Preston Smiles on Manifesting a Limitless Life of Joy and Freedom
Money can’t buy you happiness. It may be cliché, but it’s true.
I’ve met lots of people whose bank accounts are full, yet their lives are completely empty. And no matter what they acquire, it’s never enough and never satisfies.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that money is bad or that it can’t help you build a life on your terms. BUT, if you’re struggling to find joy in your life, no amount of money, status, or material possessions will fill that void.
That’s because true happiness, success, and freedom aren’t external, they come from within.
To help us better understand this idea, I am speaking with Personal Freedom Coach, Preston Smiles. Preston has helped thousands of people around the world to understand & embrace their fears, so they can live the life of their dreams.
He is the founder of The Bridge Experience — a workshop where he and his wife, Alexi take a holistic and innovative approach to personal development.
He’s also the founder of Extreme Leadership, where he works in service of his mission to empower, inspire, and amplify multi-generational movements of radical love.
In today’s conversation, Preston and I talk about his incredibly synchronistic experiences, how intuition can shape your reality (if you’re willing to listen), and the secret to creating a limitless life of joy & freedom.
Key Takeaways with Preston Smiles
- Does everything happen for a reason? Preston shares some unbelievable stories highlighting the synchronistic moments that surround his life.
- The awakening Preston experienced at a young age after his friends were tragically murdered—and why listening to his inner voice saved his life and gave it new meaning.
- The truest measure of success and freedom.
- What it means to reclaim and reintegrate your power–and get a front-row seat to personal freedom.
- Why amplifying your LOVE will amplify your LIFE.
- How to tap into your magic and find your strengths.
- Why community is a far superior form of currency.
- The wild story of how Preston tapped into the universe’s energy to meet his wife—and why he instantly knew he’d be with her forever.
Preston Smiles on the True Measure of Success
Preston Smiles Tweetable“The body remembers what the mind forgets.” - @PrestonSmiles Click To Tweet
- Preston Smiles
- Preston Smiles on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
- Preston Smiles Coaching
- The Bridge Experience
- Extreme Leadership
- A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
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Read the Full Transcript with Preston Smiles
Justin Donald: Preston, I am so excited to hang today and get some time, and by the way, a name like Preston Smiles, you cannot be let down. You have the coolest name of anyone I know. And I just feel so blessed to have you here as a guest on our show today.
Preston Smiles: Oh, oh, raaah! Let’s go! Yes, Justin, let’s get it.
Justin Donald: So, Preston, I’m just thrilled that our worlds have collided, and we’ve been able to get to know each other so well. And I just am blown away with you and the things that you’re accomplishing, the people you know, the mindset that you have developed and embraced. Wow.
Preston Smiles: Yeah, man, I deeply and truly appreciate that. It’s a work in progress. However, I will own that I’m pretty freaking awesome just like yourself. And I’m deeply grateful to be on this podcast and sharing, not just with you, but all the listeners as well. We know, now, in science that everything is frequency. Everything is frequency. And so, as birds of a feather have flocked together, and everybody listening, we’re all doing the same thing. We’re all walking each other home to the self. We’re all tapping back into our hearts. We’re all remembering who and what we are, which are unique emanations of the most high.
Justin Donald: That is unbelievable. I love your poetry. That is fantastic. Let’s dive in. This is going to be a fun day.
So, you and I have had some great time to connect here since you’ve moved to Austin. And it’s been such a pleasure to get to know you, such a pleasure to build our friendship. And it’s amazing how many friends we have in common and just the connections that kept happening where we were at the same events, the same parties, the same interactions, people would bring up each other’s names. And it just got to a point where it’s like, hey, we are meant to be hanging and doing life together. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. So, I’m curious, what brought you to Austin?
Preston Smiles: Yeah, that’s somewhat of a loaded question. It’s interesting because we bought the house that is being built right now way before the pandemic, way before we knew any of that was coming. There was an intuitive hit that it was time to leave L.A. And I did that kicking and screaming because I love California, I love Los Angeles. And there’s a lot of magic and beauty in that city. And yet, being 40 years young and sexier than ever, I knew that it was time for me to– and I think this comes with kids and I think it comes with wisdom and sometimes age, right, where you start to realize that you need to set yourself up for another 40 years down the road and you start thinking ahead. And in early 20s, mid-30s, you’re still sort of rocking out and trying to figure out who you are. And there’s a point where you’re like, yo, I don’t want to be like my parents. I don’t want to be, like, scrounging when I’m 50 and 60 and 70.
And so, for me, myself, and my wife, we started to think ahead and got in a conversation about where we could go that would be in alignment with the values and things that we had in place. And initially, she wanted to go to Puerto Rico. And I was like F on every front because I didn’t like the idea of living in a gated community where the moment I leave those gates, I could just be robbed two seconds later. And I didn’t like that thing. And we spoke to enough people who had that experience where I was like, I don’t know if that’s the right place for a bunch of children. If we’re just 20-year-old rich kids, no problem.
So, long story short, we went through a list and we went to Florida and it was an instant no. And I’m not talking crap about Florida, per se, but it just was an instant no for me. And she said, “Okay, let’s just try Austin. Please just go.” And I had never been. And within 10 minutes, I got off the plane. Within 10 minutes, I said, you know what, this is a place I could live. She’s like, “Really?” I was like, “Yeah, I think so.” Energetically, it feels pretty aligned.
And this is before I knew any of you amazing people. I didn’t know fully what the community would look like, but it was just like the perfect combination of weirdness and progressive thinking and nature and lifestyle that were all sort of mixed together. And the only thing it didn’t have was surfing. And then I found out that there’s a wave pool that Kelly Slater is building, and then there’s another one in Waco. And I was like, “Alright, let’s do it. Let’s at least try.” And so, that’s how we laid it here.
Justin Donald: Well, and you’ve got the lake so you can wakesurf there, which a ton of people do. We’ve got a bunch of buddies that do that. And it’s not the same thing as surfing, but it’s still a heck of a lot of fun.
Preston Smiles: Yeah, it’s pretty good. I did it. As you know, I’m staying at the lake house, a mutual friend of ours, David Osborn, they have a boat that comes with the house. So, we’ve taken that out a few times. And I’ve wakesurfed, and it was freaking awesome, an endless wave, and I absolutely loved it. And it’s still not surfing because there’s something that happens with the ocean that’s also like a baptism for me. However, it’s good enough. And everything else in Austin checks off every single box. So, I’m good.
Justin Donald: There is no doubt that it’s not the same as surfing. I just got back from Cabo, and we did surf there, and it was outstanding. And we just had a blast. We actually hired a private instructor to help us and critique our form and to really kind of just get us those few-millimeter extra moves, extra degrees. And when you do that, it’s amazing the difference that it makes. So, we had a blast. And it’s two different sports, but they’re both fun. It’s great being on the water, especially when it’s nice out. And by the way, David’s lake house is gorgeous. The view is beautiful. It’s so cool.
And in fact, I don’t know if it’s appropriate to tell this story, I hope that it is. You had the craziest occurrence happen with your neighbor next door to this house. And so, I’d love for you to share that story because this is mind-boggling. I mean, I just love– I mean, if you ever wonder if something was meant to be, this is a clear telltale sign.
Preston Smiles: 100%. And that happens, that’s been happening my whole life. And just a little fun fact, many people know me as an author, a speaker, a transformational coach, all the things, but what they don’t know is that I started as a surf instructor. I created my own business, Smiles Surf School, and I used to teach everybody at Venice Beach. And I was using the same principles that I coach entrepreneurs with, I was using in the ocean. And so, I love that you went and worked with the surf instructor because that was actually my career before where I am now.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome.
Preston Smiles: Sidenote, I grew up in Los Angeles, and they have something called AAU Basketball, it’s all over the country, but in L.A., it’s really big, AAU Basketball. And I was on a team for K-Swiss and then I switched over to– and this is like 13 years old, I switched over to Nike, which is where even better kids went. And at the time, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and all these really, really good guys were on the same teams. They were older than us. So, they were like 15 and up, and we were 13 and up, but we all practiced together, and it was like an entire world.
And there was a kid there who also went to a high school that I played against, named Jason. And long story short, me and this guy played against each other for years and we weren’t like best friends or anything, but every time we saw each other is like, yo, yes, right? And so, fast forward to a thousand years go by and the house next door to David’s house goes on sale. And I had a conversation with him. He says, “Hey, I found out a former Laker bought the house next door.” And I was like, “Oh, okay, cool, cool, cool.”
So, a month goes by, and I don’t see this person. I just see them driving their Escalade, and we have the same exact car. So, I would see his wife and that kind of thing. And maybe a month and a half ago, I’m out in front with the twins. And this is crazy because I noticed that they had twins as well. So, I was like, oh, that’s interesting. Whoever lives there, whoever this former Laker is, has two sets of twins, so two boys, two girls. And so, I’m out with my twins playing in the yard, and it’s sort of like Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, do you ever watch that show?
Justin Donald: Oh, yeah, without a doubt.
Preston Smiles: So, the fence has all this green on it. So, you can only get snippets of who’s on the other side. You can’t look over, but you can look through. And so, I hear his twins playing, and he’s playing basketball with them and they’re screaming and yelling. And my twins are screaming and yelling. And we sort of look through the fence at each other, and I say, “What’s going on, neighbor?” And he says, “What’s going on, man?” I said, “Man, just living the dream.” He said, “Same, same, same.”
And so, he sort of comes over to the fence, and we still can’t fully see each other. And so, we’re talking about sports. We’re talking about life. We’re talking about twins. I tell him we’re pregnant again, and we’re afraid that it may be twins again, like them, the whole thing. And he tells me his name is Jason. I’m like, “Jason, nice to meet you. I’m going to head in and feed these kids. My name is Preston.”
So, I go inside and I’m feeding the kids and it hits me, bro. I was like Jason Kapono, the dude that I played high school basketball against, the dude that I played AAU with when I was 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. I literally ran back outside and I was like, “Hey. And he said, “Yeah.” I was like, “Does your last name start with a K or a C?” He was like, “A K.” I was like, “Is it Kapono?” And he was like, “Yes.” I was like, “Bro.” And I started yelling. I was like, “You will not believe who I am on the other side of this fence.” And he was like, “Did you play for K-Swiss and Nike?” I was like, “Yes,” and I’m like– he came over and looked, and we were like, “Oh, shit.” We had this huge moment of like, “Whoa, out of all of the places that both of us could be living.” Like so much life has gone by, and we are neighbors. And not just neighbors, we both have twins. And it was just this beautiful synchronistic moment and so, really awesome, crazy story. And that’s been happening in my whole life, to tell you the truth.
Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. And you know what? As you’re telling this story, I can’t help but think this fence must be really tall because you guys are both really tall guys.
Preston Smiles: Yes, it is. It is. It is. That dude’s like 6’6″, 6’7″.
Justin Donald: I know.
Preston Smiles: And I’m 6’2″. And yes, we could not see over that fence. You can only peer through like that.
Justin Donald: That is such a cool story. So if you’re ever wondering, am I supposed to be here? Is this the right place? Like you could just wipe that away immediately, you know. I mean, you had a bunch of signs before this. And actually, one of the things that I love about you, Preston, is you are so in touch with your intuition. And I’m blown away at your ability to slow down, your ability to listen, and not just listen with your ears, but listen with your body and pay attention to what your subconscious is trying to tell you.
And some of the stories, some of the experiences, some of the out-of-body experiences that you’ve had are, I mean, breathtaking, I mean, bring chills, make the hair on the back of your neck stand. And I’d love for you to share just kind of where this came from when you noticed your ability to really just tap into your intuition.
Preston Smiles: Yeah, man, absolutely. I want to caveat this entire thing with, I don’t believe I’m special. I’m unique, but I’m not special. What I am is more practiced in certain realms than other people. It’s why I am as successful as I am as a coach and transformational leader because I just practice a lot more and I trust, I trust in God, I trust in the universe, I trust in the divinity that is circulating through my body at any given moment. And so, the stories I’m about to share with you are equal parts tragic and beautiful. And there are quite a few, but I’ll start with the one that got me to listen to that inner voice because I do believe it is important. And I know that we all get those hits. We’ve just been conditioned out of them.
There’s a whole conversation that men are logical and women are emotional. And that’s not actually true with a capital T. Some of that is nurture, but it’s not fully nature. As hunters and gatherers, the hunters go out and they get intuitive hits where we’re antelope, we’re deer, and go with those hits and actually come back with meat. And so, I’m caveat this entire conversation with, I don’t believe that I’m special, I’m just way more practiced. And the practice has come out initially out of a tragedy.
And so, long story short, I was 15 years old, the first time it really, really, really led for me that I was being, I guess you could say, saved or used. I think it’s a little bit of both because I was a dumb teenager, like everybody else, but also, growing up in Los Angeles as an Afro, amazing male, there were certain expectations. And it’s very difficult to rise to low expectations. And so, I was stealing and drinking, and my friends were smoking weed. And we were doing stupid stuff pretty much every day.
And a buddy of mine, Rudy, had a blue Astro van. He was the one guy that got a car that his grandmother passed down to him. And so, Rudy, every night, would come and pick us all up. And our other buddy, Scott, he and I would fight over the front seat. I don’t know if you do that with your friends, like a shotgun.
Justin Donald: Oh, yeah.
Preston Smiles: It’s like all the rules to how you can get a front seat.
Justin Donald: That’s right.
Preston Smiles: And so, this particular night, I got a call from Scott. He was like, “Yo, going out? We’re going to grab some alcohol, we’re going to roll up some blunts, and we’re going to chill and get into some mischief, essentially.” And something internally said, “Don’t go.” And I’m going to rewind just a little bit to tell you a little story about my dad who has since passed, he passed in 2019, but my dad, when I was 11 years old, caught me smoking weed. And instead of punishing me or beating me, he sat me down and he told me, he gave me 24 hours. He said, “I want you to think about everybody you know who smokes weed. And I want you to tell me, and we’re going to talk about this in 24 hours, whether you want their life.”
So, he gave me space to contemplate whether I wanted those people’s lives. And so, I came back and at that time, I wanted to be Michael Jordan. And so, I was contemplating it. And I came back and I said, “You know, Daddy, I don’t think I want their lives.” He said, “It’s a great choice, son.” He said, “I don’t see anything wrong with weed, per se, but if you do what others are doing, you’re going to get what they’re getting. And so, you got to make decisions for yourself. I’m not going to stop you from being a boy, but what I want you to know,” and this is the key part, any dads out there listening to this, I want you to hear this because I must do the same thing with my kids. He said, “What I want you to know, Preston, is that you are a leader. And if everybody else is going left, but something inside of you says, go right, you will do it anyway because that’s the type of boy you are.” And he poured into me, Justin. This is a little snapshot, this is a moment as an 11-year-old little boy that my dad, I don’t know if he understood the gravity of that moment.
And so, now fast forward, Scott’s on the phone, “Yo, you coming out?” I’m like, “No, man, I’m going to chill.” He’s like, “Oh, you can be a little bitch.” I’m like, “Yeah, man, I’m going to chill.” Something in me said, don’t go. Now, every other night, I had been in that van. Every other night, I had been in that van, but this particular night, my dad’s voice popped into my head. If everybody else is going left, but something in you says, don’t go, you will not go because you are a leader. And so, he made fun of me, and I said, “Look, bro, you got a shotgun. I’ll catch you guys tomorrow.”
Scott hung up the phone and within an hour of that conversation, every single person in that van was shot. And Scott was shot in the head and died instantly. And this was equal parts, one of the worst moments of my life and also one of the best, because it opened up an entire portal, an entire world, it sobered me up as a 15-year-old who thought he was invincible. It reminded me of the fragileness of this magical, beautiful thing called life and instantly kicked me into gear into understanding that life has consequences as well while we are here. And that led me to a lot of different things, including making a way to position myself to go to college, even though I was dyslexic and in special education all throughout high school. And I’ve been using that ever since. And there’s another story that I told you about, that was even more brutal, which I can share, but I’m going to pause right now and just leave that there, because, yeah, you asked.
Justin Donald: That’s so powerful. It is tragic, especially at 15 when you’re just learning who you are and you’re figuring out things like ego and who you are in the world, and what group you’re part of. And it’s interesting how tragic events can also be eye-opening, and you can find a silver lining in them. So, obviously, my heart goes out to you and to their families. And at the same time, what an awakening and what a recognition for what you have, what you started to embrace. And I mean, the list goes on and on. This is a story amongst, like hundreds of stories. I mean, you just are so in tune. And I love it.
And by the way, I’ve got to imagine that in your coaching career that this comes in handy. I’d love to know, like, professionally, what does that look like? What does being a coach, being an author, being an influencer, I mean, you’ve got an incredible following and I’m so excited for my audience to get to know you, and if they don’t, they may have no clue that you just have one of the biggest followings of anyone I know and it’s because you have so many gifts that you’re able to share with the world, I’d love to hear more professionally, what things look like through your eyes?
Preston Smiles: Yeah, man, I feel extremely blessed, and I know you do as well, to do the work that I do, because, for me, there’s nothing more important, nothing more important than our personal freedom. There are only two games ever happening on the planet, the outside-end game, which says that cars, money, likes, comments, booties, dicks, all of these things make me worthy enough, or the other game, which is the inside-out game, which says that I am perfect, total, and complete, but not finished, I’m a unique emanation of the most high, I am divinity dancing. And every need that I ever had is met right now, and so everything else is a cherry on top.
There are only two games ever happening. I coach people who have millions and I coach people who have almost nothing. And a lot of times, those two groups have a lot in common because they’re still seeking external approval for what is already perfect. And so, for me, because I’ve been so blessed to have both experiences and to go really deep into the inner workings of myself and to work with people with stage 4 cancer, to work with people who are literally at that stage, I’m like I’m going to kill myself to work with people at the stage where they have absolutely everything, but it feels like a prison because I have such an array of experience. Then, what is most personal is also most universal. And so, these principles apply at every stage. They apply at every stage because of our humanity, this is why in our workshops, my wife and I lead these workshops all over the world.
And we’ll be doing one in Austin next year. We have one called The Bridge Experience. And then, after Bridge Experience, you go to Extreme Leadership. And Extreme Leadership, oftentimes, people find out that some of that workshop is in the nude. And sometimes people are like, “Hey, I want to do the workshop, but I don’t want to get naked.” You don’t have to get naked, but once you understand why we’re doing it, once you understand how much, because this is what people don’t know, Justin, the body remembers what the mind forgets. And all of us are walking, talking nervous systems, all of us have had levels of trauma that before we ever had a cognitive thought, before we ever had what they call explicit memory because from zero to five, that’s all implicit memory.
And all it takes is a moment where your parent is stressed out and doesn’t want to breastfeed you. All it takes is a moment where other people are fighting and because children are egocentric, we make that about us. And so, me having this breadth of knowledge and wisdom and also living in these extremes, I’ve been extremely poor and now, I’m experiencing what I would call extremely rich. And I was free when I was extremely poor. And I’m free as I’m extremely rich and to me, that gives me insight. And I love, just like I’m sure you do when the light bulb goes off and somebody recognizes that they’ll never be the same because of the work that we’re doing together. That to me, having a front-row seat for that level of freedom, is the best thing in the world.
Justin Donald: That is so beautiful and I love how deep you go. There’s just so much I love in the way that you look at the world. You said something you alluded to, something that’s very powerful. And I have met many people that are very wealthy, financially, that are living in a prison. They are shackled to something and often, they maybe have thought that their joy would come from more money. My experience has been, with a lot of people that I’ve met, that couldn’t be further from the truth, but I’m curious, how do you measure your success? I mean, we could measure it by your bank account, and that could be one category, one component. And obviously, you’re doing well there and you’ve got just an unbelievable life. I mean, we’ll definitely need to get into places that you’ve traveled and just, your life is outstanding, but how do you define success?
Preston Smiles: Yeah, man, that’s a loaded and powerful question. And somewhat of a moving target, it changes, and then there are parts that never change. So, for me, success is this in and out-breath. Every day that I’m above ground is a successful day because we can’t take any of this stuff with us. And any day that I wake up, and I tell my clients this all the time, one of the reasons why I’m– and I hate to say this, this way, but one of the reasons why I’m freer than most people is because I actually know. I actually know that if I lost everything, the only thing that would happen is I would cry for a few days, I’d punch a few pillows and scream explicits, and then I get back up and I start again.
So, for me, knowing that there is nothing over there, the Ninja Turtle and the Porsche Panamera that I have right now will both end up in the same place, trash or belong to someone else. The Tesla that I had two years ago, where the fuck is it? I don’t know, someone else has it. I’m not attached to that thing. It’s a fun thing to play with, but it does not define me. So, having that understanding makes me successful because I can shape shift, I can style flex, I can enjoy no thing or everything. And both I can infuse and bring my own weather to that conversation. I’m not waiting for the sun to come out, I am the sun. I’m not waiting for the seasons to change, I bring the seasons.
And so, having that understanding, bro, is deeply, deeply powerful. And once again, I am not special. I’m unique in this beautiful skin suit. However, I’m not special. These are the same powers. There’s only, to me, and we can argue about this all day or debate about it, to me, there’s only one power. And to me, God is only always saying, yes, there is no no button. So, what Hitler was afforded, Gandhi was afforded. What Einstein was afforded, Justin is afforded, Preston is afforded. The power, how we enter and conversate with that power, it seems like it’s up to us, but what we forget is that children are egocentric. And from the very beginning, we have been biting for mommy and daddy’s attention. When we get good grades, Mommy and daddy give us love. We get bad grades, we don’t listen to Mommy and daddy’s constructive, what good boy and good girl are, mommy and daddy take their love away.
Then, you send us to a school or a church or something else that had the same construct, the same rules, and then you release me at 17, 18 years old, into the world and expect me not to do the same thing. Bullshit, you’re definitely going to do the same thing. So, I’m going to climb to the top of the ladder and get everybody to praise me. Look at me. Look how rich I am. Look at me. Look at my titties. Look at what look– like I don’t want to curse too much, bro, but you know what I’m saying. I get so hyped up about this because we’ve been lied to. And now, it’s about reclaiming, reclaiming, reintegrating our power. That’s a whole different beast, that’s a beast of a conversation to be in.
Justin Donald: I love how grounded you are, and your strength and your confidence come from a self-worth that is very high. You have a strong self-image. You believe in yourself and your abilities. And it’s so refreshing. And I think that the default today in society is to seek approval from other people, to seek approval from status or material possessions as if they’re going to fill that void. That void is not going to be filled by a thing, it’s going to be filled inside internally. I would say eternally and internally.
And so, I love hearing you talk that way, because any time people buy new stuff to fill it, you like it for a moment, and then it becomes old or not good enough, or you see the next thing. It’s just a matter of time. How long is that? It depends, but whatever home is your dream home is at some point, not going to be your dream home. Whatever car was your dream car is eventually not going to be your dream car. Whatever cool trip that you wanted to do that you got excited for, that gave you a lot of enthusiasm leading up to it and gave you enthusiasm while you’re there, when you’re done, that is gone. You’ll have great memories.
And by the way, to me, I’m an experienced guy over a possession guy all day because I want my experiences to be relationship-driven. I want it to be with the people that matter most. And so, that to me, is more powerful than any possession that one can own, but I just love your message of getting clear with who you are, the unique gifts that you have that we each have. And we all do, we all are blessed with this incredible skill set. And by the way, most people aren’t using that skill set. Most people for what they do for work, a profession, they’re not using it. Most people, they go to a job, they’re not showing up generally, like for their purpose or on a mission or truly pursuing a vocation as opposed to a career, right?
Preston Smiles: Yes.
Justin Donald: And so, I love seeing your energy around this and the coaching that you give people and the self-confidence and self-worth that you exude to help others be able to embrace. It’s beautiful.
Preston Smiles: Appreciate that, man. Yeah, it is. Here’s my truth. Love is all there is, was, and ever will be. All of us, yourself, myself included, all of us have the same message, which is love. Everything we’re up to is that and leading people back to their hearts. And so, I appreciate who you are and how you do that thing because it’s equal parts. Yes. Like, let’s get strategic. Let’s play the game. We’re going to be on this planet. Let’s play. Let’s set ourselves up so that we can be more available for those gifts and talents that were bestowed upon us by the creator, whatever creator that is, Buddha, Allah, Krishna, Jesus, Allah, whatever it is for you.
The wealthier we allow ourselves, and to be, the more space we have for creativity. And so, I appreciate that you do that and you do it as a man of principle, as a man of values. Anybody I’ve ever talked to who mentions your name, mentions it in the same way, in the same light. It’s like that dude is awesome and hilarious. That dude is a stand-up dude and a shit talker. I’m like, “Yes, he is.” I love it, yes.
Justin Donald: There is no doubt when it comes to some competition. In a volleyball court, which we have done, but I have the ability to run my mouth and I am trying to get into my opponent’s habit and I have a lot of fun doing it, but at the same time, I love great plays and even when they’re scored on me, I’m the one building up people on the other team. Nice hit, nice job, but yeah, you better believe in moments that I have the opportunity, I’m going to let people know what’s up.
Preston Smiles: Yep, I love it, man. I love it. I won’t even let my kids beat me in checkers. I want to win always. I love it. I love competition and I love people who also love it. And I don’t take it personally when I get beat. I think it’s great, but it’s like, let’s move this bar. That’s how I was as a kid.
Justin Donald: That’s so great. Well, I just love finding out after we played some volleyball that you went home and you got a volleyball net and you set that sucker up because you wanted to come back stronger, better, meaner, harder. And I just love that. And you sent me the most hysterical video of you, like spiking the ball down, like Justin, you’re next. And I laughed so hard, so refreshing. So, I love that competitive spirit.
And by the way, that’s what makes you so great at what you do and part of what makes you so unique. And we’re wired very similarly in this that we like to be great at the things that we do. And I love that you will just go home. You’re like, hey, this is kind of fun. We just had a good time. This is a hobby, but I’m going to become good at this, like– and I love that. That’s so cool.
Preston Smiles: Let me tell you a quick story. I have traveled a lot, right? Even before I was married and met my wife, I was doing surf trips all over the world and stuff like that. And I was on this surf trip with a buddy of mine named Josh, who’s a lifeguard in Los Angeles County right now, epic human. And Josh was like, “Hey, do you want to play this game called Scrabble?” And just take in mind, I grew up in L.A., where the weather’s always good, so I didn’t play board games. It wasn’t raining when I grew up. So, I could be outside skateboarding and biking and playing basketball and hopping fences, I never had to be in the house. So, I played no board games, zero, as a child. And so, he says, “Hey, do…”
Justin Donald: Poor thing.
Preston Smiles: So, he says, “Hey, do you want to play this game called Scrabble?” And I’m like, “Oh, sure.” And so, we play, and he annihilates me, like the whole trip, every single time. So, I’m just quiet about it. I’m like, okay. So, three weeks go by, as soon as I got home, I bought the Scrabble dictionary. I started studying everything. I know all the two-letter words, I studied everything. And I said, “Hey, Josh, want to meet me in a coffee shop?” He said, “Yeah, sure.” So, three weeks later, we met at a coffee shop. And when I tell you, I beat this dude so bad.
The next day, he was like, “Hey, we got to play again.” So, cool, let’s play again. We played it again, I annihilated him. He’s like, “Yo, there’s a Scrabble app on our phone. Let’s play there so you’ve got a lot going on.” Perfect. I’ve never let him beat me since. We’ve probably played 150 games, of which, I have won 100. Like, I literally was like, cool. Okay, I’m going to go study the entire Scrabble dictionary and learn how to spell each of these words and know how to connect it and understand the strategy. And everybody tells me, if I play chess, I would love it because chess is a strategy as well. I haven’t played chess ever. I’ve never played it, but.
Justin Donald: You need to get into it. Chess is amazing. And on top of that, what a great game to teach your kids for, like, just future strategy, thinking many steps ahead. I think you would love it. I’m teaching my daughter it right now, and we play almost every day. And she has gotten so good. And I’m like you, I don’t let people beat me, but then when they are able to beat me, it’s like such a major victory to them because they know I didn’t go easy. My daughter knows I do not go easy. And so, the things that she’s able to beat me, and she really celebrates that.
Preston Smiles: I love it. I love it, man. Yeah, all my friends, if you come to my house, I have a Wooden Connect Four game, like one of those expensive Wooden Connect Four games. And all my friends come over and they try to play me and I usually just annihilate everyone. And we had a party at our house maybe three months ago. And this girl, Angela, everybody’s like, “Yo, Angela is the truth, man. Like, I know you beat all of us, but I think she’s coming for you.” And she freaking beat me, bro. I had to go to the other room for a second. I, like, had to breathe because it was in front of everybody. I was like, “No,” but it’s good, it’s good. I love that you’re teaching your daughter that. I definitely am going to learn how to play chess, and then teach them.
Justin Donald: So cool. So, I recently had Cal on my podcast and quite an incredible guy, Cal Callahan. And we do these boot camps, but you are one of the founding members of this boot camp. And man, do we have some fun at the bunker? And these workouts are incredible. We just did one of these workouts, an epic workout yesterday. We get a picture of the group every time, and it is so cool. And I just wanted to publicly thank you for assembling this great group of men, and at the same time, ask the question of why. Why do you push yourself? And why do you want so much? I mean, it’s interesting because I always talk about how wealth is just a small component, financial, and so many other things. It’s like self-confidence, it’s living with purpose, it’s physical health, it’s mental health, it’s intellectual. It’s like that you like to learn and that you have relational health. I mean, there are so many things that go into it, but you’re a very fit guy and you’re not shy about really pushing yourself physically. And I’d love to hear how this came about.
Preston Smiles: Yeah, man, you know, it’s interesting. Another thing that most people don’t know about me is I got my start by being what you would call a community organizer. So, I created this movement called the Love Mob. And the Love Mob was organized acts of love, and we did our first big one right after the Sandy Hook School shooting. And I just jumped, and I told people, “Hey, I’m going to be on Hollywood & Highland. And if you show up, show up with love in your heart, show up for these kids, we’re going to celebrate their lives.” I thought maybe 30 people would show up, but in truth, about 500 to 600 people showed up, and they had to bring out the police helicopters. And we were singing the Beatles song All You Need Is Love. And it turned into this huge, like love rally march thing.
And then, I did another one for the homeless people in downtown L.A. And I brought in a guy named Michael Beckwith and a woman named Marianne Williamson, who wrote the book A Return to Love. She was one of the presidential candidates a year or so back. And both of them pulled me aside at different points and said, “Hey, young man, I know you’re bringing us together and you’re really good at that, but you also need to step forward because we see some leadership skills, and there’s a passion and a heart that you have that you can’t just hide in the background and bring us forward.”
And so, that was like the opening for me of, like, yo, I’m really good at this thing. And I could learn how to be good at this thing. And so, the speaking and the writing and all that stuff came from that, but the truth is, one of my biggest skill sets is bringing people together. I kind of know everybody. I’m a bridge. I’ve been a bridge. I used to do these parties in L.A. called The Best of the Best, where I would go to someone like you, Justin. I say, “Hey, Justin, you’re one of the best people I know in this city. You get two invites. Who are two other people who you would consider the best humans in this city? We’re going to have a dinner party at my house and we will have the best of the best party and just see what happens.” And so, I kept doing that. And every time I did it, something magical happened.
And so, during the pandemic, I just moved here to Austin. This was eight months ago. And I was like, okay, I know this guy Steph who has his own gym. I know this guy Cal who has his own gym. I know this guy Garen who’s just moving here. And there’s a few of us, and we all want the same things, but everybody’s working out by themselves. And so, it’s like, P, this is on you. This is the thing you do. So, I say, “Hey, guys, I got this idea. What do you think?” And Cal was like, “I’m in.” He didn’t jump until he went to his house, but Steph was the first person. Steph was like, “Have it at my house.” So, we did three or four of them at Steph’s house. Cal saw it and was like, “Alright, we got to do it at my house.” And then, boom, it exploded.
And so, that’s sort of where it came from. And just to give you a little more context, to me, community is the new money. Like money is still money, but community is also the new money because, if you have a powerful community, you’ll never be poor, you’ll never be broke, right?
Justin Donald: Yeah. Community is a far superior form of currency, there is no doubt. And with the right people in your world, you can get whatever you need, you can accomplish whatever you desire. And so, I think that that is beautifully said. And by the way, Steph, what a great leader, I mean, he led the session yesterday. And, man, is he just awesome and inspiring and in incredible shape. And by the way, these guys are fit. I mean…
Preston Smiles: Yes, they are.
Justin Donald: I show up and I feel like I’m doing pretty well, in general. And I show up here and I’m like, man, I got to get my act together.
Preston Smiles: It’s pretty cool.
Justin Donald: These guys are legit.
Preston Smiles: Yes. Iron sharpens iron, man. That’s another reason. As a kid, I got better at hopping fences because my friends got better at hopping fences. I got better at basketball because my friends got better. And so, when we do things in these silos, we can only go so far. And it’s that whole conversation, it’s not the load that breaks us down, but the way we carry it. I think that’s T.S. Eliot. It’s not the load that breaks us down, but the way we carry it. So, if I give Justin some of this load, it won’t break me down. And so, if we do this together, it’s light as a feather. I do it by myself, I may have an issue.
Justin Donald: Man, that is good, I tell you, I have just had so much fun hanging with you here today, but I thought it’d be really fun to kind of wrap things up with the story of how you met your wife if you are comfortable sharing that because I think this is beautiful and wonderful. And again, it’s using that intuition and it’s hysterical at the same time. I mean, this is just one of my favorite stories that you’ve ever shared with me.
Preston Smiles: It’s pretty crazy. Alright, so let’s do it like this. I was a young up-and-coming influencer. Before that word was a real thing in L.A., people wanted me everywhere kind of thing. I was doing workshops and seminars, and I was a student in those things. I was reading every book I could get my hands on. I was just one of those guys that was just young and hungry. I’m 31, 32, going into 33. And I’m at this party, and this girl says, “Hey, guys, I just got certified in this thing called Human Design. Would you like to do yours?” And I’m like, “Yeah, whatever.” So, she does it, all 14 people before me and I’m the last person, and she’s going through my chart and she looks and she goes, “Huh.” I was like, “What’s huh?” She’s like, “Well, essentially from reading this correctly, it says you’re here to do great things, but you’ll never be as great as you could be without your counterpart, without your queen.”
This is the first moment where I was like, “Hmm,” there’s a moment, ladies and guys, you know what I’m talking about? There’s a moment when you start to look from that lens. And this was like the first, like, bing, like, oh, I am like 31, 32, maybe I should potentially start looking for a wife. I was just a man out on the town. And so, that ends. The next day I went to this place called The Temple in Venice Beach. And I’m outside, I’m talking to this guy named Richard. And Richard says and he’s like, “Preston, what you’ve been up to?” And I tell him, I say, “What you’ve been up to, Richard?” And he said, “Oh, man, I’m doing this thing called Human Design. Have you ever done it?”
So, I instantly lie to him because I want to see if it’s bullshit. So, I said, “No, I’ve never done it.” He’s like, “Oh, do you know your birth time?” Your this, that and the other. And then, I say, “Actually, I do.” So, I want to see if the charts match up. I want to see if Richard gets the same thing she does. So, he goes through the chart and he’s like, wow, this, that and the other, your brains lit up on all four things. You’re probably– it’s clear you’re really good at speaking in X, Y, and Z, but this is interesting. And I was like, “What?” He’s like, “Oh, well, essentially stating that you’re here to do great things, but you won’t be as great as you could be without your counterpart.” And I was like, “Holy shit,” okay, that’s two at that point, right?
So, I think I was reading conversations with God or something, and it came up again, and that was the third time, that’s all I needed. So, I made a decision that I was going to take my penis off the table for six months, six months of celibacy just to see and to call in the queen, just to see what happens. And so, no masturbating, no nothing, six months, I am in my power, I’m like freakin Muhammad Ali at the top of his game, I am on fire. It was like people and women could smell that I was off-limits. And so, I was just in my power. All my chi in my body just err, right?
And so, the six months end, and I’m like, okay, cool, it’s time to date again, but now I’m dating from a different place. My dick is no longer running the full story. It’s still there, but it’s not like leading the conversation. And so, I’m going to be very particular and I’m going to call in my one. And so, I go on a few dates, and things are good and things are rolling. And then I get a message on Facebook from a guy that I had not spoken to for like eight years. And the message says, “Hey, P, I’m out here in London. I just met the female version of you. She’s dating my friend, but I think you guys will work together. She does work in Africa. You’re doing the Love Mob and all these other things, and you’ve been to India and all these places helping. I think you guys should connect. Can I put you in a message?” I said, “Of course.”
So, he puts us in a message on Facebook. I look at her profile. While she’s gorgeous, she’s in London, but that’s not my girl. So, I write back and say, “Hey, it’s nice to meet you. I heard you doing great things.” She says, “Yeah, nice to meet you, too.” I said, “Hey, if you’re ever in L.A., hit me up. This is my number.” She does not respond, message unread or whatever. She just doesn’t respond.
So, fast forward to like two weeks later, and this is where the story is going to end, guys, for those of you, like, yo, where is this in? Two weeks later, I have a blind date set up with a beautiful, amazing human named Eva, who is now, she just had her first baby with her husband. So, this is a happy ending for those of you who were about to get really mad at me when I finished the story. So, I have this blind date with this girl named Eva. And the morning of the date, I woke up out of a dead sleep. And this goes to the intuition thing again, right? Dead sleep. I’m sleeping, and then, boom, I’m not sleeping. And instantly, I get a hit. You’re going to meet your wife very soon. Like, I have no clue what this voice is saying or where this person is going to be coming from, but it is here. And so, I have had so many experiences where when that voice comes through, I know it’s probably true.
So, I go on the Internet, and you can find this now if you scroll far enough back. I go on the Internet and I post on Facebook and Instagram a picture of two wolves kissing, and I say, “I can feel her coming… #wifey #thequeenisonherway.” Now, take in mind guys, I still don’t know who this person is, where they’re coming from. Maybe it’s the blind date. I have no clue, but this voice is saying you’re about to meet your wife. So, six o’clock rolls around, she gets to my house, she knocks on the door, I walk down the stairs, and like my heart is in my freaking eyeballs, right? I’m like, yo, it’s about to go down.
So, I walk downstairs, I open the door, I look at her, and I’m like, nope, I instantly knew this is not her. So, I go upstairs, I close my door, I let her in my living room. I close my door and I get on my knees and I pray and say, “God, am I supposed to go on this date? Because I don’t like wasting my time and I don’t want to waste your time.” And definitively, the answer was yes, go on the date, and I’m like, “Bro. You sure? Because that’s not her.” Comes back, go on the date. So, I’m like, “Whatever, okay.”
So, I get dressed, we get in the car, I’m one of those people that’s never late. So, now we’re zooming across town from Hancock Park, for those of you in L.A., Larchmont Area to Venice Beach, California, we’re zooming in my little beat-up Prius. And every single red light, every single red light on the way on Lincoln Boulevard, I got every single red light. By the 8th one, I was like, okay, something’s happening, because there were people who missed their flights for 9/11, there were people who had the same experience and didn’t end up on a plane that crashed.
And so, Preston, be still. Be still and know. So, I slowed down to the speed of wisdom and caught something that was happening. So, we get out of the car, we run over to the thing. And they say, “Oh, we’re so sorry. We oversold the show by 10 seats. We can give you your money back or you can come in and stand on the wall.” I look at her and I say, “Hey, what do you want to do?” And she said, “Let’s just go in.” So, we go in. The guy sort of walks us in, and the whole place is packed and I sort of peek around the corner and everybody– I’m popular in L.A. So, everybody sees me, oh, Preston, the whole thing. And I’m like handshaking and high-fiving and all that stuff.
And the show’s about to start. The dude says, “Hey, hey, hey, can you guys go back over here?” So, he stands us on the wall, up against the wall. And there are all these people, packed. He turns around, he takes a few steps, he stops dead in his tracks as if something hit him, as if a lightning bolt hit his consciousness, he just stops. And then, he turns around. He looks at me and he says, “You know what, come here, I’m going to add two more seats. This is a fire hazard, but I’m going to add two more seats to the front row. Come with me.” So, he puts the seats down. I sat in the far seat. My date sits next to me. I look at the stage, I look at my date, and next to her is Alexi.
And I, instantly, when I say instantly, I instantly knew she was my wife. It was like the entire world opened up. And she looked, we caught eyes and I said, “Alexi.” She was like, “Preston.” I was like, “Yeah,” I said, “I thought you live in London.” She said, “No, I live here now. I was just on a trip to London.” And my date’s in the middle, sort of going back and forth like this. And I’m like, “Wait, really?” She’s like, “Yeah.” And I’m like, “Cool.” And now, I start to get awkward. And I’m like, “Well, it’ll be nice for us to meet up some time.” And I’m like, just doing ridiculous stuff.
And so, the show, they blink the lights, the show goes on. The whole time, I can’t even think because all I’m thinking about is this is the person I’m going to wake up to, wake up next to when I’m 80. This is the person I am going to have children with, fast forward to three and one on the way, so four. This is the person I’m going to travel the world with, fast forward to us in Australia, Greece, Africa, everywhere. We’ve been everywhere together. This is the person that I’m going to argue with, I’m going to fight with, I’m going to cry with. This is a person that’s going to level me up. I just met her, Justin, and my entire world is flashing before me. I don’t even hear what’s happening. I missed the entire show because I’m just thinking about, and looking at her calf muscle and just thinking like, wow, that’s the calf muscle I’m going to rub in the middle of the night.
And so, the show ends, we get up, and super awkward, and I’m like, “Hey, would you like to have coffee in the next few days?” And she’s like, “Sure, yeah,” like, whatever. And so, we met up. And it was supposed to be 45 minutes and it turned into four hours. And yeah, the rest has been history, man. We’ve been together ever since.
Justin Donald: I love that story. Thank you for sharing that again. It’s just so beautiful. And you’re so rewarded for being in touch with your intuition and slowing down and listening. And it’s just so cool. So, wow. Hey, thank you for spending the time with us here today. I have just thoroughly enjoyed this session and just hanging as always, as I always do with you, Preston. I just would love to find out where we can learn more. Where can our audience learn more about you?
Preston Smiles: Absolutely, man, @PrestonSmiles on anything and everything. I have a new podcast coming out, The Preston Smiles Show and PrestonSmiles.com. And if you are an entrepreneur out there, an overachiever, and you want somebody to hold space for you to really help you unlock and unleash the greatest version of yourself, I am here for that all day every day. One of my greatest joys is to help people like myself really, really experience levels of abundance that they didn’t know were possible.
Justin Donald: That is awesome. Well, thank you very much. And to all of our listeners and those of you watching, I want to end as I always end, and that is to take some form of action. I challenge you, take one step towards financial freedom today and build the life that you desire by design on your terms. Take that one step, whatever that step is, as big or small as it may be, but take action today. And we’ll see you next week.
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