Ep #552 – Savage Leader author Darren Reinke

Darren Reinke is an executive coach and author with a different take on leadership. Darren focuses on the internal journey that is often overlooked. Darren’s philosophy is that there is leadership potential inside all of us.

  • Freedom of time and space
  • Stepping outside your comfort zone
  • Action mitigates fear
  • Patience
  • Acknowledgement
  • The value of pulling your past forward
  • Being authentic

To find out more about our guest:

Full Transcript Below

Rod: Welcome to another edition of How to a Lifetime Cash Flow through Real Estate Investing. I’m Rod Khleif and I am thrilled you’re here. And I know you’re going to enjoy the gentlemen we’re interviewing today. And his name is Darren Reinke. And Darren, the reason I’ve got him on is because he wrote an awesome book about leadership. It’s called The Savage Leader. And you’re thinking, you know, this is a real estate show. What’s leadership have to do with anything? Well, I’m going to tell you that if you’re listening or watching the show, you’re a leader already, whether you have a team or not.

And right now, more than ever, this world needs leaders, you know? And so, you know, maybe you’ve heard me talk about how it’s so important to manage your focus and what you’re focusing on. Like, don’t be focusing on the news for example. Stand guard at the door to your mind and bring in the good stuff because people are watching you, even if it’s just your family, even if you’re just leading your family. But so, Darren, you founded a company called Group 60. It’s an executive coaching and training company, and they transform leaders and teams. And he’s work with Fortune 500 companies. And I wanted to bring him on to talk about leadership because it’s so important right now. Darren, welcome to the show, brother.

Darren: Yeah, thanks so much for having me on. Absolutely.

Rod: So why don’t you just tell us how you got, you know, what got you into executive coaching and caused you to write the book. So, I’ll just let you take it.

Darren: All right, that’s a big question in two very different questions. I’ll try to give you the classic version,

Rod: Okay

Darren: So, it starts really where I grew up. So, I grew up as a very typical kid in Northern California up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a little bit of a unique upbringing that my parents are both veterinarians and a little bit of a fun fact that my sister, I call is a human dermatologist because my mother is a veterinary dermatologist. So, I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and be an orthopedic surgeon. And so really, my frame growing up as a kid was health science. So, we talked about at the dinner table and my parent’s cases and really only knew the options of being a veterinarian, being a physician. So, I went into undergrad and then about halfway through realized I didn’t want to be a physician for a whole host of reasons and was encouraged and excited about this concept of business.

I luckily had some great mentors. Friend of my best friend’s dad, worked for a very large bank at the time, encouraged me to look at consulting, investment banking, to “figure out the world”. So, this is like the first of many pivots in my life into my career and ended up landing a job at Accenture, doing management consulting, figuring out what I want to do with my life.

So, I know people can hopefully relate to just the many twists and turns in our lives and our career and ended up doing that. Still didn’t know what I wanted to do, ended up going in and do my MBA at UC Berkeley still had some different ideas of what I wanted and bounced around a bit and started a few companies, one in the south of Brazil. And what I ultimately realized was that the desire to be a physician was actually to give back and to do good for other people and by combining that with business, basically formed an executive coaching and training company.

So, I’m able to give back able to help people, because what really excites me is just seeing people change, seeing people transform almost gives me goose bumps in terms of seeing that transformation happen. So that’s a bit of how I got into executive coaching and training.

Rod: Love it. Same, same, same for me. That’s why I do what I do. It’s what drives me is the reason my wife puts up with me working Sundays sometimes. I love it so much that giving and seeing people flourish. So, let’s, so there was that was a two-part question. Yeah. Why did you write the book? Do we answer that one?

Darren: No, that’s a great question as well. And I always thought maybe my angst filled twenties, I’d write a book, maybe a memoir if I had something interesting to tell, have on paper stories, I could tell my kids and grandkids and hopefully beyond that. And but I had this nagging, self-limiting belief about my ability to write. And what that really was rooted in was some relative struggles in college level English and analyzing what Kafka was thinking and what he meant in The Metamorphosis. I clearly couldn’t get that. And so, for me, I connected that to writing in my ability to write. At the same time, I realized that my ability to write and to express ideas and to speak were directly in the path for where I wanted to go and how I could influence the most number of people and get out there in the world. So, I decided to write a book and a good friend of mine about four years ago said she turned to me, we’re having a hard conversation.

She said, Darren, it sounds like you’re going to write a book. And to me, it’s I don’t know if that was a question. I think it was probably actually a little bit of a challenge. And so, I thought, okay. And so, I started to think about it. I started to write. I had the very the blank Microsoft Word screen and typing those very first words very early in the morning. And I started to commit to it. I started to write. I started to put some thoughts together, add some different writing mentors that I worked with, and then ultimately, once I started committing to my family and friends, that’s one thing. But I started to commit to clients. That’s when I was fully ten toes into the pool, so to speak, in terms of committing to writing the book. And so, from then it was just go, write those stories, do those interviews, get it published.

So that’s a little bit of the genesis of writing the book. But a big part of it was just challenging that self-limiting belief. And for me, it was just throwing myself into the deep end of a pool and to do something I didn’t think I could do before.

Rod: Yeah, you know. You guys, certainly if you listen to my Own Your Power clips, we talk about limiting beliefs all the time. And, you know, and my belief in the acronym for a belief system is BS because 99% of them are. And so, you know, it’s a topic that I love talking about and we all have them. You know, I’m too old, I’m too young. I’m not for me, it was I’m not analytical enough. And sometimes my old one was I’m not good enough.

And so, you know, if you guys have any of those, you want to pull them out in the daylight, look at them with your adult rational mind, recognize that they are B.S. and you know that then and when you look at them consciously and rationally, they start to diminish. And it takes a little time. But the key there is you want to look at them consciously. So, let’s talk about the book, if you don’t mind. I know that you’ve got a lot of good stuff in there. And I think one of the topics in there is values, yes?

Darren: Values, definitely. That’s really it’s the first principle, as I structured as a series of 13 principles and just it’s based on what I’ve learned in my life or my career for some remarkable folks, whether I was coaching them or just was influenced by them. And so I distilled it into 13 principles. And just by the way, so the book talks takes a little bit of a different approach to leadership. And a little bit of the way I see the world is that most times a lot of leadership development books, a lot of TED talks really talk about the external visible journey of becoming a leader.

It’s about becoming a great orator, being able to have impact, be able to be a great decision maker. But what I believe is there’s this simultaneous parallel journey that’s going on, the inner journey that involves values, which you mentioned, which involves self-limiting beliefs, which involves a fostering a greater sense of patience and perseverance in dealing with doubts and fears. So, it’s really the book is about that inner journey that’s along the external journey. So, it’s one of the tables set that a little bit.

But what you mentioned was the first principle or chapters about values and really the other 12 build upon that, because I think it’s so important that all of us have values in our life, whether they’re professional values or their personal values and the whole genesis of where they come from, that’s a lot of what I’ve learned from some therapist friends of mine who talk about where those come from. They come from friends. They come from family. They come from the communities that we grow up in and they really influence who we are.

But ultimately, for me, one important part, and I shared a story of my own in this first chapter was about finding what matters. And for me, it took living in the south of Brazil. I started a sort of travel company with a good high school friend of mine. And so, my wife and I, she was girlfriend at the time, had the ring in my sock drawer. So, I propose her officially about a week before we left.

But she was committed enough to me to be willing to leave without the engagement. So, we jumped on the plane. We packed our stuff in storage and flew to the south of Brazil. And through the process of starting a business and where this ties back to values, we spent every single breakfast, lunch and dinner. And maybe that makes people want to gag in terms of how much time we spent together. But for me, it was such a special time for us to grow and to get to know each other.

And it’s just I realized that’s what mattered most to me, was to be able to spend time with who I cared about the most. We didn’t have two kids at the time. I’m blessed enough to have two young boys. And for me, I developed a bit of a mantra of freedom of time and space. And because that’s what ultimately mattered most to me and it’s carried forward and that’s what I’ve done, is I’ve tried to build a life and a business that allows me to really live that out and to be able to coach the youth sports teams to be at their holiday plays when they’re in preschool, just to be there for them, to support them, to see them when they come home from school and I can drop them off at practice of I’m not coaching.

So really, it’s about that’s values from my perspective in terms of finding what matters. But I also interviewed a couple of other remarkable business founders and people and just they talked about the importance of values in their lives. But for me, it was about finding what matters and then anchoring to what matters and use that as that guiding force, that guiding principle, that North Star, if you will, in terms of your life and your career.

Rod: Sure. Sure. So, freedom of time and space was something you valued heavily. You know, what are some other examples of values? I mean, for me, it’s like integrity. You do what’s right, whether even if it hurts, is that the sort of thing we’re talking about here? Like a code of conduct, a code of values, things that really matter, that are foundational to everything?

Yeah, I mean, for me, there’s the ones that I learned from my parents, so my dad always talked about the importance of being fair. And of course, integrity is part of that. And then ones that I learned later in my life and career was, for one in particular, its growth. So, in one could say achievement and growth can oftentimes be a proxy for achievement, because if you’re growing, most likely you’re going to achieve you can be getting better.

And that really comes alive for me in terms of just being a lifelong learner and being a student, listening to podcasts like yours, to reading books, to really pushing myself and into areas of discomfort, because that’s where growth happens, is being uncomfortable. And that’s one of the chapters also I talked about is this idea, this discomfort, discomfort index and asked a series of questions that’s not in the book specifically, but it’s really interesting to get into that zone, not the full redlining in your RPM’s, but just that point of discomfort so that you’re growing and that you’re getting better. And for me, writing a book was just throwing myself off that ledge and seeing if I could fly or swim in that case.

Rod: Love it. Love it. Yeah. And, you know, frankly, happiness comes from progress and growth. You know, I tell the story about building this thing I worked for 20 years, this mansion in the beach. It’s testament to my ego. And within two months of building and moving in, I was depressed because it’s never about the goals. It’s about that continual growth and progress. And, you know, you said something about discomfort.

Tony Robbins got this, has this quote that the quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of discomfort you can take. And, you know, if you sit and look and I will tell you guys those are you listening? If you sit and look back at anything amazing that you’ve ever done in your lives, I promise you you’ve got a little uncomfortable. And so, the same thing with this multifamily. You know, you’re listening to me because you want to create that freedom of time and space like Darren’s talking about in your world. And that’s going to cause you to get a little uncomfortable that you’ve heard me say that comfort zones a warm place, but nothing grows there. If you grow, it all ties together. So now, let me ask you this. I know that you also, talk about the final three chapters of your book, how that, how each chapter plays into each other. Will you give that a little energy?

Darren: Definitely. It’s a three for the price of one. So, someone asked me a while ago, so what’s the three the three biggest things I said, values. I forget the second one and the third one was these three because it’s they’re really related. Just the idea of what you talked about as these just toxic self-limiting beliefs that come from a variety of places, not just the people who grow up with. But I’m thinking about comments a substitute teacher made to me when I was in high school and things you see in the immediate comments, feedback you’ve gotten. And those can just be festering, just those nagging self-limiting beliefs. And left unchecked, those become create doubt. And when you have doubt, just I think I heard you talk about in one of your other podcast episodes, when you have any kind of doubt, you’re going to fail.

Just think about jumping off a cliff or a rock into a river or a lake, which I did and my mom wouldn’t want to hear that. But if you had any hesitation or doubt, you’re most likely going to fail. The same thing with life and business, that you have to go full force, full throttle and to squelch those doubts. But it’s a really, really tough thing to do and it’s related to that. And then that doubt can become fear and fear can just absolutely paralyzes fear, fear of a failing, fear of being judged.

I know, for me, putting a book out in the Amazon marketplace was a thought of. Now I’m just I’m vulnerable to criticism to the court of Internet judgment. And I think so many of us just have that fear that and it’s about how you attack those fears and how you overcome those fears, because that’s just so much of our success is unlocked by what goes on internally, which is why I ended up focusing so much on the inner journey, because I think that’s the harder part. The external part to me is the easier part. It’s tackling those beliefs, overcoming that doubt and just knocking out that fear.

Rod: Yeah. And, you know, it’s funny. Action mitigates fear. It’s counterintuitive. You just have to do it and push through it regardless of the fear. So, what is fear? False Evidence Appearing Real? Face Everything And Rise? I like that one better.

So, you know, you talk about giving back how that’s important. And this book, I think definitely is evidence of that and helping in your coaching and in helping companies flourish, helping people flourish, helping them become better leaders and look in the mirror and really grow in every aspect of their life. I just think that’s so important. We do that in our, you know, my warrior mentorship program. We have high performance coaching as part of our coaching. And we, you know, we work on relationships, health, clarity, getting clarity around your life, things like things like that and your ability to influence of course as well and things of that nature, and it’s just so important, it’s not all about the money, it’s about becoming a better human being, a better father, mother, you know, husband, wife, partner. So, what are some you know, what are some other points in the book that, you know, that you’d like to chat about or as part of the coaching process that you enjoy that add significant value to people?

I think one principle that’s been really important in my life is this, is about patience. And for me, I struggled for a long time because I was always impatient and. It really held me back in so many different ways, because you get, impatience leads to frustration. And what I realize is there’s this distinction between patience for action or impatience for action and impatience for results. And I think to be successful, of course, when you do be action oriented, as you mentioned a few minutes ago, but sometimes we can’t control the results and investment and it may take longer to generate that ROI to overcome that hurdle rate, to get that promotion that we seek in our life, to find a relationship that’s fulfilling for us long term, to have the impact and significance we want in the in the world and in our lives.

I think those things are two separate elements. And for me, it’s about trying to foster that patience for results and outcomes. And just fighting against the, accepting impatience for action is okay. But the impatience for results is tough. And I used to say, yeah, patience is a virtue for other people, which is just so naive, arrogant or whatever, whatever you want to describe it as. But it just was not self-aware. And just I realized later on just how much that got in my way.

Sure. It allowed me the impatience for action to be successful as a consultant and to do that and to go to grad school and so forth. But longer term, it’s just so important to just have that patience in terms of some of those results and outcomes.

Rod: Love it. Yeah, just did a boot camp with seven hundred people. And one of the things that I taught is a planning process. And we talk about we talk about the fact that, yes, you need goals, you need to have those drivers. But it really is about progress and goals because things and I’m going to circle back to patience here in a second. It really is. That’s what brings you that happiness if you’re growing and progressing. And part of that planning process is acknowledging what you did. I don’t care how big it was, even small tasks. Pat yourself on the back consciously. That’s the operative word, doing it consciously and saying, good job Rod, you got that done because things aren’t going to happen as fast as you like. You’re going to have setbacks and you’ve got to have that patience. But, you know, you can be happy if, you know, if you regularly acknowledge that you’re growing and progressing. Would you agree with that comment?

Darren: A hundred percent. Acknowledgment is such an important thing. And acknowledging others, if you’re a leader and you you’re so lucky to have people that are on your team to acknowledge them. But what you’re saying also is acknowledge yourself, acknowledge yourself when you take risks, when you push yourself out of your comfort zone and say, look, I did that. It’s the act of doing that which can really foster that greater sense of patience, confidence, and just lead to a more fulfilling and happier life. Absolutely. Acknowledgment is really important.

Rod: I love it. Love it. And, you know, you guys were so good at, reliving and in the painful experiences in our life and suffering through what’s happened that hasn’t been the most empowering or the most things that didn’t weren’t the greatest things in our life. But I would encourage you to relive the great moments of your life, relive those successes and those you know, those times when you really did get a little uncomfortable and push yourself, because that helps build that confidence and minimize those limiting beliefs. So, I know another principle that kind of ties into what I just talked about is using the past to transform your future. Can you elaborate on that? Because I know that’s a topic you can speak very well about.

Darren: So many of us, we have so many stories from our past. And you talked about stories in terms of I love that anchoring on some of those positive moments when you challenge yourself and how that can give you confidence in the moment, but also look further back in time and look for some of those stories to provide that confidence, but also learning lessons. So for me, living in Switzerland as a nine year old kid, for whatever reason, never rebelled against going to the American school and ended up in the Swiss public school, which problem number one was, the class was taught in high German. So, the national language, the same one spoke in Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

Problem number two was that, on the playground, it’s a fundamentally different language, Swiss-German. So, I had to learn two languages and fast. I remember thinking how hard it was to count from one to ten. But just as I mentioned before, just that experience of living there. And this wasn’t something I realized until much later in my life was that it taught me the importance of empathy and thinking outside of your own perspective. So that was one story that is so important and is one of many.

There was an example or an example of leading not by example. High school basketball, was one of the co captains of our team. We’ve been on a roll. We’d won a bunch of preseason tournaments. I was doing pretty well. Even I was a naturally and athletic basketball player and we were getting beat on this. One of our arch rivals and I went to the sideline and I kept the water bottles and frustration and launched him into the stands that got my teammates wet, some fans in the front row wet as real as in the moment I had to really let my team down.

I had done the exact opposite of modeling leadership and something that really carried with me the rest of my life in terms of the importance of is acting like a leader, not just do as I say, but do as I do just how important that actually is. So, I have many other stories as well, but those are two that really stuck with me. And I think all of us have these stories from our past. And I encourage people as part of that introspection process to pull those forward because it really impacts where you are now and in the future.

Rod: I really love the fact that you went back so far in, you know, in using your past to help you become a better human and build confidence in the future, because you not sitting here thinking about, as you were talking about, you know, the experience, the athletic experience and even the struggling and having to learn foreign languages and then two different dialects in the foreign language and using that, those experiences to recognize just how powerful you are as a human being.

And we all have those experiences. So, guys, I hope, you know, it’s a little deep, but I want you to think about why we’re talking here, maybe some experiences in your past that you haven’t given yourself credit for, maybe way back to your childhood, like, wow, you know what? I did that. And I never really acknowledged how amazing that really was. I love that. I absolutely love that. And so, guys, take the time to think about, you know, chronologically some of these things that you’ve done and gotten through and use that as confidence and to feel better about what you’ve accomplished so far. Love it. Now, another topic I know you enjoy talking about is authenticity. So, let’s drill down on that one a little bit, Darren.

Darren: One of my favorite topics and just something that I’ve, just to your point before about these stories in the past is I’ve spent so much time over the last several years, is having a lot of introspection and thinking about what my own why, my own purpose, what I’m doing in the world and how that comes to fruition from a business perspective, that allows me to go back and see some of the stories as being the learning lessons. But the same thing that introspection around authenticity and the importance of authenticity and the benefits of authenticity.

And it just, it’s just an incredibly powerful way to show up as leaders. It’s about being the person, not who you think you should be, but to be the person that you actually are, to live out some of those values in your life that are so important to you and to do ultimately what matters most to you. And it’s just it’s going to allow you to connect with people in a more meaningful way. Its gonna empower, it’s going to motivate people.

And also, I think it can also, modeling authenticity for yourself, but also allowing people in your organization, your teams and people around you to be truly authentic as well. So, you can almost lead by example in that capacity. But authenticity is one of my favorite topics. And I think one of the key steps people need to make to be the best leader they can be in their life, whatever that may be.

Rod: Yeah, I love authenticity. And I will tell you that, you know, that’s a word that’s used to describe me a lot because I kind of bare my soul whenever I’m doing my live events and talking to people. And I talk about the good, the bad and even the ugly.

And it and it has you know, it’s sometimes it’s a little painful, but it has served me and but I love how you bring that into leadership, because I have even thought about the parallel between that and leadership, because it really when you when you when you allow yourself to be authentic and real and you’re not wearing a mask or, you know, this facade, then like you said, it allows other people to do the same and be themselves and not have to fake it either. So, I can totally see that. I’ve never thought about it associated with that, but I really like that parallel. So, what’s next for you, Darren?

Darren: For me, when I committed to writing this book and I started writing and I published it, I said, this is not going to be my only book, it’ll be my first book. So, we’ll see if I can deliver on that promise. Who knows? It’ll be another four years or five years or 20. And then the second thing is I just launched a podcast by the same name as the book. So, The Savage Leader Podcast.

And that’s been exciting. It’s been fun to get out and talk to people and just to learn their stories, because the book, though, I have my own stories in it. Originally, it was going to be one hundred percent through anecdotes of other people. So, this is a continuation of that and to allow people from all walks of life. So, in the book, it’s not just Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and business executives, it’s entertainers, it’s Navy SEALs, it’s therapists, it’s Ironman triathletes.

And so, the same thing goes with the podcast in terms of, I just love, I think there’s so many great examples of leadership and also so many leaders out in community that can be brought to our careers and our lives, whatever that may be. So that’s what’s next for me, hopefully future books and just excited about this new podcast.

Rod: Oh, I love it. And there’s so many different types of leaders like you just said. You named all these different genres. Love it. Absolutely love it. Well, it’s been a real pleasure, Darren. Appreciate you sharing some time with us on the show. And I’m looking forward to checking out your podcast.

Darren: Great, thanks for having me on.

Rod: You bet.