“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Joshua Kalinowski is a former pro baseball player who empowers people to live a life of exceptional impact, influence, and faith.
His athletic career, which culminated in playing for the Colorado Rockies MLB team, taught him how taking risks, being disciplined, and committing to a larger vision all helped overcome short-term adversity and make incremental progress on your dreams.
Today, Josh is the CEO of Man-Made, where he helps ambitious men rise to their potential and thrive in the five core areas of their lives (faith, family, fitness, finance, future). He is also a business coach, bestselling author, motivational speaker, podcast host, and CEO of eight companies.
When he’s not changing the world, he’s being a committed husband and father to four children.
Josh has built a reputation for making the most of every day, and that’s why he’s here to help us Win the Day!
In this episode:
- The dizzying highs and crushing lows of his career as a pro athlete
- How he forged a new purpose-driven mission to help inspire others
- The biggest mistakes men make (and how they can step into their greatness), and
- How YOU can thrive – in all aspects of your life – in an increasingly uncertain world.
Before we begin, the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode or could use some help to Win the Day, share it with them right now.
Let’s WIN THE DAY with Josh Kalinowski!
Josh, great to have you in the studio!
James, it’s a pleasure to be here, brother!
When did you adopt a growth mindset for the first time (rather than a fixed mindset) and how did your life change as a result?
At the very beginning stages of my life, I knew that I was going to be an athlete. I knew I was going to either play baseball or chase that football dream. I had an internal scoreboard of who I was going to become before I was even able to step into that arena.
As things changed, as life changed – and the devastation of not being able to fulfill what I thought at that time was my purpose – really led me down a path of self-discovery. There have been a lot of internal conversations, a lot of overcoming self-doubt, fears, and all the things that happen when devastation hits you.
It's that journey that helped me find what I was meant for and that greater purpose in my life.
When you were an aspiring baseball player, what were some of the ups and downs you went through that people might not know about?
A lot of people know from an early age that they want to do something and that there's something greater in life. A lot of it is like, "Well, I want to be president of the United States at one point," "I want to be an astronaut," "I want to be a fireman." For me, from a very early stage, I knew that I was going to be an athlete.
One of my heroes was Bo Jackson because he was a two-sport athlete. He had no limitations. For me, a small kid in Wyoming, as a big fish in a small pond, I had this dream of becoming this professional football player and professional baseball player. My father really instilled in me that I could do anything that I wanted to do. So I got to chase that for so long.
But life changes. When that jersey came off, I had to figure out what I was meant for because my identity was so wrapped up into that jersey and that profession. Since then, it's been a challenge for me to really own who I am, try to rediscover that guy again.
When that jersey came off, I had to figure out what I was meant for because my identity was so wrapped up into that jersey and that profession.
Most people never ask the right questions. They never take time to step back and say, "Okay, if this is the direction of life – and now I'm going in this direction – what am I truly meant for? And why did this have to happen in order for me to open up that next chapter?"
We look at it as a defeat. We look at that as a failure. And you well know because you've interviewed so many people who have been able to overcome that failure by a lot of internal health and a lot of internal reflection in their lives and motivating themselves to really step into that greatest chapter.
A lot of the conversations that I have with clients – and people, more generally – who are treading water or feel like they’re not living with purpose or passion, it comes down to two things: they're not clear on who they are, and they're not clear on where they want to go.
Have you got a process that you use to help people that you work with understand those two things?
What you said is perfect.
In fact, my newest book, which is titled Nice Guys Failed: Good Men Need to Do Great Things Again, includes the idea of, "What does it take to be a good man?" Even though I know that we're talking to a lot of women as well, my focus with Man-Made and my passion is really helping men become men again.
Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Joshua Kalinowski does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more. 🚀
There's three things that every man needs to have in order to be a good man. One is that they need to have humility in their life, right? They need to understand where they're at in life. They need to understand their purpose in life, and then they need to take action.
So through the process, what we do is we expose men to the elements of nature. It’s absolutely imperative for men to get back to nature, to be rewilded again because there's something inside of us that we feel like we're being held back.
It’s absolutely imperative for men to get back to nature, to be rewilded again.
There's this missing piece in all of us men that we feel like we need to go out and have that adventure again, right? We need to get our testosterone again. We need to feel fear to a certain point again because when we do that, we feel alive. When we do that, we feel like we're stepping into the greatness that we potentially can have.
A number of us just went on an epic trip and climbed The Grand in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Now, it's one of the tallest peaks in the state, but it is most certainly the most famous peak in our great state. We didn't know what we were getting into. None of us are climbers.
I've got our mutual friend, William Branum [26-year Navy SEAL], who’s been on the show and just an awesome guy.
If there’s anyone you want on the mountain with you, it’s him!
Yeah, exactly. Obviously he’s a retired Navy SEAL.
We have Jimmy Kleager, who is another one of our gentlemen in Man-Made. He's a 20-year veteran. He's an Army Ranger who retired as a lieutenant colonel, too. You can't get any better than that.
You're in good company.
I've got my brother and I. So we're the odd men out on this whole thing! But we've got an amazing, world-renowned guide.
What we got to do was experience, first of all, the fear of death. We really got to experience that for the first time in my life. It's this fear of the point of no return – where you need to be solely focused on the next step. Oftentimes, as we know, the one thing that paralyzes us is that we're so focused on the ‘way in the future me’, the guy that I want to be in 10 years or 15 years or 20 years, and we forget the moment. We forget the next step. We forget the next place where we should be putting our hand, right?
For us, it really set us back to realize, "Okay. I'm not going to be focused on that. I'm not looking down either because looking down is paralyzing. I got to be focused on where I'm putting my next threshold on my foot, and where am I grabbing for my next handhold so that I can get through the moment.”
Oftentimes, we’re paralyzed because we’re so focused on the person that I want to be in the future, and we forget the moment. We forget the next step.
It was such a great opportunity for us to just be present, be in that moment to come together as men, to do something scary as crap as men, but then to be able, first and foremost, to talk about it, to experience it, and then to reflect on it.
The growth that happened in that 18 hours of tracking 20 miles, 13,775 feet up in the air, the 5,000 calories that we burned, the 41,000 steps that we did, all of that was great, but the power came in the reflection of it. The power came and we were all sitting around a table – we had a cigar, we had a glass of whiskey, and we started one by one going, "What was it that we learned? What was it that you were empowered by and then how are you going to take action on it in your life going forward?"
In your baseball career, did you observe that a lot of men – perhaps yourself included – were lost, even though from the outside looking in it looked like they had a lot of great things going on?
Yeah, there's no doubt about it.
In any athletic sport, we live within a world within a world. Military men do the same thing. The outside world really doesn't have permission to go into that, nor can they relate to that.
One of the biggest challenges that we face, and the reason why Man-Made was created, is because when I took the jersey off, I got on the other side of the sidelines, and that's a really hard transition to make. William Branum talked about it on your podcast.
The best analogy that I can come up with is when Thanos snapped his fingers and everybody disappeared around him. That's what it's like to get into that next chapter of life oftentimes, whether it's because you retired from a sport, because you retired from the military, maybe you got divorced, maybe you had a complete career change, because of the last couple years that had happened with COVID or something that happened in economy that just it wasn't something that you wanted to do, you were forced into it. You end up finding yourself all alone.
When your uniform comes off – whether that’s from a career, a marriage, or any number of things – your entire identity goes with it. So you've got to recreate the man again. So it's really important for people, first of all, to understand that – but then you have to walk through that. You have to be willing to embrace that.
You have to be willing to get the scars from that and help you as you proceed into the next chapter of greatness.
In your awesome book Strike Three, you mentioned that “statistics are everything to a player” and how every athlete is ultimately reduced to a collection of statistics based on how they’ve performed historically on a certain tasks.
Metrics of success are very important, but what strengths did you have in your baseball career that weren't captured in the statistics?
Well, first of all, I really believe that everybody has a uniqueness inside of them. We often talk about, "Well, you've got greatness inside of you." As a man of faith, I believe that we have greatness because of God. I believe that there's greatness in it because we were created by the greatest.
Unfortunately, the word ‘greatness’ paralyzes people way too much. If you talk to your kids, and say, "You got greatness in you," they’re like, "Dad, I struggle to brush my teeth." They can't relate to that.
But when we can say, "Hey, listen, you've got a uniqueness about you that you can hone, that you can practice, that you can work on, and you can turn it into your greatness," well, now we have a chance. Now we can have some direction.
Now we can say, "Okay. I get it. You're right, dad, I am unique," or "Yeah, you're right, I am unique. There's something unique about me that's just a little bit different than everybody else. I'm uniquely and wonderfully made and I can turn that into greatness."
You've got a uniqueness about you that you can hone and turn it into your greatness.
Baseball was that for me. I had this uniqueness about me. I was, once again, a big fish in a very small pond. Well, that was a blessing because if I would've been in California, Texas, Colorado, I wouldn't have been nearly as big and the pond would've been a lot bigger. So I was able to stand out. I was tall, I was lanky, I was lefthanded, I could throw hard, I could hit a baseball. It all made sense to me.
But what I did with relentless pursuit was I perfected that. I turned that into my greatness, and because of that, I got to chase my dream for so much longer than anybody else. I got to chase that dream not as long as I wanted to or I had envisioned, but it was still an amazing ride now that I look back on it, and I'm so grateful for that opportunity because those lessons I learned have helped me and pushed me so that I never gave up on myself.
Even though there were times or moments that I most certainly did, I never truly gave up on myself completely. I always had just this little shimmer of hope that there was something more.
The life of a pro athlete is a road paved with good intentions but littered with broken dreams. How do you reconcile that journey today when you look back at it?
Yeah, man. I tell you what, well, I didn't ever go to therapy, but I had to go through a lot of self-discovery, and I think a lot of people, a lot of men in particular, we have a hard time with our emotions. We just bury them and bury them and bury them, right?
Then of course, what ends up happening, they manifest themselves in so many areas of our life, drugs and alcohol, depression, divorce, all of these things that I've seen so many of my fellow men experience in their lives, but we're so good at blanketing all that and saying that we're okay. We're so good at just trying to move on with life burying in and going, "Hey, listen. We don't need to talk about it. That's fine. You know what? That was a chapter in my life. There was one point in my life I was meant for greatness, but life is good now."
I was searching for a brotherhood. I was searching for a locker room of guys again.
So for me, I wasn't satisfied with that. I just couldn't do that, whether it was because my father had instilled in me that, "You were meant for more," or the fact that I just innately, just somewhere deep inside of me there was just this little flicker of fire telling me, "You got to do something greater. You were meant for so much more."
I look back at my career and there were many moments where I was like, "When I made that decision, was that the downward decision of my career? When I did that, did that lead to the eventual dismissal or the retirement? I retired, but it was because I was broken. Was that the decision that led me down the path of either failure or retirement in that career?"
So eventually, what I ended having to do is I had to do a lot of soul searching, but I had to do that with other men. So I was searching for other groups. I was searching for a brotherhood. I was searching for a locker room of guys again.
That eventually led me to so many different weekends, whether it was an organization that was strictly putting me through hell, whether it was an organization that was putting me through the spiritual realm of life. All of these things eventually led me down to, "We got to create Man-Made. We got to create Man-Made because there's so many men out there who have so much potential. They just don't know where to turn."
In the book that you're writing at the moment, you mentioned the eight attributes to empower every man to do great things. What are the most important qualities that stand out from that list?
Two of them really stand out.
The first, good men need scars. There's a great story about this. One of the things I loved about writing this book was just doing the research of good men. What did good men look like back in the day?
There's a boxer named Gentleman Jim. His name was James Corbett, but they nicknamed him Gentleman Jim. In 1892, he was set to face a guy John Sullivan. Now, John Sullivan was the man. He was the greatest fighter to that day. He had a reputation. This was back in the day when they had bare knuckle fights as well too, so he was set to fight him in the world championship.
Now, when he stepped into the ring, he knew exactly who he was facing. He looked at his opponent and he saw the scars. John Sullivan, who was really nicknamed The Man – and also nicknamed The Boston Strong Man. You don't get a name like that for being a weak dude!
There was a fight that he had that went 61 rounds. Finally, the cornerman had to stop the fight because both he and his opponent were so bloodied and beaten that neither one of them could lift their arms.
He also had another one. He was fighting this guy named Killian, and this was actually a bare knuckle fight. He was in France where it was highly illegal, so they had to go to the secret place. On the 44th round, it looked like John was going to lose his fight. He goes to the corner, he throws up, he gets himself repositioned again, and he went 31 rounds. Killian's cornerman had to stop the fight because of the brutal beating that John had put on him.
This is all well known. So when Corbett got into the ring, he knew that that's the guy that he was facing. Now, Corbett at that time in his career had not fought a lot of fights. John Sullivan had fought 454 fights in his career. They'd fight hundreds of fights a year.
But Corbett had not done that, although he’d had a lot of success. He was 30 pounds lighter than John, and he was also shorter than him too. So he knew he had this uphill climb, but he knew that he had scars because he had got himself to this position to become a world champion.
So when they both got into this ring, I got to imagine that both of them knew not only did they have scars personally, but the scars that the other man brought to the table too. What it did is it gave them this sense that defeat is not impossible, but it's going to be so worth it, right?
As the men stepped into that arena, they went back and forth, and it was an awesome fight. I mean, just punches and knockdowns, punches and knockdowns. Finally in the 21st round, Corbett landed a vicious left hook, knocked down Sullivan who never got up, and he won the championship, and the fight was later punned, "The day The Man beat The Man."
So there's always somebody that we're fighting as men, but are we willing to get the scars? Are we willing to go out there and get the scars?
We think about these internal scars that we have to deal with, but I will say that it's also the exterior scars. On the trip when we climbed The Grand, I was waiting for an opportunity to get a scar because I wanted to be able to say, "Yeah, you see that scar right there on my forearm right there? That was when a rock came down and it got me!" I was looking for an opportunity to get an exterior scar so we could talk about it.
Ancient Greeks were the ones who created the gym, and the Latin word for ‘gymnasium’ is gymnos. Well, gymnos is defined as naked. So when Greeks would go to the gym, you had to come naked.
Going to the gym was not only about becoming physical, but it was also about exposing the scars so that others could see the scars.
We know that Greeks loved the physique of the body, both male and female, and it was very important to them. Going to the gym was not only about becoming physical, but it was also about exposing the scars so that others could see the scars. Young men could see the scars of the old men to know that they did something in their lives.
It was with a badge of honor that these men came to the gym so that they could show the young men what they had done in battle or what they stood for.
Men today need to look for scars. We need to look for opportunities to get those scars. We need to stop the atrophy in our life.
With Man-Made, we help men go get scars. We help them and put them in environments where they can go out there and do the things that make them feel alive, and now they got stories to tell. That's one of the greatest things about this book that I've discovered is just this opportunity for men to realize how important scars are again.
Especially the fact that the wound is where the light enters you as well, which I think is particularly important when you're going through different phases of your life.
That's great. I love that, dude.
The other thing is that I think good men need to embrace. They need to embrace the moment that they're in right now.
Listen, we don't always like the chapter of life that we're in. For me, a lot of my chapter was spent in regret, in fear, that I thought I destroyed everything in my life, that I was never going to find fulfillment, that I was going to be a dad.
I love my wife. My wife is amazing. She's been a rockstar for me and who I am as a man today. She's helped me become a better father, all these things. I had a really good life, but I wanted so much more. I thought I was meant for so much more.
Men today need to look for scars. We need to look for opportunities to get those scars. We need to stop the atrophy in our life.
The thing is that for me, I didn't embrace that chapter of my life. I didn't embrace the opportunities that were really lying before me. So a man needs to embrace that chapter of their life. They need to embrace their purpose. They need to embrace their calling. They need to embrace the difficulties that they're faced with.
There's a guy named Raymund Kolbe who was born in Poland. At the age of 20, he saw his father arrested by German soldiers. Now, you got to imagine this time of that era, Hitler was coming to rise and there was a lot of things going on in Germany. His father gets arrested and he doesn't go to trial. He doesn't even go to jail. He gets arrested because he is outspoken, because he is talking about freedom. He's talking about the things that are going on that are right and the things that are going on wrong, and what Germany is doing to the Polish people.
They take him to the center courts and they hang him, and they leave him there for days. As I think about that, I'm like, "Man, when I was 20 years old, what would I have done?" What would you have done as a man watching your father being hung and there's nothing you can do about it?
Raymund knew from a very early age prior to that that there was something in his life that he was meant to do. He knew this and he was following. He went to a school that was across the border, which was illegal for them to go over. Him and his brother did this, but they did this in order to pursue what they knew that they needed to do in life.
Instead of it distracting him that his father got hung, instead of it making so that he felt worthless, something tragic that happened in his life, how many times does that happen to us as men that we stand back on that and go, "Okay. Now, I get to play the victim now," right? He didn't play the victim. It actually built that resilience in him, and he knew with even more conviction that he was supposed to do what he was doing.
From then on, he went on to do some amazing things. He went to Japan. Now, when White people would go to Japan at that time, if they found that you were doing something that they didn't like, they would capture you and then they would skin you alive. This was a regular habit of what happened over there to people who were going over there. Christians went over there to preach the gospel and for missionary work, and it happened to them, but Raymund still went knowing that death was highly probable.
He goes over there to Japan, and he puts a printing press together. He starts distributing millions of copies of things that he's been working on, literature that he had written, and he starts creating a movement over there.
Then he's listening to this inner voice, which is super important for us to do this. He's listening to this inner voice that says that he needs to build a monastery on the side of this mountain, and he’s like, "Why would I build a monastery on the side of the mountain? This just makes no sense. This is the worst place I should be building this. This doesn't make any sense," but he listens to that inner voice and he does it.
Well, this is a pivotal moment too because this is right outside of Hiroshima. Later, when the atomic bomb was dropped, everything was devastated in that region except for that monastery because it was protected by the side of that mountain. Unbelievable story.
But he gets sick because he had some ailments internally from some other wounds that he had been dealing with since he was a young boy. He goes back to Poland because of his health. Of course, now, Germany is in full force. Hitler is in power and he's trying to take over the region.
Raymund starts harboring Jews. The Gestapo comes and arrests him. He goes to a prison in Poland, next to Auschwitz. It's one of the worst prisons that are out there. They starve people to death. The conditions are horrible because of the cold and the bitterness. They don't sleep inside. They sleep outside exposed to all the elements. He stays there for a couple months. Then he gets transferred to Auschwitz.
Now, we all know that is literally a death sentence. 10% of people that went into the Auschwitz camps came out alive. Everybody else obviously perished. He gets over there and he gets commissioned with a general over there named The Bloody Knot. Now, I don't know about you, but anybody that's got a nickname The Bloody Knot, I don't want him anywhere near close to me, right!? I mean, this is the worst scenario that you can get. This guy was notorious for his brutality and he had this obsession. He had this really weird obsession with blood.
He saw Raymund when he came in and he picked him out. He knew there was something weird about this guy. He knew there was something different about this guy. So he made it a point to be even extra brutal on him. In fact, one time he made him carry the heaviest log that they had had. They were going back and forth and carrying these logs, and that's what the German army would do is that they would have this monotonous thing that they would make people do, dig ditches, fill them back in, dig ditches, fill them back in. He made Raymund carry this overwhelmingly heavy board.
When he collapsed, he brutalized him, just beat him to a pulp, left him there for dead. Raymund would've died if it wasn't for the fact that the rest of his inmates carried him back to the infirmary. He spent two weeks there and recovered. At one point, they thought three of the inmates had escaped, so the guard made 10 of them die. Basically got to the point where 10 of them had to come out. They said, "You're going to starve to death. You go down the bunker.”
We're afraid to do the thing that we know potentially could break us through that next great moment in our life because we're going to have to go through something painful.
Upon that, one of the guys screamed out loud and said, "I've got children. I've got a wife. You can't do this to me." Of course, obviously, the German guards don't really care about this at all. Raymund raised his hand and took the man's place. Now, this is absolutely uncharacteristic of a guard to do this and say, "Yeah, absolutely. Go ahead and do that." I mean, they would never allow that, but for some reason, for some really interesting reason, the guard said, "Yeah, you can take his place."
So as I think about the story, it's just I constantly keep thinking about Raymund after all this suffering that he'd been through, after being spat on, after being beaten, after being made ridiculed verbally by all these guards, he's at this point in his life where he's had so much success, he's made so much impact, and if he just shut his mouth, he'd probably survive.
There's a good chance he might survive this somehow, right? He raised his hand and he embraced the moment. He embraced that chapter of his life that nobody wants to go into that. This is a death sentence. He's literally going to walk to his death by starvation, and he does it. He takes the place of this man.
They put him down into this infirmary or this bunker and he lasts two weeks. Everybody else dies except for Raymund. Finally, the guards got sick and tired of having to go down there and check on him. They actually killed him by lethal injection.
I say this story because I know that there's so many of us who are afraid to embrace this chapter in our life. We're afraid to do the thing that we know potentially could break us through that next great moment in our life because we're going to have to go through something painful. We're going to have to make a hard decision.
Raymund made the hardest decision of his life because he took the place with another man knowing that it was going to lead to death. I thought about this too because one of the things that is so remarkable is that there was no guarantee that that man that he took the place for wasn't going to die the next day. It wasn't like, "Hey, you're free. Go home. Go see your children. Go see your wife." He took the place of that dude in that moment for that moment, and we're not willing to do that as men oftentimes because we're too far looking down the future of our life and we miss the moment.
So it was just another great lesson for me. As a good man, we need to embrace the moments in our lives even if they are painful. Raymund Kolbe became Maximilian Kolbe. He was a priest. Decades later, he was canonized, and at his canonization was the man that he took his place for and his wife and his family. That guy from that point on went on a mission to make known what Maximilian had done in his life. Maximilian Kolbe is known as one of the greatest saints that ever lived, but only because he embraced the moment because he knew who he was and he was willing to pay the price.
People watching or listening to this might be thinking, "It's all right for Josh, former pro athlete," or "It's all right for these other people who might have had a better upbringing or married someone else or didn't have these things happen to them." How can people rise out of that feeling of victimhood and that ‘woe is me’ attitude to step into something greater when they feel like they just don't have any motivation for it?
That's a great question.
I don't know if there's an easy answer for that, but I will tell you this. You have to surround yourself with other people. It is just so imperative. When I tried to do life alone, it was impossible. I was broken. I mean, I never fulfilled my dream. I was chasing that dream to become a professional athlete.
I was chasing that dream to become a hall of fame athlete. Then it was taken away from me. I never got to achieve that. So there was this huge hole in my heart. There was a huge hole in me, but it wasn't until I started to surround myself with other men or other great quality people for that matter. I felt like I was on an island by myself. I think people, unfortunately, feel like they're the only ones going through what they're going through and no one else knows how to relate.
So you have to be willing to share. You have to be willing to raise your hand and say, "Okay, I need some help. I need somebody to breathe life into me. I need somebody I can talk to."
We believe in three things about men. They need to be: pushed, as in the physical things that we were just talking about; heard, because there's things that are going on inside of them that they don't feel comfortable expressing to people – and it's amazing when you get to talk to a man how much they will open up about the things that are going on in life, when you just allow them to do it; and appreciated.
People feel like they're the only ones going through what they're going through and that no one else knows how to relate.
If you look at a successful man for the most part, one that is happy, one that comes in the room and they're living life right and things are really, truly good in them, you're like, "I'm attracted to that dude. There's something awesome and powerful about him." Well, it's because he's been pushed, it's because he's been heard, but most importantly, it's because he's been appreciated as well too, right? He's got other people in his life that are appreciating him for the things that he's doing or the things that he's choosing not to do, the sacrifices that he's making, things that he's saying no to in his life.
So as somebody that's going through a challenge, you have to find that circle. You have to find that table of people who are going to help push you, who are going to listen to you, but they're also going to appreciate you as well.
We think so much of like, "Well, I don't know what to do," and then there gets to a point where we're like, "Okay. Well, I know what to do."
Then you get to that point too and it's like, "Well, who do I need to surround myself with? Who do I need to know in my life that's going to make me better?" I think people miss that step. They know what to do, they do it, but then they have to get to that point eventually where you're like, "All right. So who do I need to involve my life with?"
You do a fantastic job. I love your Win the Day podcast. The people that you have on it – I’ve listened to so many episodes – it's awesome because I grow through that, and because I grow through that, then I can share with other people in my life and help them grow through that as well too.
You're based in Wyoming. It's not like you're sitting in New York City around millions and millions of people! I grew up in Brisbane, Australia, and I moved to America where I didn't know anyone.
It should be a lesson to everyone out there that there is no excuse for you not to connect, especially with what's happened in the pandemic. A lot of people are using Zoom and catching up virtually. You can really get access to anyone you want over time with the right plan and the right focus.
Well, I think it's great that you said that because I did for many of my years felt like I had just settled by going back home. I felt like I had put my tail between my legs and this was the only result or the only place I could go. I played the victim. No doubt about it. I played the victim for many years in my life and I looked at it as, "Well, heck, if I was in California, I'd be this much bigger. I'd have that much more money or I'd be doing this many more things."
Eventually, I had to look at this and just embrace the moment. I had to embrace where I was at and say, "No, no, no. I'm exactly where I need to be for this moment in my life. There's something that's supposed to happen here. Something is supposed to happen and I'm supposed to figure that out."
That's exactly what I'm doing right now. I will tell you, over the last three years with the pandemic that has hit us as an entire world, I truly believe that there is probably no greater place than to be in the great state of Wyoming. We did not see the impact like so many other people. Our lives did not get turned upside down like so many people did. We were still able to send our kids to school. We were still able to get outdoors. We were still able to do so many things that I know really hurt, especially Americans, especially people like yourself out here in California.
Life was disrupted, but it wasn't destroyed.
Earlier you mentioned climbing The Grand, 14,000 feet. Amazing. Summiting a peak is such a powerful metaphor, but so many people reach one height and they immediately seek something else.
Admittedly, I'm horrible at stopping to smell the roses or enjoying the view from the top of the mountain. How do you help people balance that hunger for future achievements with happiness in the present?
Well, so much of it goes back to the foundations that we talked about. Whether you're a man or a woman, it doesn't matter. These foundations are still so important and imperative in your life.
So we talk about faith, faith not only in the spiritual aspect of life, but also faith within yourself because if you don't have either one of those, you have no foundation.
Family, how important is that? Family might just be the dog that you have right now. It doesn't have to be necessarily that you have a spouse or that you have children yet, but more importantly, if you do have those, how important those are.
The thing is is that what I've discovered is that when I was trying to become the best version of myself, when I was trying to find who I really could be, I followed so many guys that were one dimensional, so many guys that were just absolutely amazing men of financial reward. But I come to find out, research them, they're divorced three times, they don't know their kids, they're overweight, they're all of these things. It's just like, "Okay, but that doesn't seem congruent to me. Why can't I be the best dad? Why can't I be the best husband? Why can't I be the best businessman? Why can't I be in great shape? I just don't understand why."
So I kept on searching for these three dimensional guys, as I would say. I did find some, but there's not a lot of men out there that are three dimensional, that are at least worthy of admiring and following in a sense. There's a lot of great dudes out there, don't get me wrong, but I just couldn't find them at that time.
As I was discovering these five foundations, it was also in that order too because a lot of the times it's, "Well, hey, listen, finances are important, and then fitness is really important. Then maybe your faith is important or maybe your family's important." So it was all just jacked up. They were all messed up.
I truly believe that there's a very specific order that if you want to live a life on fire, if you want to find fulfillment in your life, you not only have to have these five foundations, but you have to have them in that order:
1. Faith. Faith in yourself, faith in the spiritual aspect.
2. Family. Super important. I've never met a guy on his deathbed that has ever said, "I should have spent more time making money. I should have spent more time in the gym. I should have spent more time worrying about the future." It's always about, "I should have spent more time with my family. I should have created more memories. I should have seen what was more important."
It's the reason why it's number two, but if you don't have faith in yourself to do that, then you can never truly become that in which you seek.
3. Fitness. I don't want to die young. Nobody wants to die young. How many people do we see that are, especially as men, we're having heart attacks at such a young age, have diabetes at such a young age.
My dad, who's now recently retired, just turned 70, he's got all of these ailments because he didn't take care of himself, and he's not ready to go. He's in the greatest chapter of his life. He's got grandkids. He's retired now. He's worked his butt off to be in this part of his life, but unfortunately, his health is failing him. So we as men need to understand that our fitness is absolutely imperative to the longevity of our life and the happiness of our life as well too.
4. Finances. You should look at how you can be wealthy. You should look at how you can do great things with money. We have this rep, especially if you're on the spiritual side of it, how money's evil. But it’s the love of money that’s evil. Money is great and you can do great things with it if you're responsible with it.
5. Future. Why are you working so hard in the moment? What are you planning? What are you doing? When your oldest is 21, what are you doing now for the future son that you have or the future daughter that you're going to have? What are you doing to instill that greatness and their uniqueness and turning that into their greatness? What are you doing now?
So I think all five of those foundations are important. So if you're struggling in life, you just have to simply look at it and say, "Man, I'm kicking butt. My finances, my fitness is doing awesome, but man, I'm a horrible dad and I'm not spending time with my kids."
In fact, my wife and I were just talking about this last night and she's like, "I think that you need to go and spend some time with the boys," and I'm like, "You're absolutely right," because I've been busy. I've been in a certain season in my life, and it's time for me to go back and step into that time with my boys intentionally, but you got to have people around you that say, "Hey, I think you need a little bit of this. I think you need to go in this direction."
I'd love for you to mention if there's any secrets or anything like that that you can share in terms of how you keep the family thing on track or what you can do to prioritize the family and all grow together while you're all being supportive of individual journeys at the same time?
Sure. Well, first of all, I mean, it just has to be a priority. My wife has made a commitment. She stays at home. We made a commitment together, but she's made a personal commitment that her job is focused on the children. Her job is focused on the household.
So just as I come in and give the financial report or I talk about the businesses or what we're doing in life and the future of life and what we're doing to prepare for a great future as much as we can. She does the same thing where she says, "Hey, listen, I'm preparing for this with the family. I'm preparing these things and making sure kids get to their events and their soccer games and baseball games, but I'm also making sure that you stay on track with what your responsibilities are as a father."
I always love my time with my wife. I'm a super selfish husband. I'm not going to lie about that! Everywhere that I go, I want my wife to go with me because I know how much better of a trip it is. Just like here when we came out for this podcast, I was like, "You're going to go. We're going to figure this out." We love making time for ourselves.
You need to put key people in charge of certain areas. You have to have a board. You have to have a board, and at your table, who's your CEO? Who's your CFO? Who are the board members that are making sure that certain areas and aspects of your life are in check? Because one person can't be all, right? Your spiritual advisor is probably not your financial advisor.
So I put Kate at certain positions in our table that I know that she excels in and she makes me better in those areas.
What about the connection you have with your kids? Is there anything in particular that you're focused on to raise them, to make sure that they're strong, resilient, and prepared for their own life to be successful?
Yeah. I mean, there's just so much intentionality behind it.
I look at our children individually and collectively. I pray for them collectively. I always pray for their spouses as well. I think that is so important. One of the greatest gifts that my father gave us, my mom and dad did, is that they were constantly praying for the spouses, and each one of the siblings that I have, I come from a family of seven, and we all have amazing spouses. I don't think that was just coincidence, by the way. We're all married. None of us are divorced. My folks are not divorced.
So I think that there's that intentionality behind it. That is so important as well too. My relationship with the kids, I have individual relationships with them too. So the girls, I take them out on dates. With the boys, I knew that I had to make a commitment to areas of their life that they loved and they had a passion in. It wasn't about my passion. So I wasn't going to take them-
"Here's a baseball mitt and a baseball bat."
I love the fact that they love sports, don't get me wrong, and it's in my lane. So that's also awesome as well too, but I made a commitment and one of the reasons why I continued to, I knew I had to grow the company so that I could start to step away from my companies in order for me to become the dad that I wanted to be. So I saw that in the future. I started planning that I needed to get more of my time.
I was a real estate agent. Man, I was working seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I remember the day my son was born. This is how bad it got in my life. I remember the day my son was born. He was born in the early early morning hours. My wife had gone in labor for, oh, it seemed forever, and probably for her is way longer than what I remember, but Caden was born in the morning, and by 10:00 that next morning, I was gone on an appointment to show a property. I couldn't even stay the entire day when my son was born in his first day.
Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Joshua Kalinowski does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more. 🚀
It wasn't because I was selfish because what it was was I thought I was being the man. I thought I was being the provider. I thought I was doing what was important, and what was important was to be with my wife. What was important was for me to be with my son, right?
So to be able to step away from that and say, "Okay. I know better now," because I've had men in my life correct me. I've had men in my life inspire me and men have given me examples of what it meant to be a great father. I know that I had to be in the moments with my kids. I'm going to be their coach.
Is it convenient? Not necessarily. Is it always something I want to do? No, not really, but because they mean so much for me, I'm willing to embrace, which is uncomfortable and which is not necessarily always something I want to do, but because it's a priority, and I try to find those situations throughout each and every one of their lives.
Because you've made it a priority, it dictates the standards, which dictates the decisions that you can make much easier to say, "I'm going to be here and be present rather than something else." It's huge.
Tell us about your daily PILL.
Yeah, the daily PILL, my man. That was actually a really good segue into this.
One of the things that we realized is that when we're going and trying to achieve greatness in our life, we're going out there and like, "I want to do something great with my life. I know I'm meant for more." I think everybody that's listening to your podcast, they're all in that mindset, which is phenomenal. Each and every one of us have an opportunity to create greatness in our life.
The daily PILL is something that I discovered that I needed to do because I found myself so often unfulfilled at the end of the day. I found myself just exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally, completely drained. As I reflected on it going, "I don't think I did anything today. I don't think that I moved forward in any of my businesses. I don't think I accomplished anything. I know I didn't accomplish anything great. I think I was just putting out fires every day," and I know so many people find themselves in that.
So how do we be proactive? We play defense all day. How do we play offense? So the daily PILL is this. You're going to take a pill no matter what, right? We all take a health pill. We all take certain pills throughout the day that help us give us energy, that help us in our diabetes, that help us so that we stay mentally clear.
The daily PILL is something you have to take every single day:
Start your day with something painful, something painful. Now, don't hurt yourself. I'm not asking you to go out there and literally sprain an ankle or pull a hamstring, but do something painful that you don't necessarily want to do.
For me for the longest period, it's been the ice bath. I don't want to do this, but I know I'm so much better because of it. The health benefits because of taking an ice bath are so good, but the mental benefits of stepping into that freezing water every single morning allows me to do simply one of the toughest things I have to do all day.
Painful is so important. We do not choose pain. We avoid pain. We know the brain deviates us away from pain in our day. You have to choose to do the painful thing. You have to choose to do the hard thing in your life.
Every single day, do something intentional. Write the note to your wife. Send the text to your kids. Send the message to somebody. Do something intentional that you want to do for somebody else. So important. When you do that, what ends up happening is it not only is that life-giving to them, but it's also life-giving to you.
Do something you're lazy at, right? We are so good at becoming lazy in the areas of our lives. I will say, I hate doing the dishes. I hate taking the trash out. My boys are old enough. They can start doing both, which is awesome, but I know that when I do those types of things, my wife appreciates it. Our relationship is better from it. She'll want to do things that I like that she doesn't necessarily like because of the things that I do first.
Do the lazy thing that you keep avoiding, but you know that you'll either close the loop on it or you're going to make somebody else happy with it or you're going to find yourself happy because you did it, right?
The last thing is do something you love every single day. If you want to live on purpose, if you want to live with a purpose, you have to do things on a daily basis that you love doing. We avoid that at all costs because we don't love taking care of ourselves. We say, "Ah, man, everybody else needs my attention. Everybody else needs my time, but I'm not going to spend time on myself or with myself." So this forces you to do something every single day that you love. Go on a walk.
For me, it's the noon workout. I don't do lunch. Keeps me away from the French fries, the burgers. It keeps me away from those long business luncheons as well too. There's a huge benefit to that I think as well, but it also, as I do my workout at noon, which I absolutely love to do, it fills my cup, it gives me energy, it gets me motivation, it helps me believe in myself because I'm building myself. I'm constantly taking care of myself. Do something every day that you love.
One thing I would say to this is don't do it because you feel like somebody else loves it. I had a great gal in my life that she was asking about it too and she felt guilty about watching Netflix. I'm like, "Well, do you love it?" and she's like, "Yeah, I love it."
I go, "Well, is it out of control? Do you just do it way too much?"
"No, no. I only do it on Saturdays."
"Well, then do it. Do it."
"Well, that's not what great leaders do."
I'm like, "No, no, no, no. That's what you think other people don't do. You love doing that. It brings life to you. It fills your cup. It gives you energy. It gives you satisfaction. Do it. You love it. Why else would you not want to do that other than what you think other people will think? Don't worry about that. Don't worry about them. This is about you and you taking your daily PILL."
What book contributed most to the mindset you have today?
Play the Man by Mark Batterson. I was turning 40 years old, and for me, 40 was a significant time in my life. It's so funny as I went into it. I was 39 years old. What ended up happening is I said, "When I turn 40, I'm going to be a man." There's something significant for me about turning 40.
When I turned 30, that was when I had that moment in my life that I will never ever step another foot on the diamond as a pitcher. That was the funeral for me. It was the hardest birthday I've ever had. But 40 was probably the greatest birthday that I've had because it allowed me to step into the responsibilities and the opportunities as a man.
I happened to be reading Play the Man. It was such an unbelievably great calling in my life. It gave me permission again. It helped me bring authority back in my life. It gave me a vision for who I could be. It gave me confidence in the areas of my life that I felt the weakest at, and it gave me direction. I read it every single year just to get reminded of why I'm doing what I'm doing.
On your best day, what's an affirmation that you would write on a flashcard to show yourself on your worst day?
Boy, that is a really good question.
Well, I would say this and it's something that my wife says often to me is, "You are loved way more than you know." I need to hear that in those moments of weakness because typically what ends up happening is because someone did something that took away my joy, someone did something to take away my confidence, someone did something that took away who I thought I was supposed to become and all that, so for me to know that I'm loved by other people helps me get through that day.
Final question, what's one thing you do to Win the Day?
My morning routine is absolutely critical, but one thing that I have to say every day or I have to listen to – because you talk about this a lot – is saying that the day's going to be a good day and you're going to tackle today.
For me, I didn't have the confidence in myself enough so I had to hear it. For me, there's a spiritual aspect of it, but to hear that today is going to be a great day because I didn't have faith in myself, but I definitely had faith in the person that was saying it.
Brother, thanks so much for coming on the show.
It's been a pleasure, brother. Thank you.
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