EP 28 | HOW TO USE BUSINESS THERAPY TO STOP TRADING YOUR TIME FOR MONEY WITH DARREN FRANK

In this episode of The Passive Income Attorney Podcast, Seth discusses with “business therapist” and former big law attorney, Darren Frank, about the best practices for breaking the golden handcuffs to live a life of freedom by allocating your time and dollars to multiple streams of income. If you need more time in your life to spend with your family or travel more, check out this show as Darren teaches us how to take that big leap. Enjoy!

 

“We’re like sharks in a way. You keep swimming or you die. You’ve got to figure out a way to keep swimming and keep improving and keep getting better.”

 

HIGHLIGHTS: 

2:42 – Darren talks about his story.

4:32 – Seth questions whether attorneys wait too long to finally retire and leave the office.

5:09 –Darren talk about his eureka moment and explains how he started to prioritize his drive for autonomy.

11:40 – Darren explains how to maximize positive constraints and minimize negative constraints.

12:56 – Darren explains how his trip to Japan started as a visit for a pool tournament and how it turned out.

18:38 – Darren talks about his purpose beyond being a lawyer.

21:41 – Seth discusses with Darren how society labels us by being an attorney.

22:19 – Darren explains how he stepped away from big law.

25:02 – Seth asks Darren about his current consulting business.

27:58 – Darren expresses his passion of being a “business therapist.”

29:39 – Seth asks if there is anything he would do different from the path he took.

29:43 – Darren explains how his past mistakes contributed to his life and business.

35:27 – It’s time for the Freedom 4.

35:33 – What’s the best thing you do to keep your mind and body healthy?

37:22 – In an alternative universe where you weren’t involved in your current business, what would you be doing?

38:05 – Where were you at five years ago and where do you see yourself five years from now?

39:43 – How has passive income made your life better?

 

FIND | DARREN FRANK:

Website: https://www.animastrategy.com/

Website: https://www.darrenfrank.com/

 

FULL TRANSCRIPTION:

Seth:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, law nation. Today is a good day. It’s a great day to get outside, move your body, feel the sunshine, and just breathe it all in. Before we get started, I want to invite you to go to escapethebillable.com and snag our free passive investing guide. It’s absolutely free and has some incredible insider content that I know you’ll find useful. Have you ever felt unhappy or unfulfilled in your day job? I think we all have from time to time, right? Sure. But sometimes that feeling never goes away. Sometimes we come to realize that the uneasy feeling that we are meant for something more than nine to five to 65 is more than just the hunch. Perhaps it’s your true self calling, telling you that you need to get out there and see the world, to do something different, to try something new. You need to live your life now before it’s too late. Today, we take a deep dive into our guest’s story, which I believe many of us can relate to. Darren Frank is a Georgetown Law grad and former big law firm attorney. And in fact, a really good friend of mine, and former colleague, Darren is the president and founder of Anima Strategy. A company focused on helping entrepreneurs and business leaders develop effective leadership strategies and optimize operational efficiency. He takes a holistic approach to problem solving, and is sometimes characterized as the “business therapist,” and you’ll see why. All right, here we go.

Seth:

Darren Frank, what’s going on brother? Welcome to the show.

Darren:

Thanks for having me.

Seth:

We go back a long time. And we worked at a big law together. And we’re good friends, it’s pretty awesome to have you on the show.

Darren:

Yeah, I feel like I’ve seen the full evolution. You know, from the from the Winstead Offices to say California and have been kind of keeping track of what you’ve been doing. It’s been awesome. And listen to the podcast. That’s great. And I’m just really happy to be here flattered to be on. So, you know, what can I do to give some value here.

Seth:

For sure, man. So let’s just start out with What’s your story? Tell us about yourself?

Darren:

Yeah, so my story I, I grew up in Maryland, and when school there went to law school in DC, graduated in 2010. So kind of right after the recession of eight, obviously, and legal jobs were scarce, I actually went to law school, never thinking that I would be an attorney, I never had that plan. I think prior to the crash, it was a, it’s still a broadly usable degree. But even before that, it was more broad. And so you could wind up in finance and these other jobs. And when I was a little kid, and you asked me what I wanted to do, when I grew up, I was a stockbroker. So I always thought that I would be involved in that. I don’t know what that says about my childhood. But I always wanted to be involved in that. And thought that law school would be my direction there. And then when I got out, ended up at a law firm, you know, work till four o’clock in the morning, three times my first week, and realized pretty quickly that that just sort of wasn’t what I wanted. I looked around at all partners and thought, look, the people that even succeed really well in this, they don’t have something that I want their lives are not something that I want. I thought that a lot of them made a couple million a year had really good money, but I thought that it was sort of a Pyrrhic victory, because they often have bad relationships with their families, or they were, you know, unhealthy in certain ways that I valued. And so no judgment about that. We both know, some real successful lawyers, but just not what I wanted for myself. So at various times, you know, left the law and tried to start different businesses, some of those things went well, and some didn’t learn a lot along the way. So I ran a fashion boutique and spa in Charleston for a year, I moved to Japan for a year and ran a Japanese company there. And I’ve done a lot of different stuff. So now I am kind of half in half out on my own as a solo. But I do a lot of like leadership coaching and strategic consulting. And that’s the main focus of my practice and what I’m building so.

Seth:

Awesome, awesome. We’ll dive into a lot of that. But, you know, you mentioned you know, seeing those partners that are a lot older and they’re still in the office and they’re in there longer than we are as associates and you’re like what is going on? Like, why are you guys still here? Yeah, they’re making a ton of money. You know, they’re making a million or $2 million a year or whatever it is, but it’s like, at what point have you made enough and you can walk away satisfied and live the life you have left in a healthy way and spend it with people that you love. And a lot of people never get that opportunity because they just stay too long.

Darren:

And I think that that’s true. And I, I know you’re talking about eureka moments. And I’ve heard you talk about kind of when your mindset shifts away from money being a really valuable thing to time being a really valuable thing. And then sort of, you know, the railing against the billable hours and models, something that I think we all go through at one point or another. But I remember, I was at the office at four o’clock in the morning on my birthday. And I had some I had some other associates and a partner want to take me out for a drink. And then the partner I was working on a deal for just laughed at me at seven o’clock at night. And he’s like, you’re not going anywhere. And so, one morning, I went on Amazon, and I bought Tim Ferris, The Four Hour Workweek. And not as much for practical purposes for me, but in terms of philosophy, and how I started to view that is that it opened my eyes to this other path. And I think what I figured out for myself is that my drive for autonomy is much higher than my drive for, you know, status or material achievement. And so I like to reprioritize that and learn a different story. But I think you know, you grew up in a certain kind of household, you grew up in a certain kind of environment, get an education, go get a job, get a high paying job, that you’re following this path, and you come to a certain point where you realize that may not be the path for you. And, you know, no judgment, I think on people that stay on the path in a certain way, if it works, it’s just for a lot of people. From my perspective, it doesn’t work. And it’s hard for them to sort of figure it out, like you talked about golden handcuffs really common, you know, you load up on all these nice things. And then you’re sort of trapped, right. And that’s the worst thing we all hate to be trapped. Yeah. So you know, it’s like, we’re still looking for freedom. We’re just doing it a different way. I think that they are. So it’s like rewriting your own story, right? Yeah.

Seth:

Yeah. And I think, you know, there’s a balance to it. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with going down that partner track. I mean, that’s what a lot of people want to do. And they stick with it. And they actually enjoy it. I mean, we worked with a lot of people that enjoyed what they were doing, even though they’re putting in these crazy hours. You could tell like, you know, they might be joking with us, like they don’t like it, but you can tell you know, they like it. Right?

Darren:

Yeah. And I think it’s a good thing to ask yourself into, like what you get out of it, because I think even what they would relate to us and what they liked about it or whatever, it’s something different, right. And it’s not usually what it appears on the surface. And I think to dig into that a little bit and realize, like, why people are there and what they’re doing, you know, made me a lot more forgiving. I used to think like, how could anybody do this? Or how would anybody stay on the billable hour? And then you realize people do it for all kinds of different reasons. And there’s no right or wrong answer. I mean, I think a lot of people shouldn’t be entrepreneurs, right? Like a lot of people should improve their circumstances. But if you like having a nine to five, I know a lot of people that do, like, keep your job, you know, this is a hard path to be an entrepreneur, it’s not like it’s the path of greater reward in many cases. But there aren’t a lot of shortcuts. And even in like the passive investment realm, you need some sort of skills or, you know, something to make that work well for you. And so I just think that’s important for people to think about all the time. I remember when I was living in Japan, I would get these messages on Instagram. And you know, Japan’s beautiful, yeah. And people would say, Oh, I really want to quit my job and be a digital nomad and move all across the world and did it and I’m like, Look, what I can tell you is don’t do this. Like this is like I get it. It looks pretty, right? But it’s really lonely. It’s hard. Like, you’re totally untethered, you’ve got no home base, you’re away from all your family. And I’m not even somebody who’s particularly close with my family. But I mean, it was like, hard in ways that people gloss over, right? Because they just look at the positive things. And something I’m always trying to get, you know, people and clients to focus on is like, what’s the price you’re paying? Right? So if you’re in a billable hour job, the price you’re paying is you’re billing in six minute increments, you’re evaluating the billable hour, that’s your thing. You know, if you are untethered, and you work for yourself, you pay a price and stability, you pay a price of uncertainty, and just there are different prices. And normally, I think people try and get us especially advertisers, and the way that we’re spoken to now to try and make our decisions based on potential upsides. And people just really need to be conscious of price. Right? And, you know, monetarily, emotionally, all those different things. And that’s a really important component of it. That gets done.

Seth:

Yeah. Yeah, I love all that man. And, you know, for those folks that, you know, do, they’re okay with their job, they’re okay with moving forward, or they like it or love it. You know, I think it’s still about finding some balance. You know, I mean, even if that’s the pathway you want to take, I still believe you need to find and build these other passive income streams so that even if you do want to continue your practice, you at least have the ability to scale back if you want to, or to take a vacation or to do something different and spend time outside of the office a little bit. You just need to kind of have that fallback in the confidence to be able to walk away, at least for a short amount of time.

Darren:

Now, I totally agree with you. I mean, but I think it is tempting for me to agree with you because, you know, my drive for autonomy, like I value that so much. Right. And so I, I, I agree, I do think it’s important that people, like investigate some of this stuff like I don’t sort of the examined life, right? Where, why is it so appealing for you, and not whether it’s right or wrong, but like, what appeals to you about having mailbox money, because you and I both know, this, too, I’m sure we both know a lot of people with a lot of money, I know very few people with a lot of money who are happy, because they make the money, there were 20-30-50 million, and then it has created this whole void in their life. And they didn’t have things that they were working toward they weren’t living a principle life, or sort of a Purpose Driven Life at all. And it kind of goes off the rails, right? Because freedom isn’t always free. Sounds really trite. Right? Like, you need to have a reason for this. And so, you know, I don’t like I don’t think, I think passive income is great, if like you have that sort of sorted out and the people that are like, Yes, I want to do this. So I can you know, if you’ve had people on the podcast, who you know, talking about wanting to give back more, and that that would be a purposeful thing for them to do and all these things. But I think people that are just, well, that sounds good. And don’t really examine it, it’s like you’re talking the same thing about examining the actual opportunities, like you’ve got to even examine your reasoning for what you want, and why you want it. I think, where it’s kind of easy to get tripped up, right.

 

Seth:

Yeah, for sure. Is that something you walk your current clients through something?

Darren:

I think, you know, it’s, we’re taking now and this is true, whether you’re talking about politics, or money or anything else, that this subset of things is good, and the subset of things is bad. And then there’s really not anything in the middle, right? And my thinking about most things is pretty aesthetical that because I think basically everything is in the middle, and neither thing is really good or bad or right or wrong for you. And they take something like constraints, right? Like money is common income is commonly seen as a constraint. There are such thing as positive constraints. It’s not that, oh, I have some constraints, and therefore all constraints are bad, right? Like, you’re married, right? So that is a constraint. But that’s a good constraint. I think that brings positivity to your life and restricts you in other ways you’re paying some cost there. But you know, you have agreed to pay that cost. And you’re saying on balance that makes sense for who I want to be. And so I think, you know, what, in what ways can you then minimize negative constraints, but actually maximize positive constraints? And I just think to nuance that thinking a little bit, I think it’s important, you know?

Seth:

Yeah, yep. So I know that we touched on or you touched on your trip to Japan, and it’s a really interesting time in your life, I’d love for you to kind of go into that a little bit of what was the purpose? You know, what happened while you’re there? And how did it turn out? And why did you come back?

Darren:

Yeah, I was interesting. I mean, the story behind how I got there, I grew up my whole life around pool. So you know, like pocket millions and always played. And it’s, it’s not an exclusive sport, like something like golf is. So you can, you can’t go to the masters and just go walk into Tiger Woods, right. But if you did that at a pool tournament, you could meet the equivalent, you can just go meet a world champion, because they’re just standing there. And the problem is people don’t know who they are. So over the years of going to pool tournaments with father, a lot of my friends play professionally. And so one of them was playing in the Japan. And he said, come over with me. And I was finishing up at Winstead at that point, like the time that you and I work together. And so that was late 2016. And I went over with him was supposed to be for three weeks, got to know the head of one of the sponsors. And the guy was taking us out first sushi every night, goodness of his house, and like being very Japanese about the whole experience, which was lovely. And at the end of it, we had gone into the company a couple days, and I handed him just sort of a write up and said, hey, look, I really appreciate you putting me up. Here’s some things to think about in terms of marketing or strategy, or kind of the way you’re orchestrating your enterprise. And he looked at it and said, do you just want to stay and do it? And I said, sure. So I just stayed on. I ended up being there a little over eight months, I was in Hiroshima, Japan. I didn’t speak a word of Japanese when I got there. And just sort of jumped in with two feet. You know, it’s funny when you talk about balance. I think that that is true for a lot of people. It is just my personality is so binary, that I’m always like, 1,000% into something or 1,000% out of something. And I think my life has had such a course because I and I think this is something to talk about to some of the pitfalls of doing this. Like it sounds. That’s a good story. Right. But I mean, it was a very rewarding experience. And what I learned a lot from it was a difficult experience. I think like going over there untethered, that you know, without sort of properly landing or properly having a foundation for that. And I think one of the great things about diversifying income streams is to build a foundation for something, right. So even if you don’t have 1,000%, what you want to do, if you’ve got, you know, six months or a year of expenses in the bank, it makes a lot easier to do that, right. So, you know, my personality was always, oh, this is interesting, I’m gonna go chase the shiny object, and not really pay too much attention to having like a proper foundation for that, which I think sort of sabotages the experience in a certain way, right. And it’s something I see a lot of people doing, like, Oh, I have a really good idea for a business, let me quit my job and just go full steam and you’re like, maybe you could find a way to test it minimally first, and then decide if you want to jump ship when it’s appropriate for you and your situation. But those are certainly mistakes that I that I made before. So it was a it was interesting. Ultimately, I came back. Just because I wanted to live in America. I mean, I think it’s a difficult society to integrate in altogether. I think if you can only leave the country once in your life, you should go to Japan, like should be top on everybody’s travel list. If you haven’t been It’s amazing. Food is great, whatever, but difficult place to live. You know, they’re, they’re very exclusionary in a certain way of non-Japanese people. But it’s still lovely. I still study the language and still, you know, want to go back. I think, in an ultimately designed life, I would spend like two weeks or a month a year there. That’d be fun. Nice.

Seth:

Nice. Well, sounds like it was interesting. And you enjoyed it. And you know, but you’re glad to be back.

Darren:

Oh, for sure. And I think it’s one of these things generally about, you know, the, the experiences in your life, oftentimes that are difficult, generally are the most rewarding, right? Like, it’s not always the things that go well, that are easy, that really mold you in a certain way. Like, if you and I had just gone to the law firm and found out the like, that worked for us. And that was great. And whatever, we may not have been forced to develop in the way that we were because we figured out that didn’t work for us and then had to go back to the drawing board and figure out what did which is a difficult process, right? I mean, for me, it was difficult, I’m sure for you. It was difficult.

Seth:

Yeah. And I think we grew up kind of similarly, you know, from our parents, we were just like programs, you know, nine to five, you know who I mean? I went into med school first, because in my mind, I was like, Well, what is the best job that I can get me that was being a doctor. And then I got into medical hated it. And I was like, Okay, well, what’s next? I guess I’ll be a lawyer. So the next thing up, it’s like, what’s the best w2I can get? But that mindset kind of changed over time for some people.

Darren:

Hmm, no, I think that’s definitely true. And that was kind of how I was brought up, you know, I was, I got a paper route when I was 11. And worked ever since basically, that that was really building me that like, get jobs and move up in jobs, and then do it that way. And, you know, not for nothing. I think it for a long time, I’ve regretted going to law school, but I don’t anymore. I think I sort of had to go to law school to figure out maybe I shouldn’t have gone to law school. Does that make sense?

Seth:

Yeah, and I mean, you know, law school is a little bit different than med school. I mean, you get into med school, and you know, there are certain things you can do. And you’d be a hospital administrator or something like that. But man, you’re kind of pigeon holed into that profession at that point. So if you figure out later on, you don’t want to do it, your options are a little bit limited. Whereas with the law degree, there’s a lot of stuff you can do with it. I mean, I’ve gotten my foot in the door, places that I probably don’t deserve to be just because I’m a lawyer, and I say I’m a lawyer and people’s ears perk up, and I’m sure you’ve had the same experience.

Darren:

No, 100%, I do the same thing. I still lead with it. You know, like, when people ask you what you do at a cocktail party or whatever, when we used to have cocktail parties, and you say, you know, you mean, you say like, I’m a lawyer, but right? Did you do this too, because I say I’m a lawyer, but I do leadership coaching and strategic consulting. So I need I need that in there. Because I do think and it’s something for people to think about going into sort of, like low barrier to entry fields, right. And then like, I have friends with advanced degrees that you know, go into saving in commercial real estate for like, just a real estate broker. And I think that that’s great if you love real estate or something unique. But there’s something also too, like, this is a bar, I can jump over, right and I have a law degree I have passed bar exams is a bar to jump over. So even if I don’t want to practice I think it’s something that you’re right. I mean, it helped me in Japan, like people, you know, new blas will have gone to and everything even there and we’re like, oh, and I think they had no application at all to sit there running a Japanese. She said, you know, like manufacturing company, where everything’s like made by hand and nobody speaks English. But it was still like, you know, get in the door. So I do think that’s important for folks. It’s like you want to, I think about like the intersection of your talents and stuff. How you need, right? Because there’s a lot of attorneys, but there’s probably not a lot of attorneys that, you know, also have other certain characteristics that you’ve had or experiences that you’ve had. And like, how do you intersect those things, to sort of find something that you’re specifically talented at, because I don’t know about you. But I kind of feel when I do something that I uniquely can do it or in a position to deliver value, where I feel like if what I was doing every day was something huge that anybody could do, like, I wouldn’t feel fulfilled in that way. And so that’s something like I had to dig into and figure out, like, what was my motivation really for leaving? It also had to do with that, you know, it wasn’t necessarily just the billable hour, because even right now, most of my models are sort of monthly retainer models. And so it is, you know, it’s x amount of dollars a month, and will you get access to me, and we talk and whatever kind of problems you have, and you know, you don’t give us a call, just give me a ring, and we talk through it, which is still kind of trading time for money, right. But it fulfills me in the key, you know, like, supporting somebody being kind of uniquely positioned to do it in other ways that balance out against the model for me. So, you know, I just, I think that that’s interesting for people to think about maybe is kind of where that intersects in them and in their background and.

Seth:

Right, yeah, I mean, it takes them intro flection to kind of figure that out for yourself, and what’s important and where you, you know, where you place yourself in that. Yeah, and it’s funny, cuz you said, I usually lead with I’m a real estate attorney by trade. But yeah, we all have kind of that that line.

Darren:

Yeah, we all suffer, recovering, recovering.

Seth:

Right. And it is just a way to mention, oh, hey, I’m an attorney. Even if he’s a recovering attorney. And when you get to that point, you’re trying to get away from being an attorney, right? You’re proud of not being an attorney. But you’re still just saying, I’m an attorney. And now this is what I do. But just so you know. And I had, I had another episode with Shuntae Grant that talked about trying to get away from that, just that trying to get away from, you know, hey, what do you do, I’m an attorney or wasn’t attorney. And now I do this. And instead of just saying what you do now.

Darren:

A certain inflection point there where you can get away with that, you know, after a while, I think, you know, your tendency, when you first start out is to, you want to, like people in Oh, I’m competent. Like, you can trust me. Because if you if you’re mandated for other things, right? Like, if, when you’re just switching out, I don’t think that you need to go right from whatever you’re doing that you don’t like, Frank to what you’re doing. And I also think it’s kind of impossible to find where I don’t know if you found this, but when I first left the law, like my first sort of deviation to Charleston, we’ll call it that I. That was, in retrospect, that’s like my real world MBA. I mean, I ran a company with like, 50 employees, and it was excellent, but it was a bad idea. And I think I only learned that in retrospect, appreciating the difference between going away from something and going towards something. And this is, again, one of those nuanced things that I would encourage people to think about where I was really just trying to get away from the law. And whenever you’re trying to get away from the law, your mind sort of, you know, you look at everything with these rose colored glasses on we’re like, hey, oh, here’s a new shiny new job. Like, it’s not this job. So it’s got to be better. So I’m just gonna do that. I’m like, well, maybe it’s a disaster, though. And how do you really know that? And, and, you know, can you go? What are you going toward? Which is like, and people need to think about things like, you know, what’s meaning for me? What’s purpose for me? What’s my story about money, you know, like really relevantly to your podcast, like, these stories that we have, they run our lives, and they may not be true. And it’s really hard, I think, to investigate those things and say, like, my, like, my parents had a tumultuous marriage, they fought about money a lot. Like how does that influence the way that I think about money, or prioritize making money in my life or my needs for money? And so I think all that’s going to be different for everybody. And it’s worth exploring that and sometimes you need help for that you need a therapist, you need a coach, you need something. But, you know, it’s worth doing, because I think it can save you a lot of heartache on the back end, hopefully.

Seth:

Yeah, agreed. I mean, think it through, you know, don’t just act just for the sake of acting. I mean, think about it. I mean, most of these, most of our listeners are, you know, successful people and unsuccessful career. They need to, you know, think about where, where this pathways are gonna take them before just jumping off the bridge and doing it. I mean, they might find themselves in more trouble than they think they already are in

Darren:

That absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, I think especially with that kind of Type A ambitious personality, because you’re like, oh, here’s a thing for success. I’m just gonna go and you’ll do really well. But you might sort of, you know, break the rest of your life in the process. Which is not what you want?

Seth:

For sure. Um, so, you know, we’ve kind of beat around the bush a little bit, but tell us about, you know, your current businesses and what you do what they do?

Darren:

Yeah, so they kind of run the gamut. I mean, I’m pretty industry agnostic in what I do, I think, you know, like you my, my background in commercial real estate, but then trying to practice less and less as time goes on. And, and they have been kind of all over the board. You know, one is a private laboratory company that does COVID testing labs. So it’s been really interesting to be involved with them. This year, they’re one of the more fun companies, you know, in there, it is much, I think, is when you’re in the weeds of something, and it’s difficult to have a clear picture of what’s going on. And so, you know, we sit down the CEO, and I just talk through, like, what’s difficult for you right now, kind of what are you facing, whether it’s, you know, HR concerns, or, you know, strategy concerns generally, or how to talk to your board, or whatever it is, I think that in terms of having somebody just kind of check your thinking, and I think my perspective is a little different, because of my patent, right, that I didn’t stay in a law firm for 10 years. And I’ve been working since I was 11. And so I have had every crappy job imaginable. And maybe just think about things a little bit differently. And I generally think that’s what I get called in for is just like an alternative, outside an emotional perspective about just what’s going on. And some of it is very personal, which is like, you know, hey, you’re having this problem with this employee, and this problem with your wife, that you’re actually having the same problem, like, what you really need to talk about is how you set boundaries in relationship and how you do those sorts of things. And I don’t have any particular like methodology or template that I that I tend to apply, I usually think that that’s kind of a failure of thinking a little bit. And my job is to sort of mold myself to whatever the client needs. So it’s been everything from like billiard industry, to sports, medicine, and rehab to like laboratory sciences, and financial services, and just kind of all over the board. So it’s been really interesting. I think it lets me, I’m easily bored as a personality trait. And so it lets me get invested in these companies and really care about them. But also, you know, have a number of different companies and people that I interact with, and to keep everything kind of unique and interesting. So you never know what’s gonna pop up, which I like, makes me feel good.

Seth:

Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I mean, just our conversations, I mean, you’re a very, I’m sure our listeners have picked up on this already a very thoughtful person. And it just seems like your consulting business would have just be really unique, you know, your product is super unique because of you. Because you’re so thoughtful, I think you bring in a holistic approach to, you know, what’s really bothering this business person. It’s almost like they’re in a, you know, a psychology session or something, and to kind of figure that their inner workings out.

Darren:

And I have been guilty upon myself a business therapist before I do, I, I think that there’s something in common with that. And, you know, it is one of the reasons, I have enough thought a lot about like doing courses. And I hope you and I can chat about some things like that, you know, information products, and whatever awful, I don’t know, the time that I have almost shied away from it, because of, you know, I like the fact that it’s unique to me, and it’s unique to each person that I’m dealing with. And so it is difficult in some way, I would feel like I’m selling somebody short, to do it another way, kind of like I really need to be devoted to you. And it’s not like, I don’t have anything to tell you, like I have, the way that I try and tell clients is like, Look, I’m going to be there. But you’re doing work. Like I’m only I’m helping you ask the right questions. I’m making sure you’re framing things properly, and you’re looking at it the right way. But like, I can’t do it for you. Like I can’t make you kind of develop in that way. And I think it’s really gratifying to watch people kind of grasp that because then otherwise, they’re always kind of tethered to what you’re doing and what you’re telling them and not there’s anything wrong with that either. It is a different, different approach. And so for what I enjoy, you know, I love doing it. I have never liked anything as much as I like this. And that in and of itself is a nice thing to say about something you get paid for.

Seth:

Right? Yeah. Yeah, that’s awesome. It sounds like you’ve kind of found your pathway, which has been really unique.

Darren:

Yeah, that’s one of my core language words.

Seth:

So yeah, so looking back, you know, from working at big law firms and things like that, and not saying it’s a regret, but anything you do differently from, you know, the pathway that you took.

Darren:

It’s an interesting question, because I think a lot about you know, if I can get my younger self advice, or you know, one day when my kids what am I going to tell them? And I want to say yes, and if I said if I’m forced to an answer, I would say something like, you know, make sure your foundation is stable, like make sure your relationship with table your financial situation is stable if you’re going to take a big leap, and I think it is one of the huge benefits of what you’re talking to people about is that you don’t, you’re not wholesale changing your life, right? Like to be a passive investor in real estate, you’re not required to like, go full time. And you’re almost sort of saying not to do something like that. So I really liked that conversation. And I’ve learned from your conversations. Because of that, I think, you know, my personality is so kind of all in or all out that, in part, I think I could have been more successful and other things if I had laid a cover foundation. But I also sort of believe in this idea of the process, right? And that if you’re looking always at outcomes, that you’re never going to be satisfied. And I’m sure we know, people like this too. Like, I’ll retire at x dollar amount, and then they get to x dollar amount. We’re like, well, maybe it’s x plus this or x plus that you just move the goalposts. Yeah. And to me, you know, I always want to work with those people and try and help them figure out how to be process oriented. It’s sort of like when you read, like, I love to read, I read a lot that we’ll talk about that in alternative life question, I think, but I, I loved books. And the goal with books is not to finish books, like reading is the goal. That’s the whole goal. So I think learning how to do that somehow in your life is interesting. And also knowing that like, you know, I think when I was 37, so when I was 27. Like, I think I was a bit of an idiot, right? Which is really just a sign of progress. And I hope that when I’m 47, I look back at myself when I was 37 be like, man, you went on the podcast, and you were talking about some stuff, you’re a bit of an idiot, right? Because I think that we’ll have men, that I’m improving my ideas that I’m getting better, because otherwise you’re stagnant. And, you know, I think especially people that are wired like us, I mean, like we’re sharks in a way like you keep swimming or you die. And you’ve got to figure out a way to keep swimming and keep improving and keep getting better. And so that for me, like temporary advice to your younger self question, because I just want to be careful about that. And let’s say it’s, like I said about last fall, I think I had to go to figure out, I shouldn’t have gone, you know, whereas if I had gone another direction, maybe I wouldn’t be who I am today. And if I like who I am, I sort of have to like, those are the things I did well in the past. And I have to like my mistakes, because they may be contributed more.

Seth:

Yeah, no, no regerts, man.

Darren:

Can’t live that way.

Seth:

No, no, it’s an evolution. I mean, you go through things to get to where you are and who you are today. And you know, you just shouldn’t regret what you’ve done. I mean, if anything, I would say like med school, I mean, for that year, whatever. For me, obviously, it was a waste of time. I didn’t get anything out of it. But I, you know, I can say I went to med school, I know what that experience is like, like I dug into cadaver. I mean, it’s just things that a lot of people don’t get to experience. And you’ve done similar things, not med school, but you know, things that a lot of people haven’t done. And you know that that just makes you who you are.

Darren:

I think never underestimate the value of knowing what you don’t want to do. Right? I mean, that like going in there and learning that, you know, and sort of also having the wherewithal to pull yourself out, right, like I knew to I remember my second day of law school, my father came into DC and took me out to dinner and went to expectation. I had steak and eggs. And we sat there and I said, how is law school? And I said, great. And I remember this specifically, because I have I lived so hard, because I knew on day one, it was a huge mistake. It was like, Well, I’m here, I’m like pot committed. And I’m just going to stay. You know, and that’s a learning experience. Right? So you know, whether to do that or not, or something. And I think, you know, people talk about gratitude a lot as being important for like, present happiness. And I think that that’s right, but I think you’re not supposed to be gratitude for nice things, right? You’re not like, Oh, I’m, like, grateful for my house and my five series or whatever it is, right? Like, you’ve got to be grateful for the hard stuff too. And the mistakes too, because otherwise, it is sort of trying to like you can’t use gratitude and that sort of stuff to whitewash, you know, the bad parts of life, because that’s not what development is, right? It’s like, hey, I’m gonna, meditate. I’m going to sit here and I’m going to go inside, it’s going to be all like sunshine and roses. Like that’s not how it works, you know, like, there’s shadows and skeletons, and to really process those sorts of things, I think is how you make progress in your life.

Seth:

Yeah, yep. Love that man. One last golden nugget for listeners before we jump into the Freedom 4.

Darren:

So this for me is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. And it’s just the first thing that popped into my head. And it is that I have, for the most part stop reading nonfiction. And I think that most of the business books I’ve read and most things, you can find those lessons in fiction, and I think especially now the world’s a little tough, things are tough, and it has been really hard to kind of focus on like academically sounding texts and things and you know, like I have read dozens of books on management. And really, you could just read Frank Herbert’s Dune and every lesson that’s in all those books is in Dune. And if you sort of know how to read and read carefully, where you can find lessons in your life is really, really surprising if you know how to pay attention. So to cultivate the art of attention, and I think books are a great place to start. And like I said, I love books. I just am always trying to get people to read more. So that is my agenda. Yeah.

Seth:

Yep. All right, time for the Freedom 4.

Seth:

So what’s the best thing you do to keep your mind and your body healthy?

Darren:

The single best thing, I think lately, there’s two things I have in there. They’re kind of related to they are. I took one of the online classes with Wim Hof. I don’t know if you’re familiar with any of his stuff. Yeah, he’s called The Iceman and have all these records for you know, cold exposure and breath work. And so I did a class of his where he talks you through breathing exercises and cold exposure. And so every day in the morning, I do those breathing exercises, and take cold showers at the end of mine at the end of my showers. And so those things, I think, both are great. From a physiological standpoint, from a mental standpoint, I think especially now, like we’re dealing with a pandemic health is on a lot of people’s minds and, and these sorts of things. And I think feeling more empowered about your physical state versus kind of reactive to that I think, is really awesome. There’s also something about, you know, mentally strengthening, I think about, like, I’m gonna stand here in this cold water for a minute. I know that that sounds silly, then when you realize it’s like not the end of the world. And it’s really not a big deal. I think that that has some good residual mental benefits. So, you know, aside from just like, eating healthy and exercising, I think those are my big two.

Seth:

That’s cool, man. I’ve seen some of his stuff. And I don’t mean, I enjoy a hot shower so much. I don’t know, I don’t know if I want to make that sacrifice. I don’t know how you do it.

Darren:

But I think it’s one of these things to where it’s not an all or nothing thing. Or when I started, I started you know, if I shower with the, with the dial at like 10 o’clock, I would just move it to like, slightly uncomfortable for like 30 seconds, right? Yeah, it was a long time. Taking cold showers where you know, there’s benefits to the process. Also, you don’t need to just like jump in an ice bath.

Seth:

Gotcha. In an alternative universe where you weren’t involved in your current business, what would you be doing?

Darren:

I think I would be a poet. I love writing. I love reading. I think that I’ve said that too many times on this podcast, but I really like to write it. And I think to do that would be a lot of fun and kind of be very antithetical to the kind of life that I lived up to this point. And I think it’s fine. My Road Not Taken in a certain way. Because when I went to law school, it was either go to law school, or go get an MFA in fine arts and, and creative writing. And I have always sort of had that in my head, you know, what would my life be like if I had had gone the other way? And so I think about that quite a bit.

Seth:

Cool. Cool. Interesting. Where were you at five years ago? And where do you see yourself five years from now.

Darren:

So five years ago, beginning of 2021, so I was in Charlotte, I was at Winston, we were working together exactly five years ago, I think Later that year, I would go to Japan and earlier that year had come back from Charleston. So it was kind of an interesting intermediary point in my life, I was figuring a lot of stuff out I had no idea what I wanted to do. And I think what’s changed over the last five years then was not necessarily that I figured it all out, it’s just that I’m more comfortable with the uncertainty which i think you know, a lot of people look for certainty and really Your task is to realize you’re never going to get it and to just be uncomfortable or be comfortable being uncomfortable. So in five years, I just hope that I am you know, doing more of the coaching work and consulting work I think, I love that I would like to sort of drop the legal work entirely and just go to that and just kind of continuing to be open to the path and the process I think, you know, none of us will really know what it looks like and just you know, if I can continue to cultivate my relationships and do a good job, you know, to my friends and family and kind of keep that as my highest priority and understand you know, how I want to kind of hone my principles of thinking and how I’m doing that. I will have considered it a success.

Seth:

Awesome, man. Awesome. Yeah. And I think you kind of touched on one of my tagline is just enjoy the journey enjoy what you know, enjoy the pathway enjoy. You know what you’re doing now try to live in the present and you know, have goals but just enjoy what you’re doing in the now.

Darren:

Absolutely, absolutely.

Seth:

So how has passive income or time freedom made your life better?

Darren:

So I think it’s just that it really lets me have luxury and I think, you know, we have a mutual friend and Kevin Salazar who I love very dearly, and we were out to lunch one Monday. And, you know, we went to this nice restaurant in a nice farm town here. And we had like a two hour lunch. And we were just sitting there. And I was just thought like, this is luxury for me not having to rush having nowhere to be not having to worry, you know, I’m like on the clock, and I didn’t bill for hours this morning. And so I’m not going to get my bonus, and maybe I’m gonna get fired, or whatever. I think just sort of letting those things happen and really able to kind of relax and enjoy my life a lot more than when I had very little autonomy. And I think especially because I’m so driven by autonomy, that I really value that tremendously. So that would be mine.

Seth:

Yeah that’s awesome and I think that’s you know it it’s a lot more prevalent here in America where people just go go go to fill every single minute and if that that minute isn’t filled feel kinda lost in you know you visit other cultures is not like that like they actually value their time they value their freedom they want to have a 2 or 3 hour lunch and have some wine it looks like we don’t do that.

Darren:

Burnout in business years about the bond right now I’m sort of on a crusade against I mean I hate that kind of thinking if I see somebody in the office been so busy I can actually doing it things like jointly you make changes yeah doesn’t this. It’s not the way to level.

Seth:

Yeah for sure man there’s been great having you on working others find out more about you

Darren:

I think of my website https://www.darrenfrank.com/ and LinkedIn I posted regularly on there just you know thoughts about leadership and management and anybody can you know send me a message there are other things on my website if you want to hop on a call for 30 minutes and just chat about whatever you’re going through happy to chat with anybody for a little while and you know give whatever help I can you know during that time and yeah just you know shoot me a message there and thank Seth for having, been a lot of fun.

Seth:

Yeah for sure man business therapy session all right there.

Seth:

Wow that was an incredible conversation, can’t wait to have Darren on again to get some business therapy myself. Darren is an unbelievably deep and insightful person and I can’t wait to see where he takes his business next. One thing I take away from there and in this episode is his fearlessness. He doesn’t fear breaking the golden handcuffs or walking away from a great job, in fact I saw him do it more than once myself. So you know he doesn’t fear flying across the globe to get absorbed into a foreign culture, he does what he wants when he wants and has experienced life in a way that most of us have yet to see. But you can do it, you can live free too. You just need to focus on buying back your time by allocating your time, your effort, and your dollars into building multiple income streams. Reach out to me anytime to chat about how to get started. For now go to passiveincomeattorney.com and check out our other podcast episodes, blog articles, and join our esquire investor club. All right, until next time enjoy the journey.

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