Today on the podcast Jim and Tyson sat down with Chip Franks. Chip is on a mission to help you love life even more. He’s an author, podcaster, and entrepreneur after being a husband to his wife, whom he has known for 26 years, 5 months, 2 weeks and 2 days, and his three kids, Mandy, Aly, and The Amazing Alec.
2:23 mortality moment
6:30 expanding capacity to love
7:05 when your mind is somewhere else
9:08 meditation practice
12:35 using a VA
14:43 practice gratitude
23:15 helping others
Jim’s Hack: Connect to music, it can help set the tone.
Chip’s Tip: Get more sleep, it helps with depression and to balance chemicals in your body. Set a bedtime alarm.
Tyson’s Tip: Streamyard’s feature to pre-record and then push it “live” later on.
Watch the interview here.
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Run your law firm the right way.
This is The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux.
Let’s partner up and maximize your firm.
Welcome to the show.
Jim: Welcome back to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I’m Jim Hacking.
Tyson: And I’m Tyson Mutrux. What’s up, Jimmy?
Jim: Tyson, it seems like it’s been quite some time since we recorded a podcast. We still, of course, haven’t missed in the last five years but it does seem like we haven’t done one of these in a while.
Tyson: I think it’s been two weeks because you were off for vacation. And then, I think, we took the week off before that, but we had so many in the can. Actually, I think it’s been three weeks since we’ve actually recorded which– it is weird. Like, we’ve talked a lot. But we’ve done other things inside the Guild but– I was thinking the same thing. It’s just a weird– we don’t– I mean, I’m not sure. We might have gone a month before because we had so many in the can but that may have been the longest. So, three weeks is quite a while for us to not record at all.
Jim: Well, I’m excited about our guest today. And it’s funny, you know, so many of our guests are lawyers or people in the legal community but this particular guest is someone that I just started following on social media. And we became friends on Facebook. And I thought he would bring an interesting approach and perspective to the kind of conversations that we have on our show. His name is Chip Franks.
Chip, welcome to the show.
Chip: Guys, thank you very much for having me. This is an honor.
Tyson: Chip. So, I watched one of your videos and you’re just so full of energy and it’s fantastic. But tell everybody about your journey and how you got to where you are right now.
Chip: Oh, goodness. It’s been a long one but my son is coming over to say hi real quick.
But, I guess, I started just out of college. I worked and owned my own– I became a realtor. And then, from there, at the required– actually, before the required two years, I opened my own real estate business and did that for many years. Had a lot of agents and a property management company that did really well. And along that time, I actually had a stroke back in–
Chip: –2017. And it was a fluke stroke. My neurologist said it shouldn’t have happened. It was actually due to a very bad flu that I had.
And that was kind of a mortality moment where you just kind of look at your life and you say, “Hey, you know, what am I doing here? And would I be happy with just selling X number of houses, or managing X number of properties, or making X amount of money?” And realized I just wasn’t really happy. So, I sold the business in two months, following the stroke. Successfully sold the business, which is great. And then, spent the next year writing a book for–
Alec: [inaudible 00:02:46].
Chip: –my children, actually. And– my son is here. Hey, Alec, you’re going to have to let me talk here, buddy.
Alec: [inaudible 00:02:52] daddy’s [inaudible 00:02:55] good job in [inaudible 00:02:57] podcast.
Chip: Yeah, thank you, sir.
He says I’m doing a good job in football practice. I don’t know what that meant but [laughter] after writing the book, and it’s a 700-page book, Life Lessons from Dad, I just realized I hadn’t told the kids everything that I wanted to tell them so I got it all out on paper. And then, I helped a mutual friend, an influencer, with his business, Hal Elrod and the Miracle Morning, did that.
And, now, I am actually starting a school, an Acton Academy for K through 12. And super excited about that. That’s something I really believe in. My daughter went there for two years. And now my son, who you just met, who is very exceptional, is going to be going there as well. We just hired two guides this week who are– literally, they met at NASA. They’re both engineers. And one of them is actually an aerospace engineer from NASA and also a navy seal which was pretty cool. And they’re working for our school. And we’re just getting ready for our September 7 opening day. So that’s where we are right now.
And then, along the way– and, Jim, I think this is probably what you heard me, I’ve done podcasts and I host the ChipChat Podcast which is conversations about leading a better life. And aside from that book, I’m writing another book on gratitude. And I’ve studied a lot of gratitude and joy, and how we get there and happiness, and how it works with our brains, and, I guess, most importantly, how we develop that. So, that’s where I am. Yes.
Jim: I love all of it.
So, Chip, you spend a lot of time talking about being a dad. And, obviously, you spent a lot of time compiling all your life lessons for your kids. I spent a year writing blog posts and this podcast too, I think, is really a message to my kids in the future. You know, they’re going to have five years and more of podcasts. And if one of my kids takes over the law firm, they’ll have a lot of good advice. But I think that one of the reasons our podcast has resonated with people is because we spend a lot of time on quality of life, and being a parent, and all those kinds of things. Talk to us about being a dad and about how that has impacted your life’s message and your life’s work.
Chip: Oh, goodness. Well, I love being a dad and everyone says that. I just remember when my first daughter was born. She’s now 21 and she’s finishing her senior year of college, in pre-med, and she’s about to go to med school. And I just remember when she was born and, of course, that whole cliche about it’s the first time your heart starts walking around outside of your own body. And I remember looking at other men and thinking, “Wow! Have they had this experience of being a dad?” And just looking into the face of their child and being completely helpless, and totally, and completely in love unconditionally. And it’s been a wonderful part of life.
I’m in a group, Front Row Dads. So, I try and get better at it. And it just really talks about a lot of things about, you know, of course, spending time with them, making it quality time, imparting lifeless lessons to them, going on trips with them. All of those types of things.
And you just met the amazing Alec. He is nine years old now and he has Down syndrome. And he was a pretty unique case. And I would say, of course, he completed our family. And he is a genius in his own way and being just happy and thrilled about life. And he’s brought so much joy to our life. And I don’t know quite how to explain this, but I would say that he has expanded all of our capacity to love and just have empathy for other people and realize that everyone is, you know, the cliche is that they’re fighting a hard battle that we know nothing about and just to be kind to everyone. And he’s a constant reminder of that, so.
Anyways, yeah, I could go on for a very long time about my children.
Tyson: Jim, I don’t know about you but Chip’s a far better human being than either of us are. He’s starting a damn school. It’s freakin’ amazing.
But I actually want to get some advice from you, Chip. One of the things I struggle with the most is my physical body will be at home but my mind will be at work. And I’m focusing on work– focus on work, but I want to focus on the kids. And they want my attention. I want to give my attention, but I can’t give my attention because my mind is somewhere else. Give me some advice on shutting that out. You know, I guess it’s hard to do.
You know, one of my mentors is Jim Rohn. You’ve probably heard him but one of his pieces of advice stuck with me and it’s, “Wherever you are, be there.” So, when you’re at work and you’re thinking of family or thinking of time off, obviously, you’re not as effective. And it’s the same way when you’re at home and your mind is elsewhere. So, a specific way to do that for me–
Chip: Hey, Alec.
Tyson: Hey, Alec.
Alec: [inaudible 00:07:47] daddy’s ChipChat podcast
Chip: Oh, the dad’s ChipChat podcast is what he’s talking about.
Chip: But specific advice to get presence. What I would do, for me, is to get grateful for where you are at. And a very specific way to do that, and it’s very easy, and it’s often overlooked, is just to create a quick gratitude list. And if you’re at home, if you’re with your children, think about the things that you appreciate about them. And when they speak, as is my son is speaking right next to me right now, listen to every word that they have and try and, of course, consider where they are coming from. And if you put yourself in their shoes, as much as you can, and make it more about them then I think that helps us be more present. So, that’s–
And as far as the gratitude list, wherever you are, if you’re at home and you appreciate something about your children, write it down and just let that sink in on your soul and think about it and consider it. And I think that that will help. It’ll help you get presence in the moment with them.
And, of course, I don’t know if you have a meditation practice either but that’s been something that’s been a big part of my life for the last, I guess, gosh, seven years now. That I’ve been meditating probably at least 25 minutes a day, usually 40 minutes a day. And I think that that gives me a good amount of just being present in the moment and keeping your mind where it is. And it kind of happens naturally. It’s not a forced type of thing to where it’s really difficult, so.
Jim: Chip, you’ve spent a lot of time with the Miracle Morning community. And one of us really, really likes the Miracle Morning and one of us has strong opinions about the Miracle Morning. We both recognize the importance of getting your day started the right way. And I’ve done that 5 AM Miracle Morning a lot. And, you know, I do like 10 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of stretching, 10 minutes of journaling, and then 10 minutes of reading something like motivational and that’s really made a big impact. Can you talk about that part of your life?
Chip: Yeah. You know what? And this is– and Tyson if you don’t like the Miracle Morning or doing that, that’s completely cool. I understand that. I would suggest trying it, however. You know, at least testing it. If we’re all marketers here, we understand the importance of AB testing and seeing how it works with us.
But, for me, that sets the tone for the whole day. And you know how the Richest Man in Babylon, they say, you know, pay yourself first. And it’s I think the same way with our time. And when we wake up in the morning, intentionally, and we spend that time with ourselves, and sharpening the saw, and just getting better and taking that moment. We choose to be proactive in our day versus reactive. And, for me, that’s putting on the oxygen mask of life and taking care of myself before I take care of other people. So, it’s been a wonderful thing for me. I’ve appreciated it and loved it.
And I noticed, if I miss it for a day, I notice. And if I miss it for two days, my family notices. And if I miss it for three days, everyone notices because I’m just a different human being. And I tend to react rather than respond when I don’t do it. So, that’s what I’d say.
And if you’d like to try it, great. But, if not, you know, that’s you. But I think that you, Tyson and anyone else listening to this, are important enough to take time for yourself every day.
Tyson: Listen. I’m going to set the record straight. I have nothing against the Miracle Morning. I think the book oversimplifies some things. I mean, I do things, a lot of things, that are really similar. I mean, I start my morning a very certain way. I start my day, whenever I get to the office, by sharpening the saw. I read 30 minutes of business, 30 minutes of law. I have my version of it but it’s not–
Chip: So, a partial Miracle Morning. You get good credit for that. [inaudible 00:11:49].
Tyson: Exactly. But I want to be more positive about this. So, I like the general idea of it. So, I’ll say that.
Chip: Well, that’s good.
Tyson: But ever since you mentioned the book– and Jim had sent the book over to me before the podcast. And like, can you give like a couple of tips that you have from the book? The Tips from Dad book.
Chip: Yeah. Well, I divided it up into body, mind, heart, and soul. So, there are a lot of tips in each of those but, you know, I’ll go with one that’s kind of soft and one that’s really tactical. And the tactical one, I would say, and I think y’all have done this, but I just gave it to a friend yesterday who’s a very high achiever and it shocked me that he doesn’t do this, but use virtual assistants. I mean, that’s one of my big things. And you can get started super, super easy by just going to fancyhands.com. And that was kind of my gateway drug to virtual assistants. I believe, I checked it yesterday and it’s $30 a month. They will do five tasks for you up to 20 minutes each. And you get really good at firing and forgetting when you do those tasks. And it’s really cool.
Like, yesterday, we just moved houses this month for the first time in 14 years so it’s a little hectic, but I had them cancel all of our services, arrange pickups for all of our things. And it took me a total of about five minutes and, you know, got several hours of work done. So that is one thing. And when you move on from there, you can get dedicated personal assistants. And I’ve used different companies for that that are really good. But that is one tip.
And I’d say the soft tip. And I’ve already mentioned this before but get into active appreciation about life. And you might have noticed this but, you know, as human beings who have, you know, done quite a bit and achieved a lot, we tend to always– we regress to just living life and not necessarily appreciating it.
And we live literally better than 99.9% of all human beings throughout history. I mean, people used to have to forage and run every day and didn’t have language when they started, didn’t have fire. And here we are sitting in air-conditioned homes that are mansions compared to what our ancestors did. And oftentimes we are unhappy, and we are dissatisfied, and we aren’t grateful for what we have. And I would suggest that that is because we don’t practice gratitude. And it is a practice. It’s actually something that you actually do versus just letting it come to you.
And I have a little matrix but there’s gratitude zero where you’re just basically indifferent and there’s gratitude 1.0 which is when you’re grateful for things that come to you which is what most people think gratitude is and gratitude seems really passive like, hey, someone brings you a meal you say, “thank you”. If there’s a beautiful sunrise or sunset you can say, you know, “Thank you, God, for this. This is amazing and beautiful.” But that is passive.
And the next one, gratitude. 2.0, is active appreciation. And I got that from Dan Sullivan and Jesse Elder, two of my friends. And that means that you are going out to greet and meet whatever it is that you’re grateful for. And that, to me, is so much– that is proactive versus reactive. And it’s us, actually, consciously controlling our thoughts versus being reactive with that. And that’s what we do with gratitude lists and just taking that time to be grateful every day to do that.
And then, I would say that there’s even a gratitude 3.0 and I’ve called that divine love or divine cherishing. I like divine love better. And that is to be so grateful for everything to include even the bad which is a stoic practice and the principle of amor fati which means love fate, love everything. You know, love the bad for how good it makes the good. You appreciate the mountaintop so much more if you’ve been in the deep valley. And if something is hurting us or stressing us, it makes us stronger. It makes us better when we deal with that and we adapt and we overcome. And we are living at a completely different level when we step into the gratitude 3.0 and divine cherishing and doing our best to love everything. So, that’s a lot for you there.
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Jim: You’re listening to The Maximum Lawyer podcast. Our guest today is Chip Franks. He’s a dad, a podcaster, and an author. We’re really glad to have him here.
And, Chip, one of the things that I’ve noticed on your social media sites and your website that you’ve mentioned having times of being down, and being in the valley, and being depressed. And, you know, we deal with lawyers and, you know, there are a lot of lawyers going through depression. Tyson and I both had a boss, a former boss, commit suicide. So, talk to us a little bit about that.
Chip: Thank you. I appreciate that.
And, actually, I did go through a depression. And, in fact, something y’all have probably found this. A lot of lawyers tend to be type A’s and they go out and they seize life. And they’re, you know, go, go, go and achievers. And I was part of Genius Network with Joe Polish for a while and very high-level achievers. And I’ve noticed that most entrepreneurs and most people who go after life like that tend to have a manic personality. And they have very low low’s and extremely high high’s, and they can go back and forth. And, I think, you know what I mean, this is– you know, I’m not a psychologist. But I think that’s part and parcel of the achieving side of us because, in some ways forms or fashions we’re achieving to cover up some deficit in our lives or something that we don’t feel great about.
And my big one came in 2016. And that was a long, low-grade, drawn out depression. And I was functional with it, but I had no lust for life. I wasn’t excited about anything. I was tired all the time. I remember going to bed way too early. And, when my wife would leave in the morning, I would just stay in bed for a while and like literally cry sometimes just because life, it just had no light for me. And I think that that happens with a lot of folks.
But in that particular case, I came across James Altucher’s book, Choose Yourself. And what was pretty interesting about that is I had done all the Tony Robbins seminars and read all the books. I’ve read, counted it up, well over a thousand books. And I’ve listened to 6000-plus hours of podcasts and have done that but a lot of it is descriptive or they tell you about certain ideas, and concepts, and things to take in your mind but very few of them are prescriptive which actually tell you what to do, and how to take action, and how to be tactical about it.
And James’ book turned me around because it gave me what is called the daily practice. And when I did that, it was actually doing something good for yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually every day. And the difference with that was the actual doing. Like, when I was depressed, I would get up and forced myself to go for a walk and I could physically check that off at the end of the day that I did something good physically for myself. For mentally, I would do idea lists. And I heard that one of your friends is an idea machine. And James Altucher talks about that. And if you do an idea list every day, coming up with at least 10 ideas around a certain subject, your brain gets– it works out just like the body does and it gets a lot more lucid and quick and you can think about a lot more things. So, when I would do that, I could check it off. And, of course, you get the dopamine rush and you feel good. You’re caring for yourself. So, there’s a chemical reaction that happens with the serotonin in your body and you just feel better. So, all of those things, doing that, got me out of that funk really, really rapidly. And from there–
It wasn’t all, you know, sunshine and roses after that because I did have a sharp depression immediately following my stroke. And my neurologist said I would, but I continued with those practices and knew that this too shall pass. And I said that mantra, literally, thousands of times and that was mid-2017.
And since then, I’ve been doing my gratitude practices, my appreciation. I do what I call the A-Okay a day which is an act of kindness a day for another human being. Hopefully, if I can do it anonymously, I try and do that so it’s just between, you know, me and God. And that just makes me feel great, of course. And then, the last part is just trying to live in alignment and doing something that matters and making an impact in the world. So, doing all of those, I think, can help with the depressions.
But, like I said earlier, I’m glad that I had that depression because my life never would’ve changed without it. And I think depression is actually a very natural thing that gets us to move. And pain is our human’s function of causing a difference in behavior. And that did it for me. And, again, like I mentioned earlier, you can’t fully appreciate the mountaintops unless you’ve been to the valley. And that’s colored everything in my life. And I’m glad it happened.
And I’ll leave one last thing. One of my friends, he says that “your gift is right next to your wound.” And I think that that serves so well in life and in most everything. And being in that spot and being depressed as I was, I mean, I still get emotional when I think about that. I love that I’ve been able to help lots of other people with that and get out of that. And I think that that’s what it’s all about when we talk about being a human being and why we’re here on Earth is to be able to help others.
Tyson: I love that message, Chip. I think that’s a really good spot to wrap it up. I was going to ask another question but let’s wrap it up because I think that’s a great way of doing it.
So, before I do, I want to remind everyone to join us in The Guild, go to maxlawguild.com. A lot of just great high-level conversations with people. Chip is not in the Guild but people like chip that are in the Guild, like Jay Ruane who is the idea generator. He just has a ton of ideas every single day. We get just rapid text from Jay all the time. He’s such a great person. And he’s got a great product coming out pretty soon, too. So, I’ll tease that for him. But, really, an idea generator. If you’re not ready for The Guild, go to Maximum Lawyer, the Facebook group, and join us there.
And remember the conference is coming up. Join us at maxlawcon.com.
Jimmy, what’s your hack of the week?
Jim: Well, I did just get back from vacation. And while on vacation, I listened to a lot of music, but it reminded me to connect to music and how much music can sort of help me set my tone. I have certain songs that either take me back in time to a particular spot or just get me pumped up. And it’s not all just rah-rah music. It’s different songs have different outcomes. I will listen to the same song all day long, like on repeat, and it helps me focus and it gets me going. I had it on shuffle, right before I came on, and Frank Sinatra’s My Way came on and I was just like so psyched. I was like, “Yes! This is the perfect entree into the podcast.” It got me pumped up. So, don’t underestimate or forget the value that music can bring.
Tyson: Yeah. I like using music to kind of pump me up. You know, I’ll use it. I’ve got my own little soundtrack for trials and stuff, so I kind of get myself pumped up, you know. Got my own little thing. I’d psyche myself up, go to the bathroom. So, I get it. I like the old music idea.
Chip. So, we always ask our guests to give us a tip or a hack of the week. Do you have a tip or a hack for us? I’m sure you do. You already have given us a ton. I can’t wait to go back and re-listen to this because I’m going to write a bunch of stuff down again, so.
Chip: Thank you. Yeah. Yeah, I have 700 pages of them but this one is very easy and will guarantee to change your life if you don’t do this. Literally, I’ll just say that it’s getting more sleep. And, of course, that helps with depression. It helps balance chemicals in our body. Yeah, it helps about everything.
I’ve actually found out that 66% of Americans don’t get enough sleep. And if you get six to seven hours versus seven to eight hours of sleep, you are literally twice as likely to have cancer in your life which is insane. So, I’ve read that.
And this little tip will make everything better. And that is set a bedtime alarm. And if you’re listening to this right now, just take out your phone and do it. And I’ve found that I used to always– it used to vary when I would go to sleep but now, when the alarm rings, and I have it, say, it’s Andrea Bocelli singing Time to Say Goodnight (Con Te Partiro). And as soon as that goes off, I know it’s time to start my bedtime routine with me and my son. And I get to bed on time. And I wake up full of energy the next day. And it makes a gigantic difference in life for just such a small, tiny trigger.
Tyson: That’s great. And Apple makes it a lot easier than they used to where like they’ve got the bed timer, or whatever it’s called, that reminds you to go to bed. That I’ve got that set on mine, too. Because it’s a really nice reminder, because you’re thinking like you’re, you know, playing with the kids or you’re doing some work, whatever it might be. And then, you get the reminder on your watch or your phone, “Oh, crap. I need to go to bed. It’s later than I thought it was.” So, I think it’s a great piece of advice. It’s very cool.
My tip is a little bit different than both of yours. Mine is a variation of a tip I’ve given before. Jim and I have both recommended StreamYard before, but StreamYard has a new feature where you can actually pre-record your video. And then, you can schedule it as if it’s, you know, “live.” So, we could record this today, if we wanted to, and we could then push it into the Facebook group later on. And it looks like it’s live. It’s got the live label and everything on it. So, it’s a really cool tool.
So, if you’re using StreamYard, just know that that’s a new feature. And, if you’ve never used it, just know that it’s a really good service and something that Jim and I use a lot The Guild where we’ll go live in the Guild and we can answer questions live and everything. But we also have the option now of actually pre-recording and pushing it live. So, really good stuff.
All right, Chip. Thank you so much for coming on. Been a lot of fun. Great way to start my day, by the way. So, this is really good. It’s great to talk to you.
Chip: Yeah. Well, thank you. I’m glad to be on here. And I appreciate the invites. And I hope it’s been helpful for some folks.
Jim: It was, for sure. Thanks, Chip.
Chip: Thank you.
Jim: Bye, guys.
Tyson: See you, guys. Thanks, Chip. See you, bud.
Thanks for listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
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