Interview with David Nurse
David Nurse on Creating Breakthrough Moments that Change Your Life
Sometimes, the one thing you want the most, is oftentimes the best thing that never happens.
Maybe you can recall one of those moments in your own life; where you worked SO hard for something and it just didn’t work out the way you had planned. But in the end, it got you to where you are today.
Today’s guest, David Nurse, calls these happy little accidents “breakthroughs”, which is exactly what this episode is all about.
More than anything, David wanted to play in the NBA. But when his dreams didn’t come true the way he had envisioned, it didn’t stop him. He simply pivoted.
Instead of becoming a player, he decided to become a coach, and eventually landed a position with the Brooklyn Nets. Not long after he joined the team, a new head coach came in and fired everyone—including David.
Naturally, this wasn’t the outcome he was looking for, but it opened doorways he never knew existed. And in the end, getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to him.
David’s now an NBA mindset strategist, life optimization coach, author, podcaster, and speaker who inspires audiences all over the world.
Had it worked out in Brooklyn, not only would it have limited his success, but he wouldn’t have met his wife, who he now shares a wonderful life with in L.A.
In this episode, you’ll learn the unconventional story of how David made it into the NBA, his unique strategies for building relationships with world-renowned experts (despite starting with no money and no connections), and how to use his Breakthrough Formula to realize your potential, push through limitations, and achieve things you never knew were possible.
Featured on This Episode: David Nurse
✅ What he does: David Nurse is a life optimization coach, NBA Strategist, speaker and author. He helps NBA players with their personal and professional development, on and off the court. He has spoken in more than 50 countries about personal development, confidence building, leadership, and motivational growth. He’s also host of the Pivot & Go podcast and author of Breakthrough.
💬 Words of wisdom: When David was cut from his dream job playing basketball, he returned home devastated. With some motivational words from his mom, he realized he could take everything he’d poured into being a basketball player and use it to help coach people who were better at playing the sport than him.
Key Takeaways with David Nurse
- David shares his incredible journey from dreaming to play in the NBA, to working as a coach for the Brooklyn Nets.
- How David landed a meeting with L.A. Clippers GM, Gary Sacks, with no money and no connections—a simple tactic anyone can use to expand their network!
- Become a connector and get world renowned experts to join you for dinner—even if they don’t know who you are!
- When the word “potential” is limiting to your success.
- Discover the “Breakthrough Formula”, so you can realize your potential, push through limitations, and achieve things you didn’t know were possible.
- Why balance is overrated and obsession is a good thing.
- It doesn’t matter how big your exit is, if you don’t have a north star, unhappiness is inevitable!
- How NBA legend Steph Curry reacted after being defeated by the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Championship—this story may surprise you!
David Nurse | The Secrets to Making Great Connections
Don’t let fear get in the way of making things happen
“The worst that can happen if I wrote all those letters and got nothing back, I’d be in the same spot. So many people are just so scared to take a step out. Literally the worst that could happen if someone says no. That just means next. Onto the next. So, I didn’t just sit there either. You can’t just wait for things to happen. Things are not just going to happen to you. You’ve got to go out there and make them happen.” — David Nurse
Surround yourself with people you can learn from
“Think of the people that you would love to have in your life. Who can you learn from? Who would you love to be around? Not necessarily just people that are always going to tell you yes, but who’s going to challenge you?” — David Nurse
Don’t let potential be your ceiling
“I’m really big on this word: potential. I think it’s a bunch of B.S. Potential is this bubble that we either self-create to keep ourselves under or somebody else places upon us. I’m sure the people out there listening, someone has told them, you can only make $100,000. If you make $100,000, that’s your potential. No, it’s not. That’s your decision. So, being around people who just speak life into each other and encourage each other, support each other, challenge each other — there’s nothing greater than that.” — David Nurse
Confidence comes from knowing who you are
“Confidence is not about your resume. It’s not about your stats. It’s not about the bottom line. Anything results-based, identity-based is not where you’re going to gain confidence. You can spark it, but true confidence is about your self-awareness, understanding who you are at the core, and what you stand for more than just results.” — David Nurse
You need to prepare for your breakthrough
“When you put those four together, when you put the self awareness, confidence, the cooperation, the who, the where, the service with the what and the why, the purpose — then you’re living in the breakthrough mode. I’m not saying your breakthrough is going to come tomorrow, next week, in a year, but you’re giving it the opportunity. You’re preparing for that opportunity to come but if you don’t, it’s not going to happen.” — David Nurse
Learn from false-starts
“Sometimes what you think is your breakthrough, it’s just leading you to the next. Imagine yourself walking down the hall. You go in one door, you learn from that. You go, okay. alright. You’re back down the hall. It’s just continuing to lead.” — David Nurse
Provide value to the people you want to learn from
“These people that you want to learn from and you want to grow with, that’s how we grow with these types of people like we’ve been talking about. And then you develop it by figuring out how you can pour into them. And one of my keys has been relationships but like I told you that story, how it started. It’s people not that you’re going to use but it’s people that you are going to pour into and serve but also like, hey, I got a guy in this area, and if I need help in this area, I know who to turn to.” — David Nurse
David Nurse Tweetables“Even when you think it's your breakthrough, it might not necessarily be a breakthrough moment.” — David Nurse Click To Tweet “Continuing to pour into what you love and knowing that you're doing it for a greater purpose than yourself. And if you've got those two things, passion plus purpose, you are on a mission.” — David Nurse Click To Tweet
- David Nurse Website
- Pivot & Go Podcast with David Nurse
- Breakthrough: A Sure-Fire Guide to Realizing Your Potential, Pushing Through Limitations, and Achieving Things You Didn’t Know Were Possible by David Nurse
- Pivot & Go: The 29-Day Blueprint to Redefine and Achieve YOUR Success by David Nurse
- Contrarian Uncon
- Start With Why
- John Ruhlin
- Codie Sanchez
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Read the Full Transcript with Jon Gordon
Justin Donald: Well, David, I’m excited to have you on the show. Welcome. So glad to have you here today. We’ve been talking about this for a little while now. So, welcome.
David Nurse: Justin, thank you big time for having me on. And I just want to point out to your listeners that there are two things that I really, really love about you. You’re not just the person you are but you are father of the year and you embrace it like the father you are is phenomenal here and all about these things you guys are doing. And the trips that you take like I live vicariously through you. Every time I talk like, “Where are you going next? Where are you going next?” So, props to you, JD.
Justin Donald: Well, thank you. I appreciate the kind words and it’s interesting because I could echo the same words over to you. Obviously, not on the fatherhood side because you’re not quite there yet. I know this is something for the future but there’s so much cool stuff you do. I mean, you’re speaking all over the world. You’ve got a cool travel calendar. In fact, you’re just showing me your beautiful view. In fact, show some of the people watching this, your view real quick, because you just have like you’re right here over the water in L.A. just epic view. Very inspiring. So, yeah, tell our audience a little bit more about you and why you started, I guess, speaking and coaching. I know you were an athlete back in the day. I want to learn your whole story.
David Nurse: Totally. All right. So, I grew up in the middle of nowhere cornfields of Iowa and all I wanted to do was play in the NBA. Literally, that was it. Now, my parents probably should have said play golf or tennis because I wasn’t very athletic and my vertical leap is about 2 and probably negative 2 now but I was just so passionate and stuck in playing in the NBA, and I poured everything I could to do so. So, I grind my way to play college basketball, and I’m eventually playing overseas in Europe. And it sounds great to say playing professionally overseas but it was much more like the Will Ferrell Semi-Pro league. Have you seen that movie?
Justin Donald: Oh, yeah.
David Nurse: That it was actual basketball. Like, these guys were more concerned about where the party was going to be after the game than they were preparing for the game. And here I am, and I’m doing these two-a-days like extra work, film study, total optimization. I’m pouring into myself and I’m playing in a second division Spain in the Basque region, where they don’t even speak Spanish up there, by the way. And I get cut from the team. So, I’m still thinking here, Justin, now I’m playing in the NBA, but I’m the furthest you can be from it. All my hopes, goals, dreams, everything I’ve poured into my life turned upside down. Basically, my face rubbed in the dirt. So, I’m sent back home and I’m living on my parents’ recliner chair. They live in a small town outside of Kansas City now and feeling bad for myself, licking my wounds. And my mom would always say these inspirational motivational quotes and usually, I was like, “Whatever, mom,” in one ear out the other ear. Not listening to that. But she said this one that really stuck with me and I remember it vividly. I was kicked back in the chair. She was doing dishes. She said, “David, when one door closes, four open in an entire beachfront patio overlooking the ocean.” I was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on, hold on. I thought it is one door, one door. Where are these four doors in this beachfront? I need to know more about this.” And it clicks. What she was telling me that everything in my life wasn’t for waste. Everything that poured into playing in the NBA was actually for me to teach and coach players that had more God-given gifts and ability and athleticism and seven-foot heights to get to the NBA.
So, I made that decision right there then that day that I was going to coach in the NBA. But I didn’t have any connections. I didn’t have any way in. So, I hand-wrote a letter to every NBA GM, wrote it out, wrote something that I loved about their organization. If I can serve them in any way, I would love to do so. Nothing came back for an entire month and I got a phone call from the Los Angeles Clippers GM, Gary Sacks. And it was a normal conversation and basically, it ended in, “Hey, if you’re ever out in L.A., look me up. We’ll grab coffee.” Pretty much good luck with the rest of your life. I booked a ticket to L.A. right after that. Spent all my money, stole some of my parents’ money so I was going to be out in LA the next week. Now, I pretended that I was going to do a basketball camp out there, so I didn’t seem desperate, you know. So, I’m out there, prepare for this meeting and we have a great meeting. We hit it off and just like really, really awesome meeting, substance to win. Every single NBA connection has stemmed from Gary Sacks. I ended up living with him when I moved to L.A. for six months. He was in my wedding like he’s one of my best friends. Everything came from there. But I say that too as, yes, made these connections, take chances. Like the worst that can happen if I wrote all those letters and got nothing back, I’d be in the same spot. So many people are just so scared to take a step out. Like, literally the worst that could happen if someone says no. That just means next, onto the next. So, I didn’t just sit there either. You can’t just wait for things to happen. Things are not just going to happen to you. You’ve got to go out there and make them happen.
So, I custom-made these basketballs with this line down the middle so you can see the rotation on, see your shooting form. And I had them made over in China. Really cheap material. I don’t recommend it. Sent to the Oakland seaport. I get in my car and I drive 29 hours from Kansas City to Oakland. I put those balls in my car and I spend the next five to six years basically living out of my car, sleeping in a well-lit Wal-Mart parking lot, sleeping on friends’ couches who didn’t even know they were my friends, but just doing basketball camp for anybody that would take me in. I loved it, man. It was a grind but I loved it. And fast forward five-and-a-half years I wake up in Melbourne, Australia. I’m doing a camp over there, started doing some international camps, had this email, said Brooklyn Nets shooting coach. Thought it was spam and I literally had it click like I was about to delete it. There’s no way. I don’t know anybody from Brooklyn. Opened it up. The next week, I’m the Brooklyn Nets’ shooting coach. So, that’s how I got into it. We can finish the story. I can keep going because there’s a lot of different things that happen along the line. So, what it looks like on the surface is, “Man, you did it. You had your breakthrough.” But not quite. So, we’ll leave that as a teaser so everybody has to continue to listen.
Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. So much of your story I just am in awe of and just the resiliency that you display and your ability to just kind of move forward, it’s just inspiring. And when I think of you already, I think of like one of the most well-connected people. So, let’s set aside your NBA connections. All right. This is pre-NBA. You are one of the most well-connected people I know, which is so cool. Like, you know everyone and you remember so many details about them. You love people so it shows in the relationships, the genuine relationships that you develop. Now, fast forward, you get into the NBA. You have some of these connections. Your already amazing network just gets amplified with I’m going to call them who’s who, the people that everyone would love to hang out with. So, I know we’re on a little bit of a cliffhanger here. Share more about this story and kind of the connections that you were able to make, what that journey as a coach looked like. I’ve got so many other questions but let’s start there.
David Nurse: Okay. We’ll wrap up that story, so I’ll show you how breakthroughs can happen but even when you think it’s your breakthrough, it might not necessarily be a breakthrough. But as far as the relationships and connections go, I love people. Like, I genuinely love being around people. I get so much energy out of it, and everybody has a story like everybody has an amazing story, so I just love asking questions. I love being curious. And I just thought, “Man, everybody is a person.” So, everybody wants to be treated as a person and I found that out through working with NBA players. They don’t want people that are just yes-man or telling how good they are all the time. They want to be treated like a normal person. And I figured, hey, I want to get into more than just NBA coaching. I wanted to write a book. I loved health and nutrition and all of this stuff, so I picked three people. This is a true story. This is wild, man. It’s in the book breakthrough, but three people I wanted to connect with, and I hadn’t really connected with anybody at this point. This is probably four years ago. So, it’s Mark Sisson, Max Lugavere, and Lewis Howes. They all live out here in Los Angeles. It’s like, “Man, if I could meet those people, I would love to have those guys as friends just connect with them.” I send them each a DM individually that says, “Hey, Mark, putting on a dinner up in Malibu. Max Lugavere is going to be there. Lewis Howes is going to be there.” I had no idea if they were actually going to be there, but I told each person that the others were coming because I knew that they would want to meet each other so being that connector. So, I send these three messages out, and actually, our friend Khalil Rafati was there. He’s the one guy that I knew, too.
So, I’d have him come and everybody came to the dinner, Max, Lewis, Mark. And now they’re super good friends because they’ll always remember the person that connects together. That’s the cultivator of the relationships, and that’s the most powerful thing that you can have. And I have a whole thing in the book of a connection calculator because you don’t just connect people that don’t make any sense together. Like, I’m not going to connect you to some random stranger on the street that says, “Hey, I love Justin Donald’s book. I would love to connect with him.” And then I just put you guys into a text thread together. That’s one of my pet peeves, like make sure the other person wants you to connect with them because we don’t have enough time for that. So, anyways, back to the story. Taking that shot of sending these messages is what I call it to the Golden 15. Like, think of the people that you would love to have in your life. Who can you learn from? Who would you love to be around? Not necessarily just people that are always going to tell you, yes, but who’s going to challenge you? That’s why I love you, Justin. That’s why you’re great like you’re not always going to tell me that. You’re going to challenge me. You’re going to teach me. I’m going to learn from you. You’re driven like, what type of people we are as we’ve all heard, the cliche, cliche for a reason, with the sum of the five people we’re closest to. So, it’s picking the people you want to be around and then just taking a shot, sending the messages. And here’s a hint, a trick for everybody out there. This is also how I met one of my very good friends now in my life. You send them a DM on Instagram. Everybody checks their DMs at some point. Even if they say they don’t, they do.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. I love it. And the world is so small, right? We’ve all heard of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. You’re connected to someone somehow through at least six degrees. But it’s interesting when you really get to know some well-connected people how close you are to a connection with anyone you could want to be connected to. It’s just fascinating. And I’ve met some amazing people through you. I’ve got some other great connectors in my network. You can always tell a great connector because when they come into your city like you did, you flew into Austin and you had this network of people you’re friends with and you brought them all together in Austin. And so, we’ve done a couple of really fun meet-ups with just some sharp people, some incredible entrepreneurs and investors, and just business professionals. I’m always just so blown away when someone can just roll into another city and know so many people and have so many good connections that you can kind of orchestrate a magical event, as you’ve done on several occasions.
David Nurse: Thanks, man. But to that credit, too, like almost all of them, moved from L.A. I feel like all my friends from L.A. were like, “Hey, let’s go to Austin,” and, “I’d be there with you too but you saw this view. My wife’s an actress, so I’ll stay put and just come visit.” But ain’t it cool, though, like to be around people that are just doing great things that are so just motivated and driven to make change in the world for other people and that aren’t afraid to take a shot? I love being around people, I say, “You know what? I’m producing a show,” and I am producing a show. I have a show that comes out. It’s like an Anthony Bourdain-style show. And then people like you, those guys in Austin that are like, “Alright. Go do it. Cool, man. Go do it.” Other places, it’s like the whole crab in a barrel like, “No, you can’t do that. You go back to your hometown.” Or going back to Iowa or Kansas City like, “Oh, I thought this was a David, the little basketball player.” No. Like, we grow, we change. I’m really big on his word potential. I think it’s a bunch of B.S. Potential is this bubble that we either self-create to keep ourselves under or somebody else places upon us. I’m sure people out there listening that someone has told them, “You can only make $100,000. If you make $100,000, that’s your potential.” No, it’s not. That’s your decision. So, being around people who just speak life into each other and encourage each other, support each other, challenge each other like there’s nothing greater than that, man.
Justin Donald: You know, you speak so much truth and it’s interesting. I was just speaking at Codie Sanchez’s Contrarian Thinking Conference last week, and I met this young guy who’s just 24 years old. All right. And just in an attempt not to kind of bring his name into the limelight in order to have some anonymity here, this is a young guy who is very impressive. He’s making multiple millions of dollars per year, multiple. He made more money last month than my parents have been able to make over a course of maybe 30, 40 years. So, it’s just incredible what people’s potential really is and to cap anyone’s potential, whether you’re doing it yourself or you’re allowing other people to oppress you with their views is it’s a shame. So, I love what you’re doing. So, your first book called Pivot & Go was a great book. I love the green title. It’s very catchy. It’s very trendy with today’s colors and everything. So, whoever you have doing your stuff is awesome. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you’ve got someone smarter behind the scenes doing it. I don’t know. I’m really excited about your new book, Breakthrough, and you’ve mentioned a few things about it. But one of the things that I’d love to talk about is the breakthrough formula. So, tell us a little bit about the book but also tell our audience about the formula.
David Nurse: Yeah. Totally, man. Great set up there, too. So, yeah, I mean, books are all about standing out. So, if you see a big green book, then you’re going to pick it up. It doesn’t matter if it’s any good or not, like 80% of people don’t even read the books they buy. So, I don’t care if you read the book. Just buy it. No, I’m just kidding. So, the breakthrough formula and this is something I’ve developed over years and years of working with NBA players, coaches, high-performance type of people and I’ve always thought like breakthrough is an interesting word too, kind of one of those abstract words. You don’t really know how to grasp it, how to feel it per se but it’s something like, “Man, I wish I could have another one of those, these happy little accidents, these flashes of luck. Like, how do I recreate that? Good news. There is a formula. So, the formula goes like this, and I’m going to break down each point in the formula so it makes sense. Formula, first step is confidence, Okay. Confidence plus cooperation plus service plus purpose. Now, I know when you’re listening, you’re probably thinking, “Oh, here we go. Some of these words. Oh, confidence, yeah, I know what that cooperate, service.” No. They mean something completely different, which is cool that you spoke at that conference because I’m all about shifting perspectives, changing mindsets of what actual words mean. So, confidence is not about your resume. It’s not about your stats. It’s not about the bottom line. Anything results-based, identity-based is not where you’re going to gain confidence.
You can spark it but true confidence is about your self-awareness, understanding who you are at the core, and what you stand for more than just results. And it’s like anytime you meet somebody, it’s funny because like especially out here in L.A., they’re like, “Oh, what do you do? Ah.” “Yeah, what do you do?” “What do you do?” But when’s the last time that someone said, “Hey, who are you? Who are you?” That’s where you’re going to find your true joy, your self-awareness, confidence, and you can’t build anything else until you start there. I know Simon Sinek says, “Start with why.” No. I say start with who. So, the who is the confidence. Once you know your who, okay, you got your who, and you’re going to have cooperation. You can’t do anything alone. You’ll never reach to the heights you want to alone and it’s not even fun doing it that way. So, cooperation is building your team around you. Now, we’re often told that, hey, you’ve got to increase your weaknesses. You’re weak in this area. Work on it. No. We have a God-given strength for a reason, for a purpose to use. You build your strengths with different people. Weakness, they’re just a complement wish list. It’s like the ’98 Bulls. They’re not all superstars. Jordan, the best score. Pippen, the best sidekick. Kerr, the best shooter. Rodman, the best crazy man we don’t know what he’s going to do every night and shows up with a different hair color. Like all of these what I call misfits put together make this ultimate team. And I mean, that’s what finding your cooperation, your team around you.
And I like to give this example to this place in New York City. It’s called Katz’s Deli. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. They have this Reuben sandwich that’s world-renowned. It is amazing. But the ingredients here, Rye bread gross, Swiss cheese disgusting, pastrami I hate it, sauerkraut smells terrible. I couldn’t eat any of those individually, but put together, this combination of misfits makes this ultimate sandwich. I mean, it’s even like Jesus. He comes down to literally change the trajectory of the world. Who does he pick? Harvard Business guys with law degrees? No. Fishermen like all these guys that are misfits, outcasts. That’s how you make the team, different strengths put together. So, once you have who you are, the core, the cooperation is where, where are you finding your team, your surroundings, where? The next part is so you got yourself. You’ve got your team. Now, what the heck are you doing? Like, if you’re only doing it for yourself and I love this. Like you speak on this better than anybody I’ve ever heard, lifestyle investing. Because if you’re only doing it for yourself and to make a bunch of money in the bank account like nobody in the history of ever has felt contentment and joy by looking at their bank account. It just doesn’t happen. But you’re not going to be the first person to do it, so stop trying to do it. Service, that’s the third piece, service, doing it for others. But service is not just about having to go down to my local food bank and help out. Like, that’s great. Keep doing that but true genuine service is about giving yourself, giving your time, giving your resources when it’s not convenient for you. You’re pouring into people, whether it’s somebody at the gas station, a coffee shop, and like they might need what you have to say. You’re pointing to them and I’m the worst, Justin, at this. I’ll admit it like even a couple of weeks ago.
So, I was doing all this work and I had Zoom calls, I had podcasts I was on. My wife who is amazing, beautiful wife, so much cooler than me, she came up and gave me a hug and just wanted to spend some time with me during the day. And I was like, “Hold on, hold on, hold on, like I’m going to get this stuff done and just hold on.” So, I was doing all of this stuff so that I could spend time with her so that I could hug her but yet in the moment I was so concerned about my own schedule, my own time that it didn’t matter like I was completely pushing the most important off. So, what I’m saying is genuinely pour into others when it’s not convenient for you and it could change someone’s life. Literally, like I do a thing where I text or video message three people every single morning, a game-changer for me. People that I haven’t talked to for a while. You’ve probably got one before. People I might not have talked to for a while and I’d say, “Hey, you know what? I’m drinking this great coffee thinking about you. If there’s anything I can do for you, I’m always here in your corner.” Dude, sometimes the responses from that have been like monumental, like people are just like, “Man, I was broken so down. Like, I don’t know if I can go on in life like crazy.” So, we can be that person, be that person, and encourage the person that serves. So, we got ourselves the who. We got our team, the where. We have our what we’re doing. That’s the service. The last piece is purpose. And purpose, to me, such an interesting topic because people will be searching for the purpose, trying to find their purpose. But you know what? It’s not necessarily what you do per se. It’s who you’re doing it for, and it’s finding this God-given gift inside of you.
One of the coolest things, the most attractive things to me is when somebody is so obsessed with their gift that they’re going all out. And I know when I say obsessed, listeners out there and they’re like, “Whoa, you can’t be obsessed, like 80-20, I need balance.” No, balance is BS. Balance is just doing what the world says and becoming busy. Obsessed doesn’t mean busy. It means choosing what is most important to you. I don’t want to be 80-20 loving my wife. I don’t want to be 80-20 on the mission I’m on. So, whatever your gift, your passion is like, I love when I go to a coffee spot and the barista is just telling me all about the beans like, “Oh, this is from Honduras. It was 37 degrees temperature up in the Andes Mountains or wherever,” like so obsessed with it. There’s a guy over in Ireland who he is the cashmere sweater guy. He’s just chilling out in the hills, deep in Ireland, just making the best cashmere sweater from the wool. Like, I love when people just pour into the passion, I think it’s the greatest gratitude that you can give to God. Because think about it, if he gives you this gift and you’re like, “Yo, God, no, I’m not doing it. I’m scared what other people think I cannot step out of here.” That’s a slap in his face, and he gives you this gift. Use it. Go do it. So, that is purpose. And when you put those four together, when you put the self-awareness, confidence, the cooperation, the who, the where, the service with the what and the why, the purpose, then you’re living in the breakthrough mode. Like, I’m not saying your breakthrough is going to come tomorrow, next week, in a year, but you’re giving it the opportunity. You’re preparing for that opportunity to come but if you don’t, it’s not going to happen. So, that’s the formula. And I can show you how like, okay, once you’re living in it, you think you’ve got it. It might not be when you think but talking a lot there. So, I’ll let you jump in.
Justin Donald: Well, it’s beautiful because, at the center of it all, it’s about using your God-given gifts as a service to other people and really being focused on where you can add value to the world. It’s interesting. So, earlier today, I was talking to one of my friends. One of my friends just had a nine-figure exit and just incredible, right? I mean, you would think that you’d be on cloud nine. And in fact, there’s a podcast episode coming out with another guest that also had a similar experience with a nine-figure exit. And the theme here is you always think it’s going to feel cooler than it really does. We glamorize these things so much to be like, “Oh, this is the greatest thing in the world.” But then when you experience it, it’s like, “Wait a minute. That wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. You know, I got some more digits in my bank account. What’s next?” Nothing changes. And in many cases, it just magnifies who you are. If you are lonely before, you’re lonelier now. So, that is such a great point of like don’t do things for the money. Do them for the passion, for the joy. Obviously, there’s a component of like, “Hey, I’ve got to have enough money to survive,” and I think that we’re all working towards how do I create a better lifestyle? How do I create more passive income? How do I create more time to spend it the way that I want to spend it, hence the reason for my brand, The Lifestyle Investor.
But keep talking to people that had these monster exits and you will see the theme is they all thought it would feel cooler, better, different. They thought the money would, you know, and by the way, this is life-changing money but you will hear that it didn’t serve them the way they thought it would. And in many cases, it served them much worse, like it actually created more problems than what they originally had. And so, I just think that’s important as a lot of people often do things for money, more money that if you can have your north star be focused on really the impact that you can have, even if it’s just on the one or two or three people closest to you that I think you’re going to experience more fulfillment in whatever it is that you’re creating.
David Nurse: Oh, hey, that was gold. So, I’m going to do this for the first time ever on a podcast. Get this, get this. I’m going to quote the one, the only Notorious B.I.G., “Mo money mo problems.” Come on, drop that beat. I got no swag like that, but I love what you said, Justin. I love that it magnifies. It magnifies. If you don’t have your north star of influence of actually like genuine influence, that’s why I love you. Like, you can tell the people around that are like actually genuine. Some people will put on a front in our space and we know them that are just trying to make their money and they’re miserable. They’re miserable, man. But, yeah, I want to talk real quick so bringing this all full circle. So, hopefully, you guys are just sitting on the edge of your seat tension about, “Oh, what happened in Brooklyn?” All right, so breakthrough. 28 years old, this hot up-and-coming young shooting coach. We go from 28 in three-point percentage to second. Awesome. I’m getting all this news, this media coming around. I’m feeling so good about myself. The GM said we’re going to have a three-year deal like you’re locked in. I had made it, man. Well, new head coach comes in at the end of the year, boom, door shut. Everybody fired. So, once again the doors slammed in my face when I thought I was in.
But what the philosopher my mom said, when one door closes, four open in an entire beachfront patio overlooking the ocean is so true, man. Like, I am now as you saw living on the ocean. If I was still in Brooklyn, I would have never met my amazing wife. I wouldn’t be able to work with NBA players individually. I wouldn’t have been able to write books, go all over and speak, have more of an impact. So, sometimes what you think is your breakthrough, it’s just leading you to the next. It’s always like you’re walking. Imagine yourself walking down the hall. You go in one door, you learn from that. You go, “Okay. Alright.” You’re back down the hall. It’s just continuing to lead. I don’t even know where I’m going to be going like I’m going to produce a show. We’re going to have something down that alley, like it’s just going to keep going. But the fun of it is, is just continuing, continuing to pour into what you love and knowing that you’re doing it for a greater purpose than yourself. And if you’ve got those two things, passion plus purpose, you are on a mission.
Justin Donald: Yeah. You think about the wisdom in Garth Brooks’ song, Unanswered Prayers, and I can think of so many times where, man, I just wanted this one thing to happen, and if this just happened, everything would be great. Everything would work out. But it’s so funny in retrospect when you look back and you’re like, “Gosh, that would have been the worst situation or what a shallow thing that I wanted,” or whatever it might be and how not having that work out ended up being the greatest thing that ever happened to you. The greatest gifts of what in a certain period of time in your life is like the biggest curse ends up being the greatest gift. And that simple mindset shift or reframe can solve a lot of the problems that people experience on a daily basis. Because the situation is the same. The only thing that changed is the way that you looked at it, the mindset that you have around it. And I think you do a lot of great work with that, with people with NBA stars to just your average everyday people that are showing up to work and doing a nine to five.
David Nurse: Hey, who would have thought we were going to quote Notorious B.I.G. and Garth Brooks? We got to get them on a track together. No, but I have to throw it back to you because your book literally changed my life in my view on finances, my relationship with money. There’s a few people like John Ruhlin, our friend John Ruhlin changed my life on how important gift-giving is and what it actually means. So, yeah, thank you for the compliments but, I mean, it’s all about showing people something a little bit different because we’re all taught certain things and we all if we watch the media, if we just listen, we’re going to be told probably the wrong thing because if you look at anything in life, it usually is. Well, actually, let me think deeper on this. It’s the complete opposite. So, in the finance world, in the lifestyle world, in the like giving people just there’s really almost nothing better than knowing like I don’t have to worry about finances in the way that you show that like, dude, it’s unbelievable.
Justin Donald: Well, thank you. Thank you for the kind words. I receive that and I just want to leave my impact as best I can, so I appreciate you sharing. So, I’ve got a question for you. You’ve met, I mean, you literally have bucket list experiences and situations. You’ve been all over the globe. You’ve met some of the most famous and successful people in the world. I’m curious who some of your favorite people, favorite stars, NBA players, coaches like who are the people that impressed you the most?
David Nurse: Oh, yes. Great question, man. So, I do have a story, a really cool story about how I met Mark Cuban and became friends with Mark Cuban when I gave him shooting lessons before a game, when we’re playing down in Dallas and I didn’t know who he was. I thought he was just a random stranger in these jeans and shoes. It was before Shark Tank was big, and I don’t normally know if I see somebody who would actually is. So, he’s been one that’s been phenomenal. And that’s why living in this service mode is so powerful because if I didn’t stop and give him a shooting lesson like I wouldn’t be able to email him or text him if I ever need any business advice or just be in my Golden 15 friendship network. But one guy who’s really impressed me too. I won’t tell the story because it’s really powerful. It’s Steph Curry. I don’t really know Steph Curry super well. I’ve had interactions with him but it showed to me the realness of who he is because you see these stars, these celebrities, and they’ve got great PR teams. And there’s a lot of them like if I told you like about who they really are, you wouldn’t like them anymore. I’m not going to do that and ruin it for you. But Steph is the real deal. So, my uncle coaches for the Toronto Raptors. I didn’t have any connections that time so he hasn’t coached for very long. They won the NBA Championship and they beat the Golden State Warriors.
Now, this is two, three years ago. The Warriors were going to be on their third NBA champion. That’s like when you make a dynasty. Steph would have solidified himself as a dynasty. They lose the game and I’m in the locker room with the Raptors and some of my friends who played for the Raptors celebrating popping champagne, the whole deal for probably two-and-a-half, three hours like we were going deep. And then in walks this guy with his wife in sweats, pushing their little baby in a stroller. It’s Steph Curry. He goes around and he congratulates every player on the Raptors. So, one, how cool is that that he congratulated after the game, after he just lost a potential dynasty? But also, how cool is it that he waited for the whole team to celebrate so he didn’t interrupt that? Like that, to me, I was like, “Whoa, this dude is different,” and just, man, to be able to see that from someone who is at that high a level, and I’ve heard multiple stories about Steph. So, he’s just been one like just phenomenal dude. If you’re into the NBA, I’m going to see this guy actually tonight when we’re recording this. Erik Spoelstra is one of my best friends like one of the top NBA coaches, probably in NBA history, and he’s just like the most like in the moment guy. Like, anytime we’re having dinner, he’ll just be so locked in, curious, asking me all these questions. He’s always like, “David, I can’t believe you do what you do like writing. You have another book like this?” I’m like, “Whoa, bro, you’re the only one to be able to coach LeBron James. You’re kidding me? Like, I can’t believe what you do.” So, just like the people that actually treat others like just human beings, and once again, they get into the curious point and genuinely serving and just being authentic and that’s what really stands out to me.
Justin Donald: I love it. So many good lessons there. You mentioned the Golden 15. What is the Golden 15? I think I know what it is, but please elaborate.
David Nurse: Yeah. Hey, you know what’s great? You are my Golden 15. So, it’s 15 people and you can extend as much by like 25, 30 of different areas that you want to learn in, that you want to grow in. So, you are my investing guy that I turn to, and I’ve asked you many times for advice. Spoelstra, basketball coaching my local basketball coaching. Max Lugavere, health and nutrition. And you got Ed Mylett, leadership. Jon Gordon, writing books. So, these people that you want to learn from and you want to, I mean, you want to grow with. That’s how we grow with these type of people like we’ve been talking about. And then you develop it by figuring out how you can pour into them. And one of my keys has been relationships but like I told you that story, how it started. So, it’s people not that you’re going to use but it’s people that you were going to pour into and serve but also like, “Hey, I got a guy in this area, and if I need help in this area, I know who to turn to.”
Justin Donald: I love it, and I love the intentionality around it. One of the things that my wife and I do every year and I did this before I met her, like as a single guy and then once meeting her, I wanted to really like integrate our lives. And so, we do this. We map out who are the most important people that we want to make sure we’re getting time with that we’re not going to let chance dictate whether we see them or not. We’re going to schedule trips. We got our couples that we hang with. We got people that maybe I’m closer with one-on-one than our spouses might be. And so, like I’ve got my one-on-one list, you know who’s on my top 10 or top 12. She’s got hers. We’ve got our couples. We’ve got our family that we want to be intentional with. And so, I just love that you have that, the Golden 15. That’s catchy and it’s like identifying the different areas of life that you really want to grow in and who can lead you in those areas. So, brilliant. I love it. Where can our audience find out more about you, David?
David Nurse: They can find out at DavidNurse.com. Social Media Is DavidNurseNBA. My phone number is – no, I’m just kidding. Podcast is the Pivot & Go podcast. The book is anywhere that you can find books and Marina del Rey if you want to come kick and need some really boozy, good, way too expensive food.
Justin Donald: And for the record, I think you’re one of the best podcast interviewers out there. I really enjoy being on your podcast. You ask incredible questions. You get people just opening up in a very unique and special way. So, I want to give you those props and encourage my audience to check you out and definitely to check out your book, which I’m so excited for this new book to launch. So, congratulations on that. And I want to leave my fans, my audience, those of you that are watching, those of you that are listening with just one nugget. The one thing I like to share at the end of every episode is to take one step. What is one step you can take towards financial freedom today to live a life by design, not by default? What’s the one thing you can do to take action today? Thanks. And we’ll catch you next week.