[00:00:52] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:33] Guest Introduction
[00:09:15] How The Legado Business Has Evolved To Its Current Form
[00:13:29] “Dark Investments” And How Wealth Can Decimate A Family
[00:22:06] How To Begin Identifying Family Values
[00:28:19] The Basic Model Of The Legado Platform
[00:30:27] Podcast Sponsors
[00:34:48] Rites Of Passage And Assisting Children To “Come Of Age” When They're Ready
[00:48:38] How To Foster An Entrepreneurial And Self-Sufficient Spirit In Children
[01:01:29] An Apology Blended With A Charter
[01:04:09] Key Traditions Rich Recommends
[01:11:21] Closing the Podcast
[01:14:03] Legal Disclaimer
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Rich: If you don't know what your values are, even all the Bloods and the Crips have values. But, what's your family values? I believe every son must kill their father. I just want it in the form of basketball games or frisbee golf. And, that's really stupid. Throwing thousands of years of wisdom and tradition was not a good idea, but we do need to selectively extract the values that are not serving our families well away.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Alright, folks, the dog days of winter are here. And, we all know what that means. The days are shorter, the temps are colder, there's less healthy natural sunlight. So, thankfully you don't have to sweat the dreadful winter months if you have access to order these red-light therapy systems. I use this one called the Joovv. It can't replace natural sunlight, but it does give you similar wavelengths of light, red and near-infrared to be specific. And, these have been clinically proven to be very beneficial for your health. They're some of the better parts of sunlight. All sunlight is good, but these two parts are really good. Thousands, yeah, thousands of peer-reviewed research articles have demonstrated the benefits of red and near-infrared light for things like skin health and reduce pain and inflammation, faster muscle recovery.
And, there's a lot of different ways to get red light, but I personally use and recommend the Joovv stuff because, first of all, they have a huge selection of configurations like tiny little handheld travel devices to huge setups like I have in my office that could treat your whole body. They use medical-grade equipment. They've passed rigorous third-party testing to ensure they're safe for at-home use. No other red-light therapy products I'm aware of have gone through that level of scrutiny.
They also have ambient mode, which uses lower intensity red light for nighttime as a healthy alternative to bright blue light. You could use it to light up a room or my case in my office. I just flip it off. I got to do office work. I get red light instead of blue light, so I sleep better later on. Seems to help quite a bit too with the whole seasonal affective disorder thing. I still have one of those blue light boxes for seasonal affective disorder, but when I go to my office in the morning I flip that on, then flip the Joovv to kind of simulate the whole sunrise thing, and just works like gangbusters. So, you'll feel much better. I guarantee if you get a Joovv in your home, especially this winter.
And, Joovv is going to give all my listeners an exclusive discount. Go to Joovv.com/Ben. That's J-O-O-V-V.com/Ben. Some exclusions apply, but you can go there and pick up your own Joovv today.
This podcast is also brought to you by HigherDOSE, which contrary to the way it might sound is not a THC or cannabis company. HigherDOSE makes these amazing pieces of biohacking equipment like infrared and PEMF and heating and beauty products. So, anyways they have a portable infrared sauna blanket. I've got one laid out behind me right now on the floor of my office. I can climb inside that and lay in it for a nap or a meditation session. And, unlike most saunas and heating blankets, it's super low in EMF radiation, which is awesome and your joints feel good. You get better blood flow, you get better sleep, just calms you down. It's like crawling, I don't know, inside a nice warm teddy bear or something.
And, they also have this PEMF Mat. My family and I watched a documentary last night and I usually just pull that thing out and flip it on. I'll sit on that and get all my PEMF therapy while I'm on top of that mat, which also has negative ion therapy and can heat up too. It's pretty dope. It's got all these purple amethyst crystals in it, and mesh fabric tubes that go through the whole mat.
They also have a face mask like a red-light producing face mask that when I do my weekly clay mask, I can put it on to get light therapy for my face so it stimulates collagen, it activates glowing skin, it reduces fine lines, it regenerates cells. They just make cool stuff at HigherDOSE.
You get 15% off any of their shiznat. Go to HigherDOSE/Ben and use promo code BEN. They'll get you 15% off right away. HigherDOSE/Ben and use promo code BEN.
Well, when it comes to passing on important family values and beliefs and legacy to future generations, I believe, and I've said this on podcast before, that the family traditions are this powerful legacy building and family bonding tool in any parents and family's toolbox like traditions, and habits, and rituals, and routines. These are kind of the glue that sticks and the threads that bind and the clasps that hold the family together through the best and worst of times that I recently in a podcast that I did with my whole family. And, I'll link to that in the shownotes for this podcast.
We recently worked with a guy named Rich Christiansen. Rich has a company called Legado, L-E-G-A-D-O. And, he specializes in helping families not just identify their core values but create everything from memorabilia, and traditions, and rituals, and routines, and comings, and goings based around all those values. So, we worked with Rich last, well, several months ago and in kind of in the past several months leading up to this podcast. And, as a result, we have a Greenfield family playbook which is a special guide that we can pass on to all of our future generations where our values and our traditions are listed. We have a family mission statement. I'm super stoked about this because I got the final design in the video and the photos of it today this morning, just a couple hours ago. We have this giant family crest that's going to hang above our fireplace. We have our family mission statement posted in our living room and in the dining room. We have hats and shirts, and mugs, and stickers with our family logo on them. We've got spirit animals and colors for each member of our family. It's really cool.
And, if you're not already weaving things like traditions, and rituals, and routines, and an emphasis on legacy into your own family, whether you have a family or planning on having a family, I encourage you to do it or to start down the road of doing it preferably with the help of a professional because I thought I could do all this on my own. Then I met Rich and I was like, “Holy cow, I'm an amateur.” And, he has taught me a ton. So, I decided I wanted to get Rich on my podcast.
And, Rich is not just a big family and legacy guy, he's a super successful entrepreneur. In the business world, he has founded and co-founded 51 different businesses and technology in SEO and real estate and imports, exports, and online sales, and lead gen. And, I think he even has a business based around worm poop which maybe we can talk about more on this show because we want to know more about a business based on worm poop.
He's written books. Ton of books including the “Bootstrap Business: A Step-by-Step Business Survival Guide.” He wrote a really good book that I enjoyed called “The Zigzag Principle.” He co-wrote a book with his sons which is called “Toes Turn Purple,” which is actually really good. It's about raising teenagers that are confident, and happy, and stand out, and are self-actualized and impactful.
And, what Rich does now is exactly what I've just been describing. He upgrades families, relationships through this special program called Legado. So, we're going to talk all about this. Rich has five sons and a daughter that they sponsor from Nepal. He's got eight beautiful grandchildren. And, after spending a few days with Rich at his cabin in Utah, I can tell you right now he's the real deal.
So, all the shownotes for everything we talked about today, you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Legadopodcast. That's L-E-G-A-D-O, Legadopodcast. L-E-G-A-D-O.
Rich, welcome to the show, man.
Rich: Man, it's great to visit with you, Ben. What a delight to spend a few minutes with you. And, I just got to tell you you're like one of the craziest implementers I've ever seen. What a privilege to get to know you, River, Terran, and Jessa. And, just thanks for letting me share this most important message with your audience.
Ben: Well, I think when you say crazy is implemented, what you mean by that is that I am stubborn and relentless and I tend to ruminate on tasks. I try to pardon the expression, “get shit done” in a timely and thorough fashion. And so, just so those you listening in, though, you leave your work with Rich with all sorts of assignments like working on the family mission statement, and the crest, and the logos. And, I have had so much fun diving into all of this along with my family. So, the implementation piece on this has just been absolutely bonding for us as a family really special for me.
And, I think it would be really cool to just hear how this kind of evolved, Rich, because I've been in business branding workshops before, and when we went and worked with you, and I know you worked with people physically one-on-one and you also worked with families online and via your online programs, it felt a business branding workshop that had been kind of adjusted and evolved to be a family branding workshop instead. So, I'm curious how this all came to evolve for you going from being a business guy to a family branding expert.
Rich: Well, I think articulated pretty darn well actually what happened, but the reality is I never intended to share this framework, this Legado family framework that we've outlined, Ben. And then, a couple of three years ago, I just had a profoundly deep spiritual experience where I just knew that I had to do it. The reality of this situation is this didn't happen three or four years ago. I've been working on this content now the last couple three years ago, but it actually happened some 27 years ago when my wife and I, we were married, had $500 at Dodge Colt that had been totaled three times. Our weekly food budget was $13 a week and we lived on potatoes and love.
Ben: I was going to say I would have chosen rice and beans, but potatoes and love sounds pretty good too.
Rich: Well, it rhymes pretty good. But, we hit a point where I was starting to have some breaks in my career, Ben. It became very apparent that we're going to do pretty well financially. And, at what point early in my career? I was earning more than my father and my father-in-law combined. It was apparent we were going to have success and it scared the tar out of us, Ben, so much that we actually moved to a very poor neighborhood. And, our plan was to never tell our kids we had money because one of our key values is we didn't want our kids to grow up entitled. And, we saw so many individuals with wealth that were just decimating their family.
And so, my wife and I's stupid answers it was moved to a poor neighborhood and just live very humbly. And, we got about two or three years into that exercise and had a dear friend that came to me and says, “Rich, this is the stupidest thing we've ever heard of. If you don't manage to completely destroy your children, let's say you play this out successfully, which you won't be able to. But, they'll be 40, 45, you're going to pass away. There's going to be a bunch of wealth, and if you don't destroy your children, you'll most certainly destroy your grandchildren.”
Ben: What were you doing that they thought would destroy your children or your grandchildren? You mean just the way that you guys were living your life?
Rich: Well, we were living very humbly. We weren't telling our children we had wealth. We weren't building a platform to manage the wealth, we were just hiding it, and so they weren't getting the skills. And, he was dead straight up right, Ben. So, that actually spawned a very, very interesting sequence of events of me going and looking for a model. How do I entrench these key values that my wife and I had of non-entitlement of hard work ethic of bonding family of not being entitled and all these things? And, what we discovered, Ben, was a ton of financial models. I found a bunch of really interesting financial models, but I couldn't find anything that deeply entrenched values into the family. So, prove to all entrepreneurs. I created my own dang model and then was very, very secretive about it. My wife and I together formulated this model that we'll share with you today.
So, that was the starting of it. And, we put this infrastructure in place and began raising our sons and family. And, in all honesty, it exceeded any of my wildest imaginations.
Ben: It's crazy because you hear about this stuff. You hear about everything from family trust to a family constitution to the idea of a mission statement. Or, maybe you see some people walking around, whatever, Walmart, and they happen to have designed a family logo. To me, at least, it seemed kind of loosey-goosey until I met you and started working with you and had it all systematized and laid out in a really well-organized binder and via all the exercises that you brought me and my family through.
But, before we kind of explain what the actual steps are and how to structure building legacy and weaving into your family, you said something a few minutes ago that I wanted to ask you about. You said that wealth can decimate a family I think is the way that you phrased it. What do you mean when we say wealth could decimate a family?
Rich: Well, I think it's an accelerant to fuel the cracks, and I think that if you're not careful and you stop producing value as a family, then it can spawn to a death and destruction in the family. And tragically, I get to see a fair amount of it now in this new role of helping families rebuild. I mean, you hear that wealth will only last within three generations. I don't think that's true, Ben. I don't think that has to be the case.
Ben: You mean like rags to riches to rags, like that whole deal of self-entitled kids? So, you said they quit producing values. So basically, your kids get wealth, you pass it on to them. Maybe you don't even have a family trust where you're kind of maybe bleeding out the family wealth over a very long period of time so that children can learn to use it responsibly. Or, maybe you're not willing any wealth to your kids at all but basically that this idea that if I'm a successful entrepreneur and my kids grow up super comfortable, unable to afford anything than their own work ethic and their own, I guess, incentive to develop their own wealth is going to be hampered or at least has a very high likelihood of being hampered?
Rich: That's a very well-articulated. I would add two other things because I think actually investment into dark things, putting money into dark things actually lowers the energy and lowers the contribution of the wealth also. And, so many people talk about, oh, the kids didn't get it, but I think oftentimes kids have wealthy families, they'll intentionally go and lose it because they know it's not serving their family well. It's been surprising to me how many billionaires I've talked to, and they make the comment that the wealth did not serve our family well. I think in some ways you almost have to tab of death to then have a rebirth to climb back out of that destructive cycle. And, I think that that's the primary thing that Legado is about, Ben, is it doesn't have to be that way. Although I'm not Buddhist, I'm devout Christian, but I love the concept of the Buddhist principle of operating in the middle way within balance and harmony and stop going to these extremes of lean early startup entrepreneurship that then drops into excessive wealth that then drops into abuses, and taking advantage of indigenous situations, and just then having to have a death that occurs. And, tragically oftentimes wealth can lead to that if it's not handled properly.
So, I really think that what this can do, this Legado family, or this type of concepts is normalize tipping over that out of balance infinity symbol and putting in the middle way so there's balance in personal development and health, which you talk a lot about: mental, physical, spiritual health that then fuels the family with in balance that then fuels business and then that wealth fuels. And, we operate in flow rather than these dropping off a cliff rags to riches in three-generation nightmare that we've got ourselves into.
Ben: Yeah. What did you mean when you said putting money into dark things?
Rich: Well, I think I truthfully believe investing in just dark things. Tobacco is a great example of it. In what world does that serve well? You can get a great return on investment, but at what point you're fueling investing, I think, as part of the reasons why some wealthy individuals get into their life. Part of it wanting to not mess their family up, but part of it is also just wanting to restore some of the damage that's been done. We can invest in dark things and crazy and hooty-flooty as that sounds, I think it carries negative energy.
Ben: I totally agree. I mean, our family's 2022 New Year's resolution is to basically not purchase any products for our house that were used. Meaning food products or beauty products or personal home products or anything that was derived from research on aborted human babies. That's more of a commission or an omission than commission where we're not only not investing in companies like cigarette companies, for example, but now we're also basically not going to be using any Pepsi products because Pepsi developed a lot of this stuff on fetal cell lines from aborted human babies, or Nestle, or Krafts, or Cadbury, or even a lot of the vaccines. And, there's a ton of medications as well and it's going to be kind of a pain in the butt during 2022, but the way I view this and it's kind of relevant to the entire discussion is not only this idea that how we live our days is how we live our lives.
And so, little purchases here and there each day that might support unethical companies or things that your family might not agree with from a family value standpoint eventually winds up being the way that you live your entire life. And furthermore, I told my wife this yesterday, I'm like, “Yeah, this is going to be a big pain in the butt to not use any Pepsi or Nestle or Kraft products at all and just go through our pantry and start to audit everything.” But, we have to decide at what point we say, “Okay, the buck stops here.” Because if we don't do this as parents, then our kids are never going to do it and their kids are never going to do it. And, eventually, the cycle just continues. But, at some point, if a couple of parents that in one generation say, “Okay, we're going to start, whatever, meditating in the morning as a family and praying together.” The whole family starts doing that. And then, my kids start doing that with their kids and all their kids start doing that with all their kids.
And, thinking about this concept and, I think, you and I were even throwing around this idea when I was down there in Utah with you. The way you raise your children is the way you raise your grandchildren, right? Or, you're not raising your children, you're raising your grandchildren, right?
Rich: The fruits bear generationally. The most valuable thing we pass on and I know everyone says this, but who really does is our values, it's not our money.
I love the Iroquoian nation. I have a dear friend named Scott Ford that kind of clued me up on this. But, the Iroquoian nation had this concept of seven generations. Looking three generations back of the impact that they had, looking at where you stand, and then any decision you make look three generations forward. Seven generations perspective rather than immediate quick little consumer by now. And, I think that this settles right on the very stability of if you don't know what your values are–You know what your values are and most people know in business, we know what is university, football clubs, a basketball team, geez, even all the Bloods and the Crips have values, but what's your family values? Until you do that, until you really clearly understand what are your values, then how you can make any decision? How can you brand anything? I think, Ben, that's really where it has to start. So many people are so excited. “Oh, I want a crest. I wanted a logo. I want to do a family mission statement.” But until you put the effort in to define exactly, and clearly, and articulately understand what your values are and then, Ben, equally what values are not serving your family well.
In our family, we use guilt and shame like peanut butter for generations to get any desired behavior. Guess what? We've carefully and surgically extracted guilt and shame. So, every family has that. Whether it's scarcity or whatever it is, carefully extracting those values that don't serve you well rather than throwing the whole caboodle away like so many millennials are doing. That's really stupid. Throwing thousands of years of wisdom and traditional way is not a not a good idea, but we do need to selectively extract the values that are not serving our families well away.
Ben: So, it starts with values. And, I remember being at your cabin there in Utah. And, that was one of the first things we did.
But refresh my memory and tell my audience like, where do you even start identifying family values? How does the process go?
Rich: Yeah. We actually kind of run through it. It's what I've been doing the last couple three years, a bunch of exercises with some great ways to look at is look what your ancestors did for, who are the people in your life that you really respect and honor and want to look up to. Well, when you combined as your family or nontraditional family, what were the things that just popped out immediately? We have this little word cloud with all the different values and then we had if you recall Ben, you and Jessa as well as the boys go circle the key values, and that was a great starting point. And then, it's just a matter of collating and betting until you get values that really deeply resolve with what you stand for.
Ben: Yeah. Well, that was a tip. Those are trickiest part because you gave us a binder to work with. And, I know that people who go through your workshop, they get this big binder and there's so many values in there. There's got to be 300 values in alphabetical order to choose from. It's like, “Dude, all these are good.” We love all these values, but we wound up with–I've actually got them hanging on my wall here. We got faith, love, creativity, intelligence, honesty, joy, gratitude, endurance, and interdependence. Those were the key values that we wound up really honing in on as being the ones that we wanted to stick with as a family. And, those were the values that we wound up kind of weaving into our mission statement and into our family logo, and into our crest eventually. But, basically, it sounds like what you're saying is first just step back and look at family history and what your own family seems to really prize as values, or tendencies, or characteristics within the household.
Rich: Yeah, that's exactly right. And, Ben, you did such a beautiful job that is very self-evident. Creativity was one of your key values. It isn't in our family. Thank Evans. Some of my drawings would not be very good, but we have passion and we have righteousness, we have adventure. And so, if you attempt to copy someone else's values, how stupid is that? I think self-articulate and understanding very clearly what your values are has to be the starting point. You're right, it's hard work I think to this process that I've kind of collated. We've made it a lot easier, so there is starting points because it's a lot to just jump up and say, “Hey, what are your top ten values?” But you have to start with values. If you don't start with values when you get to create a symbol, what does it really mean? Anything that endures whether it's a religious institution, whether it's educational institution, whether it's a government, they always start with values. And so, similarly, we as a family, we've got to get really clear on what our values are.
Ben: Yeah. And, granted like a lot of our values like those major values I listed, other values, we wove into those. As we went through and we wrote all of our values, I think we're using just markers on your window there at the cabin. I started to figure out which values were kind of sub-values of our main values like love. So, we had other values like sacrifice, and service, and generosity, and stewardship, but we decided you know what, those all fall under the category of love. So, as long as love is woven into our mission statement, and our family crest, and our family logo, that's going to cover a lot of those other values I feel like we should have written down or paid attention to. So, I actually wrote a sentence as we created each value. For love, I wrote we value sacrifice, service, generosity, stewardship and sharing all that God has gracefully loaned to us. We care for our women as queens of our household. And, we believe that love and forgiveness covers all. For other values, there was perseverance and strength and dependability, and we didn't list any of those our core values yet. Under our main family value of endurance, I wrote we prize perseverance and strength in body, mind, and spirit. We are dependable leaders. We stick through thick and thin. We stand by our word and we let our yes be yes and our no be no.
And so, I think that even though you might have hundreds of values to start off with, and this was helpful for me kind of that mental frame set of recognizing that a lot of values kind of fall under what you might identify as major values as kind of sub values if that makes sense.
Rich: Yeah. And, you just articulated so well. By the way, everyone what he was reading there is once you have those values, you do create a mission statement. And so, you were reading those frame mission statements of what your family stands for. And, I recall as River and Terran were there, they also threw in some really fun words. And, I really believe strongly that this is the core of the family unit which is you and Jessa, you need to establish those. I encourage people eight to ten just key core values. And, that doesn't mean it has to stop there because you can embed all these others, but you can then have your family bold on other like I'm holding up our little word cloud here. You can't see it on the podcast, but my son Tammy added goofy, and my son Nathan added classy, and Matthew added navigation, and great we put that down as part of the word cloud to additionally express. But, you've got to start with eight to ten core key values. Obviously, non-entitlement was a key one for my wife and I. And, that's what drove a lot of this early discussion an early story that jumpstarted this whole little bandangle, if you will.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, that whole idea of non-entitlement, that reminds me of something really cool that I think probably is going to allow us to rabbit hole a little bit here. But, the concept of non-entitlement is something that you've actually woven into these key comings and goings for each age of your children and this idea of having specific ages at which you've identified. You're going to have key conversations, or key adventures, or key what you call comings and goings or defining events. I think is really cool and I think it's so cool and was one of my favorite parts of the whole process that I would love to talk a little bit more about that and maybe have you walk through what you do with each of your own kids at a specific age because I think it's super cool.
Rich: I love to do that, Ben. Yeah, it does get a lot of attention. So, can I just fly by quickly what the model is, and then we'll dig deep into that one? Can I just in one minute fly the key components?
Ben: Let's do it. Go through it.
Rich: Okay. So, you get your values on your platform, you stabilize, then you throw away the yucky values. Then on top of that, you plant logos, and symbols, and spirit animals, and colors. So, everyone in the family manifests and shows up and you know your position, and your crest, the big crest you did. So, symbology, then you have the doctrine, family mission statement, family mantra, family slogan. You have all these verbal kind of rules or guidance systems of how you behave and operate. Then, the third one is actually traditions, cadences of quick tradition. We both have family prayer. You did that beautiful meditative practice with your family that I so enjoyed participating in. And then, very sacred special traditions that are rare and unique that deeply bond the family together. And then, the fourth one, the one you reference is what we're calling life-defining events or they're really rites of passage, the rites of passage which was a lost art. And, that's the fourth one that maybe we'll hold into. And then, the last one is just the structural piece of putting it all together like family banking, family constitution, how you build the structure so the wealth endures supporting the values. And, that's the framework. Platform of values and then those five pillars planted on top of it.
Ben: I love it. And then, by the way, the whole family constitution, family bank, wealth management piece, that's a whole different ballgame. We probably won't spend a lot of time on that on this podcast, but you mentioned Scott Ford who you graciously connected me to after I worked with you. And, he's actually kind of coming on board as our family's wealth manager which I'm super excited about. We're kicking that off for 2022. And, he's going to help us out with even though we've had a family trust for a while at kind of revamping the family trust and developing the family constitution and the whole wealth management family banking side of things. So, I'm super excited about that.
Alright, I want to interrupt today's show because I'm honestly shocked every time I see some bodybuilder, or so-called fitness influencer, or athlete, or anyone else promoting BCAAs, branched-chain amino acids. Why? Well, aside from the fact that BCAAs won't contain only three of the nine essential amino acids your body needs, they cause all sorts of issues. They mess with their serotonin levels, they deplete B vitamins, they deleteriously affect blood sugar, and a whole lot more. They're fancy overpriced flavored water, basically, that aren't even that good for you. So, after screaming that from the rooftops for years, people are starting to catch on, and a lot of folks are switching to essential amino acids, which is what your body really needs for the full meal deal as far as supporting your gut, your recovery, your sleep, your appetite, satiation. They're a swiss army knife for supplements. They're actually one of the first supplements that my company Kion researched and added to our lineup and they've been our top seller ever since for one simple reason because they freaking work.
I'm actually blown away by the number of people who approach me at airports or conferences, and they come up to me and literally just start talking about the Aminos. That's the one supplement that gets brought up the most the ratios that we designed at Kion, they're perfectly primed for recovery, for muscle maintenance, for muscle building. This is our in-house formula and it works like gangbusters. It's called Kion Aminos. You get 20% discount on it. Go to getKION, get-K-I-O-N, getKION.com/BenGreenfield. That'll get you that special discount for your purchase of Kion Aminos.
This podcast is also brought to you by another cool supplement back in 2016. I had this kind of unforgettable event happened to me. I was backstage at a conference with this exhausting 24-hour schedule ahead of me. One of my buddies came up to me and he offered me this new secret smart drug from this brand-new formulator at the time. And, I needed a mental boost, so I figured it was a shot or worth a shot and I took it. And, the results of the next 24 hours were crazy. I was hyper productive, creative, I still slept fine but task crushing, mind sharpening. I even wrote an article where I called it the “God Pill.” And, five years later, it's still my go-to nootropic. It's called Qualia Mind, Qualia Mind made by the legendary formulators at Neurohacker Collective. It's 28 different ingredients to fuel your brain. It's a shotgun formula for your brain. It just freaking works.
I like to use the caffeine-free version because I still like to have a cup of coffee. A lot of people say they get even more out of the caffeinated version. And, I do have the caffeinated bottle too and occasionally use that. But anyways, either way, whether caffeine-free or the regular, you got to check this stuff out. It's called Qualia Mind and they're giving a 50% off discount right now. And, you can use the code BGF to get an extra 15% off. That's kind of crazy. You just go to neurohacker.com. Just like it sounds, N-E-U-R-O hacker, neurohacker.com, and that'll get you that extra 15% off. If you use code B-G-F you can start experiencing what the best brain fuel on the planet can do for your brain. Check them out, neurohacker.com and use code BGF.
And, I also want to tell you that this company called Optimize, okay. So, Optimize, they do all these book–not book reviews but book summaries. You download the quick summary. You can download the quick PDF that allows you to get through a book in 10 minutes, but there are all these amazing books that hundreds of books on there and classes and courses like hour-long deep dives into the top 10 big ideas behind a particular topic like let's say productivity, or love, or habit setting. They got a bunch of micro lessons in there, these tiny bite-size lessons in just three to five minutes a day. It's a ton of content and I've been a member forever and it costs $10 a month. They just switch it to free. It's 100% free. And, that's kind of a no-brainer. You just go to optimize.com. I'm sorry, it's not optimize.com, that's very important it's optimize.me, spelt as z, optimize.me/ben. If you go to optimize.me/ben, you just basically get it all for free. It's crazy. It's amazing. So, you're welcome. Optimize.me/ben.
Back to the to the Greenfield family defining events, we've developed what we're going to do at age 8, and age 12, and age 13, 14, 15, 16, et cetera. But, for illustrative purposes, I'd love to hear you talk about what you've done with each of your kids at specific ages.
Rich: Yeah, thanks for asking that. This is really a fun one. And, this was the part that we never intended to share but it was yielding such fruit that people always wanted to talk about it. So, when our kids turned eight, my wife and I decided to take them on at 8 is great date. We take them, let them pick the place at dinner which was something terribly awful most of the time. But then, we'd go to a private location. And, after that, we would open the dialogue of discussion and never end it of sex, of technology, of bullying, all the pitfalls that teenagers seem to follow into. We just had the open dialogue and discussion that was just completely open. The result being when my kids, they hit their puberty and had their first wet dream, it was just open discussion dialogue, very private, and very careful but started and opened that dialogue at eight. Eight is great date was the first. And, I think that's a critical age because that's when cognitive function shifts to childhood of making a conscious choice.
Ben: Okay, got it. So, 8 years old, that's where you have the kind of the ask me anything, all cards on the table discussion with the child. And, I actually talked with you about this when we're out there working with you. I think that you mentioned how you'll take your 8-year-old child once they're ready for that type of discussion out somewhere and just have this dedicated one-on-one time for them. And, I love this idea. And, one thing that I thought about and I commented to you was that it doesn't mean that there won't be questions that your kid asks about the birds and the bees, or sex or masturbation, or any question that a young growing human might have about the more delicate or touchy subjects of life that they're curious about. But basically, you identify and systematically formally almost ceremonially weave in an actual time, an actual age, an actual date, an actual location where all those things that inevitably maybe your kid didn't ask about yet and you feel needs to be addressed or something that didn't come up yet in their life that needs to be addressed. You've actually carved out intentional time for that to happen.
Rich: Deliberate, intentional, no scarcity, no fear, no hiding from. Eight, that's a pretty young age to do it. But, I mean it's actually the proper age because I think that most of the time by parents think, “Oh, it's now the time?” It's probably a year or two late. They've probably already heard and seen things. So, I just loved being able to control the narrative right on the frame. And, I have to give a lot of the credit to this to my beautiful wife. She's a registered nurse. And, I grew up on a dairy farm, and boy, she just went there. I mean, I'm blushing half the time. My wife, she went downtown, Leroy Brown. She went there all the way.
Ben: Yeah. For me, it was dad's old anatomy textbooks, just going through everything just hardcore. Here's exactly what everything looks like. Here's the hole. This one goes in. Here's the hole that you don't put stuff in and just the whole discussion, I guess, pun intended with the hole there. But basically, yeah, that idea of open communication at age eight. And, I would imagine every parent is going to know their kid and know if maybe at age 8 they're not ready or maybe at age 7 you're already realizing that their friends are talking to them about porn, or sex, or masturbation, or something. So, maybe you got to have that discussion earlier.
But yeah, that idea of controlling the narrative and ensuring that your child's initial education in the subjects like sex, for example, isn't something they first learn from say YouTube or the website they happen to stumble upon and go down the rabbit hole of when they're supposed to be researching stuff for school, which unfortunately is how a lot of kids discover that stuff these days. It's not intentional, it's accidental, but then they get sucked down and all of a sudden, they're learning about that stuff from sources other than you that might be presenting it in a manner that isn't the healthiest way to present it.
I even have an app installed on all of our computers and devices. It's called Canopy and it's great because it allows a kid to be able to really be able to explore the internet and all the wonders that the internet has, but it does a really, really good job at also controlling what they may either intentionally or accidentally see that could kind of shape their mindset early in life in a manner that that could be detrimental.
So, age 8 is open communication. And then, what comes next?
Rich: Age 12 was what we called the non-entitlement trip and keeping in mind I had five boys and all boys. So, I didn't have young women, but I alone would take my sons on a three-week trip. And, it was typically to a third-world country. The first week we would go explore and have a grand adventure. We'd ride the camels or climb on the Great Wall of China, or go to the Pokémon Center, or go see the Taj Mahal, just have a blowout life adventure that these kids were looking forward to the time they could even talk knowing they're going to do it with me.
The first week, we have the adventure and deeply bond. The second week, we would go into a mother trees and orphanage or we'd go into Kathmandu and hold the little rescued girls that had been rescued out of 100,000 little girls that have been rescued out of sexual slavery or even killed and their organs being harvested for India and China just horrific and just hold those little girls, touch humanity on a deep level, and see the plight of humanity at 12 years old.
So, the second week, we would touch humanity deeply, and the third week traveling home, we would talk the context of what it meant to be a Christiansen man. And again, knowing what our values were, it was protecting, providing, and providing safe space for women and fixing a lot of stuff. So that then become the metaphor of what it meant to be a man or a Christiansen man. So, I'd go on a trip and my son would say, “Providing dad, providing dad.” Or, the lawnmowers spoke and they'd say, “Fixing dad, fixing dad.” But, we had a framework at that point. I mean, ask me, Ben, how much entitlement's been in my sons. Ask me. Zero.
And, having seen River and Terran, we already know the outcome of that one. By setting these values early at that point, 12 is such a critical age where you enter puberty and start to become a man or a woman. And so, setting that context and again, controlling the narrative, not allowing someone else's values to impose it upon you but us controlling the narrative of the framework of what we valued and setting proper context on life. So, that was our 12-year-old trip, non-entitlement.
Ben: Right. And, it's not as though you aren't weaving into because we do this with our kids. You weave non-entitlement into just your daily life as a family whether it's when you go out to a restaurant at night, and there's leftover food on the table and you box it going out and finding some homeless people to give it to before you go home. And, I tell my kids, this is great, we get to go on a postprandial stroll to control our blood sugar and also give people food that we would have wound up taking home and having with breakfast with scrambled eggs but somebody else is going to get a nice warm meal tonight instead. Or, going on a Sunday evening and cooking dinner for someone in church and bringing that out to them and delivering it to them. It's not as though the age 12 non-entitlement adventure, or journey, or trip, or rite of passage is something that is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence but again, you dedicate intentionally that time age 12, boom, it's time, son or daughter for this non-entitlement trip.
Rich: I think that these rites of passage or life-defining events, it just so deeply cements, it cannot be undone. I saw what you did with River and Terran, I saw how you meditated and your gratitude prayers and I saw the interaction. So, you had the values already and were operating on this paradigm, you're just not doing it without a structure. I'd argue now you're using the structure of values, your symbology supports it now, your doctrine supports it, your tradition support it, and life-defining events cements it so stinking solid, you just can't undo it.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Okay. So, we've got age 12 non-entitlement. At age eight, you have the open communication. What about the next kind of defining event?
Rich: Fourteen. Fourteen was the next one for us. And again, everyone's got to pick their own. But for us is we wanted private victories not public victories. I wish you could see me now because I'm reaching to my chest and just bursting it out, but we want the power inside going out rather than external the lauds of man coming in that permeate that then you'd get your image defined on the external events. So, at age 14, each one of my sons have climbed a major world mountain peak. We've had three stare up the throat of Mount Everest. We've had Mont Blanc. We've had Kilimanjaro. And, those young men go to the top of the mountain. I mean, there's no pain the exquisite pain over 16,000 feet. Those young men go up the mountain as boys balling. My youngest son passed out three times going up Kilimanjaro and guess who caught him, that would be me. But they come down, man. So, private victories not public victories. And, I can do hard things. I can do hard things in private without the world watching me and not having to get the lauds of men.
Ben: Yeah. For our sons at age, we did it at age 13 but basically, it was a rite of passage into adolescence. And then, we worked with Tim Corcoran who's been a previous podcast guest of mine with Twin Eagles Wilderness School where my sons do, wilderness survival camps and we do father-son camps together out there in North Idaho but they also facilitate rites of passage into adolescence and rites of passage into adulthood.
So, when my sons were 13, they prepared for several months, they went out into the wilderness, backpack, wool blanket, knife. They had solo time in the wilderness. Native American sweat lodge, a fire ceremony in which they gave their coming-of-age speech, a post-ceremony gathering feast where family and friends came and my son's in the format of a traditional Native American rite of passage. You gave out gifts to each member of the family and friends who came to their coming-of-age party. But, that idea of going out and facing their fears and being in a state of ego dissolution in the wilderness was how we wound up doing the age 13, 14 kind of courage adventure. And, then when they're 15, they'll do this again but it will be a rite of passage into adulthood where it will be a longer period of time in the wilderness and a little bit more of an intensive journey so to speak. So, we've got courage at around age 13 to 14.
Rich: And again, knowing River and Terran, I mean how much fear do you have of them going forward into the dark? I mean, that develops such courage to go. I mean, what 12-year-old? And, people say, “Man, you really do that? That's so hard.” And, it's like, “Well, easy harder, hard, easy.” You're never going to have issues with River and Terran and so many of the stupid things that teenagers get caught up because they know how to go out in the wilderness and survive on their own in the dark. And, I mean I most of you haven't met River and Terran, I'm very fortunate to have done it, but this young man, I mean oh my heavens, I don't have enough words to describe the gravity of these amazing young men and the maturity is to their souls based on your rite of passage.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, granted I'm a little bit biased, but I think that part of it too. It doesn't have to necessarily be wilderness survival so to speak as much as, for example, you've illustrated, Rich. You can be climbing a mountain with your parents. It can be doing anything that allows you to face your fears and develop that courage at a young age. And, I just love weaving that concept into those early teenage years.
Now, what about the next milestone?
Rich: I'm going to jump to that before I got a comment on that. My biggest fear as I go through this is people think they've got to do what we did, or me, or you, or whoever else. Please don't do that. I beg you don't do that. You got to get your values and build this around what you're valuing; otherwise, you're just supporting something you really don't want to prop up in the first place. So, it's just vital that you pick your values before you engage this stuff.
Ben: Yeah, that makes sense.
Rich: Okay, 16. Sixteen is when my sons take accountability for their own future. And, they basically shake my hand.
Now, I'm a hardcore entrepreneur. And so, in our home, we're talking not about the sports scores, we're talking about how to dissect markets and structure companies. And so, we had a little bit of a cheat code here. But, my sons commit to me that they won't ask for anything anymore. I helped them build a business. And, from that point forward, my sons pay for our family vacations. Yes, they pay for family vacations and family dinner. They pay for their own college. They pay for their own mission service. They'd pay for their car when they get done. And, Ben, you're aware of it but my three oldest sons all built million-dollar businesses when they were in high school.
Ben: This might be a little bit of–I think you called it a rat hole. I'm going to go with a cuter animal and call it a rabbit hole. How is it? Tell me about one of these businesses that your children launched and how you actually fostered the development of them being able to freaking pay for their own college which in many cases is unheard of these days, and so is a teenager having a million-dollar business? So, tell me a little bit more about that.
Rich: So, I guess the first comment I'd make is is everyone has opportunities available to spend their sons into this stuff. If you're a chiropractor, there's things that are taking place that you can actually have your kids get into and enable it. And yes, the reality is I did cheat code it. But, my kids have been building businesses since they were kids. My youngest son had built seven or eight of them. He had his college admission paid for by the age of nine years old. And so, he didn't want to build another business. Actually, this studio I'm in, that was his project as an 18-year-old kid, he was charging a couple $100 an hour to 40-year-olds to do studio stuff. The concept is to get a life skill.
So, I think that as parents we do get to handhold that and bring that along. And so, yeah, I did. I was involved and engaged. I think you'd ask me what one of them was. Is that what you were asking me, Ben, or?
Ben: What is one of these businesses that that your children started?
Rich: We'll actually go through a whole bunch of them. The first one was how to tie it–well, not first one, but one of the many was how to tie a tie. We were doing a word, keyword research and realized that the fourth most how to type in the world was “how to tie a necktie.” And, it wasn't that terribly competitive, so my sons gathered their resources. I required them to pay for it with their own money and build a website on how to tie neckties. They ended up ranking number two in the world on how to tie a necktie which yielded 30,000 page views a day.
Another is just simply arbitraging coupons right in the middle of the crash of 2008, '09, '10. They started building little coupon websites, pizza coupons, and milk coupons and all sorts of coupons would drive traffic to those websites. And then, people would come in to get the coupon. They would partner with LivingSocial or Groupon and take them out for 5 bucks a lead. So, it was just basically a 5-buck machine. And, that one, yeah, that one did a little too well which does present its own set of problems.
I'll tell you when your high school student is making more than the superintendent, the principal, and half the faculty combined, that creates a whole new sticky wicket that probably is for another podcast.
Ben: Yeah. But, you do teach your kids about wealth management. I think you use a jar concept from an early age, yeah?
Rich: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. We have them divide into four and in all transparency. I didn't have entitlement problems with my kids, but some of their friends that were working for the company, they got a little bit too fancy pants. So, at one point, we decided that the company is not maintained. When they turn 18, the business gets killed, head cut off, shut down, and donate all the excess resources back to a charity, typically the first one that they went to when they were 12 so that they have to be their own man, they don't live off of that, and they start over. So yeah, I kind of hit three threads there but interesting reality is is the very thing we wanted to avoid we could have created.
And, I'm a strong believer, I want my sons to be their own man. I want them to be my peer. I believe every son must kill their father. Blah, I just want it in the form of basketball games or frisbee golf or something, not in the form of a business. Show that they're equal man. Every son has the need to show their man, “Hey, I'm my own man.” And, I think it's tremendous damage. And again, my value, my opinion, but I want my sons to walk in the door and hug me and kiss me, and want to play Minecraft with me and be my peer. I don't want to have my thumb over them when they're 21, 25, 30, 35. That can happen with wealth if you're not careful.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. This idea of a business that a child or an adolescent builds that can somewhat be informed by seeing what their own parents have done is often underemphasized because we no longer live in an era where let's say a son might accompany his father to work where he would help his father, whatever, shoe horses, or blacksmith a sword, or the type of things that children used to go and accompany their parents on to learn a vocation because now the world is at your fingertips. You can be anything you want to be. You're often in school all day learning from an outdated educational system based on building little factory workers. But, that's not really relevant to say carrying on the family name or carrying on the family business. And, regardless of whether or not your kid is going to work in the family business, this idea of bringing your child to work with you or carving out, again, intentional time. Because I do this once a month, each one of my sons gets to just follow me around for the day. And, they can have a comic book or something else to read and sit in the background while dad's recording a podcast or whatever. So, they're just kind of listening in, or maybe they're going to help me record a few podcast, commercials, or they're going to help me do research for a client who I'm going to help on the phone then walk along behind me on the farm road behind the house while I'm talking to the client. But basically, I really don't care if my kids wind up being, whatever, podcasters or personal trainers, or the type of thing that I have done and built my business on. But, being able to just go with dad to work and shadow that at work, I think it's something that a lot of parents don't weave in because it's weird, it's not accepted. Who shows up to the office with their kid just so their kid can learn? And, it is something that I think is undervalued.
I mean, I just got booked to be the host of an online docu-series. And, as part of the agreement for that for me to go and record all these interviews with people and sit there in front of the camera, et cetera, I said, “Okay, on at least two of these trips to record this, I want my kids to be able to come with me to sit in the background to listen to that interview with all these people to soak it up, to see how the cameras work, to see how the audio works, and to just go with dad to work.”
And, my sons have actually launched a cooking podcast. They've got a food podcast. Shameless plug and quick shout out to GoGreenfields.com, their show. But, they learned a lot of that just from watching dad tool around the kitchen shooting some video about a superfood smoothie or whatever.
Rich: Why would we not cheat code it? Why does it have to be weird? It's weird that we don't do that. Why would we not take the skills and the insight? Let our kids be who they are, the very best version of themselves. But, why wouldn't we pass on the greatest insights? That was exactly the comment I was going to make. You cheat-coded it. River and Terran have their own cooking podcast. And, how powerful is that? You've actually done it much younger than I did. And, I don't think so many people actually say, “Ah their children, millionaire dollar business, that's crazy, ah.” But, you know what, there's not one of you out there, not one person listening there does not have the opportunity to plug their kids in on something that's being learned or done or exposed to and help them kind of make their own way and take accountability. I think the irresponsible thing to do is just leave them in front of a TV with a Nintendo for 24 hours. And then, when they're 18 say, “Good luck with that kid. Good luck with that. Go buy your own toilet paper and toothpaste.” That's what's weird to me.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. And, for us for that age, 15, 16-ish capability focus, what we're planning on is because my sons are currently on track to probably be done with high school by the time they're around 15. And, there's a little liberal arts institution called New Saint Andrews College that they want to attend in in Moscow, Idaho down here. I'm not that bullish on university education, but I do think that a well-constructed liberal arts education which a child learns things like rhetoric, and logic, and persuasiveness, and foreign languages, and in reading and writing and expressing one's thoughts clearly and being able to speak, et cetera. I think that that can serve a child well no matter what career they wind up going into.
So, I'm totally cool if they want to go get a liberal arts education. But in between high school and their liberal arts education, for their adventuring capability is going to be an addition to their rite of passage into adulthood that they'll do out in the wilderness, they're going to do a gap year where they can go hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Do a backpacking trip of Europe with hostiles and hitchhiking, all self-supported, all paid for by the so-called gap year. And, it's going to include some element of service and we're still in discussion about how they're going to weave service and helping others out, whether it's building a church or a school somewhere or whatever. But, we definitely have planned on that age 15 to 16 focus on capability and be able to take care of oneself.
So, we've got age 8, the open communication; age 12 is non-entitlement; age 13 to 14-ish, courage; age 15 to 16-ish, capability. Then what comes after that?
Rich: Eighteen years old, shut down the business, give all back to charity and go serve for two years learning a foreign language and serving humanity in a very deep meaningful impactful way. That simple. And, quite frankly, it's the hardest of all the rites of passage to see our kids go off and have to live incredibly humbly and basically get their own footing on humanity. And, it's that simple.
Ben: Truly, truly cutting the cord. And, we had a lot of family discussions as we learned from you. The trick here for those listening is you don't have to replicate exactly what Rich is doing or what I'm doing, but just being able to think in this way about the ages of your family and weave this in somehow is important. So, for us, what we've decided is indeed at age 18, if they're not already fully financially self-supported, that's the age at which they no longer get any money from mom and dad for anything, for a car, for college, for business vocation. It is all self-supported starting at age 18. No ifs, ands, or buts.
And, in addition to that, we've decided that if for some reason either of them unless there's some serious health condition or random incident that going on that they in any of the 18-year-old males who happen to be living in our house at age 18 must move out of the house at that point. They do not live with mom and dad when they're 18, period. And, I don't imagine they would be anyways, but we've decided that that's the point at which they need to be fully independent. So, that's what we've kind of woven into age 18 for when that arrives. And, gosh, kind of scary, five years.
Rich: It's terrifying. But, how courageous is it that you do that because it says context with them that they'll prepare and take control and plan their own life? And, they will, they'll kill their own father in a beautiful harmonious way rather than seizing. I mean, I have zero fear of that, River, Terran will ever end up as serial killers living in your basement. My kids, geez. I mean, you know how amazing it is that my sons now take me to lunch? Oh, my heavens.
Rich: It's amazing to have my kids take control of that. My 28-year-old son just sold his second company. How much do I have to worry about my sons?
Ben: Yeah. And, that's what I love about this is it's a lot of people will say, “Oh, you got to mess up your kids.” But I mean, your kids are amazing, they're way ahead as humans and accomplishing things that I think we've sadly settled with the idea that human beings at the age of 25 or 28 or whatever are still often just getting done drinking beer in college. And, your sons are selling a business they started when they were teenagers or have already sold a business when they were teenagers. And so, again, this is stuff that actually flushes itself out and demonstrably produces fruits for a family.
Rich: Demonstrably. Demonstrably. Demonstrably. My kids come back from that two years of serving humanity. They're not 23, 25, they're not backpacking through Europe smoking weed and just hanging out and seeing what they can get there. Man, they come back 40 years old contributing, meaningful, impactful, and bringing me grandbabies that are beautiful. And, the only thing that gives me more I was so hesitant to share any of this until I started seeing how my kids were raising my grandkids. They're lapping us three times, Ben.
Ben: Yup, exactly. And, I think that's the idea is every generation in small steps and even leaps and bounds gets gradually better so that each generation becomes more impactful rather than, again, that rags to riches to rags story. That is so much more common.
Now, there's there was one other that kind of surprised me because obviously, your kids aren't really kids anymore when you do this, but you have another thing that you wove in that I wound up borrowing from and weaving into our own family playbook. Tell me about the last defining event.
Rich: Yeah. This one is actually an interesting one. It's kind of apology blended with a charter. When my sons are now young adult, so they're 23, 24, I take them to a level 4 security prison, and we spend two days in the level for security prison with oftentimes individuals who even taken life or been in gangs and really live tough lives with the context of this, “Son, none of us want to be held accountable for the worst things that we've done. You don't want to be, I don't want to be, we all deserve second chances and most of these individuals never had even a first chance.” And so, the plight of humanity coupled with this apology, it's my generation that dorked all this up. Misogyny is running rampant, divisiveness in politics, abuse of the environment, the big social problems. And, I'm sorry, my generation messed it up. Now, it's your responsibility to go fix a lot of these hot messes that my generation created. And so, touching humanity on a visceral level and seeing some of those tricky situations where you have incarcerated individuals that oftentimes never even had a first chance, Ben.
Ben: Yeah, that idea of going out and really in a very explicit and remarkable manner being given a chance to understand forgiveness and grace. And, I don't know what it's going to look for our family, but I want to do something you've done. I want to do a prison visit, or even a church build or a school build, whether in our community or even in a different city or different state or different country. But, I really want to do that with my own sons as well when they're around that age, that whole idea of contribution and understanding forgiveness and grace that when paired with, for example, that non-entitlement trip that occurred over a decade earlier at age 12, I think, is just wonderful in terms of a human going into the latter three-quarters of their life with a real awareness of the fact that so many people are in need, so many people need help and so many people need forgiveness. And again, systematically weaving that in I just think is so, so cool. So, I'm hoping that people are kind of getting an idea of just a tiny flavor of what this type of Legado work actually looks like.
And, I did want to ask you here shortly how people can actually do this whether it's an online program they do or whether they work with you physically on-site. But before we do that, is there any other kind of key tradition or ritual routine? You have so many. I mean, you spent three days with us and there must have been a million stories. But, in terms of maybe something that hasn't been brought up yet, are there any other key traditions or rituals or routines that you just think are so cool that you think would be really beneficial for my audience to hear about to give them their own ideas?
Rich: I think maybe just two really quickly. The first is getting a cadence, a frequent cadence of something that gives comfort. Us as human beings, we love kind of our tradition, tradition. We love our traditions. And so, if you can get cadences, I know even I was deeply touched, Ben, as I saw your prayer and meditative practice with your family daily. How much comfort and nerve settling does that give? And so, I think this concept of getting the daily touchstone, it can be really fun, it doesn't have to be even really hard, but the concept of asking “What's the peach in the pit of the day? What was the good thing and the bad thing?” every day, and just getting in that little cadence of doing that would be something that's so healing and so powerful.
I now got to insert one other, and if I really could quickly too is there's so many individuals I talk to say, “I've got estrangement, I've already got my kids kind of at odds or whatever else. And, is it too late for me?” and, it's like, “Oh, heavens, no. Actually, whoa, it can be so healing.” So, the tip I'd give you in that situation is is take an interest in whatever your kid's doing. My fourth son was so into Pokémon, I wasn't so much but guess who played? I'm a level 39 Pokémon Go trainer. So, take an interest. My second son wanted to be Mick Jagger, so he was playing the guitar like crazy.
So, enable and move it towards rather than resist and try bringing our kids to our thing, go do what they're doing and take an interest in what they're doing, it'll shock you what happens is they come back to you and then want to take an interest in your so often we get that so wrong. I love to use the analogy, we got this beautiful big cup of water and a hairball, a snot ball drops into the water. And, what most of us try doing is pick, pick, pick, pick at it, and then the water gets all gross and disgusting. And, all we have to do is just take and pour more love, more water, more love, more water. And, most the time, it just kind of naturally floats out. So man, if we just pour a little bit more love in and take interest in particularly teenagers, you can cheat code it every time with taking interest in what they're doing and cook their favorite meals.
Ben: I love it.
Well, you guys even have that little song that you sing. What's the song, the Johnny Appleseed song that you would, “Oh, the Lord's been, will always been good to me.”
Rich: “Oh, the Lord's been good to me.”
Ben: “And so, I thank the Lord.”
Rich: “And so, I thank I Lord for giving–“Thank you for singing with me, you remember.
Ben: Yeah, but that's a song that you guys go out every evening and sing that song as the sun sets. And again, a lot of people think that kind of stuff is silly but kids try it. My sons, they thrive on our dinner-time games, they thrive on our story time after dinner. They're 13 years old, their feet are almost as big as mine and yet they still, they crave that bedtime story. I asked them, I'm like, “Do you guys get tired of dad reading your bedtime story?” I was very straightforward with them, I said, “Is this something that you're just doing now with me because you know dad wants to read a story? Do you guys really want to hear the story?” They're like, “We want to hear the story, we want to hear the story.” So, I told them, “Okay, look guys, when we get to the point where you guys don't want to hear the bedtime story anymore because you feel dad's just reading it but you'd rather be reading your own book or whatever, you just tell me. But, whether you're 14 or 30 years old, I'll read bedtime stories to you until you tell me to stop.”
And, the morning meditation, and the journaling, and the evening meditation, journaling, kids just thrive on this type of systematic tradition and ritual and routine, whether it's a holiday or whether it's an everyday. And so, when you go out on your porch and you sing the Johnny Appleseed “God's Been Good To Me” song to the sunset, I just know how much that means to your kids and how much it meant to my kids to see, oh hey, other families have these weird things that they do at certain times of the day but it's so, so good for families. I think more families need that type of tradition woven in.
Rich: Every family does it, it's just, are you being deliberate and thoughtful about it. Because if not, you're passing junk along. And, I mean you just hit it. I mean, what does it mean to River and Terran that they're a fox or a bear? Or, how they're showing up and the color they are? I mean, that spirit animal thing lit them up. Man, I watched their eyes go as big as saucers as they got to draw their little spirit animal. And, I think that's the only real thing we hadn't talked about I do want to mention is this, man, do you have a family symbol? Do you have a family logo? Your business does, your favorite sports team does, the United States has one, your college has one. I mean, the Bloods have one, the Bloods and the Crips have symbols and colors, and you don't stand a freaking–I mean, if you knew half the logos and brands that you were wearing, you'd vomit. Right now you'd wretch over this podcast knowing what their values are. So, the power of just getting logo and symbology to bond you together.
I got this beautiful logo that's so meaningful in my little three-year-old granddaughter. Well, on my two-year-old grandson, when they touch the chickens after we pick the eggs, they want to sit there and touch. “Everly, Everly. Oh, Samuel, Samuel, Uncle, Uncle.” They know right where they fit. And so, Ben, just so important. If you take nothing else out of that, just these last little key hints of get a family symbol, get really deliberate on your logos, and for heaven's sakes, plant your values and you're going to be just miles ahead. And, families on a lot of salt right now. Families, non-traditional families and tribes are just getting their head handed them. And, it's because we're not doing this basic stuff.
Ben: That was the fun part. The spirit animal identification and each of our unique logos, and symbols, and shapes, and then you hooked us up with Jacob who we've been working with for the past two months for this glorious crest that's going to hang above our fireplace. And, our mission statement which I mentioned in the introduction is framed and posted in our living room and in our dining room. And, we got our family logo on our freaking mailbox, and on coffee mugs in the kitchen, and on our t-shirts, and on our hats. And, we even have a special secret places in the crest. We're on little tiny rocks. Each of the individual family member's symbol is pictured. And, every time a new family member like one of my grandchildren is added to the family, their little symbol will get added to that crest. There's all these cool little artistic things too that are just so much fun.
And, I'll tell you what, if you're listening in and you go to the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Legadopodcast, L-E-G-A-D-O-podcast, I'll not only link to Rich's Legado Family Foundation, all of his books and everything, but I'll throw in some cool photos there so you guys can see some photos of what our family logo looks like, what our family crest looks like, what our mission statement looks like to maybe get your own wheels turning.
Rich, how can people if they want to hook up with you and just have all this systematized and work with you to do this, what are the options for people to do that?
Rich: It's really simple, it's just go to legadofamily, L-E-G-A-D-O-family.com. And, there's even some great free resources in their band that they can start with. I think we actually have, in the Resources page, we have a cheat sheet for these life-defining events. If you do want to engage, we'd just love to get to know you and have impact this. It really is, it's the most important thought leadership I've created to this point in my life. And, I'm just so excited to see what it does to families. But, there are multiple ways you can engage. There's a digital online program that walks you through. There's digital online with coaching groups. There will be a couple of key events and in rare situations, I'm willing to actually do similar to what I did the ban of do a personal event. So, there are multiple plug-in options for you. And, I just, I swear man, this rocks your family like you can't even believe.
Ben: Yeah. Well, it's pretty cool. I'll hunt it down and put it in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Legadopodcast. We have a special discount code for you guys and some extra goodies thrown in. so, if you go to the shownotes, I'll link to all of Rich's legacy building stuff there as well. And, I have to recommend for any of you business folks out there, read Rich's book “The Zigzag Principle” as well. And, if you have adolescents or kids who are interested in starting a business his “Toes Turn Purple” book is really good too. So, check all that out.
And then, I'll probably do a follow-up podcast with you listening in about the whole wealth management piece of this because like I mentioned, I'm going to be working with Scott Ford who Rich hooked me up with, and I will likely, at some point during 2022, interview him and chat a little bit more about the wealth management piece. But, in the meantime, Rich, I think we've probably filled people's heads with plenty of ideas and resources to get started on their own legacy building as a family. So, I want to thank you for coming on the show today and sharing all this with us.
Rich: And, Ben, just such love and respect for you and Jessa, and River and Terran, and just how much I honor you. And, I said earlier you implement, you really do, but you actually are living it. And, it's just such an honor to count you as a friend. And, just know any way I can support you, brother, I'm here for you.
Ben: Thanks, man. I appreciate that. And again, the shownotes are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Legadopodcast, L-E-G-A-D-O-podcast. And, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with Rich Christiansen signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about links and posts on this site. Most of the links going to products are often affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you and sometimes I even get to share a unique and somewhat significant discount with you.
In some cases, I might also be an investor in a company I mentioned. I'm the founder, for example, of Kion LLC, the makers of Kion-branded supplements and products which I talk about quite a bit. Regardless of that relationship, if I post or talk about an affiliate link to a product, it is indeed something I personally use, support, and with full authenticity and transparency recommend in good conscience. I personally vet each and every product that I talk about.
My first priority is providing valuable information and resources to you that help you positively optimize your mind, body, and spirit. And, I'll only ever link to products or resources, affiliate or otherwise that fit within this purpose. So, there's your fancy legal disclaimer.
When it comes to passing on important family values and beliefs to future generations, I firmly believe that family traditions are the powerful legacy-building tool in a parent’s toolbox.
Traditions, habits, rituals, and routines are the glue that sticks, the threads that bind, and the clasps that hold a family together through the best and worst of times.
As our family discussed in the recent podcast “The Official Greenfield Family Q&A Podcast: Parenting, Cooking, Traditions, Legacy-Building, Family Game Nights & More!,” we recently worked with the wonderful Rich Christiansen of Legado Family Founder, who specializes in helping families identify their core values, then create memorabilia, traditions, rituals, routines, and comings and goings all based around those values.
As a result, our family not only now has a “Greenfield Family Playbook” which is a guide that we can pass on to future generations in which all our values and traditions are listed, but we also have a family mission statement, a family crest being designed to hang above our fireplace, a family logo we can print on hats, shirts, mugs, and stickers, and even individual spirit animals and colors for each member of our family.
If you're not already weaving traditions, rituals, routines, and an emphasis on legacy into your own family, I encourage you to do so, with or without the help of a professional. It's been a transformative process that will impact the Greenfield family for generations. For more on the Greenfield family's comings and goings, you can also check out GoGreenfields.com here!
To explore this topic in greater depth, I decided to interview Rich Christiansen for my podcast.
Rich Christiansen is a successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, humanitarian, mentor, and thought leader. In the business world, he has founded and co-founded 51 businesses which range from technology, SEO, imports/exports, real estate, online sales, innovative products, lead generation, and most recently, worm poop. He is the co-author of the book Bootstrap Business: A Step-By-Step Business Survival Guide, and author of the bestselling book, The Zigzag Principle. His third book, co-authored with his sons Alex and Tim, is called Even if Your Toes Turn Purple: Raising Teenagers that are Confident, Happy, and Stand Out.
Rich Christiansen helps families upgrade their relationships through a program consisting of five different modules that include detailed lessons and structures crafted carefully to enhance lasting ties and strengthen bonds. His Legado product revolutionizes the way families reconnect through sharing proven models, real-world experiences, valuable insight, and giving your family engaging activities for all age groups. Build Family Legacies provides the ultimate roadmap to building the best family legacy your family could ever imagine and no other brand can do it better.
Rich and his wife Gaye are the parents of five sons and a daughter they sponsor from Nepal. Together, they also share eight beautiful grandchildren. As a family, they enjoy exploring the outdoors together and always have their eyes set on big adventures.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-How the Legado business has evolved to its current form…09:18
- Rich became successful in business but didn't want to spoil his children with the trappings of wealth
- A family friend pointed out (correctly) that his plan was going to do more harm than any good for his family legacy
- At that time, a lot of financial models existed but none that entrenched family values into the model
- Went on to create a model that centered on family values
-“Dark investments” and how wealth can decimate a family…13:45
- Unaware of the value of wealth and the hardships that go into acquiring it
- Quit producing value over time (entitlement mentality)
- Investment into “dark things” lowers the energy of the wealth
- Kids intentionally lose their fortune because it doesn't serve their family well
- Balance in personal development and health
- You're not raising your children, you're raising your grandchildren
- Iroquoian nation 7 generation concept
- Know your values, both good and bad
-How to begin identifying family values…22:00
- What did your ancestors value?
- There may be “major” and “sub” values that fall under the “major”
- From these major values, one can begin crafting a family mission statement
-The basic model of the Legado platform…27:45
- Logos, symbols, colors, crest
- Life-defining events
- Put it all together
-Rites of passage and assisting children to “come of age” when they're ready…38:03
- “8 is great” date with children
- Deliberate, intentional, no fear
- Eight years is when children are beginning to think about “adult” things
- Canopy app
- Age 12: a non-entitlement trip to a third-world country
- Age 14: climb a major world mountain peak
- Twin Eagles Wilderness School
- BGF podcast with Tim Corcoran:
- Age 16: accountability for their future
-How to foster an entrepreneurial and self-sufficient spirit in children…48:44
- They each built a million-dollar business while in high school, paid for their college, etc.
- How to tie a tie website
- Jar concept taught from an early age
- GoGreenfields show
- Gap year between high school and college
- 18 years old: shut down business, serve humanity in a very meaningful way
- “Kill” the father in a beautiful way
- Each generation becomes more impactful
-An apology blended with a charter…55:34
- Children spend two days in a high-security prison
- “It's your responsibility to fix the mess my generation created”
-Key traditions Rich recommends…1:04:07
- Frequent cadence that brings comfort
- Take an interest in what your kids are doing
- Have a family logo
-And much more…
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar
Resources from this episode:
– Rich Christiansen:
- Legado Family (use code BEN40 to save 40%)
- Bootstrap Business: A Step-By-Step Business Survival Guide
- The Zigzag Principle
- Even if Your Toes Turn Purple: Raising Teenagers that are Confident, Happy, and Stand Out
- The Official Greenfield Family Q&A Podcast: Parenting, Cooking, Traditions, Legacy-Building, Family Game Nights & More!
- How To Go On A Vision Quest & Embark Upon A Rite Of Passage, with Tim Corcoran.
– Other Resources:
–JOOVV: After using the Joovv for close to 2 years, it's the only light therapy device I'd ever recommend. Give it a try: you won't be disappointed. For a limited time, Joovv wants to hook you up with an exclusive discount on your first order. Just apply code BEN to your qualifying order.
–HigherDOSE: Get your own Infrared Sauna Blanket or Infrared PEMF Mat at HigherDOSE.com today and use my exclusive Promo Code BEN at check out to save 15% off!
–Kion Aminos: Building blocks for muscle recovery, reduced cravings, better cognition, immunity, and more.