Today, I speak with Justin Great as he dives into the often-complicated relationship we have with money...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/how-to-fix-your-relationship-with-money-with-justin-great/#show-notes
Today, I speak with Justin Great as he dives into the often-complicated relationship we have with money.
In this episode, you'll learn practical tips and strategies for fixing your financial habits and creating a healthier relationship with your finances. From budgeting and saving to investing and earning more, this podcast will provide you with the tools you need to take control of your money and secure your financial future. Tune in and start your journey to financial freedom with Justin Great's expert advice.
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Michael: Hey, what's up Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my great friend, Justin Great. What is up my friend? How are you today?
Justin: I'm doing well man. Thank you so much for having me on.
Michael: Yeah, man, it's my pleasure, honors all mine, dude. Been looking forward to this and having like a real powerful conversation together. You and I have been able to connect over the course of the last few months because of mutual friends. And you know, I think one of the really powerful things about you and your story and why I wanted to talk with you in this capacity was just looking at the way that you've been able to leverage belief in yourself despite what many would call a chaotic background to go and kind of create life. And I think that is ultimately one of the most beautiful things about the human experience is that we can do that, but so much of it is choice. So, I would love to start this if you just talk a little bit about your background, whatever you care to share and kind of what growing up was like.
Justin: Yeah, man. First and foremost, thanks again for having me. I appreciate it, but I think that is likewise what drew me to you and your powerful story that you have. And, you know, I think as we began to talk, we started developing, hey, there's a lot of similarities and there's a lot of growth that we can out of each other, you know what I mean? Together and have that kind of friendship that can help us to thrive. And I think for me as a youth, it was one of those things that was I didn't necessarily have a bad childhood from what I thought. I grew up in a single parent household, my dad was not really in the mix as heavily as time went by. Even at the time when my parents were married, because they divorced around age 13 for me. And I had a younger brother at the time, and then another one came after that. But at that time, I was thinking, you know, everything was all good, as time passed, I realized as I got older that my mom really, really struggled during that time, raising me and my brother. And that she didn't really have that support that she was needing, you know, not only from a financial background, but also too from an emotional standpoint as well. You know what I mean? There's so many stories I could tell that could go into that whole path of why that was the case. But what I really did notice was, is the strength that she protruded and that she was able to share with me and my brother every single day, you know, she would come and pray over us, for instance, and just really like, give us like nice experiences, we did things, we had all these things. I just never knew that there was an issue. I was just under the, you know, impression that everything was all good. As I'm older and as a man, I'm like, having these discussions and I'm like, what? This happened that happened. In fact, you know, there was one point in time where my mom was sharing and she was like, you know, there was a point in time where we stayed in the mission. And I'm like, the mission, how did that happen? Those kinds of things like that where I was just dumbfounded by the experience and I never knew, never understood, because everything was always provided for, always had that encouragement and that's why to this day I think my mom is my biggest inspiration because she believed in me, she always has, right? Everybody's parents, she always like, oh, you know, mom believes in me. But I think there was another level to it. She always, you know, told me every single day that you are the head and not to tell you're a leader and not the follower. You can do whatever you want to do, whatever goals or dreams you have, go after 'em, those kinds of things like that, where it was just so instilled inside of me to the point where I was just, believed it. Right? And so, I carried that with me all throughout and, you know, even to this day, I actually have a good relationship with my father now. But you know, I do wish that I would've had a deeper connection with him and that I would've been able to have an example at a better level, you know what I mean? I think he has some understanding now. I'm in his older age, but I think as a youth, he was just out doing his thing and actually even now as an adult, I can look back at that time and say, you know, I can understand some of these things and maybe some things I don't understand, but I think there is value in communication. Right. And being able to also admit faults and being able, being able to take accountability and responsibility for actions while simultaneously instilling values. Right. And I just think that wasn't really the case for me, so I had to figure it all out. So even going into the, you know, further parts of the story, there's so many things, and this is why I admire about you as well, that we just had to do on our own figure it out. You have to find that strength inside of you and either you're going to succeed and strive or either you're going to be just failed and I was just not willing to do that. And I had so much of that inspiration, hearing my mom's voice in the back of my ear just saying, you can do it whatever you wanna do.
Michael: Yeah, dude, that's super powerful. And I think that a – kudos to your mom for being able to be that person because so many single parent homes and look, and I'm not a woman, I don't have children, I'm not a single parent. I don't understand what that is, but I do know from my own experience, like watching my mother go the opposite direction, that this can often go one of two ways. And in that it takes a lot to be able, as an individual growing up to figure that out. And when you go look at a lot of resiliency survey study about what it means, like how do people really like thrive despite chaotic backgrounds or upbringings or you know, statistically you can go look that boys who grew up without fathers are four times more likely to go to prison. 80% more likely to be drug addicts and alcoholics. And I forget what the other statistic is, but the amount of abuse that men put in domestic violence goes up like 10X, it's unbelievable. Right.
Justin: And that's the thing, like you said, it's a choice. There's a choice that you can split and make it's like, okay, these things are happening to me. I'm going to go down this negative path, or these things are happening to me. I'm gonna take these things and spin 'em around and actually thrive off of that. I'm gonna use it as fuel.
Michael: Yeah. And the fuel for me, it took me a long, long, long time to come to that conclusion because I didn't realize, and my thought of what I felt like success was, was about money. And not realizing like, really it is kind of what you said, it's about can you just not fail? And I don't think there's anything wrong with failure. I mean, dude, failure is the ultimate learning.
Justin: It's learning experience. Right. That's what they say, it's like, it's not failure, you know.
Michael: It's only failure if you don't choose to continue.
Justin: If you stop, if you give up.
Michael: Right. And it's easy to quit. It's easy to give up, right? I mean, you know, there's so many different stories. You can go to Michael Jordan, the basketball team, you can go to Tyson, this and that. I mean, there's always like this thing. But for you, when did that really hit home where you're like, was there a pivotal moment where you're like, actually, I refuse to fail. I'm going to figure this out no matter what? Is there something that comes to mind where you're like, you know, I remember this moment.
Justin: Yeah, you know it was I feel like I always had like a really strong like friend group wherever I was at. You know what I mean? I had a lot of great friends around me and I was doing things, I played basketball really heavily in high school. I was pretty good. I did some, you know, all these cool events. I was involved heavily with my church. I was doing all these cool things and there came a point, I think when I went to college actually, and I started going down the path of these things I'm going to tell you about my story.
I started realizing over and over and over again from different people that were influential that would, I would come into contact with and I'd be talking to and they'd be like, hey, I see something in you or I think that this thing or that thing, like, you can be great, you have this, you have that. And I had heard it all the time, like I say, from my mom, but like these outside, you know, voices I had not fully experienced. And so late in high school, early college, I started having that happen more frequently and I was like, let me kinda like dig into that a little bit more, what do I actually feel like I want to contribute to the world? And when I started looking into, not only just hearing those contributions, but I started reading books, I started looking into or consuming content rather, cuz I'm a person that loves to consume, you know, information that's going to build me up. And once I started getting that mentality, so like a high functioning mentality that's focused on success, whether that financially or that be just spiritually happiness, all those various things like that. I was like, you know, I'm dead set on that. I think I actually am capable of making it and I'm going to do it. I set myself to that and never looked back. It really came from that sports analogy; I think from the past ‘cause I was so heavy into basketball and I kind of had that competitive nature. But I think when I stepped outta sports, and I wasn't doing that any longer cuz I actually ended up breaking my hand pretty badly in my last senior year of high school, and that's the reason why too, I didn't pursue anything further with sports. So, I had that competitive mentality, but I think it went to another level when I was like, okay, now what do I do? I can't do the sports thing anymore. Now let me actually dig deep in myself and find out what do I contribute to this world. When I locked in on what that was gonna be, I never looked back. And I'm telling you, even to this day, it's the same vision, same goal that I have that I want to accomplish. And it takes people a long time to find out what their vision is, but I've had the same one ever since like starting college.
Michael: Yeah. And what is it?
Justin: Well, I think that it's bringing or making a happier world, right? That's the big, broader scheme, right? But that I think is done through influence in my opinion. Right? So that's the reason why, for me, why okay, building businesses or doing things like that, obtaining finance or being successful, all that stuff like that is a means to more influence, which ultimately allows us, you know, having a stronger word, right? So that therefore when we come and approach issues that come upon us, hey, we want to help out this foundation. We want to be able to go and service these people and do that. I wanna be able to have enough finance to be able to do that without asking. I want to be able to have enough influence to be able to do that. So, when we say something or, Hey, this is something that we want other people to get on board with, it's done because of the work that's already been put in. So, I see that coming to life through the various platforms and it drilled down to another level, and we'll go into this a little bit more later, but it drilled down to another level of why as a person that is a creative director and a person that really, really has an affinity for branding, that stuff really dictates a lot of the direction that society goes, right? So, when we talk about branding, we're saying, Hey, the reason why I love this kind of thing so much is because I personally feel like brands dictate, you see what I'm saying? So, when I look at something like branding, I'm looking at, okay, I'm only one man. I have so many desires. I have like all these different things I love doing. Right? And it's kind of a crutch, it's a crippling factor for me because I love so many things that like, I attach to doing so many different things. And so, I've had to learn the power of team. I've had to learn the power of delegation. And what I found out is, there is a way for me to execute all thousand ideas of companies that I wanna start by the act of building brands because therefore I can utilize other people's passions and desires and work ethic and intense emotion about a subject and we can build the brand around that while they do the work that, you know, may encompass it coming to life. Right? And then I can walk away from that brand and say, hey, we had a part in building the identity of the way that looks, or the way that functions. We came up the way that the strategy or the cycle works for them. And I feel really good about that, having an imprint on, those different thousand businesses as opposed to starting a thousand myself.
Michael: Yeah. And each one of those moves you towards your goal. And that's one of the things I think is really interesting about life in general is when you recognize, I read this book, gosh, it must have been like five or six years ago by my friend Alex Banyan, and it's called The Third Door. And the third door is very simple, it's about this idea that there's always another way in. Right. And there's always this space in which you can figure out how to get to where you want to go if you're willing to look for other opportunities and other ways to get in there.I've considered myself really forever to be solution oriented. I can go back to childhood and be like, I needed to figure out how to get something or navigate the world in a way, most of the time I was able to do it because I'd figure out what it would take to do that. And I think people get so caught up in this notion or idea if it's black and white but it's not like, the thing that I think is so fascinating about life is nothing is actually black and white, nothing while some things are binary, i.e., are you going to act, are you not going to act right? Like there's no space for gray area in action? But in the way that we get to things, it's not binary. Right. There's a million different solutions to get thereThere's a million different ways to make your dreams come true. And there's a million ways to screw up on the process and on the way there, right? And one of the things that I'm curious about is, you know, where has the relationship with yourself in terms of accomplishment shifted?
Justin: Ooh, that's a good question. I think, it shifted for the better in this way. I used to be very, very, very focused on the financial growth. I used to be very hyper focused on the clout or all of these things, and it kind of contradicts because I'm talking about influence and finance and all those things, but it's now, for me, it's changed to a space of if I'm going to give everything that I have to it, if I'm not able to get to that space, I can live with that if my effort has matched.
Michael: Dude, I'm so glad you just said that. I was literally just explaining this to somebody that I do not care about the outcome. I only care about the effort.
Justin: It's the effort, it's the journey. I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and be able to, hey, you went for it, that's why like any idea, like people are always like, oh, well, you know, you do too many things or you have all this stuff ‘cause I have different, you know, different businesses and renaissance men, that whole concept I'm at. Now, I look at myself in the mirror and at the end of the day, I'm like, hey, I really gave it a valiant effort. I felt like I had the time, talent means ability to do this, and I went for it. And if it doesn't work out, I can at least be pleased that I gave an effort and do that, versus being the person that looks in the mirror and said, oh, I should have coulda, woulda, or telling those stories to your kids and, oh, I could have done this, but I didn't there, dude, whatever. I'm not gonna be that person.
Michael: Yeah, that's Uncle Rico's.
Justin: A hundred percent.
Michael: If coach would've put me in the game, man, I'd have thrown this football over that mountain. Right? Like no motherfucker. You wouldn't have. If you were supposed to be in the game, you would've put in the work you would've earned game the spot, you would've figured it out. And look, I know people are gonna hear this and like, oh, well you guys must be special, blah, blah, blah. I'm like, dude, you walked into the office today and saw this giant project I'm working on, you've gotta put in the work, you have to put in the effort, it's a must.
Justin: It's the things people don't see. And I can attest to that, like all my closest friends who've been around me, like they already know what it is like there's years of my life, a lot of 'em, and I'm just recently trying to get out of it a little bit where I'm literally sleeping three hours a night, two hours a night, because I just am so determined to get these things off the ground, it's the work ethic. Nobody's gonna outwork me, that's the one thing that's the work mentality I want to always, you know, kind of keep, is like, Hey, you know, can I work smarter? Sure. And not harder there's ways to do that, but I'm going to put in the work.
Michael: Yeah. And it's hard not to get caught up in the hustle of it all. I think specifically, or generally speaking, people our age in their late twenties, early thirties, even early forties, you know, we come from a society that if you go back and look at I love the spin that is about to happen in my head about the indoctrination and marketing and the way that we think about the world. As a branding person, you'll really understand this we might lose some people but stay with us ‘cuz I'm gonna make a really, really important point. I promise this is gonna go somewhere. We are the children of an advertising in a different way than our parents and their parents because if you look at the way that television and us, the majority, I assume you probably fall in this category as well. Were latchkey kids, I would come home, have my bagel bites, drink my Mondo Hot, have my hot pocket. And then I'd watch television all afternoon and what is happening in those commercials? You're being indoctrinated into product. You're being indoctrinated into this thing that you need. I distinctly freaking remember pogs, right? Pogs were a fad, they're here and gone but the way that pogs took over society in Schools when I was a kid was a bar none and I could not afford, we had zero pods and that made me automatically an outsider in like fucking third grade. And now what I watch happen constantly, constantly with people in this age window is that now we're like, I don't have a Tesla, so I'm not good enough. I don't have a Rolex on, so I'm not doing anything in life. And Justin, dude, I don't know about you, but I'm gonna say this, I have never put on a pair of shoes and loved myself. Right?
Justin: That didn't do the trick?
Michael: No, and it never will. Right? But what does, is fulfillment of the effort. Can I show up? Can I try? Can I inevitably screw up? Can I just put myself in the window of recognizing hustle culture for the sake of life and the thing that fulfills you? I'm for that all day long, hustle culture for the sake of I need to keep up with the Joneses it is the most dangerous thing that you can do.
Justin: And that's what I'm telling you. I think in the past it's so ironic that you brought that up too, ‘cuz like in the past that's where I might have for a season. Where I was thinking of it that way, and something just clicked and it brought a whole different level of like thought to me where I'm just like, oh, I'm actually not even in the right space like, I'm not doing this for the right reason, what I'm really seeking is freedom and happiness and being able to bring joy to others and all that. So, it doesn't really matter, you know, if I don't achieve it that way, I'm gonna put everything I have into it. But if I don't, my life is not over.
Michael: What was the shift?
Justin: I'm telling you, man. I was sitting in my room, it was like kind of a spiritual encounter for me actually, and it was where I needed to let go because I was consumed by social media. I was consumed by perception and what people think. And hey, you know, I want to be the liked person, I wanna, you know, look this way, I was doing all this fashion stuff and all this, and I'm like, okay, my line has to do this much or my album that I put out has to do this much and all that and I was consumed by that and just something, you know, inside told me, just let it go. You need to let that go. Not the effort, don't let that go. Keep putting out great quality, you know, content. Keep doing your thing thriving after it, but let go of the need for it to be what you think it's supposed to be because as soon as you lock in what you think it's supposed to be, that's where they say like, you know, tell, you know God, your plans.
Michael: Yeah, that's the way to make.
Justin:Exactly, that whole thing, because it's like I was so locked into the way it was supposed to look that I wasn't given an opportunity for it to even be bigger and for the opportunities to come in a different way and that's exactly what happened as soon as I started letting go,so it changed it. But to bring up what you were talking about the culture as like a youth coming home and all that it was so funny, I just talked to somebody about this yesterday about like the eighties and nineties, like our age, you know, group as kids was like coolest and most like impressionable time, I think for like kids at the time, because you go home, to your point, you see those commercials, everything was bigger and colorful and these TV shovels.
Michael: Neon green.
Justin: Yeah, exactly, slime coming outta stuff and doing all this, cool stuff like that. Like, you know, toys were became cooler at that point in time, game systems. Think about all these different things that were going on, like cartoons that you remember that were fun. And you go to the movies and you get the cup with the design on it and all that stuff, like the marketing behind things, and you got it ingrained in you, you wanted the merch, you wanted all this. And now it's just, you know, I would even suggest like, who watches TV and watches a commercial? It's like now its social media.
Michael: Well, social media is a TV. You know what I think it's funny, whenever anyone is like, I don't have a TV. I'm like, you have Netflix, why are you conflating this? Just because you don't have this big box that sits in your living room, doesn't mean you're not consuming content. And I think it's really, really interesting that in the way that we consume content is right now really dangerous. Like social media is the most addictive drug on planet Earth, and it is so fucking dangerous because you're just hitting yourself with dopamine after dopamine, after dopamine, after dopamine and micro doses all day, all night. And look, and I get that cuz like, with my background in business, being in branding and marketing, but my mission in life being Think Unbroken and changing the world, I'd be an idiot and a liar to say that there's not a crossover. Right. I mean, if you can build it, but they ain't coming if you don't tell 'em. Right? And I think that you have to be very selective in the messaging that you're choosing to consume. And it's dangerous ‘cuz there are snake oil salesman out there and there are liars and there are people who don't have your best interest at heart. And that's why people the same as you, man, at 26 years old, here I am having wasted a million dollars, having destroyed my life, my relationships, my friendships being morbidly obese, like life being this very, very different thing because I was always chasing what? The dragon of money. Right. I'm like, man, when I get enough and that when that concept man is so fucking dangerous, because wind ain't coming.
Justin: It's not, it really isn't. And then on top of that too, like I think with the mentalities that we have now, it's like kind of this like conquering thing. It's like, okay, great, we've achieved that, but like, what more can I do?
Michael: What does that do for you though?
Justin: Exactly, that's what I'm saying, dude. I don't believe it does very much to kind of keep having this whole thing unless there's a space where I think if I can do more to help others and I can do it in a space where I am exerting less energy to do the same amount of help. There's something to that I think, and I would love to get to that space where not where like I may be working myself into the ground kinda like I am now, but like where I can work strategically and partner with people that can help us spread the message like things like Think Unbroken.
Michael: Yeah. Well, and I think that's time. Right? I mean, ultimately, especially, from a business perspective, that's just simply time. Right? And people have the false narrative that they're gonna work on a project for 18 months and that suddenly they're going to be the next whatever and well, and that's not how life works, it's how business works, relationships work, health work, nothing works that way. Right. Everything, while life is very linear from the start to the finish, in between, there are these massive, massive peaks and valleys. And I think one of the reasons that I went so gung-ho on this podcast and this conversation about mental health is because I recognize the very avenue that you're talking about. I said, well, what can I do that is both fulfilling but also doesn't require a tremendous amount of time? And it was this. And I can remove myself from the emotional capacity to some extent when I get to have amazing people like you come and sit down and share their thoughts because we all need that. And so I'm curious for you as you had this moment, you wanna go back to it and you're looking at, you're like, man, I'm chasing the wrong thing, I'm looking at life through the wrong scope. I'm filling it beat me up. What transpired after that? Because I think a lot of people who are listening right now are like, yeah, I mean, I want to build this thing. I want to do all these other projects. But you know, what cost?
Justin: Yeah. I think for me it was like I had to realize that like, I have to do it because I like it, you know what I mean? I have to do what it is that I'm called to because I'm called to it.
Michael: How do you honor that though?
Justin: And I think it happens through what we talked about earlier, actions. So there's so many people that say they want to do something or they're passionate about something, you ask somebody, oh, well, if fear wasn't a factor, you know what I mean? If the finance and all these different things that people put as roadblocks from them starting to take action weren't factors, what would it be that you would do that would make you happy?
Justin: And all these answers and stuff like that come out. Well, how come you don't like do anything around that subject, even as a hobby? Anything like that. Well, you know, I'm scared, or all these different things like that. So for me, I had to realize that, okay, I don't have a sense of fear about doing any of it. I have the wrong, I feel like motivation right now. So, once I got rid of that part of it and then I said, okay, I'm doing everything now because I wanna see everybody happier. Right? I think if we have a happier world, I think there's this connection to that where ultimately it will drive more purpose in people's lives, which will ultimately lead to like less crime and less people being all upset and mad in the world and then it will lead to less depression it'll lead to all these things because when you have the happiness meter at a heightened space, right? And that can be through careers, through your family and relationships, friends, all those different things like that, you know, all those various factors, when they're all at a high space, it's really difficult to walk through the world in a dysfunctional matter. So, for me, what happened after I made that click, I instantly went into just like, Tunnel vision mode on the vision but it was so much more refreshing because while I was working prior, now I feel more energized and more refreshed because now I see a real purpose at the end that didn't involve myself, it involved everyone else.
Michael: Yeah. I resonate with that entirely. And one of the things that came to mind as you were saying that, I mean, there is a tremendous amount of discord in the world around people who blame their job, they blame their community, they blame their family. And I always think to myself, yeah, but what action are you taking to move forward and away from that and into something different? Gallup Polls did a research study, 83 percent of people dislike their job.
Justin: Oh yeah. I believe that.
Michael: And that tells me 83% of people are gonna die with regret.
Justin: Yep. Absolutely. What do they say, the graveyard is like the wealthiest place because so many people die with ideas and dreams that were deferred.
Michael: I don't know if you'll agree with, I've really been on this recently and trying to, I don't have it fully articulated yet other than a sentence. And there's depth and there's a course that I'm working on building out around this ‘cause I see the value in it. I believe that people are more scared of success than they are failure.
Justin: Yeah. Like what do you do when actually do succeed.
Michael: When you actually feel like, wow, I'm validated. I matter. I can. I trust, I believe. I am. Right. And I think that fucking terrifies people, man.
Justin: Yeah. What do you think is like, you know, I guess the fear factor of that, like what would happen if what is a person thinking, like when they do succeed in that space?
Michael: Well, think about this, if all you've ever known and experience is failure that is your nomenclature, that's everything that you understand about the world and to step into the opposite, well, that's scary, right? That's where fear plays a role, well, fuck, I can be successful.
Justin: Well, there's a lot of truth to that ‘cuz I think about like, you know how there's people that like aren't good at like accepting compliments or something like that or just like, you know, Hey, you did a great job and you're like, okay, like, and then you kind of keep going onto your normal thing.
Michael: Just say thank you.
Justin: Yeah. Instead of just thank you and on keep doing what you do right. It's kind of that thing too to it, it's just like, Hey, no, I believe in you. I think you can do a great job at whatever thing it is and then they go and pursue it. And then what do you know? You're successful. And I think to me what it is, is not having a purpose behind the success that can drive some of that. So, like, okay, there's a lot of people that are successful and you ask them questions like, Hey, why did you want to do this? Or what is your like kind of end goal behind it? And they don't have an answer to that beyond money. And that breeds like later on not being fulfilled because I feel like while like people are, oh, money can't buy happiness like, I think money can make people's lives easier in some respect and all of those great things that money can do.
Michael: You know what money buys? Buys the removal of stress.
Justin: Absolutely. There's stress free, there's freedom that comes with having money and then you are able to help and you're able to do whatever you want to do.
Michael: Okay. So, I'm curious about something, I'm gonna go deeper here because I think this is gonna be important for somebody, listening here. Growing up the way you grew up having these moments, obviously you don't remember your mom did a fucking awesome job, right? Having time in the mission, I'm sure. If you stayed in a mission, you probably like me, were on food stamps or WIC or government subsidies. I had to change my mindset around money. I had to shift my mindset on money from, oh my God, this is the worst thing on planet Earth, blame the corporations. Fuck rich people, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah to money is ever abundant in energy that is available for anyone at all time if they're willing to be open to the acceptance of it. And so I'm curious for you, what shift because there had to be a shift, what was the shift?
Justin: Like in that mentality?
Justin: I think when I started looking at it more as a tool. So I said to myself, I'm like, okay, yeah, you have the money or whatever else, people can be wealthy and buy things and you know, cause I'm a guy who likes fashion, so I'm thinking of all these things. I'm like, oh, I can get all this stuff. You know what I mean? And I'm a person who has stuff, so don't, you know what I mean? Like, you go see my sneaker closet, it's ridiculous there's things I like, right? But I had to shift my thought to say, okay, because now my vision is to help people to make this world a happier place, if you will and to give of myself to that and give of my gifts to help make the world happier. What I had to do was, is change my mentality around money. And what I said when it came to money is that okay, this tool, right, I have a lot of it, so therefore I can expend it to help and do those types of things.
So when I started looking at it that way versus like consumption for me, that just changed the game for me, man. Like I really started thinking about money as like, okay, there's this issue like I think it was like something that happened when flint had the water crisis, that was going on. I'm from Michigan actually, and I'm from the west, you know, side of Michigan, Holland, grand Rapids area. When I heard that happen, I was like, you know what, this is an instance or these types of things like this is where we should be able to just not have to do a whole, Hey everyone, call everybody and try to like gather up all this money. I just wanna be able to be like, here. Let's fix it. You know what I mean? And let's do it. And so that's a tool, right? And it's not thinking about yourself, it's not like how many houses and stuff can I accumulate now while I do enjoy nice things and design and architecture and all those things like that. So, for me, if I have the funds to do it, I want to have a really nice house. But what I'm saying is, is that that is not the all end and for me, I'm not gonna fulfilled out of those things I've accumulated a lot, it's all relative, right? Like right now, I have things that a lot of other people don't have. And for me, I'm like, I'm still trying to go higher and that person's looking at, like I have friends that are looking at me like what I'm doing is the greatest thing ever. You know what I mean? And it's like, well, I appreciate that you feel that way. I'm trying to go to this level and the person that's at that level is probably looking at a different way too, right? So I have to look at it and I believe in this too, doing in the little what you are going to do in much or when you have a lot, you know what I mean? And that's kind of like a biblical proverb, like, doing the same thing that you would do now then, but with what you have now. You know what I mean?
Michael: And I think you have to have, I know you have to have clarity too, which is why I love that you're pointing towards this bigger and grander mission because I cashed my first check for $10,000 when I was 20 years old. You know, and I've shared this story before, I'm sorry, Unbroken Nation, I know you've heard it, but you know, 20 years old, I made 96,000. Nobody makes that much money when they're 20 years old, it's almost impossible. And I can guarantee you that I wasted every penny and I wasted almost a million bucks, which I mentioned a little bit ago. And now I look at money and it's like, dude, I live paycheck to paycheck, believe it or not. Why? Because money is a tool and because money is always going into something. Money is always going into something for the betterment of my life, the betterment of the Think Unbroken community, the betterment of the world. And I've looked at it and here's what happened as I sat and I realized I was in a conference and there was a multi-billionaire on stage talking and he was talking about the fact that the greatest investments he has made in himself was that he invested in himself and that at the beginning he was dirt poor. Now, I'm not dirt poor. I fine. I'm not on WIC, I'm not homeless. Thank God. Right. But the way I think about it is if in your guys' money is a tool, why would I not invest it to go and learn? Why would I not go to a nice experience or buy, you know, whatever the thing is, it doesn't matter what it is but because I want it for me, not for other people. And then recognizing here's where it's really crazy and this is, I think, the place where I got caught up and I had terror, literal terror about money. I was like, I don't have enough in my bank account, and being stuck on that. And realizing like, when you're fucking dead, it doesn't matter.
Justin: Yeah, it doesn't. I think you're preaching, like for me, I had to get out of that concept of like being consumed by money, right? And so, to your point about that, like at the end, it really doesn't matter either you're not taking it with you. So, I got into this mentality too, where I was like, I don't want to be control by how much money I have or don't have for me, like I think you brought it up earlier where you said like, you know, money's a tool, your paycheck to paycheck, that kind of concept. I've heard people like they save up for like, and I know this is like taboo, but people like do all these savings
and all these, just different things like that, 401ks, all these different things for like, hoping that they make it to 70 years old and they can go to, you know, all these things and all that. I'm like, I'm trying to cause effect and change right now, you know what I mean? And that doesn't mean that like I'm not wise with my money and where I put it and investing it. But I'm investing it now because it's just like I'm not giving or expecting that I know my timeframe on Earth. I'm going to do what I can do now to help everyone.
Michael: Well, and I think that people underestimate how young they actually are. And I have a theory, it can't possibly play out in real time, ‘cuz I don't know. But I have a theory that every thousand dollars you invest in yourself and your personal development and your learning into your growth will actually become a hundred thousand dollars.
Justin: I believe that. And I wish taking on that mentality earlier. I feel like I didn't, I mean, I was kind of like you were like first a hundred thousand at like 20, 21. Coming outta college and all that but what I was really happy about was, is that that click that I was talking about happened for me fairly early to the point where like, I definitely spent some money for sure. But I was able to like, write on the cusp of that invest and start doing that and that was where like when I started a tech company that I had at the time, and then my clothing line first got off the ground, all those things. I leveraged my position with a company that I came outta college working for, to fund those ventures.
Michael: Yeah. And I love that you said that because like, I run multiple companies. And it's been what I will say the most difficult thing I've ever done in building Think Unbroken, right? Because it's really easy to sell Jordan's. Dude, my background in marketing and branding, it is so easy to sell Jordan's, it is sell to sell way more difficult. Well take Jordan's out than anything, it is easy to, it is easier for me to sell a cup than it is for me to sell somebody the idea that they can love themselves.
Justin: That's true. Because see, I feel like I'm realizing too, like the idea of the cup is like, people are so tangible driven, like as far as physical touch like, Hey, I can see this. I know I like this design, I'm gonna buy it. You know what I mean? Versus like understanding that the internal parts of a person is even more important than exterior in some cases.
Michael: Yeah. Like what's the ROI on Justin?
Justin: Those kinds of things like that. Right, and that's the whole point, that is why when you say about money being a tool, investing in yourself is one of the best things that you can ever do. And I mean, all the way down from going to go get a massage and not being stressed, that kind of thing. Like, I'm so about that now, like, about being at peace and not being stressed, that way I can perform that way I can give this world what it needs.
Michael: Yeah. And I think there's something that has to be called to attention here as well. Skill has utility, I look at my life when I was, 18, I was working on a fast-food joint. At 19 I was working restaurants; it took me a couple of years to figure out how to actually write a resume and a cover letter to get a job with a Fortune 10 company. To then go and build my first business and struggle through that chaos and then go and build the next one and the next one. And then, in that also realizing, oh my God, I gotta actually work on me, I gotta work on me. And feeling like the one thing that is the greatest investment is you and recognizing that you have to trust that if you bet on yourself, you will win.
Justin: Yeah. And that's I think the difficult part for people is to really believe that they're worth and they don't see it. You know what I mean?
Michael: How can we give that to people? Because for me, and I was in that too. I was like, I don't matter. Money is my goal that will be sustainable, that is the thing that will drive me and make me fulfilled. Come to realize, obviously that's not the truth. What do you think it takes to be able to give people that belief?
Justin: They have to mine out their purpose. If people don't have a purpose, they will go through life just like that, like what we just explained. I mean, you have to mine that out. And I feel like I've had conversations with people where we'll go down that path and we'll dig it up and do all that it's a lot of effort to do. Takes time and, I mean, do it on a daily basis where you're talking to people and consulting and helping, bring people out of these dark spaces. And the effort that that takes, it's like we have to find a solution to mass to do that because people have to understand and see themselves in that end goal. And so that way when they zoom back all the way to where they are right now, they have something to live for.
Michael: Yeah, it's reverse engineering, right? Okay, so let’s then add a parallel here. People think that they're not worthy of even having that goal, what can they do to start being able to move towards at least an idea that, you know what, maybe I am worth it?
Justin: Right. I think when people, it's kind of like this, it's like going bowling or something for the first time,you get beginner's luck or something like that. Hey, all right, I'm pretty good at this. I did all right. And then the next game, you do it again. So, confidence is built through experiences. And so, you know, it's like somebody who's a good public speaker or somebody who's good at business or this thing, or that thing, whatever their talent is. And if they do it time and time again enough, their confidence is gonna be boosted on that subject. I've done it so many times, I already know that I'm good at this. And then eventually they'll stop doubting themselves that they're not capable or worthy of it because they've seen themselves be successful at it and they've been reward for what they've done, that's another factor that I think is super important, is being rewarded for the skill. So, if I'm a good basketball player, and then somebody tells me that they want me to come play for their team, but not only just come play for their team to come play. I want you to come play and here's what we're going to pay you to do it. So now that I've been rewarded for, hey, I might actually be pretty good about this, and this builds a swagger, this builds a certain confidence.
So, I think what we have to do is build people's confidence in what it is that their passion is, it doesn't have to be full throttle out the gate. Okay, well I'm just diving into it. I'm quitting my job. This is what I'm doing. Don't do that.
Michael: I did that. Don't do that.
Justin: It's not a good idea. Don't do that. For me, like I did it dual, right? I did a couple. I had something stable. I had, while at the same time on the side I was building something up, building that credibility, building that confidence. So now that I'm being compensated on the side, for what it was that I was really passionate about. Oh man, now I'm feeling pretty good about this. Now I feel like I can take a deeper step into this and maybe a step away from the other thing and now I'm equaling out in my finance because that's a lot of times what people are worried about is that they're not gonna be able to survive.
Michael: Yeah. And what's crazy is when you go on your own, you'll make way more.
Justin: A hundred percent. But diving into that deep water, people are scared to do that. And so that's why if you can even inch a toe in and then, you know, put on some buoys, wade in there for a little bit and then eventually take 'em off, you'll be good, it's action.
Michael: It is. And the greatest mistake in business, I've said this before, that I've ever made, was quitting a job before I had a business that made money. Well, you know, because we get so frustrated and we want our dreams and we wanna move towards it. But you know, I remember I didn't have the confidence yet and that's what it is. And you know what it was looking at that time and being like, I think I can do this, but taking no action towards it, cuz I was terrified that nobody was gonna give me what I was worth. And so I had to struggle my way through year and that applies to everything, right? And it's funny, right before we started this, I was listening to Dean Graziosi and he said the number one key to success in life, in business, in love, in relationships and friendships is don't let anybody fuck with your confidence.And I was like, it's true.
Justin: It's so true. It's all mentality, right? Like if you're mindset is to not be confident in that you can't, you won't. If your mindset is that you can, and you're gonna go in here and kill it, and you're gonna make this happen or make that happen, you most likely will just because your position is geared towards it.You see what I'm saying? It's not that like the actual, this is what I honestly believe. I feel like that's why like, when they say speak it into existence, right? Or like, uh, you know, as a man thinketh or say yes that he is or woman, right? I think that that is so true because what it does is when you speak things out and when you're thinking a certain thing or talking about a certain thing all the time, you're just geared towards doing it more often because it's already a part of you, it becomes a part of your psyche.
Michael: Yeah, it does. Justin, my friend, this has been a amazing conversation. I feel like we could go for hours but before I ask you my last question, please tell everyone where they can find you?
Justin: They can find me at Justin Great, literally it's @justin_great. And that's pretty much on all social platforms.
Michael: Cool man. We'll be sure to link that up.
Justin: Also justingreat.com
Michael:For sure. And that's his real last name in case you were curious. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?
Justin: To be unbroken, I think that, you know, that's such a good question. I think it means no matter where you have been and what you have done, what has happened to you, there's lots of situations that can break a person, right? But I think what it is, is not allowing yourself to stay there, okay, and picking up the pieces, even if you have to do it yourself and putting your own glue on there, and that's you, you doing that and causing effect and change no matter where you been.
Michael: Love it brother. Appreciate you being here. Unbroken Nation, thank you for listening.
Please like, subscribe, comment, share.
Tell A Friend.
And Until Next Time.
My Friends, Be Unbroken.
I'll See Ya.
Justin Great is a relentless entrepreneur who has a passion for creative expression and progressive culture. His driven nature has compelled him to create and be involved in various ventures including but not limited to fashion, creative content, media, design, and music. His background in fashion stems from the inception of his fashion and style blog “The Upper Echelon” in which he founded in college as an outlet to share fashion and style expertise. Since the blogs inception in 2009 Justin has had the opportunity to showcase and collaborate with multiple brands and publications. As the blog grew to prominence and gained attention, many followers began requesting for Justin to create his own fashion collection in which later birthed the Justin Great and Plumage by Justin Great fashion brands.
Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.
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