What does it mean to be authentic?
We may be projecting something on the outside that doesn’t match our inside.
Here’s the truth- all the work in the world doesn’t matter if you aren’t working on yourself.
Mental health, relationships, and physical health need to be a focus.
Business will grow, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter unless you’re working on you.
Once you face your past, your path will become clear. You’ll be more grounded. And you’ll be a more effective leader who doesn’t just have employees but has a High-Performance Team.
That’s why I’m so grateful to have an incredible human and entrepreneur on this episode of The School of Greatness: Bedros Keuilian.
Bedros Keuilian is founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, one of the nation’s fastest-growing franchises.
Bedros is also an investor in over a dozen companies ranging from subscription software platforms, digital ad agencies as well as mastermind and coaching services. He’s a best-selling author who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs scale their businesses.
In this episode, Bedros shares that he used to be so focused on business that he had become someone he no longer recognized.
It took years of self-work to get back on track.
It’s amazing to see the shifts that Bedros has made in his life.
So get ready to learn how Bedros refocused his energy and “manned up” on Episode 694.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 694, How To Kick Ass In Business And Life, with Bedros Keuilian.
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.
Steve Jobs said that, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.”
And I would even go on and say that they were done by a great team of people, and that it’s the people you surround yourself with, it’s the energy they possess, it’s the resourcefulness that they bring to the table, which either moves forward a vision, or holds it back, and makes you drag people forward.
Today we’ve got a powerful episode with my good friend, Bedros Keuilian, who is the founder and CEO of the Fit Body Bootcamp, one of the nation’s fastest growing franchises. He’s also the host of the podcast, Empire.
Bedros is one of the fitness industry’s most trusted consultants. His fitness business products and coaching has helped personal trainers, gym owners and boot camp owners around the world make more money, attract more clients, and get a bigger impact on their clients.
And he’s actually someone who has coached and mentored me with my mastermind. I thought about developing this mastermind a few years back, because so many people were looking to hire me for one-on-one coaching.
And, as I was charging five, ten, fifteen thousand dollars an hour for coaching, I realised that I was missing an opportunity to serve more people at a higher level, maximise my time, and ultimately earn more for my time as well.
And he helped coach me in launching greatnessmastermind.com, which is for seven figure earners, looking to make a bigger impact in the world, with their message. You can check it out at greatnessmastermind.com to learn more.
In this episode we break down about his new book, ‘Man Up’, and talk about the difference between mission and vision. Also, his powerful story of being molested when he was young and how he was able to actually overcome it.
And when he finally did start talking about it, and going through therapy, how it transformed his life forever. We dive in about that. Also, how to build an all-star team with a want-to attitude, and so much more.
This is a powerful episode! Make sure to share with your friends, lewishowes.com/694.
A big thank you to our sponsor, designcrowd.com/greatness. Now, you guy have heard me talk about them before, and you’ve heard me talk about the power of design. It’s one of the key elements of building your personal brand and you company brand.
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And I’m so excited about this one! So, without further ado, let me introduce to you, the one and only Bedros Keuilian.
Welcome, everyone, back to The School of Greatness Podcast! We’ve got Bedros in the house! My man! Good to see you!
Bedros Keuilian: Thank you for having me, Lewis.
Lewis Howes: The man who has helped me with so many things in my life, I appreciate your being here. The last time you were on we were talking about the power of masterminds, and that blew up for people. It opened up so many people’s eyes on how they could really scale their business around the expertise, as opposed to doing one-on-one coaching. They could do the same coaching to many, charge more, add more benefits.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, greater value.
Lewis Howes: Greater value. You helped me launch my mastermind, The Greatness Mastermind, which has been a game changer for, not only me, but everyone in it. Everyone I see at the Mastermind is constantly blowing up. You’ve seen a lot of these people that blow up.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, such great people, too. I’ve had the good fortune to speak at one of them and you attract the most amazing impact-driven people, man!
Lewis Howes: Good people. Well, when you speak into purpose on your vision and your mission, you attract people with similar vision or mission. But we’re here talking about how you’ve built business in general. You’ve got one of the biggest and fastest growing franchises in the world, is that right?
Bedros Keuilian: Yes, yes, currently.
Lewis Howes: Fit Body Boot Camp, currently. It might be even bigger soon.
Bedros Keuilian: Fit Body Boot Camp, yeah.
Lewis Howes: You’ve been a very successful entrepreneur in the fitness entrepreneurship space for over a decade, doing a lot of different things. Your own masterminds, to franchises, to personal coaching and training in the very beginning, and things like that, and you’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs, through your live events and your masterminds, to scale and grow their businesses.
Typically, in the entrepreneur/health and wellness space, it’s kind of the main niche, I would say, that you teach.
Bedros Keuilian: Correct, yeah. Very accurate, yeah.
Lewis Howes: You teach a lot of business people, but you have a book out which you called, ‘Man Up’, which make sure you guys pick it up right now, ‘Man Up’. And this is principles on business and life, on how to cut the BS and kick ass in those areas.
So we’ve got to address the elephant in the room first.
Bedros Keuilian: The title.
Lewis Howes: The title, ‘Man Up’, because some people may say, “Well, that’s against what we should be saying right now, because that’s what puts people’s masks on.” Right? That’s what puts the masks on and allows people to disconnect.
So, why ‘Man Up’ as a title? And what are your thoughts?
Bedros Keuilian: Very, very good question. And, being a fan of your book, The Mask of Masculinity, and having read that and realising, actually, all the masks that I had on.
Lewis Howes: Me too!
Bedros Keuilian: Which was probably a whole lot of podcasts, yeah, and you and I kind of have a similar journey there. But ‘Man Up’ really was started off as a mantra to myself. Any time I was afraid and reluctant to do something, I’d be, like, “Hey, Bedros Keuilian, it’s time to man up!”
But truly, where ‘man up’ comes from is, ‘human up’, huMAN up, right? And here’s where this logic, to me, made sense: Because, I was a hypocrite, I was a hypocrite, and I needed to constantly tell myself to man up, to human up to my fullest potential.
Lewis Howes: How were you a hypocrite?
Bedros Keuilian: I was running the fitness industry, I was the guy who people turn to, who has gyms and bootcamps, and I created one of the world’s biggest fitness franchises, right? And masterminds, yet, as I was telling you outside, when I was making videos to promote my mastermind as a franchise, it was from the neck up, because, from all the stress, I had gained so much fat.
Right, so I was a hypocrite. I’m the leader in the fitness industry where entrepreneurs are concerned, but yet, I’m 38lb overweight. I was taking Niquil and Vicodin to go to sleep in 2012/2013, to fall asleep, and then I would take Adderall and PreWorkout to kill the fuzzy-headedness in the morning.
Lewis Howes: Phew!
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah. Because I was a hypocrite leader. I was an ineffective leader. And I remember thinking to myself, “Man, this is strange. You’ve got a car that’s dirty.” I’m being very honest with you, right? This is a CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, who had Taco Bell and MacDonalds wrappers and Starbucks empty cups in the back of my car in 2011, 2012, 2013. I was over-fat, overweight, unhealthy, had a very adversarial relationship with my wife, to be very frank with you.
And I realised, “Wait a minute, as humans, aren’t we the top of the food chain? I think we are. As humans we are top of the food chain,” and yet I was living well below my potential in so many categories. In love, in impact, in money, in self-growth, self-discipline, health.
And so I was, like, “Man, it’s time to human up! It’s time to man up!” And so, every time I would need to pull the trigger on something and there was resistance and reluctance, those five words, “It’s time to man up!”
And then I would do it. And so, to me, human up, it’s not gender specific. It’s not about, “Okay, let’s go get a spear and drive it through someone’s heart.” It’s just, “Let’s human up.”
Lewis Howes: Let’s grow.
Bedros Keuilian: Let’s grow, let’s stop making excuses, take control of your situation and rise to your potential.
Lewis Howes: What was the thing holding you back from humaning up, or growing, or being less of a hypocrite?
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, good question. Leadership. I realised that, as my business grew, I didn’t know how to communicate well, and lead my team well. In other words, when you’re a one-man or a one-woman show, you’re able to take your drive and determination and run the ads and create the product and be your own customer support.
Lewis Howes: Be on the phone and sell.
Bedros Keuilian: Be on the phone and sell, but then business does so good, you start hiring people. And maybe, in the first couple of people, they’re so tightly in your inner circle, that they feed off your energy, and they work, work, work!
But as I had about seven, eight, nine, employees, all of a sudden, I realised, “They’re not doing what I want them to do. I don’t think they understand what my vision is,” and I realised I was unclear on my vision. I didn’t know how to communicate and give them feedback and correction.
So then I got adversarial with them, I was passive-aggressive with them.
Lewis Howes: You got upset with them.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah. I mean, there was so much water under the bridge, that it was easier just to fire them or watch them quit and leave, than try and work with them and correct them. So I realised that if I want this Body Fit Boot Camp to really grow to it’s fullest potential, if I say I’m a guy who’s a fitness professional, and I want to impact the world through health and fitness, I’ve got to step into my leadership shoes, and not just be a hypocrite and bark out orders, but be out of shape, take Niquil and Vicodin to go to sleep, have a challenging relationship with my spouse and always wonder where the next client’s going to come from, because we were losing, truth be told, we were losing franchisees more that we were gaining in 2012/13 and part of 2014.
Lewis Howes: Wow! And so, when did you make this shift, recently, from losing the weight and doing all these things?
Bedros Keuilian: The shift really started in late 2014 when I hired Joan, my assistant. And so, I always say, “I had employees, now I have a high performance team.” And that’s pillar number six in the book.
Lewis Howes: Wow! That’s powerful.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah! Pillar number six is, “Build a high performance team.” And that high performance team, in work, they help you take the money needle and the impact needle to it’s fullest potential. In your personal life, a high performance team is your network of people around you who support you and root your dreams forward, instead of telling you, “Are you sure, Lewis? Maybe you can’t do it after all.”
And so, what I realised very quickly was that I had employees and they clocked in a little late, clocked out early, and did the bare minimum to maintain employment. A high performance team is group of individuals that are driven, believe in a vision, or are in it to win.
Lewis Howes: How do you hire a high performance team?
Bedros Keuilian: You don’t hire them, you develop them. And I didn’t know that. I was looking to hire high performance people, and you’ll find optimistic, urgency driven, type-A people who are enthusiastic, versus pessimistic, but then you put them in an environment that’s negative, and they’re either going to come down to the lowest denominator, and start being pessimistic and no urgency and no attention to detail, or they’re going to quit and leave.
And that was one of the two things that would happen. Man, I hired this person, he was a hotshot! I remember his name was Nick, and I tell the story about Nick in the book. He was a hotshot, dude!
Lewis Howes: All star.
Bedros Keuilian: All star! He showed up early, worked hard, he could almost predict what our needs were as a company, and execute. But then, Nick started to slack off, show up late, started developing some kind of resentment towards me, and me towards him, and before I knew it, he had put in his resignation and left.
And there’s proof that he was a hotshot. He moved to Hawaii, opened up his own business, and it’s thriving. And I’m one of his biggest fans right now. And we talk to this day, because I had to reach out and say, “You know what? I was a horrible leader, and I’m glad you left, because you had a bigger purpose.”
He could have been someone big in my organisation. So, when I hired Joan in 2014, mid 2014, as my assistant, I as like, “Oh, my gosh! Here is someone with so much potential. Go-getter, positive attitude, can-do.” And I realised, “You know what? I’m the one who brings them down.So I need to step up into my leadership role to keep Joan.”
The only reason I actually started working on myself, my mindset again, my health, my communication, clarity of vision, decisiveness, was because I wanted to keep Joan and not lose her, because there was some sense of stability. Now it was two against seven.
Lewis Howes: Instead of just one against seven!
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, I realised, “If I can just keep doing this, I can turn the tides.” And, years later, that’s what happened. I turned the tides, and now I’ve got a team of forty-two, just fighter jets, no crop dusters.
Lewis Howes: Wow! So you hire for a certain potential that could be All Star.
Bedros Keuilian: Yes.
Lewis Howes: You never know until they show up in how they perform, but you can see the potential when you hire them, and then you can train and develop.
Bedros Keuilian: Train and develop.
Lewis Howes: As long as the environment is at an All Star level, they’re typically going to rise to that occasion, is what I’m hearing, or they’re going to leave.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, yeah. And I’d had both happen. I’d either fire them, or they would come down to the lowest denominator of low energy, or they would leave.
Lewis Howes: Right, yeah. So how did you start to lead yourself then? And how do you know what to look for, when you think, “Well, everything’s working out, I’m making money, I’m growing this, I’ve got a lot of friends.”? How do you know what you should be fixing?
Bedros Keuilian: Really good question. The way you know what you should be fixing, or you lead yourself – and that’s pillar number one in the book – is simply by having clarity of vision, which is leadership pillar number two.
I didn’t have clarity of vision. Lewis, in 2011/2012, if you asked me, “Bedros Keuilian, how many Fit Body locations do you want?” I would say, “A lot.” And if you said, “By when?” I would have said, “As soon as possible.”
Lewis Howes: Right. That’s not a clear vision.
Bedros Keuilian: That’s not a clear vision, that’s as fuzzy as it gets. And so, when I got clear on my vision, I realised, I want 2,500 locations by the year 2023, so that we can impact five million lives a day. That’s the metrics, right?
Lewis Howes: Because if, what, a hundred people a day come through, or what is that?
Bedros Keuilian: If each location had 500 clients and each client impacted two people in their lives, which is the metrics that we have right now, and we have 2,500 locations, that’s five million people a day that we would be impacting through health and fitness.
When the chips were down, I’m a personal trainer at heart, so I still go after impact first, income second. As it turns out, if you just focus on impact, income chases it. Income will always chase impact.
On the flip side, you try and make income, you’ll never reach your fullest potential, because you don’t know what that is.
Lewis Howes: And you’ll feel empty a lot. I know so many people, you know, Tim Sykes, who’s a buddy of mine, is a good example. He was making so much money trading stocks, penny stocks, right? And he felt empty inside. He was making millions, and he was successful and all these things, but then, when he got into the, “How can I give back with charity? How can I use my money to do good?”
And now he’s building a whole foundation and giving back to multiple charities all around the world, he wants to do that full time. Just the impact, essentially. And I think that’s what we need to really realise something.
A lot of us chase something that we want early on. We talk about that in Mask of Masculinity, I’m sure you talk about it in Man Up as well. We chase something we think we need, but what we really need to be focusing on is the impact, and the other things will chase it, like you said.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, and here’s the other benefit of that, too, is that if I tell my team, “Guys, we’re going to build a $100 million company. Go. Make me a lot of money.”
“Okay, well what’s in it for me?”
The human soul needs some kind of significance. It’s been proven over and over again, and IBM did a study in the mid 90’s, that when a persons financial needs are met, to just housing and self care, et cetera, their greater need is recognition, significance, right?
And so, that’s impact. And so it’s easier to get a team excited behind a goal of, “Imagine this, when we have 2,500 locations by the year 2023, every morning we’ll be helping 5 million people worldwide, through health, fitness, and a positive mindset.” Because Fit Body Bootcamp focuses on all three.
And so, making it on board with that, the number of people that they’re impacting, whether you’re a web developer, a camera guy, a traffic buyer. But, “Hey, guys, help me make more money,”? How does that change anything in my life? Right?
Lewis Howes: Right.
Bedros Keuilian: And so, if you want to build a high performance team, they have to get behind the mission, and that mission has to be part of your vision. And the vision must have a deadline, otherwise it’s just a dream.
Lewis Howes: What’s the difference between mission and vision?
Bedros Keuilian: The mission is the things you do every single day to get to the vision. So the vision is 2,500 locations by the year 2023, that means, every month, we need to sell 34 locations of Fit Body Boot Camp, right? So, our mission every day is to get 38 DOI’s and applications.
Lewis Howes: So, it’s the actionable steps every day is the mission. The vision is the overall dream. Is that what I’m hearing?
Bedros Keuilian: Exactly, exactly. So you look at war, every day our military goes out and does a mission to kill or capture a bad guy, and they do these missions over and over again. And the, to rebuild schools in the parts of the world that we’re at war with and to help and teach and give freedom and language, those are all the different missions that are happening through our military so that we can accomplish our big vision of creating an ally, instead of an enemy.
Lewis Howes: But how do we know how to lead ourselves, if we don’t know what we don’t know?
Bedros Keuilian: That’s where we have to do a lot of the soul searching, right?
Lewis Howes: If you think that, “Well, I’m doing fine! My business is in pretty good shape, I know a lot of information, why fix me? Why change? Why evolve? When I already have all the answers?” If that’s the mentality. If you already don’t know what you don’t know.
Bedros Keuilian: Well, that’s a broken mindset, wouldn’t you agree?
Lewis Howes: Absolutely.
Bedros Keuilian: I mean, to me, that’s a fixed mindset, and the growth mindset says, “I’m doing good, I’m in pretty good shape, I’m making good money. But, is there a mentor who can help me raise the stakes, increase the expectations? Maybe show me another potential of opportunity?”
And I think that’s what mentors come in from, and I think that’s really what you’ve mastered. You’ve mentored so many people in raising the bar, getting clear on their vision and knowing that they have higher expectations, they should set higher expectations.
But if we’re closed-minded, and fixed-minded, it’s hard. It’s like, “I’m good!”
Lewis Howes: So, what were the things that you started to do? You said you fixed your leadership, you started developing on, you were filming videos from the neck up, as opposed to full body shots, you were wearing baggy clothes to hide things.
So, was health number one first? You said, “Okay, I’ve got to start stripping the weight,” or was it more of an emotional baggage you were holding on to, or more relationship with your wife? Or just, like, “Here’s a list of everything I’m doing wrong that I need to fix, now let’s start going at it.” What’s the process?
Bedros Keuilian: Good question. So, with that first pillar of self discipline, it would have been great if I had worked on the emotional stuff first, probably the relationship second, health third, but I went for the easiest thing.
And, guess what? Most people are going to go for that. Go for the easy win first. If life is just no working for you, don’t go and make a million dollars. If, right now, you’re, like, eating out of dumpsters, forget about a million bucks. Let’s just see if you can go buy a Happy Meal from MacDonalds.
Get an easy win, get a small win first. The easiest win, for me, coming from fitness, being a personal trainer, was, “Alright, fatty, stop eating that garbage, get into the gym and work out. Five days consistently.”
And when I work out, I make sure I leave it on the floor, because there’s working out in the gym, and then there’s wasting time in the gym, right?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, on your phone and just jogging on the treadmill for a little bit.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah. So, it started with my health first, just because that was the lowest hanging fruit that I could do without losing my mind. I was in a really bad place in 2011/2012, part of 2013.
Lewis Howes: You looked like a dark man. You look like a light man, now.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, definitely evolved. And it’s funny, everybody says that. And you experienced that first hand. And so, then next came the, “Hey, let me start working on my relationship. Let me start dating my wife again. Let me start nurturing and deepening the roots.”
I look at a relationship like a tree. It might look like a healthy tree, but if the soil wasn’t tilled and fertilised and watered, the roots aren’t deep, and the first time a little bit of breeze kicks in, what looked like a beautiful tree – and we’ve seen so many beautiful relationships, from the outside, fall apart quickly, because the roots haven’t gone deep.
But that was the work I did in the gym, and it was, like, “Okay, I’m putting the time in the gym. Why am I not putting the time… Why am I not opening the car door for my wife, like I used to?” I went back to dating, and sending cute little text messages.
All the things that I used to do, that deepened the roots, that now had created shallow roots. And one little stiff wind blew, and it would blow all over, right? And so, that was the second thing. And that, of course, allowed me to address the big animal in the room, which was to work emotionally.
And, like you, I was molested, for me, between the ages of four and six, in Armenia, when my father decided we were going to escape a communist country and come to the United States, he was bringing us here to freedom and opportunity, but what he doesn’t realise is, he saved me from constant molestation.
I was molested by two older boys, consistently, over time, and that leaves a lot of scars. That creates a lot of rage, and anger, and distrust. To me, guys were an adversary. I might go into business with you, but you’re at arm’s length.
Lewis Howes: And we’re competing, too.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah. And I realised that – at the time I was thirty-eight years old – maybe that’s not serving me well. And so, I was actually with a therapist to work through my anxiety. I was having anxieties in that time.
In that time, in four weeks – his name is Kevin and he’s in Brea, Dr Kevin Downing, for anybody who wants to go to him, in Brea, California. Kevin Downing, he says, “Bedros, anxiety is anticipation of future pain,” okay?
Which told me what? I’m anticipating another fall out with my business partner, because we’re not getting along, or he’s saying things online about our franchise, that’s untrue, saying each location can do a million dollars.
Back then, we didn’t have locations that did a million dollars. We do today, we didn’t have it then. And so, people would call us out, like, “Hey, show me the location,” right? That’s not the moral cloth I’m cut from. I just say what we do.
And so, I was anticipating future pain, so he said, “Just deal with the stuff that’s going to give you pain.” So, I had a talk with him, and I talk about that in the book, and I said, “Hey, we have to part ways. You can buy me out, or I’ll buy you out, but one of us has to leave Fit Body Boot Camp.”
And it turned out that I ended up buying him out, and I took over the helm of Fit Body Boot Camp. And in those four weeks he taught me anxiety is anticipation of future pain, and these four letters: H.A.L.T. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. When you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired, you’re going to have another anxiety attack.
If you’re an alcoholic, you’re likely to go hit the bottle again. If you’re a drug addict, you’re likely to hit the drugs, or a sex addict, you’re likely to go find a prostitute. So, control your hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Make sure those cups are full and not empty.
So, in four weeks I said, “Kevin, thank you very much. I haven’t had an anxiety attack for four weeks. Peace out.” He goes, “Listen, before you leave, is there anything else, Bedros, you want to talk about?”
“Nope! I’m good!”
“Anything from childhood, Bedros?”
“Nope. Well, you know, some stuff happened, but… Oh, you know, ” I said, “My dad used to beat me, but being a communist parent, that’s pretty normal, I just never put on restriction, because my dad would beat me a lot, right? But all Armenian kids got beaten, all communists.”
But then I go, “But compared to what happened to me before that, it’s nothing.” And he goes, “Wait, what happened to you that’s worse than the beatings that your dad would give you?” Dude, I fell apart and started crying. For the next twenty minutes, I’m looking out his window, he’s here and I’m looking out his window, and I later found out there’s a term for that, which I’ll share with you.
And he goes, “What happened?” he’s trying to talk me through this, and he’s like, “Is it okay if I ask questions?” And I can’t even articulate, I’m just shaking my head, ‘Yes, you can ask questions.’ He goes, “Were you beaten by someone else?”
‘No,’ I couldn’t even talk, so I’m just looking out the window, saying no.
“Were you raped?”
“Were you molested?”
‘Yes.’ And I started crying even harder.
“Was it by a baby-sitter or something?”
“Was it by boys?”
‘Yes.’ And he’s walking me through it, and then I finally muster up enough energy to go, “But, Kevin, what happened to that little boy, I’ve dealt with, it’s fine, I’ve gone past it.”
And he said, “What happened to that little boy, I’ve dealt with.” He goes, “Can you say, ‘What happened to me,’?” I started crying again, right? He goes, “Bedros, can I tell you what that is? That’s called disassociation. What you’ve done is taken the first step towards creating a multiple personality. That’s what disassociation is.”
That little boy is separate from me. So we spent the next sixteen months working on the rage, the shame and the confusion. Kevin identified those three things over the sixteen months that we had to work on.
I was ashamed of what happened, I didn’t want anybody to know. Because, “Am I gay? Is this why? Did I invite this? I don’t think I’m gay. Then he would ask me questions like, “Well, do you look at gay porn sites?”
“No, Kevin, I don’t.”
“Bedros, you’re not gay. That happened because little boys look up to older boys as a rite of passage, and those older boys took advantage of you.”
Now, that sounds like common sense, but my simple mind didn’t understand that. It was just, “What happened to me? Why did I encourage it? Is it because I’m gay?” And so, it was the shame of, I don’t want anyone to know, and it was the rage of how did this happen to me? Like, “I can’t believe this! This will never happen to me again, I’m going to be big and strong and powerful.”
If you’ve ever read the book, ‘The Body Keeps The Score’, great book! It talks about guys who have been raped, molested, whatever, going into hardcore competition, start using steroids, I used steroids to get big and strong. Money is power, right? And so, yeah, I just wrapped it all up in, “I want to be big and strong and I want to be powerful and wealthy.”
But truly, it was isolation and insulation, protection.
Lewis Howes: Hiding, yeah.
Bedros Keuilian: So it was shame, rage, and confusion, and the confusion was, “Did I do something to make this happen? Is this something that I said to these boys?” And I tried to go back to think about that time, but I don’t remember and so I’m confused, and so, “Maybe I actually initiated it?” I didn’t.
And he helped, and the way he described it, he said, “You’ve got three beach balls. Shame, Rage, and Confusion, and you’re in the pool and you’re holding one of those down. Sooner or later, you’re going to have an itch and it’s going to pop out, and it’s in your anger, and it would blow up.”
And so, we dealt with that for sixteen months, and that was the first time I was able to talk about it. And it’s just a blip on my timeline. It doesn’t define me, it’s just a blip on my timeline.
Lewis Howes: Right. When was the sixteen months up?
Bedros Keuilian: Almost two years ago.
Lewis Howes: When did we talk? Was it about a year and a half ago?
Bedros Keuilian: Year and a half ago, yeah.
Lewis Howes: Maybe two years ago, almost? Maybe right around there.
Bedros Keuilian: So, I had probably just finished working with Kevin, and I still connect with him, like, once a month I’ll go see him. But it was weekly, every Monday, 6pm. And the reason I chose Monday was because those were my hardest days at work, so exhausted, I figured.
Lewis Howes: That’s when H.A.L.T. was in…
Bedros Keuilian: Yes, I’m most likely to H.A.L.T., yeah! Why not go see your therapist when you’re most likely to H.A.L.T.?
Lewis Howes: Wow! That’s amazing! And what has happened over the last year and a half, since you started such a leading yourself and fixing the leaks? I remember you talking in your book, what’s happened in this year and a half since dealing with the most important thing, which, I think, is the emotional side of our own personal life?
Bedros Keuilian: Well, my business has grown by 10X, literally 10X.
Lewis Howes: In two years?
Bedros Keuilian: In two years. You came to our corporate office, you saw that, when you came, we had just purchased that, probably six months earlier. I bought a big 16,000ft2 office, we built a filming studio. Because we were renting a small little space, because we couldn’t afford anything better.
Our sales have gone through the roof, our revenue’s gone through the roof. We’ve raised our prices and keep raising our prices, and it’s because it’s a better product. Not because I have the confidence to raise my prices, or because my marketing evolved in any way.
Everything was the same, I just improved the product, I felt more confident and authentic. You know when you’re hiding a secret, and you don’t want anyone else to know? Well, when you’re marketing, speaking from stage, coaching people, leading new franchisees into signing a lease and opening up their doors, but you’re hiding a secret, you feel inauthentic, like an imposter?
It was that bag of bricks that I was carrying with me, that I could finally put down, because Kevin helped me put that down. And I stopped. And then, part of it was, again, there was a shame, rage, and confusion, so there was also self-sabotage, I’m convinced of that. I was also self-sabotaging.
So, now, the growth has happened in business, the growth has happened in my personal life, with my wife and my kids. My kid now run to me.
Lewis Howes: You have two kids?
Bedros Keuilian: Two kids. Andrew and Chloë, and when I come in through the back door, they run to me. Before, they didn’t do it. It was crazy. They would see who was opening the back door, “Hey, Dad!” and that was it.
Lewis Howes: Wow! Because they were scared of you, I suppose?
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah! They were walking on eggshells, because I had a grimace on my face, right? I just carried this heavy weight. It was, I can’t tell you how much the personal work, the self-discipline work, from the mindset to the deep down, diving deep in your soul and fixing yourself.
And by the way, no one leaves this planet unscathed. No one comes in unscathed. The stats are something like one out of four people has been molested or raped. One out of three has had some kind of trauma. It doesn’t matter what the trauma is, like, beatings, molestation, rape.
Lewis Howes: Something. Emotional abuse, verbal abuse, something.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, you’ve got to deal with that stuff. If you don’t, you’re looking at life through those twisted filters, and everybody is an enemy and everyone’s a suspect, and the fight or flight portion of your brain is just…
Lewis Howes: Is always on.
Bedros Keuilian: On fire!
Lewis Howes: You know, the challenging thing is, we talked about this a bunch, from just what’s happened in the world over the last year. All the different trauma that’s happening, from men causing sexual violence, the domestic violence, the killings, the racial violence, everything that’s happening.
A lot of this is stemming from men who feel caged in their emotions and when we feel like our emotions are free, then we become very powerful men, in a different type of way. Not a harmful way, but a loving way, where people run to you, like you kids, as opposed to hiding from you, or being afraid of you.
And I think that’s what we get to do, as all humans, but especially as men, where we feel like we’re not able to express our emotions or talk about those things. You’re a great example of this. I feel like I’m a decent example of this as well, of like, when we open up about these thing.
It doesn’t have to be to the world, you don’t have to come on a podcast and talk about these things, but when we deal with it, and we can have open conversations with our spouses or with our boyfriend and girlfriends, or whoever it may be, and it not have control over us, and it not consume our thoughts, that’s when we can really lead and have a powerful vision, and lead forward in our life.
Whether you’re looking to build a business, or just looking to live a great life, you can have a clear vision, as opposed to constantly living in anxiety as you talked about. And you can’t build a great business without a clear vision and a clear path, and you can’t have a clear vision when you’re living in anxiety all the time.
Bedros Keuilian: Exactly. It is unfocussed and foggy at best.
Lewis Howes: That’s it. Unfocussed and foggy at best. So you have these three parts, first leading yourself, essentially dealing with all the types of weights that you’ve been carrying your whole life.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, otherwise you’re a hypocrite leader. If you’re going to tell people, like, “I want you to do X,” but you’re not doing X, right? “I want you to be disciplined and show up on time,” but you’re not showing up on time. “I want you to think fast, be a problem solver,” but you’re not a problem solver, because you’re foggy, you’re slow. In my case, you’re on Vicodin and Niquil, right? How can I expect that of them?
And so, there was a gentleman, I forget his name right now, I’ll think of his name as we talk. He talks about, “You could either be a want-to leader, or a have-to leader.” And the difference is, a want-to leader is a leader who leads from the front because he’s done the work first, and his team says, “I want to do this for him. I don’t want to let him down, I want to do this for him.”
A have-to leader is, “Uh-oh! I have to do this, otherwise he’s going to chastise me. I used to be the have-to leader, where if you didn’t do it, I’m chastising you, firing you, or you’re pretty much dead to me, where I’m just icing you out.
In my own office, man, and it was a small office, I was icing people out. And part of it was poor communication, part of it was I had this chip on my shoulder. Right? I mean, there’s a conglomerate of things that caused that, but it all starts with the self.
And I had become a – and I love this, I love saying this around my guys here, because they’d rather get written up, and not find out; they’d rather that the two VPs, one of the VPs write them up, and I not find out, just for some goofball mistake they made, rather than get written up and be found out.
Because they don’t want to let me down. Does that make sense? Or me find out, but not get written up. They don’t want to let me down. I’ve had so many team members say that.
Lewis Howes: So, how did you build your team? How do you find people and, I guess, facilitate an energy so that they want to be, what is it called, a want-to?
Bedros Keuilian: A want-to leader, instead of a have-to. Or a want-to team member.
Lewis Howes: A want-to team member. How do you train that? Or create that? Inspire it, let’s say.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, yeah. So, really, it starts off with, you’ve got to have high morale, because everyone’s like, “How do I build great culture in my business?” They come into this place, “How do I build this culture?”
Don’t worry about culture right now. Where’s the morale? What do you guys do for fun? “For fun? Well, I don’t know. A couple of people take lunches together and they walk around outside.”
I randomly call up a lunch truck, and, “Hey guys, a lunch truck just pulled up. We’re all going to have lunch in the learning centre downstairs,” right? And I’ve got this goofy little game we play, and I don’t know how we started it.
I’ll just gather all 40-something of my people together and I’ll whistle a little piece of a song – I happen to be an expert whistler – first person to name the song and the title, wins a $10 gift card to Starbucks. Nothing big, but for a moment everybody’s like, “Oh! Oh! That’s…” and they’ll name the song but not the title, or the song and not the artist. And then someone knows it, and we just had a moment of fun together.
Lewis Howes: Connection.
Bedros Keuilian: Yeah, right? I’ll have barbecues at my house and we have an epic Christmas party, and it’s the morale. When the morale is good, culture is organically developed. I don’t know how to build culture, I know how to keep morale high.
And I know that if there’s one person who’s got low morale, if I don’t part ways with him, or have him step up to his better potential, and improve his morale, then everybody goes, “Uh-oh, B now accepts a lower, he tolerates lower expectations, let’s all bring it down.” Does that make sense?
Lewis Howes: Wow! One person can bring a whole team down.
Bedros Keuilian: One person. And I was, “That guy, oh, he’s not causing that many problems, he’ll snap out of it.” We address everything very quickly these days.
Lewis Howes: So how do you get the morale of one person to get higher if they’re not willing to go to that level?
Bedros Keuilian: I’ll give you an example. I called the one guy in – we’ll just call him Joe – “Hey, Joe, can I take you out for coffee?” And this is something else I learned. Before, it was, sit across from me at my desk; all of a sudden, I’m in the power position and you’re like, “Uh, am I getting chastised?”
“Hey, Joe, can I take you out for a coffee?” We went out for a coffee to the local Starbucks, and I’ve been out with both of these guys, here, actually, in fact. Just for fun, it’s not always like, “Hey, let’s talk about your morale,” just to talk about life, right?
But that’s what I love. I create an environment now where they feel like, “Hey, B, can we go talk about my life’s journey? Can you give me some guidance?” Like, “Wow! You want that from me? That means you trust me so much!”
But in Joe’s particular case, it’s like, “Hey Joe, let’s go get coffee,” we went to Starbucks, and I said, “Hey, look, I can tell your energy’s off. I can tell you’re kind of just schlepping around here at the HQ, and you’re doing the bare minimum to maintain employment. I just want to know, and you don’t have to tell me if anything’s going on in your life, if you don’t want to, but is there anything I can do to help you step into the Joe that we knew?”
Because you’ll see people do this in their work energy, over time. And he was very honest with me. He was, like, “Man, I do have some problems at home, but I don’t want to talk to you about it. But those problems are not going to end any time soon.”
I just kind of made my assumptions of what it could be, he never did tell me. He said, “But I’m going to try and step it up.” I said, “Joe, I really need you to step it up, because if you don’t, we’re going to have to part ways. But if there’s anything that you want to talk about, and if you want to bounce things off me, let me know.”
Do you know what? Great, we finished our coffees and went off back to HQ. He thought about it overnight, apparently the next morning he went to one of our VPs and said, “Actually, you know what? I don’t know…” He just didn’t have the horsepower to step it up. He says, “I quit.”
But I want that. Our job, as leaders, is to have a very definitive outcome. “I want you to go this way, or that way, but you can’t ride the fence of mediocrity.”
Lewis Howes: Right, because then he could be doing that for six months, driving you nuts and keeping you resentful or something.
Bedros Keuilian: Absolutely! Now I’m snapping at him, or, all of a sudden, again, people around him will be, “If he accepts that from him, I can lower the bar and not work so hard.”
Lewis Howes: Wow! Powerful. Well, the book is out right now, you guys can get it. It’s, ‘Man Up’, which is really ‘human up’, How To Cut The BS And Kick Ass In Business And Life. Three powerful sections about leading yourself and optimising yourself first if you want to be a better leader or a better team mate, then getting clear on your vision and path, and building an all-star team, and how to really manage building an all-star team and elevate the team.
Powerful stuff, man. Are there any final thoughts you want to share? About this or anything else?
Bedros Keuilian: One little story I thought about when you said, “all-star team”. And so often we talk about an all-star team, relating to our business, but in the book I talk about you have your inside team and your team.
Your inside team are the team members who help you build your business. Your outside team are friends and spouse and family. Aunts, uncles, mom, dad, brothers, sisters; and it’s that outside team that has a lot of influence on the outcome of your business, and of your life. And I’ll give you a great example.
In 2005 my wife and I had just gotten married, we were married for two years. Thank God her grandparents bought us tickets to an Alaskan cruise. The whole family was going on a cruise, and it was like, “Hey, you guys are newly-weds, come with us, we’ll buy the tickets.”
We couldn’t afford it, we had just barely bought a small little house in Chino Hills, and we were in Ketchikan, Alaska, and we were walking along the rocks, and we see this gentleman casting a net, and pulling in some crabs and then putting them in a five gallon, it looked like a paint bucket with the lid off.
There was this much water in it, five or six little crabs, and I was just fascinated, because I’ve never gone crab fishing. And so I just kept watching and as I’m watching him, I see one of these crabs crawling on top of all the other crabs, and then he starts reaching for the rim of the bucket and, Lewis, he starts hoisting himself up, and just trying to be a good Samaritan, I said, “Sir, your crab is about to make a run for it. You ought to consider putting that lid on top.”
And he didn’t even turn around to look at me, he goes, “Watch what happens next.” And he just kept casting his net. As this little ambitious crab went to lift himself up, all the other crabs at the bottom of the bucket reached up, grabbed it by its hind legs and pulled it right down.
And he said, “Crabs are self-policing.” Now, in this moment, I’m hitting my wife, I’m like, “Di! Did you see that? Did you see that? I’ve got crabs in my life! I’m trying to escape and build a better life, a better business, I have greater vision, more hope and dreams, and I’ve got friends and family around me who are just pulling me down and giving me doubt and fear and don’t believe in me.”
And I realised very quickly, your outside team determines your big outcome, and my outside team always instilled fear and doubt. Not because they didn’t want the best for me. In fact, they wanted me to play it safe, they wanted me to not take risks, they wanted me to not get hurt.
But part of being an entrepreneur, and part of being a change-maker is you have to develop thick skin, you do have to take your licks, you have to fall and get back up. And so, I very quickly started to eliminate the toxic people around me, the negative people around me and, where friends and close family were concerned, I edited my relationship. Another skill I learned from Kevin.
Which means, I don’t share my dreams with them, I just keep the topic superficial, and thereby not allowing them to transfer their negative feelings on me. But, man, I’ve got to tell you, if people can cut out the negative crabs out of their life, that one thing would make such an impact in their performance.
Lewis Howes: That’s true! It’s all about your inner circle. Is there any question you wish people would as you more about?
Bedros Keuilian: I think people should ask me less about how to build a social media following. One, I don’t have the biggest social media following, right? But, because it’s growing quickly right now, I think they need to ask me how to build income and impact. Those two thing are tied together. Because I see so many people so focussed on building social media followings.
Lewis Howes: Why do people obsess over that so much, do you think?
Bedros Keuilian: They want approval, they want recognition, they want validation from others. It’s, somehow, “If I have a bigger social media following, I’ll have recognition.” Ironically, a gal, I won’t mention her name, sent me an Instagram DM.
She says, “I have 1.3 million followers…”
Lewis Howes: “And I’m broke,” probably.
Bedros Keuilian: “I’ve got a thousand dollars in my bank account, Bedros. What do I do?” She’s an influencer. And she spent so much time trying to get likes and comments, et cetera – nothing wrong with that – but turn it into money, and turn the money into meaning.
And so I wish more people would ask me about money and meaning or income and impact, versus, “How do I build following and a brand?” That stuff comes later. Make money so you can have meaning, because, in life – and we talked about this offline, before the cameras went on – we’re like that Australian Shepherd.
If the Shepherd has no animals to herd, it gets depressed, it starts getting anxiety, and it starts, in the absence of herding anything, it starts digging holes everywhere. It gets antsy. We, as humans, if we don’t have purpose, and if we’re not serving, we begin to dig holes in our life and cause problems that weren’t there, have anxiety and depression that shouldn’t be there.
And if you can make money, if you can focus on making money and then having some significance and meaning with that money, you’ve now developed service and purpose. And it turns out, that’s kind of coded into our DNA, and we need that.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. We’re always looking for meaning. And if we don’t have meaning, it’s like, “What’s the point of being here?” We get very depressed, we get anxious, all those things, and do a lot of bad things.
I think it’s what happens with a lot of young kids. For me, as a young kid, when I felt like I didn’t have meaning in school, I was like, “What am I doing? Why am I even here?” And some kids will go down the wrong path, and then they find that coach or mentor that’s like, “Let me shape you and mould you, let’s give you a challenge, let’s give you a project, let’s give you a sport, or an instrument, and start mastering something,” then you find that meaning.
And then, when they lose the identity, because they get injured from a sport, then they have to find new meaning. I’m talking about my life, but, anyways. A whole other interview there. I’ve got a couple of final questions for you.
Make sure you guys get the book, ‘Man Up’, it’s out right now. You can get it at bookstores, Amazon, if you go to, what’s your website, bedros…?
Bedros Keuilian: Bedroskeuilian.com, or manup.com.
Lewis Howes: Manup.com, ooh! That’s a good name, go right there! Follow Bedros on Instagram, that’s probably where you’re at the most, right now? Is it @bedros? Or is it @bedroskeuilian?
Bedros Keuilian: @bedroskeuilian.
Lewis Howes: Gotcha. I asked you this last time, but I’ll ask you the Three Truths Question again, to see if it changes.
Bedros Keuilian: Sure.
Lewis Howes: If there were three things you’d share with the world, and this is all they would have to remember you by, what would be your Three Truths, or three lessons that you would share?
Bedros Keuilian: Oh, man! Oh, man! I’m sure they’ve changed, because I’ve changed, as an individual.
Lewis Howes: Exactly, exactly.
Bedros Keuilian: Number one, well, we kind of talked about it here; number one – chase the purpose and service. Chase the purpose and service. The money and everything else will come as a by-product, and you’ll have a happier life.
Number two, leave a legacy. Leave a legacy behind. This isn’t something I talk about publicly, much, but every year we donate to Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals. By the way, Justin Timberlake is the number one donor to Shriner’s and my whole life’s purpose, where Shriner’s is concerned, is to die having out donated Justin Timberlake, okay?
So we’ve donated, and we’ve got awards upon awards, so you just keep donating money and they keep sending you awards. So, we have 97 kids adopted through Compassion International. We’ve got a quarter of a million dollars donated every year to Toys for Tots, right? The Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots.
Leave a legacy, like, if you don’t have kids of your own, find kids, because – this isn’t me being pessimistic, this is me being a realist – some of those are hard to mould and change, but you can take a young generation, and mould them, change them, influence them, and, for me, it’s legacy.
So, we’ve got purpose and service, leave a legacy behind, and then, of course, always be authentic. And I share that with my kids, Andrew and Chloë. Be you, be authentic, don’t try and conform. Because it’s so difficult. That’s a moving target.
I know how to be me really well.
Lewis Howes: That’s good. Wow. Those are great truths, and I acknowledge you for showing up more like you in the last two years than ever before. I knew you before – I think I’ve known you for about six or seven years – and it’s incredible to see the shifts that you’ve made in yourself, even when you were at the, let’s say, top financially, you were growing in business, you decided to dive in and work on the emotional side of things, on the relationships and the health.
And that’s what really matters the most in my mind. The business is going to be great and it’s going to grow, and you’re going to make tons of money, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t really matter, unless you’re working on you and your relationships and the people that matter the most.
So, thank you for being the example, and I acknowledge you for all the work you’re doing.
Man Up, make sure you guys get a copy, support our friend, Bedros, and get a couple of copies for your friends as well.
Final question: What’s your definition of greatness?
Bedros Keuilian: Oh, man! Oh, man! My definition of greatness would be to go to my death-bed, and realised that I haven’t peaked yet. Here’s why. I’ll tell you a quick story if I can.
Lewis Howes: Yeah!
Bedros Keuilian: Tony Soprano, in The Sopranos, there’s this scene where he says, “‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation that any two people can have.”
“Hey, remember when I made that touchdown?”
“Remember when I could bench X amount of pounds?”
“Remember when I owned a million dollar company?”
Right? I never want to peak. So my mentality, over the last five years, has been, “Never peak. The best is yet to come.” So, my definition of greatness is, “Can I keep evolving and recreating myself and becoming the best version of myself, but never peak until the day I die?”
I want to take my last breath and go, “This was the peak,” and go.
Lewis Howes: Wow!
Bedros Keuilian: That’s greatness, to me.
Lewis Howes: Bedros Keuilian, thanks brother.
Bedros Keuilian: Thank you.
Lewis Howes: Appreciate you, man. That was great!
There you have it, my friends! I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, share it with your friends, tag me and @bedroskeuilian on Instagram. Let us know what you enjoyed the most about this, let Bedros know what you enjoyed as well; lewishowes.com/694, put that link on your Instagram stories, over on Twitter, on Facebook, share it with your friends and tag me, because I try to connect with as many people on social media as possible, throughout the day.
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As Albert Einstein once said, “Try not to become a man of success, rather become a man of value.” And become a human of value. When we add more value to other people around us, we start to generate accomplishments, we start to generate success and results in our life.
The money will come when you lead with value. I hope you guys enjoyed this one, thank you so very much.
And you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!