’re afraid of scaring people around you or alienating people.

Brent: 100%. Yeah, we we really went through the same things. You let people see, you don’t really talk about it that they see there’s some there’s change, right. And then at some point, there’s a conversation. So that’s really, that’s really cool.

Sonya: I wanted to ask about how you handle conflicts now, because I’m sure that that old bully is still in there. And you have to wrestle that bully down whenever there is a conflict. So how have you worked on dealing with conflict?

Brent: Yeah, it’s a great question. And I think in the book, what you’ll see is I’ll take 10 steps forward, and there’s a step back, right, that old programming is always going to be there. So through my books, through my resources, through my tools, I call it my tools, when I go to speak, I got all these guys around me that I talk about how they inspire me and the 10 lines out of every book that means something for whoever I’m speaking to, that’s what I use. But the biggest one is the discipline in the morning, that programming of positivity and gratefulness. That’s the gravity of up and the gravity of up has to start every day for me. That discipline that you have that I have, that all elite athletes have, like if I want to live the life that I want to live for my wife and my family, that discipline, it’s not sometimes; it’s every day. I feel like, if I can put that shield on every day, I’m going to be okay. But life comes at as hard. Right? Right. Like, we both know that, right? It’s every day, it’s something new, and I’ve got like 80 new things going on. And new companies and three or four new people and sometimes it’s like, really, like, I’d like to get in there and just grab them go, here’s the way we’re going to do this, right. But the old me is like, that doesn’t work. And so it’s unhealthy. So I think the big thing for me is, I don’t feel good when I’m like that. I can’t survive like that. I can thrive in my new life. And you can see the energy, but at 47 years old, and how long was go with that, 14 years ago, like, I had nothing left. And so it’s really a survival skill for me when I see it. It’s like, okay, I gotta decompress. I’ve got to breathe. And that’s typically what I do.

Sonya: So it sounds like knowing what your foundation is and then being very intentional about that commitment and not just making it something that you do sometimes, but being consistent. And consistency is something that I think about and talk about all the time. Consistency doesn’t even mean that it has to be perfectly done every single time, but it means that you just keep showing up to that thing that makes you, you that helps you be your best self. And yeah, it sounds like without that morning routine, which I’d love for you to talk about a little bit more, you just can’t be your best self and the old programming comes back up.

Brent: 100%. So I recognize when I’m not being my best self, and so I’ll work harder. I’ll go, okay, I gotta take another 10 minutes, or I just have to refocus because we can go through the motions. If it’s a day after day after day thing that we do, that discipline can become undisciplined. And so I know that there’s a special visualization that I have, I know there’s a special place that I have, and I’ll go back there and go, I gotta reset. I love tell the story about Matthew McConaughey that I told at a company party, I think in 2013, and it’s a cool illustration of all that. But in 1997, he did A Time to Kill. And he was already somebody and I knew who he was I liked, I liked what I saw, he was at peace with people. And I didn’t know understand it at the time, because I was watching this in the early 2000s, and in 97, I had no clue. But you know, everybody wanted to be around him. And so he did the movie and he became this instant hit, right. And everybody was after and producers and actors, and they wanted to do this script and that script. And in 2013, I read a People Magazine, so his book hadn’t come out, obviously, Greenlights.

Sonya: A great audio book too because he reads it. And he’s just hilarious. I don’t know him, of course, but I just think he’s hilarious in his book.

Brent: He’s on my list. And so stay close, because I will meet him. And so what happened was, he recognized that he was getting out of balance. And this is in ’13, that I’m reading it and I’m still now I realized what that is. And he got dropped in Peru as you read in the book. And for seven days, really just enough food and water to get him through until he found his own food on the island. And do you remember the story? No. And so he’s eaten, who knows what, mushrooms, I don’t know what he’s eaten. But he’s, you know, he’s seven days, he knows he’s told his people in seven days, you pick me up. I’m gonna go find myself. And so he got ill for like, two evenings. In the third evening, the third day, he’s like walking like a football field in a circle around like a track around the football field. And he doesn’t want to stray off of it, because he knows his people can find him right there. So he, he basically took it to dirt walk in there all day long, very sick, he laid down ill. And he thought the next morning, if I’m not better, I’m gonna have to call for help. And he woke up and what he saw was that track he was walking on had turned to flowers. So he’s in the rainforest. And it all turned into flowers. All I want is what I can see. And what I can see is in front of me, and so I tell the story of my company party. And they’re thinking Matthew is coming, everybody went after the party thought that Matthew was going to walk out. But that inspired me so much. And I look at my life today, that’s like 20 minutes a day for you and I, seven days, 20 minutes, seven days, times 24 hours, whatever that is 20 minutes a day for you and I to go, I gotta take this for myself. He took seven days all at once, like, who does that? But aren’t we worth, number one, putting everybody we can find around us to get us through this life and keep us as going as high as we can go. But 20 minutes a day. That’s what I mea., I gotta have that. I usually take a little more than that. But if I do 20 minutes, I got a chance at this life.

Sonya: So you’re doing visualization in that 20 minutes?

Brent: I’m doing 20 minutes of first I calm the mind down. There’s no thoughts going on. And then I get grateful. And then I feel like I’ve got a connection with God that I don’t have at any other time in the day. I haven’t turned my phone on. I’ve had coffee already. I’m usually in a hot tub or a steam room. But it’s just me and God in the steam room and me getting quiet. And that’s when I get connected to the man that most matters most to me today. And I’ve got mentors in my life, of course, but that connection, that spirituality that that piece is most important to me. And that time, if I don’t get it, sometimes I’m not a cool person to be around.

Sonya: So let’s talk about humble and kind. And like in your book, you have the song lyrics from the Tim McGraw song. Can you elaborate more on that?

Brent: Absolutely. So I played this at my company…I heard it like time and time again in 2015. What I was hearing was not just the humble and kind part, but the recognition part, and by 2015, my company had now grown 100% a year. I didn’t know a lot of the employees in my company at that time, because now we’re five, six, 700 people, I had hired him, but I didn’t know. Right. And, and so I think the piece that most attracted me was, once you’ve been recognized, now you’ve got to turn around and help the guy behind you. And I think I’ve taken that to a whole other level with businesses as I talk about him. That’s the backbone of what we do, right what our businesses do. But I think what gets lost is once I get there, it’s like, alright, I’ve made it, now I’m going to make more money. And this is what I’m gonna do from the boss. We have to then turn around and think about the company. And now who’s coming up behind him, who’s filling his spot. And so when I felt like I had been recognized that was resonated with me on a high level, and what I put out to my company was, we’re going to grow and we’re still growing, but what you need to think about is when you’ve been recognized, who you bring it up behind you, and that became part of our call, it’s an easy thought process. And it’s easy to learn. But so impactful to all our lives.

Sonya: I’m going to tie this all the way back to whenever you are competing with your father. Bringing people up behind you requires being really open about the idea that that person might surpass you in their abilities and in that mentorship and thinking about the pie either getting smaller or making the pie bigger by helping those around you. And that’s really different than how you were growing up. How do you talk with people who feel that constrictive feeling like, oh, they’re gonna take what’s mine, if I help somebody that’s up and coming?

Brent: Yeah, what’s interesting is in my book, somewhere, and I don’t remember writing it or saying it, but I said, had I had a brother, I’d killed it. And I had a sister, thank God, or I’d be in jail, and we wouldn’t be talking right now. But there was no room for that in my life. So you hit it dead on it, that there was no room for that. And so that change in thought process? Gosh, 2000, as a leader, like, I’m always thinking that, but I didn’t cultivate it. And what I tell people now is, we’re going to continue to grow. If you find yourself in a company that doesn’t have that mindset of growth, go somewhere else. If you find that go to a mom and pop, and you just like the culture, and they’re cool, they go to Florida for the winters, and they’ve got their Cadillac already, like, find somewhere else to go, there’s no energy in that whatsoever. And so our country is built on that growth model of, let’s get them there. And so what I tell people directly underneath me is, I want you to go bring me two or three more people. And I know that I’m going to elevate you, you’re going to elevate, and that you’re always going to keep that spot. If you decide to drop out, something’s not going right, so be it. But I haven’t found that yet. Because they’re pushing them everybody’s pushing everybody up. But that’s very, very key is they can’t be worried about that. And if they are, they’re not the right person anyway, and they need to go. And I can recognize that or as the leader, you have to be able to recognize that. But that mentality is below me 100%. And when I talk to my team now, it’s like, I don’t know who’s coming next, but great people are coming, get ready, because you got to go up ahead of them. And everybody’s pushing you up.

Sonya: Yeah. And I also think that it’s normal to have conflicting feelings, even the people that are about helping others rise up and bring everybody up around them, you can still have that feeling of oh, what if they take what’s mine? Or you can still have both of those feelings existing at the same time. It’s not just one or the other.

Brent: Yeah, no question. It’s up to the leader to let the guys that have now come up know that we’re going a step further that that that whole pyramid is coming up. So if you don’t have the business, or you don’t have the profile, or you’re not in the right region, or the right industry, very difficult to have that thought process. But my business is once I figured that growth process out, it’s been easy to put in there. And the guys that are under me know. I think you’d have enough experience with people, especially at this point in my life, I think if I’m starting again, and I don’t have 40 years of experience, a little tougher, but people know when I tell them that you’re my guy, and go find three more just like you because somebody’s gonna fill that space, everybody gets it, and everybody knows. But very difficult probably 30 years ago in my career to do so.

Sonya: Something that dawned on me earlier on when we were talking that I reminded myself to bring up later it was that you’re 61. And I think a lot of people think that I have to figure out my purpose, or my life’s calling, or my life’s work by the time I’m a certain age. Or why even bother making a change once I get past a certain point? Or I’m gonna make it to 60 or 65 and I’m just gonna retire. And that’s totally fine, if that’s people’s, what people want to do, but a friend of mine, she’s a very impactful person in my life. And on her 60th birthday, I said how does it feel to be turning 60? And she said, I am so incredibly excited about turning 60 because I have always known that my most impactful years of my life will be my senior years. And a lot of seniors will stop working or that’s the time where all of their things that they’ve been doing their entire life have compounded and they can make their biggest impact in the world. But people stop working. And I mean, not everybody likes there job. And people want to retire because they don’t like their job so they can do go do the thing that they love. But I just wanted to ask you about what it’s like to be 61 and how you view your future and your impact.

Brent: Wow, there’s a lot in that question. A lot of emotion. What I tell my team that’s around me now and there’s about 20 guys and women around me, is I just drove a stake in it today. Like if I’m talking to them today like what we do next Like, I just got started, I feel like I just got started. I’ve been gifted this brand new career, and I have a new purpose. And I think our purposes always are evolving. It used to be like, I had to take these guys up the mountain. And that was it. It was really cool. When I started the book, I started videoing myself about a year and a half ago. I didn’t do podcasts. I didn’t even have a camera, right. I had no social media, I’ve never been on social media. And I videoed myself in Nashville. And I was talking about what I was going to do and I knew I was going to put that out there. And I started writing that book, and the book started to gain momentum. And so about six months, maybe eight months, it was probably more a year ago, I called my son and my daughters, and I told them each individually, hey, I’m gonna be on social media. You know, I’m writing this book, and I want the world to hear from me. And so I called my son, my son was really the most impactful conversation. And I told him all this, and I said, you know, I’ve protected you for a long, long time. I said, I’m not showing you truly who I am. And I’ve protected you in a lot of ways, and I’ve given you space, but now know that you’re going to see the true me. And he goes dad, he goes, you could be on a beach somewhere. And you’ve chosen that you want to impact lives. He goes, I tell your stories everywhere. And in that moment, I’m like, okay, I had no idea my son told my stories. I don’t even know what those stories were. That inspired me to a whole different level in that moment, when I knew I didn’t have to protect him. And I also knew that I impressed him somewhere along the line. And so for me, from a career path and what’s left, I want to inspire people my age, to find their purpose. Like we have all these skill sets, we have all this experience and wisdom and want to get it out. I got all kinds of stories, right and great in that space, where I’ve been in rooms with 500, CEOs and presidents, and I’m like, you know, what’s next for us? Like, how are we going to change the world? Like we have a certain amount of time left. And my time to eternity is a lot closer than it was to me being born? And what are you going to do? What are your kids going to see? When is that legacy truly going to look like? And I click people right in here. So I love that subject. I think it’s getting me really excited. So I don’t know if I answered your question.

Sonya: I just think that there has to be a shift amongst how we view aging, and that we feel like we have to rush so much to get to this certain place. And I’ve been in that position myself. And someone said to me, it was a really wise thing he said, he said, Sonya, there is plenty of time to do it all. You have plenty of time, why are you rushing this and you can do this your entire life. And I think that we’re taught culturally that we were done at a certain age, like you’re done, when you’re 65, you’re done when you’re whatever. And it’s like, no, here’s a lot more out there for you. And I also would argue that having that sense of, call it purpose, call it meaning call it and doesn’t have to be writing a book and speaking. It could be like spending time with your grandkids or whatever it is, I think that makes you live longer too.

Brent: Alright, as you can see, I’m pretty tuned in to what’s next and where I’m going. And that’s contagious. And for the people that look at me and my team, they’re trying to figure out how they get to where I am. That’s what jacks me up. Like, I want them to get where I’m at. I’m telling them, like one of us is gonna get like, I got two or three, four years. I’m gonna lead this at a high level. I said, but why don’t you all come and read up in the air? And yeah, I’m gonna make space for that when it’s time. But hey, none of them ready yet know that?

Sonya: Where can people find you and learn more about you and your book?

Brent: They can find me at They can find me at Gravity of Up. I’ve started a company called Gravity Up Gear. Like I wrote the book two years ago, right? So Gravity Up Gear. I can’t wait to get you my first signature piece which this girl is my model right here. But it’s an insulated way to invest it is right up your alley. I’ve got three or four different sports league guys that are ready for it. So I’m about a month and a half for putting it on it. But it is next level. So I can’t wait to get you.

Sonya: But I did this race in Nepal in 2012. And it was across the Annapurna Circuit, it was a 10 day mountain bike race and no one had ever done. No woman ever finished and part of that race involves starting at four o’clock in the morning, and you had to disassemble your bike and hike in the dark in the snow up to 18,000 feet. So you had to like physically carry your bike on your back for many, many hours at very high altitude. So to train for that and to do that I would actually go to the gym and I would hold weights in my hand above my head because you have to hold your bike or hold stuff. I’d just walk on the Stairmaster, just climbing the Stairmaster and people would walk by looking at me like, what is she doing? So yeah, that weighted vest would have been helpful for that.

Brent: It’s insulated and weighted and what I’ve read about you, so I’ll tie this in and I don’t know if we’re by the time but Echo Mountain, which is in Paradise Valley,it’s the coolest mountain if you ever get to Paradise Valley inside of Phoenix. Like it’s the coolest climb you’ll ever do on any continent. Boulders, there’s railroad ties, there’s railings, there’s flat face stuff. There’s a picture in my book, I’m 50, and I’m just running this mountain. And it’s just the coolest experience. But I’m less than 30 minutes up and 15 minutes down. But that’s all I want. I don’t want anything to do with what you just talked about. I didn’t want to get to a pool and I want to drink a cold beer. And I’m good. I’ve done my thing. Like it’s all working and I’m at a high level. But that four day thing or that one day thing, or staying overnight on a mountain, that ain’t me. I get who you are. That whole mountain bike thing is that’s not me either. But getting into gym training and playing some pickleball, driving cars fast, playing some golf, and I’m an amateur Porsche driver as well. And so I don’t know if you’d like to drive cars fast, but my wife is going to connect you to us, know that 100% And so those are some pickleball. She loves to race. She’s a rock star in race car, by the way. And so it but it’s controlled. It’s on a track. We’ve got professionals around us, but that is one of my biggest hobbies now, is racing Porsches. But anyway, if you’d like to go fast, she’s the girl.

Sonya: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show and I’m excited for people to connect with you.

Brent: Absolutely. Thank you so much. You’re lovely.

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