Did you have a wonderful childhood but still wonder if you’re carrying past trauma? Just because we haven’t personally experienced trauma, doesn’t mean we don’t carry trauma to process.
Today’s guest had a fantastic childhood. If not for the pandemic slowing everything down, he may not have realized the trauma passed to him from his parents and grandparents, creating quiet anger within.
Today’s guest is Scooter Braun, one of the most prolific entrepreneurs and innovators in entertainment, working with stars such as Justin Bieber and Arianna Grande.
In today’s episode, we talk about Scooter’s journey to reconnect with “Little Scott,” lessons he’s learned from becoming a family man, some of his core philosophies to building businesses at scale, and the importance of cultivating a giving mindset, and so much more!
Let’s jump right in!
Scooter Braun is one of the most prolific entrepreneurs and innovators in entertainment, music, tech, and beyond. Braun is the Founder and Chairman of Ithaca Holdings LLC., now a part of the HYBE America portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HYBE, a South Korean entertainment lifestyle platform company. Braun is co-CEO and board member of HYBE.
In addition to managing a robust roster of some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Idina Menzel, Ashley Graham, and Tori Kelly, SB Projects has grown its film and television division to include a prolific slate of projects, including the FX Network’s most-watched comedy series Dave, Ariana Grande feature documentary Excuse Me, I Love You with Netflix, YouTube’s record-breaking docuseries Justin Bieber: Seasons, and Never Say Never, which remains the highest-grossing music documentary in domestic box-office history, and most recently, YouTube’s critically acclaimed four-part docuseries “Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil.”
Even with all his success, Scooter isn’t immune from external challenges like the pandemic, and he’s had some pretty profound realizations to come from it.
The past couple of years have been challenging for everyone, so I thought it would be a great place to start by seeing what Scooter’s biggest awakenings or eye-opening experiences have revealed and in what areas of his life.
“For the first time in 20 years, my personal life became a priority. I decided to step away from business for the first time and focus on my personal life. I was going through a very tough time, and friends recommended [the] Hoffman Process. I was kind of like lost going through stuff in my personal life that I was confused [about]. I couldn’t understand what was happening, and I hadn’t done the work yet to have the foundation to handle it.” – Scooter Braun
Scooter descended into a depression for the first time in his life. Even though friends had advised him about the Hoffman Process for four years — he’d avoided it. The Hoffman Process is a week-long healing retreat of transformation and development for people who feel stuck in one or more important areas of their life. The Hoffman Process teaches us how to release and resolve persistent negative behavioral patterns of feeling unloved and unlovable.
“What do I need this place for? I had a good childhood. Finally [I] just surrendered to this idea of going to this place. [The first available] process [was] October 24th, 2020. I started to laugh because that was the release of my client, Ariana Grande’s album. I just looked up at the sky, and [said], ‘Okay, God, universe. I see what you’re doing here. I can choose to stay on this path that’s very successful but hit this wall, and [be] depressed, or I can choose [myself] for the first time, be selfish, and leave.” – Scooter Braun
Scooter spoke to Ariana about it and, having been there for her on multiple occasions, said now she could be there for him. That week changed his life, and Scooter realized he had built “Scooter Braun” since the age of 18.
“I didn’t think Scott was strong enough in the world, and I didn’t know that was subconscious from my childhood. I didn’t have [bad] parents, but they passed [trauma] on to me. What had happened to them? I was at peace because I went back and got little Scott. I [forgot about] him for so long that when the foundation of what Scooter Braun [started] cracking, I didn’t know what to do.” – Scooter Braun
Scooter had become so invested in his story while neglecting his true essence that he had to learn to surrender to his depression and understand what life is about. Hoffman began a deep transformation as he worked through his distaste for the name “Scott” he’d had since seven.
“I went and got that kid and said, ‘Hey, you created Scooter, [and] you were strong enough the entire time. I loved my name again for the first time since I was seven. I realized that Scooter was a part of me, but Scott had to be in charge again.” – Scooter Braun
Wow! It’s so powerful to go back to your younger self and tell them that they were strong enough all along — they didn’t need an alter ego.
It took a while, but Scooter learned that he doesn’t have to hide.
Everyone has their own “stuff,” and we should love each other unconditionally, which has been a big part of learning to be a family man.
Scooter has a tremendous amount of gratitude for his wife and shares the greatest lesson she’s taught him.
“How to really love somebody. It’s easy to love somebody when things are going well, [and] it’s hard to love each other when things aren’t going well. I think we’ve shown we can do that, and I’m grateful for that.” – Scooter Braun
Considering Scooter hadn’t healed his inner child before meeting his wife, her unconditional love changed the way he loved himself. Now that they have children, Scooter is learning from them too.
“I see parts of myself in every one of my kids, and I see the parts of myself that got hurt. And before I started [the healing] process, [I] started to pass on those patterns based on fear, based on [my] need to protect because ‘You’re too sensitive. You’re like me, [and] you can’t be as sensitive as I am.’” – Scooter Braun
Scooter was such a sensitive child, one of his friends, Molly, called him “HSP” — Highly Sensitive Person. She saw through his tough facade and now he recognizes the same sensitivity in his children.
“I just want them to know they’re enough, and they’re going to have their trauma, no matter what I do. But I’m going to be rooting for them every step of the way unconditionally. I drove my kids to school the other day, and [talked] about accountability explaining what [it] means to a seven and a five-year-old. … I said, ‘I want you guys to know beyond accountability that’s to yourself. I will tell you if I think you’re doing something wrong, but it doesn’t mean I love you any less. I will always be here for you and love you no matter what. I will never leave you no matter what you do to me or anyone else.” – Scooter Braun
No matter what, Scooter is doing his best to ensure their children feel free to push their capabilities in search of greatness. He’s trying to instill values that will serve their quests while letting them know his support is unwavering.
Developing a strong foundation in life is critical to building success in other areas of our life; let’s hear what Scooter’s lessons have been from building prominent businesses.
Many people are fascinated by Scooter’s business mind because he’s been able to build an empire. If he could share his philosophy enabling him to strategize successfully, I wonder what the core principles of building a business at scale would be.
“When I was in Sedona, I did [a] deep meditation on the Red Rocks. I started to litigate my past — ‘Oh, if I could’ve done this differently, I would’ve…’ But if I had changed anything, I wouldn’t be in that moment with all that knowledge — so I don’t regret anything. Everything is part of your process, your growth, and everything you need. I can do things differently in the future, from what I learned. The first thing I would say is, ‘Be curious. Why not? Why not look in that direction?’ By the way, ‘Why not you?’ If you’re intimidated, I like to say, ‘Imagine someone’s taking a sh**.’” – Scooter Braun
We often place successful people on pedestals, thinking they have some kind of magical quality. I love Scooter’s approach to remembering that everyone else is just like you! If you can imagine everyone on the toilet, you’ll realize we are all humans having a human experience.
“Loyalty is important, [and so is] doing right by people. I’ve been blessed to build a company [where] people try to poach my employees all the time. When it happens, we talk about it and I’m happy for them — they’re part of the family. We have a beautiful family relationship within the company. Even though we’ve gotten big, we still created that dynamic. That’s important because when it’s late at night and someone’s with their family, they have to choose to take time away from their family to help the company.” – Scooter Braun
Many companies think completely differently than this, maybe driven by fear, but Scooter maintains his secret weapon was not being afraid to lose the money.
“I always told myself, I believe in this, but if it goes to zero, I’m okay.” – Scooter Braun
Another attribute Scooter believes is important in success is cultivating a giving mindset.
Not only does Scooter have faith in his ability to bounce back and make more money if things deteriorate, he’s also consistently giving to charities and nonprofits like Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit dedicated to reshaping the education landscape in some of the poorest countries like Ghana in Africa, Laos in SouthEast Asia, and Guatemala in Central America.
While he continues to have great success, he keeps giving back and paying it forward. No matter what you are currently earning, Scooter believes it’s important to have that mentality of giving.
“I’ve been doing it since the beginning when I was throwing parties and every fourth party would go to charity. You get told as a kid,— You get what you give. It’s part of my journey. It’s part of my lessons. It’s part of my release of unlearning and getting back to my core self. But with giving — I think it’s the most selfish thing you can possibly do. If you are a truly selfish person, you will give.” – Scooter Braun
Scooter says there is no better feeling. He should know — he gave $50 million in stock to employees and friends.
“It felt really good, and some I heard from, some didn’t say anything. I didn’t care. I knew it was the right thing to do, and in the past, because I didn’t love myself, I would do it because a part of me just wanted a little bit of acknowledgment because I wanted to be loved. We all just want to be seen. I read something the other day I loved that said, ‘If we could all just look at human behavior as people choosing love or craving love, we’d have more empathy for each other.’” – Scooter Braun
By healing his inner child, Scooter made a decision to give without a need for validation. Nor did he need endless appreciation, though I believe that should’ve been a given from the recipients, and so the gift was no longer transactional. Whether you give away tickets or buy somebody merchandise or even do something anonymously — make sure it’s not for acknowledgment.
Do it because you want to.
Think you don’t have enough money to give? Scooter has a suggestion.
“Go on YouTube right now and watch videos of homeless people giving away their change. It’s someone who has nothing, who understands what life is, … who’s willing to give because they want to be treated the same way. When you give, you do receive. [If you’ve] given and life isn’t where [you] want it to be — wait. Maybe there’s something going on in your life that the universe wants you to deal with. When you get past that — look at what you receive.” – Scooter Braun
We shouldn’t wait for one or the other; working on ourselves and any anger we have while also giving can go hand in hand. Instead of hiding from the darkness, go toward whatever triggers your trauma and ask yourself, “Why am I angry?”
A world of beauty awaits you.
Guys, my conversation with Scooter Braun was filled with such detailed wisdom that I just couldn’t fit it all into this post. To get all Scooter’s wisdom, I recommend listening to Episode 1,244 right now.
If you’d like to discover more about what Scooter is up to business-wise, you can visit his website and check out what SB Projects is currently up to. If you enjoyed this episode, I can also recommend listening to Scooter’s last visit with us in Episode 422, where he spoke about creating a life and a legacy that matters.
To end another powerful interview with Scooter, I asked him one final question: What is your definition of greatness?
“My definition of greatness is being present [and] having the ability to truly be here.” – Scooter Braun
I think we can all do our best to live by that definition! If you liked this episode, we would love it if you could tag Scooter, @scooterbraun, and me, @lewishowes, on Instagram with what stood out most to you. Also, please consider giving us a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts because they help spread these messages even further!
If you’re ready to learn how to heal yourself from past scars, develop an unconditional form of self-love, have the right mindset when it comes to investing, and SO much more, then this episode is for you! Please join me for Episode 1,244 of The School of Greatness.