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Rob Dyrdek

From Small Town Skateboarder to Media Mogul Empire

I know I always say I'm excited about each episode of The School of Greatness.

If the path to greatness lies in modeling ourselves on others’ success, perhaps this quote from one of the greatest professional athletes of all time is the perfect place to start.

“Some people want it to happen. Some people wish it to happen. Others make it happen” – Michael Jordan

Which category do you find yourself in? Perhaps, you are in the first two categories right now, and that’s okay! We all start somewhere, but it doesn’t mean that’s where we are destined to end up. We all aspire to be in the third category, but this doesn’t just happen overnight. Following your dream takes courage, passion, and discipline to consistently show up every day.

Today, my guest exemplifies this ideal as a living example of turning ideas into a business. He understands that journey on a deep level, which is why I’m genuinely excited to bring back Rob Dyrdek!

“I consider myself a ‘do-or-dier’ — someone that has the fortitude, the work ethic, and the grit to turn all their passions into reality, by seeing it, believing it, planning it, and doing it.” – Rob Dyrdek

I first had Rob on the show back in 2016, where he dropped a wealth of knowledge on us about building his media empire. Today we get to hear more about how his journey’s unfolded!

Who Is Rob Dyrdek?

Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Rob’s overprotective mom was paranoid about him being bullied and enrolled him in sports like karate so that he could defend himself. This developed his athleticism from an early age. 

Growing up, Rob looked up to his father, who appeared able to do anything, which instilled that same belief in himself — creating a foundation of success and deep confidence that he could do anything. In his teenage years, though, he had all the ambition and drive but lacked any real focus, so while his goals at that point didn’t come to fruition, it was a very exploratory time for him.

From the age of 11, he became engrossed in the skateboarding community, spending hardly anytime with kids his own age. Constantly surrounded by older entrepreneurs meant he was inadvertently shown the path to entrepreneurship, even though he didn’t fully understand what that meant at the time. It took several years for Rob to understand the difference between a business and an idea and learn how many people with drive, will, and the ability to bring ideas to life don’t necessarily create great companies. 

Rob dropped out of high school and became a professional athlete, moving to LA at 16 years old, and attended night school to receive his diploma. At 18 years old, he had spent multiple years around successful business owners, or as he describes it — he was “raised by entrepreneurial wolves.” Starting his own company as soon as he arrived in California felt like the normal and natural thing to do, so he drew from his extensive knowledge gained from the skateboarding industry to bring his vision to life. 

This unusual upbringing crafted an ability to understand people’s energy and how to calibrate his own with theirs to create enjoyment in life. He quickly learned the power of building massive brands. Besides building footwear apparel and skate brands, he also launched the world’s first professional skateboarding league and skateboarding channel, ETN. He’s produced multiple hit TV shows, including Rob and Big, Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, and Ridiculousness.

Rob has excellent business insights and gives us the key to living a balanced and full life in this exciting episode. Let’s get into it!

Core Traits That Drive Rob Dyrdek’s Success.

Rob describes himself as a “do-or-dier,” but what lies beneath the surface fueling that mindset is key.

“I’m passionately compelled. I don’t have contrived ambition. I’m not being driven by trying to prove something wrong or trying to do anything; I am genuinely and passionately compelled to do all the things that I do. I’m obsessively curious — that’s why I relentlessly learn and completely evolve to shift into different levels of reality based on the knowledge that you have and the ability to set goals and build plans only based on what you believe, and your belief is only based on your knowledge.” – Rob Dyrdek

Being honest and recognizing blind spots eliminate the option of falling into the trap of becoming a “know-it-all.” We can make decisions from our level of knowledge, and that is born out of our experiences.

In addition to honesty and humility, gratitude is undoubtedly an important component of Rob’s success, but there’s an element of realism that needs to come with practicing it. As with any tool at our disposal, it does us no good if we are half-empty, and Rob agreed!

“You can tell yourself the same way that you can put out a vision for whatever you want. But if you don’t believe in the steps or understand what the steps are, you don’t believe that vision. You know what I mean? So many people are over positive without having realistic positivity. Now it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream big, but you better dream in sequence to get there. [First] I’d have to go here. And if I get that, identify what levels you’ve got to reach to get to that [next one]. If your subconscious doesn’t believe it, you’re not going to manifest what you set out [as] your goal —  that’s too big to even ultimately achieve.” – Rob Dyrdek

Rob clearly demonstrates a winning formula — finding the next opportunity and applying this same principle. Money provides a certain amount of financial freedom and security but only if you build in the systems from day one.

“Getting [to] a place of thinking that I’m going to get rich doesn’t matter with the system that I’ve created. If I make 100 million or 500 million or 5 billion, the system will never change. It’s scalable with where I go.   And for me, it’s why I built a systematic venture system. I call it the Dyrdek machine,’ which is basically my philosophy on how I will build businesses. So that’s my passion.” – Rob Dyrdek

Rob is very aware of the lifestyle that money provides but doesn’t allow himself to be swept up in the allure of success. By understanding the basics and building a solid foundation, he avoids the temptation to live beyond his means with the promise of what future success will bring.

Key traits such as honesty, gratitude, and humility can unlock in pursuit of building a life filled with incredible highlights — something that nobody can take away from you!

"Success or failure, there's a lesson, and it's all humbling."  

The Secret to Maintaining High Energy — Even with a Busy Schedule

I don’t know how Rob does it! He’s maintaining important relationships, has a new baby on the way, is running his businesses, making TV shows, meeting with executives and brands — how does he stay “half-full” and manage a chaotic life so successfully?

“I live a completely systematic life; it’s the habit. Now imagine if your habit level goes even further, where you only pick projects and build projects where you find energy. Now connect that to having a complete life plan and real purpose. That’s scalable. Every aspect of your life has purpose and meaning. Your faith in your big ideas was always there ‘cause you believe in your plan, and you’re not getting outside your comfort zone because you’ve built your entire system around making sure you stay there. It’s built around a systematic life plan on top of optimizing that and building it to evolve as you grow.” – Rob Dyrdek

Living according to a system means that, no matter how chaotic things are, he has the ability to look at each day half-full, which means he handles the chaos and looks to move forward and progress to the future. He’s removed the possibility for catastrophe by building an entirely balanced system where his family and core relationships sit at the center of it all. This is how balance naturally occurs for him. 

How Rob’s Life Changed When He Met Tony Robbins

Rob Dyrdek hasn’t always been this happy and centered, though. It took meeting Tony Robbins three years ago to trigger a response within him that “enough was enough.” Something was “off” in his life and career, and he was tired of doing what he was doing.

“When you can do anything, and you choose to do it all, you end up standing for nothing. I was always doing all these things, thinking one of them was going to be the answer. And I finally stopped and said, nope, let’s decide what it’s all for and what you wanna do forever.” – Rob Dyrdek

Tony Robbins’ advice transformed how Rob chose projects to work on and created a laser focus on creating a single purpose that ties all of them together. It didn’t mean he had to cut down on doing a ton of different things – it just meant he was no longer burdened by them.

It was through this focus shift that he had his next revelation.

“What can you master? What do you want to be a master of? You must decide what your mastery is so that you can spend the rest of your life getting better and better. That was my self-discovery parallel with new ideas about money and where all these companies and TV [fit in].” – Rob Dyrdek

 As a “do-or-dier,” Rob actively seeks to collaborate with other “do-or-diers” like him. He’s not interested in running companies — he’s a creative who’s driven by the fun of turning an idea into a company and plotting how to build hyper-growth.

 “I build because it’s my passion. Long-term, I want to master curating talent and ideas from ‘do-or-diers,’ building their ideas, and then selling them.” – Rob Dyrdek

His ultimate payoff is to exit once the business is flying high, leaving the others to run the company. His passion and excitement for constantly creating new profitable businesses are what drives his desire to build this venture side right, continually striving to get better and better — his ultimate goal to nurture 100+ successful companies. This idea has even spurred a new TV show idea.

“[This will] add to my mastery. The show is built around a fund that is curating ideas and investing in a competition for three businesses where one lands the capital. I’ve been opened to this entirely new world. After all, I’m looking at so much business now because I’m casting for a television show. It all ties back to this entire holistic picture that at the center — is just being happy.” – Rob Dyrdek

 Daily Habits to Achieve an Optimal Life

 As an athlete, Rob feels he has had an unfair advantage. Performing at the highest level for 20 years as a pro skater allowed him to see the differences in habits. Now he looks at an optimal life across three major areas: health, life, and work. 

As an athlete, measuring every aspect of body composition acts as an early warning system when you’re “losing it.” Have you ever been scared to get back onto the scale? It can be scary, but if you make it a habit every morning to check on your body, you’ll find yourself achieving greater levels of health.

“Every morning I get up, I weigh myself full body composition. I brush my teeth. I immediately have oatmeal and water. Then [I] have a coffee. I track how many hours I slept. I rate at the beginning of the morning how motivated I am between one and ten. If I’m below five, half-empty, if I’m above five, it’s half full, then I track everything I eat. I have a food system, so I don’t have to think about it during the week.”  – Rob Dyrdek

The discipline lies in tracking everything — things like his work hours, time spent on health, enjoyment of living life, and even how much he slept. He’s constantly scoring himself every day and quickly understands why he kills it one day and flounders on another.

He keeps all this data in the Google Calendar, which his assistant uses to generate monthly stats to track how he’s performing. Being the best version of himself means optimizing what he plans to do. 

The healthier you are, the greater your mind operates, which means that you can solve problems quickly while achieving your goals. These are habits we can all develop — they aren’t just for pro skaters!

Why You Should Listen to This Rob Dyrdek Podcast Episode Right Now…

Guys, this interview is full of so many words of wisdom from my wonderful friend, Rob Dyrdek. Listen to the full episode for more, and don’t forget to share the episode with someone who needs to hear it: You could change someone’s life.

Follow Rob on social media (listed in the show notes below) and check out his website to find out more about “Dyrdek Machine,” the venture creation studio that partners with visionary entrepreneurs. They fuse art, science, and magic to create meaningful businesses that stand the test of time and impact the world. You can click here to check it out!

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know on Instagram! Tag Rob, @robdyrdek, and me, @lewishowes, with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways! 

I want to acknowledge Rob for being an incredible inspiration and constantly spreading positive energy as he pushes the boundaries. He’s really learned about what his unique superpower is. And he goes all-in on that thing. It’s what I love about him. He’s such a great example of a role model that anyone could follow and learn from daily. Make sure to check him out, follow him on social media, watch his show Ridiculousness, and everything else that he has available on his site. 

His definition of greatness sums him up perfectly as a person:

“Greatness is when someone’s true, personal mastery inspires the masses.” – Rob Dyrdek 

Friends, join me on Episode 901 to learn about what it takes to create a mogul media empire with Rob Dyrdek.  I know you’ll get just as much out of it as I did! 

To Greatness,

Lewis Howes - Signature

"Gratitude does you no good when you're half empty."  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • How do you describe yourself and your bio? (35:26)
  • How do you manage your energy so that you’re always full? (40:33)
  • What are you non-negotiable daily habits? (58:46)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How Rob got royalties on a third of DC shoes’ entire line in his mid-twenties (4:45)
  • What the term “stirfry” means in entrepreneurship (5:52)
  • What the difference is between a business and an idea (12:08)
  • Why Rob embraces stalkers (16:24)
  • The story behind his sister getting married inside the Fantasy Factory (19:20)
  • How Fantasy Factory almost didn’t make it on air (26:45)
  • The story of how Rob almost died surfing with Laird Hamilton (33:38)
  • How to be happy everyday (38:18)
  • The key to living a balanced and full life (43:20)
  • How Rob’s life changed when he met Tony Robbins (43:52)
  • Why it’s so important to pick one thing to master (44:50)
  • Plus much more…

Connect with
Rob Dyrdek

Transcript of this Episode

Music Credits:

Music Credit: Move On by Steam Phunk

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