Today’s guest is my good friend Hal Elrod, whose mission is to elevate the consciousness of humanity, one person, and one morning at a time.
Hal is a father, husband, entrepreneur, investor, public speaker, podcaster, producer, personal development coach, and international bestselling author of The Miracle Morning book series — which has been translated into 37 languages and has sold over 2.5 million copies.
In this episode, Hal and I are talking all about how positively impacting others has a direct effect on the wealth that we generate. We discuss the importance of creating multiple streams of income, the commitment needed to achieve great success, and the unique investment strategy Hal used to build the life of his dreams. That and so much more!
- Why books, movies, and other intellectual property that generate monthly royalties are a very real way to create streams of passive income.
- How eliminating the stress of rent or a mortgage payment opens you up to serve your family and do even more valuable, more transformative work.
- How the 2008 financial crash taught Hal to stop relying on a single stream of income – and what he did to build a more sustainable business after losing all of his coaching clients in rapid succession.
- Why success takes commitment – and what Hal learned from the three years he made $0 from the Miracle Morning.
- How focusing on other people can naturally lead to opportunities for success.
Tweetables“What do you believe in enough that you're willing to commit 10 years of your life to until it becomes a success?” – Mike Koenigs Click To Tweet “The greatest gift we can give to others is to fulfill our potential in the spirit of helping other people to fulfill theirs.” - Hal Elrod Click To Tweet
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Connect with Justin Donald
Justin Donald: All right. Well, we are here with my dear friend, Hal Elrod. I am so excited to be hanging with you on the podcast today so thanks for joining.
Hal Elrod: JD, I think it's been a day since I saw you.
Justin Donald: Yeah. Truly, a day like literally.
Hal Elrod: Hours. We played volleyball yesterday. Yeah.
Justin Donald: We sure did. You know, it's so fun being able to get your family together with people that you just love spending time with. The kids all hang out, the spouses all hang out. I mean, what a blast that we have. This is like every Saturday. Sometimes it's every Saturday and Sunday or Sunday. But we got something special, don't we?
Hal Elrod: We do and plug to Front Row Dads and Jon Vroman because he organized this many, many, many months ago, maybe a year ago and, yeah, it's been life-enhancing for me.
Justin Donald: No doubt. In fact, I'm glad that you plugged it. I try to plug him all the time because I think that what he does is great and I was just on his podcast and I'm so pleased with just the response that we got and what The Lifestyle Investor Community has done to support Front Row Dads. It's really cool and it's neat to see two communities really come together as one.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. It is. I brag about Front Row Dads and advocate for it every chance that I get.
Justin Donald: Well, you and I, we've got years of history now. There is so much stuff that we love doing. We've got a big UFC fight coming out which you and I love doing so this weekend, we got the big fight. Conor McGregor coming back. So, that'll be fun. But it's so funny, I was just at a restaurant. I was just at SunLife Organics, which I think is a spectacular place. If you've never been there, they're mainly in California but I was hanging with the owner the other day, Khalil, and he just opened one in Austin, and it's unbelievable. When I went there, I immediately thought of you because you have so much love and appreciation and respect for high quality, organic, locally sourced, and sourced in a healthy way, type of food. And so, this place it has your name written all over it so that's why I shot you that picture a little bit earlier.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And I got to see your lovely wife in the photo, which was a bonus so yeah.
Justin Donald: Yeah. She doesn't know that I took a picture of her while she's eating. She thought I was just taking a picture of the bowl with the logo but I thought it'd be really fun to capture her in the moment.
Hal Elrod: Good stuff, man. It's great.
Justin Donald: Well, this is really fun having you on, Hal, because it's interesting with The Lifestyle Investor, we've had so many people come on that have created an amazing life for themselves in some way, shape, or form, whether it's investing through real estate or investing through operating companies, investing through debt. I mean, I've had a little bit of everything on here. I've had a tax professional on here. I mean, I feel like everything under the sun, except what I have not had on here is someone that has really created an unbelievable lifestyle through intellectual property or what we call IP, right? And so, you're the perfect fit for The Lifestyle Investor to talk about ways that you've been able to live this incredible life based on an idea, a concept that you could take and put into the world and you've done wonderful things. I mean, your books are incredible. And I say books because you came out first with a great idea, The Miracle Morning, right? And that was such a huge success that you've been able to publish this I believe in 37 different languages, which is incredible. So, it spans the world but then you've been able to have all these extra series built on your brand, on the Miracle Morning brand. It's really cool because I just recently connected you with a guy that I'm a huge fan of, Don Wenner of DLP, and Don talks about how he uses Miracle Morning for his company. When I heard that I was like, "This is the coolest thing like he's one of my best friends. I'd love to introduce you.” And he was blown away. So, anyway, I'm just thrilled to get into a discussion of what it's like and how do you create lifestyle from income on IP.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. I love it. For me, most of my friends that built their wealth did it through real estate, quite a few, probably I'd say the majority and so I always felt this pressure, this like kind of unspoken pressure that like I need to buy real estate and I never really learned real estate. I had my primary residence. At one point, we had one rental just because we moved from another house and kept the first house but never really went down that road. Then I started, I actually looked into mobile homes. I went to the training, I think the same training you went through, and at that training, I was blown away by the opportunity and also had this real kind of come to reality check where I went, “I don't really want to do this.” Actually, I reached out to our friend David Osborn and I said, “David,” I said, “Hey, I want to get your opinion on something. I know you guys have all built your fortunes through real estate and created financial freedom and lifestyle investing, if you will.” I said, "For me, I had kind of a distinction. A, I'm not interested. I don't want to go look at properties. I don't find that interesting.” I said, "And I'm willing to do it if it supports the family for sure.” I said, "But the way I see it, every time I publish a book, it creates a new passive source of monthly income.” I said, "So, correct me if I'm wrong but instead of me having a dozen properties, rental properties, single-family homes, couldn't I just have a dozen books that are each paying me monthly royalties?” He kind of looked around the room and kind of, "Huh, yeah.” He goes, “I literally never thought of that as multiple streams of passive income.”
So, that's it. I still have not bought any investment real estate. I might at some point but, yeah, it's been all through books and online courses and live events, which aren't passive. I mean, I have to run those, and then latest is the Miracle Morning Movie that came out last month. And now that's a new, significant source of income, which is a movie, a documentary that people are watching. I wake up in the morning and I checked how many views were on the movie and how many people bought the book, and I've shown my kids that I go, "Look, you guys, you can create sources of passive income where while you are sleeping, you're literally earning income that supports your lifestyle, supports your family.” At first, I went, "Gosh, have I ruined my kids for normal work?” and I go, “Well, no. I think I've opened their eyes to something that most people don't ever even think about because we're never taught this growing up.”
Justin Donald: Yeah. It's so true. I mean, there are a couple of things I love. I mean, David made a really good point. I'm glad you could run by like your ideas by someone. David's never really specialized in that but he has such a good perspective on things. So, it's so cool that I run a bunch of stuff by him. I just think he's so bright. He was hanging with us on Saturday playing volleyball too. It's just great to have such good sounding boards, such good, smart people in our peer group but what I love about what you do, and I love just the whole angle of like, “Hey, I don't need to have physical assets, I can have intangible assets, and those can produce income.” And this is just a different way to do it. But I love that what you do has so much impact and you have so much purpose. I've shared this before with you and I thought it'd be real fun to share again but, I mean, my wife thinks that you are literally probably the most incredibly wonderful, kind, giving person that she knows, and she's very vocal about that. She's like, “Hal doesn't have a mean bone in his body and anytime I ever talked to him and hang out with him, he's always looking to make people better, have this idea to put out into the world, create change, have impact. He's just always trying to add value anywhere, everywhere.” I couldn't agree more, man. And so, it's cool seeing you put this movie out into the world. I know how hard you worked on it and I know this is like a six-year project and I'm just thrilled that you have it out.
One, it's cool that it is this agent for change in the world that so desperately needs it but, two, it's great that it doubles as another source of income. It's another asset. I always talk about having multiple streams of income. And I know this is a big belief of yours as well and this is just a component of that and I love it when you can mix purpose and have a nice financial return too.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. A couple of things I want to touch on there. Multiple streams of income is one so if I forget, bring me back to that but I want to say impact. You know, I think that if we're really, human beings, if we're really honest with what do we really want. Now, if you go further down the line, I think it's freedom but if you back it up in terms of like what gets us there, I think that income and impact are two of our high priorities. Income, again, not because we're greedy or money-hungry but because we want the safety and security and we happen to live in a society that isn't quite like the tribes back in the day where you each supported each other and you had specialists in hunting that brought food to the village and then others that were gatherers and other that took care of the kids. We live in a society that you have bills that you have to pay and things cost money. So, that's where the income portion comes in. The impact portion, for me, is really crucial and it's what drives my behavior more than the income. One thing that's interesting, too, I think that is once you hit a level of income where it covers your bases, and so you're not stressed for where am I going to get my next dollar? How am I going to pay the rent or the mortgage? I think that that gives you a bit of I would almost say luxury of being able to go, “Okay. Wow. My bills are paid. What's really important to me?” And that's where impact then rises to the top, at least for me. It's like how can I impact the lives of every person that I love, first and foremost, my wife, my kids, my friends, my family, and then how can I impact the lives of everyone that I lead, everyone that I impact, everyone that my life touches that I influence?
It was really cool. It was probably a few years ago, I had just an epiphany and it was kind of like an obvious one but I went to my wife. I go, "Sweetheart, something just occurred to me.” She said, "What?” I said, "Every dollar we earn is a result of us positively impacting someone's life, whether they buy one of my books or they go to our live event or back then I had a group coaching program where they're being coached like we're enriching people's lives in a really meaningful way.” And I go, "That feels really good that our income is directly related to our impact, and the more people we impact, the more income that we earn.” And so, I get to focus not on making money. So, it was years ago that I took my eye off of that completely and I go, “I'm just going to focus on impacting as many people as I possibly can because, of course, the two were intertwined in a way that’s supporting each other.
Justin Donald: For sure. Yeah. Whoever adds the most value earns the most and motive matters but the laws around impact and adding value, it doesn't care what your motive is. If you add a lot of value to the world, you're going to make a lot of money. That's just the way that it works. I think it's even better when the motive behind it is pure and good. And so, I love what you're doing and I love the message. Really, I mean, you've been encouraging me for years to write a book. So, I mean, I obviously acknowledged you in the beginning of my book because you had a huge impact on me saying, "Hey, maybe I should do what Hal did and create a book and make sure that a ton of people in the world can read it.” For me, it was a mission of impact. That's why I didn't want to make anything on the book but it's this whole idea of having these additional assets, like I built an online course because I saw people like you with these great ideas, and then you used to have a mastermind, and I have a mastermind as well, which is pretty fun. And so, there are so many ways you can add value and you can impact people and you can really create some wonderful impact in the world, and you've just done a great job of that. Now, you did want me to bring you back to this whole idea of multiple streams of income and not let you forget about it.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, thank you for that.
Justin Donald: Yeah. Give us all your thoughts on that.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, a few years ago, I believe I wrote an article I think was for Entrepreneur.com on this, this topic of multiple streams or multiple sources of income. Back in 2008, when the US economy crashed, at that time, I had a single source of income. I did one-on-one coaching and I coached entrepreneurs, business owners, salespeople. When the economy crashed, all of my clients, almost all of them were impacted by, you know, everyone tightened the reins on spending, like, "Oh, my gosh, the economy's crashing. We better not spend money. Our stocks have dropped significantly,” all of the fallout from the economic crash. And so, my clients one-by-one-by-one very quickly I started to lose them because they said, “Hey, our sales are down significantly. We can't afford you as a coach. It's either pay the mortgage or pay the coach, and obviously, we're going to pay the mortgage.” And so, I let them out of their contract, and in a few months, I lost over half of my clients, which that meant over half of my income because I had one source of income. I individually built that back, and when I built that back, I said, “I will never again rely on one source of income.”
If you're listening to this, really think about this. I think that it's almost irresponsible, and that's not like an insult but it's irresponsible in a way to put all of our eggs in one basket because history has shown you got a great job, been there for a decade, you can get laid off. Or got a great job, company can go out of business. Or you run a business, it can… I mean, there are so many things that can go wrong with any one source of income. And so, when I came back, I rebuilt my coaching business. I then launched a group coaching program, which was in and of itself a game-changer in my income because with coaching one client I was earning like, I don't know, $500 a month or something like that for my coaching for one client. So, therefore, I was limited with how many hours in my schedule and how many clients I could have. Then I launched this group coaching program where I started with five clients at $100 each. So, still the same amount of money, $500 a month but then I asked for referrals from those clients and I grew that from 5 to 70 within two months. So, that meant I went from $500 a month for running those same two group coaching calls to $7,000 a month for running those same two coaching calls. That was a whole paradigm shift of being able to create something that I could scale. Eventually, we grew that to I think I had at the most 220 something coaching members. So, $22,000 a month but I was still just doing two calls a month. So, that's the element of scale.
It also created where my eggs weren't in one basket, even with that one source because even if I lost half of my clients, I still had a $ 10,000-month income source. Then I wrote the Miracle Morning that ended up becoming my number one income source after years of promoting it and then simultaneously, I launched my first live event and we did that every year for six or seven years. Then I launched a mastermind, as you mentioned, which people would join us live. So, all these different sources of income. And so, I'm sharing this with all of you to inspire your thinking around how can you create multiple sources of income and create like a three-year plan or a five-year plan, right? This isn't about go after all of them at once. That'll cause some overwhelm but the idea that, okay, what's my current source of income? How can I maximize that? And then what would be the lowest hanging fruit? What's a second source of income that I could create? Read Justin's book, The Lifestyle Investor, if you haven't. Justin, you're an example of multiple sources of income and it's just diversification like any good investor that's kind of like rule number one or one of the first rules is you diversify. If you're in the stock market, you don't go all into one stock and hope that ride it until the wheels fall off. No. You diversify across different stocks, different industries, different asset classes, different countries in any way that you can. So, start with one, go to two, go to three, and then in two or three years, you'll look back and go, “Wow. I've got 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 streams of income that are supporting my lifestyle as I want and I have so much less risk because I have so many sources of income.
Justin Donald: Exactly. That's brilliant, Hal. I mean, one thing, I got a bone to pick with you because why didn't you tell me not to launch all my products at the same time? I said, "It creates some overwhelm." Oh, that probably would have been good to know.
Hal Elrod: I sensed that from you over the last few months.
Justin Donald: In all seriousness, it's been such a blessing but, yeah, thinking about it, it's like, “Whoa.” I decided to probably bite off more than I needed to chew in the wake of a year of COVID, where there's not a whole lot of stuff going on. So, it's like, “Oh, I got time,” but it all adds up. It's kind of funny. But you hit the nail on the head with these multiple streams of income and also, I want to pull the curtains back a little bit because I want people to know that you didn't just come out with a book that was instantly a best seller. You came out with a book that some people bought and then you worked your tail off for a whole year, more than a year, but let's just say at least a year being on multiple podcasts. I mean, I think you're on like 150 podcasts and you had a bunch of people like writing articles. I mean, your process of becoming a best-selling author, it was very delayed. This was not an instant gratification. This was like a slow step-by-step like process that you went through, and I love that you didn't give up on it. You just kept pushing it. Then as that became more and more well-known and successful, you added another layer on and another layer and another layer. And what's also great is you have since said, “You know what, I'm going to scale back. I'm actually going to peel this layer back. I'm going to remove this one because this doesn't fit who I am or what my lifestyle is anymore,” and I love that you are courageous enough to not be trapped into doing something which you and I have both done this. We've talked about this. But getting away from feeling like you're trapped into doing something and really living life on your terms, you've done it magnificently, I've got to say.
Hal Elrod: Thank you. I think that I'm glad you brought this up, specifically, how long it took for the Miracle Morning to become a significant income-producing resource to impact people, etcetera. So, yeah, this a really important story. In fact, there's a keynote that I give where I talked to authors and I share this, and I show them the graph of how long it took for the Miracle Morning book sales to take off. I've had a lot of authors go, "Oh my gosh, that graph meant more than anything. If I stopped promoting my book after a couple of months, if I would have done what you did, I can't imagine where it might be.” So, I want to share this for everybody listening. It doesn't matter if it's a book, just think about the time that it takes, the commitment that it takes to create something and really turn it into a success. So, when I wrote the Miracle Morning, it took me three years to write the book. So, that's an investment of time, right? Three years making $0 off the book but I really believed it was a concept that changed my life. I called it my Miracle Morning, I taught it to my coaching clients, and almost every single one of them had these profound just breakthroughs and results. And that's what made me go, "Okay. This concept, Miracle Morning changed my life and I wasn't a morning person. If it changed virtually all of my clients' lives and none of them were morning people or few of them are morning people, this could change the world. It could change anyone's life. I have a responsibility to share this with other people.” So, I started writing a book.
Three years later, I self-published it. Okay. I didn't have a publisher. I didn't have an audience. I didn't have a big email list. I didn't have a platform. You know, I wasn't a blog. I had that nothing. There wasn't a podcast, right? Nothing going on. But I believed in the concept. And so, I published it. Now, my mission was to change 1 million lives one morning at a time and I think it was almost because that number 1 million, it's a nice round, big number that kind of is intimidating and inspiring and it's such a big target to shoot for. I chose the arbitrary timeframe of one year just because you shoot, right? 1 million in 1 year? Let's go for it. I had no plan. There was no strategy of how to do it. It was just I'm committed to do it and I didn’t commit for as long as it took. I was shooting for one year but I was committed as long as it took. And that first year, you mentioned a little bit of what I did. I did 152 interviews on other people's podcasts and I launched my own podcast with the book, same mistakes you've made. And so, I did 52 of my own podcast episodes. I gave 36 speeches around the United States and Canada. I was on over a dozen TV shows and that was paid. I paid a company that got me on a bunch of morning shows. So, I did everything in my power virtually to sell a million copies of the Miracle Morning and reach and impact a million lives. That year, I sold 13,000 copies. So, I want you to do a little math if you're listening or I'll do the math for you but just put this in perspective. My goal was a million. I sold 13,000 copies. I missed my goal by 987,000 copies. That means I missed it by 98.7%, almost a 99% failure rate.
I worked my butt off but there was very little return on investment, financially. In fact, I was in the hole because all the money I spent to promote it and get on TV and all this, I actually lost money. But I believed so much in the concept and just in the success I had seen from people that had emailed me or written review on Amazon saying, "This changed my life.” I went, “Okay. I got to keep going as long as it takes.” And so, I decided I'm going to go for it this year. I was a little more discouraged though because now I had data to go off. I go, “I can't do much more. How am I going to go from 13,000 copies to a million copies? I have no idea.” And that second year, I sold like 23,000 copies. So, I'm still 97% short of the goal. And then it took six years of year-after-year, week-after-week, day-after-day doing everything in my power, I did hundreds, I think over 400 podcast interviews, and tons more speeches every year, so on and so forth. And finally, after six years, it's surpassed a million copies in sales. In the last two years, it's more than doubled that. But the reason for that story, the reason that is so important, I was being interviewed by our friend Mike Koenigs, and I said something one of my favorite philosophies or quotes. I think it came from Will Smith, I'm not sure who, probably before that but it takes 10 years to be an overnight success. Again, the number is arbitrary. It took me six years, if you will, depending how you’re measuring it to reach that goal.
But Mike Koenigs asked me the most brilliant question for us all to consider. Mike said, “Hal, if it takes 10 years to be an overnight success, I guess that begs the question.” I said, "What question?” He said, “What do you believe in enough that you're willing to commit 10 years of your life to until it becomes a success?”
Justin Donald: That's good.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And so, I pose that question for all of you. The point is that you see somebody, whether you see them on TV, they're living your dream, or you see him with a bunch of real estate, or you see him, whatever, you see somebody that you admire that you go, “Wow. They're living the lifestyle that I want to live. Man, I wish I could be them.” What you don't usually see is the 10 years that preceded the moment that you're looking at them now, and how much they struggled and how much they failed, and how much they were tempted to give up but they didn't. I believe that's, arguably, that's one singular factor that separates those that are living the lifestyle they want and those that aren't, that have tried is that we give up and we switch directions before we get to where we want to go. You've got to stay focused on that single thing for as long as it takes to build it. Of course, if you're working on the wrong thing, pay attention to the signs. If you're going to, "Wait a minute, I'm building something. This doesn't even make sense. Nobody likes it. It's not going anywhere.” Right? Yeah. Okay. Switch directions. I think, for me, what I looked for is the microcosm, success, the signals of, “Oh, this is changing these 50 people's lives dramatically.” That means it could change 5 million lives. But if all my reviews were like this book sucks and this concept sucks, and it doesn't work, well, I wouldn't keep going. But, yeah, I think that you got to stay committed until you reach whatever it is that you're trying to reach.
Justin Donald: I love it. You know, pulling the curtain back really just shows how like human you are that everyone wants to see the end product and how cool that end product looks, and to envision that, like you are an overnight success but that's just rarely the way it goes for anyone who has a lot of success. I actually love that it took you so much to get there because you respect the work that it takes, you can appreciate that. It makes you able to relate to people better because this is what most people are going to experience. I love that you talk about these multiple streams of income because I've been talking about this for years. I think this is imperative that, number one, you get passive income, whatever you need to do, cover your expenses at a bare minimum, cover what it costs you to survive, and ideally get to the point where you cover your lifestyle. And really, if you have an area of expertise, do it inside that area. You don't have to diversify. You've got some people that say, "Hey, diversify like crazy,” and other people that say, "Hey, stick with your area of expertise, where you're a master or you at least have more expertise in that one area than anywhere else.” And so, you've got great minds, great financial leaders that promote both ways. I think you should do both. I think you should have an area of expertise and then once you have that base, then you kind of expand out into other areas that can supplement it. In your case, you took it over but I think it's cool to be in a place where you can learn new things. You can say, “Hey, we got income covered. What new do I want to learn?”
Like this is half the fun for me, probably way more than half the fun. At least half the fun is like, I don't know anything about this world so let me try this. You know, I can try it because I'm comfortable on the income front. I don't have to worry, am I going to pay my bills or not? We're covered. We got passive income to do that. So, now it gives me this opportunity to get out of my comfort zone even more, try something new. I never really thought of myself as an author or a writer. I look at you, Hal. I'm like, "You're an author, you're a writer, you've written a ton of books.” I looked at me and I'm like, “I'm an investor. I've done some stuff in the entrepreneurial space. I know how to start and scale companies but I don't know how to write.” But it was really cool because I had the time because I took care of the finances first and I was able to pursue something that I didn't even know it was going to be a passion of mine. Like, doing this process was so fun because I didn't realize how much I enjoyed writing. Actually, the actual aspect of writing isn't what I enjoyed the most. It was like speaking it, recording it, and then just like creating all kinds of different things. I invite people into, “Hey, ask me questions. Interview me,” just get me thinking differently than how I think on my own. It was fun getting some creative brains in and just wonderfully gifted people to extract info that I had stored up that maybe I wouldn't have pulled out myself but it has been fun that whole process and the people in the village that it takes to create the idea. And I know you can relate on so many levels having all the products that you have, all the IP that you've built.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Well, I think that it's great to see you, you living what you just said which is that idea that once your base income is covered that kind of frees you up to explore creative endeavors and try new things and, "Oh, I failed at that one. All right. Let's try something else.” I think that is really a fun aspect. Like, making a movie was something that I was the executive producer and it was a whole new world. Again, I feel like I get the least amount of credit. The executive producer just finds the people that actually know what the hell they're doing because it's not me and puts together the team and then all of a sudden you have a movie. By the way, the goal for the movie was originally this is important. Originally, I hired a director, my good friend, I partnered with my good friend, director, Nick Conedera, and I knew nothing about making a movie. So, I said, "Hey, how much is this going to cost? How long is this going to take?” And he said, "One, it'll take a year,” and the budget of $100,000. I was like, "Okay. That's a lot but we'll get loans, whatever I have to do.” I didn't know if I'd be able to fund it or not but this was mid-2014, I think, that we started. But anyway, it took not one year. It took six years. Of course, I got cancer in the middle of that which delayed it but you know, it is what it is. So, six years to make the movie and it ended up being $350,000 to make the movie.
Justin Donald: Wow.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Justin Donald: No kidding. Well, it's interesting because on a lot of these things, there is an investment. There's an investment of time. There's an investment of capital. So, if you're going to do it, you might as well do it the best you can and then once it's done, you might as well do the best you can to like make sure that you're promoting it because you know that it has value. I just think that's great. Nick’s such an awesome guy. I'm so glad that you guys have been able to strengthen your friendship during this and really create a masterpiece. I mean, I feel so privileged because I've had a front-row seat for all these different additions. I went out to Sonoma with you for the Film Festival, where it originally debuted. We did a trip, a family trip to Park City like a snowboarding skiing trip, and that house that we rented, which was a killer house. We're pretty sure that it was a prepper that had built this house because it had anything and everything you could ever want. It was a monstrosity on so much land but it had a movie theater. So, of course, we watched the Hal Elrod movie, The Miracle Morning. You know, it's actually really funny. I don't want to throw anyone under the bus here but you had a really good friend that strongly encouraged you not to call it the Miracle Morning. So, we don't have to, you know, I don't want anyone feeling bad but like I just think how powerful is it that maybe one of your most respected confidants, one of your closest friends, a business partner was like, “No, you shouldn't go in this direction,” but you had the courage to say, “Nope. This is the direction. This is the name.” Because that one choice could be the difference between people knowing about it and not knowing about it.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, completely. It's funny, the irony is that same friend is the one that told me to go for the run and listen to the Jim Rohn audio that actually is what gave me the idea for the Miracle Morning, and then he said, "Don't call it the Miracle Morning. Everyone's going to think it's a religious specific practice.” I gave that a lot of thought and because he's a very influential friend and I listened to him quite a bit and, yeah, I'm glad. It is interesting to kind of know when to stick to your guns. And our other friend, Tim Nikolaev, my neighbor, his whole really putting your hand on your heart, closing your eyes, when either you're asked a question or you're asking yourself a question that really use your physiology to tap into your intuition. And what emerges as authentically your answer, not just in your head but from your heart, and in your body, and that's been so helpful to really get out of your head and listen to the wisdom of your infinite intelligence of your heart to come up with those intuitive answers that really guide you in the right direction. That was one of them.
Justin Donald: Yeah. That's awesome. I love hearing that. We're so blessed to have such a great support system and I mentioned this at the beginning but I just have to say it, again, for all of our listeners that the best thing you can ever do is be intentional about who you're spending time with and that there are people that really bring you up in life that, A, they're doing things in life that you appreciate and aspire to and, B, that they just play the game of life at a different level. They see the world in a different way. That perspective can rub off on you in every positive way imaginable and then at the same time having mentors and coaches that really help you play the game of life again at that higher level. Sometimes these coaches are people that are just right place, right time. Other times you got to go out and seek them out. But I'm so thankful like for us, I mean, Hal is one of the guys that's part of our accountability group. So, I'm in a dad's accountability group. This is for like being a better dad, being a better husband. This is something that Tim Nikolaev and Jon Vroman are also in. So, it's the four of us. We meet once a month for a deep dive, two-and-a-half hours and we get into the real deal. I just really appreciate these guys so much because we cover the things in life that are the most important. It's family. It's family first.
Hal Elrod: It's often what guys aren't talking about because guys get together and usually talk about business, sometimes sports. In fact, even my wife will tease. I'll get off the phone with like Jon Berghoff, my buddy, and she'll go, “Hey, so how are Mara and the kids?” And I'm like, “I don't know.” She goes, “What do you guys talk about?” I'm like, "Other stuff. You know.” So, it's great to have our group where that's our primary focus is our spouses and our children.
Justin Donald: I love it. It's so cool. Now, I got a fun question. I often start my podcast with this question with you. I thought it might be fun to kind of mix it up. And so, I think I know the answer to this but I want to ask it for anyone else that may be curious. But this is a new year, 2021, but this is going to be a different type of year for you. I'm curious what you're most excited about this year.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. That's a great question. For me, honestly, it's living in alignment with what I call my foundational schedule, which is the schedule that I created that I want to live by and this year, it's much less work-focused and much more family-focused, and it has gradually been the last few years but even more so this year where one of the things that I've tried and kind of failed to implement at least to sustain is only working while my kids are in school. And so, that's a big focus and I want to spend half of that time with my wife. So, it's actually only working half of the time that my kids are in school than the other half actually having a relationship with my wife, where we don't just see each other in the evenings when we're having dinner and putting the kids to bed but we're actually spending time together. And so, that's the big focus is the foundational schedule. That's my number one mission this year is to live my foundational schedule that I set out to live and that schedule is, of course, in alignment with my highest values, which is spending time with my wife and my children, and on myself exercising and doing and developing myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. Then the leftover time, I'll be able to do some work.
Justin Donald: That's awesome. And way to have your priorities in check. I love that so much and I was hoping that's what you were going to share for like what's new and exciting for you because we've talked about this a bunch. You've been working really hard for years and you're like, "This is going to be a year of rest. This is going to be a year of rejuvenation. This is going to be a year of like making sure my schedule reflects the lip service that I pay it where I say family first.” By the way, I think so many of us can relate that we're guilty of saying, “Oh yeah, I put my family first,” and then if you check the calendar, you're like, “Oh, actually, family's dead last.”
Hal Elrod: Last, yeah.
Justin Donald: I've been guilty of this at many points in my career and making that shift has been a game-changer. You've already been great at that, Hal. I just love that you're being even more intentional with it. And so, my next question for you is really along the lines of being a lifestyle investor. I think about you and how you embody this term so much because you're living life on your terms and you're putting family first and you're working around your children's schedule, and it's just so cool. I want to know from you like what does lifestyle investing mean to you? Like, what is the draw of that? Why have you worked so hard to have what you have here with regards to living life on your terms?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. To me, I think it's life. You know, there's a great Jason Mraz, a line from one of his songs, which is simply, "Life is for living.” Life is for living, right? Not for working, not for pursuing, not for accumulating, not for making money. Life is for living and to realize that the purpose of making money is so that you can live, is so that you can live life on your terms. Our system is set up in a way where it's very expensive typically to live. It’s all relative but for all of us usually and I think we've been conditioned by the media to want more. I want the new iPhone, I want the bigger house. We want more and more and more and more and more. It's become the American dream, which, for many, is the opposite of the dream. It becomes the nightmare where you're on this constant treadmill or hamster wheel and trying to get ahead and not even just trying to maintain. And so, to me, it's about freedom, the freedom to be able to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want to do it with. And I think this is an important addition is to be able to help others do the same. For me, that's always a big thing. When I was 20 years old, as you know, but I was in a head-on collision with a car or a drunk driver at 80 miles an hour, and I was found dead at the scene. I died for six minutes. My heart stopped. In a coma for six days. When I came out of the coma, I was told I would never walk again. And as I had a lot of time living in the hospital and recovering and recuperating and eventually to take my first step but I had a lot of time to think and my dad asked me, “Hal, how are you feeling? The doctors don't understand why you're so happy.” They said, "This isn't normal for a 20-year-old young man that's being told he's never going to walk again.”
And so, I said, “Dad, I'm genuinely happy.” I bet you see the doctors thought I was in denial or I was delusional because I was so positive and they thought this kid's like, "Woo-hoo. He’s checked out of reality.” And I said, “Dad, remember for the last year-and-a-half, I've been giving speeches for my company,” and I said, “I've had this dream of being a motivational speaker.” I said, “I've always wanted motivational speaker but I never really had anything to talk about because I had a normal childhood. You and mom were really good to me. I never really went through anything significant or major. I never overcame anything.” And I said, “I would have never asked for this car accident but maybe that's why this happened.” I said, "So, I'm taking on the responsibility that I am going to overcome this in as positive and proactive way as I possibly can, not only for myself but so that I can help other people to do the same.” And so, at 20 years old, that mindset was born and it continued the rest of, you know, I'm 41 now, the rest of my life. Everything that I do, I do for the purpose of, yes, I have my own selfish desires. Of course, I want to be happy and healthy and free and all of these things but I do it almost as much. I'm always thinking how can this serve the greater good? How can this experience? How can this challenge? How can this adversity? How can this? How can I get through this and learn the things I need to learn to teach other people so that they can overcome their challenges?
I think that not that I've got anything figured out but I just think that if we all live that way, there are two huge benefits. There are two huge benefits. Number one is for the greater good. Of course, if you're always asking yourself, how can I serve other people through what I'm going through? How can I achieve a level of success that I can then pay forward and share with other people? So, it helps other people but the other thing is I find that it helps me. When I get off of myself and I'm on a purpose that is bigger than me and it's for other people, I find that even if I feel tired or I don't feel motivated, there's a little mantra I've had for since I was 25, I think, and it's not about me. It's not, “Hal, get over yourself. It doesn't matter if you don't feel like it. You owe it to your family. You owe it to the world.” I believe that we all have a responsibility. This is just my belief, not fact. I believe we all have a responsibility to fulfill our potential because only then can we help others to do the same. I think that's the greatest gift we can give to others is to fulfill our potential in the spirit of helping other people to fulfill theirs.
Justin Donald: I love that. You put it so eloquently and, I mean, how can you not subscribe to that ideology and that philosophy on life? It's so incredible because your story is just for people I've never heard it. It's just so crazy. To me, like what has happened in your life is not this series of random events. I think you've had many wake up calls. I think you have some guardian angels because you were dead for six minutes and then came back to life. I mean, if you saw the picture, I mean, if anyone here like saw the picture of this car, in fact, you can see in Hal’s first book I believe you have a picture of that in Yo Pal Hal, there's no reason a human being could have or should have ever survived that. I mean, they had to literally cut your car apart to extract you from it, which is crazy. Then years later they tell you you're not going to walk, you shouldn't have survived, you're most certainly not going to walk. You defied the odds on that. Then you get one of the rarest forms of cancer and almost died again. I mean, you should have died again. No joke. This isn't like a sarcasm or being funny like legitimately, this is like the second time you should have died. You did not. Through this whole process, you've maintained a great attitude. You've wanted to serve people. I just know that there's a bigger cause and a bigger purpose. You definitely are here to do things to have impact on a greater level than just yourself.
That's the reason I believe that you have the success that you've had is because you're focused on other people. You're not focused on, "Poor me. I'm the victim. Look what happened to me. My life is ruined.” I mean, we even talked before, when you were in such dire financial straits, that like you were in a bad place financially, right? Like it was almost game over on a financial standpoint. You've been able to battle back out of the craziest situations. I think most people wouldn't have been able to do it on one. You did it on three major catastrophes and you're here telling your story, preaching great news and just wonderful things to the world, and just teaching and coaching on a level that most could only dream of. I am constantly impressed, inspired, humbled by all that you've been able to accomplish.
Hal Elrod: Thank you, Justin. That means a lot. Yeah. Sometimes I do question from curiosity of like, it's funny, how did I get so lucky and unlucky? I was being interviewed by our friend, Jordan Harbinger, on his podcast and he actually, I had never heard someone put it that way I never thought about. He goes, “Hal, there's something really interesting about you.” He goes, "You have the worst luck in the world, car accident, financial ruin, cancer, almost dying, but then you have the best luck in the world. You write this book and it goes on to sell millions of copies.” He's like, "How many authors?” It was so interesting that the dichotomy of like the polar ends of the spectrum. When I really get quiet and I meditate or I pray and I really do search for that answer, I do come up with the answer that it's this dedication to service. I don't know, it's not a very tangible lesson. I think it's a spiritual lesson. But when we focus on not trying to impress people but trying to add value for people. Like when your mission in life is how can I add as much value as I possibly can for as many people as I possibly can? If that's the driving question, which for me, I defined my purpose in life when I was in my mid-20s, which is to add as much value as I possibly can for as many people as I possibly can. It was a vague purpose but it drove me in everything that I did. I think it goes back, Zig Ziglar summed it up really well. Zig Ziglar has a quote where he said, "You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” And so, I just think there is such wisdom in there to, yeah, how can you add as much value as you possibly can for other people and make that your - don't make the question, “How can I make as much money as I can?” Try leading with, "How can I add as much value as I possibly can? How can I add more value?” And then the money becomes a reciprocation for the value that you add.
Justin Donald: That's right. Yeah. Without a doubt. Again, it goes back to what I said that motive does matter. It may not matter in certain instances but in the whole scheme of things it most certainly matters. One of the things that I want to point out from a lifestyle investor standpoint, I think one of the things you're greatest at, one of your huge superpowers, Hal, is that you are one of the most grateful people I've ever met. You are always talking about what you're grateful for, who you're grateful for, looking out of a lens of gratitude. I really believe that it's that mindset, it's that abundance, it's that really selfless giving nature and giving things up and not trying to control it so much and just saying, “Hey, I got dealt a bad hand,” but, "Look at all this great stuff I have, look at all these amazing people I have in my corner.” That I think might be the key, the biggest key to having the life that you want is that you're not focused on what you're getting. You're constantly focused on what you're grateful for already, and you really are a master there.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. You and I, we’re at church together yesterday. Was it yesterday? Yeah. We spend a lot of time together, geez, but I think that that was one of the lessons that was shared was that and I'm totally paraphrasing but something along the line that, “God likes when you're grateful and he gives people that are grateful. He gives them more to be grateful for.” That, again, it's another kind of intangible, spiritual lesson but, yeah, I will say that I think it was when I was 19 or 20 and I wrote, I just showed it to my daughter the other day, it was in this notebook that I have where it was like, “My keys to self-mastery or self-improvement, or something like that,” and one of them was be the most grateful person that I know. I will be grateful for everything in my life including the challenges and the diversity because both of those make me grow and become a better version of myself. I will be grateful for everything, every moment, every aspect of my life. You see that in the Miracle Morning Movie. There's that scene where I've been on pain management for like 10 days. I'm in the hospital bawling my eyes out because I'm in so much pain, and my lips quivering, and I'm like, "This doesn't change that I'm grateful for all of this because I believe if it doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.” The greater the adversity, the greater the opportunity for growth. It is the opposite of the victim mindset, right? The gratitude mindset is the opposite of the victim mindset.
Part of my Miracle Morning practice every day is writing down, "This is what I'm grateful for,” and then meditating on it for just a few minutes, really feeling that gratitude at a deep, soulful, heartfelt level. Whether or not that attracts more success, I don't know but I do know that I find that the quality of our life at any given moment can be correlated directly to the proportion of gratitude that we are experiencing at any given moment because you can have everything in the world. If you're not grateful for it, it doesn't fulfill you. It doesn't feel good but you could have far less than someone else or far less than you want but if you are deeply, authentically grateful for everything that you do have, you feel great. Your life is great. And then from that place of abundance, you can go create more of what it is that you want.
Justin Donald: I love it. You just said that so beautifully. Really, I just want to encourage everyone that hasn't read the Miracle Morning or doesn't know what that even is to buy the book, check it out. I mean, this is a game-changer of a book. My wife and I did a family planning day and one of the things that we did is we talked about how we want to do what you said where you're getting your family involved in the Miracle Morning and so we want to do that. And I just think that that's incredible.
Justin Donald: Hal, I am so pleased and so humbled to call you a friend and to have you in my life, and to have you spend a portion of your day today with us. This is just incredible. The value is amazing. I would love for our listeners to know where they can learn more about you.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Go to MiracleMorning.com. That's probably the best place, simplest place, and you can find the books there, you can find the movie there, you can join the community there. We have in our Facebook group 290,000 something like-minded people from over 100 countries that wake up everyday and kind of support each other. Yeah. Come join the community. Join the movement, join the mission. Justin, everything that you said I echo that right back to you. I'm grateful for you and the more I get to know you, the longer we are friends, the more I appreciate who you are and how you show up in the world and how much you care. Yeah, man, so it's very mutual that I'm grateful to know you and Jen and Savannah, the whole family, and play volleyball together. I know we're going to have a date night here in the next few weeks, I think. Yeah, man. It's a true privilege.
Justin Donald: Well, thank you for the kind words. I appreciate that. It's just fun having people that you are inspired to do life with and so it's cool. Of everyone that I know, there's just a special place in my heart for the Elrods and for you, Hal, For those of you that haven't checked out Hal’s podcast, I think he has one of the best podcasts in existence. I think Hal is one of the most gifted interviewers out there and so I'd really encourage you to check it out. In fact, I was just on.
Hal Elrod: Go listen to that one.
Justin Donald: Yeah. Check that one out if you want but, I mean, in all sincerity, I think, Hal, I mean, truly in my network, I think there are some of the greatest podcasters that are on the planet and Hal really is that. So, check him out. Check out what he's got going on. It really is game changer stuff. And then to everyone, to all my listeners, I just want to encourage you today to take a step in the direction of the life that you want to live. Take a step towards financial freedom today. Take some action to move towards a life by design, not a life by default. Thanks for listening, and we'll talk again soon.
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