EP 80 – Steve Watson: The CFO’s Guide To Fixing The Healthcare Budget

Hey, hey! Welcome back to The Bullpen Sessions! Before we get started, I’ve got to say that today’s episode is not like any other. I had the pleasure of interviewing this really special guest and I was constantly taking down notes during our conversation. 

My guest today is the incredible Steve Watson. Steve comes from the health insurance industry. Now you may be wondering — Andy, I thought you were only interviewing athletes? Well, yes, I usually do and this is definitely not our podcast’s usual cup of tea. But with the election just taking place a month ago and the current health crisis still rolling, I thought that it was best and appropriate to have somebody enlighten us on this issue. As soon as I learned about Steve, I immediately wanted him here to share his expertise to all.

In this interview, we’ll take a look at his inspirational story, beginning with that budget-breaking million dollar claim that launched Steve’s journey of helping others. It was when he was on the top of his career as a CFO/CHRO, that he faced a dilemma that made him doubt himself and his capabilities. 

However, after finding a solution, Steve made it his mission to serve others by sharing what he knows. You will be amazed not just by his intelligence but also by his belief in the importance of accountability and commitment to a life of purpose.  

So, are you ready? All right, here we go!

Who Is Steve Watson? 

Despite his amazing contribution in breaking the rising costs of healthcare, Steve Watson does not consider himself or want to be called a genius. It was with his current position as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Human Resources Officer for Child and Family Support Services, Inc., that he encountered an opportunity to look and evaluate their company benefits more closely. This situation led him to the discovery and understanding of the health insurance market and eventually inspired him to build his innovative consulting company, Trendbreakers.

Steve’s mission is to lower the healthcare costs of 1,000 employers by helping them replicate what he did with his own company. Though seemingly simple, his tested strategies have successfully recreated the wheel without impacting employees and their benefits. His secret? Have a life committed to serving others.

Aside from being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Society for Human Resource Management-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), Steve also works as an outsourced benefits procurement manager and a resource speaker. His speaking engagements on the subject of revolutionizing health benefits for the good of everyone are highly sought and recommended by those who have heard of his expertise. 

Having him share his knowledge in The Bullpen Sessions was something I knew would make a positive ripple to the lives of our listeners, whether they find themselves in insurance or any other profession. I can’t wait for you to hear his wisdom, so let’s dive in.

Remembering the Claim That Started It All

The story of Steve’s journey to a life of purpose unfolds like a movie. Steve was the protagonist who had just taken over a new department, and he quickly found himself in unfamiliar waters.

 “My journey started ten years ago when I took over the HR department as well. And I was negotiating our first renewal, and the broker came by and gave us a 30% rate increase. Another 30%. I mean, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars as a CFO… But then there’s also hundreds of dollars for every employee. And as a CFO, for years, I’ve learned how to find value in all parts of my business, except for this line item of healthcare. Like it was just this black hole that I didn’t know how to manage. And didn’t know how. ”- Steve Watson

Hailed as one of the best in the business by his peers, I was surprised to hear such honesty coming from a man such as Steve Watson. He just freely exposed his vulnerability, self-doubt, and insecurity. I would have never thought that this kind of work could be something remotely alien to him. As a young man, Steve was always fascinated with numbers and possessed immense patience, but when this new issue hit him, he was at a loss of what to do. 

Yet, with his roots coming from a family of businessmen, it is also no surprise that Steve’s mindset was focused in addressing the problem full-force. After all, the 30% increase in health insurance costs was considered a slap to the company’s finances and to their customers.

Eventually, his consistent and persistent efforts paid off. The answer he was looking for fell on his lap when he needed it most.

And then I read Dave Chase’s book, the CEO’s Guide to Restoring the American Dream. I highly recommend it to anybody negotiating these benefits to read that. My eyes started connecting with other CFOs. And then it really started solidifying that I had a chance to be a CFO for an insurance broker on a kind of a contract basis. And that really opened my eyes to kind of understand the ins and outs and everything. And so that’s probably when my eye-opening happened. Being my own CFO, working with an insurance broker, and reading the book solidified my realizations.”- Steve Watson

Initially, Steve felt like he was working on a puzzle that was too difficult to be solved. However in the end, he accepted that the increase demanded by the broker was bank-breaking and needed to be dealt with.

But it was the claim that started it all.

Delineating Healthcare from Health Insurance and Beyond

Armed with this new knowledge, Steve knew that he could now solve the problem he had for the past two years.

The time came to finally lift the curtain to see where the problems originated.

Gathering with other CFOs and decision-makers of various organizations, Steve and his team were able to pinpoint the first problem — there was a huge discrepancy between what companies pay for health insurance premiums and what employees actually consume for their healthcare.

So for example, I was meeting with a HR director here in Phoenix. They were paying $6 million a year in premiums, and they were going to get a 5% increase. I said, “Well, let’s stop. What were your claims last year?” And so they pushed back. They figured out it was $3.7 million. And at that moment, all of us needed to stop and be like, ‘Where’s all the money?’ We went to the doctor and the hospitals and stuff. Of course, there’s a little bit of money for admin for the insurance company, but $2.3 million left on the table, and …now they’re going to give me a 5% increase…” – Steve Watson

Even the seemingly innocent insurance broker did not escape Steve’s scrutiny. 

He learned that the increase in health insurance is usually calculated for misaligned incentives of brokers. When a company pays a 10% increase for claims, the broker gets a 10% increase too. Similarly, when there is a 10% reduction, the broker’s incentive gets reduced by the same percent. 

Steve knew something that everybody else didn’t know. He knew that the burden of paying these costs is shouldered by the company through its employees and their salaries. It is them who ultimately pay the price for additional costs they haven’t even heard of.

“And even if you’re not a CFO and you’re just an employee listening to this, it’s important for you to start understanding this because this is how your rates are being negotiated. And so if your CFO’s not doing it or not, HR professionals are doing it. But guess what? You’re the ones who are paying those higher rates.” – Steve Watson

Through these discoveries, Steve was able to delineate the difference between healthcare and health insurance. That gray cloud hovering over his head finally cleared. He could finally come up with ways on how to reconcile the needs of the company he loved and the people he worked with for many years. He thought his job was finally done.

But it was not yet over.

During a meeting with other CFO’s, something dawned on him that would change his life forever.

“I’m looking out my window, and there’s a hotel across the street. They have about 300 employees. I had about 400 employees. We’re not competitors at all. I’m like, why don’t we talk to each other? Like, why don’t we compare plans and ideas and different things, but there was no forum out there that I could find. And so I created a Facebook group and a LinkedIn group called ‘Trend Breakers. And the name comes from breaking the rising trend. I’m just sick of this. Everybody’s saying the trend of healthcare keeps going up, so we’re going to break it.” – Steve Watson

And break it he did.

Serving with a Higher Purpose

There are many people like Steve who are smart and authoritative in their fields. They have connections, they have skills, and they have talents that make them respected and considered as experts. 

But what makes Steve Watson stand out from the rest is he decided to take his knowledge and share it with others in order to serve with a higher purpose.

Steve could have chosen to stay within the four corners of his office and just go on with his usual life. But with that picture of the neighboring hotel fixed in his mind, Steve decided to use his voice and his status as an expert in the field to make a positive impact on so many organizations. He knows the ins and outs of the healthcare insurance system, and in order to bring balance into the field between brokers, employees, and clients, he decided to share his knowledge with the world. 

Soon after launching the Trendbreakers community, Steve was asked to speak a lot of different conventions and share his success stories with several organizations. Through his teachings, Steve has encouraged brokers to be better partners to their clients. He’s also used his voice to emphasize to his fellow CFOs the impact that sound financial decisions can have on a company! 

When was the last time that you authentically felt satisfaction from helping a client? Do you have their best interests at heart? 

Or maybe you’re a  business leader — when was the last time you sat down with your company policies and thought of revising it for the benefit of your employees and clients? It’s a shame, but some companies only care about their own personal benefit rather than the benefit of those they’re supposed to be serving. What if instead, we considered “compassion” and “service” as central parts of our work ethic and culture?

“And I think as a CFO, that’s something most are focused on, right? They’re focused on hiring the best talent. I’ve got to keep them happy. And part of that is providing a quality benefits package that can be used to attract talent.” – Steve Watson

Let’s face it — if you’re a business executive and you’re not offering your employees adequate pay and benefits, they’re not going to want to stay. Plus, you’re not going to attract real talent into your company. Steve knows that when you treat your company, employees, and clients with respect and try to add value to their life, you make a bigger impact and a better company as a result.

Why You Should Listen to This Steve Watson Podcast Episode Right Now…

Do you feel empowered now to make the best decisions for your business? After interviewing Steve, I sure did. 

As someone who coaches and advises people, I felt even more energized and inspired to share what I know about the mindsets that will give you success. And after all, that’s what The Bullpen Session is for. And on another level, my eyes have been opened to the ins and outs of the health insurance markets!

Guys, if ever you need someone to help you in your next renewal, do not hesitate to hire Steve’s expertise as an outsourced benefits procurement manager. He can definitely help you manage the broker/carrier relationships and bridge the gaps between the finance and HR departments. You can also book him for training and speaking engagements to revolutionize your current HR and employee benefits policies. 

Follow or send him a message on LinkedIn, or call him at 602-320-3099 to know how he can help your business. You can also email him at stevew@trendbreakers.com or check his company’s website to sign up for his services! And check out his podcast Trendbreakers where he talks about benefits, finance, and human resources with the sharpest minds in the business. 

And if you learned something from this episode, let me know! You can tag me on Instagram, @andy_neary, on Instagram with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways! 

But before I leave, I want to share my own takeaway: Remember that there is always a bigger purpose behind everything you do. Focus on how you can make an impact and keep your eyes on that mission. Steve Watson made it possible, and so can you. So keep crushin’ it, man!

Thanks for reading!

Andy Neary Signature


EP 79 – Michael Dash: Chasing The High, A Story of Addiction and Triumph

Hey hey! Welcome back to the Bullpen Sessions! I’ve got an amazing guest for you all today, so put a smile on and get ready to take tons of notes because you, my friend, are about to go on a wild ride!

Today I’m joined by Michael Dash, a man I am excited to call a friend and colleague. We met last year in the Fast Foundations Mastermind, and I can’t wait for you to be inspired by him. When I heard his story of going from addiction and building a multi-million dollar company to following his intuition and helping entrepreneurs create fulfilling lives, I knew I wanted to have him on the podcast. 

In this interview, we’re diving into how addictions — even seemingly benign addictions — can rob us of true joy and fulfillment and how to steer clear of them. We will also discuss how to trust your intuition and live a life you’re proud of. I think you’re going to be really encouraged by Michael’s perspective and inspired to live a more balanced life. 

Let’s get started!

Who Is Michael Dash?

Michael grew up on the East Coast in a family that was constantly striving for more. At an early age, Michael developed an addiction for achieving, which eventually turned into an addiction to gambling, alcohol, drugs, and, finally, money. He was always chasing the next high — anything that would give him a shot of adrenaline. 

This led him down a path of unhappiness and feeling unfulfilled, even though his financial score said he was winning. After spending some time behind bars, Michael knew something had to change. About that time, he took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Bali, where he learned about manifesting and synchronicities for the first time. Shortly after, he decided to make the rest of his life about accumulating happiness instead of wealth. 

Since then, he’s started MD mentoring and coaching, where he helps highly-successful entrepreneurs double their revenue while reclaiming their sense of joy and connection in life. He recently published his first book, Chasing the Highs, chronicling his experience from addiction and transformation to living in true freedom. 

I think today’s message will be super valuable to you because I believe we all struggle with addiction in one way or another. But the good news is that we all have the power to overcome addiction, and that’s exactly what Michael shares today — how to overcome addiction and live your most epic life!

Michael’s Story: Trapped in Addiction to Following Intuition

For as long as Michael can remember, he focused on accumulating money. As the son of an entrepreneur in New York, he grew up thinking that if you worked harder and longer, you could outwork your competition and succeed. He believed that happiness meant being rich, owning a company, driving a fancy car, and living in an epic house. That’s what he thought would attract women and applause and make him feel like a real man. 

“I convinced myself that in order to be established, looked up to, respected, and successful, I needed all those things. … But eventually, when I had them all, I was miserable. I was not happy whatsoever.” – Michael Dash

Even though Michael experienced success at a young age, it took him a while to realize that there was something more for him in life than accumulating wealth and accolades. Michael’s first adventure into the entrepreneur world was as a bookie — someone who facilitates gambling and pays out winnings on other people’s behalf. Since being introduced to gambling at age 11, he quickly noticed that the bookies always won. So he decided to do the same.

He began experimenting with drugs in college, and it wasn’t long before he became a drug dealer. After graduating college in New York City, he started selling sports advertising to companies who wanted to be featured in game-day football and basketball publications. He did this for 500 universities around the country. All the guys he worked with gambled, did drugs, and partied, which exacerbated his addiction. He continued in this lifestyle until his early 30s.

Michael didn’t have a typical rock-bottom moment like a lot of people in addiction do. In retrospect, Michael said he probably hit it several times, but it never registered with him. He was arrested twice — once for a DUI and once for possession of a substance called GHB. Both times he bailed himself out, hired high-priced attorneys to plead down his case, and did his 100 hours of community service. 

“[Both of these experiences] were completely humiliating and embarrassing for me — but only to me because nobody found out about them. … I still was not in tune that that was my rock bottom. I still was not in tune that feeding my ego was more important to me than actually being honest.” – Michael Dash

Michael said it wasn’t until almost four years ago that he knew something had to change: 

“I had just bought my business partner out of the business that we built together. [It was] doing about five million in revenue a year. We got into a lawsuit right after … because she violated the agreement. … So [I ended up] in a five-year lawsuit at the time, running a business … that was running me. … I came to hate the very business I [had] built. I resented my employees.” – Michael Dash

Around this time, he saw an invitation on Facebook to attend an event in Bali. Since visiting Bali was on his bucket list, he jumped at the opportunity.   

At the retreat, two people talked about living in a state of flow and making decisions by listening to your intuition instead of your conscious mind. Growing up in a family who lived by the mantra “outwork your competition,” Michael chalked it all up to a bunch of BS. 

But when he got home, he said he kept asking himself, “Could it really be that bad to try to live differently — by intuition instead of my conscious mind?” The more he thought about it, the lighter he felt physically. So, he spent $1200 on the course he learned about at the retreat, and it changed the trajectory of his life. 

Why Being Laser-Focused Might Not Be a Good Business Strategy

The word “addiction” typically comes with a negative connotation because people tend to talk about being addicted to alcohol, drugs, or sex. But I think we can get addicted to things that make a positive impact or even seem healthy — things like work, making the next sale, or being that master networker. Just because an addition may seem healthy doesn’t mean it is. 

Michael pointed out that addiction, by definition, is an unbalanced passion, which means any addiction is eventually unhealthy. 

“I feel like obsessive behavior to the degree of addiction is unhealthy in any manner. It’s not sustainable, right? If you took the word ‘addiction’ out and you just say, ‘Wow, he’s got an unhealthy passion for building a business.’ [That means] it’s really detrimental to your life, to your growth, to your sanity, to your health, to your wealth.” – Michael Dash

Michael noted that even if you’re addicted to something like having a healthy body, you’re still spending a lopsided amount of time in that area, which means another area in your life will suffer.  

“If you’re not taking care of yourself physically and emotionally on a daily basis, then it’s going to catch up to you in some aspect of your life. And you’re going to end up being an unbalanced person.” – Michael Dash

In other words, you have to be at your best to bring your best. You can only cover up and hide your not-best-self for so long. Many people go into business with the mentality of being laser-focused to get their business off the ground. It takes a lot of work to have a successful business, but in more cases than not, it takes a lot of time, too — sometimes years!

If you’re going into business or building a business right now with a laser-focused perspective, here’s a thought Michael said you need to consider:

“Most people talk about, ‘[If] you want to build a successful business, you’ve got to be laser-focused.’ But if you take the flip side of that, [and say], ‘Okay, what are you not focusing on because you’re so laser-focused? [How is that] detrimental to your wellbeing?’ Like you have to incorporate that into your life because the business will break down when you break down if you’re building it without the key components of fulfillment.” – Michael Dash

An unbalanced life will catch up with you eventually. It could be before you reach success, or worse yet, you could wake up one day, like Michael, literally living your dream, but being unable to enjoy it because you resent everything.

Michael pursues being the best version of himself and caring for his fulfillment levels by taking time to fill several different “buckets” each week. Each “bucket” contributes to his sense of fulfillment. These buckets are things like community, being in nature, creativity, making money, and taking care of his physical health.

“For me, [those key components of fulfillment] fall into buckets. I believe fulfillment is made up of all these [different] buckets. And I try to fill half of them on a weekly basis. [That’s how] I have fulfillment — they’re all filled to a certain extent.” – Michael Dash

If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your life, it’s probably not because your life is miserable. You’re probably just not taking time to give yourself a sense of fulfillment. In the next three days, sit down with a piece of paper and write down five areas in your life that make you feel alive. Now schedule an activity for at least three of those areas in the next seven days. I think you’ll be surprised by how much you enjoy your life and feel excited to work after participating in those activities!

How to Live from Your Intuition

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a highly driven person, a go-getter. This means that living from your intuition might feel as bizarre and impractical as it initially did to Michael. Since Michael has transitioned to following his intuition he believes that it is one of the most important skills to master if you want to live a life of success and fulfillment:

“There’s nothing that will serve you more in your life than following and trusting your intuition. … Intuition is a powerful force. It’s an energetic field that will pull you into the direction that you’re meant to go. It might not actually make logical sense at the time — the reason might not appear right then to you — but when you are able to tap into it and trust it and follow it, everything unveils itself at the right time. … And then it all makes sense.” – Michael Dash

Michael explained that following your intuition should just happen. If you’re second-guessing yourself, you’re not following your intuition. 

“Don’t think about it. … Just take action. Quit contemplating, quit pondering. Just take action on whatever your gut is telling you. Go do it, and it’ll lead you in the right direction.” – Michael Dash

If following your intuition feels scary, that’s most likely an indication that you’re on the right track because following your intuition requires trust. You don’t always know where your intuition is leading you, but as you practice, you get better at it and begin to see that it’s pointing you in the right direction!

Why You Should Listen to This Michael Dash Podcast Episode Right Now…

Guys, you need to start following this man if you’re not already. This interview was enlightening and motivating. The best part is that this just touched the tip of the iceberg of what Michael has to offer. So, make sure to buy his book, Chasing the High, for more in-depth advice on everything we discussed today. And don’t forget to connect with him on Instagram and learn more about the work he does on his website

If you learned something today, please pass this along to someone you know! Just take a screenshot of this and share it on Instagram. Tag us both — Michael Dash, @mdash1, and me, @andy_neary — and let us know what your biggest takeaway was. And, if you have three extra minutes, please leave a review and rating on Apple Podcasts — I’d be extremely grateful! 

Before I go, I want to tell you a little bit about my new coaching program: The Broker Branding Academy! This Academy is for insurance professionals who are focused on HYPER GROWTH! If you want to blow your 2021 sales out of the water, you MUST have a personal brand. Your prospects are buying you — not the logon on your business card. I’ve designed the Broker Branding Academy to teach you, step-by-step, EXACTLY what I’ve done to build a personal brand my prospects and clients KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. It took me six years … but we’ll get you there in four months! Ready to enroll? Click here

Before I sign off, let me remind you that you are capable of living an incredibly successful life that makes you feel fulfilled. If you feel out of balance or lack joy in your life, take a step back and invest a few hours of your week into the things that make you happy. There’s more to life than money and accolades, my friend. Now, go make good things happen today! 

Andy Neary Signature


EP 76 – How To Grow A Brand In 2021

Hey, hey! Welcome back to Friday Bullpen Sessions!

I’m on the edge of my seat as I speak today because I’m going to talk about something imperative to making 2021 the best year you’ll ever have. We’ll be talking about your personal brand. I’ll also be giving a few tips on how you can build it!

I know you might be thinking, “But wait, Andy. I’m not even into business. Why would I care about a personal brand?” Well, I used to think the same thing. I never really thought of the impact of having a solid personal brand to my life in general. It was not until in my career as a professional baseball player for Milwaukee Brewers that I realized that I was fed up with getting unnoticed by scouts and receiving evaluations that do not represent who I am. If you are currently in the same position where I was years ago, then keep reading, because this might be beneficial to you in the long run.

I am going to share with you personal experiences that helped increase my self-awareness and eventually build the brand that I am proud of. It is through this personal branding that I was able to grow my business quickly in a span of just a few years. Whether you’re a 22-year-old just entering the business world for the first time, a college athlete trying to prove yourself, or an insurance agent trying to win a piece of business, a solid personal brand will help you win opportunities and succeed in life. Also, if you belong to that last group, keep on reading because I have surprising news at the end of this post.

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

What Is a Personal Brand? 

Before discussing what a personal brand is, I would like to know how your Thanksgiving celebration went amidst the pandemic. Did you choose to spend it in person with your family in the same room or did you go the safer route and spent it with your loved ones virtually? How did the people around you react when you made your choice? Did their reactions make you feel proud of your decision? Regretful? Uncomfortable?

If you are wondering why I am asking these questions, it all has to do with personal branding.

To start, how people see you or the impression you give them is your personal brand. Your experience, skills, actions and achievement in life, work, or at home, shape their perception of who you are. It has everything to do with your words, actions and it might be reflected in the decisions you make on a daily basis. The way you speak, the food you eat, the books you read, and the actions you take, reflect your personal brand. It makes you the only you there is, and that makes you special.

However, having a personal brand does not only relate to a positive sense of self. It can also impact your career. Let me share my personal experience so I can explain this.

Back in the day, I joined the Milwaukee Brewers organization as a pitcher. And we all know what that means right? As a pitcher, people’s eyes are on me because they see me as the most important person in the game. I have the most impact on whether our team would win or lose. However, because I was not comfortable sitting in my own skin, I never tried to stand out. So, I became a target of baseless judgments and opinions. These were the biggest source of frustration I had throughout my professional career. I also started counting all the lost opportunities and hated each one of them. There was even a time that I started pointing my finger to the scouts who came up with evaluations that didn’t match who I was or what I could do. 

I call myself the “Milwaukee Brewer Misfit.” It was only after many, many years that I realized that there was no one to blame but me.

Looking back, I now realize that the reason why I never left a mark is because I lacked a personal brand. I kept showing up different versions of myself on different days, and those around me never really knew who I am or what I am made of. I kept on twisting and bending my personality because I thought that it would appease my audience. I went unnoticed.

How did it happen? All I did was to mold myself into whatever environment I am in. I was afraid of other people’s judgments. I failed to represent myself consistently. I allowed the judgment of others to persuade me into doubting myself and the things I can do. I let others’ opinions doubt my decision to do my best and just live in the present.  

Practical Ways to Develop a Personal Brand

We all have that moment when we try to match the words that come out of our mouths or the actions we do to the perception of those around us. Many of us do this because we are afraid to get rejected or hurt. We don’t want the world to see our imperfections, our vulnerabilities, because we fear we’ll never reach their expectations. Sadly, we lost ourselves in the process of pleasing others. So if you catch yourself in a similar situation to where I was once before, I’ve got two major tips to help you navigate the road to developing a personal brand.

#1: Take time for self-reflection. Take advantage of the pandemic to start working on your self-awareness. Focus your attention to your behavior, character traits, and feelings. In this way, you can control what you want to project in front of other people and what your personal brand should be.

If you find yourself struggling, I personally suggest for you to ask yourself this simple question: If you weren’t in the room, and your friends, your family, your target audience — we’re all talking about you. What do you want us to say about you? By asking that question, you’ll discover what your personal brand is.

#2: Be consistent. Once you have identified your personal brand, make sure to show up and match your actions to the words that come out of your mouth. When all of these are aligned, magic happens. Your business will grow faster than it’s ever had. You will finally gain the attention of that recruiter, that scout, that school you have always dreamt of getting into. 

Lastly, when you finally achieve a solid personal brand, hold onto it tightly. Do not let yourself slip away from it. By holding tight to your personal brand, you will always attract the right people into your life. 

Why You Should Listen to This Episode Right Now…

Guys, take this holiday season just to know who you are. Be 100% self-aware of what your brand is and show up every single day as that one version of you. Whether others love it or not really doesn’t matter. The realization that showing different versions of me on different days is hurting my brand was absolutely instrumental in finding my own voice and just being comfortable with who I am. 

Also, as I mentioned earlier, I have some surprising news for all insurance brokers reading this Friday’s Bullpen Sessions post. I am inviting you all to the relaunch of the Complete Game Mastermind. This will show you the fastest way to create the brand awareness you need to grow your business. We’re only taking 20 people right now and seats are getting filled pretty quickly. You have to get on this list by texting 2021 to (414) 622-1462, so you can secure early access and sign up for it at a significantly reduced rate. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to jump on a call with you to talk it through! Just send me a DM. 

You can also join my FREE text community! Just text the word “Mindset” to 414-622-1462, and I’ll give you access to a TON of free weekly coaching. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and join the Complete Game Mastermind, this text community is a great way to see if my coaching might be right for you.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this Friday Bullpen Sessions post. If you’re enjoying this podcast, please go over to Apple Podcasts, subscribe, and don’t forget to give it a five-star rating. If you know of anybody in your life, whether family members, your friends, business, colleagues who are working very hard to build a personal brand, share this post with them on Instagram and tag me, @andy_neary, with your best takeaways. 

Remember — having 100% self-awareness could be the best gift you could give yourself in the beginning of this year. 2021 is all about making a new you. So go out and share your personal brand with the world!

Until next time, folks!

Andy Neary Signature


EP 75 – Brett Lorin: Former MLB Pitcher Turned Successful Entrepreneur

Hey hey! Welcome back to Bullpen Sessions! This week on the show, I have another abundant thinker who is absolutely crushin’ it in life. This episode is for athletes, parents of athletes, and business professionals who want to understand an athlete’s mindset and utilize it in any sport or business. So get your pen and paper ready to take some notes because you, my friend, are about to go on a wild ride.

My guest today is a former professional baseball player turned successful entrepreneur — Brett Lorin. Brett had all the talent and the ability in the world, and he fully leveraged his gifts and his mindset to reach where he is today. In our interview, I asked Brett to talk about his rise through high school and college baseball and the mindset shift that athletes experience when the unexpected happens. 

In our 75th episode, we took a closer look at the ups and downs in Brett’s career as a professional athlete. We discussed his transition and the lessons he has learned from sports and how he applied them in his franchise business and sales career. Brett’s persistent attitude and his passion for life both shaped his personality to be a successful entrepreneur. Sound like something you could benefit from as well? 

Let’s learn how Brett did it!

Who Is Brett Lorin?

Brett was a professional Minor League Baseball pitcher who fell just one call short of Major League Baseball. He played for teams such as the GCL Pirates, the Bradenton Marauders, and the Reno Aces

Brett had been pursuing a career in baseball since high school, he had the right mix of talent and discipline that allowed him to reach new heights. When Brett failed to make it to the big leagues while being at the top of his game, he decided it was time to move on and utilize his skills and experience in other fields.

He was disappointed that he didn’t make it to the Major Leagues, but not allowing this setback to deter him, Brett went on to operate a Jimmy John’s franchise for almost three years, before taking up a career in sales with Sunrun, a company which brings clean, solar energy into houses across the U.S. 

Brett met his fair share of failures and rejection in his sporting career, but instead of being depressed about it, he took it as an opportunity to seek success elsewhere. This gutsy transition from being a top-class player to now having a successful career in sales is what makes Brett’s story so inspiring. 

I know that so many of you out there will relate to Brett’s message — I know I did.

The Importance of Having Both Talent and a Healthy Mindset 

Let’s go back to his early days in California, where Brett played both baseball and basketball year-round. Playing multiple sports as a kid allowed Brett to better his mobility, range of motion, and trained him to become an all-around great athlete. 

“If I just played baseball all year round, I might’ve gotten burnt out … with it, but … having the balance of both basketball and baseball was good for me. I think you should play … [everything] until you are … 12-13 years old, and then you … start [figuring] out what you want to do. [By trying different sports,] … body-wise you are using different muscles, … [and this also helps you in becoming] a complete athlete.” – Brett Lorin

By his senior year, Brett had really stepped into his potential as an athlete and was sure about what he wanted to do in the future. Even after having a few offers from D2 and junior colleges for basketball, Brett chose to pursue baseball in college. He analyzed his prospects and felt that he had a better chance of playing baseball and making it big in the sport. He was playing some travel ball while getting lessons for pitching, and he even sent pitching videos of himself to colleges to pique their interest. It took a while to get noticed, but his patience eventually paid off, and he was recruited by the University of Arizona.

“I love the sport, … but honestly I didn’t want to … commit to basketball. I just made a business decision and went with baseball …. I could play basketball for four years at a D2 [college], and then that’s it for my sports career, but I really saw something in baseball. … [I also thought that I had a chance to make it big]. I’m tall, I got some leverage here, and I can grow into my body a little bit. So I just chose to go the baseball route, and it was the right decision overall.” – Brett Lorin

However, pursuing baseball didn’t come easy. In his first semester in college, Brett had to make a lot of adjustments maturity-wise, and he was also redshirted — he wasn’t going to be made a star right away because he was not on scholarship, and the college hadn’t invested in him. All the same, Brett wasn’t about to give up. He knew that he had the talent, but he also had to work hard to get where he wanted. 

“That’s why I’d tell most high school players, unless you get drafted really high and the money is something you can’t refuse, I think everyone should go to college and learn to grow and mature. … Assuming you get drafted your junior year, if you’re good enough, you’ll get drafted again.” – Brett Lorin

After spending the first year as a redshirt and getting a chance to play only nine innings in his second year at Arizona, Brett decided to transfer to Longbeach State. He took a gamble of switching from one big program to another, but he knew that he needed to pitch and he had to do something about it to make that happen. The timing was also key since this was also the last summer that he could transfer without sitting out a season.

“I got two years at the University of Arizona with [just] nine innings, [so I started questioning myself] — if I am not going to pitch [then], how am I going to get drafted …? … Just because you pick a school, it doesn’t mean that’s where you’re going to end up. … I could have stayed all four years and been a college kid, had fun, and barely played, with no … exposure for pro scouts. … But I had a goal, … and [I wanted playing time, and I just had to get seen] … Longbeach had shown interest, … [and I needed to move and get some more exposure]. … It was a turning point in my career, so I’m glad I did it.” – Brett Lorin

It was at Longbeach where Brett finally got some real pitching time and learned how to use his height and body as leverage. Out of all the 25-30 guys on the Longbeach college baseball roster, half the team went into the top seven, including Brett himself, and by the end of the semester, he ended up getting drafted in the fifth round. He pitched in multiple roles that year, and, as his pitching improved, he started hearing a little buzz about himself around high-level scouts. 

“[For a new guy, getting into the top ten was a big shift] … I think you always have to be realistic, …  and I knew my stuff can get hitters out, … and I just needed some mechanical tweaking. … I hadn’t gotten the instruction yet from somebody at that level, and once I did, I started to refine my delivery and my mechanics.” – Brett Lorin

After college, it was time for the Minor Leagues. Playing in the Minor Leagues was very different than playing college ball, which was actually way more structured. From here on, it was just playing about playing baseball, working out, and preparing his body and mind for success. 

“A lot of guys have already been in the system … [for a while], and [by] being the new guy, you will be a threat to them. … So there’s a lot of stuff you have to get used to and just be a pro about. … [In college, you have] your coaches on you about getting your classes and making sure your grades are up. And there’s only so much you can do when you’re in pro ball. It’s way more on you to make sure you’re going to succeed.” – Brett Lorin

For Brett, there were a lot of unknowns too, like learning to play alongside guys from different cultures and backgrounds. The Minors also have a very competitive environment — everyone is essentially playing against one another to hopefully be promoted. However, through it all, he understood that he needed to leverage his talent and mindset to make a name for himself in a competitive field. 

“You’re living with guys that you’re competing against. … The organization is going to make all the moves, [and] all you can control is what you do on the field. … The Minors are all about developing players, they don’t … care if you win, … [and] everyone is out for themselves because you have to move up by outperforming everybody else.” – Brett Lorin

It’s not easy to live in a high-pressure environment where one is constantly expected to outperform their peers. But with talent, a little competitive spirit, and a rock-solid mindset,  you can make strides towards your dream. Brett knew this very well, and this is what made him rise in his career. 

Pivoting Away from the Major Leagues

Despite all his hard work, however, the Majors seemed to get farther and farther away. Eventually, Brett was traded to Pittsburgh and then to Arizona with well-known players. He felt a little held back at Pittsburgh, so he grabbed the opportunity and moved over to Arizona to improve his chance of scoring big. And it was while playing with Arizona in 2012/2013 that Brett reached the AAA level in the Minor League —  that was just one step away from being called into the Major League. But unfortunately, that call never happened.

“… The following year after AAA, I … [got] released. … I had a great last year [but I couldn’t understand why I was being let go]. … But you know, once you are on your third team, you’re just a number at that point, unless you’re outperforming the league.” – Brett Lorin

After his stint with Arizona, Brett even played independent ball with the Long Island Ducks for a year. This was his last shot at getting signed back for pro ball. He spent a great year at Long Island, but he never got a shot to go back to the Minors.

“… I think it was a little refreshing [to play independent ball] … to be around the guys, [and] there was a lot less stress and a lot less structure. … So independent ball was fun, but I knew it was done…  I was not going to be a baseball lifer. If I didn’t get picked up this year, I was … [going to walk] away, [and] that was enough for me. I didn’t need to just keep playing independent ball for another five years just for the fun.” – Brett Lorin

For Brett, talent is important, but having a strong mindset is even more important. After not making into the Major Leagues, Brett could have easily given up on everything. But when he saw that the Major Leagues weren’t an option, he started thinking about how he could pivot into a different field. He had that strong, competitive spirit, and rather than letting that diminish, he decided to channel it elsewhere. 

“You can’t make it that far in professional sports [or business] without having a very competitive mindset … and a little bit of fire in you. … Even if you’re a good guy off the field, you’ve got to have a little bit of that edge when you get out there. … You also can’t let [the] outside factors steer you away from your goals [either]. So you have to make sure you put yourself in a position to succeed.” – Brett Lorin

Do you have that competitive mindset in your career? You don’t have to be in sports to have it — you can use this competitive mindset in your business or work as well! After Brett decided that his baseball career had ended, he decided to use his athlete’s mindset to help him succeed in the business world. 

Brett Lorin’s Pivot from Sports into Business 

Brett is now in the second phase of his life, and he’s doing incredible things. Post his baseball career, Brett started running a Jimmy John’s franchise with his cousin and operated a bunch of franchises for three years. Now, like many of you, Brett is working in sales. 

However, the transition from being a professional ballplayer to becoming an operator-owner of a franchise was a difficult one for him. 

“The transition was hard [because] I spent my college and pro ball years not building a resume for real life. [I spent] years perfecting a craft, and once it got over, ‘What does that get?’ … [People my age were already] years ahead of me, … and because I went into franchising so quickly, I didn’t have that downturn where I was just looking to let other things affect me.” – Brett Lorin

Even though this transition was hard at first, baseball taught Brett how to handle failure, how to deal with adversities, and how to work with people. He took to his business just like the way he used to attack hitters on the field. There were so many parallels to his baseball career to his new business career, and he used his athletic mindset to his advantage. Running a business is all about communication and pushing through failure, and these are skills he learned in baseball.

“I think because baseball is a game of failure, you have to handle failure [and] … deal with adversities, … injuries, … rehab, [etc]. I [have met] people from all over the country [and] the world … [and played with them on a team, and even communicated] with them somehow… [So I learned how] to work with people. … A lot of athletes can become great leaders just because you have to deal with so much.” – Brett Lorin

Brett’s sales career started way back in high school when he was sending his pitching videos to colleges to try and get their attention. And much like baseball, his sales career in solar energy too has had its share of rejection and failures. 

“I believe in [solar energy]. … It is good for the environment, but sales is [difficult]. Outside sales [are] very hard, you get a lot of rejection … [and] failures. So how do [I] handle [it]? I am not [a] pushy [salesman]… I try to do a lot of factual selling versus pushy selling [so that my clients trust me].” – Brett Lorin

I think Brett brought up a good point — when you’re a salesperson, people are much more willing to buy from you if they trust you. If you’re pushy and bossy, it can be a huge deterrent for your business. 

And if you are transitioning over to the next chapter in life like Brett did, then you need to find your passion or something that you enjoy doing. There is nothing worse than working in a career that doesn’t light you up and inspire you. It may take time to be successful at it, but if you put in the hard work, then you’ll get there. 

“Especially … with COVID, a lot of people have … had time to take a step back and figure out what they’re passionate about or what they enjoy doing. I know [at times] it is hard to [find] money in your passion, … but find an industry that will get you out of bed every day… You [will] never have all the answers, but try [different things and eventually focus on what is meaningful to you].” – Brett Lorin

Friend, you’ve got to believe in what you’re doing — because if you can’t get up every day and find value in what you’re offering, you will never be able to put in the amount of energy that you need. And what’s more, your passion and belief will inspire others around you! 

Why You Should Listen to This Brett Lorin Podcast Episode Right Now…

Guys, this interview with Brett taught me so much about being persistent and never using failure as an excuse to give up. If any of you need any advice or any motivation, then definitely check out Brett’s podcast Too Tall Sports, or find him on LinkedIn!

Thank you so much for reading! If you enjoyed this interview, let us know over on Instagram! Tag Brett, @TooTallSportsPodcast, and me, @andy_neary, with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways! And if you love the Bullpen Sessions, please subscribe and leave a review over on Apple Podcasts! Every review helps us reach more listeners like you! 

And remember — when clarity and confidence collide, action happens. Your age or your background doesn’t matter — it is your positive outlook towards life that makes each failure become just another pillar of success. Seek meaning in everything that you do in life. Go out and make it happen today!

Andy Neary Signature