Jay Rifenbary, Incorporating Core Values, Accountability and Balance into Your Life and Career (#200)

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Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant that provides his expertise in the areas of personal and professional development, leadership, and communication training to organizations, associations, and schools all around the globe. Jay is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he had a concentration in nuclear physics. In his career, he went from being a qualified Airborne/Ranger, Military Commander, Sales Professional, Corporate Manager, to an Entrepreneur. This unique mix of backgrounds allows Jay to tailor world-class training seminars, workshops, and keynote speeches on a variety of topics.

He is also the author of the international bestseller “No Excuses! – Incorporating Core Values, Accountability and Balance into Your Life and Career”. This book was awarded “Book of the Year” by the North American Book Dealers Exchange, while also receiving the following review by best-selling author Jack Canfield “Jay has given the world a most generous gift. Anyone who applies the “No Excuse!” philosophy can create the life they want and make a difference.”

How to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Some say there’s no such thing as balance, but Jay believes it’s possible to achieve it with the “No Excuses!” approach. To start the conversation, Jay suggest you ask yourself some specific questions such as:

  • What is truly important to me?
  • Does my answer parallel with how I live my life?
  • Do my behaviors reinforce or suppress what I believe to be important?
  • Is what I believe to be genuinely important align with my core values?

Answering these questions will give you more clarity on whether you are living a well-balanced life or not. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away by work and achievement, but real happiness comes from fulfillment, the alignment with your higher self. That’s why to be truly fulfilled, besides work, you should add to the equation also family, friends, health, finances, education, and personal growth. Make sure you give the right priority to each area while ensuring that it’s aligned with your core values, and you’ll be on the path to balance.

And now here’s Jay Rifenbary.

Full transcript below

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Podcast with Jay Rifenbary. Incorporating Core Values, Accountability and Balance into Your Life and Career.


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Mike Malatesta, Jay Rifenbary

Mike Malatesta  00:02

Hey everybody welcome back to the how that happened podcast, I’m very grateful that you’re here today, and I’m glad that you listen, subscribe, and share these episodes with your friends. That’s the way to show girls. You are definitely want to listen, and share today’s episode because today I have Jay Griffin berry with me. Jay, welcome to the podcast. So before I introduce Jay. I’m going to tell you a little bit of how we met and why I’ve been looking forward to this. So, Jay. Not a month, maybe two months, I don’t know, ago came to Milwaukee, and to the Chef’s Table which is a fantastic private restaurant experience that I’d never been to before, Jay, would you agree that it’s an awesome experience there.

Jay Rifenbary  01:07

Yes, it was, it was surprising and wonderful and very unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like in regard to the, the space, the food on Beyonds and everything that went along with it and right, the owner and the chef right there and serving it was just a fantastic one.

Mike Malatesta  01:27

Yeah, it was, it was way over the top for what we deserved I can tell you that. Another great How’d it happen story by the way with the chef there but today we’re talking about j. So, J was our speaker, and you know a lot of times when you, you speakers are there to impart wisdom on us or part it’s impart experiences on us and, and this is just a really good job of, of getting us members in front of people who can really help us, either develop personally or professionally. And what was so interesting about Jay and I mean his whole story is interesting, you’re going to be blown away by it but it was the way that Jay, just kind of started right off the bat, with a story about, you know himself. So rather than right off the bat start, you know, teaching us or imparting his wisdom he shared a story with us. That was, that was, you know, personal, personal and meaningful, but, but more than all of that, it was, at least for me, I can’t speak for everybody in the group but at least for me, it connected us right away, like, Oh we are to human beings, that regardless of what you know the resume or the bio and all the other stuff says we are to human beings who are going through life, the same, the same way with the same opportunities and the same challenges, and the same goals and gifts and whatever it was just really great way to get started so as soon as I heard that I thought to myself, Okay, J is the kind of guy that I think I want to have on the podcast and share with the rest of you, so that’s why he’s here today to tell you a little bit more about Jay. Jay is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he had a concentration in nuclear physics, which is very interesting to talk about that too. He from there, Jay. He’s been an Airborne Ranger military commander sales professional corporate manager entrepreneur, and he brings a unique background of interpersonal skills and business experience to each of his training and speaking engagements. Jay is the president of refund berry training and development, and the author of the international bestseller. No excuses, incorporating core values, accountability and balance into your life and career and we’re going to talk a lot about all of those things today because he’s got some phenomenal insights and experiences on them and by the way, this is jays, this is that book No excuse, you should get it. Here’s why you should get it, it’s fantastic. In addition to that, don’t take my word for it, don’t take Jay’s word for it, but take Jack Canfield its word for it. He’s a best selling co author of Chicken Soup for the Soul I think that books probably sold more copies, then I don’t know the Bible, maybe, maybe the Bible so more, but here’s what here’s what Jack had to say. Jay has given us a real gift with this book. Anyone who reads and applies the no excuse philosophy daily can create the life they want and make a difference. So exceptionally high praise. That book was awarded the Book of the Year by the North American book dealers exchange, and Jason, also the author of true to your core, common sense values for living life to its fullest and his most recent release returned to the core principles for a purposeful and respected life. Now, J speaks and consults all over the world. And this is sort of the ice that the the cherry on top of all of that stuff in 2017, he was awarded the Vistage speaker of the year, recognition, which, as I understand it, and from my own personal experience with the quality of its speakers that is exceptionally high praise. So, with all of that Jay, I know you won’t disappoint us. Here we go. I started every podcast with the same simple question and that is how did happen for you.

Jay Rifenbary  05:25

Well, it’s quite a deep and thought provoking question, how it all happened for me and I would imagine, I believe, from for many factors from many factors, life experience. People who that have influenced internal desire to prove to succeed. Maybe to kind of go beyond what I thought I could do. And there were a lot of experiences growing up that impacted that, as you may recall we talk about personal honesty in the presentation, and really what is the catalyst for why we make the decisions that we make, and two primary things our needs and fears, we as children, based on experience will go towards what we perceive we need and we move away from what we fear, and that very much forms a foundation with regard to why we make some of the decisions we make. The problem that occurs down the road if we don’t recognize that maybe those needs and fears interfere with an understanding of what our personal core values are. So, my entire presentation really revolves around a blueprint for character development, and that stems from really not knowing what I want it to be in life. And as you may recall one of my, my favorite line that I start with every presentation as you teach best in life, what you’re wanting to learn the most. And think about that you teach the best in life what you want to learn the most. If you love something, you’ll find your greatest joy is to share what you love, right. So if you love art if you love literature if you love music, sports the outdoors, gardening you’ll find your greatest joy is to share what you love. And for me that really begins with the process of losing my father when I was very young. I really didn’t have a mentor I didn’t have a role model. I did have someone who kind of whispered in my ear little life lessons. And so I was always on a journey trying to discover for myself whether it is I should be, or what I might be able to be. I didn’t smell and so certainly my mother was a wonderful human being and she pushed me down certain paths, especially the West Point path. I had a cousin who was the captain of the army football team back in the 60s until we were exposed to West Point back then. But, having lost dad, it was really a moment where I really never knew what I wanted to be, so the journey has allowed me to at least try to discover that, and in turn, help others along the way, so you know when it comes to what is integrity and character what makes people happy and successful. How do people persevere through some of the challenges you know all of that was something that I had an interest in, and as a result of that, something beyond I can explain. I’ve made a life and career over really that journey of searching and then in turn as I learned share some of that insight with others to improve their lives, both personally and professionally. So it’s something that I would say is a combination of so many factors but I really believe especially now, there was always a bigger plan behind. And what I mean by that is I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing for the last 30 years. If I hadn’t lost my father. One of the other major factors that really propelled me in a way to prove was the fact that the year after that I lost that mom had a repeat the seventh grade in school. So can you can imagine how that in fact impacted my own sense of belief in my own intelligence and then in turn that need as a result of that to be maybe appreciated or respected or successful so, you know, those were some early, early, early childhood I was only 11 there were some early childhood things that, you know, I could have gone one direction or another direction but, you know, it allowed me to at least attempt to discover and try new things, and all of those, how do you go from nuclear physics and west point to something like this.

Mike Malatesta  09:47

It seems like a natural path. The, the seventh grade repeating the seventh grade, what was it a was it there was going on in mom’s head to made made her make that decision for

Jay Rifenbary  10:02

you. In the aftermath of losing dad’s models and emotionally challenging year for me I was in Catholic school this is a decision she made but you know I was pretty young, my age and regards my other peers and classmates if you thought another year, you know, you know, would be helpful. You know, in the long run. Sure it was very helpful. I mean, when I look at from an athletic perspective, from an academic perspective, having that extra year was developing, to say the least but I think you know at the time though I didn’t look at it like that, I looked at it as, as something less than acceptable in regard to what I felt those around me would perceive me as being, ie, not very smart or stupid. And I was very small too at the time, so some of those factors,

Mike Malatesta  10:56

they feel like a punishment of some kind or that maybe

Jay Rifenbary  11:00

they definitely felt like some level of punishment, some level of humiliation too. I can remember getting on that school bus, you know, saying friends neatly I perceived everybody around me to think that I was you know, not very intelligent, so that kind of put me on a path, you know, not at that at the moment but as the years went by, wanting to prove to people that I was smart, was kind of a catalyst to. Why do you think I took nuclear physics,


right, because I liked it, I can share a lot with it.

Mike Malatesta  11:37

How did it come to that journey, how you get into, well, let me, let me before I get into the nuclear physics, Let me back up to something else you said, an animal, we’ll get into the whole Military Academy experience but what you said. And you said this in the workshop I have my note on it, you teach best in life, what you want to learn the most I think that’s the quote right. So as I as I hear you say that I get it, and as I read it. I don’t as much, so help me understand so is that is, what do you have what is that, what does that actually mean because I’m thinking to myself if I’m teach best in life what I want to learn the most. Does that mean that I enjoy engaging people in what I think I know to see what their response to it is so that I can, you know I’m still malleable to knowing something more about that or differently or such a passion to

Jay Rifenbary  12:38

really expand what brings a level of success to people’s lives and contentment and fulfillment and a sense of peace and calm. And so, as I’ve been on this journey through the ups and downs along the way. You know, I, when I look at getting into the whole speaking career for the last 30 years. It was an honor, when I was with a company called H MSS, it was a home infusion therapy companies back in 1989, and I went to a national meeting and I saw this speaker and I really was impacted by law, she has its share but how he shared it. Now, his name is John brekkie, and I just felt that was something that I could do, and wanted to do. And I thought, and then after that, believe it or not I opened up a bookstore, we were living in Kansas City, I moved back to the northeast open up a bookstore that was geared towards personal and professional development that led me into speaking and I all of a sudden realize that I had this gift to be able to share information in a way that I felt was uplifting, but most importantly and has evolved tremendously, where I realized it wasn’t about me. I’m just the messenger. And so, to bring in my life experiences and my consequence for for life and, again, what propels people to achieve. As I’ve learned along the way from people like yourself and others, and certainly my own experiences and faults and successes, and was able to share some of that insight, especially as it’s evolved to the point of really what his character, how does one develop one’s character. As you recall, possibly, it all centered around those core values and accountability and personal honesty, integrity, those are the four major components that very much are the blueprint for character development. So as I’ve been, I’ve had a passion for it, my greatest joy, to share is that makes a positive difference and impacts others in a positive constructive way. That’s been a surprising thing because it’s all been word of mouth for three decades, which is really crazy. And women are realizing the career over oversharing, this message and weaving in, you know the evolving of the message from my own life experience with it. For some reason, Arthur I look at something way bigger than myself, and I know this is my purpose this is what I’m supposed

Mike Malatesta  15:12

to do. And when did it occur to you Jay that sharing your story was your purpose. Because I’m, I guess I’m just thinking myself, everybody’s got a story short, right, everybody should write a book, everybody’s got a story, but there aren’t very many people who decide or so. So, I’m convinced that their story has meaning for other people that they, you know, pursue pursue a career in IT, or feel like it becomes their purpose to share the story more and more and more

Jay Rifenbary  15:55

involved as well. I think early on I didn’t really, I thought it was more about me than I do the next next Tony Robbins and something. You know when you get hit in the head of some times and you know you almost lose your family and you realize that ego is not a very positive thing. Secondly, humility is a wonderful thing. And thirdly, I really understood the role of vulnerability because I always believe that we all have a lot more in common with the different. So I think the role of vulnerability in regard to really embracing that and having the strength to just share some of my hurts and values. That’s what kind of rallies people and unites people around the message, because they realize, alright this guy’s, he’s just being honest with us and truthful with us and open with us and therefore, you know, we realize, again we have more in common with the difference so people go, well I can do that or, you know I can relate to Jays experience I can relate to Jay Z, separation, you know, a few years back and then, you know, being blessed, having been reconciled and to celebrate or reconciling and celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary, you know this past March. So, you know, all those things, and then relating it to something that’s constructive and be applicable to business the family. Personal life, that’s really been the cool thing about it, it’s been wonderful in regard to, I never I never planned this, in respect, you know, it was like, all came together and it still comes together and that’s why I don’t lose the passion for it because I realize I’m here to be the messenger for the group or the audience, and it’s, you know, my experience are just there to validate that I may have some experience and knowledge, and then being able to put real lives and meaningful stories aligned with the message is a critical component to having it all come together.

Mike Malatesta  17:54

And you mentioned the, the separation and the 40 years and you talked about this a lot, and in our session and I’m not going to ask you to do so here I just, but I did want to make the connection if you’re willing, between because I think that occurred around the time that you achieve this speaker award of the year, recognition, I mean you were sort of on fire from a career standpoint, and doing and sharing these all this wonderful stuff was so many people and yet. Well, you tell me what what you’re willing to talk about

Jay Rifenbary  18:28

there was there was definitely internal information, this disconnect. And, you know, I also believe this was supposed to happen because of the fact that, You know I was so passionate and caring and felt that I was contributing in a way but there was this level of unhappiness, there was this level of of what’s missing here. And finally, when we went to the marriage retreat. And afterwards reconcile that last day, I see the answer, which was basically goes back to my father passing and watching him, you know, being lowered in the ground, and realizing that I’m losing one person I felt worthy of being loved by. So, my entire life. Until that moment I really never felt worthy of being loved, and why, why didn’t I feel that way. And so there were moments in my life I’m searching I’m searching I’m searching you know how many, how many mountains like mine seminars I gave you know, it meant nothing was was fulfilling that missing link or the banner that presentation, I realized I was or, I’m sorry the retreat and I realized that I was alone. And again you can call it whenever anyone wants to sky, the stars God tree. And that was a turning point for me even at this later stage in my life, and I wouldn’t change anything in my life I really would not but you know all those crazy things in regards to just those turning points and then having the resiliency and belief I think that, you know there’s something bigger than this, that, that is the reason why this needs to happen. Yeah, so I looked at it like that and realized I was loving for everyone in the audience who’s listening, you know, to realize that you are loved and there’s people loving and respectful in the company, you know, and that’s a reason why we owe it to people who see us in that light, make sure we take the high road, because there’s people counting on us and you look what’s going on out there. Regard to character and self respect and selflessness and service to others, and this trend of narcissism of social media consumption, where many people out there are basing their life on how many likes they get on Facebook, rather than really taking a moment in time to make an assessment in regard to what values really driver character and drive of decisions. I can share with you my close people aren’t doing that, that if you ask a person a neighbor I pick any four values that do believe it’s like our kids. I think that would be a challenging question for, for some, not all in regard to, you know when the curveballs thrown What’s your backstop, you know, is it your integrity is your creativity or intellect, your innovation, your resiliency your perseverance your loyalty, what are the things that really are the foundation for why you make the decisions you make. And that goes back to, I didn’t have that. I really didn’t I mean I went to Catholic school of course it’s West Point that those type of things but yeah I think there was just that missing kind of collective understanding and maybe that comes from the lack of mentorship or the lack of those type of influence in my life to ask me that question when I was 12, or 14, or 15, you know, to have some guidance there regard to a sense of what really developed character. And so, you know, again, teach us that’s like what you want to learn. So as I’ve learned along the way, you know that’s that’s why it kind of developed into something that I, I can’t explain in regard to, you know the specifics, other than the fact that I do realize with all my heart. This is my purpose,

Mike Malatesta  22:06

as you were talking about, you know your dad and being gone, I was thinking to myself, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I was thinking to myself, you know, with the love thing too, you know, you, you, you sort of committed your life maybe to pleasing your dad or the memory of your dad, but he wasn’t able to, you know, read, he was not able to provide the praise. And so you were kind of always seeking it in, but, but from something from someone who was no longer able to provide it at least, you know, in a real world way.

Jay Rifenbary  22:45

It was more of a living, living up to an expectation that I had no idea what to expect. Oh,

Mike Malatesta  22:50

nice. Okay, so you created the your dad’s expectation,

Jay Rifenbary  22:53

trying to live up to something that I didn’t know when I was living up right so there’s a little bit of loss and the loss and regard to emotion and understanding. Yeah. You know, I mean I’m so grateful for mom, I mean, she threw me in a swimming pool, you know she encouraged me to go to West Point. You know I didn’t get into West Point, my first year of high school I’ve also had to go to Gettysburg College and West Point like my athletic abilities so they offered me a half a scholarship basically to go prep school and I went to prep school prep school and looking and saying no no it’s my job site, a little. So we ended up at Lawrenceville so that was a year. So actually we. There was another year between high school west point where, again, that was a development year too, I mean I was exposed to a whole new level of, of, kind of social interaction with academic excellence, when you look at an Ivy League type prep school, so I went there for years a PG er and then got into West Point and then the rest is history. Okay.

Mike Malatesta  23:54

And is Lawrenceville a boarding school or is it good okay that’s what I thought. Yeah. Okay, so a year in there and that that’s what that’s what filled in whatever gaps you needed to get into to West Point

Jay Rifenbary  24:10

store is always that underlying sense of I am not that smart. Right, so it still is a driving factor even then, and sort of leads into maybe why I decided you didn’t really have a formal major at West Point, everybody can come down and laptop with a Bachelor of Science, but I could focus and concentrate on certain areas. You know I’d again this is more to prove to myself that I have the ability to get through it. And, you know, even it’s almost 65 years old this year. There’s still those restoration dreams when it’s no like you know I didn’t graduate and you’re looking through your uniforms and you can’t find your room I’m sure everybody can relate to those frustration dreams on a certain level, and that all stems back from again I really believe a sense of anxiety, a sense of

Mike Malatesta  25:03

non self belief, so to speak. And what sport were you playing Jay Farnham. What sport were you playing, I was just wondering, swimmer. Okay, so you get into West Point, you’ve been basically had two extra years of grade school, in high school right by the time you get there so seventh grade and then this year between and. How did you show you show up there, how did you feel

Jay Rifenbary  25:32

like you I actually was very confident, I, you know, the systems a system based barracks plebe year and all that but I really didn’t have much concern that I wouldn’t make it other than maybe academically. Because athletically I was rocking and I was a year and a half older than most of my peers so I was a little bit stronger and so yeah I saw you know, the physical fitness test, the two mile run, you know all these things. And the first year you take that time boxing, wrestling gymnastics and swimming so, you know, again from an athletic perspective I was, you know, quite confident that I was right up there with, with the best, so to speak, but I only swam only only swam on the Barnsley or the JV team for a year, and I said to myself, I want to graduate. I had to be the primary was in fact academics, and I still used to had other avenues to use your athletic ability, which I did, so that’s how I earn personally most of my free weekends was through sports.

Mike Malatesta  26:45

And when you got when you got out of the military academy, where were you stationed what were your responsibilities as a commander, I

Jay Rifenbary  26:53

was actually an armor officer so I first went to Fort Knox. I stayed there for what’s called a motor officer course and then my men Ranger School, which was probably the most difficult things I’ve ever done, like most people who went to ranger school would say. And it was winter Ranger so January through March. We got married five days after graduation, we lost more than half the class, and then the first thing that happened is we went to Germany. So, and my wife, follow me, follow there shortly after. And so our first assignment was the Third Infantry Division in Germany Kitigan Germany’s with Western.

Mike Malatesta  27:34

Okay, and now I’m going to get back to the bookstore. As far as I recall, you were living in Kansas, or somewhere in the middle of Kansas City, okay, and you decided to move back home ish move back home and open a bookstore, for what purpose,

Jay Rifenbary  28:00

I just, I had the sense after I had heard the speaker and my passion was in this idea of self improvement and I just happened to run into this idea called the creative mind is a bookstore actually in Overland Park, Kansas, and met the owners and one step led to another, I came home and said to my wife I just gave notice and we’re gonna move back to the northeast and open up a bookstore and I can’t you know we have a 41 year old me well we think and so then we lived in Germany Kentucky Colorado, Kansas, within the Joplin, Missouri that up to Kansas City so yeah it was it was, you know, quite the, probably, not probably naive, with such a risk but we just did it. I mean it’s that’s a crazy story Mike is we just, we did. And, you know the story make any money but that led me to speaking and then that’s, that’s how it all began. That is how it all began, was after the base night of PBS series in 1992. I mean, think back a year. I mean, 29 years ago. Yeah. And so, that went into doing the speaking and I remember being innovative and putting wheels on the bookcases and moving bookcases out with a brown bag seminars and people would come in from all over the community love the store it was right when self development was happening as before, You know the borders of the Barnes and Noble even existed. And so that broke, you know that opening. And I just realized I had something to offer, and so I just kept plugging away. So what never lost sight, never lost sight of the message and what I wanted to do for others around me. Okay.

Mike Malatesta  29:43

You mentioned a PBS series was that about the bookstore check.

Jay Rifenbary  29:47

No no no that was actually okay on the initial creation of no excuse. No excuse the book you have is pretty dated but again the message never dies, and more of what I shared with your, your Vistage members was more of what’s true and returned to your core, my name, my last book. No excuses, a great little, that’s a foundation for a lot of things. Yeah,

Mike Malatesta  30:11

yeah, and the title is hard to resist to, you know. So the bookstore, you mentioned that you kind of got use people started to like your story. When you are at the bookstore right so this is before you have a story in print or whatever so

Jay Rifenbary  30:33

this is talking to people, to set myself apart in regard to speaking, I had to create something that was from the heart, unique, and that’s how I came up with no excuse. And it was until a friend of mine asked and said was that one of your four answers at West Point, yes sir, no sir No excuse, sir. That’s right and others I didn’t realize that even when I put the program together. And then I realized to start off with, you know what, what are some


principles that bring us some contentment fulfillment mind.

Jay Rifenbary  31:09

An idea of purpose and integrity and then I just thought a crazy thing that happened I you know I was looking for some, you know synonyms of values and, you know, of course I pull out of words the source pull out the book, you know, a thesaurus, and I just asked myself what is the source for saris meaning. And the word thesaurus actually comes from the Greek and Latin word treasure. Some one word. So I created the acronym of the source as a treasury of ideas, where each letter in the word thesaurus is a different principle, like tea is totally free agents have self esteem, the ease of gratitude enthusiasm. And so those are some, you know, again, some dated things that I would discuss and from there it’s just evolved and each life experience just maturity message more in depth and meaningful for people, I mean first of all honesty is something that’s very unique in regard to what I share now you know the vulnerability piece my triple crown of leadership, you know, at any level of humaneness in the workplace. The vulnerability plus humility plus transparency equals authenticity, as I share with you I’ve never seen such a yearning for authentic leadership and all of my life I’ve never seen young people you’re an infrastructure for discipline, and I’m sharing with you I won’t cross the you know the spectrum of political lines and such but, you know, that sense of really what is important, and what does, you know, build a level of character in one’s life and what do you stand for what you believe in. Now I’m always in that process of succeeding you know there’s always an element of how we treat each other, and I believe we should treat each other with dignity and respect, doesn’t mean that we protect my family or defend my liberties, but you know when it comes to engaging with others, you know, I think some of this hatred and dissension, for many, many,


you know, not explained, really, but I think a lot of them that are healthy

Jay Rifenbary  33:18

for families for ourselves, businesses and. And so that’s why I’m really emphasizing on really giving even young people an understanding of how a sense of respect and self worth, and that’s that blueprint character. And again if you don’t start with values you have no foundation to build from. So that’s why having, you know in an organizational setting, you know, having the people who follow me, take a moment in time to write down what I call their core four, you know, four values or and then share with each other, how insightful is that to find out what other people believe to be important. And that makes a big difference when it comes to rally. A team especially in the midst and aftermath of COVID and all the anxiety out there all that, again, social media all the distractions, I mean, this becomes more important than ever that people have something to hold on to.

Mike Malatesta  34:14

So, I want to do you mind if we dig into that a little bit.

Jay Rifenbary  34:19

I want to do. We can add an element which I’m perfectly comfortable with is I think beyond that fundamental foundation of values. You know I think it’s important that there is a component of something greater than ourselves, and we’re here for something greater than ourselves. I know that people want to come to work for something greater than themselves. And that’s where leadership comes into play. Now to create a culture where people feel they belong, and feel that they’re valued. You may recall that I had asked the question for life of how do you inspire others in the way to inspire people as you make them feel valued. So what are we doing on a daily basis to make those around us feel valued, right.

Mike Malatesta  35:01

So I appreciate the, the genesis of the source I did not know that. So that, that was good to know. You also taught me a new word at our workshop perspicacity right perspicacity, you said it like everybody knows what that means and I’m like, first guy wrote it down I’m like perfect so you got to look it up. Of course, it means a penetrating discern, clarity of vision, or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight so it’s a beautiful word that I had not been not been cut. I had not been aware of, I guess, or certainly had never used myself so that was a that was a nice addition to my vocabulary.

Jay Rifenbary  35:49

Well, that’s the only other, the other thing that their journey has allowed me to expand, just an understanding on some level of what is important to other people. You know I you know I’m one of the questions I asked was that when you have a passion for. How fun is that, to learn about each other, right oh, about each other’s actions that are that comes full circle. But just the, the, the life journey has given me some, at least in on what’s important is through what they say the body language. So there’s a little bit of empathic growth, which I was, you know, still is a great blessing as well.

Mike Malatesta  36:32

You mentioned that it’s something lacking, and you ever hear about, maybe, social media, or the, the mindset that social media brings along with it might not be might be some one of the things that’s sort of getting in the way of authenticity being something you see, more, more often but what, why is it so hard to be authentic, your experience what’s, what’s the biggest challenge that people have with that

Jay Rifenbary  37:05

is out there that are impacting people to be something they’re not listening also when was secure with themselves, they’re looking to the outside to find that sense of security for what is not aligned with. I think it was yesterday or the day before it was national selfie day. How sick is that I didn’t know that. I’m really sick, how sickening and narcissism because we have a national staff. So we all take pictures of ourselves and throwing on screen. What is that about, and I can share with you, no one cares where someone had dinner last night. No one cares. It’s one of those things where I kind of shake my head and go, all this doing is creating a more superficial self perception of one stop, then that’s that’s the dangerous part here that idea of self esteem, I can share with you that when that all began, which was, I can blame partly my generation for that in order to make our kids feel good, then they’ll do better. Well that backfired data perspective self esteem is defined as pride in one’s pride is defined as dignity and self respect. You can’t get back to a human being, you can’t give dignity and self to the child, the person you love and has to be heard in the department through behavior, and then behavior that’s based on what your values are, so if I believe honesty is one of that every time I’ll behave in a way that’s on what’s the green Forge and my sense of self worth and self respect, so there’s there’s the growth progression in regard to understanding how a degree of self respect is formed, and then you add that idea of how about a personal, personal honesty piece relates to that because personal dishonesty are the people who project one thing and another. So if I’m projecting to the world I’m an honorable man that in hiding scenes on living a dishonorable life I can be happy, because I’m living an internal why. And that’s why there’s no direct correlation and all the stuff that everybody’s striving anisette, especially for direct correlation between all wealth, fame, and happiness then again we can take a field trip to the wealthiest places we’ve read in Milwaukee area and all the people are the most stuffy, the best example of happiness. Why are the people out there who don’t have all that much and tend to be pretty content, right, there’s people out there have all kinds of absolutely miserable. And I like nice things but I’ve learned at the end of the day, especially with my stage in life what I drive what I wear and what I live in doesn’t define my character finds my characters military to homeless person, how I treat my wife and how I treat some of those bullies quite like it that’s a much better indicator of my character what I own. And that’s the beautiful thing about this is that I think anybody who might be listening remember someone, what a positive enduring, kinda like what they was constantly their charity was again more than what they took in the cycle they believed enough in you believe in nothing new to share a part of the heart, mind and soul to make you a better person. That’s why we remember our mentors and our role models like teachers are filled with stuff to do with the fact that they believe we, we are today. All of us out there have the ability to instill in others, based on the example that we set that we can instill in others the belief that they can be more than who they are today.

Mike Malatesta  40:27

And do you think Jay that you mentioned self esteem, sort of pointing to that as being something that might have made might not have been as good as we thought it was you know what fought you know, self esteem without any attachments to it like earning self esteem as opposed to being given self esteem. But I wonder too as you were saying that. Do you think that’s contributed or what has contributed to what I think is sort of bins a squishy definitional decline of things like authenticity, character and honesty and you even your rad thing that you share with us reliable and accountable and energetic, dependable, all of those things seem like they’re very easy to define but, but when you get into them, they become kind of tricky because most people you would, I’m assuming most people approach and ask, do you feel like you have good character would answer yes, even though other people around them might be like,


no, no. Yeah, so I’m just wanting your taste matter if you agree with that.

Jay Rifenbary  41:42

So, First of all, the idea of character and asking is what it is, what’s defined is meeting other principles that create one’s character so that’s an essential tool,


values and people can say.

Jay Rifenbary  42:00

So, they all of a sudden fall off the wagon and then they have to take ownership for maybe not living up to them. And then what happens when they find excuses to justify blame the past, blame, whatever it may be used to justify why they can’t live up to their own expectations, right and then back to the self esteem piece absolutely everybody gets a participation rather than a trophy. Keep score, I think that we were built on, on a way to be competitive and strive for excellence, and the idea that we’re going to Patty Cake everybody, everybody has different attributes different skills, different levels of success, you know, not everybody’s going to be everybody else. And, and that’s something I think we might be losing that, you know, this idea of everybody’s supposed to be the same. Well, not everybody’s the same. We all have different skills and attributes and we have different weaknesses, and that’s where that idea that stuff in the military and understanding and trying to walk people up. You know who they believe they were when it comes to leadership. Actually what a desire

Mike Malatesta  43:20

to be the same as someone else or desire to not be as good as they can be I feel like all of that’s the same this thing. Born with someone, you know, heteromers into your brain. Lost. Somehow, or lost their own desire to not be the same and I think the same goes for, you know, the desire to keep getting better. I mean that’s an that I agree with you, that’s an inherent part of being a human being can be taken away from you.

Jay Rifenbary  44:01

Because you can only allow it to be taken with you in some senses like the heart first of all, two things, when we start comparing, then we begin to get into a realm of despair. Despair is extremely destructive, because then you’re, you’re, you’re not taking ownership for for where you are with your life what actions you


are people make last month, I am a lot more loving looking through

Jay Rifenbary  44:30

into your cars, right, and if I start comparing them and using them as as a, as a foundation for anger or jealousy or envy. Boy that immediately begins to be self destructive, right. The, the,

Mike Malatesta  44:43

you forget about the you and you start thinking about them.

Jay Rifenbary  44:47

Right, yeah. And then the other thing that has been happening is one way or rewarding, a lack of effort. Look at what’s going on out there, regardless of party, you can’t find people to work because, oh, why do I have to and I’m getting 600 bucks a week sitting on the couch playing a video game. So that right there undermines a sense of individual growth as far as timing for being better, and being different, and excelling in something that you feel you could excel in, because all that effort is what builds a sense of purpose, also a greater sense of self respect, with the understanding that you’re going to fail. All right, but there’s bumps happen. And this idea that we, you know, we think that success is just supposed to be something that that is an easy path, not at all. With, you can’t grow without failure. I mean how do you find, if you know one thing about character, how do you know what your character is if it’s not tested. Right. So, yeah. I mean, you know, my father passes, that’s a test of character, you know, repeating seventh grade is a test of character, your family and things in my life is a test of character. So do I. So I just cave in, or do I do i believe that i There’s a reason why this happens because life is a much a given that’s how you take it I believe I mean I don’t have control over anything. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I have control over how I’m reacting to the world around you know the the level of passing the buck. And it’s everyone else’s fault and I’m just a victim. I think it’s extremely destructive.


I really try making 100% live that no excuse i i You. Because, it occurred to me something. Nothing sort of forced me. I know that’s not the case. But for most of the United States, it’s probably, I would think it’s probably,


it’s worth accepting into my life. That’s, that’s me. Invitation don’t want to

Mike Malatesta  47:15

bite it, you know, but it’s all about media it’s like not selling isn’t making a choice for me but now it’s like anybody with snap like that’s what people want to do is they want to. And, you know, whether it’s politicians or whatever. Instead of leading up to. They want to constrict control conscript you almost want to create a level of. Yeah, that’s a dependency right,


level control, and I mean times in our society. This is one that’s extremely challenging. It’s like back in

Jay Rifenbary  48:01

the midst of civil rights, civil rights, was crazy out there, drugs and rock and roll, our children and, you know, we only have three TVs.


So what we’re aware of what’s going on. Today, we’re just in a nation of people who are grabbing control out and yeah I really see,

Jay Rifenbary  48:31

maybe half the audience will disagree but


as a nation we get more reps of the Navy, or whatever the case may be, really, inside. Second District discrimination. I thought we were doing well, and so that’s why a little bit lunch. It was very crowded, pushing people in an awful lot. Rather, think about over these very, very short, there are gaps to show what certain things in my would be to me. But we don’t talk about people who have common connections I’ve never been a part. Praise ploy word for that, Floyd, the things that are really sunset, or, or at least a sense of righteousness, growing up were different than I was from, from an out, neither from tilted down is less than me. Yeah. You know, I always, I always, you know brought up quite a bit lately but I always read. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR statement about character right it’s not to know how to care about one another, support each other and uplift when


people ask for help. What one of these attributes is too bad, doesn’t seem to be focused. Pulling up. Right. And like I mentioned, so the person sins between we’re willing to have groceries or sort of a blog, mindful of a ramp or something that it efficacious. You become. It would be almost like a living in and of themselves by keyboard us on a more humble. Because then you have something maybe uncomfortable for you to not be yourself. You know we can, we can all read it this week.


But we’re all on this stuff. I just really taken a bit more lately

Mike Malatesta  53:14

of community and family could you share with me the, the Gallagher story the Gallagher family story shared with me, that’s a good way to put a bow on some of the things we’ve been talking about,


you know, one of the things I thought about cultural corporate. We talked about family quarterback, we talked about individual core values and

Jay Rifenbary  53:37

group values and relationship values because that’s the whole thing you know values are way beyond some fluffy words on the wall they weave through every aspect of her life. So the, this is when I spoke in England it was the first night there and you know I was having dinner and being the the guards in the back and a lot of local box a box that you live in, and they’re all looking at me, because I knew I wasn’t from there but this one family just kept staring at me and invited me over to their table, and they started kind of grilling me who are you what are you doing here and so on and so forth. So I began to explain what I do and then began to take an interest in it was the parents, the grandparents, the children who were 60, give or


take a year. So I got to a point of entrance where I just said, you know, to the parents who modifies for children.

Jay Rifenbary  54:24

So I asked the kids I said, What do you think the core values of the Gallagher family are parents jaws drop any hesitation here was what was remarkable about that, I don’t think more than three seconds went by the dollar but the daughter goes loyalty and accountability. The sun goes resiliency. I said that until the children, your parents, your grandparents and your Uncle Phil experiences growing up


and drop them like, that was awesome. Talking about the experience of growing up

Jay Rifenbary  54:58

lights were instilled in you. And I would ask everybody out there, when you have an opportunity around the dinner table sunlight, I don’t care if the kids are 414 1822 What do you think for for value of our family are right now, because more than ever, I believe that discussion is warranted needed, relevant, and as a parent, just getting some insight, what your children feel to be important from a value perspective is absolutely validating that official maybe surprising maybe a teaching tool and opens the door for some further discussion. Now, to have that as that foundation. I can share with you that’s the one element where I mentioned to you I received more letters and those phone calls from executives, individual goals while I you know I assume the kids know but I never really thought about maybe asking them, you know what are the core values, or family what holds us together, what’s gonna hold us through these trying times, great discussion.

Mike Malatesta  55:53

That’s an awesome place to end Jay, I’m really grateful for having you on today what people to know about you,

Jay Rifenbary  56:01

so far. What was the business perspective, I mean that is a stoner wrestling very.com That’s my website. NBA ROI,


calm, you know, my door is open. People listening.


Want to say hi communicate to them a question you’re raising, they can explore that. But no, I think that, you know I can we can show. Maybe tip of the iceberg right

Mike Malatesta  56:35

now this is fine. Jay, thank you so much for being on the show and making time for me. Thanks Mike. Appreciate it. Recording has stopped. Okay. Is that okay for you I


thought that was fun.


You’re the you’re the expert I was a float which

Mike Malatesta  56:53

I thought the flow was great, yeah and you know there’s so much stuff, you know, you could do well with everybody and you could do so much you know so I hope I was kind of happy where we went, but there were a lot of places where I know we could have gone and didn’t get to, but

Jay Rifenbary  57:10

I appreciate I appreciate the, you know, the questions of me you know I mean, part of you know some of those, those moments. and, you know, even when I talk between high school, West Point one another year at school I mean, that’s still. Yeah, it’s still bothers is still irritating to me, you know, I was like, what, what, what was the missing link there, where, you know, now comparing right I didn’t. Some of that academic seemed ability to some of my right, you know, but then again, look, look what I do. You know I’ve written. Yeah, right. So that’s the crazy but it’s something you teach best in life what you want to learn the most.

Mike Malatesta  57:58

And that you said you were confident when you got into the, the, in the West Point, but when you were at Lawrenceville Was that something you were called West, that’s where

Jay Rifenbary  58:10

that’s again where athletics, a lot at Lawrenceville I mean it really wasn’t academic books. I think I learned more how to learn there than anything else. So, you know, there was still some weaknesses maybe in, you know, math and English thing but that’s yeah I mean, I have a passion for history and and and language arts, so to speak, or English and writing and there and then that’s, that’s why it’s like a yeah yeah I, you know, when I took quantum mechanics and, you know, liquids and solids. I mean I did very well from mechanical engineering whatever I did well with that, but I have a passion for it I just, you know, went through the motions and. Okay.

Mike Malatesta  59:06

Well thank you for doing this, I do have a favorite ask if he would consider it I don’t know but I’ve just been really impressed by you and our conversations, and your teaching and books and stuff and I wondered, I’m just in the post production phase final phase of my first book which is called owner shift. And I’m, I’m looking for someone to write for the book check, and with your experience and everything and you know I know you don’t know me but you know you know me a little bit from from doing these kinds of things I wondered if you would consider consider it,

Jay Rifenbary  59:48

humbled and honored to last for a couple folks including the one speaker who really was the inspiration for me to kind of make that transition. So,

Mike Malatesta  1:00:02

oh great, who is that John Brexit thing once.

Jay Rifenbary  1:00:06

Okay. Then he was actually based out of Minneapolis. Okay. Oh, wonderful. That was literally I just probably saw him speak 1989 standing 1998 around early for sale factory. That’s a funny story by the way, that’s a, that’s a great idea. My wife likes that. And she’s like, wow, what were you thinking, I can’t believe we did that. And this isn’t fair, our daughter, because we’ve moved like seven times in 10 years. Right. It’s just a little kid and you know I mean, so that sense of stability, not really their sense of feeling grounded.

Mike Malatesta  1:00:55

You know when it’s children. Anybody they’re outgoing they’re all of it. Nice, well I’m glad that I’m glad. In hindsight, that’s interesting you know you move there for one, there’s this entrepreneur is hired to have your own thing, right, find the purpose or and that kind of thing. And that’s it and all of a sudden it becomes well the bookstore is really under with her. Yeah. Security statement, rating it


was 1990 192 and 991 92. As far as, Wow, those things in my head that allowed us to kind of stay financially. Okay. My father’s brother,

Jay Rifenbary  1:02:03

and he never married, and so you know you kind of think about one of the I got married and his family wasn’t there to be able to maybe supportive of me, you know, right. We took care of his mother, you know, his whole life. Now those those little things you know are really, you know I have to look at the bigger picture there.


This is no crossroads. But what will happen one thing for sure. I mean,

Jay Rifenbary  1:02:42

you know, usually it’s a forward usually a couple pages, you know, or two or three pages is that what you’re looking,

Mike Malatesta  1:02:48

I think the, they said 500 words, so it’s even shorter than that. No problem. Oh, awesome. Okay, you want me to send you the whole thing. Oh, yeah, okay, okay, because sometimes they say people only want to read a portion of it, happy to send you the whole thing that’s good. Okay, awesome. I well well thank you so much. Welcome, email it to me this email you the, I mean like the final draft, it’s not going to change much faster so I’ll just email you. How many pages. It’s 157, full space, so it’s 40, it’s 43,000 words or so.

Jay Rifenbary  1:03:32

That’s like my other two books, give or take. Okay, so to me it’s thrilling and digested and then. Okay, cool. So, either the gang formerly one place that really was a fun, a fun event. I know one of the members was thinking of having me in but I dislike you know, people get caught up in life. So, well let them know that I’m still around and I’m actually coming to Madison next month. Okay, I’ll be there for three engagements with three other visitors which actually is kind of cool because I’ll do. On Thursday, and then they’ll bring in both groups. The C group in the key group together for Friday morning. All Inclusive thing so that makes a little bit more as well. Right, right. Okay, good. Well thank you so much, Mike. Okay, so just bear down the road. Yeah, it’ll

Mike Malatesta  1:04:34

be a little bit down the road J before this gets out, but when it does, you know, I’ll send you an email with all with all the information on it and everything’s working ready to go,

Jay Rifenbary  1:04:42

okay, because I have some, I have some time. Couple months, put something together and then you could edit it, whatever you want to do.

Mike Malatesta  1:04:55

Okay. Thank you, Jay. Okay, Alright, see you. You’re welcome to return.

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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