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PYPP 46 | Resilient Leadership


The market is an ever-evolving world, and it has never been more unpredictable with the COVID-19 pandemic. Without innovative and resilient leadership, rapid and unforeseen changes may be too hot for you to handle. Susie Carder chats with Adam Markel to discuss how to hone a business mindset that can embrace change, face different levels of uncertainty, and serve the people no matter what. He breaks down wealth-building strategies that can help design thriving business roadmaps and three steps in delivering an impactful TED Talk.

For those interested in our Get TED Ready Masterclass on September 27, connect with us at For those who want to take our Resilience Assessment, visit

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Cultivating Resilient Leadership With Adam Markel

Welcome to this episode. Our guest is Adam Markel. Humans are hardwired to resist change and seek certainty, but that leaves us ill-equipped to thrive in this rapidly changing world. With us is Adam Markel, a bestselling author, keynote speaker, workplace expert, and resilience researcher. Adam is the author of the new book, Change Proof: Leveraging The Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience, coming out in February of 2023. Learn more about Adam Markel at Welcome, Adam. I’m excited that you’re here. I appreciate you. This is going to be a delicious talk.

Adam, I’m so excited. I feel like a kid in a candy store. What I love about this show is we get to tell the things that nobody will talk about, like the truth versus standing on our stage and teaching from our mountaintop. I want to talk about myths.

I want to stand on the mountaintop. Can we stand on the mountaintop?

That’s a different story.

I was reading about that.

Let’s talk about the reality of speaking. You have an amazing program. First of all, we’ve known each other for a long time, which I love. I love your message, everything that you’re up to, and what you’re doing. You’re a change agent in the world.

You gave me the chills. I’m not kidding. We do know each other. I know people sometimes say that on shows or whatever. They know each other for a hot minute. You and I know each other for a minute for real. That was beautiful and I appreciate you saying that, so thank you.

You’re welcome. We’ve been swimming in the circle. You tend to come back to the ones that are the real deal and swim away from the ones that aren’t. You are the real deal, my friend. Let’s tell everybody who’s your sweet spot. Who do you serve? What’s your magic? You got a lot of magic, but what are you most excited about?

This is a fun question and I’m going to do my best not to be a long talker for this answer. I’m going to call myself out of it. We have a business that might be called thought leadership, which is a platform. For those of you that are intrigued by this, it’s like we have a platform. It’s mostly digital because that’s how we communicate these days. It’s through this thing called the World Wide Web or the internet. As part of that platform, I’ve written books. I wrote a book called Pivot. It’s a book about reinvention. It was a big bestseller. Many people might have read that or heard that or whatever. This book is called Change Proof, which is a book about resilience. It’s leveraging the power of uncertainty to build long-term resilience.

The audience for my Pivot book was mostly individuals who want to transform themselves. I was a miserable lawyer who ended up in the hospital thinking I’m having a heart attack and my wife’s standing next to me, pale as a ghost. I’m thinking I’m never going to see our four kids again. At that moment, we have four small children. It turns out to be a panic attack or anxiety attack. I come out of that, not knowing what to do, but I figure a few things out. Ultimately, I write this book Pivot about that. I get on stage. I was literally asked to speak about it and then fell in love with sharing with other people what my life’s journey had been. I’m an introvert. I’m a situational extrovert I guess.

Getting on the stage lit me up in a way I didn’t expect. I was a lawyer. I was eighteen years in the profession. When I stood up in court, all I ever had were butterflies and nerves. I always felt like I got to beat that person up before they beat me up. Everybody is deflecting, trying to avoid getting crushed by the judge. I hated that. When I stood up in front of a group of people who were looking directly at me and I could see their eyes, it lit me up. I went from speaking to a few people to co-delivering events with Tony Robbins and other people in China, Japan, and all over the world for 10,000 people at a time.

[bctt tweet=”Proving what you can do doesn’t ultimately produce happiness. That is part of it, but always make sure you’re strong enough to withstand the wins of everything, including change.” via=”no”]

My sweet spot, I love an audience of 400 or 500 people. That book Pivot was all about reinvention from a miserable lawyer and anxiety-ridden lawyer to doing something very different in life that helped me to open my heart and heal my soul and help a lot of people. That was the first step on the path. This book about change and resilience is a book about business. It’s for business leaders and has some personal development in it because that’s the way we’re baked. You lead a company. You lead people. You make a product. You serve millions of folks. There’s so much of us that’s in that thing. If we’re crap on the inside, what we produce is crap on the outside. Here’s the spiritual dogma in a minute.

This book is about how you develop not only the ability to embrace change, no matter what change but the resilience that you create in the process that enables you to serve people even in the midst of uncertainty and things that are disruptive to our businesses and our personal lives. When I speak to that audience, there’s personal growth in it. I speak primarily to business audiences because I get paid very well by companies to come in and speak, workshop, consult and advise. Our business as thought leadership or ideal leadership platform is one where I produce content online or digitally. I produce these things we call books that sometimes people buy still. People still read.

I speak and I speak a ton and I love it. It’s the thing I expect like Dale Carnegie. I will do it well into my 90s and not because I’ll need the money. I may want the money because I like money. That’s cool. It’s because it’ll light me up. If I’m in front of an audience, whether it’s one person or God knows how many people are here now, I don’t feel so in service to a higher purpose or to the spirit that it doesn’t feel 100% at that moment. This is the only thing I’m supposed to be doing. I know you know what that feels like.

It’s like transcending. You’ll get off stage and people go, “What was that thing you said?” “I don’t know.” It’s a God thing. I get channeled for sure. I have my shtick and my shtick is good and then I surrender. That’s a skill. You’re a TEDx coach and a TEDx mentor. I’m going to be candid. Why do you still need to do a TEDx? It’s so last year. People are like, “I don’t need to do that.” Why do people need it? I’ll let you say it and then I’ll say why.

It’s one word. I’ll keep this one short. It’s credibility. It’s so difficult to do a TED Talk. I had spoken to hundreds of thousands of people for years and years, but getting on that little red circle scared the crap out of me.

I can’t even say my name in eighteen minutes. Especially digital, now eighteen minutes is a long time. We’ve transitioned from how we used to do old-school speaking to new-school speaking, engagement and adult learning. Talk about how you are teaching people to leverage that platform and speak. People go, “I’m going to be a speaker. I’m going to be rich and famous.”

Everybody can be their own media brand right now. The idea that anybody could have a media brand is not bullshit. That’s the truth. We all have the capacity now to create a platform, whereas when I started, that didn’t exist in the same way. It’s a funny thing because TED, while it is yesterday and it’s not what it was from the standpoint of, “I got to do that,” like it’s on my bucket list thing, although some people still feel that way. The people who matter in terms of who might hire you to speak, pay you to speak, and pay attention to what you say actually care. They understand to get a TED is difficult. To deliver one is excruciatingly difficult.

I said to Randi, my wife, maybe 1 or 2 weeks before I was going to stand on this TED stage in Lake Tahoe, “I think I killed too many brain cells in college. I don’t know that I have enough left to actually see this through.” I was terrified. She would do wicked things to me. It’s like 11:00 at night and I just got in bed. She would go, “Get out of bed and do your talk.” I’m like, “F you, are you kidding? Don’t fuck with me right now. I need my sleep. I work all day.” She was like, “Get out of bed and do your talk.” We torture people. I get to do that same thing to other people now.

That’s a breakthrough. I remember I was with a different company and that was the thing. I had to be broken down to get to build back up because I had my shtick. I wasn’t in my authentic center. I wasn’t being transparent even though I thought I was because my shtick was good.

We’ll only surrender to a point. It takes somebody that knows well what’s ahead like a mentor to be able to see past your facade and the pretense to be able to get to the presence. That’s the way we look at it. When you are that essence and that’s who you are in front of other people, you could call it channeling. You could call it being divinely guided. There are a lot of ways to describe what that is. Basically, you strip away the pretense and what’s left is something quite amazing. It’s quite a bit more amazing, as Marianne Williamson said, “Who are we to play small?” I think that’s what she was getting at. We don’t realize how beautiful we are because we’ve learned from childhood.

PYPP 46 | Resilient Leadership
Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-term Resilience

We could go into psychology now. We’ve learned how to build this facade in order to protect ourselves from the world and people and being hurt. A lot of us were bullied and teased. A lot of us were told you can’t do this or that. I love the provers because the people who prove can do whatever you tell me. I know your audience is a lot of professionals, a lot of women, and a lot of very successful people. They’re probably 90% provers, but proving doesn’t ultimately produce happiness often. As part of that proving, you create quite a bit of a wall or a way to make sure you’re strong to withstand the winds of everything, including change.

Part of what we do is what you said, which is to break through that, break it down, and breakthrough so that there’s something that’s behind that’s more vulnerable, more real, and more transparent. That’s so flipping powerful that if let’s say that person was wanting to enroll someone in what they were passionate about, whether it’s the formulation of a supplement that they’ve created or it’s their program that they’ve created or the coaching that they want to do for other people, they enroll from that place of authenticity. It’s very powerful. I used to train people through a business that I ran for a lot of years that did about 100 live personal development events a year. I would train people to sell from the stage.

I would say to these folks, because I had learned how to do that, and I don’t know how many of them actually bought this when I said it. I truly believe that it sunk in at the moment. I hope it did. There’s a grave responsibility to that because you’re almost like a cult leader at that moment. You can lead people and they will follow you almost anywhere, including to the back of the room with their credit cards. There’s such a responsibility not to lead them to the wrong place. Maybe that sounds a little trite, but there are a lot of places in the world and in the personal development world where people get led in the wrong direction.

That’s not something I’m into. To learn how it is that you can communicate at such an effective level, whether it’s to raise capital, which we know. You are always raising capital. For any business that is growing or any business that’s going to scale, you are always raising capital. You always want capital on good terms. Whether it’s your Series A or B, or any other thing that you’re doing to grow your business if you can’t articulate effectively your vision. That’s what was most powerful about Steve Jobs. His greatest skill was what he did on stage in front of people, and how he enrolled people with his vision. He left Steve Wozniak the job of figuring out all the little hows involved.

You said something earlier too that I want to come back to, which is TED, for example. It’s such a ninja process to get to eighteen minutes of pure content because every single word is curated. There is no fluff. There is no ums, ands, you knows, so and all those verbal ticks. Those are gone from that thing. It is a long time because when we are helping people in the platform creation to create their demo reels, for example, that’s like two minutes. It’s 200 words. When I see someone’s video that’s longer than two minutes these days, I’m like, “Is this ever going to end?” To do eighteen minutes and captivate a person, grab their attention, and hold their attention, good grief.

What I love is you distilled this process. I’m old school. We didn’t have stuff like this when we were coming up. We had to figure it out. There was Dale Carnegie and luckily, my first coach was the top trainer for that organization. He landed in my lap. That was a godsend. When I think about all the training I did that I had to learn from the training, I go, “I’ll never do that again.” The money is left on the table because you didn’t know how to enroll. You didn’t know how to come from your authenticity.

I then went into an NLP training, which was great, but that felt more manipulative. I was manipulating people to go to the back of the room, which I didn’t want to do. I don’t want to manipulate. I want people to take action and implement it in their business, not just buy a product. Who cares if they buy a product from you? We haven’t done our work. That’s my belief. I know that’s your belief. We want to transform people into responsible citizens to make the world a better place, to make our families a better place, to have more wealth, and to create this synergy. That’s a bigger vision than I just want to sell. Who cares?

I want to give your people the three pieces that without practice and stuff like that, it might be meaningless. I’ll say that out loud because it could be true. For those that have been practicing a little while, who have been speaking a little while, maybe who haven’t gotten great results even or mediocre results, this might mean something. I’m going to quickly say it. I would teach you how to toggle through three simple things when you’re doing an enrollment. This is what is baked through a script that you create to start to practice anything, whether you’re giving a keynote talk or it’s specific to enrolling someone. That is you have to start with enthusiasm.

You have to tap into the spirit. You have to tap into something that’s in the ether that people can feel and you could use the word enthusiasm. That’s the word I’m going to say. You could call it energy, but you have to have enthusiasm followed by heart. People have to understand why this matters to them. Often it is that people can’t engage their own hearts, especially when they’re on stage or in front of people virtually or what have you because in part they’re nervous or the facade is there. They protect their heart. They’re not going to reveal themselves. It’s enthusiasm and heart, and then adamance. I like it because it’s got my name embedded in it. Adamance is I have the capacity to get animated or get intense, as my dad used to say when I was a kid. Intensity.

You might say in your face a little bit. It’s your version of truth-telling. It’s unvarnished. I love that about you. You have that capacity to do these three things and you move through it. If let’s say I’m having an enrollment conversation for ten minutes, I am toggling through enthusiasm, heart, adamance, and then going right back to enthusiasm, heart and adamance over and over again in a 5 or 10-minute enrollment. I’m going to go through that cycle three times easily.

[bctt tweet=”When leaders are depleted, exhausted, or burned out, they don’t make good decisions. Every bad decision always starts as a great idea.” via=”no”]

I’m getting chills because this is a system strategy. It’s not like you have to be the it factor. Yes, the it factor is practicing and honing your craft, practicing that enthusiasm, that spirit, that heart, that transparency, that adamance. That’s a system versus, “Get up and keep doing and doing it,” but what am I not doing? How do I tweak it? I think that’s the power that you bring. Tom Landry, I love his quote. He said, “A coach will tell you what you don’t want to hear. A coach will show you what you don’t want to see so you could be the person you knew that you could be.”

I love the way you teach because it’s not about you. You’re not putting people on a stage to torture them. It is torturous when you get that intense coach, but that’s what we need. Especially if you’ve been speaking for a while, you have all these bad habits. Eighteen minutes is a lot of time, but not a lot of time. When you’re a seasoned speaker and you’ve been speaking for years without this structure and breakdown, you can ramble. We’ve all seen them. It’s like, “Get to the point already.” We can get you to the point already, which I love.

You cannot hide, which is why it’s scary. It is why people don’t do it. It’s why other people respect those who do. That’s why I said credibility is the reason you do these things.

It’s like a book. You don’t have to have a book but you have to have a book.

If you’re going to have a book, my feeling is, why not have a good book or a great book?

Amazing book. Bestselling book.

This one came out in 2021. It’s The I Love My Life Challenge. This is based on my TED Talk. This is a book that’s based on the TED Talk that has a workbook as well. This was the relaunch of Pivot that Simon and Schuster did a few months ago. I held up Change Proof earlier. I’ve got this one Soul Over Matter, which is more of a spiritual book. My dad is a fiction writer. He is an author. I consider him to be talented. I’m a non-fiction author. I’m not being self-deprecating here when I say I don’t consider myself a talented artist in writing like a creative writer, but I can write. I know how to write and I know how to write well, and it’s not easy. It’s difficult.

It’s like you said. You don’t have to have a book, but you have to have a book. If you’re going to have a book, have a great book. Marshall Goldsmith says, “Build resilience in yourself, your relationships, and your business.” That’s Marshall Goldsmith. That’s not canned. That’s a real endorsement from a top business leader. Write a good book. I’ll say this. Somebody goes, “I want to write a book.” You don’t have to write a book by yourself either. There are tons of people that can help you to write a book. I don’t mean ghostwriters. I mean developmental editors.

I was in the rat race. I was a workaholic attorney, 90 to 100 hours a week. The money didn’t suck. What sucked was that I was missing my kids’ childhoods. I went through a point in my life when I ended up in that hospital where inside, it was screaming at me, “You’ll never get this time back.” It was screaming at me, “You’re an idiot because you’re trading one thing for something else and you are not fully conscious of the trade that you’re making. You’re making a bad deal right now.” It gave me chills because that’s the truth of it. I’ve more than replaced my income. I made a shit ton of money as a lawyer. We do very well now, thank goodness, but it’s different. For people that are not happy in their professional lives, there are two roads you can take.

Part of the personal development lie, and there’s some great stuff. My life was transformed in a personal development room, just to be clear. When I didn’t know what to do, that’s what helped me. One of the little lies that’s insidious is that you have to have purpose and passion and your life’s calling, and why you were born has to be baked into your job and your work. That’s bullshit. I don’t care if anybody agrees with it. I’m going to say you can have a great living and a great job that satisfies parts of your life that isn’t your purpose for living. That’s okay.

PYPP 46 | Resilient Leadership
Resilient Leadership: Giving a TED Talk is such a ninja process. To get 18 minutes of pure content, every single word must be curated. There is no fluff, no ums, and verbal ticks are gone.


I’m not the one to tell you if you don’t get tremendous purpose or fulfillment even out of your work. If you’re doing ethical work like the work is helping in the world and you’re getting paid fairly, keep your day job and work on your platform to do other things. If it’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about, work on that in your spare time. Create that as your plan B, which is what I did. I did not quit my job with four kids, two houses, dogs, cats, and gerbils. I didn’t quit my day job to go chase after being a public speaker or a transformational leader. It’s two and a half years of moving the needle on that other thing before I dared to close down my legal practice. I want people to get the real.

Barbara De Angelis says, “Sometimes your life’s work isn’t your job.” What’s your life’s work? You had a job which provided for your family, but it wasn’t your life’s work. There was something in you that there’s got to be something else. I’m missing my children. I’m missing my wife. I’m missing these experiences, which are beautiful. I’ve always been an advocate of that. Life is too short. Do what you love. I don’t remember who wrote that book, but do what you love and the money will come. Do what you love, be in that experience, and then you’re never working. I know people say that as a shtick, but it’s true. We work hard. Back in the day when I was young and I was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken, that was a job versus now it’s like, “I got to talk to Adam today.” I was so excited.

I’m so early this morning. I showered. I shaved my head for you.

Thank you. I put eyelashes on for you.

It’s for the same reason. It’s because we knew we were going to enjoy our time doing what we’re doing right now.

Let’s talk about the resiliency in the economy. It’s still uncertain. We were talking about our book launches. Mine launched right when COVID hit. You launched during COVID. Let’s talk about how your business and your relationship, because we all had to pivot, which was a beautiful thing. We all had to reset our businesses. Some people have reset and we’re doing great. Some people have reset and they’re not doing great. How has your business thrived in this time? What are some of the tools or tactics you can give us to help us thrive versus survive?

Not the survival thing.

No one wants to suffer.

Suffering is optional. The struggle is optional. When we used to do the fire walks and the arrow breaks and the board breaks, sometimes I would see somebody that was not only not breaking the board, but they were tearing up their hand trying to. Sometimes all they needed to hear was I would walk over, come behind them, and whisper in their ear, “Struggle is optional.” There was a moment where often the case was they took a deep breath and said, “I’m creating this right now. I’m creating my struggle.” I would sometimes say to somebody, “Is that the only way you can break this board, destroying the palm of your hand?”

They look at me and take the fucking board and bang it over their knee or they stomped on it on the floor and broke it in half. I’m like, “Since when did anybody tell you that there’s only one way to succeed at this thing?” That’s applicable in every area of your life. We are more than anything. It is essential that we are resilient. To address uncertainty, we have to embrace every potential reality. Every future possibility has to be okay. We have to be able to utilize, to have confidence and trust that we could utilize anything that might happen tomorrow for the benefit of people around us, for the world, for our families, for ourselves, and all of that.

[bctt tweet=”Resilience is the capacity to always gain strength out of experience, whatever that experience might be.” via=”no”]

That to me is what resilience is. It’s this capacity to always gain strength out of our experience, whatever that experience might be. We’ve done an assessment. We created a proprietary tool some years ago for organizations that we call Resilient Leader Assessment. We’ve conducted more than 4,000 resilient leader assessments and these many case studies. It takes about three minutes. What’s great about it is that it always tells us how resilient we are mentally because so often the struggle that we are dealing with is in between our ears.

We don’t know any better because it’s the way we’ve been handling life’s challenges since we were little kids. It’s what we saw our mom or our dad or our grandparents. We saw them handle things in this way. My mother used to do this thing where she would count to ten, and my mom’s still alive and doing well. I haven’t seen her do this in a lot of years, by the way. Sorry, mom. She wouldn’t do it to herself. She would go, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,” with her teeth gritted. She’s calming herself down, but everybody else around her is freaking out because we expect that dam to break. That was her way of resolving or dealing with a moment.

Our mental resilience, we have to assess. Our emotional resilience is so important. What is triggering us? What still triggers us from the past? What still gets us to a place where we are reactive instead of responsive, where we can get move into anger so quickly? I was interviewed by Psychology Today right after the Will Smith thing. I couldn’t believe it. They come to me as a resilience expert researcher to share some thoughts about Will Smith. I’m like, “Here’s what I thought when I saw this. He snapped, yes. We all saw him snap in front of the entire world. He’s depleted.”

Our research on resilience with more than 4,000 leaders is that when we are depleted, exhausted, burned out or near burned out, we don’t make good decisions. We make bad decisions and we do them quickly. Every bad decision I’ve made, I made some bad ones in my life. It always started out as a great idea. I’m sure when Will Smith got up, the great idea at the moment was my wife, who I love, who’s being hurt right now, who’s being attacked right now, I am not standing for it. The way he didn’t or couldn’t stand up as a child to protect his mom. Instead, he was going to protect his wife. At that moment, that snap decision, because he was depleted, he couldn’t do the things in the book that I talk about, which is to pause, ask and choose. When we can pause, ask and choose, our decisions in life are different. Emotionally, he snapped. His resilience was low, physically.

Across these 4,000 leaders, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual resilience that we assess, the physical quadrant is usually red across the board. You took this test and when you took the assessments, your score was 80. I said to you, “It’s almost the highest score I’ve ever seen.” In any industry you can think of, we’ve tested with people from all over the globe, from Fortune 50 companies, those most successful companies in the world to brand new startup companies, and the score is 64 on average.

Do you know what’s funny? I was beating myself on my 80. I’m like, “Should I tell it was 80? Am I a loser or a slacker?” My mind chattered. Now you’re like, “No, that’s one of the best scores.” I’m like, “Really? Okay.” Knowledge is key.

There’s room for improvement there. The improvement is usually in these areas that we’re ignoring. To take 300 pages of a book, for example, and distill it down to a single throughline, which is what we do when we prepare people for TED where others are speaking. It’s like, “What’s that through line? What’s that main idea?” Resilience is baked out of rituals for recovery. That’s the whole nine yards. People think resilience is how we endure. That’s the sufferers of the world. That’s the person struggling to break the board. I have to keep doing it and doing it until I’m bloodied.

It’s not about endurance. It’s about recovery. Meaning that we have to learn how to ritualize the times during the day when we are consciously choosing to recover mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually because that’s what develops resilience at the moment as we go forward. Any problem that we’re going to deal with, any eventuality, and any future scenario are fine if you know that you have the energy to outperform it. You know how to outperform problems. That’s why you help other people in the way that you do.

I’m putting the dots together because we spoke months ago and I took July off. I looked at this assessment and I’ve been assessing like we’ve been charging hard. I’ve been charging hard my whole life and they go, “I’m tired. I don’t want to.” When you don’t want to, that’s that burnout. That’s that exhaustion. That’s that snap. I love that you broke it down to pause. I paused and said, “What do I need so that I’m not depleted, I’m not cranky, I’m not bitchy?” Whatever you want to call it. I was bitchy. The act was to reschedule July. Sam was like, “What?” I’m like, “Reschedule July. I need to fill my cup. I need to take care of myself.”

That was the act and then choosing what I do at that time. I didn’t want to be busy and fill it with other things. As you said, it was a short assessment, but very powerful in reflecting. My mental state was one of the lowest ones because I was digging and producing. I’m loving it but I’m exhausted and I’m not wanting to snap. We’re going to give you the assessment to assess. I think that’s the power when you work with leaders like Adam and me. Stop and look at what’s working and what’s not working.

PYPP 46 | Resilient Leadership
Resilient Leadership: When you give a TED Talk, you cannot hide. People don’t do it because it is scary, but building credibility is one of the reasons why you should try it.


That’s how my business has always grown. That’s not from a place of making room but a place of, is it serving me? Is it serving my family? Is it serving my community? If I’m not serving myself, I can’t serve my community. If you’re tired or burned out, it becomes all about money, and it’s not fun anymore, you’re not living that purpose-filled life, which is the goal. What is that goal?

That is the goal for all of us, I believe.

What would you say when you look at your life? You gave us those three, pause, act and choose. How do you determine what area you need to focus on in order to stay resilient?

What’s that middle one? The ask is so powerful because a lot of times, we don’t ask questions. I go back to the Will Smith thing. If he paused to take a breath, take a beat and ask himself, “What are my options right now?” There’s a question. Is the best option to get on stage and punch Chris Rock in the face. Is that my best option? He would never in a million years have chosen what he chose if he would have stopped long enough to ask a question or two. There’s all this programming of our lives why people don’t ask questions or they don’t ask the big questions. They stop asking questions they don’t know the answers to because they don’t want to be vulnerable. We are taught that when we ask questions that we’re supposed to know the answers to, people judge us.

That’s why you have a great coach. A good coach will have you question everything that you’re doing, “Is that what I want?” Let’s pivot a little bit.

I’m so happy with the way our conversation has unfolded. It is delicious because there’s a lot of real-life stuff that we’re touching on. That’s exciting for me. Thank you.

Let’s talk about some other real-life stuff. I want to talk about wealth strategies because I wish I could have my badass friends and we could be a fly on a wall and go, “What did you do to build your wealth?” You had this vocation and said, “I don’t want to do that anymore.” Let’s talk about the top wealth strategies that you do for yourself and the family that put you in the position that you’re in now because that’s all strategy. It didn’t just happen. No one gave you sprinkle fairy dust. You didn’t have the silver spoon or gold spoon or whatever spoon somebody gave somebody. We didn’t have those spoons.

I grew up in this little suburb of New York City called Queens. You might have heard of it. Little tiny place. Little apartments. I shared a room the size of a closet with my brother. I didn’t have a spoon of any kind like that. Although, I always had food. My parents definitely fed me well. They fed my spirit in a lot of ways, which we don’t have to get into. Financial literacy was not a thing I heard or learned at home. I know I’m not alone with that. I don’t know what the percentage is. My wild-ass guess, I would say 98% of the world’s population has learned nothing about financial literacy or wealth creation when they were growing up. It’s like, “When do you learn it and what is it?” Let’s get into a couple of things because we could touch on a few meaningful ones. There is a bazillion of them, but there are a few that are more like what we’ve used that we can chat about for sure.

Share with us what your strategy has been. We’re seasoned if you’re reading this. I’m seasoned or a little seasoned. We’ve had some time to do some failures and do some winning strategies and learn this thing because nobody taught us. We had to go find the information. One of the things that I’ve done is surround myself with people who are willing to talk about money, strategy and failures, this work and this didn’t work so that I feel educated, and I’m not alone in this journey of building my own wealth.

It’s interesting. I have an idea. There’s a book that’s coming after Change Proof. I’m going to start working on it in the fall. There’s a book that I’ve been thinking about that I’ve been putting off, which is a book about money. I want to stay on brand. In full transparency, I used to teach a lot about financial literacy, but my brand changed quite a bit. I’m going to probably do that book but from the standpoint of your resilience bank account, which is a chapter in this book. I analogize the idea of resilience as being you make deposits. If you make more deposits than you make withdrawals, you’re in surplus. You’re in the black. It’s like a balance sheet. If you make more withdrawals than you do deposits, then you’re in a deficit.

[bctt tweet=”Money triggers emotions. Our personal worth and self-worth are tied up in our net worth.” via=”no”]

Will Smith was in deficit. We understand what it’s like when we’re in a deficit. When it comes to wealth creation, my wife likes to say, “Slow and steady wins the race.” This is a cliché but I’m going to say it because it is absolutely true. If I’m speaking to my twenty-something-year-old kids, this is what I’m saying to them. “Start now. Start where you are. Start with any amount of money. Buy a single share of a single stock that you like that you would hold for ten years because you like them whether it’s Apple or whatever it might be, just start. Slow and steady wins the race.” I’m not going to say the Suze Orman or other conventional things like making sure you invest 10% every month. You should do those things for sure.

I’m searching in my mind for a couple of the things that maybe are outside the box. For example, a lot of people are seeing inflation. They’re upset about inflation. We all are. I don’t like paying $6 or $7 a gallon for gas in California. I drive a fancy German sports car, which I got to put super in. I hate that. Not the car but the gas price. I tweeted this at some of the Democrats in power to say, “Why can’t your messaging meet us where we are? If you are worried about the average American that has less than $5,000 in savings or something, if that’s who you’re talking to, who’s being crushed by inflation, then why not show us how to earn a guaranteed 9% on our money to offset how we’re getting crushed in these other areas?”

I tweeted it at them. I’m like, “This is called an I bond. It’s government guaranteed. You can only invest up to $10,000 per person per year, but they’re paying somewhere between 8% and 10% right now because it’s tied to the cost of living or tied to inflation as is reported. You’d go, “Are you telling me that I could earn 9% on my money instead of 0.9% or 0.10% in the bank?” “Yes.” “Why isn’t the government telling us about that? Why aren’t people talking about it?” That’s smart money.

The book I want to write about is about being resilient with your money and doing smart things that anybody can do. You don’t have to be like Elon Musk to be smart with your money. That’s an example. Do that. Look up I bond. Google that right now. If you got $10,000, put $1,000 and earn 9% on your money or something.

Now looking back, because we’re seasoned, what would you do differently in building your wealth?

Greed is the rough one for all of us. Maybe I’ll say for me. I’ve had trouble with that. I won’t go down that rabbit hole. I will say this, at a certain point in my life, I couldn’t resist being so money-focused that I was willing to ignore the writing on the wall, to invest in things that don’t make sense. I get it. What we don’t always know doesn’t make sense at the moment. I was a lawyer. For example, I invested in some real estate with a lot of money but I didn’t do the due diligence because I trusted the person that I was partnered with. That was flat-out dumb. It was unwise.

We do things like that because money triggers emotions in us. It’s our personal worth. Our self-worth is tied up in our net worth a lot of times. Our confidence in ourselves has a lot to do with the clothes we wear. That’s a product of how much money we have or don’t have. There are a lot of emotions tied up in our bank accounts. When that’s the case, I find that I’ve made poor decisions in my younger self because there was emotion in those decisions. That’s a mistake that I think we can make easily.

I think it’s important to realize that if you’re not willing to lose it, don’t do it. We invested heavily in real estate. When the market flipped, I flipped. If you can’t afford to lose it, don’t do it. I still invest in real estate. As soon as I got back up on my feet and had a chunk of money, I went back into real estate, but knowing differently to go, “Okay. I could accumulate.” The ROI, we’re doing 12% a year, which is crazy amazing. You can’t get that in any other platform that I’m doing. Strategy is not one thing. It’s all the things.

Utilize your business. This I bond. If you have a 401(k) or real estate, be creative and talk to people so that you’re building your wealth plan, not somebody else’s. What you said is the same thing I did. That was somebody else’s wealth plan and I agreed, “Okay, let’s invest in that,” versus, “Is that my comfort zone?” I didn’t think about it as greed, but when you said it, I was like, “Yeah, that’s what happened.”

Warren Buffett said, “When people are greedy, you should be fearful. When people are fearful, you should be greedy.” There’s a lot of emotion in the investing space. This is not guaranteed. By the way, I’m not giving financial advice. Marcus by Goldman Sachs. It is a digital bank or online banking. We’ve been earning like 2% on our money. We were earning 2% at the start of the pandemic or something like that.

PYPP 46 | Resilient Leadership
Resilient Leadership: If a real estate company doesn’t go bankrupt and the land doesn’t disappear, you will not lose money on that house.


When people were earning 0.10% in the bank, no money. We know that inflation is usually ticking along at 3%, 4%, 5% or 6% on average, excluding times like we’re living in now. To have your money in a bank that’s not paying interest, you’re losing. Money is losing value. Marcus, while not a full dollar-for-dollar thing, I would rather earn 2% in that. They are FDIC insured, so up to $250,000 insures that deposit. Have money there.

The idea is that you have to be disciplined. Discipline is a difficult thing for a lot of folks. If you simply say, “Here’s my pie. This is the pie I’ve got. That’s my disposable income every month. That’s one pie. Here’s the pie that is my savings or my investment tranche of money.” You simply take a look at those pies and allocate in an intuitive way to get guaranteed interest, where you can get guaranteed interest, where you can get insured interest on something where the principal is insured in some way, and then you do those things. When it comes to real estate, which I’ve been very experienced in real estate, as well as in stocks, just like you, I’ll give a truism, which is that as long as your time horizon is long enough, you can almost never go wrong.

If the company doesn’t go bankrupt if the land doesn’t disappear, there are a lot of ways for those things to go sideways, but rarely will you see someone who bought a house that held the house paid their taxes and kept it in good shape. They don’t lose money on that house twenty years later. Somebody who bought a quality company, GE, whatever company, Apple, twenty years later has done phenomenally well, 200% to 300% appreciation on their investment if their time horizon was twenty years. As long as you’re not investing with money, that you’re going to think maybe three years from now, you need to retire or three years from now, you need it to pay for some event in your life, you’re good. The market is crazy right now. If you think five years from now where the market will be, you wouldn’t be losing any sleep over it at this moment.

Adam, we could talk all day long. You have a wealth of knowledge. I want to let you know about the resiliency quiz. You want to make sure that you download that. It’s very insightful. There are a ton of tools that come with it. You want to save that and use it as one of the foundational pieces. It’s a critical step towards helping you ensure your development to get that resiliency. If you’re an expert and you want to leverage the platform called speaking, definitely check out Adam’s TED Talk training. Adam is a master at doing this. I appreciate you.

We should do it together though only because it’s mentorship. We brought in plenty of people that we respect for their ability to communicate from that platform and had them come in and be guest mentors. I think there are more there for us to play with because you’ve been doing this as I have been for a while. You understand the all-important responsibility of teaching somebody something that they don’t use for the wrong purpose. To help them to grow their business and help more people, I’m down for that. We’re down for that.

If you love this episode and you know somebody that needs this information, needs to hear Adam or needs to have him in their back pocket, please share with your friends and share on your social media. Follow Adam Markel. You can find him on all social platforms. Thank you, my friend. Thank you for who you are in the world. Thank you for spreading your love and magic. I value you and appreciate you. Thank you for your generosity, knowledge, time and expertise.


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About Adam Markel

PYPP 46 | Resilient LeadershipHumans are hardwired to resist change and seek certainty, but that leaves us ill-equipped to thrive in our rapidly-changing world. With us today is Adam Markel (SAY Mar-KEL). a bestselling author, keynote speaker, workplace expert and resilience researcher Adam is author of the new book, “Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience,” coming in February. Learn more at Welcome, Adam. What does it mean to be “change proof” and why is it important in life and business?