Interview with Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy on How to Succeed as an Investor without Sacrificing Family!
There’s no point in making money if you’ve got nobody to spend it with. Unfortunately, far too many entrepreneurs sacrifice their freedom to achieve financial success—and in the process, they lose out on spending time with the people who matter the most.
Those who fall into this trap will say they’re “doing it for their family”, but sadly, it’s the family that always gets the short end of the stick. And I can tell you from experience, I’ve made this mistake!
But keep this in mind…
Your kids will never remember how many mortgage payments you make, but they will remember if you show up to their little league games, birthdays, recitals, and family dinners.
This leads me to today’s guest. I’m speaking with my good friend and lifestyle investor, Mike McCarthy, whose mission is to help you see that what your family really wants isn’t material wealth—it’s YOU!
Mike is an entrepreneur, speaker, Regional Owner of the Keller Williams Greater PA Region, Co-Founder and former CEO of GoBundance, and author of The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families.
While Mike achieved incredible success as an entrepreneur, he didn’t want to give up time with his family to start more businesses. Which is what led to him building FamBundance—a family mastermind community that creates personal development opportunities for like-hearted and like-minded families.
In today’s conversation, Mike and I talk all about putting family first, the key to building a true legacy, how to include your kids in creating strong values, and why your life as an investor is only successful if you’re balancing it with a happy home.
Featured on This Episode: Mike McCarthy
✅ What he does: Mike McCarthy is a serial entrepreneur and Regional Operating Partner for Keller Williams Realty’s Greater Pennsylvania Region. He’s also the co-founder of networking groups GoBundance and FamBundance, co-author of the parenting book “The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families, and a lifetime member of father-training program Front Row Dads.
💬 Words of wisdom: Mike admits that he was “a wild and crazy” teenager. But he believes that God led him to work with his father, which not only repaired their relationship and gave them a successful real estate business, it inspired Mike’s passion for combining a rich work life with an enriching family life.
- How Mike repaired an estranged relationship with his father and built a successful real estate franchise in the process.
- Why a successful business and a happy family life go hand-in-hand.
- Why freedom of time is way more important than financial success.
- Applying your business leadership skills to your family life.
- Why more money isn’t the key to building a legacy.
- Why you should stop using the excuse “I’m doing it for my family”
- Involving your kids in defining your family values.
- The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families.
- Why improving communication and connection in individual families can save the world.
Mike McCarthy | Making Family Time Part of Your Legacy
As your age gets higher so do your standards
“Age has its benefits. There are definitely some things about growing old that aren’t so fun. But as you get older and have experiences, you start to realize there are certain people that you want to be around, that you want to be intentional about. It’s great to have the ability to be selective about who you spend time with, and to be purposeful about building those relationships.” – Mike McCarthy
Put your family before your ego
“I got to a place where I had a lot of freedom in my Keller Williams business. And then I took on another role, and it was very much serving my ego to be in this CEO position. But I realized that the thing I had sacrificed in doing that was more time with my family. So I thought, If I’m going to do this, I need to make sure that this serves my family. One of our pillars [at GoBundance] is authentic relationships. That means having a great family life, having great friends.” – Mike McCarthy
Leave your work in the office, but bring your leadership skills home
“We take this skill of leadership and leading teams, and we think that it’s not appropriate to bring that skill home. If you walk through the door acting like a CEO, and you’re barking orders at everybody, I don’t recommend that’s how you lead your team either. But I do recommend — and it’s part of my life’s work and mission — that whatever skills or rhythms or systems you’re using to build your number one work team, and to keep that team on point and hitting their goals, use those same talents that you already have for your family.” – Mike McCarthy
Your home team is #1
“The number one team for everybody is your home team. That’s the team that you need to do team-building exercises with; that’s the team that you need to collaborate best with. That’s the team for which you need to make sure there is a dream-manager helping each individual reach their goals. We do all this stuff in our businesses and our work teams, but we don’t do it at home.” – Mike McCarthy
The McCarthy’s are resilient warriors
“One of our family values is that we are resilient warriors. That comes up a lot, like, Hey, this is difficult, but the McCarthys are resilient warriors, so what are we going to do? The guiding principle within that is our McCarthy family motto: Nothing is difficult to the brave and faithful. That’s actually the McCarthy family motto from Cork, Ireland, on the coat of arms. It goes all the way back to a rich history of what does it mean to be a McCarthy? It doesn’t mean every McCarthy is related to me, or is going to follow those same values. But there is a history in every family that we can honor.” – Mike McCarthy
Learning from imperfection and experience
“We’re not a perfect family, and I don’t sit here and say, We’re the model for all families and how you should operate. We have our issues, we have our challenges. But one thing that we were clear on is that we needed to put our best work out into the world, and not just keep relying on what we had shared five years ago, and act as if it was the gospel or the truth. This book won’t be either, but it’ll be much better than what we put out the first time.” – Mike McCarthy
Give your kids a say in your family values
“At the core of all of our family exercises lives this ideology that people, when they’re involved in something, they truly get it. They learn it at a cellular level, it becomes ingrained in them. When we try to tell our kids stuff — and even try to teach them, which is usually a lot of talking at them — they don’t embrace it. If you want somebody to value something, like the systems you’re creating for your family, you should let them help you create those systems.” – Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy Tweetables
- The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families
- Grateful Parent
- GoBundance Women
- Keller Williams Realty
- Front Row Dads
- Amber Vilhauer
- The Miracle Morning
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Read the Full Transcript with Mike McCarthy
Justin Donald: What’s up, Mike? So glad to have you on the show. Welcome.
Mike McCarthy: Hey, buddy. Great to be here. Thanks for having me on.
Justin Donald: This is perfect. You and I just had a really fun weekend together. It’s always great when we can get time and it’s just so much more fun when we can also get our families together, get our wives together. And thanks for a great invitation to just a killer weekend event at the Fairmont and at the pool with your nice cabana that you had. What a fun time.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. That was awesome. And we were having a great celebration for the weekend, my wife and I for our anniversary. And I guess there’s only so much time you can spend together without involving other people. That’s kind of our nature is to want to include our friends in the things that we’re doing. So, it was great to have you. You come up last minute and hang out. We had a blast.
Justin Donald: Yeah. That was awesome. And you know what? For the record, I just want everyone to know anyone who listens that we are on the shortlist. Hopefully, some of our dear friends check in on this. That’d be pretty fun. Yeah. So, what a great time just having good conversation. And one of the things I appreciate about you, Mike, we just had a really cool conversation. And the whole reason all this kind of came up is we are talking about the importance of depth of a relationship and a two-way street where both people, both parties are making really just an effort to want to further and deepen the relationship. And it was cool because in that moment, we are talking about how we wanted to really move forward and really commit. And so, we took massive action and got some things on the calendar right away. And I appreciate that about you. You’re so good about taking action on the things that you value most in life.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. I think the older I get, the more I see what I want, know what I want, and know to go after it. When I was younger, I wasn’t quite as clear on what my purpose or my mission was. And so, things get a little cloudy but age has its benefits. There are definitely some things about growing old that aren’t so fun but as you get older and have experience, you start to realize that there are certain people that you want to be around that you want to be intentional about. And it’s great to be able to have the ability to not be picky but be selective about who you spend time with and then to really be purposeful about building those relationships.
Justin Donald: Yeah. Mike, you have done a great job of that and I’m always so impressed with the people that are in your peer group and your friend group and so many of them I have become friends with just over time since you and I have become friends. And I’m so thankful that you guys moved to Austin and we get a chance to hang here and it’s actually really fun with how you guys just have this desire to be outdoors and you’ve got a place in Colorado and we’ve had a chance to hang in Colorado as well. You have an incredible life. Like, everything that you have wanted to achieve, you’ve figured out how to be able to do it. It’s really impressive. But what’s even more impressive is that you have done it with what maybe you or I might consider a checkered past. Like, it didn’t look like this was the path at one point in time, right? And so, I’d love for you to share any part of your story that you feel comfortable sharing because I think your story is an inspiration to me for sure but it would be for a lot of other people and it has been for a lot of other people.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think when I was a teenager, I was every bit of a teenager and I was wild and crazy, and I definitely had a bridge to cross and a decision to make if I wanted to continue in that direction. I could tell that I was going to have a life that wasn’t going to be meaningful. And there was some time when I wasn’t all that religious, wasn’t going to church, but definitely knew God was a force in my life. I prayed for direction and guidance and the sign was very clear that I should go back and work with my dad. And at the time, our relationship was pretty estranged, so to speak. I mean, we were on talking terms and we still we’re all good at holidays and things like that but we just didn’t see eye-to-eye on much of anything. And I knew it all because I was a teenager and teenagers tend to know it all. But at some point, I realized that there was something greater for me in my life and I was surprised that the guidance that I was getting was to go back and work with dad. I’m grateful that I did because that led me to becoming a lot healthier to working on myself, working on leadership. And also, it opened up a tremendous opportunity within Keller Williams. He had just purchased a region and he was starting to launch franchises in that area.
And so, I got to go and work side-by-side with dad and learn the game of launching real estate brokerages, specifically how to launch a Keller Williams franchise. I ended up mapping out all the territories and looking at that opportunity and that’s when I knew that the guidance that I was following was not only to bring me back to be closer with my father but also to have a tremendous business opportunity. Fast forward to where we are today, my dad’s retired. I’ve been leading the region for the past decade and he’s been able to be proud and retired and catch a lot of big checks at the same time. So, that’s been great for a father and son to experience together. We’ve got over 50 offices. We’re almost at 11,000 agents for the territory and now I have a team that is second to none in the Keller Williams system. And there are three executives on our team and they lead it better than I ever could and that creates freedom for me to be a lifestyle investor. It creates the income to do it and also the freedom to do it. So, it’s a great place to be in. You know, I wouldn’t be where I am today without really surrendering and listening and praying and following guidance to get back on a strong path where I was honoring myself and my family.
Justin Donald: That’s incredible. What a great story and, I mean, really just kudos to you for being able to put yourself in a position to get your life back on track. And I love it. Like, I mean, one of the reasons I’m excited to have you on the show is because you’re a lifestyle investor and this show is about that. It’s about the process of becoming a lifestyle investor or what it looks like today as a lifestyle investor. And you have the great vantage point of having not been a lifestyle investor and having spent time figuring that out. It’s also cool, though, hearing a lot of people don’t have this lineage where your dad is a lifestyle investor. I mean, this guy figured some things out and so much so that he was able to provide an opportunity to work alongside you, to be able to step away when it was time for him to step away, though I know that was tough. It’s tough for anyone to step away from something.
Mike McCarthy: Well, he’s that easy to work with so it was pretty easy.
Justin Donald: And now he’s able to really reap the rewards of that and it’s been a total win-win situation. So, I think that that’s really cool but the reason I’m most excited to have you on the show actually has nothing to do with the fact that you’re a lifestyle investor. It has to do with where your heart is and the type of person that you are and how of all of my friends, you are one of the most heart-centered, most willing to give of yourself people that I know. And you’ve done this consistently. You’re very generous. You’re generous with everything. You’re generous with your possessions here, which I think most people have a hard time with that. But beyond that, and more importantly, you’re generous with your time, you’re generous with your advice, with your expertise, with the wisdom that you’ve gained. And so, I’m just excited for our audience to be able to glean from you all the things that they’re going to be able to. So, thanks for joining and I’m just so excited.
Mike McCarthy: Well, thanks, Justin. I received that. I respect you immensely and I received what you’re saying, and I appreciate it, buddy.
Justin Donald: That’s so cool. So, let’s kind of take this a step further because you could be looked at as this Keller Williams top-performing guy owns regions and you’ve done well. You own some of the largest brokerages in the world. Specifically, you’re one of the biggest organizations in Keller Williams but that wasn’t enough. That was, as you say, it wasn’t fulfilling your purpose that there was more that you had more ability to do other things. And so, I know you’ve gotten into real estate. I know that you have a fair amount of investments that you do but then on top of that, you started, I mean, you’re running one of the key people in an organization called GoBundance. And there is the other chapter of it, the GoBundance Women. And then you took that to a whole another level with FamBundance. And so, I’d love to hear kind of just your thoughts around those things too.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. Well, I think it’s probably no coincidence that my dad and I were brought closer together because of business and because of a business opportunity, and I don’t think that every family has that luxury. I think a lot of entrepreneurs are out there. They’re building their investments, they’re building their business, and they’re not often including their families in any way, shape, or form. We just so happen to be in a business that not only has the values of God, family, and then business because that’s part of the Keller Williams belief system but I also got to be in a position where I was leading the GoBundance group, which is now over 500 members and all high net worth individuals. And when I was leading that organization for three years, I kept having a fear that we were taking entrepreneurs away from their family to help them to get better at being human beings in their health, their relationships, and in contribution and in all ways. But at the same time, I was witnessing that a lot of people were doing it for their families but not with their families. And so, we started doing events within GoBundance that included families and it was very complicated to figure out but we would bring in and run three or four events all at once so that the littlest kids would have a place to go and learn, the younger kids would have a place to go and learn, the teens would be able to learn together. But then also the parents would mastermind on, how do we be better parents? And then the families would all come back together and they would work on things like shared goals and vision and values and having a family meeting that happens once a week.
And I did this in some ways because I didn’t want to leave my own family behind and go build another business. Like, I got to a place where I had a lot of freedom in my Keller Williams business. And then I took on another role and it was very much serving my ego to be in this CEO position. But I realized that the thing I had sacrificed in doing that was more time with my family. So, I thought, “You know what, if I’m going to do this, I need to make sure that first for myself, this serves my family and hopefully for every other GoBundance member out there, there can be a component that serves their family.” Because one of our pillars is authentic relationships. That means having a great family life, having great friends, but it didn’t speak to the importance of bringing our children along for the journey as we built our legacy. Because I think what happens is we build a legacy and then in our mind, we’re thinking they’re going to take it over someday. But if they haven’t been with you on that journey, how would they ever be equipped to actually handle the pressure and the nuance and the complexity of leading a legacy at that level? And so, I also have that hope for you, Justin, and for all of your lifestyle investors is make sure that you are not just doing this because you’re in the pursuit of more. Make sure you’re doing it so that it can serve your family and that means they have to really be included in it. It can’t just be for them, without them. It needs to be all about them and include them.
Justin Donald: Yeah. That’s so powerful. You said so many things that really resonate. So, I love just your family motto and the core values of God, family, business, and really abiding by those in a way where business doesn’t monopolize family time or vice versa. And so, I mean, actually, vice versa is good. You know, family time, it should come in and trump business and that from a spiritual standpoint, you’re really strong. Your foundation is great and your faith. I just think that you hit the nail on the head with that and with authentic relationships. You mentioned not having the pursuit of more be the focus and I think for a lot of hard-charging people, a lot of achievers, that is really hard because having more it’s almost like whatever level you thought was going to be good enough. In your mind, however many years ago, like when you get there, it’s almost like a letdown, like it was so much fun trying to get there and then you got there and it didn’t feel the way you thought it would feel, or it only felt that way for like a day or a week and then it’s gone. So, then you move the goalposts to something bigger and then you go through the same thing again. And I do think there’s a danger to trying to have more, trying to achieve more. And often it turns into materialism. It turns into like keeping up with the Joneses. And I think that is so dangerous and it’s a trap for anyone that is hard-charging and can’t recognize that the grip is there, that there’s going to be this constant grip for more, for never being enough. And when you can re-prioritize what it is that you’re after, that it can be the journey that it can be bringing other people along or even more so that it can be your legacy and what you’re doing there, that’s when the magic happens. And I know you have really big desires and commitments around legacy. I’d love to hear you speak to that.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. You know what most families want more of? They want more of the person that is out building the legacy. They want more time with them. An extra million dollars or whatever doesn’t mean much to a kid, but more time with mom or dad who’s normally out working a lot, and that’s great. Hard work, having them see you work hard, that’s a great trait. But when we move the goalpost, we have to realize that we’re moving it because we’re driven in large part by our ego because we got to where we were focused on. We thought that that was going to give us some level of fulfillment. We get there. Just like you said, we realize that it’s not that fulfilling, and then we move the goalposts. So, thinking that, well, if I get more then I’ll be happy, then I’ll spend more time with the family. And what we do, which is such a tragedy, is we actually almost blamed it on our family. We use them as the excuse for why we’re working 60, 80 hours a week and we’re not home for dinner and we’re traveling all over the place. And, look, it’s not that I’ve stopped desiring more in my life. I have to check that a lot. But what if I want more than anything is not more money? What I want is to make sure that my children feel my love in their life, that they learn not only from mom, who spends a lot of time with them but they also learn from me. And I think that we take the skill of leadership and leading teams, and we sometimes think that it’s not appropriate to bring that skill home.
And if you walk through the door acting like a CEO and you’re barking orders at everybody, I don’t recommend that’s how you lead your team either. But I do recommend and it’s part of my life’s work and mission that whatever skills you’re using to build your best team, whatever your number one work team is, whatever skills or rhythms or systems you use to build that team and keep that team on point and on values and hitting their goals, use those same talents that you already have for your family. And, yeah, I mean, not every family is excited about meetings. Not every team is excited about meetings. But you still make your team have meetings. Why? Because you’ll get lost without them. You won’t know the priorities, the vision’s cloudy, and the mission is muddy. So, we’ve got to, as entrepreneurs, stop leaving the house and saying, “Hey, this is whoever’s staying home with the kids’ responsibility. They’re in charge of the house. My job is to go over here and be in the business world.” We have to make those two worlds come together. And if we don’t, then what happens is some of the greatest leaders, influencers, business minds, strategic thinkers in the whole world will not be transferring that information to their children. They’ll build this huge legacy. And then they have these kids that have no idea how they should approach it. And that pressure has wrecked kids, leads to addiction, depression, all kinds of bad things that no entrepreneur would wish upon their children or their families but they inadvertently do it and then they use the family as the excuse. “I’m doing it for them. I want to make sure they’re set up. If anything ever happens to me, I want them to have the means and the abilities to be wealthy.”
Mike McCarthy: But you know what, most of us didn’t get wealthy because our parents, we inherited money from them. Most of us as entrepreneurs, we went and worked our tails off. Now, I got the benefit of a leg up working with my dad but we weren’t wealthy when we started that journey. He wasn’t wealthy. I didn’t grow up well. I was a middle-class kid. My parents both worked 40, 50 hours a week and I was an only child. And I think that desire was born in me then because I always wanted more time with my parents. And I got a lot of time with them, a lot more than most so I’m not complaining. But I understood that, hey, if I had more time with my dad and he maybe included me more in his business or brought more of his business home into the environment to build our team called our family, the McCarthy family, then that’s the number one team like for everybody is your home team. That’s the team that you need to do team-building exercises with. That’s the team that you need to collaborate best with. That’s the team that you need to make sure that there is a dream manager for that’s helping each individual reach their goals. So, we do all of this stuff in our businesses and our work teams but then we just don’t do it at home. And I think the definition of a legacy is helping to equip the next generation to carry that legacy forward. And your legacy will only be as strong as the hands that you equip to make that transition so that they can carry it forward and into the world.
And so, there’s this huge gap that I see between entrepreneurs and their families, and it keeps getting bigger. Even COVID, guys and gals got a bunch of time at home with their families. They did more family stuff. They loved it. It was great. But as soon as the world gets back to normal, then they go back to doing what they were already doing, hopefully with some great memories, which is important. But I think it’s much better to not wait for a world pandemic to come along, to then spend more time with the family. I think we’ve got to do it in rhythms every day, every week, every month, every quarter, just like we would with any team that we’re leading.
Justin Donald: Yeah. Powerful. Powerful words and thoughts. And just your whole description of legacy, Mike, is just beautiful. And you had said earlier that more money isn’t the key to creating a better legacy. It’s more time and it’s a focus on values that are most important to you and to your family and what you come up with together and the family meetings that you hold. And by the way, because of you and your leadership, our family is that much better because we do family meetings using a lot of the things that you used, that you shared in some of the different events, or just one-on-one when we’ve had conversations. And so, I think that that’s massive. But you said something that really stood out to me and really resonates with me where you blame your family. And I would imagine most people at some point in time, even if it wasn’t your family, you’ve blamed someone else for something when they’ve called you on something you needed to be called on. So, I’m super guilty of this. I remember, and by the way, unfortunately, I didn’t even learn the first time but the first time I did this, I said to my wife, I said, “Hey, Jennifer, I’m doing this for the family. I’m working so hard for the family.” And she was real quick to be like, “No, you’re not doing this for the family. You’re doing this for you.” And I was like, “What?!” You know, kind of taken aback and I appreciate her candor. And she said, “You like working hard and you like being involved in business because it comes easy to you and it’s much easier for you to do those things than it is to really check in and be as dialed in as you could be as a husband and father.” And she’s like, “And at a certain point like I don’t need you to make more money.” You’ve said it perfectly. She said it differently but basically, like X amount more in money does not mean anything. “All I want is your time.”
And so, you would have thought that I would have learned the lesson then and I did temporarily. It was like a good wake-up call. It was the whole idea. I had been called on this before where I said, “I’m a family man first and a businessman second, and I really value my family. I put them first,” and then someone was like, “Hey, let’s check out your schedule. Let’s see what your schedule says.” And you pull up my calendar. It’s like work, work, work, work, work. And it’s really embarrassing to see that my calendar did not reflect the lip service that I was giving to how I wanted to show up and even who I thought I was. Like, I really thought that I was showing up in a different way until these couple of things are brought to my attention. And so, it’s funny that like later on I had a conversation with my wife and I’m always working hard to make sure that I’m being the best husband, being the best father. And I made another fatal mistake, which is I compared myself to someone else as a husband and a father. And Jennifer’s real quick to say, “No, no, no. We’re not trying to see how we live up to other people. We create our own standards and we live up to those standards.” And I really appreciate it because the last five years for me has been tremendous in really, truly putting family first and being called on some of the stuff that I needed to be called on, and some of it I wasn’t even aware. It was like totally subconscious like I bought my own lie. I bought my own manipulation. So, it was really cool to be in that space and feel super naked, like, oh, my goodness, you know. It’s like my flaws are so exposed but it was such a good wake-up call. And what you’re speaking about here is so true like it’s easy to blame someone else or to make the excuse that we’re doing it for someone else or the manipulation. But really, it’s either comfortable, it’s a routine, it’s you’re good at it and you’re not as good at the unknown or there’s a fear of the unknown or it’s hard to shift these habits. So, you hit the nail on the head.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. I mean, thank you and a lot of credit to Jennifer, who I appreciate, and for you for being open to hearing that. I think a lot of times, a spouse might not have the courage to say those things, and then the entrepreneur may not have the humility to listen to what’s being said. And I think at the end of the day, this whole idea of, yes, let’s invest, let’s make a lot of money, let’s build great businesses, but let’s also balance that as equally as we possibly can with building a great family and having our family be the team that we most rely on in life. And I think that that’s something that, yes, it shows up in your schedule and it shows up in the types of practical things that you do with your family. Like, do you have shared values that are well-defined and are they mom and dad’s values that they just came up with and then they turn them to the kids and said, “Hey, these are our values.”? Or is it something that the kids had the ability to participate in? And how do those values come to light? Is it just words that sound good on paper and they’re more aspirational? Or can you actually dig through your history, the history of your family, and look for the stories of when you were at your best and when you created magic together, and even when you felt the most challenging things were happening in your life? In those stories live the values that we have to go find and then we have to define them.
I was reading a book the other day and as it pertains to values, it was saying, you know, it’s not just when we’re doing well and our values are present, but what’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your life and how did you get through that? And what value is that? And how can you define that and make it part of your family values? And I think that’s so important to have defined family values. And they really become, yes, there’s the words that are the values, the things we value, but there’s also a description around, well, what are the guiding principles that have helped our family over the years? And it could also be not only your family but your family with your parents, right? And it could be with their parents because there are cautionary tales and there are stories of success that every family has that go back generations. And I think if we can really get into those and define them well, it becomes something that the children can grow up understanding like, “This is what it means to be a McCarthy. This is how we show up.” And I think that if we don’t define the values, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. It just means that they’re not something we get to leverage when things go wrong or things are challenging. And so, in our family, one of them is that we’re resilient warriors and that’s the value. And that comes up a lot like, “Hey, this is difficult.” “All right. But the McCarthys are resilient warriors so what are we going to do?” And the guiding principle within that is that we follow our McCarthy family motto that nothing is difficult to the brave and faithful. And that’s actually the McCarthy family motto from Cork, Ireland on the Coat of Arms. So, it goes all the way back to a rich history of what does it mean to be McCarthy?
Now, it doesn’t mean every McCarthy is related to me or is going to follow those same values. But there is a history in every family that we can honor, whether it’s the cautionary tale because I have a bunch of those in my family, too, or whether it’s the, “Hey, this is what creates extraordinary success.” So, how do we teach those to our children and not only just put them up on poster boards and have a bunch of clever words that are laying in different places or discussed but how do you honor your family members when they live the values? And also, how do you work those values into your estate plan? If we want to talk investing, that’s a more technical side of being a lifestyle investor and leaving a legacy is, does your estate plan say anything about what your family’s values are? Does it have guiding principles in there? That type of thing is something that I think a lot of people just try to get it on paper but they don’t try to really live it in a way that’s meaningful to the entire family.
Justin Donald: Yeah. It’s so true and, gosh, just so many levels that we could go on this conversation. I love it so much. I was having breakfast with my friend, Amber Vilhauer yesterday. And one of the things that we are talking about, she said, “Gosh, parenting’s a lot harder than I thought it would be when I wasn’t a parent.” And I said, “It sure is like there’s no training for it like you are thrown into it. I mean, maybe you lucked out enough to have been a babysitter at some point but that’s really not a good enough education to know what the heck you’re doing.” And it just reminds me of how easy it is to default into the things that we’re good at that we’re comfortable with. Like for me, it’s business. Business comes easily for me. It’s easy for me to spend time there. It’s enjoyable. Why? Because I’m good at it. People like doing the things they’re good at. Well, how do you get good at parenting? How do you get good at being a good spouse? You do that by spending time, by applying effort, by continuously educating yourself and with routines. How do you have a successful marriage? Well, one key component would be to have like a date night once a week. How do you have a successful family? Have a family meeting once a week and there’s a compounding of time that happens and education that happens. But if we stay in the lane only of the things that we’re good at, then we’re probably going to fall short in these other areas that are a lot more important than the things that we’re good at that we should probably be spending our time getting good at.
So, it’s kind of a really funny thing. It can be a catch-22 but I think that being a lifestyle investor is not just about investing. It’s about living the lifestyle that really it emulates the core values of you and of your family. And if you haven’t spent the time to figure out what that lifestyle looks like to figure out what your core values are for you specifically, individually, for your family as a whole unit, I think that you’re doing a disservice because everything you’re doing could be for the wrong reasons. And you bring that up. It’s so powerful. I appreciate you sharing that. I’d love to hear about the new book because this takes our conversation to a whole another level. And what’s cool about the book is you and your wife, Lindsay, have been doing this together and major props to her. She’s done a lot of this. But I’m excited because the first book was really good. And just the enthusiasm that I’ve seen from you over the last, I don’t know, five months, four to five months for this project has been amazing. Like I want to say that I’ve been awestruck. You know, it’s awesome in terms of like, true, pure awe. So, tell us about it.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting because when we decided to co-author the Miracle Morning for Parents and Families with our buddy, Hal, we were just zeroing in on something that one thing that we were doing really well at the time. And that was we had got our three-year-old daughter and our seven-year-old son to do the Miracle Morning with us consistently every morning. And we developed a whole way that made it kid-friendly. And instead of the SAVERS, which Hal teaches, we created the CHARMS so it’s creativity, health, affirmations, meditation, reading, and service. And so, these are just the practical principles that would help to develop somebody to their full potential. In this case, it was to help our kids reach their full potential. And so, there’s a whole backstory to how and why we created that book but I’ll tell you where we’re at with the story now is that after five years, we realized that there was so much that we had learned about being purposeful as parents and we had led over twenty-plus FamBundance family mastermind events. We had led families through several all kinds of different exercises to help them set goals and collaborate. And we got to a point where we realized like, “Hey, there’s a lot of information that we’d like to have in that book that we’ve learned since we wrote it.” And we felt a little bit like frauds quite honestly like, “Hey, we want to help families be their best, but the book no longer contains our best work.”
And not only that, but we also wanted to take all of the best exercises that we ever led families through in these FamBundance events and we wanted to put them all into a workbook that families could get and then they could start following the workbook and developing a bedtime ritual, developing a screen time contract, developing a Miracle Morning practice, creating shared values that you live by and celebrate as a family and even how to set individual goals for each family member and then how to set goals as a family collectively, that you are all accountability partners on those goals. But we realized like, man, not only are we getting a lot of requests from people like in our Front Row Dads community. In GoBundance, we were constantly being asked, like, “Hey, do you have a worksheet or something that can help my family get that set up?” And what we really had was ten different versions of all of these things that we had iterated on over the years of these events. So, we decided this year that we were going to make it our mission to update the Miracle Morning for Parents and Families and create a second addition, which is a little odd after five years in the whole book world unless you put it in the context of think of how much you grow in parenting after five years, how much more you learn about it. We’ll probably do it again in another five years because then we’ll have been through the teenage years with our kids.
Mike McCarthy: And so, we don’t claim to know everything about parenting. And we’re not a perfect family, by the way, and I don’t claim to sit here and say, “Hey, we’re the model for all families,” and how you should operate. We have our issues. We have our challenges. Don’t worry. But one thing that we were clear on is that we needed to put whatever our best work is out into the world today and not just keep relying on what we had shared five years ago and act as if it was the gospel or the truth. This book won’t be either but it’ll be much better than what we put out the first time. And I think especially with the workbook, which we’re calling a playbook because nobody likes to do work as much as they like to play. And it can be fun. We have a motto in our family of let’s make this fun no matter what it is. And so, in that playbook, we walk you through some of the things I’ve already mentioned but there are worksheets for it. There are examples of what ours look like and then there are backstories of how we’ve seen this work not only in our own family but in other families. And so, this is just a great way. You know, like you said, if something is difficult, we tend to avoid it or we’re not as apt to want to do it. And sometimes we just need to get in and start doing it and not think that it’s going to be perfect. And the playbook allows us to play with these concepts and to work through them as a family. There’s nothing in that playbook that is the parents working together without the kids having input. And I pulled up this quote earlier today that I found because I think it’s so appropriate to this. It’s a Ben Franklin quote and he said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
And I think at the core of all of our family exercises lives this ideology that people when they’re involved in something, they truly get it. They learn it at a cellular level. It becomes ingrained in them. And so, I think when we try to tell our kids stuff and even try to teach them, which is usually a lot of telling as well and talking at them, they don’t tend to embrace it. And I think if you want somebody to value something like the systems you’re creating for your family, if you want them to follow them and embrace them, then you should let them help you create what those systems look like. And I think it’s a mistake a lot of parents make is they come down from the hilltop having worked on the family values, and then they say, “Here are our family values or here is our bedtime ritual or here is our process for how we do screen times in our family.” And what you end up with is a ton of resistance from the kids because they didn’t have a say in it, and we always get the question, well, how young or how old do kids need to be in order to start involving them? And my answer is always the same is the sooner the better because it’s never too early to start exposing kids to the fact that their voice, their opinion matters, that when it comes to meaningful conversations in the family, that their ideas and input is just as valuable as the parents’ input. And so, this has become my passion, my life’s work. I love real estate, I love investing, I love mastermind groups and helping people to transform, but I’ve come to the conclusion that my purpose in life is to help with this specifically. And it’s for a big reason. When you look in the world, it’s broken right now. It’s not a place where there’s a lot of unity or collaboration.
And I can’t help but think maybe that’s a reflection of what’s happening in individual families, that if we could come together first as families and focus on being our best for each other as individuals and helping our children to be their best and helping our spouses to be their best, that that wouldn’t in some way create a ripple effect from the family unit that impacts the entire world in a positive way. And I think especially in our Western society, it’s so much about achievement, so much about accumulation. And we may have lost sight of the importance of that family unit. And I think we can look to other cultures to see that it’s possible to thrive economically and in businesses and still make family and community the most important thing, above all, achievement and success. So, this is a mission we’re all about and you can sense the passion that I have for it. And that’s why we’ve put in the time and energy to rewrite the book and come up with this playbook because this is not about selling more copies of anything. As far as an investment is concerned, this is probably not going to be one with the same ROI financially as it’s going to be personal satisfaction of knowing like we’re doing our part in this way to make a difference in the world.
Justin Donald: I love it. That’s just beautiful. I love the word playbook. We’re going to make it fun and it should be fun. A lot of family meetings and get-togethers and figuring out the standards, you know, that can be fun and it should involve all members of the family. So, I love what you’re talking about. Our dear friend, Hal, better look out because your acronym, CHARMS, really has a catch to it. You know, I don’t know, a head-to-head battle, SAVERS or CHARMS. I don’t know. It’s pretty good. I like that. I am just so thrilled about the impact you’ve already had. I mean, when I think about just the Front Row Dads community and you and I, we’ve been involved in this since the beginning. In fact, there are six lifetime members and you and I are part of that lifetime member group. And I just have seen the impact you’ve had on so many other men in that group. And just one-on-one, the impact that you’ve made with me, the lasting changes that I’ve been able to make because of implementing a lot of the ideas and scripts and playbooks, if you will, that you had before you formally had a playbook. You know, when I was just in like written outline form or like, “Hey, jot this down on a napkin real quick.” I remember one meeting at the Dads Retreat, Front Row Dads Retreat, and I’m taking notes and it’s literally written on a napkin. And I’m like, “Oh, this is so good. I can’t wait to get home and implement this with my family.” So, I just want to thank you for what you have done for the Donald household and so many others. And I’m excited for what the book, the playbook, everything’s going to do moving forward. Can you share with our audience where they can learn more about you and your new edition of the book?
Mike McCarthy: Yeah, absolutely. So, they’re going to have a website that’s tied to the MiracleMorning.com website that’s going to have ways to access some of what we’re doing and give previews. And I think there might be a couple of chapters available. We’ll probably put up there some of the exercises for the workbook, the playbook as well. And also, the website that my wife puts all of our resources on related to the Miracle Morning is GratefulParent.com, and she’s got a blog on there and a resource list and a bunch of things, but that’ll be another place where someone could go. And then obviously on October 25th, the playbook and the second edition will both be available on Amazon. We’re extremely excited about that launch. Other than that, those are the few areas where somebody can check out what’s going on with it. And we’re still hatching the exact plan of what will be offered in those different places. We’ve got a bit of time to figure that out still but it’ll be valuable. And as much of it as we can, we want to share with the world, regardless of the investment or the cost of that, it’s just something that, again, we see the world needs right now. And I just hope to inspire even through this podcast, if I could just inspire one entrepreneur, one lifestyle investor to invest just as much as they do in their portfolio, investing that same amount or more into their family, if we could create that effect with just one individual like this is all worth it because I know what it will mean to the kids as they grow up in that environment to be a part of a team like that right out of the gate, a team called family. And I don’t think there’s anything more important than that.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. You’re so spot on. Thank you so much for being on the show and sharing so many of these great nuggets with us. And I just want to leave my audience with just a message that’s so important to me. It’s what I share to wrap things up every single week but it’s this, what’s the one step you can take today towards financial independence and towards the lifestyle that you desire, life on your terms, life by design, not by default? Pick one thing, one action item. And I really hope this week, at a minimum, your action item can be to grab a hold of this book and this playbook and implement some things in your family. And for those of you that don’t have a family yet, make the plan for when you do and what that looks like, and what your family is going to stand for. Thanks again, Mike. We’ll catch you all next week.
Mike McCarthy: Thanks.