MG: What are you working on lately? You do so many things.
RR: My company Corporate Kickoff is my main focus. I’m a corporate motivational speaker and a benefit auctioneer. I enjoy hosting charity fundraisers and black tie auctions. I do about 100 events a year between the auctions and corporate events and have three, full-time people and four subcontractors who work with me on this. We also represent other speakers and book them for events. I’m also Director of Business Partnerships at Universal Lending Corporation, creating business partnerships for them.
MG: How did you end up being such a Renaissance Man, doing so many things? How can we all learn to do this?
RR: I think you have to have an open mind about yourself and about the world and opportunities. I have found that I rarely shut down an opportunity on first hearing it, no matter how ridiculous it seems. I rarely have a strong opinion right away and being flexible with my life is important, easing into opportunities I would have rejected had I thought it as first blush. I’ve worked for a gold mining company, in the mortgage industry, in television news, I’m the author of 6 books because of this approach.
MG: You’re truly a Modern Gladiator. What are some of the other core values you think embody that and that you focus on?
RR: I talk a lot about understanding the difference between leadership and authority. As men, we want authority to be heard, listen to us and obey us but authority is a fleeting thing. You can try to have it over people but it is a nonconsensual relationship. People will follow it only to the extent they have to, but as soon as they turn your back? They stop. Leadership is different. People opt into leadership, they have to voluntarily say “I like where you’re headed, you have my best interests at heart.” And here’s a tip. I’ve been around men who were true leaders in the NFL when I was with the Denver Broncos and I’ve come across a few in the world of business. When you meet a real leader? You’ll know it. They listen, invest in their people, and make accountability a two-way street in your relationship with them. They’re truly interested in what they can do to help you advance and what you’d enjoy doing on their team.
MG: The world feels particularly chaotic lately. As modern gladiators, what’s your advice on how to navigate it?
RR: Yes, things are complicated and changing quickly and the Internet has transformed the landscape especially for younger people. They don’t have this idea to work at one place for their whole life. My best advice is to be more flexible. Look at the newest things coming down the pike and the opportunities for you that may be coming with them. Grow and change along with the times. A great example of this is how the Internet has made it easier than ever these days to grow and expand your professional and personal networks. Decades ago you would only meet in person or write letters and send them snail mail.
MG: How do you maintain those valuable professional relationships?
RR: Don’t look at those relationships as finite. That as you move from one job to the next that the peer and leaderships relationships end when you walk out the door. Use social media, SKYPE, Facetime and email and all this great technology to maintain and grow those loyalties and shared experiences over the years. You never know when you might need them.
MG: You say you’re amazed at how your young son uses technology. Any advice to gladiator parents?
RR: Be present for them. Spend the time. But be aware of what you do. He’s 12 and as he gets older I can see the adult in him and I can start to see what he’s going to look like in his 20s. It’s just become more apparent every day that he needs a father figure. I have to play a certain role in his life and he’s just soaking it up so I am mindful as I assume the different, varied roles of the disciplinarian, the husband, the mentor. He’s watching me, my tone of voice, my gestures, my listening style my talking style…he watches me do business, goes to my events with me.. Every day I become more aware that I’m training a young man to be a man, father, husband, work, entrepreneur and as a man I take that really seriously and that’s one of the things a modern gladiator has to do. I’m sure an ancient gladiator had to teach their sons how to fight and hunt and defend their families…it’s the same thing—and way beyond that for us.
MG: What’s your last piece of advice for us to think about?
RR: There’s never been more opportunity than RIGHT NOW to shape your career into the exact shape that you want. Now go do it.