an unedited interview with ryan hanley on peak performance

Ryan Hanley, CEO of Metabolic, shares how he inspires his teams to reach peak performance, his thoughts on corporate activism and why physical communities are becoming so important.  

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Syd Roe 0:00

Well, um, dude, do you want to go? Are you ready?

Ryan Hanley 0:03

Are we not going now?

Syd Roe 0:06

Well, I mean, we are going but I have like, fire away. Oh my god, it does look really good I’m not gonna lie.

Ryan Hanley 0:12

It’s killing me. It’s making me crazy You are so good minds is so bad to do you

Syd Roe 0:18

want me to screw up my lighting so that we’re on a better playing field here a more even playing field?

Ryan Hanley 0:24

No, I’m thinking about moving no by being outclassed chairs all wonky

Syd Roe 0:34

30 minutes later.

Ryan Hanley 0:38

Oh crazy. Hold on let me drive home real quick.

Ryan Hanley 0:42

Yeah, it’s like, just trying to figure like, hold on this may be fixable, fairly easy Hold on, let me just spill that. Okay, let’s see for those listening at home.

Ryan Hanley 0:55

Oh, that’s a little better.

Syd Roe 0:57

 That’s good. I like that.

Ryan Hanley 0:58

That’s a little better.

Syd Roe 0:59

So the spring In the background is badass.

Ryan Hanley 1:01

Yeah, and you got a little bit of a, it’s a little bit of an up angle, which is not my favorite thing. But um,

Syd Roe 1:12

you rock the up angle dude. like I look at myself with enough angle and I’m like tough like I have like, friends and

Ryan Hanley  1:18

I know this is better. I won’t say it’s good, but it’ll do so um, you’re gonna want to officially start the podcast we can officially start now.

Syd Roe 1:29

All right sweet. Well, first of all, I’m super excited to have you on today like this is probably the podcast that I was building up towards. I was like, I gotta get a couple under my belt before I have Ryan on so I’m excited. We’re here and doing this. It’s, I have like I had butterflies before I came on I guess.

Syd Roe  1:52

I’m not even kidding. So I’m super pumped. So basically don’t screw this up for me. Please

Ryan Hanley 1:58

try really hard. You’re putting a lot of pressure on Me. I just make half of the shit that I say up anyways.

Syd Roe 2:06

So dude, give us an update on what you’re doing now for the people who are just coming into this. You are now the CEO of a fitness franchise, a very fast-growing fitness franchise. Give us a feel for that.

Ryan Hanley  2:20

Yeah. So well actually, this is a big update even for you. We’re no longer franchising in the standard sense. And I’ll tell you why. One of the things so moved away from for those who kind of followed me before moved away from Trusted Choice, the movable penguin was their move from bold penguin to now a company that was founded in my hometown, Albany, New York. It’s a fitness franchise, which is a big leap. Some people didn’t necessarily understand it. Some days I still don’t understand it. But at the same time, I needed to be home with my family, the road work that comes with insurance. It just started to become a Grind on my life. I have a five and a three-year-old soon to be six and four. They’re both in school now. So it’s like, I needed to be home for them and, and the opportunities that were available to me in the insurance space, I just had to continue to be a road warrior that was a big part of the decision. The other part of the decision to move to the fitness industry was that

Ryan Hanley 3:23

you know, I feel like part of me was, I had grown a little frustrated with my role in the industry. I felt like, man, for almost a decade, I’ve been saying the same things over and over and over and over again and we’re finding the same roadblocks and I’m very happy that people like Seth, like Jeff Roy, are still fighting the good fight. But um, and they’ll always be a part of me that feels like I gave up on that fight. I just will never be able to step away from that. It’s like I didn’t finish what a group of us started so long ago. But at the same time, I was very keenly aware of the fact that and I’m, I know that you’re aware of this as well, unless you are a C level executive at an insurance carrier, or you own an agency, you have little to no power. I mean, you can talk and you can yield an audience and you can spread messages. And that’s what you and I have become so good at. And I think that was a unique position. But to actually create change, like true actual change. It’s very difficult to be able to fund a lifestyle that actually makes enough money to continue to spread the message. I think you’re in a unique position with Seth for a brief period of time. We were in a unique position at the agency nation, but obviously, that fell apart for all the reasons that we understand. So my point in saying all that Is I was struggling to find a way that I could take care of my family and continue to spread this message. And not constantly on the beyond the road. And I didn’t want to be a consultant. Because I didn’t want to chase people around and hold their hands through things that they should be able to figure out on their own. I didn’t want to teach people how to blog. I didn’t want to do that stuff. Like to me, we had already done that work, right? I mean, just you could Google any of the work you did, or I did over the last five years and get all those tactics. I wanted to help people see the bigger picture and I just didn’t see that path. And when the opportunity and what I’ve started to enjoy more, significantly more, was helping people feel better about themselves in the work they do. So the thing about insurance has always been like that we weren’t cool that insurance agents weren’t cool. And I think one of the things that through Lv and through the other work that we did, and just generally, I think the presentations That, that that you and I both given and I reference you so much because I’m, I think that you have a very unique ability to make people feel good about themselves. I think that was our role was all of a sudden we started telling people like, hey, it’s cool to be insurance like you’re cool, like the work you do is important, it’s really like it’s valuable and you should feel confident in that like you shouldn’t be the insurance agent in the corner like you should be out front like you can be unique, you can have your own flair, you can do the different things and you know, be exactly who you are and be an insurance agent. You don’t have to play this role, that kind of that insurance agents had been pigeonholed for so long. And I really enjoyed that aspect of the work. Unfortunately, you know, the self-help insurance Guru is not a tough role to play. So, when I saw the opportunity to move into the fitness space and marry my desire to help people with The psychological and mental kind of emotional side to the physical side. It was like it was perfect. I haven’t been on an airplane and over six months, I’ve been home. I’ve been picking my kids up from school dropping them off. It’s I actually have friends in my hometown now, like, all my friends were like, you guys, like spread out all over the country. You know, like, I literally had no friends, no people that I could call or go to dinner within my hometown. And, and it’s, you know, it’s been an interesting transition. Like, I feel like I’m starting to develop like a little bit of a base. And I’m definitely saying that my meaning in my life and happiness has started to stabilize, although I certainly miss what we were fighting for so long. I mean, there’s no doubt about it. I think it’ll always be the case that I will always watch what you guys are doing and the MVs that you’re still fighting that battle because I think it’s a worthy cause.

Syd Roe 7:58

I think I want to focus Really fast on the shift that you talked about because you said you went from when you first joined TC calm and started building agency nation, the tactician, hey, I’m going to teach you how to do digital marketing. Here are the seven things you got to learn and over a period of time and I think it really climaxed, in the end, it shifted into, I think, the beginning of your work on peak performance, which I think a lot of people watched that transition and said, Hmm, that’s interesting. Like, where is this? It does. people notice the shift, right? And I want to set the record straight here for a sec. This is super important to me because there’s a misunderstanding about that shift, even to this day when I talk to people. and when I sat back and thought about it, and especially just doing this every day, like talking to agents every day, talking to people in the insurance industry every day There’s a conversation on how to do something. And there’s the conversation on why you haven’t done it yet. And the conversation on how to do something, anybody can have that conversation? Well, two things, anybody can have it if you have just enough information in your head, if you’re like the Wikipedia of digital marketing, here’s how to do it. Right. And it’s an easier conversation to have. It’s not emotional. It’s just a transfer of factual information, the harder conversation to have and the one that not many people can have is why haven’t you done it yet? And I think towards the end when I was, you know, when we were kind of shifting agency into something that it wasn’t originally meant to be. We were really keying in on that harder conversation, which makes people very uncomfortable, right. And I say I’ve actually talked about how I think with your departure, there’s actually been sort of a void in the insurance industry in terms of that conversation. Like I don’t know that anybody’s really picked up or is able to pick up what you sort of started in that arena. And it’s cool to see you continue in the fitness industry. I just miss it in the insurance industry. I think there was sort of it like you were like, I don’t even know how to describe it, but sort of fueling the fire for people to you know, actually act and do. So I guess that introduces me, my big question here is like, what is peak performance? Like, how if you had to define it for somebody and really, especially for all the people listening who are like, what was that second half or second fourth of agency nation and what is the focus now? Like, what is peak performance? How do you find it?

Ryan Hanley 10:57

Yeah, but and so I’ll I will, I promise I’ll answer that question. But I want to go back into a couple of things that you said just cuz I think it’s a really interesting part of the conversation on. It makes me a little sad to hear that that like it, it feels like there’s a void. Because one of the things that I think very few people understood and I think was the largest misunderstanding about agency nation in my work, in general, is one of the primary pieces of pushback I would always get. And I heard this multiple times from people. I mean, I used to get calls on a weekly basis of people telling me to stop what I was doing. Like, I don’t know that everyone really understands the level of pressure. There were a lot of people who did not like what I was talking about. They didn’t like the fact that I questioned that I was trying to get people to think deeper about what they did. I could have been another consultant Hawking, here are seven ways to do this. And here are four ways to do that. And I see pictures of workshops all over the place that happened in our space here are the 13 ways that you can increase your SEO traffic. Not that that’s not important. But that is surface-level stuff. You can Google that. If you have to. You don’t have to go to a workshop. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to a workshop, because if you learn better in person, and it’ll motivate you to think God bless you, and God bless the person who’s showing up and doing that work. That wasn’t me, because I hadn’t been doing it for a decade, and I was looking at our industry and I’m saying nothing is changing. I did the 100 and questions in 100 days thing back in 2012 that it took, it took almost seven years for someone to duplicate it, and they didn’t even do it in 100 days, I actually I think Crowley did 101 and 101 days or something, but like, whoo, yeah, but you know, that took seven years for someone to duplicate that. So I was like, Oh my gosh, like I literally with for the thousand bucks, that it costs an organization to fly me in to their conference and speak for as in many cases, in some cases, six hours I would do three hours in the morning and three hours afternoon for a grand and, and I would teach them everything I knew and no one wouldn’t do it. And I would watch that again and again and again and again. And it’s and looks, there are some people out there that will just keep flying in for that thousand bucks and keep taking that money and keep teaching people the same tactics and never scratch below the surface. And that just isn’t me. Like I was never going to I was unhappy with the fact that people weren’t actually changing because it wasn’t about making the grand It was about helping people do their business better. And I think that was that’s the biggest misconception that I found with my work is that people thought it was ever about me. It was never about me, it was never about me being popular. If I want it to be popular, I wouldn’t have done the things that I did. Like I would literally get calls from people in leadership positions. And you probably can’t see the air quotes I’m doing because I don’t have respect for them. But they would call me and say you’re not you shouldn’t be saying this. You shouldn’t be doing this. Like, why are you saying these things on and on and on and on and on and that would happen on a weekly basis. I would get those phone calls. And I’d go into board meetings and I would get hammered. about why did I say this? Why did I do this? You can’t do this, that partner hasn’t come in and, and paid their dues for this. So why would you talk about them? Or they’re our competitor? Why would you talk about them? And I’m like, so we just pretend like an entire organization and 1500 people don’t exist. Like, that’s what we’re gonna do, like, this type of mentality. I couldn’t understand. And it’s why for so many in the industry, I was like oil and water is because it was only ever about helping other human beings. I didn’t even care that they were insurance agents. I cared that these were people who were showing up to work every day and either weren’t feeling satisfied weren’t finding meaning weren’t being, you know, didn’t think that what they were doing was adding value, or at least they felt like people didn’t believe what they were doing. And all I was trying to do was say show up, do the work because they work is important. And here’s a couple of ways that you can do it, or adds a little more fun or add your personality or, or whatever. That’s all I was trying to do was help people do their job better and feel better. About what they were doing. And instead, I think what happened is a lot of people wanted to put me in a box of it was just about me and about my, I mean, if it was just about me what I friggin left, what I you know, I mean, like, that’s not what it was ever about. Well,  you know, and I think that that was really, I think, I think for the reason no one else has stepped up into that void as much as though I think you have the potential Seth certainly does. But again, you guys also have a business in which you have to, you have to play the game a little bit. Like, I know, Seth is very outspoken but and I’ve even said this to him like he has to be careful at the same time. Like, it’s cool to be the rebel right up until someone steps on your throat. And, um, you know, at a certain point, you become big enough that that doesn’t impact you. But, you know, I, you guys have to, you know, it’s a tough road to navigate because you have people that it’s not in the best interest. It’s not ending They’re the best interest for anything to change. And I firmly believe that neon, and the work that you and Seth are doing and the message and the people that you are connecting with, you are the change that this industry needs. I believe that I know it’s early, and you have a long way to go. But I, I believe in my core that you guys are the change that the industry needs. And that’s why when you told me that you were hooking up with him that you guys were going to become, it made me so incredibly happy.

Syd Roe 16:25

Yeah. I think that part of the problem is it’s and I’m really excited to get into this later on. I think this dovetails with peak performance, but it’s, you know when you’re, look, I’m guilty of this when I interact with people, I come at them from my own worldview, being in a relationship, oh my gosh, I’ve had to figure out you just assume that just his mind works like my mind. You know that she sees things the way that I see them. She interprets them the way that I interpret that’s become very clear that that is not the case.

Ryan Hanley 16:58

I do miss out on a relationship conversation.

Syd Roe 17:04

Yeah, I’ve had to go get a therapist now, man,

Ryan Hanley 17:07

I need one I need you gotta give me a referral.

Syd Roe 17:10

So I think like, it makes it difficult when you have people in positions of power who aren’t able to step outside themselves and see that, hey, guess what, maybe somebody isn’t coming at the world from the same worldview. You are, right, if you’re coming at the world from us, you know, maybe slightly more prideful, arrogant way not everybody is right not everybody is doing that. But it’s easy to just kind of slap that that same worldview on everyone else and it’s dangerous when the people in positions of power do that. So again, dude, this just I love that we’re talking about peak performance today. Okay, first of all, before we get into that, because that is like three levels first, like 10 levels deep. Give me a definition of Performance

Ryan Hanley 18:02

Yeah, I mean, I don’t even know that I have one I think, you know, I would I try to focus on in the, in the, in the work that I do in the things that I create in the podcast that I just launched this week of recording this whenever it comes out the week that we’re recording is the same week that my podcast came out. Um, the idea is just a constant focus on incremental growth. And there is no peak performance. Like there’s no you never know when that moment is going to be there’s not like an end game. I guess it’s for so long. And I wrote a whole article about this. I hated the concept of, you know, it’s the journey, not the destination. I hated that constantly. People would say that and be like, that is the worst type of cliche it’s stupid. It doesn’t make any sense. Like, like, why would you like the journey like it’s about getting to the place because and I and so I had to hated that. And it bothered me that I hated it because it’s, you know, the Mormon Church. sure that I would like to believe that I’ve gotten it certainly in my career, the more I found it to be true. So it bothered me that I didn’t. Like I didn’t like it. Like, why don’t I like this thing that every experience in my life makes me feel like it’s actually true? So I started to examine it. I think a lot of it had to do with how I was how I grew up, like, I grew up in the middle of nowhere, in a town of 1000 people literally, it was this, it really was a crap hole. Like I had good parents, but they were, you know, blue-collar. Just, you know, we had enough blue. We were never like destitute, but we certainly like we didn’t go on vacation. Like I’ve never been on an airplane till I was 18 years old, like, like, we didn’t really do anything. We just kind of existed. And I couldn’t wait to get out of this place. Like people used to say, the criminals lived in my town. They didn’t Rob in our town, so you could like to leave your windows open and your doors open. And, you know, I mean, that’s like where I grew up, and I just every ounce of me was like I have to get out of this place and never come back here. So it was all about the destination, it was all about, I need to be somewhere else. And, and I didn’t. So I never really took time, I didn’t have the luxury of taking the time to like, Oh, this journey is amazing and the work and I’d never had I just I have to get out of this place and I never can go back there ever. And when I took the time to think about that, and this is a large part of what I think sent me down this path of, I guess peak performance I, you know, I don’t even know how to describe it like I use that term because I don’t have a better one yet. But the idea is just a constant. A constant focus on incremental improvement is really what I’m trying to do like just whether it’s expanding your mind into a topic you’ve never thought about being a little more understanding of an of a dissenting opinion, athletically or physically improving your performance because I absolutely positively believe that health is a competitive advantage. The healthier you are, the better your brain operates, the better your body operates. You can sustain you know, just very tactically you can sustain longer throughout your day produce more, have a clear mind all that kind of stuff talked about that cold showers. You know, that was, you know, I think the downfall of my career in the insurance industry is when I started talking about cold showers people just like what the hell is wrong with this guy?

Ryan Hanley 21:28

Yeah, and, you know,

Syd Roe 21:31

is like the best thing ever just

Syd Roe 21:34

started working out. It’s like, Oh, my God,

Ryan Hanley 21:6

Do the freakin research. It’s a stress flush. It’s all chemical stuff, but whatever. Um, so long story short, or long story long, I guess. I just started, I started focusing on like, I’m probably never going to be actually I know I’m not going to be perfect because I had a fight with my wife this morning over something stupid. That was 100% my fault. So like, I No, I’m never gonna be perfect in my interactions with anybody, even the people I care about the most. I know I’m never physically going to be like the best performer and probably anything, I’m never going to be the best speaker, the best podcasts are the best writer, and I’m okay with that. But what I am going to do is constantly try to get a little bit better, and just a little bit better and a little bit better and a little bit better. And Someday, I’ll be the best version of myself, whatever that level is, and I’ll be completely okay with that. Because now, I’ve I’m just focused on getting a little bit better, you know, take one little thing away from an article or read a book and that takes me slightly in a different direction than maybe what I was thinking of you know, interview someone who maybe I don’t necessarily agree with their viewpoints. 100% but I’m super interested in and that’s, that’s what the work is about. Because, because then you know, you, you’re able to take the pieces of each that work for you. You know, I think I think that’s something That that we’ve kind of lost is, I think as a society, I wrote, I did. I wrote a whole thing about this. It’s actually an article that if anyone’s super interested in I would really love for you to read. It’s called stop picking teams. Mm-hmm. It’s on my website, you can just type in stopping teams at the top of my website ranking, calm. And the whole concept is we have the 2020 elections coming up. And whether you’re a Trump supporter or against him doesn’t really matter. There is going to be HATE and VITRIOL and dissent pushed upon all of us constantly. Not because we actually hate each other. But because that’s how the media makes money. We have to be very clear, right? Very, very clear. That voice on Twitter who’s saying anyone who loves who votes for Trump is a racist, bigoted, a whole. They’re saying that so that you click on something that makes them money. That’s why they’re saying those things, right, because the sweetest, innocent, most, most nicest giving person that I know in my entire life voted for Donald Trump. And the reason she has her own reasons, and that’s what it is. Right? And I don’t hate her in any regard. And to say that it but this is what the media wants us to believe. Because if you hate me for one singular thing, right, so what the media says is, if you have if we disagree on one thing said that we hate each other, you’re this on that on this year that we need to hate each other because we disagree on this one thing. And the point of that article is to say, No, no, no. If you agree on just one thing, then we love each other. Just agree on one thing. That’s all that matters. Not we could disagree on 99 things are disagree and agree on just one. And that’s enough. That should be enough for us. Have a relationship but not three best friends, we can have a relationship of that’s respectful and all that based on one commonality. And that’s really a big part of my work is that I want to try to find what those things are because I don’t want to fall into that trap. There’s going to be so many people that write nasty Facebook messages and Twitter messages and look at neighbors and family members with scalpels and, and hate in their heart for one disagreement. And, and, and I and as much as I can, I would like to help push us the other way because it’s important for the business you know, you want to get super tactical, it’s important for the business you’re gonna have people that you work with who are important to the success of your business who disagree, who vote for another candidate who has a slight disagreement who disagree on pro-choice or pro-life or whatever the ish, I should say stupid issue, but whatever the issue is, regardless of the issue, they’re going to have a difference and you still have to work with them. And if you are holding Hate in your heart because you disagree on one issue, then you can’t do that your business isn’t going to be successful. This is extremely important, especially for leaders, like you can’t allow your company to fall apart because your team slightly has slight differences.

Syd Roe 26:16

True that and that is 100%. True.

Ryan Hanley 26:18

Right. And I think that this is an important topic to start talking about now. So it’s something that I’ve been talking about a lot. And I don’t really know how we got there, but

Syd Roe 26:28

Well, I think so. I have a lot of thoughts on that. I think, particularly your last point, not letting it erode your team from the inside out. That is particularly hard right now, just because there’s this expectation of transparency today and us and corporate positioning in transparency,

Ryan Hanley 26:55

it transparency as long as you placate to The position that I want you to be transparent on. So, you know, I was on this I was, you know, I was talking to someone the other day, and I don’t mean interrupt you, but I just feel so strongly about this and I promise I’m sorry. This is like one of our old meetings back in Minnesota. And so you know, it’s like this I just feel so strongly about this because there is this I read this thing SEO activism, this was the This was on Twitter, and this guy that I follow was talking about, SEO activism is very important. And clients and employees want to hear, want their CEOs to be strong, and they want them to be activists. And I was like, yeah, until they disagree with their opinion, and then they’re going to effin hate them and say, why you shouldn’t be allowed to have that opinion. I’m going to cancel you cancel, cancel like you can’t have that opinion. I want you to be transparent as long as you agree with me. And that’s why forming a culture of acceptance is so incredibly important because there are many things that you and I agree on, there are also things that we disagree on. But I, I, you’re one of the dearest people in my entire life, I would do anything for you. So how is that possible? Like we come from completely different worlds, like and, and we’ve had arguments before on different things. But it doesn’t mean that like, but we still somehow were able to perform as a team at an incredibly high level. So I think we have to be, there’s just this, this whole conversation around expected transparency, as long as you agree with me. And it’s both sides. Everyone wants to blame the left and I think the left is out of their friggin minds. But I also think, take that same percentage of people on the left and cut them out of the far-right, and those people are just as wackadoo. And then but the problem is, we think that that’s all of the right or all of the left. And what it really is, is this tiny little 3% or 5% margin on the left and three or 5% margin on the right, and everyone in the middle is like yeah, we’d rather just Get along. But you know when he hears from them because they’re so scared of sharing their opinion. So,

Syd Roe 29:05

yeah, so I was thinking about, have you ever heard of the nod before? I was just explaining this to Seth the other day. Okay. So if you have two LGBTQ people walking down the street, and you know what, when you’re gay for long enough, you kind of know and somebody else’s you got some gaydar. You develop some gaydar. By the way, Jess has terrible gaydar. And if she’s listening to this, I’m so sorry, babe. But I have pretty good gaydar. So I can notice, right? There are two people walking down the street walking down the sidewalk. You give them the nod. And there’s like this mutual unspoken connection. That just happens because you know that they’re LGBTQ now. Is that a demographic thing? Or a sexuality thing? No. What it is, is a shared struggle thing. And to me, when I think about my time with agency nation, and I think why I have such deep relationships with the people Were there, it’s because we had a sense of shared struggle, we were in it together. And when you can cultivate that, in a business, no amount of activism can touch it. Right? Like there’s a, there’s just a sense of like, when you know, you have to have the other person’s back in something, it just it tops like the surface topics right? So,

Ryan Hanley 30:26

I think this it’s much easier to do in smaller companies you’re closer together you spend more time together with the same people. Um, and I completely agree with your shared so struggle thing at a much more surface level. We talked about that at Mehta bog, right. Like I see people and like, if they got a metabolic shirt, I’ll just look at him and you kind of give them like a workout sometimes. Right? Yeah, I mean, I didn’t understand you’re saying at first, but it was you said I was like, this is a little more surface than what you’re talking about. But yeah, I get it. Um, I think I think it’s easier in smaller companies. I think people and leaders in particular in large Companies This is much more difficult, because it’s harder, it’s harder. As your company expands and becomes bigger, it’s harder to share the idea that if you’re who you are, you’re going to be accepted right there’s like this level at a certain point you’re far enough away from the core that you start do not believe there’s a level of disbelief that if I’m actually who I am, I’m going to be accepted for that thing. When it’s a smaller company, that’s easier for your everyone’s closer to the core. So you know, like, Hey, I have this view on this and this view on that and people accept me regardless, that’s a little easier. So But either way, this is something that 100% has to come top-down. There is no you know, there’s the unequivocably this has to come to pop down the and as we’ve lived firsthand when it doesn’t, things start to fall apart. You, you have to if you are in a leadership position have to have Today, you have to let your people know that they are operating in a space in which they are accepted for who they are as long as and this is the caveat they are accepting of who everyone else is. Right and this is something that that I firmly believe is you know we it has to go both ways and I think this is the issue is that for so long, straight white people have been so shitty to everyone who isn’t straight and white that there has been a huge pendulum swing and it needs to go even further right there needs to be more acceptance that’s absolutely positively the case. Unfortunately, I think what’s entrenched so many of these bigoted a-holes on that that are still straight and white. Is that is that the unacceptance of who they are, that’s come back and I know that’s a natural reaction and Dude, I haven’t lived your life and the shit that you’ve gone through. Although, you know, we’ve talked about it. I think this is incredibly difficult. How do you tell a group of people who have been treated awfully for Ever, that they have to be accepting of the group of people that treated them awful, I don’t know that I’m the right person to say that I just from you know, looking at it, you know, you know, I just to me there is this, this complete lack of acceptance on either side and someone has to break down. Eventually, Someone has to be like, you know what, I don’t agree but, you know, with but I, you know, I’m willing to accept that you exist and we breathe the same air and we’re at least pointed in some of the same directions. And that’s just hard to do, I think. But as a leader inside your company, you can do that. And that is your primary goal beyond all outs.

Syd Roe 33:38

So I want to ask you then, to dive into that a little further. Because having been on your team, and having been someone who was inspired to prove your definition before reach peak performance, like I would say, even after coming out of agency nation and being you know Working with you. I feel like I’ve even hit longer strides in that realm. But oh my gosh, I think back on that those three and a half years and there is no way that I could do what I’m doing today if it wasn’t for those three and a half years working on your team, so how do you and I saw other people, you know, do the same thing. As someone who has inspired people to come together, and by the way, this was during, we’re talking about elections. Yeah. We’re doing you were doing that during one of the worst election. Right? I mean, it. So having been through that, and having come out the other side with a team, who I mean, I still talk to, you know, these people I still talk to Jen, I still talk with Stacy, you know, and listen, everybody. It’s like, how did you do that? How did you craft that environment for people. It made them feel comfortable and saved and inspired them to hit personal goals that I don’t think they felt like they were capable of,

Ryan Hanley 35:06

um, geez, well, I would be completely lying if I say that I had anything that resembled a plan. And that being the case, one of the things so I think I approached each person a little bit different, which I’ll take you since we’re on a thing. Um, I was not one it was immediately obvious to me the very first time that so we so if anyone doesn’t know our kind of origin story, the very first time I met Sid was at the New York AI day in New York City. We were mashed together on this joint Trusted Choice, Trusted Choice, calm presentation, which at the time, was at the time was like, you couldn’t get to organizations that distrusted each other any more than those two. And I walk in and you had this big smile and I could tell you where raw is shit and also scared out of your mind. He’s like prepping, prepping, prepping and I’m just like standing there like, what are you doing? Let’s just wing it will be great.

Syd Roe 36:07

Where do you know when

Ryan Hanley 36:09

and then we got into it and but I could immediately tell that you had an energy and enthusiasm and intelligence obviously that and you went with it like you didn’t really know how to take that and it was completely contrary to anything that you would experience in your time with the association before that. But uh, you went with it and you did a great job and I literally said to my like, I was watching you present your section of that presentation. And I was like, I’m gonna hire this woman like I’m absolutely gonna hire her like she’s just not meant for what she’s doing like I’m gonna so then I think it was like a month later. We saw each other again and then that’s when I pitched you the job and took a little finagling to get you but like for me, what I took from you was here I have someone who doesn’t even understand how talented they are, and the only thing that was going to hold you back Was excuses that you’ve made of yourself. So I told you very early on, um, uh, you know, your sexuality was a barrier for you. One of the things that you told me was like, I’m afraid I won’t be accepted and I was like, fuck them. I don’t care what any fat white guy has to say or think about you, you’re going to be so goddamn good that they can ignore you. And that’s what we’re gonna focus on. And that’s what you did, like, You broke every barrier that there’s no room that you couldn’t walk into and hold your own. And the only thing that was keeping you from being able to do that were the excuses that you are going to make of yourself and I just did not allow you to make those excuses because it would have been a travesty to the world for you not to become the best version of yourself. Like, like it would have not. It just would have been a travesty it would have been that would have been a mistake. And it would have been super easy to just be like sit and make me some videos. You keep you in a little box. Because then I could have controlled you and not have you make crazy videos and all kinds of stuff. But I also love that I mean, I think part of it too is I love that shit. So like the more the in the crazier things that you did, the more air cover it provided for me to do crazy shit. So that was fun, too. But, uh, you know that that was the thing. So then you take Nyssa, who I love to, and I actually still gram with her all the time we can you give you the gram. And you know, with her, it was a little different, like Nyssa was very straightforward, right? her way was like, I’m going to bludgeon you with the truth. And that’s just not always the right way to approach a conversation. So with her, it was more like, Okay, I have a high performer, very intelligent, very dedicated. But some of her communication styles was keeping her from being the best version of herself because she just wouldn’t like go right to the point and I Like sometimes a little bit of foreplay and conversation, a little bit of nicety like that gets you that just warms people up to the idea that you’re going to present him with. And, you know, she, to her credit and whatever, she took that on, and by the end of our time together, she was communicating and we were working very early on the team was working much more fluid and she had people working for her and, you know, none of this stuff happens overnight, but you know, and then you take like, like, like Jen right? Jen, Jen, Jen Hawk, and, you know, she did not want to be out front, but another incredibly high performer, incredibly creative, but she did not want to be out front. So with her, I created I tried to create an ecosystem for her to be everything that she wanted and could be, but she didn’t have to be the person who was always who had to be out front I would be that barrier or, or maybe Stacy would step in and do that for her because that would allow her to be your best So, I think, you know, I, I, I haven’t read in a while, so I’m not gonna be able to quote directly. But I, there was a time period a few years ago where I was reading a lot of stuff about Bruce Lee and I haven’t read his book, which I want to So, but I read a lot of articles about him and watch some documentaries and stuff. And, you know, he used to talk about karate, like, no style is the best I’m paraphrasing. And I really believe that as leaders, as individuals, as people, especially as creatives, this is something you and I talked about a lot. Like, once you get married to a style you have put a ceiling on who you can be, and that the best way to be is adaptive, like be adaptive, like, like, when you interact with someone, you don’t have to change who you are, but it is advantageous to adapt to certain, certain methodologies that maybe allow you to work better with that person. Like, you know, I there, you know, and then everybody is different and you engage with different people, and I just think that when we just like, this is who I am like, take it or leave it. No, you’re an asshole. Like that’s, that’s not the right way to be like, like, if someone just needs me to be slightly more communicative, even if I don’t really want to be, but they can perform better if I’m slightly more communicative. Are they the whole for wanting me to be more communicative? Or am I the hole for just being like, No, I’m not going to do that. And I think once I kind of learned that each individual person was different and that there wasn’t really one leadership style was kind of trying to get the best out of everyone in what they need. That opened up a lot of doors.

Syd Roe 41:37

I think so two of the things I mean, I look back on are you have this uncanny ability to see through people, not, not to what they present to the world, but sort of through them what’s actually going on, like you almost listen to the way people say things or their body language or their energy, their decisions and it’s almost like your brain is putting all that together automatically, which I think is I don’t know if I call it a skill or a gift or what but I don’t know that it’s something everyone has. Although I think you’ve probably crafted it, you’ve been really intentional about sort of keying in on that. And then the other part is you’re really comfortable being uncomfortable. Like you would have conversations with me, that I would not have with anyone else. In terms of being willing to tell me what I was doing wrong, or, and not even necessarily what I was doing wrong, but sort of question me, and almost in a way that caused me to question my, my own, you know, am I doing could I be doing this better? You know, sort of thinking through things. Is that something that anyone has the capability to unlock? Or isn’t it? Yeah,

Ryan Hanley 42:53

100% 100% I so I don’t know. I think it is something that I’ve unintel I think, I think later in my life, I have been a little more intentional in what you’re talking about. I think early on, it was just very, for me, I need to know, if I know why I’m willing to accept anyhow, that’s just always the way I just need to know. Like, give me an understanding of why. And then I am not married to anyhow. And I think it’s the opposite for most people. I think people get married to how, and when they don’t really even think about why they’re just like, you know, I just give me Tell me how to do it. Tell me how to do it. Tell me and this goes all the way back to our tactics conversation. Like, I stopped. I stopped wanting to teach people how because none of them were thinking about their why. Right? Like no one was thinking about why. And they were just they just wanted to give me how I write five more policies. Well, why do you want to write five more policies and what kind of policies and who do you want to work with and what does it mean to you and it’s going to be a ton of work. Do you want to do a ton of work? No, I don’t really want to do a ton of work then. Do you really want those five more policies? Well, I mean, These are the conversations no one was having them. So when I listen to someone or I talk to somebody, what I’m trying to figure out is like, why are they saying the things they’re saying? Or why are they doing the things they’re doing? Because if I can understand what’s the real why is that I can help them get to wherever they want to be. And that was the case with you like I knew I your, why I think, has changed over time. If I’m, if I’m handicapping it, I think early on it was just you, I think for you early, it was you want it to be accepted. You want it to feel like you could like people were accepting of you and that was your why early. So we worked on that. And we talked about it and talked about how to deal with different things that that you uniquely had to deal with that other people did not. You know, being a gay woman and insurance is not easy. I mean, I don’t know that personally, I know it only from watching you. And knowing you know how many fat old white guys there are that didn’t want to listen to what you had to say even though when it came to certain topics, you can run them out of the room. And so getting, you know, helping you feel accepted whether you were or not, which was the point that I always tried to make with you. As I said, it doesn’t matter if you’re actually accepted. What matters is you, you don’t care that you’re being accepted. You feel like you’re worthy of being in that room. That was very important. And once you understood that aspect, and you felt like okay, I’m worthy of being in that room. Now it’s let’s take your game to the next level. I don’t want to see you putting out bullshit work because you feel like you need to be active. I want to see you doing your best work because now you believe you’re worthy. Now do the work that’s worthy of you. And, and then we started doing that. Now in some cases, I had to kick you in the ass, which is like the whole reason I started my vlog is that you wouldn’t listen to me. I didn’t want to start a vlog.

Syd Roe 45:47

Oh, man. Yeah,

Ryan Hanley 45:49

this goes this goes back. This goes back to like the whole conversation as people used to think people would say, Ah, it’s just about handling all he only cares about his hand. The only reason I started a vlog was to kick Sydney The but because I had been telling her for six months you need to start a blog, and she wouldn’t. So I was like offer I’m gonna start a vlog and she’s gonna be so pissed that I started one before me about it. No yeah. Oh yeah, no that was all calculated not telling you about it was 100%

Syd Roe 46:18

I think I heard it from Missa tee Ryan put out a vlog today. What? Yeah, I remember being on the phone with her and being like, I can’t believe he did this. I’m watching the free coffeemaker for the first 30 seconds and I’m just like, how is he doing this? Like, I don’t understand I gotta go click watching the whole thing.

Ryan Hanley 46:36

That was so calculated that was 100% calculated that whole thing but so I think I think just getting back to your question like, I, I am not married to any house. I just if I could figure out someone’s why then I then then we can figure out that if I can figure out the why then we can get to the how I just that’s always the way that I ended. interact and every business meeting and you know and I’ve taken that with me obviously here you know I will say that skill tends to be much more valuable in business sometimes than in like married life or life with friendships because you know people don’t always want you always figuring out their why like it’s so I’d say that sometimes they just want you to do what the hell they say and just shut up so I don’t know that hundred percent translates to every other aspect of your life but certainly in business and certainly in leadership. I believe firmly in if you can figure out the persons Why then you then and just don’t be married to a house just to get you to know then you can do whatever you just whenever we need to do to get the thing done that needs to get done. It makes it a lot easier.

Syd Roe 47:49

Yeah. This topic is incredibly important to me being in the role that I’m at with neon with being atomic because I think what we’re creating in a way is, you know, I keep there’s a lot of ways to look at something that you’re creating, right? Yes, it’s a tech stack. Yes, it’s technology. Yes, we’re trying to get people to think differently about data but in a way too, we’re creating like a machine for transparency, and transparency creates vulnerability and discomfort, right when you can actually start to measure and see what people are doing and how they’re doing it. You have to be pretty confident in yourself and your ability to recognize and you know what, maybe where you could maybe work a little better work a little harder, etc. Right. So um, I guess you know, my next question being you talked a little bit before about this on your most recent podcast one of the most recent one cuz it’s Brian fans, oh, but the one on one with Ryan handling, which was awesome. By the way, I love that format. I was a little nervous going into and I’m like what it was You’re gonna save for like, what is it? 40 minutes by himself. But it ended up being amazing. And you talked about how you’re one of the reasons you love this guy, Jordan Peterson who wrote the 12 rules of life 1212

Ryan Hanley 49:19

rules for life. Yeah, the antidote to chaos.

Syd Roe 49:21

Yeah. Was his willingness to change his mind?

Ryan Hanley 49:24


Syd Roe 49:26

that’s a hard thing. I mean, that’s a hard thing. Just thinking about that, you know, my, my personal relationships, professional relationships. And I think it’s going to be something that as agents start to see more clearly what’s going on in their business. It’s going to be a hard thing to accept as well, from an industry standpoint. So how do you I mean, you talked about a process, right? Not just Hey, look, we got to be willing to change our mind. Okay. Like, drop, see you guys later, right? Yeah, um, you actually talked about, like, this is my process for being willing to change. Could you talk a little bit about that here? Yeah.

Ryan Hanley 50:09

So one quick thing before we get there, I think what Neon is MB atomic is actually selling is freedom five, we’re going to package it up. Not that I want to do your job for you, you are the CMO. But I’m

Syd Roe 50:22

not surprised you’re trying to take my job. It’s all good. Trying to get back in the insurance industry.

Ryan Hanley 50:28

I think well, I just I that’s what in my mind, that’s what I’ve always thought is like, because vulnerability is a tough word like no one wants to be vulnerable, they are vulnerable but no one really wants to be that as like negative connotations even to the most secure but everybody wants freedom and I actually think that’s what you’re giving them is the freedom to be exactly who they want to be when they want to be it without the strings of all the other nonsense so you can if you use that you just send me a royalty or something. Um so to the Jordan Peterson idea, so Jordan Peterson wrote this book 12 rules for life. He’s probably became known most prominently for some outspoken views against free speech in Canada. In particular, they were taken out of context, because they had to do with transgender pronouns. And you can google all that. So he has. So if you were to Google him, you’d see some really negative stuff and you’d see some really positive stuff. If you actually dig into his work. what he was saying is not that I have any problem calling any transgender person by whatever pronoun they want to be called by when I have a problem is the government telling me that I have to or cannot use any word, it had nothing to do with transgender transgenders is what lit the fire because it’s such a volatile topic. So if you google him, you will see some of that stuff. And I think what makes that really interesting is that out of that has sprung this entire conversation around various topics in terms of like, hierarchical structures, and self-reliance and, and all these things and really what it takes to be a strong human. So, so I’ve kind of fallen in love with his work. I don’t agree with that. Absolutely everything he says, but I do think that his how he attacks a topic is amazing. So what this guy does is he travels around the world. And he does presentations, which a lot of people do. But unlike a standard, like a stump speech, where he just likes reads from his book or talks about one of the topics, what he does is he spends an hour and a half on stage breaking down a problem. So he’ll step out on stage and he’ll sit down in his chair and he’ll say, you know, there’s this one idea inside of rule one, which is stand up straight with your shoulders back, which has gotten a lot of pushback, and I want to talk through it and he will take that hour and a half and it’ll essentially be him talking out loud. He likes he’ll point-counterpoint his own argument. You know, just because he’s perfectly willing to say just because I wrote it in a book does not mean that it’s absolutely the truth or that it absolutely is the way my, my, that way that my thought process will always be, he’s constantly taking in new points and then questioning them and how they relate to, to his general theme. So, you know what you hear is when he’s debating someone or when he’s having a conversation with someone or when he’s on stage and being asked a question, or when the host will talk through something with him. What he is constantly doing is reevaluating his premise and re you know, and it’s just it’s a wild process to watch and what I’ve taken from it because I’d say in my and I said this in my podcast episode that I did. I don’t trust my first instinct on most things. Mm-hmm. I think that my first instinct tends to be slightly emotional and slightly. I think I tend to be overly optimistic, and slightly more emotionally driven. That’s just that tends to be what my, my first instinct is, which doesn’t always lend itself to be accurate. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. And so I am aware of that. But some people just have this key that just their first instinct is on point. Now, I think if you’re looking to the scientific research, relying strictly on your instincts, you actually, your chance of success is somewhere in the 40 percentile range. So you actually have less than a 50% chance of being successful if you always rely on instinct. So taking that into account, and then taking it with, you know, the other half of my personality that I’m very aware of as an obstacle that I have to fight internally is that I tend to be I tend to have an ego. I do like I just, I, especially for things that I feel like I have spent time contemplating Not you know, something that I don’t really know much about. I don’t have any go on. But like if I’ve spent time in it, and I’ve spent time thinking, my natural inclination is to, is to feel is to take ownership of the idea. And this is something that I’ve really worked on in the last two years. You know, it was humbling to be asked to leave agency nation. That was a humbling thing. I mean, here’s something I built and I was essentially said, Here’s your Pat Have a nice day. And you know, and then and then as much as I think bold penguins, a tremendous organization. I wasn’t a super fit. So that was a weird thing too because it had nothing that it was a there was nothing wrong with that company. And I actually think, you know, Elio is a tremendous entrepreneur and I and I, and I still enjoy and have relationships with people that work there. Um, it just wasn’t a good fit. And that was weird too, because, you know, the first company that I jumped to a destination for so long, that was a good fit, and then Southern Company, it wasn’t a good fit, and I knew right away and then, you know, so there are some humbling things in there. So I had to examine and actually, as much as I hate when she does this because she’s right. My wife said, you know, maybe the problem, isn’t the problems you and which is valid and what isn’t? Yeah,

Syd Roe 56:20

you’re not only one who’s heard that line?

Ryan Hanley 56:23

I don’t. I don’t like that advice, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not right. So I have spent over the last year’s time thinking, about my own ego and how it gets in the way. So I think someone who is unwilling to change their mind has a view as is allowing their ego to control who they are, and I don’t want to be that person. And I’m not saying that I always get there immediately. But I have tried very hard to be willing to change my mind. Based on new information, so I’ll hold a position today on a topic that is my position today on that topic, but I am open and willing to discuss and take in new information and adjust course as needed. Again. I am better at this than, you know some topics I’m bad and others in certain instances I am better than others. But I’m working very hard on that because I think it’s a key. Again, this goes back to like the 2020 thing and all the negativity in the world. negativity in the world really bothers me. I don’t know why. Maybe just because I because part of my job for so long has been on social media, maybe part of it’s because I honestly, I love this country and I love the people in it. And I want us to be successful and I feel like not enough citizens take pride in ownership. And if even if in some small part my small podcast and blog can help Have a couple of people just be a little more open-minded. I feel like that’s work that needs to be done. I also think that it fits very nicely with what we’re trying to do in metabolic, right, like metabolic is about shared struggle. It’s about I mean, you did the workouts, right, they’re hard workouts. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, black, white, purple, orange, gay, straight, doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, how strong you are, how out of shape, how in shape, what matters, you show up, and you do the workout. And then we all slap five, we clean the gym, and we go back to our lives. And what I love about it is I’ve met people who I would never think to interact with, not because I wouldn’t necessarily like them, but I just would never think to interact with them out in the world. But in this place, we’ve come to get to know each other and now we have this thing. And when I do see them, I’m like hey, what’s up, you know, and I might not agree with anything else that they do in their life. But you know what I do think I do agree with them on this one thing, and because of that, we can share and be kind to each other and I think that if we can understand that our instincts are usually wrong, and that ego most of the time is what entrenches us, and be willing to change our mind the path, I think you’ll find a brighter future a brighter path and whatever it is you’re trying to do.

Syd Roe 59:17

So I want to touch on ego and community for a sec. So, you know, coming from the association world, I think there’s let me actually step back for a second and give some context here. You put out a social media post about the community. And it was amazing. It was very short. I think it was even a tweet. So I know it was less than 140 characters but something along the lines of said better than I’m about to say. Because we are spending so much time online, more and more and more, we are going to be looking for those moments in time when we can come together physically In person, in communities in local communities, so there’s going to be a rebirth, I guess, of community. And I think what’s interesting is that not only is that true, but the mechanism through which those communities are being created has completely shifted. So, I guess, you know, I spent so much time just thinking about the insurance industry, right? And just what is it where it’s going, what are the problems? How can we fix them? What are people struggling with? And one of the things I noticed coming out of the association world is that there’s a heavy reliance on self-value in the association world as believing that you know you are basically the creator of the community for indie agents. That’s it like you are the go-to And in addition to that because there’s an element of ego there, right? Like we’re the best. There’s a fear of the fact that there are now new mechanisms for creating community. So I guess I’d be interested in your understanding of how the community is changing today where it’s going. And I say that because I do truly care about the association world. And I think there’s got to be a shift from where the best way to create a community to we are a way to cook to collaborate and commune. What’s what is the unique value proposition for your community? I don’t know I can’t give that to you. But you’re not the only way to drive community. So you are now in a place where an environment where other people have other communities to go to how are you going to stand out you can’t, you can’t deny that you can’t. fight it. You can’t, you know, you’ve got to be self-aware of it. How do you interact in that space? Does it make sense?

Ryan Hanley 1:02:08

made sense? And so one thing I would say is I was pleasantly surprised, towards the end of my time in the insurance industry to see many state associations really starting to think to re-examine their role in the space. And I’m with you. I was always an enormous supporter of the state associations. I think the National Association is out to lunch and has a false sense of hierarchy mandated by illogical control structures, but I think the state associations play an incredibly valuable role and in the ecosystem. That being said, the hard part is, in order for them to move forward, they almost have to step back, which is not exactly what you said, understand that they aren’t the only player in the game, but that they are a very important player and that they have a vital role. To play and that by being more open, they actually all grow and everyone lifts you know cats used to say constantly It’s driving me nuts but he’s 100% right? Like rising tide lifts all ships used to say that over and over and over and over again rising tide lifts all ships and we’ve all heard that saying I think I don’t think many people actually believe it I think it’s I think they pay lip service to it but I that was the superpower of agency nation. What drove everybody nuts about agency nation is that I didn’t operate and then you came in and you didn’t operate and everyone who worked on the agency nation side of the house none of us believed that one we were the best two nor did we care who you know you were friends with we I remember the first time that I mentioned Iowa. you would have thought that like I that it was like the Cold War and I had let the Russians like right in right like that. I just like opened up the doors and like handed them Marler trade secrets if you’re like, Oh, my God, you gave IAA a platform. Ah, I said that they thought they were doing a good job. Three-quarters of their members are also Big Eyed members. I don’t know, that was that that to me was just I also think that was another nail in my coffin in terms of my career, but, um, but like, I got four phone calls in one day about an email that had a loose reference

Ryan Hanley 1:04:23

tie. Wow, Oh, God, I look back on those days fondly.

Ryan Hanley 1:04:33

But um, so my point is, I think that and so many of the status issues are doing this now or were when I was here, I’m sure they still are, you know, you think about what obby was doing in North Carolina and Jeff Smith was doing and, and Ohio probably the gold standard. I look at Oklahoma, and I know, Texas doing some good stuff. I know Mario had some tea shade to shore up down there, but she’s doing a great job. You know, I like a Wisconsin map. And that’s the end And so there are other examples, you know, I’m just naming a few. And so these state associations started to understand that, hey, by working together by being a little more open by letting more people into the ecosystem by willing to talk about those who may not be directly connected, everyone rises because now we’re part of a bigger ego. We’re playing a much bigger game. And, and I loved to see that and I think that’s really I think people want to know that you’re not biased. I think that’s really what they want to know. And that was one of the things about agency nation that that, you know, drove a huge wedge for me was, I was unwilling to play to placate the, you know, like, this is our, you know, get off my lawn mentality. Like I was unwilling to play that game. Like I would talk about anybody who I thought was adding value to independent insurance agents lives because all I cared about was that independent insurance agents enjoy their job, more performed. job better had a brighter future had sustainably all the things that we’ve talked about a million times. So I think that’s what breeds community is acceptance. It’s an abundance mindset. If you and I have talked about many times like it’s if you operate from a place of abundance, you can’t be beaten, you literally can’t be beaten. You can’t be you. The only time you can be beaten is when you come at something from a scarcity mindset. Because if you operate from abundance, there’s literally failure doesn’t matter. It’s a step. If you operate from a scarcity mindset, if your world is very myopic, then every failure is like an earth-shattering experience that you just can’t handle. And I just so I’ve just, I’ve just lived that life, like the only way that I’ve gotten here I’m I failed my way through college. I worked 17 ridiculous, stupid jobs. I had no career path. I had no real ambition or goal until I was in my 30s like this isn’t I’m not in this place because I was so driven and you know, stepped on people’s throats To get here, the only way I got here is from giving and, and helping people and being part of communities and, and taking losses and, and doing things for free that I shouldn’t have done for free. And, you know, I mean, because that’s what it’s about. And I think so few people you know, I just I would not I, I wouldn’t be the idea that if you had known me a decade ago, or even when I was a kid, the idea that I am the CEO of a company that that does, what we do is bananas. It’s insanity like you would never have pegged me for this thing. And the and so like, this is how I’ve gotten here. I haven’t gotten here because I’m the smartest or that, you know, I’m the best at anything. I’m literally not the best at anything. I just work hard. I care about people. And I try to help other people do become the best version of themselves that they can be. And if you don’t mean like yeah, my goal Was that you would be better than me. And I’ve told you that before. And you are. And you know, I mean, and that’s what I wanted. That was a success for me. Ya know, and I just think a lot of people are unwilling to do that.

Syd Roe 1:08:11

Yeah. And I think too, it’s kind of ironic to me because

Syd Roe 1:08:18

if you think about the idea of community being the value proposition of an association, you’re basically telling other people who are competitors, you have to come together and share your secret sauce. And the irony and not being able to do that, in your own business is very strange. I think if we’re going to tell people, other businesses who, by the way, have to feed their families, you know, pay their employees, you have to come together and collaborate with your competitors, but we aren’t able to do that as you know. It just it kind of blows my mind a little bit right in it also sort of is it It’s it. In a way it’s self-defeating, right? Because how can you tell me that? I’ve got to do that, but you aren’t willing to do that.

Ryan Hanley 1:09:07

And so this is Dude, this was always the point. The secret sauce is you. The secret sauce is Hey, Seth, the secret sauce is Jeff ROI. The secret sauce is what he Brown. The secret sauce is not the stupid tactics that they use to do the things that they do. It’s not the provider that they use. It’s not their agency management system. It’s not how many times they tweet. It’s not what associations they’re part of. It’s always about the human. That’s the secret sauce that the secret sauce is always so there is no secret sauce, right? I mean, we all have our own unique version of the secret sauce that no one can ever duplicate. No one can do what you do the way you do it, no one can and nobody can. And so you can that’s why you can travel around the country and tell everybody every secret of your video marketing process and it and it’s completely okay because they can’t do you just like you can’t do them. And I think that’s the idea that has always driven me crazy. There’s no secret sauce. There’s it doesn’t exist. It’s just you could do you, we could do the same exact things and we would have completely different results. And it doesn’t mean better or worse. It just means different. Right, like, so. That’s what’s always driven me crazy about this is that everyone thinks that there is a secret sauce. It doesn’t exist. Yeah, yeah. He kind to pay your people. Well, you know, I don’t know. There’s my secret sauce. Yeah.

Syd Roe 1:10:30

Yes. Well, and I completely agree. And I think this is, it means a lot to me to have this conversation because I think when I look at the next like five years in the insurance industry, the biggest our downfall is going to be lack of real community and collaboration 100% in a world wherein an isolated organization takes like Nike that’s already doing it take, you know, progressive. That’s starting to Do this where they can become a well-oiled trance like a ridiculously transparent machine with all pieces knowing at all times what’s going on and working together seamlessly. Right like and the independent agent channels still struggling with lack of collaboration lack of care for the other party lack of coming together this these weird power dynamics that are just it’s like it’s unnecessary and you know, to me it’s gonna write it from the inside out and that that’s the scariest thing to me over the next five years is Yeah, okay. All this tech take insure tech right the wave of insurer tech that’s come about you were there. Like you saw it. It was amazing. Everybody got super jazzed about it. But guess what now all that insure tech is looking around going? Yeah, so I actually need to connect with you and you need to connect with me and we need to connect with this guy over here and no one is actually like truly coming together and making that happen in an impactful way. So that is great. To beat, like, that’s gonna be the great separator in the next like five years is like if you can’t collaborate and, and, and come together as, like people, the technology doesn’t matter, you know? And yeah

Ryan Hanley 1:12:14

yeah, I guess that’s This is why the industry needs to ever promote to the world because you know, you look at a company like Central and what they’re doing and what they’re trying to do and here are high quality but mid-market mutual headquartered in literally the middle of nowhere who’s one of the most innovative in terms of what they’re willing to do and open-minded organizations in the entire ecosystem. acuities another one, Westfield is doing some good things. At least they were again, this is my some of my knowledge is outdated by eight months. But you know, I mean, this is what I was seeing when I was leaving and it was just sad to me. But what I think, again, if you think back to people’s why, and you understand where people are coming from, this is survival. There are a lot of people who, who their, their literal survival is based on keeping things exactly the way this the way they are. And when you say change, they hear I lose my job. And you can’t fault them for that. But you can’t fault someone in the National Association for chopping people down at the knees so that they can keep their job like that. I’ve watched it happen over and over and over again. And you can’t I don’t think what you’re doing is right. But I also have a hard time you know, you know how it’s like, in order to defeat your enemy. You have to love your enemy. Like that’s Ender’s Game. Um, so the, you know, you by understanding them, you can start to you can maneuver around them. Yeah. Because now you understand what their motivation, their motivation isn’t the success of the independent insurance, it’s survival. And, and I completely think that you know, that’s it. Guess I don’t, again, it’s not the life that I would want to live, but it is but you get to understand where they’re coming from. So that being said, I think for organizations like, like be atomic and the product neon and the things and those that are operating in your ecosystem. A lot of this is just outlasting these people right? Like, like, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better for you. I said that to Seth. Like, you know, I when I was talking to them early, I said, Man, he cuz he was very excited about a lot of early wins that he had which worksite which was exciting. And I just said to him, bro, like, this is amazing, but it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. Because there are going to be moments where you start to get big enough and interesting enough that you become a problem for people who want things to stay the same. And in that, there’s going to be a period of vulnerability in which you guys are going to take a lot of shots, a lot of shots. You’re going to be you know, it’s like one of those old boxing movies were like from round six to round nine like it’s just about montage getting bludgeoned, you know, Rocky out last that period, you know, like that’s, that’s what it’s going to be for you guys like you guys are going to have to weather that because you’re going to become a problem for a lot of people. And if you can Outlast that period, if you can get through that moment of vulnerability where you go from being slightly irrelevant to being relevant but vulnerable, and get through that vulnerability period to being relevant and not vulnerable, that’s where success happens. So I think I think you guys have a lot of shots that you’re gonna take, you’re gonna take a lot of shots like I’m sure you’ve taken some already, I would have to imagine it is only the beginning. And I think you win and there’s no to better people and you and Seth and everyone else that’s involved. That to do this. You have to operate in from a point of abundance you have to kill everyone with kindness and intention and the hard-headed Driven mentality that you both have. And you have to share and teach and give and be accepting. Because if you are those things, then in those moments of vulnerability when you’re taking the shots, the people that you need to come to your rescue will and they’ll keep you going because you’re good. That’s absolutely what’s gonna happen and I don’t know when it’s gonna happen, but it’s gonna happen. And if you do Outlast them, I think you guys have the real potential to be a game-changer. I think it’s an idea that anybody who wants everything to be exactly the same I think neon and the combo of you and set together I think it’s just getting the shit out of those people. Because, you know, you’re not doing it just to make money. You’re doing it to make a change, and that’s scary and dangerous.

Syd Roe 1:16:47

So I think we had an agent asked a question a couple of weeks ago, he said, so are you going to have enough? You know, the question really if the atomic will last is whether They can get enough revenue, you know, enough money, right? enough funding for the next you know, two or three years before you guys start bringing in revenue and all that kind of stuff. And I thought that was such an interesting perspective because I, first of all, I’m not really worried about funding I think we get there’s always money out there to go get it’s really where are you getting the money from? And who’s giving it to you and what type of relationship do you want to have with that money? And there’s a very specific we relationship that we want to have with that money to be able to build this thing right. And so to me, the question really is, are the people who are able to fund it Who are the right fit going to last will be out there I’ll for sure I mean, believe in this idea. Believe in this tech believe in how it’s going to shift the industry to a hundred percent.

Syd Roe 1:17:54

But to me, it’s, it’s not if I will outlast and whether it be atomic will outlast It’s whether the industry has enough desire and belief and passion to outlast that makes sense, right?

Ryan Hanley 1:18:06

Yeah. No, it completely does. And this is where, like, I think this is where you pull from some of the things that we learned when we were building agency nation, right? Like you’re gonna have really dark moments, you’re gonna have people do really shitty things, safe, shitty things put you in poor positions, you’re gonna have people that are going to try to make it look like you don’t know what you’re doing. They’re gonna misrepresent your intentions. They’re going to misrepresent your financial position, they’re going to misrepresent your potential future. And you guys just need to hammer that’s, that’s where the sheer force of will comes into play. You just keep producing, because eventually, people see that like, sometimes, you know, sometimes just outlasting people like all you need, right? A lot of the people who present roadblocks to you today, they’re going to be retiring soon. Like that’s just reality and The people that are going to take their spots are most likely, in most cases going to be more open to what you guys are doing. And it’s just going to be outlasting now at the same time, I think. And so and I learned this as well at agency nation, and we talked about this towards the end to like, some of it is you have to understand where the people who are presenting obstacles where they’re coming from, and what why they’re presenting those things. It’s not always just self-preservation and pure selfish survival. Sometimes it’s like, hey, like, I’m looking at this as a business person, I just don’t see it. And maybe that maybe just hasn’t been communicated properly to them. Maybe they misheard something. And you know, I think you guys get there I’m, I’m obviously incredibly interested in what you’re doing. Um, you know, I’m still very attached to the, to the insurance industry through my wife who’s, you know, only becoming more bought into her agency and that is a big part of what supports our Family and I think it’s just you’re doing really important work. And I would also say like be prepared for course corrections beeper you know, be open to that stuff like, you know, as we started this show, I told you that we’re not franchising anymore. We’re opening all our locations, corporate locations, that was a big course correction for us. It’s important, it matches our values better. And I think as much as the idea of franchising was it was not it wasn’t bad to go down that path. It helped us get to where we needed to be. If we just stayed on that path, because we had so heavily invested in early that would have been a real mistake. So yeah, um, you guys are doing all the right stuff. I mean, I watch what you’re doing and the videos are great. You’re getting better at titling, which is good to see.

Syd Roe 1:20:53

My thumbnail game needs a little work. I’ve been watching Matt, Matt Phelps. He’s the

Ryan Hanley 1:21:01


Syd Roe 1:21:03

founder of metabolic okay yeah I didn’t know his official title there

Syd Roe 1:21:06

yeah man his thumbnail game is awesome

Ryan Hanley 1:21:08

well that’s Ryan Gifford he’s

Syd Roe 1:21:10

oh cool yeah

Ryan Hanley 1:21:11

so where I think you might have differed a little bit on the narrative he definitely has you on Photoshop design his design chops are pretty sick, yeah but you’ll get there you’re you just need to keep working on those titles. I’m glad that you’ve started to spend some time focusing on those titles for those listening at home Sydney was one of the worst titles ever.

Syd Roe 1:21:36

But here’s the reason why I was just so excited to get it out. Like I did not at that point have my marketing brain on I was just like, I had my like, I don’t even know how to describe it like my excited human brain on Rogers like well, I just created this video. I gotta get it out. Now.

Ryan Hanley 1:22:05

I’ve ever created this video, and it was awesome. It was epic. It was like just minutes of awesome. And it was the worst title I’ve ever seen in my life like it couldn’t have made me want to click on it less. And then the screen the cover image was like this blurry crowd view. I was like what am I looking at like it was worse. It was I just knew I was like, this is the best video that no one is ever going to watch. So,

Syd Roe 1:22:26

for all of those listening, this is how Ryan expresses his true love for you.

Ryan Hanley 1:22:39

No one is ever gonna watch this and it’s the best video you’ve ever done. Now I think that’s pretty much how I started the call. I was like, so are you trying not to get people to watch that video because it’s awesome. But your title is terrible. Yeah, I’m glad to see your titling chops have improved. That’s good to see.

Syd Roe 1:22:50

yeah, I’m working on it. It’s incremental progress to peak performance. Dude, Someone once told me that so. Okay, so last question. Yep, we got to end this thing we’ve been talking for like an hour and a half. So I feel really bad for people listening to this podcast. If you’ve made it to this point, here’s my question for you I one of the things that I find most interesting and talking to you just about life. But more importantly, like what your perception of how things are kind of changing and insurance because I know you’re still keeping a tab on it. And I am certainly working as hard as I can to get you back in the industry at some point in my life, only because selfishly, it would be cool to work together again. Having said that, I think your journey has allowed you to step out of the industry. And I think whenever I think about stepping out of a situation that I’m in, like, man, I think back about relationships that I’ve had, you know, personal relationships I’ve had, I’ve stepped out and realized, oh my gosh, all this stuff. Write about but I just couldn’t see it while I was in it. So having had that experience in your journey and being able to see the industry from the outside in what think of a way to phrase this? What do you what do you miss? And what do you not miss? I’ll put it that way.

Ryan Hanley 1:24:27

Well, I certainly miss the relationships and friendships. I mean, it’s why I still follow the, you know, 5 am Club Twitter conversation that goes on every morning and communicates with so many people. I mean, it was, you know, close to 15 years of my life was in the insurance industry and building all these relationships with people all over the country and in some cases, the world and just and following along and, you know, it, it is definitely difficult. I mean, I, you know, there are CEOs and presidents of insurance carriers that I literally could call on a cell phone and talk to you about things and help us get things done. And I don’t have any of that in the fitness industry, none of it. And I went from having, you know, a collection of people that I trusted and respected and cared for, who I can call with, with any question or problem or feedback, or if I wanted them, someone to be involved in a project, or if I saw someone doing something, I’d be like, hey, let me help you with that. Or let’s get that out on the wire and do people get people seeing it? And you know, and that was, it was really, it was really difficult to give all that up. I mean, I did not make this jump lightly. This wasn’t like, Oh, this new thing. I’m just gonna leave like this. It was really difficult. And, you know, I would be lying if I said there weren’t times where I incredibly I just, I missed the community that we had built so much. I will say that the six or seven months, whatever it was, as with bold Penguin, or kind of a buffer like You know, what, I really missed? What I definitely, I missed the days when the agency nation was good. Um, that was very special. There was like a two, two and a half year period in there, you know, before Marty was asked to leave and Derrick was asked to leave and, you know, I mean, like, we had a pretty special group of people, like, not just good at their jobs and everybody was, but like really like decent people like just fun people to good people or cared about each other and support each other and help each other through all kinds of stuff. And I will always look back at that time. And very, very fondly it was probably some of the best times in my entire career as a working adult. That time period is definitely one of the times I’ll always hold favorably in my mind. Um, you know, but when, when the agency nation thing, when it was time to move on from that I’d say a small part of my desire to remain in the insurance industry died. And that was something that, you know, I, you know, this is gonna sound ego-driven, like I built that from scratch like that was mine that you know, the early days and then it became so much more than that it was never about me but like, it was a part of who I was as a human was that thing like it just I don’t say mine like, I don’t see mine like ownership mine. I mean, it was like a piece of me was that like it was like tattooed on my soul was building that community and, and everything that came around with it and all the effort and thought that went into Lv and you know, and you guys did a great job and the next one too. It just was like, that was such a part of me that when I wasn’t a part of it like it was like that was ripped away from me and it was really hard for me to see something else. Like I wanted that like I tried to buy agency nation you know when I was at when you know when it was time to go And they do this like, ludicrous number at me that was just bananas. Talking about ego.

Syd Roe 1:28:06

I’m actually surprised they throw a number at Yeah,

Ryan Hanley 1:28:08

that’s Yeah. Well, if it wasn’t, it was embarrassing the number that they gave me because it showed a complete lack of understanding of anything but long story short, like, you know that thing was the thing that I always wanted to do for the industry was provide the agent with a comedian a voice in which they could find the people like them. That was always my dream, even when I was working for the agency, you know when I kind of realized that being boots on the ground and salesman really wasn’t my passion. You know, those last couple years there it was, you know, and I worked with cast a little bit and then you know, there’s, you know, life happens in different directions and, and, and that thing for a period of time was exactly what I felt my role in this space was and what I was put, I thought for a period of time, that that’s what I was put on. to do was to do this was to help this industry was to be this vessel was to share people’s stories was to help people grow and to be part of it. And I was never going to know an agency and I was never going to be part of, you know, I’m never going to, you know, make $10 million at a carrier. You know, this was what I was going to do, and I was so happy doing it. And then obviously, that wasn’t the case. And when it was gone, I just didn’t have that same passion to do it again. Because I was offered. You know, I was offered the opportunity

Ryan Hanley 1:29:33

that I lose you think my headphones died?

Ryan Hanley 1:29:38

can you hear me now?

Syd Roe 1:29:39


Ryan Hanley 1:29:40

I was offered that opportunity through a couple of different vessels to kind of restart it to do it again. And I just couldn’t, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I couldn’t get there. I don’t know why. But I just couldn’t. So I miss it. I’m there are days when I miss it. But that being said, the lesson that I’ve kind of learned from that is, is that you, you can’t really choose what your what’s going to happen, you have to be present at the moment and embrace it. And to kind of wrap this up, so I feel like I’m kind of carrying on now. Um, you know, I just I’m very happy where I am. And I’m, and I and it’s a different thing. And but I love it. So I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. 

Syd Roe 1:30:31

Well, I miss you, from the insurance industry, just so you know. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. But having said that, I think the space that you’re in now allows you the opportunity to affect people’s lives in a way that I don’t know we’ve truly seen yet. I think you’re just getting started. And this idea of peak performance and cultivating in person you know physical community But you know, through by chance working out, right. But I think those two things at the core it’s going to be. I don’t think the world is ready for it yet, we’ll put it that way for what you’re going to bring to it. So, I’m excited. I’m staying tuned and hopefully, we’ll be opening a Minnesota metabolic

Ryan Hanley 1:31:21

Well, he said, I, 

Ryan Hanley 1:31:24

you know, I think the world of you and your work, I’m so incredibly happy for where you are and what you have going on. And it’s just fun to watch. You keep doing it and growing and, you know, you know, that, obviously, well, you do know, because you contact me all the time. But, you know, you know that I have I literally every year, I’m always here for what you’re trying to do, because I just think that uh, you know, I think this is another step in something that you know, I think you have even more to give to the world. And I’m just excited to see what it is. I’ve always thought that since the first time that I met you and I’m looking for To the day when, you know, I could be like, I remember her when she was this and now you know, you’re doing whatever the hell you’re doing. I just think, you know, this is what it’s all about is and it’s just I’m just so happy that we had a chance to have this conversation. So thank you.

Syd Roe 1:32:08

Yeah, dude, me too. And hopefully, this isn’t the last one. Oh,

Ryan Hanley 1:32:15

you just tell me why and I’ll be there.

Syd Roe 1:32:21

All right, good. Now you’re officially on the hook.