They say that there are no shortcuts to success, but after years of failures, successes— and few broken bones— 4x Olympian Ruben Gonzalez discovered that there is a “shortcut” to success.
A seemingly “ordinary guy,” 4x Olympian, Ruben Gonzalez, wasn’t a gifted athlete.
Ruben didn’t take up the sport of luge until he was 21. Against all odds, four years and a few broken bones later, he was competing in the Calgary Winter Olympics.
At the age of 47, at the Vancouver Olympics, he became the first person to ever compete in four Winter Olympics in four different decades.
Ruben is also an international bestselling author. Among his works are, “The Courage to Succeed,” “Fight for Your Dream,” and just last year, he released his first fictional book, “The Shortcut: The Fastest Way to Achieve Your Goals.”
Now, after four years, Ruben is back on the Success Through Failure podcast !
Ruben’s story is going to inspire you to think differently and to live your life with passion to push yourself beyond your self-imposed beliefs and your self-imposed limitations.
After listening to this interview, you’ll realize that you have no excuse to chase your big dream. Tune in now!
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
[00:00] Ruben Gonzalez: And I'm ready to quit. I mean, cause I, there's so much adrenaline rushing through, but it's not good adrenaline. It's petrifying adrenaline. Okay. And you just wanna quit cuz it's that scary. And for somebody that got moved up quickly, right? And I pick up the, the walkie-talkie and coach would shoot me out and at the end he'd say, uh, have fun, Ruben, be one with a slit.
[00:23] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Welcome to another episode of Success Through Failure. This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. And today I bring you Ruben Gonzalez. A seemingly ordinary guy. Ruben wasn't a gifted athlete. He didn't take up the sport of luge until he was 21 years old, which is old when you're trying to become an Olympic athlete against all odds, four years and more than a few broken bones.
[00:49] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Later, he was competing at the Calgary Winter Olympics later at the age of 40. At the Vancouver Olympics, he became the first person ever to compete in four winter Olympics in four different decades. His story takes people's excuses away. Literally, after listening to this, you'll realize you have no excuse to chase.
[01:10] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Your big Dream Ruben's story is gonna inspire you to think differently and live your life with passion and to push yourself beyond your self-imposed beliefs and your self-imposed. Limitations. Ruben has appeared in all kinds of media outlets, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, Fox. He's been featured in Time Magazine, success Magazine, the New York Times.
[01:32] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: He's spoken to over 100 Fortune 500 companies, and his books have sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. Reuben has become a friend and someone who I just look up to very much. He's lived out these principles that he teaches. You know, I learned new things every single time I talked to him. I got to spend a night actually, at Ruben's house a couple years ago.
[01:52] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I mean, this guy is the real deal. I interviewed him back in episode 165. If you want to hear more from him after you listened to this episode today. Today specifically, we talk about his newest book, which is titled The Shortcut, the Fastest Way to Achieve Your Goals. All right, let's get into it. Here's my interview with Ruben Gonzalez.
[02:13] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Ruben, for those who don't know your. And even for those who do, can you tell us a little bit about how you went from a kid with a dream to an Olympian?
[02:22] Ruben Gonzalez: I'm an unlikely Olympian. Okay. I'm not a great athlete. Can't jump high, can't run fast. Not particularly strong. I tell people I'm, I'm like your neighbor.
[02:35] Ruben Gonzalez: Okay. Picture that guy. A lot of heart though. A lot of heart. Nobody. And when I was 10, I saw the Olympics, I was hooked. I thought that's what I wanna. But I didn't believe it was possible. Cause I didn't, uh, I never got chosen for, for even for kickball. Okay? It was terrible. And so I didn't believe, and it wasn't until I was 21 years old, I'm watching the Olympics again.
[02:55] Ruben Gonzalez: I see Scott Hamilton, the figure skater win the gold medal. He's about five feet tall and everything changed. I thought if that little guy can win, I can at least play. I'm gonna be on the next ones no matter what. I just have to find a sport. Lived in Houston, Texas. I'd played soccer all my life, but I was the bench warmer.
[03:12] Ruben Gonzalez: And so my nickname was Bulldog because I was very persevere, very tenacious, so I thought, okay. If that's my strength, I have to plan around the strength. And I chose the luge cuz I thought it looks like a lot of broken bones, maybe a lot of quitters. And uh, I just won't quit. I went to Lake Placid and uh, when I was 21, at first they wouldn't take me cuz I was old, but they're old at 21.
[03:34] Ruben Gonzalez: At 21. Well yeah, cuz starting a new sport, you know, these guys start when they're 5, 8, 10 years old and so, um, but I went and four years and a few broken bones later I got to compete in the Calgary Olympics and uh, I went on to do four Olympics in four different decades. So kind of a late bloomer. My goal, I'm a professional speaker for the last 20 years.
[03:55] Ruben Gonzalez: My goal when I speak to anyone is I want to do for them. What Scott Hamilton did for me, right? Uh, just take that fear, take the, uh, the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure away, and get people ready, you know, ready, focused to, you know, face those fears and make it happen. Your new
[04:11] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: book, latest book is called The Shortcut, the Fastest Way to Achieve Your Goals.
[04:17] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: There are no shortcuts, right? Ruben? Uh, on the one hand,
[04:20] Ruben Gonzalez: I would always tell you there's no shortcuts, right? And, uh, and then when I thought about this idea, uh, Developed, uh, I thought, well, I guess there is a shortcut, but it's not the shortcut that people think it's still gonna take work effort. You know, you're gonna go through failure, you're gonna have to learn from your failure and et cetera.
[04:38] Ruben Gonzalez: But I did a TED Talk back in March. It's called, uh, the Power of Following the Leader. And, um, in it I spoke about how. That hardheadedness, that bull doggedness that I had, that perseverance was great for learning the luge, right? Cuz it kept me from, from quitting when I was going through those struggle years.
[04:58] Ruben Gonzalez: But that same hardheadedness made me resist my coach's advice. I learned everything the hard way. In fact, what my first luge coach, uh, Dimitri Dimitri from, from Ukraine he used to say, Hey, Ruben, you're not Bulldog. You're half Bulldog and half mule. Okay? You didn't have. Hurt so much. And so for three Olympics, I was like that, holding back, resisting.
[05:21] Ruben Gonzalez: And it was fear of, uh, letting go, right? Fear of losing control that kept me from just letting them give me, you know, uh, that advice and, and acting on it right away. And when I started training for the Vancouver Olympics, I was gonna be 47 in Vancouver, and I was al already the oldest one when I competed in Salt Lake City when I was 39.
[05:43] Ruben Gonzalez: I mean, everybody thought I was a coach back then and. Before it was the top 50 got to go, and this time was gonna be only the top 40 men would get to compete in the Olympics. And I was always ranked about 45 when you do all the math. And so I had my back to the wall and I realized I'm gonna have to do something different or else I'll be watching it on tv.
[06:03] Ruben Gonzalez: And I made a decision that whatever coach says, I'm going to apply that right away. If coach says, uh, shave your head where, put on some lipstick that'll make you go faster, man, I'll do it right now. Right? And that change of attitude, it was an incredible, I started improving and I started improving faster, right?
[06:22] Ruben Gonzalez: Where before I'd plateaued forever. Now I, I was starting to improve again. And even several years later, I went back at 55 just on a. I was listening right away to the coaches applying, and I was sliding at, at, at 55. I was sliding better. I had personal bests at 55, better than I ever had before, and the only thing that changed was my attitude towards the leader, right?
[06:47] Ruben Gonzalez: I was, I, I was coachable. Now, before, I wasn't coachable. And so that's the shortcut. You know, you have to find the coach, find the mentor, find the person. It's done what you wanna do, but then you gotta follow the leader right away, and that's a shortcut to, to success in anything.
[07:04] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Quick interruption. Hey, if you like what you're hearing, be sure to get the notes, quotes, and links in the action plan from this episode.
[07:11] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/action. That's JimHarshawJr.com/action to get your free copy of the action plan. Now back to the show. Why do we resist that? Why did you resist that? You mentioned control. I mean, why is it that we tend to have people around us who are successful and we see them and maybe they're mentors or coaches, or they're somebody who we can, you know, follow very cleanly.
[07:38] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Clearly we can see what they're doing. Why do we resist it?
[07:42] Ruben Gonzalez: When you, uh, get coached in illusion, it's one on. You finish your run, you pick up the walkie talkie. Coach tells you everything you did wrong, and that's pretty much it. And then you walk down to the track, you have a few minutes before your next run and, and now you're watching.
[07:55] Ruben Gonzalez: Sleds go by. Now you're getting a visual and you're getting coaching there, but it's one on one. Okay? And I always resisted, and, and, and the answer to your question is it's fear of losing control, right? I was a control freak. And, and that's how I've learned since then that most people are like that. It's just not me.
[08:12] Ruben Gonzalez: But what I learned was when you let go, see when you're in control, that keeps you in your comfort. You can't improve your in comfort zone, right? You have to get outside the comfort zone. That's scary. And so you have to let go, right? And accept the coach's advice. And by letting go now that allows you to get out of the comfort zone.
[08:30] Ruben Gonzalez: Now you have the opportunity to to improve. And so that's why I started improving. Cause I let go and trust. It's a trust issue, right? But when you were asking me the question, it reminded me, I started speaking professionally in 2000. And I don't forget if it was later that year or the year right afterwards, I, I invested some money to go to this guy that teaches you how to become a better speaker, how to, how to develop your stories.
[08:57] Ruben Gonzalez: And it was a weekend seminar at his house and it was me and five ladies. I was a token guy. and, and so we would do a story. The way it worked is you do a, like your signature story up on a little stage he had, and then everybody would grade you and then he would go, everybody did that, and then he would teach, teach, teach, teach.
[09:16] Ruben Gonzalez: And then later we had to do it again using what he taught and he videotaped everything. Now, if he had been one-on-one, this, I'm an introvert, believe it or not, most speakers are, it turns out a lot of, a lot of actors are too. If it had been one-on-one, the stuff that he was asking me to do was so far outside my comfort zone, right?
[09:37] Ruben Gonzalez: So wild and crazy for an introvert like me that I wouldn't have applied it if it had been one-on-one. But when I saw how his advice improved those ladies' stories dramatically, it made a believer out of me and I applied right away. And so, at least in my case, I gotta see, you know, I, I gotta see. Even though my coaches are Olympic champions, that wasn't proof enough for this guy.
[10:01] Ruben Gonzalez: You know? I had to see proof and results with somebody else, I guess.
[10:04] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: So you find your leader, you find the person who has done what you wanted to do, you know, that can get you there. But you said you'll still have to go through
[10:14] Ruben Gonzalez: failure. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Everything's hard in the beginning cuz you have no skills and everything they teach you is a new skill, right?
[10:23] Ruben Gonzalez: Or a new way of doing something. And you have to figure it out. You have to stay in the game long enough to learn those skills and, and then after a while it starts working. For example, I remember years ago, tiger Woods changed his, uh, golf swing and it was a big deal. Everybody was talking about how, and he understood that it would probably take a year or even longer.
[10:43] Ruben Gonzalez: For him to get over that hump. He was gonna get, uh, lower results, right? Worse results for a while until he learned this. But he was committed because he knew that in the long run, this is gonna make me a better golfer. And so that's what happens. He used to, you don't wanna change anything a day before the race, right?
[10:59] Ruben Gonzalez: I mean, no matter who you talk to, no. Uh, you have to go with what's working for you. But in the off season or in the interim, that's when you make the changes and try to try to figure out the, the new better.
[11:11] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: As you know, that's the whole crux of this podcast is to reveal that failure is a natural part of success, and for you, Ruben and in luge.
[11:22] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Failure meant broken bones and at very high speeds, you know, crashing down a track, right?
[11:29] Ruben Gonzalez: You're going 80, 90 miles an hour down the track, pulling six Gs on some of the curves. Not all tracks are have six G curves, but some do. Your head's hanging off the end of the sled. Nothing's supporting it, right? So, so you're pulling GS and you're trying to hold your head up.
[11:42] Ruben Gonzalez: It's completely counterintuitive. Anything that would be normal to do on that sled will get you into trouble. Fit me perfectly. Right. I didn't even know it because it's so hard. There's gonna be a lot of people quitting. Right. Just to give you an example, you want the center of gravity on the back of the sled towards your torso, and so you wanna just be laying down flat on it, right?
[12:03] Ruben Gonzalez: Like you're laying down on in your bed reading a book, for example. You're just flat and that it's set up to where it'll work. Well, imagine you hit a wall and you're a beginner, but what do you wanna do? You lift your head cause you wanna see, right? Cuz you're scared. As soon as you lift your head, that moves the center of gravity towards your feet and now it gets squirrely on you.
[12:20] Ruben Gonzalez: It's, it gets worse. Right? Or another thing that would happen with me in the first years is I would get scared cuz the speed. I would just get scared. And I put my feet down, like that's gonna slow me down. But you steer with, you do a lot of your, the steering with your feet. So it's like if you're, if you're on the freeway and you got scared, you did this Ah, right.
[12:40] Ruben Gonzalez: You wouldn't do that . But in the luge, it's natural to do for a beginner . Yeah. So it takes 10 years to learn how to luge. Normally you start with a little kid and, and it takes 10 years to get the men's start. Before that, you were a junior at 19, you're a man, right? And so you start. Start racing at the top.
[12:57] Ruben Gonzalez: But because I was coming in, uh, you know, late, they took 10 years and they crammed it into two years. That's why I got hurt a lot more than most people. Cause they, you know, they rushed me through it. But I, they had to do that cuz the next two years I had to race internationally to try to have enough World cup points to, to get in the top 50.
[13:14] Ruben Gonzalez: That was the, that was the whole plan. Yeah. It was brutal. Right. But, and I hated it. Okay. I white knuckled it for 20 years, but I recognized that the luge was the vehicle. The Olympics was the dream. And so I focused on the dream. I focused on on, on the why, right? Why do you wanna do something? Well, man, I don't like making those sales calls.
[13:34] Ruben Gonzalez: Yeah, but think about what it's gonna do to your business. Think about your lifestyle if you do make them. So you don't focus on, I wanna do my sales calls. You focus on the result, right? Or whatever's gonna get you to do it. So that's what I did, that's what I did. I just really try to listen to coaches a lot better, a lot quicker.
[13:49] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: In the book, you reference a concept. Quote, the dream gives you strength. What do you mean by
[13:55] Ruben Gonzalez: this? You're gonna have to go through struggles. Successful people, they focus on what they want, they talk about and they think about what they want. That's all they talk about, right? Because they're driven. That's what they want.
[14:08] Ruben Gonzalez: Unsuccessful people, which is probably 80% of the people out there, right? They talk about and think about what they don't want. They're sitting at the water cooler, whining and complaining, and the interesting thing is , whatever you talk about and think about, gets bigger in your life. Right. And so you focus on the dream.
[14:26] Ruben Gonzalez: Cause the dream gives you strength, it gives you a power, gives you, there's always gonna be obstacles. There's always gonna be that failure. You're gonna have to go through those wrecks. But the dream gives you the driving force, the strength, right, to, to get through it. I've got a friend that's a, uh, rally racer, right?
[14:41] Ruben Gonzalez: Cars where you're run, they're going on the dirt 90 miles an hour, a hundred miles an hour. And they said if, if you lose control, and these are little roads, right? These are real roads out in the back country somewhere. If you lose control, You don't look at the light pole, you look at the space between the light poles.
[14:56] Ruben Gonzalez: Cause whatever you look at, that's where the car's going, . And so what you focus on, that's where you're gonna go. And so that's the dream. But dreams
[15:04] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: are scary, you know, like, like, and we're not talking about like getting the promotion or getting incrementally better. We're talking about the big dream. Like, what if I don't get there?
[15:15] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: What if the obstacles I discover along the path are insurmountable? What if, what if, Ruben, what if. I don't even see a path from where I'm at to where I want to go. What if I don't even see a path from here to there? Like for you in your Olympic dream, like there truly was no path for you to get from where you were a, a guy who played division one soccer, but wasn't a sport where you thought you could make the Olympics right, and you basically, essentially had no sport to an Olympian.
[15:44] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: There was no path from where you were to where you wanted to go. For the listener who's saying that or thinking that right now, what do you
[15:50] Ruben Gonzalez: say? Number one, you gotta get to the point where you believe, right? Because for for 11 years, I didn't believe I talked about it. I read books. I was an Olympic groupie.
[15:59] Ruben Gonzalez: I wasn't a, you know, I wasn't doing anything. I wasn't taking actions. I didn't believe it was possible. It wasn't until I saw Scott Hamilton that I got inspired, right? Inspiration. Right? And so now when you believe everything changes because now you're ready to take action. My first book's called The Courage to Succeed.
[16:15] Ruben Gonzalez: You gotta have two types of. To reach your goals. Courage to get started. Courage to not quit. Courage to get started comes from believing it's possible. Curse you not quit, comes from your desire. You want it badly enough, ain't nothing gonna make you quit. And so I always had the desire, but I didn't have the belief.
[16:30] Ruben Gonzalez: Now I got the belief, okay, now you believe, but I have no clue. How am I gonna do it right? I live in Houston, gimme a break. The only ice I've ever seen is in my ice tea. Well, you gotta find a coach, right? Gotta find a mentor, find somebody that's been through that minefield, right? And so they were there in Lake Placid, right?
[16:47] Ruben Gonzalez: The. And so you have to humble yourself to their leadership. And I promised myself that I would do that, believe it or not, before I left Houston. But my nature was, you know, oh, part of me always held back. And you have to trust that the coach knows the path. When I wrote my first book, I just started speaking professionally and it's a couple of months in and I'm on food stamps.
[17:08] Ruben Gonzalez: Okay, and cuz I quit my job way too soon and things dried up and I realized, oh my gosh, I tell everybody to find a coach or a mentor. I'm not even taking my own advice. I need to find somebody that knows the speaking business. And I found a guy. We meet for coffee. First thing out of his mouth is, I don't care if you're a 10 time Olympian, unless you write a book, no one's gonna take you seriously.
[17:30] Ruben Gonzalez: Cause the authors consider the authority of his subject. He wrote the book on it and I thought, I can't. I told him I can't write a book. I made season English, right? My parents celebrated or brought a C in anything . And he says, you got a great story. You write it down, write it down like you're writing a letter to your best friend.
[17:45] Ruben Gonzalez: Don't try to be fancy. Just write. Write, right? We'll give it to some A students, they'll clean it up for you. See that? That's just grammar. I thought, oh my gosh, I can't think about that. And he goes, yeah, it's called editing, so shut up and sit down. Right? So, Beating me across the head, but he's teaching me.
[18:00] Ruben Gonzalez: And so isn't that how it always is though? I mean, uh, you have all these logical reasons why something is not possible, why you are you not, you're not worthy, you can't do it, you're not good enough. All this logical stuff. But if you go to the mentor, he'll say, no piece of cake. You know, just find some a students, what's your next problem?
[18:19] Ruben Gonzalez: Because they've been through it, they've been through the minefield. So that's the beauty. That's why people listen to your podcast cuz they learn from you and they learn from, from all your, your guests. And man, what you're, you're coming on close to 400 episodes. I mean, that's unbelievable.
[18:33] Ruben Gonzalez: Congratulations. Yeah, thanks man. There's a lot of
[18:35] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: wisdom. I get to talk to people like you all the time and, and make amazing friends like you and, and for the listener. Like you've gotta get to the point where, Where you believe, like Ruben talked about, you've gotta believe, well, what does that mean? Like, well, you can believe when you hear a guy like Ruben share his story, you go, ah, well, may, maybe I can believe too.
[18:55] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Maybe I can take that first step. Maybe I can stop saying, boy, that's just a pipe dream. It'll never happen. And actually go, uh, maybe, maybe this can't happen for me. That's number one. And number two, it's what are the words that you're using? Are you saying I can't, I won't. That would be nice. But yeah, but then we always like say the, yeah, but yeah, but I've got this in roadblock or I don't have that.
[19:20] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Like change the language that you use. And I've used this several times before, and this is a, a much smaller scale, but I've told listeners before that I used to hate running. I would always tell myself, I hate running, I'm no good at running. I don't know. I told myself that for decades and I'm finally, I.
[19:36] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I'm done saying that I signed up for a half marathon and I decided to change my language. I said, I'm starting to get better at. And I'm starting to enjoy running. Sorry. Those are the two phrases I started using and I ran the half marathon. I had a, I've done a marathon since and I've did a half marathon Spartan race since.
[19:52] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And, but these words are so critical. Did you find that, uh, true for your experience too, Ruben? Like the, the words that
[19:58] Ruben Gonzalez: you say. Oh, absolutely. And, uh, I mean, I finished a lose run, especially in the first few years and I'm ready to quit. I mean, cause I, there's so much adrenaline rushing through, but it's not good adrenaline.
[20:09] Ruben Gonzalez: It's petrifying adrenaline. Okay. And you just wanna quit cause it's that scary. And for somebody that got moved up quickly. Right. And I pick up the walkie-talkie and coach would chew me out and at the end he'd say, uh, have fun, Ruben, and be one with a sled. Click. Have fun man. I can have fun. Just getting have to death, man.
[20:26] Ruben Gonzalez: You started when you're five years old and I cussed him out for a while. Right. Cuz he's, he's already hung up. Right? . But then it's like, oh my gosh. He said, I Oh my problems started on curve six. That's right. That's when I lost control. That's when I started hitting the. And then I would something in me, right when, when that realization came right.
[20:45] Ruben Gonzalez: That, you know, it's like boom. Yeah. Uh, curve six, that's, he's right. That's where I messed up. Then I started walking up and down pacing like a madman. Right? I can do it, I can do it, I can do that. I'm a winner. I'm a winner, winner. Every day and every way I'm getting better and better. Stronger and stronger.
[20:58] Ruben Gonzalez: You know, I will be an Olympian and I would just sometimes 15, 20 minutes. Okay. Give myself a pep talk. I don't know what everybody else thought, cause I look like a mad man out. I'm putting on mental armor, right? I'm giving my, no one else is gonna gimme a pep talk, right? . So you better, you better give it to yourself if nobody else.
[21:15] Ruben Gonzalez: And then finally you get to the point where I will get on that sled. And when I do, I'm going in my toes, I'm going, you know, do I do everything? Coach said. I'll have my best run ever. And, and that's how it was. I mean, it was a fight with myself. I just, I'm reading this book. You've probably heard of it.
[21:30] Ruben Gonzalez: It's a classic, just can't believe I'm reading this for the first time. Feel the fear and do it anyways by, uh, uh, Susan Jeffers. He's got a lot of self-talk stuff in there. I don't know that one. I that to the list. Oh my gosh. It's a classic. Turns out that, um, Jack Canfield, he tells everybody they need to read this book, feel the fear, and do it anyways.
[21:49] Ruben Gonzalez: So that's what you do, right? You have. Hopefully you get inspired, right? Hopefully at the end of this, after you listen to this, you, you think, man, if that guy can go to the Olympics, I can do anything. Hopefully. Right? And now you're ready to take action now. Okay. Now, when you're at that point, Take action right now.
[22:07] Ruben Gonzalez: Take advantage of that emotion. Okay? Cuz it's going to it, it's gonna go away right in, in a day. A couple days it's gonna go away. But if you jump now, right? If you do something big, like you say, I'm joining that, that half marathon, you know, you start telling all your friends I'm, yeah. Yeah. Rice, there's a little pressure, a little peer pressure.
[22:24] Ruben Gonzalez: I'm gonna do a half marathon in six months. Right. What you, you never ran a half a mile. Yeah, I know, but half marathon, half a mile. Similar. Yeah. So , whatever. But now you're, you're taking that first step and now there's this pride involved that you're gonna lose face if you don't do it. Right. At least if you don't make the attempt, whether I have no control whether I'm gonna make the Olympics.
[22:47] Ruben Gonzalez: Nobody does. All I can control is what I do, the preparation that I do, right? So I'm preparing for the best and hope, you know, preparing for the worst, right? And, but, but also, uh, hoping for the best. But I can't control what everybody else can do. And so at the end, you know, if you lose, you know, maybe, you know, top 40, get to go 41.
[23:08] Ruben Gonzalez: Maybe he missed it by, by one, 100th of a second on the last race, that person feels sick inside, right? But when he's brushing his teeth, he or she brushing his teeth in the morning. , they can stand up straight and, and because they know that they're a better person for having to put themselves through that struggle, through that, that minefield.
[23:26] Ruben Gonzalez: Why? Because they had to dig deep inside. And when they started doing that, they started finding some of their God-given gifts they didn't even know they had, and they've got those gifts for the rest of their lives. See? The Olympics, the goal, the dream, that's just a carrot that gets you to do the things that will make you the best you that you can be.
[23:44] Ruben Gonzalez: And so don't ever let anybody tell you that, uh, ah, you're just being selfish. You just care about your your own dream. No. That person's being selfish. Cause all they care about is what's on TV tonight, right? They're an expert on what's on tv, but they're not ever doing anything. And so are they getting better?
[24:00] Ruben Gonzalez: No. They don't have much to offer the world, but you are getting better. And so you got more to offer the world, right? And along the way you'll inspire other people, kids, and you know, to, to reach their dreams.
[24:11] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: It's easy to see this in athletics, right? This is this sort of microcosm of the world, and we get everything that you just said, Ruben, as an athlete and how this works.
[24:23] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: What does this mean in the real world for the person who's trying to reconnect with their spouse after, you know, years of being roommates, right? Feeling like roommates or the person who's working in a job that they know. Doesn't align with who they want to be or you know, things that are just kind of fine in their life.
[24:41] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Like, how do you translate this? From athletics to the real world. I mean, as an Olympian, you know what that looks like. You know what the, I mean, it's very clear, you know, you, there's an opening ceremonies and you're competing in a competition and it's on these certain dates and you wear this certain uniform and all that.
[24:57] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Right? Do you create that same vision for your life? Did you create that same vision for your life afterwards and have you seen other people do it? Like how do you, let's make that transition from the athletic application of this to
[25:12] Ruben Gonzalez: the real. I do better in my business when I tie my results to my dream, right?
[25:22] Ruben Gonzalez: If I, if my business does well, right? I get a lot of gigs and or I sell a lot of books, but mainly the gigs, 90% is the gigs I wanna make money. I have disposable income that I can use to when it gets cold, go out and train or whatever it might be. I wanted to buy a, I used to, I had this old sailboat, little sailing dinghy.
[25:42] Ruben Gonzalez: Okay. 12 footer. I loved it, but I got tired of it and I wanted to get a catamaran and I could have bought it right away, but I set a goal. Right. A certain goal, specific, measurable goal in my business. And when I hit this, by this time, right, not by 20 years from now, it's got a deadline. Cause that gives you urgency to do the day-to-day things.
[26:01] Ruben Gonzalez: Now I'm gonna reward myself by getting this, uh, hoi wave. I mean, it's a really cool little, uh, little boat. A lot more fun than, than the old one. So I did, and right now I'm looking up there on mine. You've been in my office. I've got a couple of, uh, PPCs para parachutes. It's like a triche with a, with a parachute on top, and you're flying, you know, really low and slow, 30 miles an hour chasing deer or chasing, uh, you know, coyotes.
[26:25] Ruben Gonzalez: I mean, you can be 50 feet off the ground if you're out in the country. It's crazy. And so I got pictures of 'em right there. So, but I'm, I'm not gonna pull the trigger till I will hit my goals. So I tie my work goals, right? So that gives purpose and that gives me motivation to, uh, you know, the motivation's not to get the gig.
[26:44] Ruben Gonzalez: I mean, going and speaking for me, speaking. It's fun, it's exciting stuff. But if I never spoke again, if I won the lottery, right, I mean like the billion dollar lottery , right? And I don't have to do that. Alright. I could do something else, believe it or not. So, uh, even, even somebody that has a fun job like mine, you know, uh, has to fund an external driving force to make.
[27:09] Ruben Gonzalez: Clear goals. Some people will do it for the gig. I mean, they, they just love the applause for me. One, let me tell you a little bit how this book came about as far as the actual writing of it.
[27:18] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah. Because this is process for you. This is a learning process for you and you, you wrote yet another book. This is an incredible book, and by the way, the listener of course, will do the pitch at the end of the show about go buy the book, the shortcut.
[27:30] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: It's, it's a phenomenal read and there's sort of this overarching theme that we just talked about, but there's so many lessons in here, Ruben. We don't have time to get into all of them, but there are probably a dozen different lessons about, you know, different short, different types of shortcuts. But, um, tell us about writing the book, the
[27:49] Ruben Gonzalez: process of it for you.
[27:51] Ruben Gonzalez: So I, I had written six books before, right? Over the last 20 years. But they're all how-to books. They're, they're non-fiction. I'd never written fiction before. I read a lot of fiction. I read both fiction and non-fiction, but I'd never written it, so I had no clue. And. . A friend of mine, he'd written this book, uh, his name is Mark Miller.
[28:09] Ruben Gonzalez: This is a really good book too. It's a good leadership book. It's a parable, the heart of leadership. So Mark Miller, he wrote that he's the Vice President of Leadership for Chick-fil-A. He's been with Chick-Fil-A. Chick-fil-A was my first job in high school. and it was his first job too, about a year apart, and he stayed and he's a vice president of leadership for them, but he also does a lot of writing and it's a super cool guy.
[28:30] Ruben Gonzalez: And so I, I, I contacted him. I says, look, I, I got this TED Talk and it's hit a million views since March. Right? I mean, it hadn't reached that it was taken off back then when we talked. And I was getting all these emails and letters and stuff. Uh, so, so I'm starting to think, wow, maybe this is being coachable and following the leader might be something that's timely, right.
[28:51] Ruben Gonzalez: Might be book worthy. And so I said, I'd like to, you know, I think this should be a parable book, but I have no clue how to do it. Would you co-write it with me? Since, cuz he already had fruit on the trees. He had results. He goes, man, I'm honored, but I got a full-time job with Chick-fil-A and I got my writing schedule.
[29:07] Ruben Gonzalez: You know, my editors keep pushing me. I'm I. I wouldn't be able to do it for six years, but, you know, call me in two weeks. I'll walk you through it. It's not that hard. Oh, cool. Right. So he, he'd been through the minefield several times, so in the interim, I didn't wait. Okay. Have you, you ever talked about the reticular activating system?
[29:27] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Buy a red car, you're gonna see a lot more red cars
[29:29] Ruben Gonzalez: next week on the red. That's exactly it. Right. You see, you buy a red Honda, you see red Honda. It's like everybody bought a red Honda. Right? But if you'd have bought the blue one, cause that's what you noticed. Cause it's exciting and right. And so that's how it works.
[29:41] Ruben Gonzalez: And I knew that, right? I'm always doing that. So I thought, okay, I'm gonna read. As many of these little parable books as I can in the next two weeks, I'm be prepared. Right When I talk to 'em, maybe I'll have better questions to ask them. I read about 15 of them, right? Who moved the cheese? Uh, one minute Manager fish, and the one about the iceberg.
[29:59] Ruben Gonzalez: A bunch of 'em, right? I realized a couple of things. One of 'em was that there weren't very many good ones. Okay? That's one thing I know. Too simple, right? Not enough, you know, not enough meat. It was almost like a coloring book level of personal develop. . And um, that's one thing. A few of 'em were good, but the other thing I noticed, oh, and so I wake up in the middle of the night like at three or 4:00 AM before I.
[30:24] Ruben Gonzalez: This call scheduled with Mark. I wake up in the middle of the night. I got the whole plot figured out. I mean, okay, it's gonna take place in a cafe. It's gonna be, this is gonna, I mean, I have, I have it all figured out. It was crazy. Why? Because I was excited about it, because I'd been super focused on parable books for the last two weeks.
[30:42] Ruben Gonzalez: Read 15 of 'em. Who does that, right? That's one a day. One a day. Heck, you're actually read about three a day. I digress. But anyways, so I was focused in my mind, even though even when I was. It was percolating, right? The subconscious was working on it. And so I got it and I told him, man, I got it. I got, I got the whole thing.
[31:00] Ruben Gonzalez: I told him, he says, but I, but, but, but I still don't know how to write fiction. I mean, I, I don't know. He goes, well, why don't you just put your friends in there? You know how they talk, you know how they would react to different situations and, and just throw 'em in there and see what happens? And that was genius.
[31:15] Ruben Gonzalez: I thought, oh my gosh. You know, that was like, uh, why don't you take it to some, a students, right? It was the same thing, right? . And so he gave me a. It didn't even take 45 minutes. He told me that and, and then he, he asked me about it and he told me, look, when I started telling him about it, and after I started writing it, and, and I would send it.
[31:31] Ruben Gonzalez: To him, right? For him to look at. He said, man, you got too many points in here, right? He says, I know what you're trying to do. You're trying to give as much as you can. I'm the same way, but whenever I write like that, my editors, they, they reject it. They say, maximum, you really should have just three points in your book, in your Parable book or Fable book.
[31:51] Ruben Gonzalez: Sometimes they call 'em, Five maximum. If I have, if you have more than five, it's in inversely proportional. The more you teach the less book sales. Can you believe that? ? I thought, okay, fine, but then I went with my heart. You know, I, I said to myself, I'm gonna make sure that the main thing right is. Find the coach.
[32:11] Ruben Gonzalez: Be coachable. Cause you can be the best athlete in the world. You can be the most talented person in the world, but if you're uncoachable, if you're prideful, then you're not gonna be nearly as good. You're not gonna go as far as you would as somebody that, that is coachable and is willing to be open to new ways of doing things.
[32:32] Ruben Gonzalez: So I did that. But in between, I sprinkled, uh, and, and, uh, I've found about 60 of 'em. I mean, si about 60 different points of this thing. , , they're supporting points to the, yeah, the editors would just throw me out of the door, but I don't care, you know, , because this represents me and I want it to be a light read.
[32:51] Ruben Gonzalez: And it is a light read. Right. Yeah, it's a great read. Such
[32:54] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: it's a, such an enjoyable read. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's a fantastic book. And I'm not just saying that cuz Ruben's my friend and I have him on the podcast, like literally this is just, it's a pleasant, enjoyable read and it's a great story and you gotta get so much out of it mean.
[33:10] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: This is the guy who's done it. And listen for the listeners like, yes, Ruben was a four-time Olympian. Great. Guess what? He went on to become an internationally known speaker. He's spoken to how many 14 countries or something like that.
[33:23] Ruben Gonzalez: Oh my God.
[33:24] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah, yeah, yeah. All over the world. And he's a, you know what?
[33:27] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Wall Street Journal and U S A today bestselling author. This is a guy who's done it and I'll say he's actually done a fantastic job on the parenting front too, cuz I've met Grace and his son out there and his son is just a phenomenal human being. I mean, my goodness. So you're you, you're crushing it on all fronts too.
[33:44] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Your wife is amazing as well,
[33:46] Ruben Gonzalez: so Yeah. I don't know that I'm ever gonna do another fiction book again. I may not do another book again. Okay. Cause I don't right now, never say never. I don't think, I didn't say I never will, but, but the way I feel now. But hey, who knows? 10 years from now, five years from now, something might happen where I will, I gotta work this angle in, you know, and it's, and it's a totally different thing.
[34:06] Ruben Gonzalez: So you never know who you're gonna be. Ruben,
[34:09] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: for the listener who's all. They're drinking the Ruben Gonzalez Kool-Aid.
[34:15] Ruben Gonzalez: Kool-Aid. . .
[34:18] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: What, what action items would you recommend they take in the next, say, 24 to 48 hours? What can they do to start moving towards their goals
[34:27] Ruben Gonzalez: if you haven't already signed up? If this is the first time, let's say it's the first time you've, you've, uh, stumbled across this podcast.
[34:35] Ruben Gonzalez: There's so, so much good stuff in it, and Jim's got this thing where I think it's genius. You sign up, you put in your email, and, and he sends you like the top tips from every single show. You don't even have to listen to 'em. You can just read that way, right? So if you're that new person, sign up for that, right?
[34:54] Ruben Gonzalez: Cuz you get to get a ton of free stuff. Watch it to a point where you realize that, that Jim is a great businessman, but he's. He's genuine and he's exactly the type of coach that can help somebody, you know, move forward. Cuz he's done it too. I, I would say you need two coaches. You need somebody like Jim that gives you direction in your life.
[35:15] Ruben Gonzalez: And then if you need, if you, one thing that you're trying to do is very specific, like become a national aerobatic flying champion. Well you need a, a pilot teach, do that right? , and then, but, but you put 'em together and then you can be the best that you can be. So that's, that's what I would say. Find those.
[35:31] Ruben Gonzalez: And work your tail off. Listen to 'em. Don't be like Ruben. Be like, you know, Ruben, uh, 4.0 after my fourth, fourth Olympics when I got it. Straight
[35:40] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Ruben, where can people find you? Follow you by the book, et cetera. Ah,
[35:44] Ruben Gonzalez: that's, well, it's shortcut book.com, the shortcut book.com, and you can actually read the first three chapters or hear me, uh, read you the first three chapter.
[35:52] Ruben Gonzalez: And you can get it there and uh, you can get it on Amazon or you can get it there and you're gonna love it. I mean, it's, it's a fun read and it's something that your kids will like too. I mean, I've actually had people that have read it that said, man, my 10 year old girl write this thing. She loved it. 10 year old, let me
[36:08] Ruben Gonzalez: So. Yep. I'll be
[36:09] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: passing off to my kids as well. , thank you Ruben, for coming on the show again. Fantastic stories. You're an inspiration. I appreciate
[36:16] Ruben Gonzalez: the time. Thanks, man. You.
[36:21] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk. You can see the limited spaces that are open on my calendar at JimHarshawJr.com/apply, where you can sign up for a free one-time coaching call directly with me. And don't forget to grab your action plan. Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/action.
[36:40] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more. You would totally make my day if you give me a rating and review. Those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience. Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone, do a search for success through failure, select it, and then scroll the whole way to the bottom where you can leave the podcast a rating and review.
[37:06] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Now, I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you. I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck and thanks for listening.
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