I loved everything I learned from Laird (including the crazy breathing workout we did).
But that was only half of the fun I had that day.
After interviewing Laird, I got to interview his equally amazing wife Gabrielle Reece.
Gabby is accomplished on so many levels, including being a world-class sand volleyball athlete, model, fitness trainer, author, wife, and mother.
In talking with Gabby I really had the sense that she has it all.
But she is the first to admit that it hasn’t been given to her. She has worked incredibly hard for everything she has.
We first talked about her volleyball career and how she paid her way through college by modeling.
And then we got into her best relationship advice (she and Laird have been married 20 years and have 3 daughters).
I LOVED what insight she had on the importance of empowering alpha males to stand in their power.
We also discussed her views on the importance of knowing your own worth despite what anyone else thinks.
I couldn’t be happier to bring you a second incredible interview coming from the same visit in Episode 215 with Gabrielle Reece.
Me too. Gabby is so grounded and I can tell she’s learned all of her life lessons from living them herself. I am even more inspired to take care of my health and follow my dreams after talking with her.
LEWIS HOWES: This is episode number 215 with Gabby Reece.
LEWIS HOWES: Welcome to the School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur. And each week, we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today, now let the class begin.
LEWIS HOWES: Welcome everyone to the podcast today, episode 215. Make sure to head back to the show notes at lewishowes.com/215. If this is your first time here, Thank you for joining. You’re in for a special treat because we have one of the greatest women’s beach volleyball players of all time, Gabby Reece here. And she’s also a successful model, actress, writer, and fitness expert. I’m very excited to dive into this conversation because last week, I had her husband, Laird Hamilton, on who shared some incredible insights. So much positive feedback from that episode so make sure to go check out that episode after you listen to this one. Do them back-to-back because they’re both extremely powerful in their own way.
And Gabby talks a lot about how she overcame so much adversity in her childhood growing up into the ranks of professional volleyball and transitioning, then talks about married life with a successful, what I like to call Alpha Male who’s a very manly man, what that takes to be in relationship to thrive and be an independent woman, have your own thing going on as well, but also be the woman that does it all—that has it all, who is it all. And that’s definitely the definition of Gabby Reece. She is it all, and is such a lovely person to be around. So I’m very excited for you guys to dive into this.
And before we do, I just want to give a quick mention about the book that’s coming out. That’s right, the School of Greatness book is coming. This October 27th, it’s going to be in your hands. All you got to do is go to greatnessbook.com and pre-order a copy or a hundred copies today. That’s right. Go to greatnessbook.com, check it out. I can’t wait for you to get it in your hands and start diving in. That’s right, I’m super pumped about this. But until then, you’ve got some amazing content right here. And make sure to go back to lewishowes.com/215 to watch the full video interview as well. Check out all of the information insights about where you can connect with Gabby online. And without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive in to this episode with the one and only, Gabby Reece.
LEWIS HOWES: Welcome everyone back to the School of Greatness podcast. We’ve got Gabby Reece. How’s it going?
GABBY REECE: Good. Thank you for having me.
LEWIS HOWES: Thank you for letting me come to your home. I’m very excited to be here.
GABBY REECE: Some people are happy to be here, some aren’t.
LEWIS HOWES: It’s like a magical land here. I was driving up through the hills and getting up here and the pool and the scene, and everything—that workout room. I was like, “This is an athlete’s dream to be here.”
GABBY REECE: Yeah. We’re fortunate that we’ve had the opportunity to create this environment and, I mean, if you talk to my kids though, it’s still like I’m telling them to brush their teeth here and take their laundry and put it in the hamper, so it’s still a house, too.
LEWIS HOWES: Right, right, right. Exactly. But it’s like a whole facility. It’s like a compound for greatness. It’s inspiring.
GABBY REECE: Well, we have moments maybe of greatness [inaudible] in and out. I think like everyone, we’re doing the best that we can.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, of course. Well, that’s all we can do is our best. Our publicist, our mutual friend, Amy, introduced us. I’m very grateful for that, And she said I’ve got to interview you for my podcast. And I didn’t really know who you were until she started talking about you [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: Because you’re young. You’re a lot younger.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. But then, she was like, “Well, she’s one of the top volleyball players in the world.” This and that. And I was like, “Woah.” “She’d been in the Olympics.” And it was kind of before all that came about in the Olympics and things, right?
GABBY REECE: When I was actually playing in a different discipline, I was playing four-on-four when the Olympics got rolled into two-on-two. And so, maybe it’s—I don’t want to say not a popular idea, but there was a part of me that was always really realistic about the platform of beach volleyball. And so—first of all, four-on-four [lended?] itself to my strengths. And so—
LEWIS HOWES: Why is that?
GABBY REECE: I’m a bigger player. And so you can be a little bit more specialized. Two-on-two, you have to be—
LEWIS HOWES: You have to be well-rounded in every—
GABBY REECE: Really diverse. And I had just come from college, and so there wasn’t a lot of time, if you will. And so I got drafted to play four-on-four and it just, it was sort of like hit the road running. And also, I was looking always at the other elements of my business. And I continued to pursue all of those things. Because it’s like you’re sort of calibrating two things. You’re calibrating being a great athlete, which I dedicated 90% of my time and my training, where about 10% of my income came from.
LEWIS HOWES: Right. Exactly. Those are your passion.
GABBY REECE: And it was a thing for me, right? It was a thing that made me feel good about myself and made me feel … not proud, but when you work hard, that feels really good.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah.
GABBY REECE: And it’s sort of like, “Well, let me see if I can continue to improve and to be on a team.” There’s no better feeling. Even Laird is an individual athlete, but he still has a guy that’s going to rescue him or tow him onto a wave and enjoy his ride, and there’s a connection there. And I think for me, volleyball—I talked about this a lot. Like Kerri Walsh, for her, I think volleyball is besides all those elements. It was like, “Okay, I’ll go to NCAA Finals and then I’ll go.” And I fell into it and I sort of thought, “Wow, this is a great environment for me. I have like, a family, and I have coaches that help me and that push me to work hard.” And even the fact that I think you respect yourself when you aren’t working hard and improving, I think it’s part of life. It’s like you doing this podcast. The notion of “how can I be better today than I was yesterday” in some way is really an essence of life. So volleyball was always those things for me, but I was also always looking at my other business.
LEWIS HOWES: What was your other business?
GABBY REECE: Well, when I started in college on a scholarship at Florida State, I was modelling. And that was to pay the bills.
LEWIS HOWES: Of course.
GABBY REECE: Right. I wasn’t like, “Oh, I want to be a model.” I never thought about that. Because the way I grew up, too, wasn’t like people were like, “Wow, you’re so great and you’re so pretty.” They were like, “You are giant.”
LEWIS HOWES: You’re tall. Because you were like 6’3” when you were 12 or something.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, like 15. 6’0 at 12.
LEWIS HOWES: Wow. [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: So what was good—yeah, well, boys, girls [inaudible] you finish strong [inaudible]. But I think for me, I just looked at it very practically. I didn’t come from a place where my family could afford. I was on my own. And so I looked at it as a job, you travelled the world, and you were paid very well for it. And so I sort of strategically said, “Okay, this is one job.” Then once I turned professional in volleyball, I—again, we weren’t really making very much money and prize money.
LEWIS HOWES: Like what’s the most of your making? Like $1,000 a tournament or—
GABBY REECE: No, no. You were doing better than that.
LEWIS HOWES: 10,000 a tournament, 20,000—
GABBY REECE: So if you’re a doubles player, maybe you could do 10 or if it’s international, 20, correct. And depending on how big the tournament was. For fours, though, you’re maybe [inaudible] like 33, 3,000 each athlete on a team of four, and all your expenses were paid.
LEWIS HOWES: 30,000 each athlete?
GABBY REECE: Three.
LEWIS HOWES: Three thousand.
GABBY REECE: 3,200, three thousand.
LEWIS HOWES: Each athlete. If you win—
GABBY REECE: Each team—if you win.
LEWIS HOWES: But if you lose, it’s like—
GABBY REECE: You probably got like 1,500 bucks. And the beautiful thing about fours is that [inaudible] paid for all the expenses.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s nice.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, because then you have athletes that weren’t going to be out of pocket to try to at least win. So it was a running joke with my accountant. She’d be like, “Oh, you didn’t lose any money this year playing volleyball.” I was the captain—if I took my team to dinner, paid the coach extra outside of the—you know, you had to pay for your own coach.
LEWIS HOWES: Everything.
GABBY REECE: So I would pay [inaudible] really great coach, Gary Sato, so he deserved obviously to be paid. Nike was really helpful with all of that. So I was always very conscious that hey, this is—I understood the limitations of what that sports platform provided, so that’s why I always—and I knew that I was fortunate to have these other platforms. I understood that it was a real opportunity for me. So I did television and a lot of writing very early, by the time I was 22. Because I was now a professional so I was allowed to. When I was doing NCAA, I played two years on scholarship, and then gave up my scholarship so I could model. It made more sense financially. Because I was always like, “It was against the rules.”
LEWIS HOWES: You couldn’t have a job?
GABBY REECE: Yeah. You can’t be having a paying job and then be on scholarship.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s crazy.
GABBY REECE: So I gave up my scholarship and continued to play for Florida State for my last two years.
LEWIS HOWES: So you still played, you just didn’t get [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: I was a walk-on.
LEWIS HOWES: Got you, wow. But you were the captain on the team or?
GABBY REECE: I mean, I was a starter, but it still—it was a joke between my coach and I that I was a walk-on.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s crazy.
GABBY REECE: But I just kind of did the math and though—and it was just better. So I’ve always sort of looked at it a little bit differently, too, because I think I’m also geared more for survival first, and so I understood, too, that also those opportunities have a very short window on them so we better take advantage when they’re there.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, three, four years—
GABBY REECE: If you’re fortunate, or you connect one to the next. So maybe you develop a skill set, if it’s TV or a [inaudible] but then it parlays into the next opportunity or what have you.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure. So what was it like growing up? You grew up in the Virgin Islands, is that right?
GABBY REECE: Yeah. Well, okay, I was born actually in California, but I didn’t really live here. Then my mom—and I’m not making this up, and it does sound like I am, but I’m not—she was training dolphins in Mexico City in a circus.
LEWIS HOWES: No way. You are making it up.
GABBY REECE: And I lived there. I was about two years old, two and a half, and I got whooping cough. So a childhood friend of hers and her husband, they took care of me. They took me to Long Island, New York for five years. From two and a half to seven, I lived with them. And when I was five during that time, my dad, who I wasn’t living with either, he passed away. And so then when I was seven, my mom had gotten remarried to a gentleman, my stepfather, who was from Puerto Rico, and we moved down there. And oddly, my father, my biological father was from Trinidad. So I have sort of roots to the islands. So then they didn’t want to live in Puerto Rico, hence moved to St. Thomas, lived there till I was 15.
LEWIS HOWES: 7 to 15.
GABBY REECE: And then I was getting a little—idle time is not great for a teenager. So my mom said, “You’re out of here.” My junior year, I moved to St. Pete, Florida. I got really involved with volleyball. I had dibble-dabbled a little bit before that, but really got involved, and also basketball, very seriously. I had a great coach. And then my senior year, I played both sports, and the joke was I had about I don’t know, 5 or 6 offers for volleyball and about 30 for basketball.
LEWIS HOWES: Really? You’re better in basketball?
GABBY REECE: Because I had a better coach, and I went to a BC camp at the time. I don’t even know if they exist anymore.
LEWIS HOWES: BC?
GABBY REECE: Blue-Chip Camps, so you’re invited. So I went to the southeast region. And that’s where I knew, too. I didn’t know if I was tough enough, really, to hang with all the division one girls at that camp. I was like, “Oh, yeah. Maybe I should have a net between me and [inaudible]” And I just love volleyball. I mean, I love basketball, too, but. So then I went to Florida State. I had the opportunity to model then, but it wasn’t a for sure thing. And going to school on a scholarship was—and I was 17, so I had a little bit of time. And then that following summers when I started working in New York.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s great. What was it like growing up when you’re, you know, on the islands 6 ft. whatever at a young age? How did that affect you or did it affect you? Did it give you more confidence or did it make you feel like an outsider?
GABBY REECE: Well, it’s interesting. I mean, there’s a couple of dynamics going on. I think I was—because I didn’t come from the most stable environment, I think my mind was first on other things, which was … when you’re navigating, not living with your parents, and then, you’re sort of also fending for yourself a little bit, that’s actually first order. And then, of course, I was very aware. I would go places, everyone stared at me because I was very unusual, you know. Now, kids are a lot taller.
LEWIS HOWES: Like they’re all [inaudible].
GABBY REECE: Yeah. But the good thing about the Caribbean was it’s a diverse place. So I think that within that, I think it was a big deal, but it wasn’t a big deal. And my mother is very tall. She’s very close to my height, she’s 6’2 ½. A very beautiful woman. So I also had somebody I was living with that—and she’s very athletic—that it didn’t seem to be really a problem. So it was never really a problem for me. I just realized it created reaction with other people.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. So you were confident in your own skin.
GABBY REECE: I wasn’t—no, I wasn’t walking around like a rooster. I just wasn’t tormented by it. I certainly was still trying to blend in.
LEWIS HOWES: You had insecurities but—
GABBY REECE: Be cool and that’s just the nature of being a female and going through puberty.
LEWIS HOWES: I mean, any teenager.
GABBY REECE: Correct. So I had the natural amount of that, with the height and the [inaudible] of, okay. I went to one school for a minute in 8th grade and they thought I was a substitute teacher. You know what I mean. Just things like that. But I think in the end, and I always believe this, that those rubs that you get in life are the things that if you can survive them, make you very strong. But I think what was really good for me was having to have a real sense of self, and that it was based on what I thought, not what others thought. Because then swing the door the other way when I’m 18 and I’m living in New York and being paid for an appearance, I didn’t buy into that either. Because I already had to find it for myself. So I wasn’t going, “Now, I’m really great.” Because you guys say I’m great. Just like five years prior, I wasn’t fully buying into I’m a “weirdo” or a “freak” because you guys think I’m that way. So I think that that was a really valuable lesson.
LEWIS HOWES: And how did you get that understanding your confidence on both spectrums? How did you have the awareness during that time?
GABBY REECE: I think because I didn’t come from the most stable situation. I think I was very focused on bigger ideas.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s interesting, you thinking that way at that age.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. I think that’s just how you’re born. I would love to say I was really, “Oh, I was so smart in all these things.” I don’t think that’s the case, I just think it’s my gearing. And I think maybe intuitively, I remember sort of being—I remember moving to Florida and then by my senior year, kind of going, “Very soon, this is going to be my life.” And so everything I do, I should do for myself. Instead of just being defiant because I was angry or upset about certain things, sort of going, “Okay, but what do I want my life to look like?” Instead of being aggravated about the way it wasn’t. “What do I want it to look like?” And I knew clearly very young that I thought there were certain things that my mother or even the couple that took care of me that are wonderful and an important part of my life, still, it seemed really hard to me. And I knew I wanted to make it easier. It didn’t mean I didn’t think I wasn’t going to have to work hard. I just intuitively knew. I could remember like being 13, going, “I think I’m going to try to make some of these easier.”
LEWIS HOWES: On your life and everything you’re going.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. I mean, we never had, we couldn’t afford it. We never had cars, really, that worked well. I remember being with radiators that were overheating thinking, “I don’t think I want to spend days of my life…”
LEWIS HOWES: Fixing the [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: Or putting water in radiator before—you know, you take all these things. It’s easy for me to say because again, this is a blessing. These are blessings, but I remember feeling that determined early, that young. Like certain things I want to make easy on myself.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure. How long did your professional volleyball career last for?
GABBY REECE: Intensely, for about 8 to 10 years. And then my one knee was really giving me a lot of problems. And also, randomly, at the same time, I got an opportunity. Somebody wanted to pay me to train for golf to see if I could just get my card. Not become a great golfer, but become good enough.
LEWIS HOWES: To get your pro-card?
GABBY REECE: Correct. And—
LEWIS HOWES: Were you a good golfer already?
GABBY REECE: No. I never played golf in my life, that was the whole thing. But I sort of thought there was a couple interesting things for me about it. Once, I thought while this could really prolong that environment of working hard toward something, and why not?. And also, volleyball, again, there was a limitation, and so I thought I’d try it. So after about three years, I had—yeah, three years. I birthed my first daughter. This was my second daughter, because Laird came with a four-month-old, who is my daughter. And so I just couldn’t juggle. So I started doing long-drive competitions. It was qualifying for those, for the world championships. Because I was like, “Okay, one club.” And by nature, I could hit a pre-long.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure.
GABBY REECE: You know, it’s just physics. But I couldn’t get it done. And I learned a very valuable lesson because I worked many, many years, many many hours at this, is that the reason I was a good volleyball player is because I fell into the game and I really enjoyed the game, and I became good at the game. Golf—
LEWIS HOWES: You loved it.
GABBY REECE: Correct. They put the goal, the endgame first.
LEWIS HOWES: Not the love, not the passion.
GABBY REECE: No. And I never got to discover because I was just on the mission for “I have to get that.” And I never had to discover the relationship with golf.
LEWIS HOWES: The joy of it.
GABBY REECE: No. And so, it was a really big mistake on my part. And that’s when she [inaudible] on the most difficult and maddening games.
LEWIS HOWES: So challenging.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. I think it would be virtually impossible in the men’s [inaudible], but there are stories of a few women that have started very late and gotten their cards. Are they the top 10? No, they’re not. Because I think you do need to start very young in order to sort of reach that level, but there are stories of women who started at 20 or 22, or what have you.
LEWIS HOWES: So you never got the card?
GABBY REECE: I didn’t. I started having children.
LEWIS HOWES: Even better.
GABBY REECE: Even better.
LEWIS HOWES: More joy there.
GABBY REECE: Yeah.
LEWIS HOWES: But you want some world championship [inaudible] driving, is that your [inaudible].
GABBY REECE: Well, no. I qualified for the world championships.
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible].
GABBY REECE: Yeah, it was good.
LEWIS HOWES: But you worked fully, 100% invested in the path—
GABBY REECE: It was just a different path. It was like an experiment. And they sort of said, “Hey, if you get the card, then it’s a success.” So everyday that I was doing it and I didn’t have my card, I wasn’t being successful.
LEWIS HOWES: Got you. But what was the end result for this? Was it just, was it like a TV show or something they were—
GABBY REECE: Actually, no, because golf is an interesting sport. It’s the only sport that [inaudible] is—it’s profitable. So they had a system of golf called “Gravity Golf” that they were teaching me on. And it’s actually quite interesting. So what they were trying to do is also have a validation towards Gravity Golf, and then that would be—that would’ve been part of their business.
LEWIS HOWES: Got you.
GABBY REECE: So it was all that. And then I actually did play in a few more tournaments. I played, actually pregnant with my 3rd daughter or 2nd daughter. That was brutal. I was like, five months pregnant. And that’s like coming out of retirement and you’re like, 37 years old. And I was fit, always fit.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure.
GABBY REECE: But it looked like I had a beer belly because they were trying—
LEWIS HOWES: You did have a beer belly.
GABBY REECE: They were trying to bring force back. And I was always very passionate force because I thought it would be the best feeder system to get into a great player six-on-six to the beach quickly. Very few players can transition quickly.
LEWIS HOWES: Quickly.
GABBY REECE: It’s hard.
LEWIS HOWES: It’s a year or two probably, to transition, right?
GABBY REECE: Yeah. And then another six to be good, and even have [inaudible] winning, unless you’re Kerri Walsh. If you didn’t grow up playing beach volleyball, she’s one of the only few athletes. Misty May grew up playing beach volleyball. There were few others that were good quick. Holly McPeak, they all grew up playing beach volleyball.
LEWIS HOWES: Otherwise you grow up playing on a court.
GABBY REECE: Correct. And so those athletes take a lot longer. And a lot of them can’t stick it out. So force is a great feeder system. So I was like, “Okay, I’ll come out everytime for that.” Plus I knew I could do it. And so I played there and I played one more mini season when I was 40. Because again, they were trying to resuscitate it. So I was like, “Fine. You can drag me out for one more.” Fine, you know. Force is a natural game for me. I like it.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, that’s cool.
GABBY REECE: It’s hard on my knees, but I like it
LEWIS HOWES: . Are your knees better now or you’re kind of—?
GABBY REECE: Oh, no, they’re not going to be better.
LEWIS HOWES: They’re not going to be better.
GABBY REECE: No. You know, I did all my 80 years of jumping in 25 years.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, exactly. But you’re doing other types of fitness and activities right now, right? Why is living a healthy lifestyle so important to you today?
GABBY REECE: Well, I think even competing in sports, what I learned was the joy of movement. Even the discomfort of training, I always say, “Most athletes kind of enjoy the grind on some level.” It’s not live it, love it, all of it. But they do. There’s something in it for them. Also, it’s very real. You have to remember, if I came from modelling or doing other forms of television or what have you, it’s a little bit pretend. And so I sort of always love the fact that you just can’t really fake it. You have to deliver, right?
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, yeah,
GABBY REECE: And I met Laird at 25. This has been my partner for many years. I think it’s just been a part of our lives.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, fitness and…
GABBY REECE: Yeah. And so I just think I also believe that it’s one of the most valuable things. You can take all those away, but if my kids are healthy and I’m healthy, that’s pretty valuable.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, it’s really valuable. Now, I’m curious. I want to go off-track a little bit. I’m curious to know for all the women listening…
GABBY REECE: Do you have women listening?
LEWIS HOWES: Oh, yeah, lots of women listening.
GABBY REECE: I’m just kidding, because they think you’re cute, that’s why.
LEWIS HOWES: No, because I have a great guest on.
GABBY REECE: Right, Amy?
LEWIS HOWES: But for all the women listening, and the men, really. What’s it take to be with a strong-driven man for a woman? What’s it take from you to have this thriving relationship? I mean, I’ve seen you guys together for a couple of hours now, and it just seems so positive and joyful. And it seems like you have a great language that you speak together, even when you’re not speaking. I’m curious, what does it take from you or any woman to experience being with a driven man who’s got crazy dreams, who’s going out there risking his life every other day, and who’s very macho in a good sense.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, he is.
LEWIS HOWES: But how does someone, how does a woman step up to the plate to handle that and not take that away from him, but embrace it and still give what she needs, speaking from your experience, I guess.
GABBY REECE: Well, first let me start by saying that Laird and I have been together almost 20 years, and we’ve had a few times that it was going to be touch-and-go if we would continue on, right? So, by no means, I went to settle down [inaudible] it’s just been—
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: All the time. You know, what happens, too, is when you enter into a relationship with somebody, unless you’re either older and more experienced or just wildly evolved—which neither one of us are—you learn the rhythm and the dance. So even for the first few years, you have chemical reaction getting you through it, and then you start stepping on each other’s toes and you go, “Oh.” And then you have to either go, “Are we going to try to learn a language or aren’t we?” So I think first there was that. We’ve had the good fortune of having a couple close like we’re not going to make it.
LEWIS HOWES: Early on or for the—
GABBY REECE: Very early. No. I can sort of say two incidences. Like when I was 30, so 15 years ago, and then we had sort of a bump in the road before our last daughter was born. I think these are opportunities where if you can kind of grit it out, you can get to the other side of it. So that’s first. Secondly—
LEWIS HOWES: So it hasn’t been perfect is what you’re saying?
GABBY REECE: Nothing is perfect.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure.
GABBY REECE: And definitely, relationships aren’t perfect. And cohabitation, I believe, is in some ways oddly unnatural. But there’s a couple of dynamics going on. One is Laird is very, very alpha. I wrote a book last year called My Foot’s Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to a Less than Perfect Life and in there, I discussed how at a certain age, maybe in my early 30s—because I am very actually masculine in my thinking.
LEWIS HOWES: Because you’re very driven, you’re very focused.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. And actually, Laird’s more emotional than I am, and I say that respectfully and as a compliment.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, I was really surprised actually when he [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: He’s very sensitive. If I was with myself, I would be bored to death. Like I’m very steady, same mood everyday, [inaudible] like this. But I think that—first of all, we’re balancing each other, right? And also what you learn is all the traits that you really love and respect and admire about that individual person is connected to other things that are challenging. And so you go, “Hey, I don’t want to throw those out because they’re connected to these.”
LEWIS HOWES: Exactly.
GABBY REECE: I said this in my book: “You got to have your top five.” What are your five things? Like some women might say, “Successful, handsome, funny.” Whatever. Whatever your five are, and then everything else, it’s kind of like, out the door. And I knew for me, I really didn’t want a very strong man because I feel like I’m a strong woman.
LEWIS HOWES: You need someone to be a strong [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: Yeah, because I wanted to be in my home kind of the female.
LEWIS HOWES: Yes.
GABBY REECE: Because out in the world, I sort of expressed myself really more in a male way.
LEWIS HOWES: Yes.
GABBY REECE: And so I love that about Laird. And there’s mutual respect, which is paramount, right? You have to respect the other person. But when you have an alpha male, I always say, “You can’t neuter them.” You can’t take their balls, or try. Laird, if I tried, he’d be like, “What are you doing?” We would be divorced. He’s not going to allow that. And the other thing is I don’t treat anyone—I’m not nicer to any person in the world than I am to Laird. I’m the nicest. And usually, when we’re in our house, we treat the people closest to us the worst, right? And for me, because also Laird has also said and not said, “This is my expectation.” But having said that, he is the same way. No, he does it differently than me. So that’s the other thing is you start to learn how does the other person give. You don’t say, “Well, I give like this so you give like that.” No, I give like this and then you give your unique way and I just need to learn to recognize it, right?
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. And appreciate it and not try to—like a game or make it like a counting game or something or—
GABBY REECE: You never keep score.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, of course.
GABBY REECE: It doesn’t work. But you hope that there is sort of a give and take. But I think, what women have to understand is—I just get rousted for this all the time because I use the word “submissive” in everything. But I sort of felt comfortable, and maybe I could have used a better word like “yielding” or what have you to another person. Like there’s nothing wrong with saying, “Oh, no. Go ahead.” Because if I don’t really want to, I don’t have to. And then you hope that your partner’s like, “Oh, no. Go ahead.” And so, first of all, we’ve had people go, “Wow, it must be hard. You two are very strong.” You leave it at the door. I don’t want to antagonize Laird, I’m not here to provoke Laird. I’m not here to agitate him. When I see people that live together and I can see them kind of actually trying to push each other’s buttons, I’m like, “Man, life is too short.” It’s already hard enough as it is. But also, some people, maybe, that’s their language. They kind of get off on that.
So being with an alpha male, you have to kind of let them be their strong male self. But the other side of that is they have to be tender. Like Laird is very good about this. “You look very pretty.” Men don’t realize that if they can focus even if it’s for a very short period of time on their woman and make her feel important and special and he’s attracted to her, he’s going to have so few problems with her. The problem is is that men aren’t reminded or were not clear about—this is important. So we’re always like, “We don’t spend time together and you’re golfing,” and all this. It’s because she feels unsure. But if he can make her “I feel so loved,” I’m not unsure. And the other thing I know about Laird is he’ll tell me what I need to know. I never will wonder, you know. If like, Lard’s on a trip to Europe and I don’t talk to him for three days, he’ll tell me.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. You’re not worried about it or—
GABBY REECE: Just let me know.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah.
GABBY REECE: I don’t want to be that kind of person. I’m not going to call you and be like, “Where were you?” I don’t care. It’s not my thing. You’ll let me know, we’ve got an understanding. If something’s going to go down or you want to be somewhere else someday, just let me know.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. [inaudible] check in constantly.
GABBY REECE: No. Laird is reminded he’s here because he wants to be here. And I think with women, it’s kind of—and it sounds ridiculous—but men are—it’s a chasing deal, right? So I think when a woman has her act together and she conducts herself a certain way and the male respects her, and she can be kind and nice, he’s probably not going to go too far. And I hate to say it, and I’ve talked about this a lot, you have to have sex.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah.
GABBY REECE: It’s just a very simple thing.
LEWIS HOWES: You don’t have to hate to say that if you’ve got to.
GABBY REECE: Well, no. I mean, people act like—I mean, I’ve done interviews that are like, “So, you said you should have sex on a regular basis.” Like it’s a big deal. And I’m like, “Okay, but let’s understand with men, their language of love is two things: food and sex.” Straight up. If I give Laird food and he has sex on a regular basis—
LEWIS HOWES: Happy.
GABBY REECE: Good to go.
LEWIS HOWES: Pretty much happy [inaudible].
GABBY REECE: And respect him. Don’t really get in his way. He’s incredible with our children, it’s all these things. But up also to the man to understand how to cherish, protect. But also, you can’t let us take over. Because as women, right, we want to control everything. And that isn’t always the best idea. If we run the house, pretty good idea. But if we’re all of a sudden telling you how to talk, walk, dress, think—
LEWIS HOWES: What to do, what not to do all the time—
GABBY REECE: You’re done. You will resent me—
LEWIS HOWES: Lose your identity and—
GABBY REECE: And you will not be the man that I want to be with.
LEWIS HOWES: Who you fell in love with in the first place. Yeah.
GABBY REECE: So Laird, in a very nice way and not nice at times—I understand. He said to me once, “I had a mother, and she died.” And I was like, “Roger.” So I think, and it’s this: no man’s going to save you. Laird’s not here to make me happy. He’s not going to make me happy. So that’s another thing, we read those books. Here comes the horse, you get on, and everything’s good. In essence, I actually believe if a couple’s together and it’s a pretty good woman, she will bring out the best in the male. But her happiness isn’t reliant upon him.
LEWIS HOWES: How does a woman in these days find her happiness with all that’s going on? What’s the best way for them to find inner happiness? Being with the man of their dreams or being without the man of their dreams?
GABBY REECE: Sure. Because there’s another thing I think is an important message. I don’t think, “Oh, you have to be married or you have to have children to be fulfilled and happy.” I would never sell that. I think everybody has an individual walk. I think it’s first, “Who am I? What am I good at? How do I want to express myself? What are my passions?” And I think it’s very important to take care of yourself. I think exercise and eating well is a great start. The other thing that happens to women is we go through the process of being in a family and having children, and then we get spit out of that, and we’ve lost our identity. And it makes sense. It takes a lot of time and effort. How do you put everyone else first simultaneously then not losing yourself?
LEWIS HOWES: How have you done it?
GABBY REECE: I’m selfish that way. You know, as much as I give to my family, I’m very clear that I will be the worst person to live with if I don’t stay defined as a human being.
LEWIS HOWES: Interesting.
GABBY REECE: Nevermind a woman, just a human. Just as Gabby. Because we have all of these labels, and so I make sure that my voice doesn’t get squashed and I have a partner who as long as—because no offense, men are babies, you know? And as long as Laird’s needs are getting met, he’s like, “Go. Kill it, honey. Knock yourself out.”
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
GABBY REECE: If he felt neglected, he’d be a nightmare.
LEWIS HOWES: He’d be a baby.
GABBY REECE: And so—I’ve said this a million times: It’s unfair. We have to do more and do more work as the women, and that’s just the way it is. Because we have to sort of like, “We don’t have to.” But if you’re going to be with an alpha male—
LEWIS HOWES: You get to if you want to be.
GABBY REECE: If you have a different dynamic which is completely possible, then it will be just different. And that’s okay, too. We’re just talking about this dynamic.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure. So what are you most passionate about these days? What excites you, what are you defining yourself with? What are you working on?
GABBY REECE: Well, I think—well, obviously, my family because when you peel it all away, when you look back on all of it, if you can’t focus on the most important things which is your relationships with your friends and your family, then you will have kind of—it will have passed you by.
LEWIS HOWES: Right.
GABBY REECE: So I think the one thing I’m always clear about is these are the good ol’ days. Because sometimes, I more so than Laird can be pressing ahead to a goal, and you can miss the point. It’s like the holidays. I just try to get through the holidays. You know and then—
LEWIS HOWES: While also enjoying them.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. Well, yeah, but they talk about Christmases is an event put up by women to be enjoyed by men and children, right? But I’m just saying, like I go, “Okay, January 2nd, because Barry’s birthday is January 1st.” And then, I go, “Just take it in because it’s happening right now.” So that’s first. Second of all, I mean—
LEWIS HOWES: That’s interesting.
GABBY REECE: You know, my businesses. I’ve been spreading a [inaudible] I created, we’re putting in all the 24-hour fitnesses across the country. And—
LEWIS HOWES: What’s the curriculum?
GABBY REECE: It’s called HIGHX. It’s a class that I created by accident, and I started doing—we move from [inaudible] to Kauai in the winters. And so—
LEWIS HOWES: I love Kauai. It’s my favourite island.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, [inaudible]
LEWIS HOWES: The islands is the most beautiful. It’s unreal.
GABBY REECE: It’s special. That’s where Laird grew up.
LEWIS HOWES: It’s amazing. In Kauai?
GABBY REECE: Oh yeah.
LEWIS HOWES: Are they [inaudible] Oahu now in the North Shore Oahu?
GABBY REECE: He was very little in Oahu—
LEWIS HOWES: Got you there, [inaudible] Kauai,
GABBY REECE: But he grew up in Kauai.
LEWIS HOWES: Kauai is amazing.
GABBY REECE: That’s why he has that look in his eye. Certain people, [you see?] from how they look in their eye.
LEWIS HOWES: Man, I lost myself for three days when I was there. It captivated me.
GABBY REECE: You know, listen. I always say about Kauai that are like, “If you have any unsettled business with yourself, that island is tough on you.” Because you go like this. Because we lived there in the mid ‘90s, and it wasn’t so pretty.
LEWIS HOWES: No, I bet not. Yeah.
GABBY REECE: I mean, for us, it was not pretty. Then we moved back about eight years ago. So about seven years ago when we moved from Maui to Kauai, they shut the gym there. So I had a few friends. I said, “Okay. You know what, I’ll rent out the community center three days a week. You guys can train with me, it’ll be fun. There’s like eight of us.” And then it was like—because it’s a small place, and nobody had a place to train—thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, eighty people. And so then we moved it to the warehouse. And so I charged everyone a dollar because I had insurance so that we had a contract. It was a dictatorship not a democracy, and it became like the ultimate classroom.
LEWIS HOWES: In Kauai.
GABBY REECE: In Kauai.
LEWIS HOWES: If [inaudible] come to, this is the place to be—
GABBY REECE: So after three years, I thought, “Oh, it’s completely scalable. I could teach anyone who knows how to do that.” After three years I thought, “It’s completely scalable. I can teach people how to do this.” So we created a curriculum, we got a [inaudible] points, like the whole thing. And the thing I love about it is my whole thing is about community.
LEWIS HOWES: It’s bout community.
GABBY REECE: Even though in some ways, I’m a very antisocial person. I’m an only child. I wouldn’t mind just being by myself. I’m always like, “Who are all these people in my house?” And they’re like my children and stuff.
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: No, no. Not the people downstairs, I can ignore. I mean like [inaudible] I’m like, “Oh, him. Oh, that’s my husband, my children.” I’m an only child. I’m like, “Who are these people?” My kids would have sleepovers and like, more people, you know. But there is a part of me that I understand. I think it comes from playing team sports. The power of community. And the team.
So HIGHX, you’re on a team, actually. You’re not working out alone. So you’re on a team of two or four or six, like on my big classes. And you follow another team. So what it creates is diversity. Men can be in a men group, sixty-year-old women can be in a badass sixty-year-old lady group because by the way, I got plenty sixty-year-old ladies [inaudible] more iron and heavier weights than my twenty-year-olds. And so it creates diversity. But your team kind of reflects who you are. But in the big room, it’s sort of a big hodgepodge of wildly conditioned and deconditioned and…
LEWIS HOWES: Right.
GABBY REECE: And everything has a regression or modification. And the workouts that I write are different each time. So when you come in—I’ve written over 1,200 workouts.
LEWIS HOWES: Oh my goodness.
GABBY REECE: Yeah. And so we did the curriculum, and now we’re doing it.
LEWIS HOWES: You choose your own team everytime or you just jump into teams?
GABBY REECE: I put everybody on teams.
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: What happens is like when you came and I said, “Are you with anyone that you want to work with?” If you say, “No,” I’ll put you on a team. And if you say, “Yeah,” then you’ll be on the team with your friend, of course. So it’s like you have to read people very quickly to understand what kind of team to put them on. We had to write all that psychology into the manuals.
LEWIS HOWES: For the teachers.
GABBY REECE: Correct. Because half of the success of the program is—
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: Yup. And it’s to create accountability. Let’s say it’s my first time and you’ve been here, and then someone puts me on your team, you actually help me. So there’s all these kinds of things where people are taking accountability, and it has resistance training, cardio, proprioception and balance, and a little bit of stretching. So the other notion of that is early in the ‘90s when I was writing for All Magazine or [inaudible] magazines—“I don’t have time,” “I don’t know what to do.” This is what I hear over and over for over twenty years. So HIGHX is a way. I think fitness is a really—I think there’s so many pieces to that puzzle. I think it’s meditation and stretching. For some people, it’s running. [inaudible] runners are runners. That’s what they do, they’re runners. And you don’t get in the way of that, right? So it’s not about like, “Oh, there’s one way.” But this is a modality that will help the very busy person, but you can go high or low. And it’s difficult.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. And it’s not the extreme crossfit where you got to kill yourself [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: You won’t get hurt.
LEWIS HOWES: You won’t get hurt.
GABBY REECE: But it’s—
LEWIS HOWES: As extreme, it sounds like.
GABBY REECE: No, no. It isn’t as extreme because crossfit—and I like their measuring system, I just think that they have certain moves that are challenging for a lot of people to do correctly.
LEWIS HOWES: Exactly.
GABBY REECE: And if you have long leverse for example, a different type of challenge, right? And you know what, listen: whatever works for people. But for me, HIGHX is a very safe way to get it done. But yes, it’s very challenging.
LEWIS HOWES: When does it roll out in 24-hour fitness?
GABBY REECE: It’s been rolling out. They started teaching the classes about a month or two months ago. I’ve been doing the training. I trained master trainers about a year ago, and then we’ve been going to different cities and regions and doing it.
LEWIS HOWES: Is that what you’re most excited about right now in your business side of things?
GABBY REECE: Yeah. I mean, the IPM, that, for me is like a cornerstone. It’s an interesting thing as a woman, okay? So here’s how I look at it: you have pillars. So you have movement, you have nutrition, you probably have like happiness or joy, and maybe stress management, sleep, you know, all these. But then on top is all the stuff that women want to talk about. Aging, sex, relationships, make up, skincare, right? So they actually—I just [inaudible] was that idea, the fitness thing. And I spoke, “There’s like 150 fitness bloggers. Not one asked me about fitness.”
So when I look at my business, I go, “Okay, we have to have the pillars.” Because you can’t get to all this if you’re not really taking care of the basics. But then I look at really, the business part is all the stuff up here. So that’s kind of where I’m at. Now, I’ve appeared to be more approachable because I have children. Even though I was approachable when I was an athlete, nobody ever asked me questions except other than my training and volleyball and “how do you manage modelling and volleyball?” Like sometimes people say, “I didn’t know you had thought about that.” I’d go, “Nobody ever asked me.”
So now that I’m a little older, that’s where I’m focused. I’m focused on how do we take the best care of ourselves and have those conversations. What is it? Was it relationships, is it my skin, is it recipes, how do you make it taste good and be quick and not want to kill yourself. And just kind of all those things. So that’s, really, if you ask me what I’m focusing on. HIGHX is almost like my volleyball. I show up, I’ve taught the class, I wrote the curriculum, I’ve done it. But really, it’s the anchor. It’s real. And then it’s the other stuff.
LEWIS HOWES: Gotcha. What’s the one question you’ve always wanted people to ask, but they never have?
GABBY REECE: I don’t know. I think the perception of me is like big, blonde girl from California where everything was smooth. And so for me, the questions—sometimes I connect with them and sometimes I don’t because the way I was raised and what I think about and what’s important to me is often so far away from some of the questions. But, listen—Laird and I talk about this a lot. When people are nice to you or recognize you or give you attention or what have you, just say “thank you.” Because the fact that we’ve both been able to do what we really love to do as a living is one of the greatest things you could ever do. And so what people pick up from you and what they need might be different than what you think you are. And you get over that.
In my 20s, I wanted to be taken very seriously. I’m serious. And people only talk to me about modelling. And I’m like, “No, but I’m a serious person.” And I’m like, “Great. You want to talk about hair colors? Let’s do it.” That’s also lightening up as a person and understanding, too. It isn’t actually about me, I’m just occupying a space right now. I occupied a different space in my 20s, then my 30s, and now I’m here. And someone else is filling that space in their 20s, right? So you realize it’s not you. It’s just you’re occupying a space, you’re representing something. What people need, they’ll get from it, and then you’re going to go into another space. But you can’t take yourself like, “It’s so serious, it’s so important, my opinion.” It’s like, no. You’re lucky that even any other person listens for a second. I think that’s kind of a good thing about time and age and all that.
LEWIS HOWES: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your sports days and applying it to the rest of your life?
GABBY REECE: Sure.
LEWIS HOWES: What do you think has really supported you, those lessons?
GABBY REECE: Well, it’s the formula, right? It’s the belief in yourself even when it’s scary and unknown. “It’s not going the way I wanted to, but I’ll keep believing and I’m going to keep working and I’m going to keep focusing. And also, I’m going to keep asking myself and making sure I’m doing it for the right reasons. And I’m going to deal with my fear and anxiety.” Right, sure, I have fear and anxiety all the time. That’s how I’m hard-wired to not be successful. Laird and I both walked around like our feet were on the fire, because that’s how I was geared. And it’s also getting out of my way. The other thing [inaudible] is like, let yourself win.
As a girl, being an athlete, it was always hard for me like, I want to win, but I don’t want to stick out. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. And then you go, that’s, again, another waste of time. So age and having children has made me understand some people are going to dig it, some people aren’t, and it’s okay. So to go for it, to keep your head down, believe in that formula of hard work. And then also to understand that everything has a timing. So even though my timing might be like, “Yeah, I need it now.” The timing of when it’s supposed to all come together might be different. And to believe in that process and have the faith, and when you don’t, have a person that you can talk to and go, “Yeah, I’m frustrated. I’m scared.” And both [inaudible] with the timeline. So you start going, “Well, maybe I’m going to run out of time. Maybe I’m going to get too old.” You have all the weird stuff.
LEWIS HOWES: And when you’re too young—
GABBY REECE: You never think you’re too young.
LEWIS HOWES: To achieve something in business. Maybe people will take you seriously. There’s different stages [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: I don’t know. I have to think about—yes, actually. You know what, you’re right. Because sometimes when I work with people—I was recently in Florida working with a guy who’s very young, but he was very smart. And he said though, “Being this young—“
LEWIS HOWES: “Who’s going to take me seriously?”
GABBY REECE: Right. So it’s all that, and it’s the understanding, too. I try to go, “What’s the lesson?” So that maybe I can get through it faster. Like when it’s going a certain way, go, “What is it that I’m supposed to be learning here so that maybe I can get on with it?” Because it’s sort of like if you look around or if you ever have a week where you go, “I’ve had conflict with this person and that person and this person.” So the common thing in all that is me. So what’s going on? And so, I think, personal accountability is big in sports. You [inaudible]. So I think all of those things, and discipline. You know, you just grind out.
LEWIS HOWES: What do you think are some strategies someone could increase their belief in themselves if they’ve been down or they’re constantly feeling with their failure in business, life, relationships. their health is out of integrity, what are some steps that people can increase their belief? Because, you know, as an athlete, that’s the thing you need the most.
GABBY REECE: Yeah.
LEWIS HOWES: Usually, the ones that believe in themselves the most are the ones that believe that God has given them the energy the most. Whatever it is, it’s the belief that those are the ones who win or get to the highest level.
GABBY REECE: Sure.
LEWIS HOWES: So how does someone increase that belief?
GABBY REECE: Well, I’ll give you an example. So my knee. I talk about my knee a lot. My knee is a big chink in my armour physically. And just when I start feeling sorry for myself and I go down that path, I stop for just a moment and I go, “You should just say thanks that that’s all you’re dealing with.” Right?
LEWIS HOWES: But it’s still there.
GABBY REECE: Right. And so I think sometimes, it’s a shift in thinking and perspective. However, hard to get to when you’re not feeling good and you’re not eating good food, right? Because you’re going on up and down. And so you’re eating sugar, so you’re going [makes sounds], now you’re tired. Hard to go, “Wow, I’m going to get great perspective and I’m exhausted because I was up doing gaming until 2 o’clock, and now I’m up at 6.” So I’m going to go back to the pillars. Because I think, I always say like, “Exercise was cheaper than therapy.” It’s a very straightforward thing.
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: Kind of. [inaudible] if it’s walk, right? And so, let’s say they can’t get it done on their own. Do you have a friend? Create an environment. I don’t pop out of bed everyday going, “I’m so excited to exercise.” No, I’ve created an infrastructure to be successful.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. Compound around you, a husband—
GABBY REECE: I teach a class that I better show up in.
LEWIS HOWES: You have to, yes.
GABBY REECE: Right. So this is the thing. Is how do you create infrastructure around you to be successful? Know your weaknesses. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t buy it at the grocery store and have it in the house, right? Say, “Okay, that’s it. I’ll go out to get [inaudible].” So I always say, “On the nutrition side, take out your worst thing.” So if you’re a smoker, would I say to you, “Stop smoking?” No, I’d say, “Could you smoke less? Just today, could you smoke less?” If you eat Twinkies, “Could you take that out of your diet?” And just substitute like the three sodas— “Could you have one and drink water?” It’s finding ways, baby steps to kind of deal with the pillars. I got to move consistently and eat. Eat well to support my belief system. Because I can’t get there through here and through here if I fail miserable. I just think it’s very difficult. So I think that that’s one thing.
I think having the understanding that everything sort of has this process, and so nothing happens easy. I have not had one thing in my career, in my relationships, parenting or otherwise, just happen easily. Now, they happen, and they’re pretty good. They never happened easily, right? So it’s going into things when you’re integrating your belief system, know that it’s going to be a little bit of work. Doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up. That’s the other side, though. When it can be easy, allow it to be easy. And who you surround yourself with. Your belief system is still the reflection of the people around you.
So I’m going to give you another example. Laird will have people around him if they’re his same age or younger and then will go, “Oh, well, yeah, because now I’m 48 and I don’t do that.” They got to go. They’re in the way, they got to go. Because for Laird and his belief system and what he’s trying to accomplish, he can’t be around those kind of people. So if you are trying to create a situation where you feel good about yourself, you’ll have to have people around you that their messaging is similar.
LEWIS HOWES: Kind of nagging you or talking—
GABBY REECE: Or like, “Why do you think you can do that?” or, “That’s going to be really hard.” They could say, “It’s completely doable. What’s your plan of action? It’s going to be tough but you can do it.” You cannot have people go like, “Why do you think you can do that?” I mean—
LEWIS HOWES: Questioning you.
GABBY REECE: Correct. They got to go. So I think it’s all these things and seeing these, but then understanding that—and I’m not a particularly religious person, but there’s a verse in the Bible that says like, “God knows each hair on each of our heads,” right? It’s that understanding each of us is special and has a special voice and a special mission, that we just have to believe in that and understand what that is, but be honest with ourselves. Not, “Hey, I’m going to do X to make this dollar.” Or if you are, be honest about that.
LEWIS HOWES: Right.
GABBY REECE: Cool. Or, “Hey, I’m going to do X so I can get this attention.” It’s just about understanding why you’re doing things. And sometimes, like for example, I do photoshoots that I know why I’m doing it. It’s to get attention. And certain jobs, it’s to get money.
LEWIS HOWES: To make money. Right.
GABBY REECE: Right. But be clear and be honest because if you’re not, then don’t—you’ll lose control and you don’t really know why you’re doing things and then you’ll lose yourself. You got to be straight up. So I think it’s that, too. But creating a really good environment. And when you feel scared and you doubt, know that that’s part of being a human. And having a safe place—
LEWIS HOWES: Don’t beat yourself up, right?
GABBY REECE: No, have a safe place. It’s like people are trying to eat better and they blow it one day. Get over it, it’s okay. Tomorrow’s another day. That’s the great thing.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah.
GABBY REECE: It’s like we don’t need to wait till New Year’s to start over. You can start tomorrow. You can start over.
LEWIS HOWES: Everyday is a New Year. Yeah, I love the approach. What do you think you were put on this earth to do?
GABBY REECE: Oh, my goodness. Let’s say that I can be one small representation in that rainbow of things out there representing, is it women or is it—that’s like, at least some alternative. Because everybody is representing different things. And if I could represent the idea of “let’s try to take care of ourselves,” “let’s see if we can arrive at forms of happiness,” “let’s see if we can accept where we are in our life,” Let’s not be afraid of what’s uncomfortable and messy about life. That’s the other thing, too. I’m actually not interested in perfection. I don’t find it interesting. I like when people are like, “This is how it is.”
LEWIS HOWES: Real.
GABBY REECE: I love that.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. That’s who you are. You’re real.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, because for me, I don’t know what else there is. And also, I don’t want to pretend. Because then, it sort of feels time wasted. Like that was just pretend. So for me, I just.. I think that, and also I want to be someone who you would hope—like if you’re victorious, then I’ll celebrate your victories. If somebody very similar to me is killing it, I want to be able to celebrate their victories.
LEWIS HOWES: Not be jealous or [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: Correct. So it’s also—
LEWIS HOWES: How do you get to that place?
GABBY REECE: Because it’s sort of like what’s the alternative? It’s just bad behaviour. There is a Greek proverb. Sorry, that’s—the blacksmith hates the blacksmith. Of course, it’s natural. It’s like they’re similar and threatened. But imagine, playing volleyball with a bunch of big badass women—certainly faster, bigger, stronger, you learn quick to go, “Great,” thank your parents and your coach. And modelling. Girls who were certainly more beautiful or whatever your perception of what was or better body or better teeth, or something better, you better learn how to go, “Good for you.”
LEWIS HOWES: Congrats, yeah.
GABBY REECE: And then go, “Who am I? What am I good at? What am I doing? What’s my voice?” and keep moving forward. Because also when you’re looking around, you’re not moving forward. So I would like to represent that for, I guess females obviously first, because I am a female. And again, to encourage people like, how does it work for you? You don’t have to do it my way. My way is my way, but how, ask yourself those questions and kind of create your own manual.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure. I like that. What would you say is your biggest superpower, if you had one superpower?
GABBY REECE: I could read people very well. Quickly. I developed that very young as a kid because I needed it to survive. I can get it off people very quickly, and what’s become interesting is once I started getting a public job in my early 20s, people were paying attention to me, and they didn’t realize I was paying attention to them. Because they thought I was only paying attention to myself. And so they let their guard down.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure.
GABBY REECE: But I think, and I can’t believe I’m saying it—and this is to remind anyone: your curse is your power, right, is your gift. Is my size has been one of the best things for me on so many levels. I played volleyball because of it.
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: Even how I can move through this world, it’s natural protection. People treat me differently. And women, for example, they don’t look at me as a threat or competitive because they actually deal with me more like I’m a guy, and so I can relate to women in kind of a different, better way. But yeah, I think I can read, I can get a sense of people. That’s why I’m even doing HIGHX, I can see a person, I know what group to put them in. I can just tell.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s great. That’s awesome.
GABBY REECE: Yeah, well, I don’t know if it’s awesome. It can be helpful.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, of course. That’s great. What are your three favourite books right now? If you were to pass on three books to people.
GABBY REECE: Okay. Well, I’ve read the book—oh my gosh, I can’t believe it. It’s on my iPad. Shawn Achor, the one about happiness.
LEWIS HOWES: Is it called Finding Happiness or something like that or—
GABBY REECE: Yeah, yeah. I recently read it and what I liked—
LEWIS HOWES: That was great.
GABBY REECE: What I liked about it was the science. Like you could do three things to somebody who has no means, let’s say. If everyday, you thought of three things that you appreciated. I had a great meal, a great walk with a friend, and a great phone call. What you’re doing is those neuroreceptors begin to ask for that information versus “and there was traffic” and this and that. Then your neuroreceptors start asking for that information. So I love that idea. I did read, and I’m sure Laird said it, I did read Natural Born Heroes as well, and I enjoyed it. And then I always said as a kid, I read Atlas Shrugged. And it sort of, without getting heavy-handed, it sort of reminded me that it’s not always as it appears. The only truth who knows the truth that’s right immediately around you, so do the best you can with that. Instead of everything else that surround us, I’m not in control of that. I am in control how I speak to you and the truth that I’m living. And beyond that, it’s kind of a [inaudible].
LEWIS HOWES: Asked Laird this, and I’ve been asking a lot of my guests this: if it’s the last day and you get to write down three truths—and it sounds like you’re already speaking about it so I’m leading with this—you get to leave behind three truths, and everything else you ever created, no one got to witness anymore.
GABBY REECE: Okay.
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible] three things you know to be true from your experience, what would those three truths be?
GABBY REECE: Okay. Well, one is that being truthful is always the best idea. It’s very simple.
LEWIS HOWES: Even when it hurts?
GABBY REECE: You’re going to get there anyway, and it’s going to be ten times worse. Laird is the most truthful person I know. We joke because our daughters want us—second and third—the middle one is like him, and the youngest is like me. And she would have an easier time certainly being dishonest, the younger one. Way more like me. And my middle is like, “Here it is.” Laird couldn’t lie if he really had to. He just can’t. As a woman, I would say, leave this especially to women—men do this very well. Don’t take anything personal. You know, it’s not personal. And we take everything personal. And I have really learned—and Laird has taught me this: living with someone like him, I really learned that it’s not about me. Your bad mood or how you reacted or the way you directed me that it’s over there on the left, it’s not about anything. It’s not personal.
And I’ve said this before, but I think the notion of not being afraid to let someone else go ahead of you and to feel enough personal strength to let people—because in our culture now, it’s like, “I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I don’t want anyone to get a leg up on me.” But allowing someone else to get there first is really—as long as you know what you’re doing and you’re working hard and you’re on your path, is not a weakness. And really, I think it creates flow. And I would do a fourth, which is to say “yes.”
LEWIS HOWES: Say “yes.”
GABBY REECE: Yes. Because “yes,” even if you don’t end up at “yes,” yes can bring you down the path of discovery, and even if it’s to go to the next. But when you say “no,” you don’t even begin the journey. And so I think saying “yes” to positive things.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure. That’s great, okay. I have got one final question.
GABBY REECE: Okay.
LEWIS HOWES: But where should we direct people to, where should they go find more about you? What’s the main site, social media, the main thing that you’re excited about online?
GABBY REECE: Oh, yeah, online. Can we do that universal truth? Turn off your electronics, [inaudible] oh my God.
LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible]
GABBY REECE: Pick up the phone. My Twitter is @gabbyreece, and I have a website. Gabbyreece.com or Gabriella—they could both get directed there. And then, I mean, HIGHX is really kind of fun and exciting.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s cool. Okay. Actually, I have two questions.
GABBY REECE: Okay.
LEWIS HOWES: First is, what are you most grateful for recently?
GABBY REECE: I’m just grateful that my family is healthy. There won’t be anything that ever goes above that, and when I think I’m going crazy and I want to choke their necks, the little ones especially, or they—it’s something. I just go, “Get out. They’re healthy.” Because if you ever talk to any parents who ever has to deal with anything large or small about their children’s health, there’s nothing to talk about. Nothing. So I’m grateful that we’re healthy and that they’re healthy. And that’s the thing, that’s why I’m such an advocate for the space because I don’t want to have to lose my health to appreciate it. And I want to encourage other people. Take care of yourself because the minute you aren’t feeling well or you get touched by something that’s a misfortune, that’s all you care about.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s it.
GABBY REECE: That’s it.
LEWIS HOWES: Well, before I ask the last question, Gabby, I want to acknowledge you. I acknowledge all my guests at the end for what opens up for me from our experience, so I want to acknowledge you for your commitment to serving women and by being the example because you’re so committed and grounded at the same time. And loving. And there’s not many women—I should take that back. There are a lot of women out there who are doing great things, but I think it’s challenging for a lot of women sometimes to have their own identity, have a great family, have the career they want, the health, and the sanity at the same time. And I really see from being here that you have it all, and it’s really inspiring for me to witness it and be around your energy, and I just really acknowledge you and appreciate you for doing that for everyone, so.
GABBY REECE: Thank you.
LEWIS HOWES: You’re welcome. The final question is what’s your definition of greatness?
GABBY REECE: That if you can get your external life to reflect who you truly are, I think from the inside, then there’s a harmony that maybe is part of why we’re here. So greatness—maybe one of the greatest people I ever met was an elevator operator. It’s not about money or notoriety or some level of achievement. It’s “are you true to yourself and does your outer life reflect who you are and your essence on the inside?” Because that takes a level of courage and commitment, and also I think anytime any of us can do that, it’s sort of one of the greatest opportunities. Now I think your next movement should be? You want to hear what it is?
LEWIS HOWES: Sure.
GABBY REECE: So I can’t believe I don’t have sons, because I would have totally done this. I think you need to start being an advocate for men and young men, because for me, part of being a successful women if I choose to be in a relationship with a man is having a group of men that are available to have that dance with.
LEWIS HOWES: Of course.
GABBY REECE: And I think we have young men that—they’re not getting mentored, that are not being taught to be in the good sense of the term, the honourable sense of the terms, men, they’ve gotten shuffled around and confused. And I think that that’s going to be something that’s really, really important in the upcoming years. Because you know, Title IX is a genius thing, 1970. But in that, we’ve been such advocates for women, we’ve forgotten our men. And so, I want to be an advocate for women, but I would like to be an advocate for humans first, of all kinds, whatever. Because what’s happening is now I kind of want it the other way, and I think that it’s going to be culturally pretty tricky.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. Well, I appreciate it. Thank you for the answer.
GABBY REECE: So let’s go, get on [inaudible]
LEWIS HOWES: Let’s do it. [inaudible] I see Laird doing that right now, he’s bringing this group of men together. But this whole [inaudible] thing is really [inaudible] and centering us. I mean, from my experience today, I was like, “Wow. It’s really connected me to my truth.”
GABBY REECE: And Amy and I were talking about this. The really wonderful noble traits of men are not celebrated, you know? Honesty and directedness, helpfulness, protectiveness. There’s so many traits that we just, “okay.” But if men poked their head up, then we go, “Oh, well he—we can bash men, not women.” That kind of thing, and I think it’s really important for them to get their voice back a little bit.
LEWIS HOWES: Well, I’m going to work on that. Gabby, thank you so much. I appreciate [inaudible].
GABBY REECE: Yeah, thank you.
LEWIS HOWES: There you have it, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Again, please share this with your friends over at lewishowes.com/215. All the show notes there, more links, ways to connect with Gabby, more information about her and all that she’s up to. Make sure to support her. Such an incredible human being, and I’m loving everything that I’m seeing that she does online and all the things that she supports, so make sure to check her out, give her some love, tweet at her, let her know you listened to this episode, let her know what you enjoyed most about this interview as well over on Twitter, over on Instagram, all those good places. Again, lewishowes.com/215. Share this with your friends.
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And you guys know what time it is, it’s time to go out there and do something great.