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Ep. 20 | Ryan Walters – Are You Credible Enough to Lead?


October 28, 2021

3:03 pm

On this episode of The Rich Equation Podcast, Ashish is joined by Ryan Walters. Ashish and Ryan discuss a series of knowledgeable topics such as Ryan’s philosophy, the importance of energy and the impact re-energizing others can have, why we must be highly aware of the language we use and the intensity of the language we use and so much more. Ryan shares his daily routine and how that has helped to shape his life and keep him energized, motivated and rich. Don’t forget to leave a review and share this podcast with someone who may find it beneficial!


0:00 – Intro 1:19 – Ashish shares a brief intro into Ryan’s backstory 3:27 – Ryan speaks about his philosophy 5:31 – Ryan talks about the six thinking patterns of his philosophy 8:34 – Ryan expresses the types of reactions he received from people when he informs them about his philosophy 11:36 – Ashish asks Ryan about what’s really going on in the minds of leaders that enables them to have strong dedication 14:07 – Ryan states that humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking about yourself last 17:24 – Ryan mentions how he’s learned that leaders want a strong focus on how to lead energy and they want tips and skills development around how cultures can re-energize from doing a lot of executive coaching through zoom and face to face mentoring recently 19:43 – Ryan states that you have to be what you say and this is not the time to be tired we as leaders need to be energized 20:41 – Ryan speaks about how and why we need to be highly aware of out language 23:30 – Ryan informs us about Victor Frankl’s saying, ‘between stimulus and response is a space’ and how he believes that one of the top leadership skills of 2021 and the future is to extend that space 25:45 – Ashish asks Ryan to share one thing leaders could to that would aid leaders in improving their ability to create a bigger space between stimulus and response 27:23 – Ryan speaks about the importance of having routine and shares his personal daily routine 32:08 – Ashish asks Ryan what question he finds himself being asked the most 35:07 – Ryan talks about how in business he recommend leaders and high performers to journal and how that’s the business equivalent of visualization 39:37 – Ashish asks Ryan about what he wishes he knew 20/25 years ago 41:44 – Ryan advises the people who are educating our future leaders of the world to learn about and teach about credibility cannot lead 47:29 – Ashish asks Ryan what does richness mean to him 50:44 – You can contact Ryan through email – or through his website


Ashish: Welcome back to the Rich Equation. I have such a powerful and packed episode for you today. I am joined by my friend, Ryan Walter. Ryan has a rich background in both sports and business, and I wanted to have him on episode today to share his biggest lessons. Ryan has played in the National Hockey League, was drafted second overall by the Washington Capitals. And after 9 seasons of playing hockey, won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens. He was selected to play in the NHL All Star game for Team Canada in 3 World Championships. And Ryan has a master’s degree in leadership in business, and now has a thriving coaching and mentorship business where he helps leaders around the world be better leaders.

In this episode, we dissect Ryan’s framework for thinking, learning about how to go to the neutral zone when we are being deflated or paralyzed, and working to increase the gap between stimulus and response. He talks about how leaders should focus on 2 things, their meta-awareness, or our awareness about being aware, and our metacognition, our thinking about our thinking. He really is something special, and as something of a great framework for everyone to understand and get the results you want. He makes things super simple. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It was a pleasure to have Ryan on the podcast. Here it is.

If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to share it with someone that would be inspired by this, or this information could be helpful. And subscribe right now to the podcast and leave a review so we can continue to bring value to you.

Intro: Welcome to the Rich Equation podcast. Are you ready to discover how to live rich today and not wait for retirement? If you’re tired of struggling and want to live your best life now, you’re in the right place. Outdated principles will no longer work in today’s environment. It’s time for a new approach. Your host, Ashish Nathu, will help you discover methods to live the new American dream. It’s time to start living the good life on your own terms and experience a new way to live, rich. Now, here’s your host, Ashish Nathu.

Ashish: Mr. Ryan Walter, welcome to the show, my friend.

Ryan: Hey, thanks. Great to be here.

Ashish: I am so excited to have this conversation with you. I wanted… normally I don’t do this, but your background is so extensive and important to the conversation we’re about to have. So, I wanted to remind the listeners a little bit about your background. So, Mr. Walter here has played more than 1000 games over 15 seasons in the National Hockey League. He was drafted second overall by the Washington Capitals, and he played 9 seasons and won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens. Your background is so rich in the NHL, and then you converted and moved into business. You then later got a master’s in leadership in business and the author of 5 books and expert contributor to both online in print magazines, newspapers, radios, and television. You’ve won a gold medal as the National Head Coach of the Canadian Women’s National Hockey League or National Hockey Team and was the assistant coach of the Vancouver Canucks. You’ve co-founded and the president of 2 startup companies, a TV radio hockey analyst, hockey advisor, and actor both in television and movies. So, you have such a rich background. And the only reason I went through that was because… and we’ve met before, and we’ve done a session before, and I was just so blown away about how you’ve been able to architect this information, converting all these lessons from sports and hockey into business and life. And so, I’m so excited to have this conversation. I know the listeners are going to learn so much from you. So, again, welcome to the show.

Ryan: Yeah. It’s awesome to be here. Thank you, Ashish.

Ashish: So, one of the things I guess let’s kind of start in, and your overall philosophy, right? And you spend a lot of time, you developed this thinking tendencies model. You talk a lot about how if we can learn how to think and how we can process information, and you reference it in the way that almost like a hockey rink looks and how we think about information and how it affects our reticular activating system, and how we emotionally respond to making decisions and choices. Why don’t you give us a little bit of background in your philosophy?

Ryan: Sure. Love the word ‘philosophy’, by the way.

Ashish: Thank you.

Ryan: I think that it’s the pinning, the groundwork, the sort of the underpinning of everything. So, one of the things we found in professional sport is that mindset is really one of the key accelerators of behavior. So, if we were to look at the skill of the person and maybe the belief system of the person, there’s also a mindset that is absolutely critical. And some people might see mindset around confidence, or the way we hold ourselves, the happiness of our life, like all of those things.

So, what we did, and you and I’ve experienced this together, is we actually have sort of looked at the 6 mindsets that really… and I’m going to say this carefully, but really run our lives. So, the 6 mindsets that are simple, and yet powerful. And the reason we did this is awareness, 1 word. Help leaders, help high performers be very aware of their thinking. Because if we can be aware, we can actually change it. And without awareness, we’re going to struggle to do that. So, we built the 6-mindset model. We called the thinking tendencies model. We have about 8 other models that we’ve built, but we’ve really enjoyed sharing this one with leaders like yourself.

Ashish: And you mentioned awareness, right? And so, the 6… I guess the 6 thinking patterns and how we live our life. We talked about it’s… is it regenerates, activates, flow zone, mindfulness, paralyzes, and deflates. Is that correct?

Ryan: Yes. So, let me go through those because you’ve got great words to describe them. We look at past negative thinking, which is that idea that we’re looking backwards. We have regrets. We have disappointments. We look at the future negative thinking, which is really the worry, the anxiousness, the pessimism, “That won’t work.” We look at the past positive thinking, which is really this construct around thankfulness and wins and great relationships that we remember. And then future positive thinking is the powerful one. We’re looking at the future we want. We make that happen. In the neutral zone, we have 2 key mindsets. One is mindfulness. So, that’s when we’re in conscious thought. And one is what we call the flow zone. And that is when we’re in non-conscious thought.

So, those are the 6 mindsets that really go deep. And we’ve got a 2-day training seminar, where we go very deep, and we show people how to actually shift their thinking, be aware and then shift their thinking so they can be in control of their life and not responding to exterior things that come their way.

Ashish: You taught me one thing called meta-awareness. Can you share with people what meta-awareness is?

Ryan: Yeah, sure can. So, 2 key words. Now, these are big words for hockey players. The first is meta-awareness. And that’s really this idea of being aware of our awareness. Right? So, that’s a simple thought. But it’s an absolutely critical thought. I saw recently a quote that said that Fortune 500 companies, the number 1 way that you can understand or predict the success of a Fortune 500 company is to get a strong understanding of the personal awareness of the CEO. So, awareness is powerful.

The second word that we talked about is what we call metacognition. And that’s this idea of thinking about thinking. So, we’re actually in a place where we’re not only focused in on our thinking, but we’re doing some thinking about our thinking.

Ashish: That’s so amazing. When you bring this content to, let’s say, business leaders or CEOs, what is their response? Do most people are pretty receptive to it? Or what do you experience when you start telling CEOs, “You need to start being aware that you’re aware, and you started thinking about your thinking, and you need to change the way you make decisions,”?

Ryan: Totally. What we’re finding is that CEOs across north have Americans are very much hungry for this type of focus. I’ll give you a quick example. I think with the tech and Vistage process, I think I have now spoken to over 3,500 CEOs across North America. And many of those companies, we’ve been asked invited in to train their leadership teams or their sales team or whatever. Here’s the point though, is I think that Aristotle, one of the great old timers said, “Thoughts are causes. Thoughts are causes.” If we can’t be intentional around helping shape and inform and inspire and influence the thinking of our people, we can’t lead. So, that’s really the essence, the ground floor of what we help leaders do.

Ashish: That’s so amazing. Let’s get into, I guess… I mean, why did…? Let me ask you this. I think it’s really interesting, and I was having this conversation with somebody the other day, and we were talking about how… and this is going to be a little bit of a left turn. But we were talking about how the passing of Kobe Bryant was such an impactful moment for me and the person I was walking with. And one of the things that hit me so hard… and I wasn’t really a big, huge fan, like in terms of I didn’t know him personally. But when he passed, it hit me so deeply. And the conversation started going to a place of like the excellence, the focus, the discipline, the dedication required to be the best, let’s call it. We’re talking about Tiger Woods. We’re talking about Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan. The best of the best of the best.

Ryan: Yeah.

Ashish: There is a sacrifice that is caused by that level of depth and dedication, correct? And with your sports background, I’m sure you can attest to that as well, right? There’s personal sacrifice. There’s time sacrifice. There’s physical sacrifice. And in business, it’s similar, right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Ashish: I think a lot of people think about and we live in a capitalistic society and people judge leaders or CEOs and Wall Street in that they make… they grow, they grow, they grow. They are focused on their business and they… something else gets sacrificed. I guess, talk to that. Like, what do you see in your experience? Or what’s really going on in the minds of leaders, both in athletics and in business, that drives that level of dedication? And what are the real sacrifices that are going on?

Ryan: [inaudible] I would say, one of the keys that I’ve learned through professional sport and professional business, is that a focus on excellence rubs off on every part of your life. So, so if we’re excellent in business, or we’re excellent as a father, or excellent as a mom, we’re excellent as a doctor, whatever, is that that excellence is not taking away from other thing, it actually gets us wanting to be more excellent across the other factors of our lives. And I love that.

Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, or any of these people, you think of excellence. And I think that’s true of business too. Jim Collins, a great business guru years ago said that level 5 leaders really come down… they exude 2 characteristics. So, this is easy for me. You do the math. Level 5, so that top leader does 2 things really well. And I love that. I love the simplicity. Here’s what they do. They have a strong will and they are humble. And those 2 sorts of qualities, those 2 key focus points are the absolute thing that I think of when I think excellent. So, in other words, if you’re Michael Jordan, you think of his will. If you’re Kobe Bryant, you think of his will. Tiger Woods, you think of his will. Wayne Gretzky, you think of as will, right? Like, they’re going to just will it. They’re going to make it happen.

But you know what I love about all of those names that we just talked about? Humility. Right? “It’s not about me, it’s about the team. It’s not about me, it’s about our family. It’s not about I’m a great dad, it’s about I’ve got great kids.” And I love that concept. And I think the key thing I learned about humility over the last 25 years of training is that humility is not thinking less of yourself. Humility is thinking about yourself less. And so, that… it’s not like, we have to go around saying, “I’m not good. I’m not good. I’m not good.” No, most of those people have to have high confidence. But high confidence doesn’t mean high cockiness. It doesn’t mean that we look at someone else and put them down. As a matter of fact, it’s often the opposite. It’s, we look at someone else and we’re impressed with who they are.

Ashish: That’s so good. I always wonder that these extreme athletes, they focus so much on athletics, but there is even in business, there’s a sacrifice either to their personal life or their physical. And people find challenge in harmony, but when you get to the very, very top, it’s like it’s amazing how they perform, right?

Ryan: So, true. And I love the word ‘excellence’, because we don’t want to be the best businessperson in the world and lose our marriage and lose our family.

Ashish: That’s right.

Ryan: Lose our house, and lose our wealth and gamble it all away. Like, at the end of the day, life is not about, I don’t know, conquering our area and having nothing to go home to. And so, excellence though is… that’s why it’s… I noticed excellence rubs off. So, when I’m trying to be excellent in an area, I still need to be balanced. I still need to make sure that I’m trying to be excellent in the area of family. So, I love that word.

Ashish: Do you find that in the course of your work, especially recently, are you seeing new trends, things that you’re surprised about and when you’re working with people, whether it be the way that people are treating their employees today versus let’s say 5 years ago, the way that people are educated today versus a generation or 2 ago, the way people invest their time or their resources? Like what trends are you seeing that are really different today than maybe you would have anticipated or would have expected?

Ryan: I would say… that’s a great question. I would say over the last 2 years or so, just certainly during the pandemic, I would say there’s been a high focus on energy. Now, I was always sort of focused on energy. Coming from professional sport, you look at, “What’s the energy of your team? What are the energy… what’s the energy of your players?” But I think that business, professional business has really been fixated over the last 18 months on energy. And really making sure that through this difficult time, this time of high change, that we find ways to energize our people, whether they’re working at home, they’re working in the office, they’re working at Starbucks, or wherever. And so, that focus on energy has been huge.

I do a lot of executive coaching right now. And we’re doing lots of Zoom training, some in-person training. And what I’m finding is that the leaders want a strong focus on how to lead energy, and they want tips and they want skill development around how cultures can re-energize. Because I think at the end of the day, I think that, yes, time is important. But really, time is not the key figure. Energy is the key component to high performance. And so, do we have a positive energy? Do we have a negative energy? Do we energize people? Do we suck energy out of people? And I think that’s been a real trend that I’ve noticed at the leadership level.

Ashish: I love it. And let’s just leaned into that, because I could not agree with you more. The obvious question is, well, give us 1 or 2 tips of things that we could do to stimulate positive energy. And the thing… and before you answer that, the thing that I think about when I think about energy, especially during these uncertain times, I’ll call it, is that energy can’t be controlled. And I love you to kind of rebuttal me, but I guess the way I look at it is, it’s hard to control energy. It’s hard to contain it. But you can definitely feel whether you’re giving energy or taking energy away. Does that make sense? I look at energy sort of like a battery. But go ahead, I’d love your insight and…

Ryan: Love that. I love that idea. Someone once said to me, the difference between a thermostat and a thermometer. So, it’s really easy to tell the temperature, to take the temperature, “I’ve got a cold culture,” or, I’ve got a person that’s sucking energy.” It’s not as easy to be the thermostat where you’re dialing it up, dialing it down, trying to figure that out.

Two quick thoughts though, very practical, very simple skills that leaders can utilize now, today, this minute. Number 1 won’t surprise you, is you got to be what you say. So, in other words, it’s easy to tell people to get more energy, but they’re watching your energy. And I think that as a leader, we have to first find ways to keep our energy up. And that’s my great challenge to leaders today. This is not the time to get tired.

Ashish: Right.

Ryan: This is the time to energize. And I don’t know if you have to work out more, if you have to have more family time, if you have to read better books, if you have to… whatever you have to do that energizes you, do it now. Because everybody else is losing energy, we as leaders need to be gaining energy. So, we need to be it first and then say it.

Number 2, and I think it’s just such a simple thought, but so powerful, is we need to be highly aware and highly intentional around our language. So, some of the work that you and I have done together, we actually talked about this concept of language creates reality. [inaudible] Language creates reality. And so, as a leader, are we leading with language? Are we utilizing energized language? Are we negative with our language? Are we pulling people down with our language? Right? And would we agree, and I know you agree, but would your friends and your people listening to agree that there’s emotional language, there’s body language, there’s internal language, and then there’s cultural language that we say? But the things that we say to ourself get replicated in the things that we say to people. So, language, for me is a powerful reminder of language mindset, they go together, but a powerful reminder of things that I can do to try to increase energy throughout my people.

Ashish: I love that. And let me be devil’s advocate, right? Because if I’m listening and I’m like, “I get it. I totally love that. I want to be more intentional with my language. I want to harness more energy and show up with more energy. But Ryan, not everything is nice all the time. There’s issues. There’s challenges. There’s their stress. There’s all these worldly things I can’t control,” just telling a story, right? What…? And I can do this as well, is we as leaders can show up, perhaps with a lot of energy, but we can also show up with a lot of intensity.

Ryan: Yes.

Ashish: And I think that at least I’m victim to this, that I’m not shy as being able to harness and capture my own energy. And I’d love you to share with the audience sort of how you do that. Like do you have a morning routine that allows you to do that or whatever. But I’m not lacking in the energy category, but I think that when you become excited and intense, and sometimes that comes off as aggression, or too intense, it just comes off as aggression. So, language is important, but the intensity of the language is also important. So, I guess, share some of that, especially when times like business goes up and down. Economies go up and down. The universe goes up and down. It’s like energy too. So, how do you manage the downs as well?

Ryan: Sure. I’ll give you… I wish I came up with it. It’s not my stuff. And I want to make sure that I’m sharing who came up with this concept. A simple man by the name of Viktor Frankl. And he was a gentleman, sort of social science person that survived the Auschwitz, German… Nazi, not German, Nazi concentration camp, and his family did not. And so, he’s got my attention, because this is a guy that had to live life. And he came out of that with a thought, an amazing thinking, but a great thought, and that, “Is between stimulus and response is a space.”

Ashish: Mm-hmm.

Ryan: I think that in 2021, 2022 and forward, one of the top 5 leadership skills is to expand the space. So, we get stimulated, and we get angry, natural, but not natural for great leaders, for leaders better than me. Because they have expanded their space. They have understood the concepts of mindfulness, of pausing, of getting triggered, all of these concepts. So, between stimulus and response is a space. And I think, for me now, we’re working with a lot of leaders to just keep expanding that space. “Do I respond or do I intentionally? Or do I react sort of reactionally?”

Ashish: Is that a muscle that we can…? Sorry, go ahead.

Ryan: No, that’s the goal.

Ashish: Is that a muscle that we can all work on and improve?

Ryan: 100%. 100%. You see, some of us, we get angry quicker, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t work on that skill.

Ashish: Right.

Ryan: Right? Expanding the space is personal to us. And I think we can work on every day.

Ashish: Yeah, I love that. I mean, what is one thing that people could do as they’re listening to say, “Man, I’m so reactive. If I could take away this one thing and do this one thing, it’ll improve my ability to increase that gap between,”?

Ryan: Yeah. There’s a lady that has a book, wrote a book. Mel… it’s come to me.

Ashish: Mel Robbins? Is it Mel Robbins?

Ryan: Mel Robbins.

Ashish: Yeah.

Ryan: She just says 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Ashish: Yeah. There you go, guys.

Ryan: When she gets triggered 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I like… and we’ve got the 6-mindset model is we have what’s called a neutral zone. And my trigger is go to neutral.

Ashish: Right.

Ashish: So, “Ryan, go to neutral.” I don’t have to be positive. I can come out of negativity by going to neutral. And so, that’s my trigger. I say to myself all the time, “Okay, Ryan, go to neutral.” That expands my space, gives me more time to be intentional, instead of reactional.

Ashish: Let me ask you, for you personally, how do you…? Because part of the Rich Equation’s pillars is routine. And the reason why routine is so important, in fact, you’ve hit 3 of the major pillars. For us, we have 5 pillars, but energy, routine, and awareness are 3 of the pillars. And I have those 3 pillars, a lot of the reasons you just talked about is that we can’t do what we want, we can’t get the results we want without energy. Right? We have to be able to create energy. And how do we do that? Right? And I think that it’s really fascinating to study super successful people and understand, what is their routine? Do you have a morning routine that allows you to harness that energy and prepare yourself for the day or get the results you want? So, do you have something specific that you do on a daily or monthly? What does your routine look like?

Ryan: Yeah. Boy, I really believe in that. I mean, the morning routine, the evening routine, it really… I call them bookends. It’s the bookend of your life, really. My wife, Jen, and I have come up with a routine in the morning where we’re up at 5:00, 530 every morning. And Jen is amazing. She pops out of bed. I don’t pop out of bed quite as quick as she does. But Jenny has got coffee, and we sit in bed and we do some computer stuff. We do a lot of reading. For us, our faith journey is important to our relationship. So, we’ll actually spend some time having conversation together, reading certain scriptures or things like that. And that gets us started.

I got to say though, a big part of our morning routine because we get up so early is coffee. We love coffee. So, so it’s our way to start. And I see it as a slow start. We think that, for us, we needed a slow start, and we need a slow stop. And so, in the evenings, Jenny and I gear down, we’ll eat dinner. Remember, our kids are all grown up, and they’ve got… we’ve got grandkids. So, it’s most of the time, it’s just Jen and I. So, we have a slow stop also. And that will include lots to work. We’ll work through to 7 o’clock at night. Some nights, we’ll make dinner together. We might be eating at 7:30. We might be eating at 8:30. We could do a better job of trying to eat earlier, but we sort of like that.

And then for Jen and I, it’s really just a simple, I don’t know, murder mystery or something like that, where we can have a slow stop. We’re just we’re slowing down. It’s our way to relax in the evening. So, I believe in the bookends. I think they’re powerful. And I believe… and people shouldn’t adopt ours, but they should absolutely develop their own.

Ashish: I like that a lot. I mean, I think that for most people, and we’re not really taught that. We’re not really taught… and I’ve recently just learned how powerful routine is in my life. My parents, I would say, were really disciplined about their routine. But I never grew up that way. Not that they didn’t teach me, but like I never just built the habits and the routines to be able to consistently start a morning, building the momentum I needed, and then slowing the momentum down. And I think a lot of people, including a lot of people here listening, probably wake up in the morning, grab their cell phone, put their cell phone down and pass out. And that’s their day. That’s their schedule.

Ryan: Yeah.

Ashish: And I think that we learned that that is sustainable, and we can go faster, and we can do more, and we’ll accomplish more if we’re… the second we wake up, we grab our cell phone, and we read emails until we go to bed. But I think that the truth is that it’s unsustainable.

Ryan: Yeah.

Ashish: And if you’re really trying to achieve long term success, you have to be able to build a routine and have more impact in a short amount of time than diluted impact in a longer period of time. Do you agree with that?

Ryan: Agreed, agreed. And another thing that sort of, I think is probably underneath all of this, is this concept of growth. So, in out routine, do we have… are we planning to read books and listen to Audible? And how do we grow? Is really the question is, is it a podcast? Is it… how do we grow? And I think that that has to get into the routine. And the reason is, if it doesn’t, if we don’t plan that, then we’ll go 2 or 3 years to saying, “I’m just the same.” So, the idea of the podcasts like yours is to help stretch people into the future self that they desire, instead of the future self that they get. And so, that part of the piece of growth, I think, is a powerful underpinning for everything that we do within the routine.

Ashish: What question do you get asked the most?

Ryan: You know what’s interesting? As an NHL player, I got asked a really cool question. This is not the most. I need to think about. I get asked a cool question after we won the Stanley Cup. And I’ve never… this is the only time I was ever asked this question. So, I’ll answer that one first. The question was, “When you were a kid, had you ever visioned winning a Stanley?” And that’s such a good question, because I’m a kid from Burnaby, British Columbia. And it just rains in Burnaby. And there’s no outdoor ice. So, we were playing ball hockey. We weren’t playing real hockey. And you shoot a ball top corner through the goalie’s arm or something, and you go, “Yeah! Stanley Cup, winning goal!” Like, I’ve done that thousands of times.

And so, one of the keys that I learned from that concept from that question, was this idea, the power of preparation, mental preparation, seeing ourselves do what we’re going to do. A guy by the name of Steele Dini said this, he’s a doctor and influencer. He said this, “It’s what you do before what you do that counts.” And I love that thought. And we work with leaders and high performers and sales teams to really study their preparation, the what we do, the visualization, the idea of being in flow as we head into the best parts of our business.

Ashish: I love that.

Ryan: What question have I been asked most? Wow, that’s a good question.

Ashish: Well, before you answer that, I’ll give you some time to think about it as you answer this question is that, like I love the idea that how important it is to visualize. And I’ve started to learn this more and more recently. And we don’t talk about visualization in business. You talk a lot about it in sports, right? You talk a lot about like, “Watch yourself running down the track. Watch yourself shooting that goal. Watch yourself shoot the football, the basketball, or what have you,” like, visualizing going through and winning. But we don’t talk about that in business, or generally in life. And I think that there’s this social movement talking about like visual boards and mind movies and things like that. What do you… do you coach people and support them to help visualize either the success of their business? Or are you talking about kind of, “Visualize the person you want to be, not the person you are today. Visualize the person you want to be, and it’ll manifest,”? Talk us… talk to us a little bit about that.

Ryan: Yeah, totally. In business, we recommend to leaders, high performers to journal. And that’s how we can get away with visualizing. I think if you and I were to sit in our chair during our business day for a couple hours and have our eyes closed, I think people will start to go, “What’s going on in there?” That’s probably not going to work out. But when we’re writing in our journal about our future self and about our future, the future of our company, and about the holiday that we want, and about the kids that we want, the marriage we want, all of those things get us to where we want to go.

You see, a lot of people think about stuff, but they don’t write it down. You and I could have a business plan in our head, but we probably don’t act on that business plan until we actually put it into either a computer or on a piece of paper. So, really, the idea of writing is a powerful way to visualize as a business.

Now, the other thing I’d fire at you is when we think of sort of this idea of a future self-worth or future… we like to call it our future positive self, is that we want to make sure that we’re not always looking back. I think this is the opposite of it. Is to is to think that everything that we’ve done in our past, especially our past negatives, actually end up creating the person we are today.

Now, science is saying recently, that the biggest impact on who we are today on our present self, is how we see our future self, not our past. So, our past self, when you think about it, we can reframe the negativity of our past. We can see it through a learning lens and say, “Yeah, I screwed up there. But I’m going to get better. I can do this to get better.” The goal is rather to pre-frame our future. What do we want to look like? What does our business want to look like? Right? What’s our physique want to look like? What does our marriage want to look like? And that way, when we pre-frame things, we actually create positive expectations today to do that.

Ashish: So, what you’re saying is it’s actually more important to visualize the future as a pulling momentum to get you there, than to look in the past and learn from those lessons or reframe what happened to you or deal with your traumas? The actual forward trajectory of being able to deeply visualize your future can actually have more of an impact on your present being. That’s so powerful.

Ryan: That’s what science is saying right now.

Ashish: Yeah, I agree with you.

Ryan: Most people look backwards and say, “I’m a screw up.” And then they live today as a screw up.

Ashish: That’s right.

Ryan: For years, we have been influenced by what we did. And isn’t it beautiful to think of ourselves, rather the energy we have today needs to be much more generated, is generated more in a bigger term by where we want to go and by who we want to be.

Ashish: I love that. I always say that that you have a… the pull needs to be so strong that you just can’t stop.

Ryan: Love it. I love your idea of pull. I haven’t thought of that. So, pull and push.

Ashish: That’s right, it’s got to pull you. It’s got to keep you moving forward. Right? The pulls… but I’ve just started thinking more about visualization recently, and how to create that visualization to be more visceral. I actually would suggest all CEOs sit right in the middle of their entire business floor and meditate in front of all their employees, because I think it’s like it’s so visceral to see that and feel that energy within the company, but I love journaling as well. I guess, what do you…? I mean, you’re so knowledgeable about leadership and communication, what do you wish you knew 20, 25 years ago?

Ryan: Oh, so many things, so many things. I mean, I wish that I could have expanded my space quicker. I said some words to an NHL General Manager in Washington, D.C., and I was traded 4 days later. I’d love to have those words back. But I’m really pleased with the journey that my Creator has me on, and that direction. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life. But I guess what I’ve learned is that there’s a couple ways to learn. There’s 3 ways to learn. I can learn from my mistakes. I can learn from information, books, and podcasts like this. And then I can also learn from other people. And so, I’ve tried to, instead of making the mistake, I’m still a risk taker, I love taking risks, but I’ve been much more into learning from autobiographies, from great books, from people, from podcasts. And I love that knowledge that turns into wisdom when we understand how to apply it. And so, I wish… if I was to look back, I wish that I could have accelerated those 2, learning from other people, learning from literature, and maybe decelerated some of the mistakes that I made.

Ashish: A lot of your content and knowledge is about how leaders can show up, how they can improve how they are being, how they’re communicating. What advice do you have for let’s say the education system or society at large or other leaders when it comes to educating other leaders, educating future leaders, educating leaders that are going to run the world 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now? What advice do you have for those people, preemptively?

Ryan: Yeah, I love that. I think the idea, the word that comes to mind is ‘credibility’. A lot of people say things and they expect people to listen and apply quickly. But most people that either teach or train or lead or whatever, don’t look at the information through the eyes of the student. And what the student sees first is you. So, if we do not have credibility, if we have low credibility in the eyes of our students, then what we say doesn’t have impact. And so, one of the things that we work with leaders across the world around is, “Do you know your credibility score that other people have for you? And how can you increase that credibility score at every level of your business through… with every person in your business?”

Now, does that mean that we have to be nice and empathetic and all of that? Well, it helps. But some people, they don’t want your empathy, they actually want to be held accountable. And if you don’t hold them accountable, then you’re not credible. So, credibility is not… it’s a word that we’re not hearing a lot in leadership development. As a matter of fact, I don’t know… and I say this humbly, I don’t know another leadership development company that has high focus on credibility. And yet without credibility, you can’t lead.

Ashish: That’s so interesting. I love that word and the way you frame that. Simon Sinek put out a message or a YouTube video a couple of years ago that got a lot of traction about how, basically the burden of managing Millennials is our problem. And what that meant, what he meant was that we need to stop blaming this… and this was a few years ago, so I apologize if I’m a little outdated. But we need to stop blaming Millennials for being Millennials. We need to take ownership. We need to… and I’m a Millennial, so I’m… but still. The credibility, the ownership, the responsibility of leading these people and becoming the next generation of leaders is on us. And I like that perspective. I think it’s much more empowering, correct?

I also feel like you talk about, who are our teachers of this topic? Right? We talk about teachers in school. We talk about parents. Maybe you’d talk about our bosses. Most people are not even taught this, to like that you need to build your own credibility so that they learn from you on how to be a good leader and pass it on. And I think most people are not really taught to be managers or leaders, we end up promoting and most of the time, good workers into good… into managers, but they actually are just great workers. And we have to teach the right, which is why you have a successful career.

Ryan: I think you’re right. And one of the things that we love about our industry, is that every single company, organization, sports team in the world is our pipeline, right?

Ashish: That’s right, everybody has to increase the capacity of leadership throughout their company, or they’re going to go under eventually. So, you’re right, we’re in the right industry. We have the right opportunity there. But I would go back to credibility just for a quick second. I think that the idea of credibility, with a leadership focus or leadership sort of angle is really a something that upper leaders need to understand and look at, and help (and I say this carefully) younger leaders. Like you said, with the Millennials, to help them understand how to develop their credibility, how to utilize your credibility, and not how to abuse it.

People have to see us as real before they’re going to follow us. Because otherwise… and you and I are both know this. We’ve had bosses in our past where we just go, “Yeah, he’s just a hypocrite.” So, are we going to fully follow that boss? We’ll do what he says. We’ll basically come to work, but we won’t come to win. And so, the concept of credibility helps to fill that gap. And I think it’s having a high awareness on what credibility is and how my credibility affects the team, because it can be different in every culture. And then how can I grow my credibility? Final thought on credibility. What I find fascinating is, once we do what we do and say what we say, credibility, we lose control of credibility. Credibility sits in the perception or in the mind of other people.

Ashish: That’s fascinating. I never really thought about it that way. It’s really powerful. Super good. Thanks for doing this. Let me ask you 1 final question, and unless you have anything else you want to bring up. But for you, what does ‘rich’ mean to you?

Ryan: Well, you… first thing that comes to mind is relationship, is family. We have 5 amazing kids. We have 5 amazing grandkids. Yeah, I got lots of this grey hair up here. Jenny and I just love family. I mean, we always have, but I think that as you grow and you… I don’t feel like we’re getting any older. But that as we age, family gets heightened. Those relationships get even more important. So, certainly relationships, certainly family. But I love where your podcast goes, because the Jen and I just walked through this. We took a period of our… of time, about 10 months, I’m going to say, and we invested in everything. So, we sold the house. We sold the condo. We sold the boat. We sold everything during COVID. And everybody wanted to buy these things, so we sold them. And we put our money into the market, and we did really well we’re very thankful.

But here’s what hit us. Growing money is awesome, but we find that having the exact beautiful home that we want to live in every day is a better use of our money. And in Canada, there’s you… it’s the net profits of your home is tax exempt. So, we would rather put our money into a beautiful home that we love every day than put our money into the market where we never see it, we never touch it. We get a return which is good. But for us, that’s profitability, right?

And I wanted to make sure that I mentioned that, because I think it sort of comes down to the things that we prioritize, right? Is increase in wealth important? Sure, it is. We all want that to happen. But when we looked at the difference between that and then the ability to have a home on the water where our grandkids and kids can come and relax and be with us, then then that was the priority of our life. And we’re seeing that play out right now.

Ashish: I love that. It’s all about experience. The money is useless if you can’t experience what you want.

Ryan: Totally.

Ashish: It’s so powerful. Well, listen, I sincerely appreciate everything, and your time and all of your knowledge and what you’re doing to help leaders and transform the world. It’s a really noble, noble work that you do. And it’s just so powerful, and it’s so relatable. And it’s so easy. It almost makes it super, super easy. So, I just want to honor you and thank you. And for the listeners on, tell us how people can find you.

Ryan: Thank you. Probably the simplest way is That’s pretty simple. Or a quick email. I love connecting with people by email and phone. So, over Zoom. And also comes directly to me.

Ashish: So good. Well, listen, listeners, I mean, this was such a great episode. I really appreciate you guys listening. Definitely leave us a comment on Apple podcasts or Spotify if you have any other questions, and reach out to Ryan Walter. This was such a great episode. We’ve learned so much. Thank you so much, sir.

Ryan: Thanks so much, Ashish.

Outro: Thank you for listening to the Rich Equation podcast with Ashish Nathu. Do you want more ideas on how to live rich? Go to for show notes and resources, then take 1 minute to leave Ashish a 5-star review on Apple podcasts. And we’ll see you on the next episode.

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You can have results or you can have excuses but not both.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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