Comfort, Peace, and Freedom with Ken Rusk

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

In this episode with Ken Rusk, dive into goal setting and success secrets and his book Blue Collar Cash.

Takeaways We Learned from Ken…

Inspiring Takeaways from Ken Rusk’s Interview:

Delegate for Growth

Your goal should be to make yourself almost irrelevant to the day-to-day of your company. The more relevant you are, the more you have the ability to be free to do all the other things you want to do.

Embrace the Intrapreneurial Spirit

Surround yourself with people who say, ‘Hey, do you mind if I run this department the way I would want to run it?’ Giving them autonomy allows for growth and innovation within your organization.

Break Your Own Ceilings

Be very careful that you don’t end up putting your own ceiling on yourself. You might be literally the anchor of your own company. Allow others to grow, and your company will reach heights you’ve never imagined.

Vision Boards and Goal Clarity

A goal is nothing but a dream, a hope, or a wish unless there’s a precise and clear path to getting there. Create a crystal clear picture of what you want; your brain is powerful in attracting you to that eventuality through constant visualization.

The Power of Visualization

The more you picture something, the more your mind believes it already owns that thing. Your mind sets out to confirm that belief by having your subconscious, body, and actions dictate what it would take to achieve that goal.

Choosing Your Emotions

There are probably 20 emotions that you go through on a daily basis. Write down which emotions you tend to overuse that are negative and which ones you wish you had more of that are positive. Start plugging in the positive ones and get rid of the negatives.

Balancing Buckets for a Fulfilling Life

Balance your personal, family, charity, health, hobby, and interaction buckets equally. You choose how to balance these things, design the rest of your life, and don’t let life just happen to you.

Expand Your Circle

If you don’t find supportive people in your current circle, seek out those you admire and want to emulate. Get as close as you can, ask them to lunch, and be proactive in expanding your circle to include positive influences.

Live to Live, Not Live to Work

You don’t live to work; you work so that you can live. Plan your life now; don’t live in an ‘if-then’ scenario. Live a life of anticipation, planning your path with purpose and excitement.

Start Now, Live Now

Live a life of anticipation rather than one of wonder and hoping things happen to you. Plan your life like you plan your vacations and paths; it’s more fun to know where you’re going and what your ‘then’ looks like right now.

About Ken Rusk

Ken Rusk is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker who achieved WSJ Bestseller status with Blue-Collar Cash during the pandemic. He hosts the podcast Comfort, Peace & Freedom and empowers individuals through his impactful course, The Path to a Successful Life.

Read the Transcript

Allison: Welcome back to the Deliberate Leaders podcast. I’m your host and executive business coach Allison Dunn. Our topic today is a lesson in comfort, peace and freedom. Our guest is Ken Rusk. He is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker, who achieved Wall Street Journal’s bestselling status with blue collar cash. During the pandemic, no less. He hosts the podcast Comfort, Peace and Freedom, and empowers individuals through his impactful course, the path to a successful life. Ken, thank you so much for joining us here today.

Ken: Alli, I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Allison: My pleasure, I love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation. So what would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners?

Ken: Don’t try to do it all yourself, I can tell you that your goal should be to make yourself and this is going to be a long point. But your goal should be to, uh, to make yourself almost irrelevant to the day to day of your company. And that’s very controversial, because some people can’t let go, okay, they have this whole boss ego thing.

But the more relevant you are, the more you have the ability to be free to do all the other things you want to do, which is look for new, new revenue streams, look for new efficiencies, look for better ways to do things, rip the roof off your company, look back down upon it and see what needs fix change updated or whatever.

You can’t do that. If you’re this Superman, or Superwoman in the middle of trying to make the hay all the time, you have to allow other people to grow. And when you do that, your company will go to heights that you’ve never even imagined.

Allison: Other than ripping the roof off? Can is there another way to have that be something that people can go? Oh, that’s my first step to working towards that.

Ken: Yeah, I would just say you have to decide. I’ll just tell you a quick, quick lesson that happened to me. So I love the concept of the inner intrapreneur. I love to surround myself with people who say, hey, Ken, do you mind if I run this department the way I would want to run it. And you know, that means that counts payable, accounts receivable, the level of success that they enjoy the amount they can invest in it. And it kind of gives them some autonomy to run that. So I have several of those people in our organization that all that all runs various departments. And several years ago, I was sitting at a table with them. And I had a number in my mind alley of where I wanted the company to go to next revenue wise. And I had them all write down a number. And tell me Well, where do you think, Where do you think we can take this company? To what level? How high? Can we get it to go. And I said, because once you tell me that number, I’m going to share the difference between now and then with all of you. Okay, so you’re going to be creating your own wealth here. And once you note, every one of them put down a number that was at least $2 million annually higher than the number I had. So be very careful that you don’t end up putting your own ceiling on yourself. And you might be literally the anchor of your own company. So be careful about that.

Allison: That is such a fantastic story that drives home that drives home your point. So thank you again. I really appreciate that a lot. In your book, blue collar cash, which I was going to ask you who you wrote it for. But I think the title may tell us, I assume you emphasize the importance of clear goals. So how can individuals, regardless of their background, effectively set and pursue meaningful goals to create a successful life.

Ken: First off, the title was not my original title. That was the publishers title. I actually had a title. My title was comfort, peace and freedom. A ditch diggers guide to I’m sorry, my title was the path, a ditch diggers guide to cover peace and freedom. And they didn’t really liked that title so much. So that changes to blue collar cash. You know, the thing about goal setting is everybody uses the word goal as though it’s one of the most overused and most, I should say, vague terms that that in our English language today, and it is just because it gets over so you know, I need a goal, this goal for that. I mean, there’s all types of goals. Here’s the way I look at it.

A goal is nothing but a dream, a hope or a wish, unless there’s a precise and clear path to getting there.

And that’s where people fail because they all have these again, these wonderful dreams and wishes and hopes, and they have them and they think that that is good enough. Like somehow through osmosis or through the just, you know, the caring for this thing that it’s just going to happen.

Well If you don’t have a crystal clear brochure of what that goal is, and I know I’m dating myself, when I say brochure, we used to go to the car dealer and you get this brochure, and you’d see the guy in the back of the pickup truck, and he’s throwing hay bales. And you know, he’s all this really cool stuff. You’re like, Man, I’d be so cool if I own that pickup truck, right. But there was a reason that they did all that you took it home, you visualized it constantly. You had it on your nightstand in your dream about it, and you got really specific. It’s the same thing with goals that you need to create an actual picture of whatever it is that you want. Because your brain is so incredibly powerful in attracting yourself to that eventuality, once it sees something over and over and over and over again. So where people where people drop the ball is they have these things stuck in their heads, but they just roam around in like Dreamland. Okay, and they never really become reality.

Allison: Yeah. I was laughing at you because you did use brochure. But there’s just such a powerful outcome in like a reticular activating system that gets engaged when it can be so visual that you can picture it, you can picture elements of it. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about like a vision board or anything like that on the show. Is that one? Is that a tool that you suggest people use? It’s something that we use in our coaching practices. I have mine right here. I’m not going to show it to you because my personal but I look at it, I look at it every day.

Ken: I can tell you this. So the answer is yes, we do. We take it one step further. And everyone with their chasing a goal around here and I use the word chase on purpose. So if they’re chasing a goal, they put it up on this huge black glass board that we have, it’s like eight by eight feet. It’s giant. And we have these markers, these neon markers. And it’s kind of like the ones you’d see in front of a Mexican restaurant, when they write the margarita special of the night, you know, they’ve make it all colorful. So we actually put have them write these goals up on the board so that not only they can see it, everyone else can see it and they can cheer them on. So yeah, that’s kind of how it works. Now what when it comes to how the mind works.

I had a very interesting conversation with Derek Robbins, who’s Tony Robbins son, about this very subject. You know, I always knew that if you visualize something your brain would attract itself to it. And, you know, but I never really knew there was an actual science behind it. And one of the things that he told me was very interesting.

The more you picture something, the more of these little neurons that fire visions going back and forth in your brain, the quicker the faster and almost to the point where it’s one solid thought. And what happens is your mind believes that it already owns this thing. So it sets out to confirm that by having your subconscious your body and your actions dictate what it would take to go get that thing.

So don’t discount the power of your visions, especially if they’re up on the wall where you can see them twice a day, or three times a day, whatever that will automatically you know, through they call this osmosis. But that’s all fancy stuff. The more you stare at something, the more chances you have to go getting it. It’s just sets.

Allison: I think of it as thing that you the more you can visualize and look at something that you are aiming at, the more you’ll recognize it when it gets in front of you, or the opportunity to obtain it.

Ken: Absolutely. There’s pathways, all these things. And if you just recognize that, well, that might be something that’s leading me towards that eventuality, then you’re more likely to follow it.

Allison: Yeah, for sure. You wrote blue collar cash during the pandemic. And you said that I think you’re it’s almost implied, like during challenging times. During that whole year, I probably read more books, bought more books, listen to more books than I ever had interviewed more authors than I had in my entire life prior to that, at Sad to say, but it’s probably true. So was it difficult to make a Wall Street bestsellers list during the pandemic? Because probably everyone released their book at that time, right?

Ken: Well, I have to tell you, they, they told me they said we weren’t sure that we wanted to release it during the pandemic because they weren’t quite sure what the pandemic was going to do towards books, you have to remember that when they’re going to release a book, they talk about that eight months in advance, right. So it was released before the first person was sick. I mean, it was planned to be released. We actually released it once. And then we ended we released it again, the following year, and that’s when it became the best seller. It. It was doing really well during the pandemic. And then it pushed it over the edge in that second year. So yeah, it was great.

Allison: Who did you write the book for?

Ken: Interesting story. So my daughter suffered from she went through a bout of cancer when she was 12. And I just remember being in all these doctors offices and oncology offices and all the stuff that you go through when you have that, and I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody, believe me. Very scary time for her mother and I for the for the following five years as it was for her. And I just remember saying, Okay, well, if I was going to write her a very long letter of what she should be chasing, what should she look for in life? I mean, what is the ultimate nirvana?

I kept coming back with these three words, it was comfort, peace and freedom.

And I couldn’t get rid of these words, I couldn’t get them out of my head. And then they started forming this triangle in my mind, like they were almost interdependent terms, concepts.

So I really went into that for a little while, because I believe that not everybody wants, you know, a rap star career and you know, mega yacht and 15 cars and a McMansion people. They want what they want. And the cool thing is, they know what that is. And when they get there, they think, man, if I could live like this, I would be really cool. I mean, that would be my comfort, Peace and Freedom thing. So I really went down that that path for a while, and wrote this long letter to her. And then I ended up talking about stories of friends of mine that had overcome these unbelievable circumstances as she had to overcome in order to become successful. That just lended itself to 1000 words. And pretty soon I had 12 legal pads full of ink in there I was.

Allison: That’s a beautiful story. Thank you. How was your daughter today?

Ken: She’s great. In fact, she just had a little baby girl last week, so it’s our first granddaughter.

Allison: Congratulations. That’s awesome. grandbabies are the best they are.

Ken: Yeah, I’m not too sure. I’m good with the term grandpa. Yeah, cuz I don’t feel like I’m that old. But I think we’re going to go with pops. We’re going to go something a little more hip.

Allison: I struggled with what named? I want it to be called when I became a grandmother as well.

Ken: So your grandmother?

Allison: I am.

Ken: That’s not possible.

Allison: It is I assure you thank you though. Your Podcast comfort, Peace and Freedom obviously explores like the this three pillar idea of a fulfilling life. I think striking that balance is a really difficult thing that people often struggle doing. So how can people pursue their goals and also strike this balance that is also brings fulfillment?

Ken: I think it’s all about filling these buckets. You know, we talked about buckets here at at our company, because we use a lot of buckets, we carry a lot of things around in buckets. And, you know, we buy we buy these buckets from pickle factories and oil, I mean, just stuff that they’re getting rid of. So we owe literally, literally, literally buckets, five gallon buckets. Okay. I always thought that just like investing or anything else, you need to really be balanced, you need to fill all these buckets very equally, you need to feel you need to, you know, to fill your own personal buckets, your family buckets, your charity bucket, your health bucket, your hobby or sport bucket, your interaction bucket. I mean, you need to fill all those things very equally.

And, and I think when people decide that they are the ones that choose how to balance those things, and most people think they’re out of control that these things are out of their grasp, or it’s out of their control. No, no, you know what your favorite color is? You know what your favorite color is? You know what your favorite dog is? Pet? Cat dog? What color? What was your name it? You know what your favorite vacation looks like? You know, all these things nobody else does. So why are you taking control to say, I’m going to design the rest of my life. I’m not going to live at the effect of other people in their wishes.

I’m not going to let life just happen to me. I’m going to happen to life by controlling these buckets and deciding what I’m going to put in each one. It’s up to me to do that.

And nobody knows this. But you. So why are you allowing any other influence to create that picture than yourself? You’re the best. You know what it is? So sit down, make it right. Look at it, figure out how you want to do it. Sit, get it up on the wall, and then allow your body and your mind to take you powerfully to that eventuality.

Allison: It took me a long time to recognize how much power I have about everything in my life and owning how it goes. And I really, I honestly feel like our younger generations, my children, they have a much better handle on it. So maybe we’re speaking to them, maybe we’re speaking to someone more my age maybe older than us? How, if I don’t? If I don’t believe that I have control of my buckets, what are some of the things that people should work on? First as to figure out which bucket may be not helping or out of balance? Or, you know, like that the one that they may feel is the least control over? 

Ken: Yeah, the very first thing you need to think about is the opposites of things. Right? So there is joy is the opposite of anger. Okay? And, and admiration is the opposite of jealousy. And, you know, happiness is the opposite of sadness, obviously, you know, being brave, feeling brave is the opposite of fear, right? So you just need to, you need to understand that there are probably 20 emotions that you go through on a daily basis or could go through. But you also have to understand that those are a choice that you’re recommending to yourself, okay? And they all can’t fit in that bucket at the same time. It’s like a really busy bar that has a line out the door, and you’re the bouncer. Okay? emotions come in, emotions go out and the bouncer chooses how that works, right? The doorman. So, understand that, you know, there’s no way you’re going to be spontaneous. If you’re just frustrated and overly busy, there’s no way you can be that way. So those things are choices, sit down and under and write down, I even have this in my course, you can sit down and write down which emotions that you tend to overuse that are negative, and which ones you wish you had more of that are positive, and just start plugging those in and get rid of the other ones. It’s, it’s like doing the laundry, I mean, it can actually happen. So I try to keep things really simple. I don’t try to get like all PhD on people.

Just cross off the ones you don’t want. Circle the ones you do want. start plugging those in and live a much better life that way.

Allison: Yeah. You just made that. So some bluff FIDE conceptually like I’m feeling this is what frustrates me, this was what makes me happy, and then just like, start to figure how do you stop that? This happened? My technology frustrates me some of our technical issues, the pre podcast, so thank you, that’s such a great tip. Let’s dive into your course for a little bit. So the path to a successful life is the name of your course. And I assume that this is guiding people in planning their futures. To some degree, can you share some key principles from the course that have been proven to provide that transformation and create more purpose for people?

Ken: Well, first off, I can tell you this. So many times I’ve been, I think your number 203 podcasts I’ve been on in the last 18 months. And I can tell you, a lot of times you have a beautiful background, but a lot of times I see people with shelf full of books behind them. And I will ask them, Did you? Did you read that book? And oh, yeah, I read it. Well, how did it help you? You know, I don’t really remember. But it was a really good book. Right? So I heard someone say the other day, is this self help or shelf help, right? So I got I wanted to make sure ally that that my book was going to actually change someone’s life. And, and I didn’t want people to have to rely on the old Sunday, I’m going to implement Ken’s ideas into my life. I wanted them to say, oh, here comes this course. Now I have to do it. I have to do it right now. I have to do it today, this afternoon.

So the simple things that we just talked about, I put in this course so people can understand. You know, if I get through eight hours of his course, which is eight one hour sessions, there’s no way I can’t think the way I there’s no way I can’t think better, I can’t be better. I can’t be more in control of my life. And it all starts with what the hell do you want to look like? I mean, let’s start with right now. What do you want the rest of your life to look like? Let’s draw all those things out. Make them crystal clear. Build that brochure. Okay, start that puzzle, if you will. And then we’ll start filling in one piece or one path or one step at a time. And once you have that, be very careful who you choose to surround yourself with when it comes to Sharing those things because there’s a whole group of people and I write about this in the book too. There’s a whole group of people who just can’t wait to keep you right where they are, which is in someday land, you know, like, yeah, someday we’re going to do that, but that they never comes. And you start saying to them, man, I’m going to be proactive, I’m going to start gaining on my life, I’m going to start doing and fixing and achieving these things.

They’re like, whoa, whoa, you can’t go there, we want you back with us. So we can all commiserate for the rest of our lives, right. So be very careful who you choose to share that with. Because if that person isn’t 100%, hand on your shoulder, pick you up when you stumble, okay, convince you, when you get frustrated, change that and find someone who will be supportive like that, in the book I write about, the first time I jumped off the really super high dive at the pool. If I wouldn’t have had my four buddies down below are cheering me on, there is no way I would have ever jumped up that board. I just wouldn’t have. There’s just so much power in sharing and having people that are supportive. So my one tip would be once you’re done with your vision board, once you’re done with that, that path or that picture, find someone who loves it as much as you do and is going to keep you and align you and straighten you out to make this happen. Yeah,

Allison: I know, I know that there are definitely listeners who have people in their lives who are in Sunday land, weapons. What are your suggestions on how they expand that circle? If they don’t find people who are, you know, like the cheerleaders behind them, but go get it? Yes, like so you know, want to celebrate that.

Ken: Every one of those people admire somebody that they know, every one of those people says, well, that guy’s got it together, or she’s really got her act together, or well look at all the things that they’re accomplishing, right? Go to those people. Get as close as you can, as close as you can with those people asked to take them out to lunch, okay?

Do the proactive things, you need to get closer to those people, I hang out with people that try to make me better. I hang out with people that are that I perceive to have their a lot of things on the ball.  And I try to emulate some of the things that they do.

I try to play with golfers that are better than I am. It just improves my whole Alec my whole game my whole possibility. So it’s just one of those things where, you know, I was just speaking to a whole bunch of gals who are in prison, believe it or not. And they’re there.

One question to me was, how do I make sure that the things you’re telling me to do I continue to do and I said, we’ll start by finding you got to get rid of anybody around you, who helped you get here. Okay. I mean, anyone who was involved in getting you to this place cannot be part of this future thing for you. And it’s, it’s just so true. So find the people in your life that you do know that. And by the way, they’re going to love the fact that you recognize this in them, they’re going to be happy to sit down and talk with you. They’re going to be happy to mentor you. Because it’s kind of a cool thing to say, Well, I’ve made it now look at who I who else can I take with me and bring me along on this journey? So yeah, I would say that’s your most effective route. Okay,

Allison: Great tip. Are there I just that was my final question. But I just wanted to make sure that I asked Is there a particular gem inside of your book that you haven’t already shared, that you would also want to bring forward in this podcast.

Ken: I would just say that you don’t live to work. Okay, you work so that you can live. And I don’t think you should live in if then life, you know, if I go to high school, and if I get good grades, and if I go to college, and if I get a degree, and maybe I got a scholarship, and if that eventuality gets me a good job, well, then I can start living my life. Wrong. I want to know what your then is right now. Okay, I want to know what the work to live looks like right now. I need to know that because you need to know that. You’ve never gotten in your car back to another driveway, put it in drive and went, where the heck am I going? You always have a path or a plan for all these other things in life. If you’re that good at planning that route, or that even that next vacation or whatever it might be planning your life. It’s so much more fun to live a life of anticipation than one of wonder and I hope things happen to me.

Allison: It’s a great reflection. And I just want to thank you so much for our time together today. Everyone who’s listening, I will include a link to the blue collar cash book so that you can go pick yourself up a copy. Thank you so much.

Ken: Thank you really appreciate it.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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