A lot of people want to talk with this guy.
Yeah, he’s been super successful in business and it blows my mind what he’s built, but in my opinion, it pales in comparison to the impact he’s making at home with his family.
This show is a behind the scenes peek into David’s personal life, and exploration of his role as a father and husband.
He’s very real about where he believes his winning, and where he’s working on winning.
On a personal note, the more I get to know him, the more impressed I am. His confident and curious.
He just attended our last Front Row Dads retreat, and posted this on Facebook about it…
“Had a killer weekend retreat led by Jon Vroman called Front Row Dads….. picked up all kinds of ideas on how to be a better dad. Went home put my phone down and played with Luke for 4 hours straight, then read beside Bella and when we turned the lights out I told Bella a story from my childhood. Great stuff thanks for making it happen Jon.”
Here’s a guy who’s one of the most well-read guys I know, and yet still in pursuit of growth.
In this show we’re going to dig into…
- The pain and purpose of growing up in a military family
- What David learned from his dad (and what he didn’t)
- How to keep your cool and not blow up
- Making up from fights
- What makes marriage work
- Creating a life of abundance
More about David Osborn …
A New York Times Bestselling Author, and having built one of the top real estate brokerages in the world, founding over 50 companies, David has certainly found financial freedom.
He believes deeply in the freedom derived from his success is what truly awards him the time to focus on the importance on what matters most: being a proud father of two beloved daughters, a son and husband to the wonderful and talented Traci Osborn.
He loves travel, skiing, golf, and reading, especially with his kids and family.
Enjoy the show!
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Read The TranscriptRead The Full Transcript
Jon: All right, Front Row dads, I’m here with my buddy, David Osborn. What’s up, man? Good morning.
David: Hey, how’s it going, Jon?
Jon: Really pumped about getting into this conversation. I want to get right to it because ever since I heard your interview years ago and I learned that you grew up in a military family, I thought whenever I get the chance to talk to David about this is going to be a place, I’m going to go with him because I grew up with a military dad. My dad was a navy captain and we moved around a bunch. I think I moved 12 times before high school. Dude, tell us about your upbringing because military family also, right?
David: So similar. I mean, the difference between me and some military families is we are overseas so were are in Germany and England and moved I think 10 times by the time I was 13 or something, I mean literally. I can tell you much about Mannheim and Reindel and Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Surrey, England, London, England and then back to America. That’s the ones I remember. And then, of course, I was born in Americas. That’s nine right there. You know, when you move that much, it’s interesting. You’re just kind of always holding on. I mean, that’s what I felt like. I was always like holding on in hindsight because you’re trying to figure out new environments continuously.
Jon: Yeah. And how did that shape you to who you are today?
David: You know, it’s funny. I wouldn’t want my kids to go through it but I’m really happy for me because it forces you to be resilient, it forces you to engage. It doesn’t create deep roots. That’s the part that I think is a little sad so when I bump into a friend is like, “Oh yeah, my best friend I’ve known since fifth grade.” I’m like, “Fifth grade? Holy crap.” Like, my best friend is like from five years ago. But the benefit is you’re causing a new situation. You have to make friends. You have to get out of your own skin, and you have to deal with a lot of variety and for me, growing up in Germany and England too in America I’ve got three countries by the time I was 15 years old.
David: And that gives me a perspective that most Americans don’t have of, A, how great it is over here, B, how awesome the opportunities are and just, C, how everyone is different and they love their culture and all these cultures are different so it gives you an internationalist viewpoint almost.
Jon: Yep. Exactly. I remember my sister had a really hard time moving around but I liked it and I liked it because it gave me a chance to like be a hero to my dad where he would say, “We’re going to move,” and he was kind of waiting for the, “This is a horrible thing,” and I was like, “Wow. This is great like new area.” It was a chance for me to kind of get closer to my dad by just cheering him on in those moves.
David: I didn’t really think anything. I just did it like I’ve done it so many times. I remember being sad when I left one best friend, Michael Malone, my neighbor in Manheim. That was probably my first good friend but got over it. My dad was very strict and very, very tough guy. He was a Green Beret so he was away fighting war a lot so a lot of times we were just at home with mom. So, I didn’t have that desire to please him, nor did I have a desire to disappoint him. I just did what I was told.
Jon: Yeah. What do you think you took from him that’s positive and what was a warning that you never wanted to bring into your parenting?
David: So, I took from him a lot of positive. He was a man of integrity, honor. He didn’t back down from a fight. He can speak his mind. He spoke up for me. You know, he was strong-willed. He wouldn’t let anyone roll over him so all of those are things that I’ve adapted. The part I didn’t like was he had a big temper. He was an old school guy make waiters cry and managers cry. He’s too quick to pick a fight and I thought sometimes uncontrolled with his anger and so I swore I would never lose my temper in that way as a man with my kids and I’ve done mostly a pretty good job at that. I can’t say I’ve done…
Jon: That was going to be my follow-up question.
David: Well, one day I used to reject anger and then one day I realized there’s absolutely a purpose for anger. There are things you should be outraged at. There are things you should be angry about, but again, it’s that blowing up piece versus just the controlled white-hot anger that I try to stay away from the blow-ups but, yeah, I’ve absolutely blown up a couple of times.
Jon: How do you keep it cool? When you’re on the verge of blowing up, what stops you?
David: You know, it’s remembering, I think. I just think like at first because my dad did it so much, I was like, “I’m never going to do that,” so I had it really suppressed and built-in.
David: Identity. And remembering how it felt to be afraid of my dad. I grew up a lot of my life just afraid of my father and I didn’t want that for my kids. I’m possibly almost too soft on them but I can be very firm but I almost never lose my temper. My wife’s good at getting me to lose my temper. We come a long way on that.
Jon: Well, that’s our second focus area for Front Row Dads. Our pillar is emotional mastery, self-awareness, this self-control. That’s a big subject for a lot of the guys that are listening. I know that because we’ve just done up surveying and gotten enough feedback. That’s a big, big one. And guys that are totally together in their professional lives but when they get behind closed doors, I can’t say how many times like that’s where the worst of them comes out in a sense because maybe they’re safe like there’s almost like my employees will all quit if I do this. I can’t really go anywhere.
David: That’s not good though.
Jon: That’s not good at all. Yeah.
David: I mean, from my point of view I think, yeah, it could be. Because I came from so anti-anger as an identity, as you said, I almost had to weave some into me and then I found the joy of anger. There’s definitely a moment where it’s quite delicious to be super ticked off and feel righteous but I really then I just manage that very intensely and definitely my wife and I have had some fights that I’m not proud of. She’s a fighter too so she’ll get going, but I think we both learned to like step away step off the map instead of going toe to toe because of the impact it has on our kids as well.
Jon: How do you make up from a fight?
David: Well, before kids or after kids?
Jon: Either is fine.
David: Well, before kids is just making sweet, sweet love but after kids, it’s really now a space and then communication and a hug and we’ve gotten really good at that. But my wife and I, and I’m proud of her as well for this, is we both read a couple of relationship books a year. We try to do some kind of a relationship seminar. We’ve added tools. We’ve done therapy together. We’ve added tools to our natural impulses because we were both raised by very strict fathers and she was a huge fighter backer. I wasn’t, but I can obviously and so we’ve added tools to our repertoire. So, we try to walk away when we’re hot and let it calm down, and then revisit it. And usually, it’s just being triggered. As you know, you’re triggered by something that reminds you of something when you’re a kid and off you go to war again and we try to not do that.
So, we’re pretty good at it now. I’d say we had a couple of fights that probably scared us and made us not certain we were going to be able to stay together and we thought, “Well, let’s just not do that again,” and we’ve got a good handle on it. Touch wood. There hasn’t been a really huge blow up in quite a few years now.
Jon: What do you think is a superpower for you guys? Why does it work? What makes your relationship special?
David: I don’t think we’re quitters. I think Tracy’s mom and dad were together 50 years and my mom and dad were together 50 years and that’s the expectation we have. I’m not a destroyer. I’m a builder. I think she’s all in. She’s really down to earth. She’s a pretty earthy person and I think it would take a lot for both of us to quit. My mom and dad said something one time though because they had a pretty tempestuous relationship, and my mom asked my mom why they never divorced, or maybe it was my dad. I can’t remember now and the answer was, “Because there was never a moment where both of us fell out of love with the other. There were times where one fell out of love and then came back and there was a time when the other fell out love and came back but there was never a time when both fell out of love.” And that was I thought a pretty good answer but, yeah, I think we’ve done pretty good. There have been moments where I wasn’t 100% sure it was going to go long-term but then also, I’m committed to my kids.
I’m like them first for me, like the minute your kids are born, you put yourself second in a way that not necessarily in all things, but in a deep, deep spiritual course. So, like I wouldn’t want to disrupt my children’s lives by having a divorce. Not that it necessarily is always bad to divorce, but I wouldn’t want to disrupt their lives unless it was intolerable so it would have to become pretty intolerable for me to say, “Okay. I’m going to go ahead and lay this karma on my kid.”
Jon: If you had to describe your parenting philosophy, how would you sum it up?
David: Loving, try to treat them as a responsible adult, and also be firm when it comes to certain disciplines. That’s what I try to do. I probably spoil a little bit more than I should, but I could definitely be firm when I’m ticked off or anything and I don’t usually lose my temper. I’m just like this is non-negotiable. My kids will know that. They’ll know I’m nonnegotiable at those moments, so I try to set boundaries but to let them grow into human beings and treat them as mini-adults if they earn that right.
Jon: What are some of the things that you’re more disciplined on? What are some of the rules of your house?
David: Well, if I get mad, it’s usually around television time or screen time which we are trying so hard to keep that to an hour a day. I’m not sure we’re winning that battle. It might be stretching out to two at the moment. My son is so much more difficult to harness than my daughter was. The other one would be I try really hard with the food. We try to make me something green with every meal. I’m pretty firm with that. Bedtimes, there’s about an hour fungibility in the bedtimes but we’re definitely not having them up to all hours. Clean their room which I’m probably 20% effective at. Just do their chores, which I’m probably 20 but it’s not forgotten. It’s always a subject of, “Hey, you need to make your bed.”
Jon: Yeah. Right.
David: It’s hard to do too because we have a nanny that always gets up there and makes it for her. But, yeah, so just things like that. I try to think of the skills that she’ll need for a lifetime and can I start building them into her now.
Jon: That’s right. Yeah. What quality do you think you want her to possess or pass? What do you want to pass along if there was a value for your family that you want her to have?
David: Self-reliance, self-drive. It’s just being purposeful with the choices she makes. I don’t really care what the purpose she chooses is but for me, a purposeless life is unfulfilled. So, having her be responsible and owning her stuff and then kindness. To me, kindness is a big deal. I don’t like her to treat people poorly. She’s really good at that so far. So, for some reason that matters to me. Maybe traveling so much and not having a lot of friends or you want people to be nice to one another, integrity, honesty, stuff like that.
Jon: Yeah. You know, I couldn’t wait to get to this part because I wanted to ask you about your move, your recent move into the neighborhood. I love it because all my friends keep moving into the same neighborhood. This is great for me. I have one trip and then I get to see a bunch of people.
David: This house on the market. Come on.
Jon: I know. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say his name but somebody we know is looking at it. I don’t know.
David: Yeah. I don’t know.
Jon: But I’ll refrain. But what I do love is that here’s what I know, I know that you could’ve moved into any home that you wanted and I know that if you really wanted to, you could’ve moved into a home that was much bigger, much more land, was much more exclusive like it could’ve been I see homes right there on the water and I’m like David could’ve been in one of those homes and that would probably serve or that would’ve given a certain level of significance to be in a house like that, but you chose to go into this neighborhood and I was really impressed by that and I kind of guessed it why you did it but I didn’t want to say it for you, and I certainly didn’t want to assume too much. So, I wanted to ask you for the guys like why did you choose to go to this particular neighborhood? Because I think this relates directly to how do we want to raise our kids, what values do we want them to have, what experiences do we want them to have?
And something that you’re wrestling with that I know a lot of our listeners will wrestle with and at varying degrees is how we treat our wealth and our family because, listen, not everybody listening to this podcast is going to be worth tens of millions of dollars, but the point is that that wealth. You can actually deal with wealth issues. Once you start making 100,000, 200,000, 300,000, you can very easily get to the point where you’re spoiling your kids or creating scenarios that aren’t so positive. Anyway, it’s a big tee up to the question, but take it where you want.
David: Well, I’ve always been a castle guy so me and my wife we’re in a castle. We didn’t really know our neighbors. We didn’t really make that much of an effort. We weren’t rude, but we weren’t engaged. And when Bella was born and we had Bella, I noticed she always played with the neighborhood kids and they start all come over our house because we have a lot of cool toys and we have a pretty welcoming environment and I like that a lot. And then we were moving, we have outgrown the house, now we had Luke and we looked in this neighborhood twice because I knew Hal was here and Hal’s got a nine-year-old and Bella and Sofie are great buddies. I don’t have if they’re best buds but they’re pretty close to it and I knew Howie was great, the little boy. But we looked at two houses and I didn’t like the houses enough. So, I wasn’t willing to compromise on a crappy house for me.
So, we bought a lake house and we’re going to tear it down to build this epic little lake house right in Lake Austin and then another house came on the market and I thought we’re probably not going to like it because there’s too many split-level homes in there, but let’s go take a look at it. My wife and I went and looked at it and we’re like, “You know, this works, so let’s buy it.” And I bought the house for Bella. Like, I wanted her to have a community where she could be with a pack of kids on a continuous basis to have a safe environment so that it was really more like a village. I think the village environment is far more natural for raising kids than the individual mom and dad with their kids, but we’ve become these nuclear sort of separated isolated families. So, yeah, bought the house for Bella and for the community and it’s become like such a gift and such a joy to me because now we have eight kids between the ages of two and nine. They run around in a pack.
Jon: They literally do.
David: They literally do, all over the place. So, they’re learning from one another. I have two other couples that I respect. There’s Hal and Urs, and Tim and Melis and they’re all 800 yards from us and, as you mentioned, another couple is moving with two kids, also between five and nine. And so, we’re creating this village and it’s all entrepreneurs and we’re all entrepreneurial families and every one of those people I trust to teach my kids something that will be valuable to them and I know that they trust me too. So, it’s really been such a joy, Jon, and it’s such a gift and really the amount I’ve appreciated is really surprised me because, again, I’m super self-reliant and independent, but now I get home I want to go see my neighbors which I’ve never really had that before. I just want to say hi and tune in to them and see how they’re doing, see if you’re there with your kids.
Jon: Yeah. That’s right.
David: It’s really fun. Really, it’s a gift. It’s a joy.
Jon: It is really special that there is something so cool about what’s happened there, very unique. I think it’s a perfect storm in some ways and I’m fascinated by it as an observer and luckily a participant at times too. It feels really cool. Has there been any part of it that’s been shocking to you? Like, I guess, you could’ve imagined. You probably have more dinners and see people more but is there any part of it you’re like, “Man, that still catches me.”
David: Yeah. I mean, I was shocked the other day. I was hanging out with both the couples and I had this weird feeling in my chest. I’m like, “What’s that feeling?” I’m like, “Wow. That’s love.” I never really had a community. I’m a military brat, I never put roots down, and now I really cherish these people. I cherish the adults, I cherish the children. I’ve always cherished kids like I’ve always my brothers’ kids or anybody like to me, there’s always been an envelope of protection I try to throw around them to build their lives, but I’ve never really had a community of adults as well as parents. And so, yeah, it’s been shocking to me how much I’ve gotten out of it when I really made the choice for Bella.
Jon: Yeah. Now, I had to care for it. I ask this question because knowing that some of your neighbors can be listening to this but that’s okay like I’m going to ask in a nice way, but, there’s also a questionnaire that naturally comes up about boundaries like do you feel that, “Hey, sometimes, when you’re so close like this is going to be great. We’re going to put everybody in the same house. We’re going to go away for two weeks on vacation,” and then like by day five, you’re like, “Hey, I’d love it if we just all went to a hotel in a matter of time.”
David: I would say this about that. I think there was a love affair like there is in all relationships and there was like a glow, and there still is somewhat but now the reality is setting in of different lives, different people, but we’re all very busy. So, what I notice is Hal’s on the road half the time. I’m on the road at least half the time. Tim and Melissa are always on the road so, thankfully, there’s that natural separation. So, we haven’t smothered each other yet. There’s been a couple of moments where I’m like, “Wow. They’re over here every fricking…”
Jon: This is the fourth dinner this week.
David: The fourth dinner in a row but that’s also moderated. I don’t know if it’s the cold weather so it’s really nice just to have that available and so, yeah, there are some questionable and there’s definitely moments where you’re like, “Wow. Your kids’ doing this,” then you’re thinking wow they’re probably thinking my kids’ doing that too. You try to address that and everyone’s always protective of their kids and sees the other kids. So, there’s a lot of dynamics but isn’t that healthy in a way? Isn’t that like we’re figuring all that stuff out?
Jon: You can’t create a sterile environment. Yeah. You need that. You need the rub to create the heat.
David: I think that’s how people get cooked. You get grown up into good people by having that.
Jon: Totally. Yeah. You have to be exposed to that. As kids are exposed to no germs, develop no immune system. You got to have that. That’s exactly what we want. It’s like learning how to, if they can’t learn how to have a fight, get over it in their neighborhood or as a kid then they’re not going to be prepared as an adult with you.
David: I agree.
Jon: We have to learn how to do that. We want the science.
David: A lot of people are super isolated nowadays, especially with social media, and I think they’re losing, well, anyway, who cares? Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m wrong but people are losing that ability to sort stuff out like that way.
Jon: Yeah. I think you’re totally right. I mean, most things come with pros and cons or benefits and challenges. So, you mentioned a moment ago, actually a couple of times, and I know this is a big part of who you are is travel. You know, adventure travel. You and a couple of really amazing guys got together and created GoBundance. Amazing group. I’m in awe of what you’ve built. You’re now several hundred guys that you do these epic adventures. You get together. You mastermind. You build businesses. You focus on lots of important areas of life. I’ve been a speaker at one of your events and been witness to this community and love the guys that are a part of it. You guys do family trips together. You do all sorts of stuff. But adventure is definitely a route, a pillar of that group. It’s a pillar of your life. Talk to us a little bit about how you adventure as a family and how do you do that with school? Like, a lot of questions I get are like how do you travel with school? And so, talk us through a little bit about your philosophy with adventure and travel. How many days are you gone?
David: Right. So, we love making memories. So, one of our goals is to have an epic – so I set four family vacations a year plus one of them has to be epic. Sometimes we do as many as six. So, first off, on the travel like fortunately, I’m at a school, the Acton Academy, which says that the time kids spend with their parents is more valuable than their time at school so they have no attendance policy. So, I hear people and I’m like, “Oh, my school won’t let me take my kid out.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? You’re the dad. You’re the authority over your children. No school should have the right to tell you that,” but maybe they have reasons for it. So, we do four great vacations a year. One of them epic. Last year we saw the northern lights. The year before that, we saw the full eclipse of the sun. We haven’t decided fully this year but we’re thinking Ireland but just take the kids somewhere that they’ll have a memory that they’ll never forget.
My kids are so lucky because we didn’t have this. We’re so poor growing up, and the theory is that every time you throw people in a new unfamiliar situation, the more their opportunity gets to transform. It’s the same with GoBundance. One of the reasons we do adventure travel is what’s the life of an entrepreneur? The life of an entrepreneur is facing new challenges every day. If you get out of your comfort zone into a new country and you’re mountain biking in Vietnam, for instance. When you get a flat tire, it’s not like easy to fix that can’t even speak the language with a peasant guy walking along with his hat so you have to learn to deal with very uncomfortable situations, which is like really the journey of life. So, we’ve added the travel in. Last year, we also went to France with my kids and went to the riots where all the riots were because they were only rioting on weekends so we just went on a weekday and we saw all the burned out cars and stuff and like bashed in all the windows.
And just give my kids exposure to what life’s truly like outside of this bubble we have in this community. So, yeah, I think you should always take your kids somewhere every year. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can go to the Grand Canyon. You can go to Big Bend National Park. You can go to Yellowstone. The point is to get away from your day-to-day routines, get away from the electronics, and just go have an adventure. I like to take my girl and my boy to the Grand Canyon this year. I think he’s too young to do the white water rafting but I just love to get the Grand Canyon and check it out. So, yeah, I think every year you should do that as a family. It bonds you and it gives you something to talk about each year.
Jon: Do you have a balance between like luxury trips and roughing it? Because I had somebody tell me recently, they’re like, “We could do five-star hotels constantly, but we actually choose not to because we don’t want to get our kids so accustomed to that like literally.” They’re just set up for failure.
David: If I were a younger, man, Jon, I definitely roughed it a lot as a kid. I think it’s better to rough it when I was younger, but I’m just now I kind of like services. I would say let me think about that. I mean, when you’re in New York, you’re kind of roughing it anyway. If you’re walking around Paris, it doesn’t matter. Yeah. We stayed in a super expensive hotel in Paris and honestly, it was probably worse than like a Holiday Inn. We’re just way more excited. It was freaky. Hair stuff all over and the elevator was like the size of tin cans but I think roughing it is very wise. We talked about camping a few years. We do a lot of ski trips and things like that but, yeah, I would say roughing it is better but I probably fall on the side of luxury a little more often.
Jon: Let’s talk. Before I get away from GoBundance, I want to get in one quick thing with that also, which is that you put a tremendous amount of energy and attention into getting together with other guys to better yourself and I’ve heard you talk about the kind of history of GoBundance. You did an interview in front of the room and you’re talking about accountability. You’re talking about learning from each other. So, speak to that a little bit because I know a lot of the guys listening right now are, A, either in a group like that and value it so they’ll appreciate the conversation or maybe they’re not presently in a group like that and they’re really interested in why to do it and why make it a must in your life.
David: You have to be around the right kind of people to become the right kind of person. There’s just no other way. People say change from the inside out. I think you change from the outside in. You make the decision internally to change. Just like joining Front Row Dads, you want to be a better dad. You have to be around people that are consciously trying to be a better dad. If you want to quit alcohol and you’re an alcoholic, you have to go to Alcoholics Anonymous. If you want to engage in charitable work, you have to be around people. So, at GoBundance we create an environment where entrepreneurial guys can come together, be authentic with their struggles, be honest, have extreme accountability and then try to help them grow in the area of relationship, physical health, financial freedom, bucket list adventures, and genuine contribution. And you’ve done the same thing with Front Row Dads. That’s why I’m excited to be there this year is you’re creating an environment where we’re just focused on what could make us a better dad.
And when you’re around people that are concentrated on doing something better that are just going to share nuggets with you that you’re going to apply to your life every day, I constantly get nuggets every day from people there in GoBundance that share something that might seem minor to them and then maybe I heard it a long time ago but I just forgot it. And so, I apply that continuously and then transparency creates transformation so like willing to be courageous enough and share where you’re struggling. I’ve got so much of being a better husband from guys at GoBundance that shared with me because they’re like me. I can relate. They’re hard-charging entrepreneurs. They like to make stuff happen and they shared with me secrets on how to be a better husband and I’m looking forward to being an even better dad going to the Front Row Dads because there’s just so much information out there, and yet little tweaks to make such a massive difference in your life.
And if you’re hanging around with the wrong people, who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say. They’ll demonstrate these little tweaks and you’d be like, “Oh yeah, I’ll grab one. Oh, I’ll grab that one,” and that’s how you make yourself stronger, better. The community matters so much.
Jon: We’ve been hearing that from the get-go. Rarely would we run an event, the guy would walk away and say, “Well, things are going to be good because I got these 50 ideas.”
David: Yeah. I know.
Jon: They’d walk away and say, “I heard this one thing from this guy or that guy and that was a total game changer.” It’s just a little stuff, man, but, boy, and I think of it like especially with the hard-charging entrepreneur guys, the guys that are well-read and they’re going after life and they’re grabbing life big as you guys say at GoBundance. It’s like that oftentimes the advancements they make are tweaks. I mean, look, if you want to go from running somewhere to driving a car, it’s a massive improvement. But if you’re trying to take a Formula One race car at 2018 to 2019 and you’re trying to shave seconds, milliseconds off your laps, that’s what a lot of times it’s like for a hard-charging entrepreneur is that they do have a great solid base and now they’re looking for that little tiny tweak that’s going to make something change.
David: You know, 75% to 80% of it all already. Maybe even 90, but that little 10% of that little one extra percent to make a huge difference. Absolutely. That’s the way it is. So, you’re looking for those nuggets to change your life and one of them is Michael McCarthy who we talked about earlier. He’s got this incredible vision board for his kids and their family values and it’s right there to see all the time and it’s been my intention to do that. I’ve dabbled with it but haven’t done a great job and I’m looking forward to Mike sharing that with me in greater detail. This year we’ve committed to it and just creating that family value structure and talking about it, so the kids know this is where we stand, this is what we look for, these are our goals. We did a goal setting thing with Bella this year and then helping them get their goals and have their goals come true and so that that gets reinforced for a lifetime as well. Yeah. It’s the tiny nuggets and the tiny behaviors that you could model and mimic that make a huge difference.
Jon: You mentioned Mike. I’m wondering who else you think is a great dad and what do you learn from them. What do you notice?
David: I think Hal is an amazing dad, Tim, Nikolai’s an amazing dad. You’re an amazing dad. All of them are I think, first off, present to their kids. They have a certain value that they’re trying to instill in their kids. They’re setting boundaries for their kids to thrive within but they’re not smothering the kid within those boundaries. So, a lot of freedom, but also a lot of guardrails and then just the way they talk to them, get down to their level, you tune into them like, “Hey, buddy, this isn’t going to work. Let’s talk about why.” Or with my daughter, it’s like, “Hey,” like she burst into tears the other day because we couldn’t watch a movie and I’m like, I don’t know if it’s the right way to dad or not, but I was like, “Bella, there are kids out there that have no legs and they’re not crying right now and you’re crying because we’re not watching a movie. I think that’s probably a little bit mis-emphasized. I understand you’re sad which you’re mis-emphasizing the amount of sadness that’s perhaps appropriate to not getting to watch the rest of this cartoon.”
Jon: Yeah. I think that’s why exposing our kids to those two situations that create perspective is so important and talking about them is hard. I get it. Tiger has no perspective on that. What I’ll tell you, you’ll appreciate this because you’re a well donor to Scott’s charity.
Jon: So, a couple of months ago I was having dinner with him and Ruhlin and we were talking and I got to know his story and now I know why he donates. He’s a great dude and a great charity and it’s just awesome.
David: Yeah. He’s a great dude.
Jon: It was fresh in my mind when I got home. It was a couple of days later and Tiger was having a meltdown about something that is not a real problem in my mind, but it was a real problem for him and I said, “Hey, buddy, I want you to come and sit down and I want you to read this article,” and I had him read an article that Scott tells a story about the girl who went to get water and ended up, she dropped a broke her jug, and then she had taken her own life.
David: Yeah. That’s the story that got me.
Jon: It’s tragic like it’s just a heart-wrenching story but I had Tiger read that article with me at the table sitting down. Now, he’s nine years old. Again, parenting judgment. Somebody might say that’s just not age-appropriate. Others would say, “You know, in some countries at nine you’re being taken hostage and you’re a child soldier.” So, it’s all a question but in my mind, I’m thinking I need to share with Tiger some real perspective here, and since that day that we read that like he’s actually referenced it and brought that back up and like I know that had an impact on him.
David: I was watching that Running Across the Sahara movie with Charlie Engle.
Jon: Yeah. He’s coming on the show.
David: Is he? And he’s running the Sahara and he bumps into an eight-year-old kid that’s been sitting waiting for his dad for two days while his dad goes looking for water. Wow. That’s like an eight-year-old. So, yes, you’re absolutely right. There’s age-appropriateness, but I think exposing them to some of the hardship in the world so they can start to get out of their bubble and have compassion and understand how fortunate they are, I mean, we are so lucky. A, you’re so lucky you’re born in America. Secondly, you’re so lucky that you’re born – if you have any wherewithal in America, it’s just insane. The quality of life we live on an average basis would be the top 5% for the world. Certainly, top 10%.
Jon: Sometimes we debate like in our house about Tiger’s responsibilities emptying the dishwasher in the morning and we’ll have these conversations and I’m like, “Tatiana, we’ve been to Amish country, we’ve seen nine-year-olds driving tractors through the field. I think you could step up a little bit.”
David: And I wish I was – that’s where you could help me like our girl’s job is to empty the dishwasher too but like I said we have a nanny and she’s a really good nanny.
Jon: She’s on it. She’s on top of it, right. We need you to be not such a good nanny.
David: It’s going to be like, “Bella, you got to go make your bed,” and she’s like, “Oh, it’s made.”
Jon: You bet. You watch this.
David: So, the only thing I can do there is try to get them to say thank you and please and be kind. So, I really emphasize that too is be kind to the people that are helping us and make sure you’re consciously aware of how awesome that is that we have someone helping us.
Jon: There are so many different ways that we can learn to be responsible and contribute to the world like one of the things we started doing in the charity which I’m really fired up about, I don’t think I told you this yet. We implemented it this year was this idea that everybody could write a letter or draw a picture to a Front Row recipient. So, now when we have a recipient that’s in the lineup that their event is coming up, we’re encouraging families to sit down with their kids and show them the video or show them the picture and talk about these kids and what they’re battling and then have them write a note or just draw a big heart and say sending love and then mail that off, but something we can do to connect to other people that may be less fortunate is such a great way to have perspective on our lives.
David: I loved your book by the way. I read it cover to cover. It’s really enjoyable and it’s so great to make a difference like that for people. And you’re right. As much as you’re given to other people that are less fortunate than what you receive, if you allow it in is the gratitude and amazing recognition of how fortunate we are, and if you don’t get that lesson then you’re missing the whole point. So, your book was amazing. I enjoyed it a lot.
Jon: Well, thanks, man. That still blows me away. I know how busy you are and how many books that you’ve got. I’ve seen your library. You’ve got a lot of books to get through.
David: Yeah. I try to read 30 to 50 year. I love to read. It’s just a matter of time but when a friend writes a book, I take extra special care to try to make my way through them and some of them I do. It’s a labor of love. Yours was actually really fun to read.
Jon: Well, and I wanted to mention this too that I know you read to Bella a lot as a kid and now she’s an avid reader and I think that’s something that I really honor about what you’ve done.
David: We made that commitment and I know my wife, give her full credit, join me in that quest. We read to her every single day then one day she’s like, “Get out of my room. I got this,” and she started reading and then she never invited us back in but she reads every day all the time and Luke we’re doing the same thing with. Obviously, he’s two so he doesn’t read yet. We’ll see where it goes and now my wife’s doing way better than I did. Like with Bella, I was all into it, obviously, the second child you’re like, “Yeah. I got stuff to do,” but she reads to Luke every single day and hopefully, he’ll be an avid reader too. And for me, reading has been such a source of education and transformation.
David: And even if it’s just listen to audiobooks, you know, so yeah. I’m proud of that. That was one thing that we put a lot of effort into and it worked.
Jon: Yeah. Well, I can’t wait until Luke’s a little older, by the way. The Jocko books and the podcasts that he has for the warrior kid stuff is amazing.
David: Yeah. We bought those books.
Jon: Yeah, you have those. Good. Yeah. That’s awesome.
David: Jocko does a great job. Yeah, I love to share you the section in my library that’s Bella’s books. She probably reads more than me. I bet she reads 60 or 70 books a year but they’re easier to read.
Jon: That’s awesome, man. That actually give me a – we might do something with that like to challenge the dads to post in our Facebook group pictures of their kids’ libraries.
David: That’s a good idea.
Jon: Something like that. Hey, I know we’re coming up on our time here in a couple of minutes but I wanted to also get to something else here that a bit of a change of tone. I know this is taking a shift but I know you lost your dad. This is something I really want to talk to guys about because there’s a couple of things that we can look at when it comes to being a great dad and that is our relationship with our dads and we have guys out there listening that have their dads with them now. Guys have lost their dads, dad’s relationships that were awesome, and those that really were lacking some awesomeness. So, I just want to talk about that a little bit because I think addressing our mortality is really important and I just wanted to bring it up because I don’t even know where I’m going with it or what your thoughts are but I know that you lost them and I know that was a big thing for you.
David: It was a big thing. I read a book recently that said you should live your life as if your dad was already dead. It’s David Deida and I was like, “Wow. That’s very intriguing,” but for sure for me when my dad died, which was right before Bella was born nine years ago now, it was very transformative. It was like I fully stepped into my own power. Like the gift was that. The loss was tremendous. I love my dad. He took up a lot of space, even in his late 70s. He was a very big personality and still extremely healthy and strong until he got cancer. So, when he was gone, it was like, “Oh, this is it. I’m stepping into that throne. There is no one on the throne ahead of me if you will,” and it made me really embrace my own position as the patriarch of my life. And so, it was a real painful time and a real gift, and I think that message of just living as if your dad was already gone might accelerate that. Because when your dad’s around, you’re still always trying to make him proud a little bit. You’re trying to get them to give you an attaboy. We crave those attaboys from our dads.
And when he was gone, I was like, “Well, there is no one to give me an attaboy so I better take on that mantle myself and step into it.” And it was a beginning of a long transformative process that I think over the nine years I’ve softened a lot, become more of a father, more of a husband, haven’t been running from something that I couldn’t fully see which is the shadow of the impact of my father and just really embracing like I said, being the patriarch and being as much of everything as I can be to my kids, my wife, and it’s helped my businesses too. I think it’s permeated everywhere. So, losing my dad was painful but it’s probably one of the blessings of my life in a way.
Jon: Yeah. Man, I really feel that. That idea, you almost have to let that settle a little bit, the idea of living as if your dad weren’t here, but I’ve seen it transform so many people and I get how that would. I can almost – I just imagine. I’m going to sit with that a little bit, man. That’s a powerful thought. I know that a couple of my buddies lost their dads in the last year or two and it’s been a thought of mine. Actually, as I record this, my dad just had surgery two days ago. As I record this, 48 hours ago, my dad has surgery to remove a tumor that they’re doing a biopsy on and they’re going to have the pathology report probably Monday or Tuesday of next week. So, one of my best friends sent me a message the other day. He goes, “Go do something with your dad. Go schedule a trip. You’re not too f**king busy. Get a ton and go do it.”
David: I spent an immense amount of time with my dad when he was sick and I will never regret that. I stepped back from work and in 2008 I was with him almost every day and I went to 70% of the doctors’ appointments, became his number two caregiver after my mom. I was lucky enough to be in a position to do that. Have a great team that took the burden off of me from work and never read it.
Jon: Yeah, man.
David: So, that time is all you got so you may as well get as much of it as you can. I could still see myself sitting beside him on the couch as he was wasting away with my arm around him. That’s all it was like he wasn’t able to talk as much. He’s just like to watch Fox News all the time, which wasn’t fun for me necessary to sit there and just watch reruns of the news, but I put my arm around him. And to this day I can almost feel him here because they did so much of it the last year of his life. Yeah, that time was precious.
Jon: What do you think your dad loved most about you?
David: My dad would love where I’m at today. He was definitely into being the Lord of the Manor. He was the soldier, the colonel. He liked being the colonel and so I think he liked that I was ambitious, that I made stuff happen. I stood up to him a few times. I think he really liked that. He was a partner of mine early on in my business but I was running it, and he kept coming in and trying to mess with stuff. And one day I said, “Look, dad, I’m selling it because I love you and you come first, but I can’t run it with you so you either are out or I’m out. Not from a position of fear but a position of love. My relation with you comes first. If we’re staying in business, you can never talk to one of my managers ever again without my permission.” He never did and I think he respected that I stood up to him even though he was a tough son of a gun and, yeah, I think he admired the fact that I made stuff happen. He liked that I was a winner and he has identified with winners.
So, there was a lot that he would love about me. I just wish he had been here longer because really the success came, we were already successful, but the big success came after he was gone. And as much as I enjoyed it, honestly, I think he would’ve enjoyed it more telling everybody how great his kids are. You know how dads are. They just walk around bragging on their kids.
Jon: That’s cool, man. Speaking of your success, we could’ve had a whole show and a whole – we could’ve had a series of shows about all of what you built. You got a great book out there, Wealth Can’t Wait. My wife is listening to it. I’ve dug into it. I’m not done with it yet by the way.
David: It’s long. It’s too long.
Jon: it’s a good one.
David: It’s a really good book and it’s full of really good material but like all first books I put so much into it…. my books but I’m proud of it. It’s a good book.
Jon: Well, also then you added to the mix, The Miracle Morning for Millionaires.
David: Yeah. Miracle Morning for Millionaires with Hal Elrod.
Jon: It’s awesome. And so, one of my last question here and I know we’re out of time, but I certainly wanted to ask you about this. I wanted to ask you about your opinions and your thoughts about the legacy we leave for our families as it relates to wealth transference. Anything a guy should be thinking about reading, considering? This is something that you obviously have thought about. Just from a dads perspective, wealth, and our families, and what should we be thinking about?
David: So, I put a lot of thought into this. There was a time when I thought it was like feudal times, you just make your kids fabulously wealthy, but then I met so many rich people with messed up kids, doing drugs and having miserable lives, that I really rethought that. I’ve reached a point, I’m lucky enough to have a 31-year-old daughter as well who I have a great relation with. With her, my intention is to help her. I’m trying to build in all my kids entrepreneurial skills so they can handle wealth like that’s one thing I see is kids are not prepared for wealth so Bella’s already creating her sixth business today. Thanks again to the Acton Academy. My older daughter when she went to college, I bought a five-bedroom house and had her manage all the bedrooms so she learned how to manage real estate. Now, we bought a duplex in Denver where she lives and she’s managing the VRBO below so she can pay for her payment.
So, I’m trying to teach them the skills and I don’t think I’ll give them more than I think they can handle. For sure, my kids will be comfortable. They won the lottery so to speak. They’re not going to be poor in this lifetime, but if I have, I’m not going to give them necessary $30 million, $40 million each. I’m going to give away a lot to charity. I’m going to give away a lot to people that are making a difference like Scott Harrison and I give them as much as I think they can handle and not make it so that they’re corrupted by the wealth I give them. At least I’m going to try, Jon. That’s the intention. I’m paying attention to who they are, what their character is, teaching them kindness early, teaching them to give away money early. We have Bella give away a percentage of her income. Last year she gave her birthday to Austin Pets Alive! Didn’t take any presents. She almost did it the year before then had second thoughts and wanted the gifts.
So, then the following year she has so much. So, teaching to give, teaching to be entrepreneurs, and then only give them what they can handle and let them know. You may or may not get all of this. I’m never going to leave you hanging but you got to look out for your life. You need to find your purpose and if that purpose is to make a business, great. If it’s to give away money, great. If it’s to be a teacher in school, great, but I’m going to make the wealth distribution decisions based on the character of the person and also, I tell them I’m going to give a lot away. There’s a lot of needy people out there and I think we should find a way to get back so that’s kind of my philosophy as it stands right now.
Jon: It’s cool, man. Well, guys, I would recommend checking out Wealth Can’t Wait, The Miracle Morning For Millionaires, and I really appreciate just getting to know you, man, over these last couple years. My respect and appreciation for who you are as a person has really grown tremendously and the interesting thing is I don’t know any more about any of your professional world outside of the fact that you’ve been pretty successful there, but who I’ve really gotten to know is just who you are as a dude, and as a dad, and then I actually don’t see much of your professional world at all but I really like getting to know your personal world and these things about your life and how you’re going about them. That’s to me been really impressive.
So, I just want to thank you, man, for spending some time with us this morning. I know how much you value your time and the fact that you gave it up here to have this chat. I know a lot of guys really benefit from this. I loved learning about your story, learned a lot of new stuff myself, and so thank you, man. I appreciate this a lot.
David: Jon, the feeling is mutual. I love who you are and what you’re up to the world and thanks so much for having me. It’s been an honor.
Jon: Wow. Can’t wait to hang with you in 20 days from now.
Jon: All right, man. Thanks again. And, hey, where do people go?
David: Just DavidOsborn.com, www.DavidOsborn.com, easiest way to find me and see all the stuff going on there.
Jon: Awesome. Thanks again, brother.
David: Thanks, Jon.