Ep 038

Building a Business for Unlimited Growth, Freedom & Joy


Jordan Rigi

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Inside This Episode

Today, I’m sitting down with one of our own, Triad’s Head of New Member Outreach, Jordan Rigi.

For so many advisors, career success comes at the expense of family, relationships, and life. But it doesn’t have to – and Jordan’s here to prove it.

His new book, “Success is the Enemy” helps advisors examine their success, embrace their significance, and build something bigger than themselves.

In this episode, we dive into Jordan’s book and unpack the key lessons to achieving unlimited growth, freedom, and joy, in both your business and life.

3 of the biggest insights from Jordan Rigi

  • #1 Why “success” is not the be-all, end-all – and will become your enemy if you let it.

  • #2 Why vision cannot be copied and pasted – and how to create one that truly differentiates you as a company.

  • #3 The 5 Principles to building a significant business – including how marketing, sales, operations, culture, and vision all work together to create something that’s bigger than you.


  • Leaving career comfort for a vision
  • How success can be an enemy for advisors
  • Building something bigger than success
  • Prioritizing your team and clients over yourself
  • The challenges of scaling business ops
  • The 2 verticals to creating a vision
  • Success vs. significance
  • Overcoming the 2 barriers to significance
  • Creating an objective standard to guide you
  • Making decisions based on your vision
  • Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, and Do Business, Do Life.





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  • “Significance to me is building a business that allows you to have unlimited growth, freedom, and joy.” – Jordan Rigi

  • “Significance is selfless.” – Jordan Rigi

  • “When you think about marketing, you think about sales and you think about operations. They all have one thing in common: They all require humans.” – Jordan Rigi

  • “The more successful you become, the more distractions that will show up at your door masquerading as opportunities.” – Jordan Rigi
  • “The reality of the situation is if you don’t want it, it won’t be possible.” – Jordan Rigi

Brad Johnson: Welcome to another episode of Do Business Do Life. Jordan, this one’s going to be fun today. We’re going to tell some more stories. So, for those unfamiliar with Jordan Rigi, we’ve worked side by side for close to a decade now. There are a couple of little gaps in between there but the world brought us back together here at Triad. And so, wanted to sit down, talk about the new book that you just released, and talk about all the learnings along the way. So, welcome to the Do Business Do Life podcast.

Jordan Rigi: Thank you. Let’s do it.

Brad Johnson: All right. Let’s jump in. That’s what I love about you, man. You’re always ready to roll. So, for those I know pretty much every Triad member here knows Jordan because you’re the director of our new member outreach. Obviously, we do it very differently here where we’re selective of who we let in and there’s no person better to help filter and curate the community than you. And one of the things that I wanted to just share a little bit was you’ve got quite the story of how you made it to Kansas. You weren’t born here. You weren’t raised here like the vast majority of the rest of the Triad. So, for those not familiar with Jordan, maybe a little bit of your story, what brought you to Kansas, and then eventually ended up connecting us.

Jordan Rigi: Yeah. So, I actually was born in Connecticut, West Haven, Connecticut. My dad, kind of cool immigrant from Iran, met my mom in Connecticut, Irish, got married and my dad wanted us to go to Catholic school and we moved to Idaho. So, dad drove all the way out to Idaho, moved our whole family there. So, I was there for 18 years and then went to high school in Illinois, so a Catholic boarding school, went back to Idaho and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. My whole life I always had a dream to work with my dad, take over of what he did in his business, and that didn’t work out for several reasons. I think a couple of things that I’ll share later, probably today, that had an impact on me directly. But as I worked with my dad, I realized that I probably should get a degree because mom came from a background where she got her master’s degree. So, it was like, “Get your degree. You need to have it.” So, I got my degree, worked part-time, and got my degree full-time. And in that time, I worked in sales.

It was interesting for me as I went through that process. What I realized was the company that I was working at, there was a ceiling and I said to myself, “I can’t be here forever.” Like, in 10 years, 15 years. I remember the managers at the company there, I was like, “Oh my goodness, if this is my full life like I’m done with.” So, at that time, I had heard about a job actually in St Mary’s, Kansas, which for the listeners that they don’t know, it’s like a super small area and they were hiring for a sales role. It was a startup company, security company, and I was like, “Life’s too short. Why not? I’m all in.” So, I hopped in my 1990 Acura Integra, had like $500 to my name and I was like, “Let’s go.” It’s like $80 to get there. And I moved to Kansas. I actually moved to Topeka, Kansas, lived with a couple of my buddies in the Washburn University College campus area, and that’s what got me to Kansas.

Brad Johnson: So, were you in Idaho at the time that you road-tripped?

Jordan Rigi: Straight-drive, Red Bulls, all the fun stuff.

Brad Johnson: Red Bulls and whatever it took to stay awake.

Jordan Rigi: I had Red Bulls and pre-workout and was taking them together because I went full trek. It’s like the grocery bag analogy. You got to bring them all in at once. You got a road trip and just go and no stops.

Brad Johnson: Love it. Nice. Okay. So, you show up in St. Marys, Kansas, which by the way, is probably 15 minutes from my house. For those unfamiliar, super small, like what, 3,000, 4000 people maybe. And so, you roll into town, you’ve got this new job at the security company. And this is pretty close to when we met the first time. And so, it’s basically phone sales, right? Were you cold-calling for the most part?

Jordan Rigi: We would run TV ads and the leads would come in and then our job was to help people. We were consulting them on if security would be a good option for them, and that was basically the goal. So, I moved. I went from that job in Washington and then came to St. Marys. It was the same type of role, very transactional, helped people with security system get them done, went from starting in the bottom. There was sales and moved into management then was leading a team, and kind of the same story. Hit a gap there as well.

Brad Johnson: So, this leads us to where we first crossed paths. So, prior life where we met, obviously, FMO industry and I remember I was hiring on my small team, team five or six for what we call at the time a recruiter, which was essentially a nice name for you’re going to cold call financial advisors all day and try to convince them to move forward with the company. And one of the things I remember, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this with you but one of the things I remember the first time we met because I think I was north of 20 interviews for that position, so I really wanted to make sure I got the right new person. And I just remember almost this magnetic quality about you. You showed up differently and you still have that. And it’s one of like you’re just very intentional about how you show up, who you are, the mission you’re on. And so, anyway, we go through the dance of the interview process. You joined the team and now I want to fast forward to kind of that first six months and there was an inflection point in your career there that I know we’ve talked a lot about but I think there’s a really cool lesson for the listeners out there that can come out of that early journey in a completely new industry.

Jordan Rigi: Yeah. Well, I think the biggest thing to think about for me as I look at my path that led me to here, there was a lot of hard decisions that need to be made. And for me, going back to Idaho like I was in Idaho, I had hit a ceiling. And while I could have remained complacent and stayed there, I knew that I had to make a hard decision that would benefit me long term. So, that led me to Kansas. And like you just said before, I’ll never forget, I remember applying to that old job and I was sitting there. I was like, “I’m making great money but I knew I had to do something bigger.” And I saw the title was like a director of something. I’m like, “Oh, this is amazing.” So, like come to find out it’s just a glorified salesperson, right? And I’ll never forget in that moment when I had the opportunity to stay where I was at, where I was making significantly more money, I had to make a decision. And in that moment, I knew I was like, “I’ve got to do this because I know in 3 to 5 years, the younger version of me is going to go, ‘Oh my goodness.’” So, that’s what led me there. And while my mindset was super excited about it, what I didn’t realize is six months that high went away where I was like, “Oh, I’m so excited,” then I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’m not making money.”

Brad Johnson: What did I do?

Jordan Rigi: I should just go back, which is kind of what happened, which is what you’re talking about here. And we had that conversation and I was at like a fork in the road because I was like I can go back to what I know, which is very comfortable and I can do it well or I can buckle down and say, “I’m going to give this another shot.” And that’s ultimately what happened. And honestly, it changed my whole life. Like, it was the book that we talked about, which was Mindset by Carol Dweck, Fixed versus Growth Mindset. And what I realized was all of the things that had brought me success were the things that I was latching on to. And the moment that I let go of those and tried a different way was where I saw my career change quite a bit.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, we’ve talked a lot about that moment because I remember going into that conversation at Tuptim Thai for those familiar, Topeka, Kansas.

Jordan Rigi: The money bags.

Brad Johnson: The money bags at Tuptim Thai, Topeka, Kansas. Check them out if you’re not familiar. But we went in there and I remember just seeing a young go-getter. You were super hungry. The work ethic was there and we had like a real conversation. It was a heart-to-heart. And I said, “Hey, can we have a real one?” And to your credit, you’re like, “Yeah.” And there was no ego, there was no defense. It was two guys that wanted to go in the same direction in the most efficient way possible. And you said, “You know what, I’ve been trying to do this new industry, this new business, like I did the old transactional model of sales,” because these were very high ticket sales, right? A very different type of sales. And everything changed after that conversation.

You literally, I don’t know that I’ve ever, and I’ve been in this industry almost two decades now, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen someone take off as quickly as you did after that conversation because you threw the old rulebook away and you trusted the new rulebook which had been tried and true and proven. It wasn’t like we were winging it for the first time. It was actually a lot of the mistakes I’d made along the way. I’m like, “Please, just don’t make these. Like, do this way.” And you took off and so grateful that you were humble enough. I know one of the things we say at Triad is, “Be growth-minded. We’ve never arrived. None of us have ever made it.” And like, in that moment, that was you. And I want to go to this book, which I’m going to hold up for the camera here, Success is the Enemy, which just dropped a month or two ago and fairly recently. Not available anywhere. Can’t get it on Amazon, right?

Jordan Rigi: No.

Brad Johnson: Are you doing the takeaway close on that or what do we got going on?

Jordan Rigi: Different strategy.

Brad Johnson: Different strategy. So, limited distribution.

Jordan Rigi: I want it in the right hands.

Brad Johnson: That’s fair. And the title, Success is the Enemy, very counterintuitive, which I know there’s a reason behind that. So, let’s get into the thought process behind the title, which is a little bit of really how the book opens.

Jordan Rigi: Yeah. So, the thought process behind the book, it’s honestly just been a contributing factor from all the things that I’ve learned, just working with advisors. But in all honesty, it’s more relevant to just, I think, any business or any person in general. But specific to advisors, what you’ll see is you have an advisor who gets into the business, right? They have a drive or a passion to help others. But the reality of the situation is when you make that decision to go independent, you’re putting the weight of the world on your shoulders to do what? Say I’m going to do this thing. And you have to prove to yourself, your family, the clients that you want to serve, the clients that you don’t have yet, that you have the ability to do this thing. Then what a lot of advisors don’t realize is 90% of advisors fail within the first year. So, what they’re doing is they’re fighting to not become a statistic, day one. They don’t know this, right? What we see is the advisors that do create success, ones that aren’t the 90% that fail, their success either becomes the biggest blessing to their life or the biggest curse.

And what I mean by that is as their production, their AUM, their annuities, their life insurance, whatever it might be, starts to increase, their time starts to go down. And they find themselves in a place where they never imagined. Day one in the business, right, fight for survival, “How do I see people? I don’t even know what to do.” Now, they’re in a position where like, “I see too many people or I’m stressed out.” And the thing that they desperately wanted their whole lives, success, now can become an enemy if they don’t take the appropriate actions. So, when I wrote the book, the idea was success is the enemy if you allow it to take over and there are certain things you have to do differently. There’s nothing wrong with building a successful business, but if you want to build something bigger, there are different ways. So, when I wrote the book, the idea was with the intentions of advisors who have created success in their lives, and from an outsider looking in, they have it made. But deep down, as you dig into what’s truly meaningful to them, there’s bigger things that they want and success is not the end all, be all for everyone.

Brad Johnson: I’ve heard you use the analogy, it’s like a teeter-totter where when you start, you’ve got all the time in the world and no money, no revenue, no clients, and then to what you just shared, okay, well, now, kind of this victim of your own success of bringing on clients, more clients, more clients, more clients, now, no time. And now the business is eating me alive. It’s like I’ve kind of built a prison around myself accidentally. Didn’t even mean to. So, as we get into that, I think one of the things that’s really cool about this, this is not just, “Hey, Jordan had a theory and let’s write a book.” It was literally I know Malcolm Gladwell is famous for the 10,000-hour rule, which if you want to become an expert in anything, I think in his book he talks about the Beatles. Everybody thinks they were an overnight success. No. They had like a decade like doing these small gigs before they made it, right? And you’re now coming up on close to a decade in the industry. So, you’ve got the 10,000-hour rule a couple of times over.

And so, there’s a lot of learnings from hours and hours and hours of conversations with independent advisors all over the country, very, very successful ones, some that have figured out some of this, some that are kind of stuck and keep hitting that glass ceiling. You’ve talked about success. Well, what’s the alternative? I know there’s a concept you talked about in the book.

Jordan Rigi: Yeah. There’s a couple of things. And I think what’s important here is this book is kind of personal to me a little bit. So, when I mentioned earlier, I worked with my dad. So, when I worked with my dad, he’s an immigrant from Iran and he moved to this country because he wanted to live the American dream and he had nothing. So, my dad did everything in his power to survive. Now, my dad’s not a financial advisor, but he works as a small business. So, his thing was, “I’ve got to survive. I have to pay for the bills for my family. I have to do all these things.” And his fight for survival was the best thing that I ever saw but that also led to negatives in other areas of our family. And as I worked with my dad, what’s interesting is I wanted to take over what he did so bad and he wanted the same for me. Like, we both wanted it but there was a gap. Like, I would say that there was a gap because my dad was the greatest salesperson in the world, but he wasn’t good at anything else when it comes to the business. And I was this young go-getter wanting to follow my dad and be like, “Hey, you’ll figure it out one day.” And I never did.

So, when I look at it from the perspective of a success standpoint, I got to experience that a little bit in my own life with my dad. And what I realized was a failing when I was younger actually became something that I could use as a lesson for me to coach to and talk to because I experienced it myself. And a lot of times you see this with financial advisors. They are very successful, they’re doing a great job, but they tend to have all the success bearing on themselves. And the interesting thing is, as you become a person that’s building a successful business, you don’t necessarily burn out, right? Because we hear this a lot in the industry, “Oh, the advisor’s burned out.” I think it’s kind of overused. Burnout is one of the things that can happen as you build a successful business, but it’s not the only thing. I think what’s interesting is we see different advisors, some of them are burnt out completely, but there are some who have not hit burnout yet and they have an opportunity to be proactive as opposed to reactive to it. Make sense?

So, if you have a decision, if you know that, “Hey, in a year from now, I’m going to completely hate my life,” would you do something to change that if you had the opportunity to do so? That was what led me down the path of what I saw here, which was talking about significance. From an outsider perspective looking in, I talk about this a lot, which is Tim Tebow. I’m sure everyone’s familiar with Tebow. If you’re not, great football player. But in his college careers, millions of followers, making tons of money, he had all the success in the world but Tim knew deep down that there was something bigger. And in Tim’s story, specifically, Man of Faith, he says, “I found God. I found my purpose.” And that led him to this path of what I talk about in the book, which is significance. And significance to Tim was pouring into others, the ability to take the success that he had and to allow others to live in it. And when I think about significance, that’s what I think about when I think about this book is are you a human? Are you an advisor that has had success and your success is not the end all, be all? Do you want to build something bigger? And if that’s the case, there’s another path. We call it significance.

And I believe that significance is a calling. It’s not meant for everyone because some people will want to stay on this path of just being successful and there’s nothing wrong with it. But it’s a calling just like all the decisions I had to make to get to where I am today. I had to be willing to make short-term sacrifices for the long term. So, that’s kind of the theme of the book, which is which path you choose, and hopefully, the readers that read it see themselves on that success line and say, “I want to build that,” or, “This speaks to my heart in what I’m trying to do.”

Brad Johnson: And I think what’s interesting about that path you just laid out, actually, I know we talk a lot about the advisor-in-charge model, which is where everyone starts, right? Just like you said, 90% of financial advisors kind of like they start as the grind it out sort of mentality of just like your dad when he was knocking on doors, making sales, right? And a lot of advisors have started there where there was cold calling or whatever their path was in this business, which is a very eye-based approach. And you said it in the Tebow story, significance is a very much we-based approach. But the cool thing about it is if you now start to it’s the Zig Ziglar helping enough other people get what they want and you’ll get what you want, one of the things we hear a lot is, “Man, when I go on vacation, so does my revenue and my business,” because it’s all I-based, right? We-based, team-based not only can you build a much stronger business that’s bigger than you, it can also serve others. And now you’re creating a livelihood for a team, career paths for teams.

So, what’s really cool is the synergy that I know you coached to a lot around that. So, with that, if you’re cool with sharing, now, I know it’s all in the book but if you’re cool with sharing kind of the recipe I believe you call it the five principles of significance, would you mind kind of unpacking those a bit?

Jordan Rigi: Yeah. So, when you think about significance, here’s the thing that’s important. Significance to me is building a business that allows you to have unlimited growth, unlimited freedom, unlimited joy. It’s about building a business that is bigger than you. If you were to look at it from the perspective of like if I drew a triangle, right, a business that is significant has the priority list in this pecking order. Team first. Team is the most important thing. Second is clients. And the thing that comes last on the pyramid is I, me. It’s about building. You’re building something that’s bigger than you. Significance is selfless. That is the perception of what significance means to me. And what’s important is it can’t just be about what it means to me. It has to be what does it mean to the person that’s reading, right? Because I have a definition of what I believe it is. And significance comes to life when the definition that I believe of it is in their definition come together, right?

So, if someone is sitting there and saying, “When I think of significance, I want to build something bigger than me, but I also want to make sure that I can hit this level of goals. I want to make sure that I’m able to take these periods of time off to spend time with my family. There’s multiple things, but the definition of significance is a deep meaning to the person itself. When you think about it, here’s what I would say. The difference between success and significance, and this is what I share in the book, is a successful business has elements that the significant business does not. Marketing specifically is one of the first ones. So, as we talk about it, I mentioned as the five principles to building a significant business. We talked about earlier, you get into the business and it’s all about what? Survival. I have to prove that I have a reason to exist.

Now, some advisors have an accelerated learning curve, right, where they hear about this thing called events, seminars, educational events. Some advisors are cold calling leads, radio, TV. They have to prove that they have a reason to exist. They have to get in front of people and they do what? Marketing. To do what? Get in front of people. And I think it’s cool. I always play this scenario out and I talk about in the book but I always ask it. I’m just like, “What was the first client you ever brought on? Do you remember that?” “Oh yeah, Bob and Susie.” And I’m like, “Okay. Let’s play this out. So, you do your first marketing event. Bob and Susie are sitting at your dinner seminar. Day one, it’s probably your first seminar and you’re freaking out like you’re getting jittery.” I never forget one advisor’s like, “Yeah, half my face went numb,” and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that’s horrible.”

But like, “You’re nervous, you’re scared. You’re like, ‘I don’t even know I have what it takes.’ And they do this marketing event and Bob and Susie, they’re sitting in that seminar and they hear you speak and something that you say makes them want what you have. So, what do they do? They come into your office and now you have an opportunity to do what? Create a sale. And you sit there and it might be your first appointment, right? Going back to the early days, and you’re like shaking. You’re like, ‘Okay, the script said to do this,’ or, ‘My organization told me this,’ or, ‘My mentor said to say this,’ and you go through the process and maybe you had to use sales tactics but Bob and Susie at the end of that say, ‘How do I become a client? What do I need to do?’ And in that moment, you get words of affirmation, a stamp of approval that you have what it takes, that you aren’t going to be a statistic and you can do this thing.

But here’s what happens. The marketing thing that you did that drove the sales is the thing that we go back to, because here’s what happens. We learn to create leverage early on in the business. It’s like an addictive drug, almost. Leverage that marketing does what? Creates revenue for us. In a business that’s successful, remember success for significance, a successful business either takes that money and just dumps it straight back into marketing or they spend it. There’s business owners that live paycheck to paycheck, right? Because they’re not doing the right thing with the business. They’re not putting it in the right place. Then what happens is they get on this hamster wheel of marketing to sales, sales back to marketing. There’s nothing wrong with, like I said, building a successful business but there’s something bigger than that.” Makes sense? Those are the first two areas that we talk about.

Brad Johnson: So, principle number one, marketing. Principle number two, sales. And back to kind of the hamster wheel you just mentioned, more marketing, more sales, more sales, more marketing, just the loop that that creates. Okay. Let’s keep rolling. What else?

Jordan Rigi: Well, then you start to increase your marketing efforts, you start to bring on new clients. And then we got Adam, the advisor, let’s say. He starts to become more successful and his success kind of honestly takes his greatest skill set, sales, and now he becomes what? Maybe a service advisor. And he gets more and more busy and he goes, “Oh my goodness, I need help.” So, what does he do? He hires someone, which leads to the third principle, which is operations. And you have to have someone that can deliver on the promises that you’re talking about. And what’s interesting is if you think about these three principles, specifically, marketing, sales, and operations, our industry talks about it a lot. “Oh, there’s a three-legged stool to growing a business.” Really? There’s much more to it. But what’s interesting is when you think about marketing, you think about sales and you think about operations. They all have one thing in common. They all require humans.

And as you start to think about the business differently, right, day one, the business could rely upon you when you’re just grinding it out, right? And it’s your baby, everything’s in your head but as you started to add humans to the element, you start to add what? Dysfunctions. Every human, you, myself, I mean, goodness, we’re grinding it out here. We all know that we are emotional creatures. We’re not always going to show up as excited. How do we get a group of humans to love the company the same way that we do, right, as a business owner? And what’s interesting is if the experience I had with my dad, if I were to replace myself for a different employee, it’s like, “Oh my goodness, what kind of experience is that?” And I think that’s what we typically see is so when you add these humans into the element, there’s a critical thing that we need, which leads to the other principle, which is culture. How do we get a group of people to love the company the same way that you do? It’s not easy. How do we get people to show up as excited about the business as you do? It’s not easy.

There’s a critical element that’s needed to tie all these things together but what I’ve typically seen and this is not just financial advisors. This is a lot of small businesses, right? Because you have like the corporate company, which if you think about like an Edward Jones, for example, right? What are they really good at? They are great at marketing. Everyone knows who they are. They’ve got a great brand. They’ve got a sales process down. They’ve got tons of people, culture, whether or not it’s good or not, but they have elements of all these things. And then you take the advisor, right, that’s been at Edward Jones, the business owner or soon-to-be business owner, Adam. He works at Edward Jones. He’s got this great idea in his head, right? And what does he do? He leaves all the good things that a corporate structure offers behind to go build. Now, he’s like in a jungle and he’s free and he could do whatever he wants. But what did he leave behind? All the critical things that are actually needed to build the business. Thus enters the chaotic world of the entrepreneur. Makes sense?

Brad Johnson: So, we hit marketing, we hit sales, we hit ops, we hit culture. There’s a mysterious number five.

Jordan Rigi: There is.

Brad Johnson: That we haven’t talked about yet.

Jordan Rigi: Yeah. This is the thing that ties everything together. And it’s a word that if you think about it from the perspective of just the word itself, it can be like, “Oh, it sounds simple,” but it’s a vision. When I say vision, I think about it in a very different way than I think what most people would. And I would say that nothing that I write in this book is like, “Oh, I’m Jordan, I wrote about it and I’m the smartest person in the world.” A lot of the reading in this book is based off of very, very, very successful entrepreneurs outside of our industry. And one specifically that really inspired me as I’ve done research, talking about vision specifically is Simon Sinek. And when I think about the vision of your business, I think about it from the same perspective that he talks about, which is, “Do you as a company have a just cause? Like, why do you deserve to exist as a company? Why do you deserve to exist as opposed to every other company? And do your ideal clients know what that is? And do you have a just cause?”

And if you think about the just cause of your business, the biggest issue that we’ve typically seen is most advisors, their companies, the reason for why they exist is left up for interpretation. Because let’s assume whatever you are, whatever you do, and if you think about the vision, if I were to have like a circle here and draw it out for you, you’ve got at the lower end, you’ve got like vision and then you’ve got marketing here and then you’ve got sales here and you’ve got operations here and you’ve got the culture here. If I were to take that lower part of the circle and extract it, and you had vision over here on its own, when you think of the vision, there are two different verticals to a vision. There’s the internal vision, which is where are we going as a company. This is internal to you as the company. Where are we going? Where are we going in a year from now? Where are we going in three years from now? If we have employees, do they know that? And is it documented? Is it in place to where it’s an objective view of where we’re going?

Typically, what happens is one goes, “Oh, I have a vision. Great.” It’s all in their head or it might be in one of the key staff’s head. So, the vision of your company, if it’s just in your head or it’s just an idea, it’s not a true vision. So, that’s the one aspect of the vision. The vertical of the vision is what I talk about, which is the external vision. What do we do as a company? What is it that makes us different? And this part is really fun for me because our industry years ago there was this idea of, “Oh, you’re an independent advisor and you are securities licensed, so you do holistic planning and you offer a whole plan based off a CFP standard.” And the idea was name and trademark or process, and you’ll do hundreds of millions in business. If what you do is you’re a differentiator, you’re a commodity. It’s as simple as that. But what we see is people name and trademark something, they think that’s the key. What you have to do is dig a lot deeper. They have to dig into who you are as a company. What we do is financial planning, but who we are at our core is this.

And in order for us to arrive at any of those, we can’t copy-paste what someone else does down the street. It’s going to take work. Remember, I said significance is a calling. Anyone can copy-paste you. They’re never going to be able to defeat you if they don’t understand the thinking behind why you’re doing the things that we’re talking about. So, we think of vision. And I can distill a little bit more how that affects every other area but the key is there’s the internal, there’s the external, and how do all of these work together to create what we’re talking about? And that’s the first principle.

Brad Johnson: Well, and I know going back to the 10,000-hour rule and a few laps around that track and I’ve had a few myself, there’s nothing more frustrating for an advisor than, “Oh, my advisor does that too,” back to the commoditized conversation. And I’ve heard you say sales is a transfer of belief. And back to the analogy you just made where somebody kind of like rips off somebody is, “Oh, that looks really good on this other financial advisor’s website.” We’ll just do that and put like replace their name with our name, blueprint, roadmap, whatever. And the biggest thing is you can’t sell something like if you know deep down to your core, that’s somebody else’s thing that I just kind of tried to make my own, There’s no belief there. There’s no vision there, right? So, you’ve seen that many times over.

Can you share out of some of those conversations with real-life advisors, what’s the difference between no belief? Because this is somebody else’s versus truly going deep on vision, actually doing the deep work of trying to figure out why we do exist and going back to that origin story and then truly arriving at, “Wait, this is ours. This is who we are. This is what we believe.” What’s the difference in the before and after there?

Jordan Rigi: Well, the difference is it starts with the why but it starts with do you actually care or do you want to do it? We’ve been in this industry for a long time and like the reality of the situation is just because you are an independent advisor and you’re a business owner like you don’t have to act as a business owner. It’s not that hard to get licensed. So, I mean, how many people out there exist where they might do a couple million in annuities, they might do a little bit of AUM? But like do you actually want to do it?

Brad Johnson: Do you want to go on that journey?

Jordan Rigi: Do you want to go on the journey? It’s literally talked about before success versus significance. If you just want to be successful, like this is not going to make any sense to you, like any of this conversation. This book will make no sense to you. Like, you might see yourself from the perspective of a most successful person, but you might be the person and there’s nothing wrong with it that says, “I kind of want a lifestyle practice where I kind of piece things together and I make a decent income for myself and that’s it,” and there’s nothing wrong with that. The key to this is if you want something bigger, if you are a person that started in this business because you wanted to help people and you started to become successful and your own success has caused you to burn out. Or if you’re a person that’s reading this book and you’re not burnt out, right, but you can see that if I keep doing it the way that I’m doing it, I will eventually get there. You have an opportunity to be proactive as opposed to reactive to the situation. But the key is in what you’re asking, you have to want it, and then you have to go all in to understand the thinking behind it.

Like our industry specifically, I’ve seen this time and time again. People just want something. They want something. They want something. They want it overnight, but they don’t want to spend the time to understand the thinking behind it. The typical situation that happens is this. You go to some event, right? There are, whether it’s 50 people, a couple of hundred people, thousands of people, you hear someone share something, an idea. And you’re in a big room. You don’t get the full idea of what they’re sharing because they’re limited. You have an hour time and there’s a bunch of people. So, again, like the CliffsNotes version. That’s what happens. And I’m going to play this out and how this works. You hear the CliffsNotes version. You write down 20 ideas. You get it. You then take that. You don’t fully understand the thinking behind it, but you love the idea. And what happens for a majority of people is they take that. They probably go back to their office. They try to implement it, or they throw it at their team to implement it.

And here’s the problem. If you don’t understand the thinking behind it, how is your team supposed to understand the thinking behind it? How are they supposed to get excited behind it? It’s impossible. So, when you think about the vision of your company, what we’re talking about here is it’s like you’re wanting to enter into the big leagues of doing what it takes to become a successful, truly successful, significant business owner, which is I better do things differently. We talk about it all the time. Richard Branson has 400 plus companies. If he could do it with 400 companies, why can’t you do it with one? You can. It’s just going to take work. But not everyone wants that, which is why it’s like we’ve got to be super specific on who you surround yourself with, who you work with, because I can’t want it more than you do, right?

Going back to our story, we got on that call together, like, as much as I went through that process to interview, if you wanted it more than me, it wouldn’t have never made any sense. I wanted it, right? I wanted it so I made that decision and I experienced turmoil six months in because I was trying to do what got me there. Didn’t work. So, it’s like it starts with that. And I know I’m oversimplifying it, but it’s like if you don’t want it, it’s never going to work.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. I want to hit on something you’re all over here. I’ve actually never heard a financial advisor. They think about financial advisor, the I, 100% on them. Every financial advisor that I’ve ever asked and I’m curious, same for you, do you want to be a business owner? Do you want to transition to a CEO? They all say yes. And the analogy I’ll make is, “Hey, do you want to be more fit?” No human on the planet says no to that. Or more healthy, a better husband, a better wife, a better parent? Yes, yes, yes. The question is, do you want to make the changes and do the work that it requires to be that? And I just literally got off a coaching call earlier today. And I love this concept. If you want extraordinary results, what does it take? You weren’t on this call. Wait. You were on this call.

Jordan Rigi: Extraordinary Actions?

Brad Johnson: It was Extraordinary Requests Create Extraordinary Results. So, testament to you, Jordan, number one, you took the time to write the book and take your learnings and capture them so you can share them with others and create those breakthroughs. But the other thing I’ve seen you get really clear on because we truly have empowered you to help curate a community that hasn’t existed in finance before. We’re really careful. It’s hard to get in on purpose because some of the requests you make, we have a thorough vetting process, and this is not a Triad commercial. I don’t want it to be that. This is about the book and how we can add value to the listeners to the podcast out there. You make some extraordinary requests. One of those things is you say, “Hey, you say you want to be this, but are you willing to do the work? Can you preview? Here’s the work. Like, this is a very intentional process where you’re going have to do deep work because we got to pull this out of you and we can’t pull this out of you if you’re not willing to show up and do the work.” So, what other learnings have you had along the way as far as the difference between saying you want to do something and actually becoming the person that it takes to do that thing?

Jordan Rigi: If you want to build something that’s bigger than you, you want to take the step that you’re talking about, I believe that there are two barriers to significance that have everything to do with you as the person. And those are the first one is selfishness. Like, if you want to take a different path, you have to be willing to stop putting yourself first for the greater good of whatever you’re trying to do. I think about it from the perspective of whether that’s working out, whether it’s, “Hey, I’m the person that is overweight and I need to make changes because I need to make changes to better my relationships, better my own personal health.” You’re going to have to take extreme action and make decisions that are not necessarily the easiest. Maybe the first week is great as you’re on your diet, but then what happens? Someone’s ordering a pizza. You’re in a room with a bunch of people and then you have a very easy way to sway back to what you knew before, right?

So, I think the first thing is, if we’re selfish, we’re never going to able to do it. And selfish means putting yourself first. It’s going back to what I talked about, the list, the pecking order in which matters most. Your self is last. And I don’t say it yourself last in a negative way, meaning go burn yourself out. What I mean is putting yourself last to build something bigger than you. The second one is attachment to success. That red line that we’re talking about, it’s addictive. Like, there are certain things that I’ve done my whole life that I can keep doing it that way. And you know what? It’s kind of the easy path. It’s like you get excited about something, right? And it’s like, “Okay. Well, if I want to do that, I got to stop doing this. I got to stop doing this and this.” This is not just the founder, but also like team, right? If I want to make these changes to build this, I’ve got to make significant decisions and do things in a different way. And it’s not easy because what we know is this path that we built toward success.

So, it requires like a true I’m all in to do this. And if you have that, then everything works itself out. But you making the decision to build like this business of significance I talk about is changing your identity from, “Here’s who I am today. Here’s the new me of what I want to build and going all in.” And that’s the vision of yourself of what you want to be for your business.

Brad Johnson: And many people say that. The commitment is what I hear you saying is there’s one thing to say it. There’s another thing to commit to it and say, “I’m going to do whatever it takes to become this different version.” In order for change, you have to commit to change, whether it’s selfishness or whatever the work is that it takes to get there. And one of the things I’ve seen is oftentimes when you hit that first little bump of resistance, such as, “Hey, I did it this old way.” I had more maybe of a commoditized transactional process where I kind of sold some products or sold some AUM or whatever it was. And when you change to a different process, of course, you might swing and miss a time or two and it’s really easy to revert back. But what is the difference that you’ve seen of those that have made that breakthrough and gone from kind of that success to a significant business that’s bigger than them versus the ones that hit that little bump in the road like, “Ah, too hard. I’m just going back to the old way,” and they just go back to doing it how they’ve always done it. Are there other characteristics of the individuals that hold true to that commitment?

Jordan Rigi: I would say that it starts with, and I’m going to oversimplify it, it starts with making the decision that I want to build in a bigger way and then it’s creating a vision for what that is. So, when we talked earlier, there’s these principles to significance, here’s what I want you to think about is the vision of your business, and a lot of people listening are probably believers in insurance products, the vision of your business is kind of like an annuity. It’s the foundation, right? The marketing in your business is like the market. What does the market do? It goes up, it goes down, it goes up, It goes down. The vision of your business, if built properly, here’s what will happen and it will fix exactly what you’re talking about. If you build the vision right, which a lot of times is not built right, you will create an objective standard. Objective, right? Meaning we’ve now created the standard of what it means to build our business moving forward, that when times get tough, you can go back to.

Think about it almost like a Bible, right? It’s like, “Hey, I’m wavering in my thoughts here. I’m not sure if this is right.” And there it is and finally you say, “Oh, this is what I said. This is what I want to do.” If you don’t have that, you’ll never have anything to go back to, which is typically what we see. If you don’t have that thing, what do a lot of advisors do? What do a lot of people do? What do humans do in general? They don’t have direction or they have an objective standard. They’re all over the place. One day it goes this way, “I go back to here.” One day it goes this, “I’m feeling good it goes here.” We’re an emotional mess. So, we have to do is we have to create an objective standard that we now move forward we’ll live by that we say this is what I’m going to do and I’ve documented. And now it’s the thing. It’s the standard to which we must live by. And what’s interesting is that right there, if created properly, well then bleed into every other area of our business. And that will be the thing.

And here’s the reality of the situation. If you go all-in and you create this objective standard that we’re talking about, what I would say is like you’re a manifesto of what we do as a company, who we are as a company, where we are going, if you take the time to build that and do it that way and then you go against it, that’s on you. And once again, I can’t want that more than you. And that’s going to be a conversation that you have to have with yourself. But the goal is to find someone that’s willing to help you build in that way and be proactive to help you avoid the mistakes that other people have. But once you write that down and you do it, extreme ownership. No one else can want it more for you and no one else can do it for you.

Brad Johnson: Well, I’ve heard you also say there’s a filtering process. There’s a quote you say a lot about opportunities masquerade…

Jordan Rigi: Your vision will act as a filter. So, think about it like this. You’re sitting inside your house and this little thing or you’re sitting in your office and this little thing comes up and knocks at your door or you get that phone call and you’re the advisor sitting on your desk and you get that call from maybe it’s a marketer or at some company, “Hey, I got this thing. It’s only about $1,000. It’ll fill your calendar. Here’s what we need to do.” The more successful that you become, the more distractions that will show up at your door masquerading as opportunities. It is the vision that will act as a filter between distraction or opportunity. And the vision is the most simple thing, but it’s the most overlooked thing. And it’s simple in the terms of the work. It’s complex in regards to how you build it and what it is deep down. But if you can build that right there, now, imagine moving forward in your life. The distraction will come to you and you’ll have the filter in which you know whether it’s a distraction or an opportunity. And then guess what? It’s up to you to decide what am I going to do with it.

Brad Johnson: Well, and the beauty of it is, as you have a team and you’ve gotten that in written form, now the team can also help hold you accountable. “Hey, remember, like, here’s where we’re headed. This is our North Star. That doesn’t really seem to align with what we said we wanted to do.” So, then it’s actually what’s cool is it’s not just on you. You actually have team members that can help kind of keep everything in the lands. And so, we’re not chasing the next shiny object of the day. So, I love that quote and I love that example. And we’ve seen it be so true to those that have committed to the process.

Jordan Rigi: It will fix everything. It will help, but it won’t. The reality of the situation is if you don’t want it, it won’t be possible. So, that’s why when you asked earlier, like, where’s your book? This book is meant to be in the hands of the right people. Like, I want to have conversations with people and say, “You know what? That person right there would find meaning in this book and it would be worth the cost to print it, the paper, the cost to me to give it to them because I think it could have an impact.” I don’t want that book in the hands of someone that will find it useless and better off throwing it in like a fire pit and burning it, right? So, I want this book to be in the hands of people that will use it and are inspired. The reality of the situation is, though, like it’s my own story and this is something that I think it’s interesting because I am 30 years old now. And what I’ve struggled with a lot is I’ve talked to so many advisors and it’s like they struggle so much with making decisions that are best for their family, that are best for their business.

They’re so attached to this, to relationships, or attached to what they know that they can’t make a decision to like build something bigger is because they lack vision. They literally lack vision. In every step of my career, I clearly knew what I wanted and I knew that what I wanted was not for me to be the same person I am three years from now. And it didn’t matter about money to me. And like granted, back when I was in Idaho, there wasn’t, I mean, I’m 18, 21 years old, so like over $70,000, “Wooh, that’s huge.” But like, for me, it was a big deal to go from making that much to going down to like quite literally my pay when I was at that security company was like $15 an hour and then everything was commission. So, I took a huge step back, but I knew what I wanted long-term. So, it was clear to me. So, like when the conversation happened, clear. When I had that conversation with you, I already knew what Jordan needed to do. And it didn’t matter what you said to me. And I knew that when I put my head on the pillow that night to go to bed, I was like, “If I say no to you, to the offer to go do it, I’d be letting myself down,” because I knew what I needed to do.

So, have a vision for what you want, have conviction, and don’t let outside things sway you but if you don’t have the vision of what you want to become, it’s literally impossible to make any decisions so the vision will act as a filter, distraction or opportunity, and it will hold you accountable. And the only person that knows if you’re doing the things that are required or doing the right thing is you.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. And the truth is, they deserve it. Advisors deserve it. And that’s why I love this conversation. And what I’ve always loved about you, Jordan, is we can always go deep. We can have a lot of fun but I don’t know that I’ve met a person that’s more passionate about people, about creating breakthroughs, about this industry. I mean, I’m getting texts at 4 a.m., 4:30 a.m. You are just a voracious learner. And it’s one of the things that’s taken you to where you’ve come. And what I love about you is you’re still on mile one of your journey because I just know that’s how you’re wired. So, with that, we are sitting under a really big DBDL sign here. So, for those that maybe this is the first time tuning into the podcast, this is the Do Business Do Life podcast.

And I think one of the other things that’s been really cool, some of the most rewarding work that I’m the most proud of at Triad that you’ve helped bring into reality is those visions also oftentimes reflect building a business that’s bigger than that advisor, but also that serves that advisor so they can be home for family dinners. So, they cannot miss every kid’s game because they’re on this success hamster wheel just grinding, grinding, grinding. So, I would love to hear Jordan’s definition of what Do Business Do Life means to him because so many advisors actually define what it means for them. So, I’d love to hear your definition.

Jordan Rigi: Yeah. I think for me right now, especially it was interesting. I was listening to a podcast recently with Tom Brady and he said when he turned 30 years old that everyone in the NFL was like, “Oh, he’s 30 now, He’s going downhill.” And Tom used that to like fire him up to be like, “No. Like, why does the industry like the NFL industry say, like when someone turns this age, now it has to go downhill.” So, as interesting as when I heard that podcast, this was like before I turned 30 years old, I was like, “Wow, that’s really cool to think about.” So, as I turned 30, I said to myself, “How do I take that approach?” And for me, there is a Nick at our team who was sharing a story about Kobe Bryant. They were I think it was the Olympics. A couple of guys went out and were celebrating, having fun, and they walked up to the elevator. I don’t know the exact story. I think this is pretty accurate.

They’re getting to the elevator to go up to their room and the elevator is coming down. And opening up the door at like 3:30 in the morning is Kobe. He’s walking out to go to the gym and they’re walking in because they partied. And I said to myself after I heard that story and as I watched the Tom Brady thing, I said to myself, like, “How do I become the Kobe Bryant of our industry in what I do?” And for me, it’s I’ve got to do things that no one else is doing. So, I’ve been pushing myself in a lot of ways. And when you ask do business, that’s probably the biggest thing. That’s what the DB stands for me is how do I do something that no one else is doing? And while they’re sleeping, I’m awake and I’m doing what I need to do. So, that’s what I would say from a do business standpoint. And what that actually looks like, I won’t go into but it’s challenged me. So, I’m like, I’m 30. I’m going to do things more than anyone else has done at my age in the industry because I believe that I have the capability to do it if I challenge myself.

When I think about do life, what’s interesting is we’re, obviously, three years into the company. So, we’re a startup like we’re running and gunning and do life is simple for me. But I also believe that do business do life you don’t earn the right to DL until you’ve unlocked it. And what I mean by that is you’ve got to go through a bit of drudgery in order to get to the desire zone. And a lot of people will say, “Well, you don’t want to burn yourself out.” And I’m not burning myself out but me and my wife back over the last couple of years have gone through, I would say, a couple of rough patches because like I’ve put my heart and soul into companies and places and chased the success line on my own. But me and my wife have gotten ourselves into a really good place where we’re very proactive in our conversations. And we’re in a spot right now where we know that the DL is going to be earned based on the efforts that I put into the business.

And while we’re not able to enjoy the most luxurious trips right now and vacations because we’re investing into the business and trying to build, do life to me right now is getting to finish at the gym and then get home and allow my wife to go to the gym and to be there right in the morning for my little kiddos and wake them up like it’s like the funnest thing. Like the little noisemaker is on and I’ll wait and I’m like, “Oh, they’re up,” and I’ll walk in and get there and they’re just so excited to see me. And then it’s getting home at a good time in the evenings to be able to spend another hour or so with them. And then doing life right now is our little tradition. We go to church on Sundays and then we go. There’s a little place in Lawrence that has donuts. So, like I always pick them out their favorite donut and they bring it home. And so, we’re celebrating life and the little things right now. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. So, that’s what do life is to me and it’s just enjoying the simple things while we have them. And that’s what DBDL means to me.

Brad Johnson: Awesome, my man. Well, so glad you’re here. You brought so much value not only to Triad and the team here but also just to all the advisors you’ve impacted all over the country. And I know that that’s not going to stop anytime soon. So, thanks for being here, my man. Love the conversation. All right.


These conversations are intended to provide financial advisors with ideas, strategies, concepts and tools that could be incorporated into the advisory practice, advisors are responsible for ensuring implementation of anything discussed is in accordance with any and all regulatory and compliance responsibilities and obligations.


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