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146 - Lean In...

146 - lean in

Listen To Today's Episode: 

Episode Recap:

During your troubles you’ve got two options, run away or lean in. On this episode Russell talks about something his friend and former employee Steven Larsen said to him in passing, but had a big impact on him. Here are some of the awesome things to look forward to in this episode.

-- What Steven meant when he told his sister to lean in, instead of giving up.

-- What would be different in Russell’s life if he hadn’t chosen to lean in at different times.

-- Why you should always lean in when times get hard instead of walking away. 

So listen here to find out what would be different in Russell’s life if he had walked away instead of leaning in.

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Best Quote:

I know that in all areas of your life there’s up and downs, and typically when everything’s up in business, something going to be down somewhere else. Sorry guys, they’re blowing leaves behind me. When you’re up in business you’re going to be down in your spiritual life. When you’re up in your spiritual life, your business is going to go down. Or you’re up in personal health your business will collapse, or your marriage will collapse. There’s always going to be ups and downs and I don’t think anyone has ever had it where everything is perfect all the time, if so life would be too easy.


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Good morning everybody, this is Russell Brunson. I want to welcome you to the Marketing Secrets podcast. I just dropped my kids off at school and now we get to hang out. Hey everyone, I hope you guys are doing amazing. I am trying to get on a better rhythm of doing podcasts consistently.

I had this really weird thing where like I’ll get in the mood and I’ll do like 10 in a row, and then I’ll get out of the mood and I won’t do some for a while. And I’m trying to get more consistent where we get two or three a week. So I apologize for my inconsistency, but I’m grateful for you guys and for listening in. And hopefully you get good stuff each time.

You know, it’s been fun doing this now for 500+ episodes, and if you haven’t gotten the Marketing Secrets black book yet, go to Some of you guys know that Julie Stoien and I went through, and she listened to every episode and took notes on them all and then rewrote them into a book of the top 99 takeaways from this podcast.

So to shortcut your life a little bit, go and get those, print them out, that’s what everyone’s been doing, printing them and reading them. But it will catch you up on the Marketing Secrets, the last 5 years of the best and most important ahas and things like that. That’s a freebie for you guys. But today I had a specific thing I wanted to share with you and I’v ebeen wanting to talk about this for a little while, but life’s been a little crazy right now, trying to get done some big projects.

This month of October is crazy, I’m speaking all over, flying a bunch of places, we’re doing an event for Two Comma Club X members and a whole bunch of other things. Rebuilding the whole company structure, anyway, I could go on and on. But it’s so much fun. I love what we do. I love that we get to play this game every day. Anyway, what I wanted to share with you guys today, it was kind of fun, Steven Larsen was in the office the other day.

Some of you guys know we launched the One Funnel Away Challenge, which has been nuts. We had over 7500 people sign up for it. It’s 100 dollar challenge, so 7500 people paid $100 to be a part of it, and every day for 30 days Steven jumps on and yells at everybody and pushes them forward through some curriculum that we’re taking people through. Again, it’s called the One Funnel Away Challenge, a lot of you guys are part of it. If you’re not part of it, then it’s because you didn’t pay attention to the launch we did recently.

Anyway, for all you guys who are in there, it’s been so much fun. It’s been fun though because Steven comes into the office everyday, which I miss having him there, he used to be there every day. You know he had to go out and start his own business and all that kind of stuff, which I am proud of him for. Just teasing, it is really cool. But I am really grateful to be able to pull him into that because it’s fun to see him everyday and see him in his element where he’s jumping on it, and training and motivating and pushing, just doing his thing. It’s amazing.

This new program though, this One Funnel Away Challenge is going to change a ton of people’s lives and I’m excited for all of you guys who are going through it. But I digress, the reason why I’m telling this story is, he was in the office and we were talking aobut a bunch of stuff, and we were actually talking about the Two Comma Club X coaching program, which is something we sold at the last Funnel Hacking Live, and I think we had 650ish people join it.

And it’s not a cheap program, it’s $18 grand a year or $1800 a month. And a lot of people came in at $1800 a month, which obviously is not a cheap investment, but at the same time, I talked about when we sold it, I was like, “It’s less than half the cost of a crappy employee.” And you’re getting access to all these coaches and all these things. So far we’ve done three or four events, I’m doing a two day event this month that only they are allowed to come to. It’s expensive but it’s also super cheap, you know what I mean. And we’re talking about some people that had dropped out of it for whatever reason.

And some people have dropped out for legitimate reasons, I totally understand that. But the story I wanted to tell you today was interesting, was about Steven’s sister Marie. She joined the program, and she was probably in a group of a bunch of people that probably shouldn’t have joined. I think for some people it was as much money as they were making at the time, and they still just jumped in because they saw the vision, they wanted the thing and they jumped in.

And it was interesting, Steven was telling me this story that like two months into the program, I think it was the second or the third month, the next $1800 a month payment came up and she was freaking out. And had kind of a thing like, “Oh my gosh, I’m not making enough money for this. I can’t do this, I need to drop out.” And she told Steven, “I can’t do this, I need to be out of it.” And Steven listened to her talk about all the reasons why she needed to drop out, and he listened to it and after she got done saying all the reasons why she should drop out, then he said, “Or you should lean in.”

And that is the message for you today, “Or you should lean in.” What does that mean? You should lean into it, instead of freaking out, “oh, I can’t handle this.” Let’s lean in and double down and go all in. And when you do that’s when amazing things happen. And to Marie’s credit, she did. She leaned in and during that time got through the scary bumpiness and launched her business and right now her business is doing somewhere between 8 and 10 thousand dollars a month, which is amazing and insane and so cool. She’s helping people launch podcast.

It’s like my podcast, if I was working with her I would record this and send it to her and she would just somehow make it magically show up on iTunes right. My brother does that for me. But that’s what she does for people now and she’s killing it. But it’s because during the turbulent times of backing out and running away, she leaned in. I want you to think about everything great that’s happened in your life. For those who went into sports, think about the hardest times, the times..I only know wrestling because that’s my world.

But the times where I needed to cut weight or I had to go get someone who was really, really tough, or I lost a match or whatever, those are the times you want to quit right. You’re like, “I’m out.” And back out and walk away from it. But it was in those times that instead of backing out, I leaned in and had success. Yesterday, it was kind of fun, we were working on a video and I was like, “I need my old wrestling matches from back in the day.”

So my brother, Scott, he had them all on his hard drive so he dumped them all onto Google drive, so I was looking at all these old videos of me through high school and college wrestling. So I was kind of going down this jaunt down memory lane, and I saw in there the match my junior year where I lost to this guy named Nick Fresquez, the very first match of the season.

And I remember this because we recorded it, but I think my mom accidently recorded over it or something like that, but we had a 22 second clip of that match and it was when Nick did this move on me that was the move he beat me with. And I remember my dad used to watch that 22 second clip over and over and over and over again. I’d come up during the season, I’d wake up in the morning and he’d be upstairs watching it and he’s like, “Russell come here, come here.” And he’d sit me down on the carpet and he’d show me how the move worked and we would drill it, and go to the wrestling room later and drill the move.

Man, we must have watched that 22 second clip of my loss like a thousand times or more during that next four months of the wrestling season. And we’d practice it and practice it and practice it. And yesterday I found the match of me winning the state title, and we’re watching it and seeing as I did that move, the same move he did on me to beat me at the first of the season is the same move I used on him to beat him in the state finals.

And I was thinking about that, I was like, in context of this whole concept that Steven shared with me about leaning in, I was just like, man, if I hadn’t leaned in to that, if I would have been like, “Oh my gosh I lost to him.” And had fear and all these things, then I never would have been a state champ, which man, life circumstances since that moment that brought me to where I am today, all hinged upon that moment. It’s kind of crazy, if we were to go back in time that far.

Right so in sports, the times it was the most painful and scary and the things I freaked out about the most, is when I leaned in, when greatness came. I think about marriage, I love my wife, I love my kids, but marriage isn’t easy. I thought it was going to be. I’m not going to lie, if I was to go back to Russell 20 years ago, I was struggling through life just waiting to be married, then everything will be good. And my marriage has been amazing , but man it’s been hard.

And I think my wife agrees, it was way harder than we thought. And it’s those times where it’s hard where it’s like, man it would be so easy just to like, back out. “I can’t afford the monthly payment.” Boom, back out. But instead I leaned in. I was like, I love her, I’ve committed to this, I’m doing it.

And because of that is how we’ve made a marriage that wasn’t just good, but a marriage that’s great. I think about it in business, how many times I could tell you the stories of me building a company and crashing it, and building and crashing it. I’m working on, we’re doing this event in Utah, the Dry Bar Comedy club in two weeks, or I guess it’s a week and a half now.

I want to make an outline of the history of my business, so I went to the good old way back machine and went to try to find every single funnel that I’ve ever built. And I forgot how much stuff I’ve done, how many software products we’ve launched, how many info products, how many courses, how many viral sites, how many list building sites, it’s crazy. I haven’t finished the list yet, I’m already at ten pages of links to funnels that I built.

And these aren’t just like, every page in the funnel, because I can’t in the way back machine. Way back shows you snapshots of your websites back, as far back as the way back machine was created. If you never used the way back machine by the way, you should go. Go to, in fact, do this for fun. Go to, that’s the way back machine, type in, my site, and go look at the history of my site, you’ll see every variation of Russell over the last ten years on that site. Every blog I launched on there, everything.

But it’s fun to see the back, the history of these things. So I went to way back machine and was trying to find all these things, and you can’t see the upsells or downsells, so I can just find the landing page of every funnel I’ve ever created in my life, and it’s ten pages now of funnels. And I’m going through this and I’m laughing at some. Some of them were the worst ideas ever. Some that completely bombed. Some that I spent literally millions of dollars on that never went live.

In fact, there were two or three that I found that I was sick to my stomach. I was like, I spent four years of my life, I had six full time developers I was paying a million and a half, two million a year for these guys, and none of these ever saw the light of day. I’m like, ugh. Some of them were the pre-cursers to clickfunnels. I remember was the pre-curser to clickfunnels, and I saw this thing.

That was one that we literally spent, I’d say conservatively at least a million and probably closer to two or three million we spent on that thing. I found all the screen shots, all the everything, but it never went live. Nobody ever saw it. But had I not leaned into that and tried to build that, we wouldn’t be at Clickfunnels today. I think there are like 5 different software programs we created that were all pre-cursers to Clickfunnels.

One of them was an RSS auto-responder, one was a desktop auto-responder, one was a funnel building software, one was a shopping cart. All these things that I tried to build that failed. I found this site, champion sound, this is like, I was in the brinks of bankruptcy, literally. I had just had to fire 80 of my employees and we moved from a 20 thousand square foot office to a 2 thousand, I had 150,000 in IRS back taxes that I owed and I was trying to figure out how in the world to save the company and save myself from bankruptcy. And If I would have gone bankrupt, I still had all this outstanding coaching liability.

So I would have destroyed my reputation. So I was on this thing where if I would have given up I would have gone to jail and destroyed my reputation. So I was like I can’t give up, I have to lean in, I’m being forced to. I remember I had, I was on, trying to buy a website, trying to figure out my future, and at like 2:00 in the morning I saw this site called, which you should plug that into the way back machine, you’ll see what it is.

Anyway, it was an email, text message auto-responder fro bands, and I was like, “Oh my gosh this could be the greatest thing in the world. I could start this thing, we could sell it to bands, and I could re-launch or clone the site and launch an email/text message auto-responder for dentists, and chiropractors, and I was like, “This is the future of my business.” So I leaned in, took 20 thousand dollars I didn’t have, bought the website.

And then what’s crazy, when we tried to make it go live, or after I bought it and they tried to transfer it to me, they’re like, I gave them access to my server, and they’re like, “No, I need a server that can run Ruby on Rails.” I was like, “What’s Ruby on Rails?” they’re like, “Oh, it’s like a different language.” I’m like, “What?” I’d never even heard that word before.

And I remember none of the development guys I had on my team at the time knew Ruby on Rails. I tried to hire people on Odesk to do Ruby on Rails, and I couldn’t find anyone that could do it. Man, after three or four months of trying to find somebody who could edit the software, after they installed and then left, and then all these things were broken, it wasn’t working, all the customers were angry and it was horrible. I literally, after that three months that I was like, “I just wasted 20 thousand dollars that we didn’t have.

Just shut it down.” The servers were like a thousand bucks a month too, they were super expensive. They just shut it down. And I was packing up my bags for the day and was walking out, and as I walked away from my desk, I stopped for a second and I was like, “Wait a minute, I wonder if there’s anyone on my list who knows Ruby on Rails?” which is a stupid thing to say, because at the time my list was a bunch of business opportunity seekers, and they weren’t programmers or developers, but I had that thought in my head.

So I walked back into my desk, I leaned in, sent an email to my list saying, “If you know Ruby on Rails, I’m looking for a partner.” And that email happened to land in the inbox of somebody who had bought my micro continuity product five years earlier and happened to be on my email list. But because my subject line said Ruby on Rails and partner, he saw that and he said, “I’m looking for a partnership with a marketer, I know Ruby on Rails.”

And it was Todd Dickerson who responded back. And anyone who knows my story, knows that Todd is my cofounder of Clickfunnels, he’s the one who built it. And had I not bought Champion sound, had I not leaned in with the last bit of money we had, if we had not tried to get it to work, if I had not instead of giving up, had I not sent an email to my list…if I hadn’t done all these little things, that email would have never landed in Todd Dickerson’s inbox, and Clickfunnels wouldn’t be here today.

So my message for you guys today, I know that in all areas of your life there’s up and downs, and typically when everything’s up in business, something going to be down somewhere else. Sorry guys, they’re blowing leaves behind me. When you’re up in business you’re going to be down in your spiritual life. When you’re up in your spiritual life, your business is going to go down.

Or you’re up in personal health your business will collapse, or your marriage will collapse. There’s always going to be ups and downs and I don’t think anyone has ever had it where everything is perfect all the time, if so life would be too easy. So it kind of cycles like that. And I say, you know whatever season of your life you’re in, where you’re in that hard time, instead of running away from that hard thing, do what Steven said to Marie, and lean it.

Yeah you could, you could walk away. Yeah, there’s a million reasons why you shouldn’t do this, but you know it’s right, you know it’s good, you committed to it, so let’s lean in instead of step away. And if you do that I promise you greatness is just on the other side of that. If Marie wouldn’t have leaned in, where would she be today? Would that company ever be there, would all the people she’s serving now, would she be able to serve them? Probably not.

If I wouldn’t have leaned into sports, would I have become a state champ and an All-American, and wrestled in college, and ended up in Boise where I needed to be to be able to create Clickfunnels. In my marriage, all the hard times where I wouldn’t have leaned in, would I be where I am today with my amazing wife and my amazing kids? I got the coolest kids in the world.

Last night we were downstairs because we are re-doing our bedroom, so we’re sleeping down in the basement right now, and on the big screen I wanted to show my wife a video, so I showed the video and then we stared looking at all the videos in our camera roll. And then somehow, I don’t even know how this works, but somehow on iTunes, on the big screen tv, they had all these clips from way back in the day, that somehow got save to iTunes or iCloud or I don’t know, something.

So we’re watching these videos of our kids from back in like, like Aiden who is 8 years old now, there’s videos of him when he was like a newborn. And there’s this one, he’s probably, I don’t know, maybe 3 years old, and he had on Ellie’s swimsuit, so it’s like a pink and purple swimsuit and he’s dancing. And we’re like crying/laughing last night watching him dancing and in the video Collette’s like, “Aiden someday we’re going to send this to your wife.”

And he in the video is like, “Mom, why don’t you send it to her right now?” We were just dying laughing at him in his little stick legs dancing in her swimsuit. And we’re sitting there just laughing our faces off and I was like, man, there were so many times in this marriage where either of us could have walked away.

So many times in our relationship, and we’re like sitting here and just laughing at that and realizing how happy we are and how grateful we are for each other and how grateful we are for our amazing kids. But that didn’t come from stepping away from the challenge, it came from leaning in.

So there’s the message for today, thank you Steven Larsen for sharing that with me the other day. He said it kind of in passing, but it had a big impact on me and I wanted to share it with you guys. And hopefully that will help someone in your moment of struggle in any area of your life, just remember to lean in. Thanks so much and we’ll talk to you guys soon.


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