Embracing Your Weird with Frankie Russo - Judd Shaw

Embracing Your Weird with Frankie Russo


Judd Shaw


Frankie Russo

Episode Summary

Judd interviews Frankie Russo on his journey of resilience, innovation, and embracing authenticity.

Judd interviews Frankie Russo on his journey of resilience, innovation, and embracing authenticity.

Listen Now:

Listen Now

Episode 008

In this episode of “Behind the Armor,” host Judd Shaw dives deep into a candid conversation with Frankie Russo, a keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur, and best-selling author. Frankie shares his journey from growing up in a service-oriented family, through his struggles with addiction, to becoming a leading voice in innovation and authenticity. His story is one of resilience, highlighting the transformative power of embracing one’s true self and fostering a culture of authenticity. Tune in to uncover the lessons Frankie has learned and how he integrates them into his personal and professional life, inspiring others to “love their weird” and drive continuous innovation.

Key Lessons from the Episode

  1. Embrace Your Authentic Self: Take time to reflect on who you were as a child and reconnect with those passions and quirks. Embracing your authentic self can lead to greater personal fulfillment and professional success.
  2. Create a Safe Space for Honesty: Whether at work or home, foster an environment where people feel safe to express themselves without fear of judgment. This leads to more honest communication and stronger connections.
  3. Harness Collective Imagination: Encourage everyone in your organization to tap into their creativity. Use exercises like the “what if” brainstorming technique to unlock innovative solutions and ideas.
  4. Transform Challenges into Opportunities: View problems as opportunities for growth and innovation. By being honest about what isn’t working, you can identify areas for improvement and develop creative solutions.
  1. Serve Others to Discover Yourself: Engage in acts of service to others. This not only helps those in need but also provides profound insights into your own strengths and areas for growth, fostering a deeper connection with your true self.


Guest This Week:

Frankie Russo

Frankie is a keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur, bestselling author, and visionary in innovation and authenticity. Frankie’s keynote experiences are impactful and full of actionable insights for fostering a culture of authenticity, imagination and purpose. Frankie’s work sits at the intersection of innovation and authenticity.

Show Transcript

Judd Shaw: [00:00:00] Welcome to Behind the Armor, where we deep dive into the heart of what matters. I’m your host, Judd Shaw, adventurer, storyteller, agent of change, and speaker on authenticity and human connection. Join me as we explore the complexities of human connection, featuring theorists, scientists, and speakers. Our mission is simple, to inspire you to reclaim your true self and create genuine connections with others.

Judd Shaw: Join me as we lay down our armor and live the armor. Hello, you beautiful people, and thanks for tuning in. Today, I’m speaking with Frankie Russo. Frankie is a keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur, and entrepreneur. Best selling author and visionary in innovation and authenticity. Frankie’s keynote experiences are impactful and full of actionable insights for fostering a culture of authenticity, imagination, and purpose.

Judd Shaw: Frankie’s work sits at the intersection of innovation and authenticity. Join us as we [00:01:00] uncover what’s behind the armor. There he is. There he is. Frankie Russo. Welcome to the show, my man.

Frankie Russo: How are you doing, Judd? Great to see you.

Judd Shaw: Likewise. You know, I want to jump right into it with you. You know, you grew up, uh, learning service for others.

Judd Shaw: Yep. But, you know, there was still a point where you ended up in recovery. Disconnected. Um, I want to know before you have become this amazing author, speaker, uh, you know, really a change agent for companies. I want to understand a little about that 1. 0. I want to understand what was going on at that time before you found the power of authenticity before you became an innovation expert.

Judd Shaw: What was behind the armor? Frankie?

Frankie Russo: I love it. Yeah. So I love that you asked that question because there’s everything that I’ve done in the second or third part of life, whatever part of life I’m in. Um, not [00:02:00] quite sure, but all of it comes from. In hindsight, right? So you don’t know this at the time, but it’s all born out of this same person.

Frankie Russo: I was at five, six years old, and I’ve actually done a ton of work around this. It’s one of my favorite things is to explore that child within. So five, six year old Frankie, just to give you a little insight before things started to change or before I started. Being looked at as these things are weird. Um, and we’ll drop in a weird a bit.

Frankie Russo: I was an inventor, so I turned everything I could into a laboratory. It was always trying to invent things, uh, driving my parents nuts with that. But I was also an astronaut on my own planet, you know, um, a cowboy and a TV preacher all wrapped up in one, right? Cause it was the eighties TV preachers were hot.

Frankie Russo: Um, so imagine all of that, that was the original Frankie. And, um, Fast forward to today, you know, I’m going to stay in the background for a minute. I’ll stay in our history, but now today it’s essentially the same person. Um, but there’s a journey in between, right? From that moment at five and to where [00:03:00] I am today, uh, where they finally are one, but there’s a lot in between.

Frankie Russo: And so for me, part of it was growing up. We ran homeless shelters. And so I got to see, what I believe true unconditional love and service looks like, uh, and the power that that has as humans. And what happened was is that because we were poor growing up and because in the end, when I turned 18, my dad got kicked out of his own mission.

Frankie Russo: I kind of got this jaded viewpoint of like, all right. That wasn’t worth it because we were always poor, but there was like this mission behind it. So it was okay And there was a lot of anxiety and fear that came from Always not knowing if we would have enough and then you couple that with this idea that like I lived this whole childhood Thinking we were doing this greater mission and then the rug gets pulled out And so it kind of put me in this position coming out of that going into adulthood with like, fuck this [00:04:00] shit.

Frankie Russo: And that’s really where I went. And so of course, when you get into that, fuck this shit, usually the next best thing is drugs and alcohol, uh, which I loved the effects of. And, um, I still do love drugs and alcohol. Um, but I, it turns out I, I, I wasn’t able to do them the way that they’re. Intended, although I, I’m not really sure how their drugs and alcohol are really intended, but for me, I, I went on this journey where I just abandoned a lot of that and I was like, I’m just gonna make money no matter what.

Frankie Russo: I’m gonna be successful no matter what, and I’m gonna do what I wanna do, what feels good. And so I did that to the extreme for about 10 years, um, until obviously it crashed. And what’s interesting is that it all crashed. The thing about getting sober, usually you have to have like a multiple things happen to convince you that like you’re a drug addict or alcoholic because up until then you’re like, nah, this is just a bad day or I can control this.

Frankie Russo: And for me, it was one of those deals where enough stuff happened, like marriage falls apart, my business [00:05:00] crashed, which by the way, I was in the mortgage business. And if you remember 2008, I wasn’t the only person going up in flames. Um, and you know, so that’s happening at the same time. Plus I’m like rampant addiction and they’re all kind of tied together.

Frankie Russo: So Oh, eight was a real breaking point for me. Um, and I’ve had multiple breaking points that have been. What have really kind of created who I am today. But that was a big one for me as an adult. Um, but it, it actually was the beginning of the journey back up from the bottom in a way that was very, very different with very, very different.

Frankie Russo: Very different intentions, um, that actually were sustainable and have created the last 16 years. That’s how long it’s been since I got sober. Um, and yeah, so that that’s a little tidbit. I don’t know if that

Judd Shaw: it’s, it’s great because what you’ve done is connected dots that a lot of times [00:06:00] we feel and transformations that we become something completely new.

Judd Shaw: Like a phoenix rising out of the fire, right? And the ashes were

Frankie Russo: a caterpillar and now we’re a butterfly, right?

Judd Shaw: And that 2. 0 is this newer version. But like you, for me, my, my story about drugs and I multiple rehab stints and you know, even hospitalization. I, I. You know, I, I had my dark night of the soul, right enough of the cosmic bricks weighed and threw at me to, to kick my butt to have that acknowledgement, that conscious awareness like you.

Judd Shaw: But what I find is beautiful is the way you express how it’s not. A yin and yang. It’s not a black and white. It’s not something different. It’s like you upgraded your operating system. So it’s Frankie 0 is same Frankie. It’s just got a better, better system, a better operating [00:07:00] system that, you know, for you comes out of authenticity in a number of things.

Frankie Russo: Yeah. And, and, and like all great operating systems, if you think about, well, let’s talk about the iPhone as an operating system for essentially, it’s not that different than the first version there. It’s just faster, better. And, and, you know, maybe that’s because Steve job died in the middle of the journey, but it’s not that different.

Frankie Russo: But that’s because the original operating system was so good,

Judd Shaw: right?

Frankie Russo: And when you have a great operating system, which everyone does, by the way, you don’t have to upgrade the way that I think many of us think we’re supposed to. In fact, that’s actually the mistake I, in an effort to try to go too far away from my original weird,

Judd Shaw: that’s

Frankie Russo: what forced me to a crash and inevitably then led me back

Judd Shaw: to the.

Frankie Russo: The original coding, our original coding is the best coding that coding [00:08:00] before. And it happens at different ages for people, but it’s somewhere between five and 10. We start to change because we think we’re supposed to,

Judd Shaw: because

Frankie Russo: we were thinking at five and six, what we were doing at five and six is weird.

Frankie Russo: You know, that like one of my big sayings is love your weird. Well, that weird is not just, uh, piercings and tattoos and, and a bunch of external stuff. It’s that weird kid that we stopped being. Um, and, and many people that are stuck right now, or many people that get, get into a place like they don’t really know who they are or whatnot.

Frankie Russo: It’s such an amazing process to go back to that and get to a place where we actually re find who we are by going backwards.

Judd Shaw: I, you know what, now that you’re saying this, I want to get, I want to men’s pajama park. I want to get into my pajamas again and have like a sleepover and hang out and watch movies and

Frankie Russo: see that’s fucking horror

Judd Shaw: movies, right?

Judd Shaw: Yeah. Totally fucking weirdo, man. You know, [00:09:00] so. Uh, you know, Frankie, at some point, though, you do take that operating system at five and six. I love how you place this because what you’re really showing is that it’s the narratives that we hear. It’s other judgment. It’s other opinions. It’s how we’re supposed to be.

Judd Shaw: It’s this, it’s societal, blah, blah, blah. It’s all these things become our belief system. And so in between the 1. 0 when you, when you were just your core version and your 2. 0 is all of these things shorting out. Uh, your own values, your own compass. Uh, how did you find your way to learning of the power of.

Judd Shaw: Authenticity and, and really becoming this thought leader at the cross street of innovation and authenticity.

Frankie Russo: Okay. So what’s interesting. So I, I was, I got sober and that changed my life. My first two books, the art of why I’m breaking Y [00:10:00]

Judd Shaw: or both sellers,

Frankie Russo: but thank you. Yeah. But, but both of them were driven by what I learned from the process of not getting sober, but staying sober.

Frankie Russo: Okay. So for me, the The, the power needed to fight this other powerlessness or to, to create the power. I needed to stay sober.

Judd Shaw: Right.

Frankie Russo: It was, was essentially from this idea, which I put into action. And that was that if I want to stay sober, I need to help other people get sober and other people stay sober.

Frankie Russo: And so that was my first time as an adult going back to that original Coding of helping Ah, isn’t that interesting? Homeless people. Yeah. The 12 step

Judd Shaw: comes back to your 1.0,

Frankie Russo: that’s it. Yeah. And ’cause what happens is, is that I, I, I was always thinking I either need to be full-time running homeless shelters or live in Africa or something like creating orphan engines or, or whatever, right?

Frankie Russo: And so, or either that [00:11:00] in your poor or you make money. There was no in between and it was actually getting sober that I was able to re find, uh, what it meant to connect with a higher power and what it meant to connect with people and myself and what it meant to really fulfill that, that thing inside of me that I always knew was my purpose, which was to help others unconditionally.

Frankie Russo: And it, it, it came in a very unsuspecting way. And I, and I’m always surprised even people that have gotten sober, they, they, they don’t always put this together that like, All of the road that we go, um, in sobriety is possible because of that final component. When I switch from, this is about me to this is about you.

Frankie Russo: When you start to practice that, and, and that’s one of the things that’s amazing is that when you are a drug addict and alcoholic, and you love drugs and alcohol, as much as we do, you it’s top of mind. And so when you replace that top of mind with, I’m going to help others, even people that are selfish, [00:12:00] like ourselves that aren’t traditionally the saint.

Frankie Russo: Um, we, we find ourselves getting addicted to helping others, uh, which is the absolute best addiction, zero hangover. And, and I believe it’s the limitless drug. And so as I started to plug that in to my businesses and my body of work, that’s when it first started getting into like this idea of authenticity and, and keep in mind, there’s a lot of definitions of authenticity,

Judd Shaw: right?

Frankie Russo: Mine is about. Mainly honesty. I call it authenticity, but it’s about getting honest. And so getting honest, taking inventory on what needs to go has always been a big part of my work, both in my, in my companies and in my personal life. And as I’ve gone down this journey, those two worlds have become closer and closer together where today they’re one.

Frankie Russo: So now my work and myself is one and it’s a journey to get to that point. Um, and what’s great about it is that as I started to plug what I learned in my personal life into my businesses, that’s what made the difference with several of my companies [00:13:00] that have had exceptional success. Now the love your weird part.

Frankie Russo: Is went up a notch when I went through my divorce. It was interesting. My second bottom wasn’t a addiction bottom. It was an emotional bottom.

Judd Shaw: And it was in

Frankie Russo: 2017 when I got a divorce, I had kids, it was, you know, that, that whole nightmare. But I, in, in that process, I realized that what had happened was, is that I had gone for many, many years living this inauthentic existence.

Frankie Russo: And that I I had done been doing all these things unknowingly, maybe subconsciously, whatever you want to call it. I’ve been doing all these things, especially externally, especially as it related to work, trying to overcompensate for the fact that I didn’t feel like I was enough. So my relationship to shame and not feeling like I was enough had driven this inauthentic existence and it all kind of just came to a head and crashed out.

Frankie Russo: When I finally like called it and was willing to go through the process of a divorce, you know, blah, blah, blah. And, [00:14:00] um, during that process, that was when this concept came to me. And, and it was this idea. It actually happened at this place called onsite where I was doing all this work around inner child.

Frankie Russo: So there, and it’s about like reconnecting with it and we’re writing letters to our six year old self and all this stuff and the day before it ends, the day before it ends, it, uh, I have this, I have this epiphany and that what I’ve been doing wrong is that I have not been loving my weird. I’ve been fighting the weird.

Frankie Russo: And, and the reason I call it weird, because, you know, I was on a podcast yesterday and Susan was like, um, Well, that’s not that weird when I was talking about what I was into as a kid. And yeah, it’s not once you adopt it, you’re passionate about it. And you plug that into work. People love it, right? Cause it, it turns into innovation, right?

Frankie Russo: So what happened was after I went through this whole thing with my. My, me personally realizing that loving my weird, [00:15:00] even if you don’t look weird, it’s the inside job of loving your weird and re embracing that, like, even if it’s ridiculous, or even if other people think it’s weird, like I’m going to own my own agency and I’m going to love that, right?

Frankie Russo: And, and I’m going to come pull that forward. So that’s when, that’s when the authenticity part became big. But when I started plugging the love your weird concept into work and also applying it, not to just authenticity, but imagination. And the, the role of imagination at five and six, and then this idea of generosity, which, you know, has already been part of my story as, as I’ve grown, uh, our five year old self is the most authentic, most imaginative and most generous, if you think about generosity is the opposite of scarcity.

Frankie Russo: Right. And you think about it as abundance. Um, and also generous wanting, no kid wants to really play by themselves, right? They want to play together. And so you, you put that together and you realize that that five year old version of us is the secret [00:16:00] unlock to continuous innovation. And so, and, and just so happened during that same time, I decided to.

Frankie Russo: Really go all in on actually finally inventing something as an adult. So I invented hundreds of things as a kid. Most of them didn’t work. Hoverboards, time machines, all that kind of stuff. This was different. I invented something that worked and it was innovation. It was software. And it, that actually was from every single person working together.

Frankie Russo: We created what I call a make believe company, and we made a product that we imagined into a reality, and then we made everyone believe in it. So it was a make believe company. And that was actually my most successful company I ever had. We, we were on the Inc 500 eight times as fast as growing companies.

Frankie Russo: We were fast growing company, Louisiana in 2020, X growth in three years. And I attribute a lot of that to the culture of continuous innovation that was born out of this journey being pushed forward into a [00:17:00] work environment.

Judd Shaw: I love that. I mean, I want to unpack so much of that. It’s so good. You know, the first part of it, it reminds me that behind my armor and most of ours is that innate want, desire to be heard and seen and feel valued.

Judd Shaw: Of

Frankie Russo: course.

Judd Shaw: I mean, we all just all want that. And so, you know, I love how you are focusing on authenticity and getting underneath that in terms of like, how are you showing up? And for you, that’s about honesty. And you’re coming out with this, uh, third book that I want to talk to you about in a minute. Love your beard.

Judd Shaw: Also incredible addition to, uh, you know, just the things you’re putting out in the universe. So beautiful. Uh, but before that you, you really ask, you know, I, I, I’m a. Uh, uh, business owner myself, there’s a few things that I, I do [00:18:00] other than a podcast. Uh, and I, I want to ask you these questions because you really have gotten to the root of this.

Judd Shaw: And I think this is your standout thought leadership that other companies need to get you in front of and hear from you. Uh, and the first one I had is, you know, you really. Uh, ask about, um, authenticity in, in teamwork or measuring authenticity. Yeah. And I was wondering, how do you do that? How would I, if I want to with, with, uh, my team, my managers, super front line, how do I get everybody together and what is measuring authenticity look like?

Frankie Russo: Yeah. So first of all, measuring authenticity is a little bit of a paradox in and of itself. So first off, good luck measuring it. Uh, but if you’re wondering how to unlock it, let’s go with that first. Okay. Um, and that’s one of the hard things about these things, right? How do you measure authenticity? How do you measure imagination?

Frankie Russo: How do you measure [00:19:00] generosity? So the way I would probably reframe that a bit is like, if I’m, how, Maybe, maybe what you’re asking is how do I make sure that authenticity is going to plug into some other actionable outcome or KPI, right? And, and, and so the way it, it authenticity plays is that it creates an environment where people feel safe to show up a hundred percent.

Frankie Russo: So when you start thinking about these, these catchphrases, people want, like, Oh, I want employee engagement. I want loyalty. I want them to stay. And I don’t want to. Employee churn and all this other stuff, right, which isn’t even my highest like goal in all this. My highest goal is like to just take this which is in essence creating a space of belonging, mattering, and everything else, so that it can just be a foundation for what we’re really going to do next.

Frankie Russo: Right. Which is to continuously innovate, create novel stories that we can tell to Customers that are going to buy to create revenue growth and not be disrupted. Okay. But at the foundation of it is getting honest. So it starts with me, the leadership getting honest about what they [00:20:00] can do differently. So you can call it vulnerability.

Frankie Russo: You can call it building trust. You call it whatever you want, but essentially it starts with each individual leadership, preferably to start with, but really anybody can start and make a difference in, in a culture, being honest with themselves. Okay. And specifically about the problems. So there’s a lot of good things that are happening.

Frankie Russo: And sometimes it’s hard to see what’s good and what’s bad when you’re in the grind. When you’re trying to grow, you’re trying to make customers happy. You’re trying to do all these things that businesses must do to survive, right? You’re asking questions like what, where, when and all this and many times people People forget to ask why.

Frankie Russo: In fact, that’s the, one of the number one reasons people burn out because they forget why they started doing this in the first place. It’s not because they’re not getting paid enough or any of the other stuff. So as we start to ask the questions, why, and we start to dig into this, this, the questions of like, what isn’t working and we’re willing to sit in it long enough to actually investigate and then inventory it, that’s where the [00:21:00] opportunity comes from because it’s twofold.

Frankie Russo: One is that in order to create space. To be able to imagine, because most people they’re like, how, how the hell am I going to do anything more than I’m already doing? I’m already at full capacity. How could I possibly do any more? And it’s because they are at full capacity because probably 30, 40 percent of what they’re doing is not what they should be doing.

Frankie Russo: I have this whole vision for what the role of AI will be. In fact, I have a Ted talk at the university of Florida in April, and it’s essentially about what we came here to be. What our weird is, what our contribution is, that is the maximum usefulness, the world and even to our organization and what should be automated like everybody’s so scared that like, Oh my God, AI is going to automate all this stuff.

Frankie Russo: And I’m thinking, thank God, because whatever AI can automate is the shit that should be automated anyway. And so the, so the, the question is one, how are you going to, Augment and use it. [00:22:00] And then two, what are you going to do? Right? Like, great question. Great question. What am I going to do? Like, I love that question.

Frankie Russo: And so getting honest about that, because a lot of people are there, they’re not really looking at the problem. So the twofold piece, and I know this is a long answer, but I’m almost done. So the twofold component of this is that one, it’s figuring out, okay, what are the problems, what I need to get rid of, but also.

Frankie Russo: The problems themselves are the opportunities. So as you investigate and get honest about what the problems are, that’s where the ideas for solutions, for novel products, novel innovations come from that. Right. And so it’s born out of that and it’s exploring that uncomfortable, honest look at the problem that true innovation is born out of.

Judd Shaw: So you’re trying to draw, it’s not, Measuring authenticity. It’s measuring the success of an honest team. It’s right.

Frankie Russo: And the power, yes, the success and the powerful full [00:23:00] output that comes from when you create a safe, trusting environment where everyone can show up as their unique brand of weird, you’re going to get the maximum out of your people.

Frankie Russo: And that’s what everyone wants. Yeah. Why else would you have people?

Judd Shaw: So you have a, you have a team and what you want to do is teach the team primarily through good mirroring. Yes. Servant leadership.

Frankie Russo: Yeah. I was going to say, just show them. You don’t teach them anything. You just show,

Judd Shaw: show. Be honest. Yeah.

Judd Shaw: Be honest.

Frankie Russo: You be out there. Be

Judd Shaw: vulnerable.

Frankie Russo: Yes. Create a

Judd Shaw: safe place where your team feels heard, seen, and valued. That’s right. Their authenticity or honesty increases and therefore innovation. Happens or greater the likelihood of the space, the environment for innovation. So

Frankie Russo: innovation is not automatic from that.

Frankie Russo: Some good things are in capacities out of it. That doesn’t mean you’ll innovate. That’s why you need the other two pieces. So that’s like, so, so you, you authenticity [00:24:00] and belonging and mattering by itself is not going to guarantee innovation.

Judd Shaw: That’ll create, that’ll create good culture.

Frankie Russo: Yes. And you have to have that as a baseline.

Frankie Russo: So you have to have a good culture as a baseline, because what we’re talking about is unlocking this, I, this culture of continuous innovation. So once you have that, so companies don’t innovate, they get disrupted and they fail for three reasons. Okay. The first one is they don’t even have an authentic space, but let’s just assume you’ve got a safe, psychological, safe, trusting, belonging, amazing place where everyone feels like they can just show up and be themselves.

Judd Shaw: Yeah.

Frankie Russo: Right. And then they love what they do. All right. Let’s say you have that. You’re a third of the way there.

Judd Shaw: Okay.

Frankie Russo: Just FYI. Okay. So then then becomes my favorite part, right? So from there, it’s about how do we harness the collective imagination of everyone in the organization? Okay. So first things first, 90 plus percent of the people in the organization don’t identify as imaginative, especially at work.

Frankie Russo: They don’t think that that’s their role. They’re in [00:25:00] sales, they’re in HR, they’re in accounting, they’re in admin, they’re in project management. They’re in all these different roles that make up the vast majority. There’s only a small percentage of people actually on the innovation team or on the creative team.

Frankie Russo: And we all, most companies are thinking, Oh yeah, cool. We have them for that. They’re the imaginative ones. And that might’ve worked in the past, but. The level of disruption that’s happening right now, which is happening at a breakneck speed is not going to allow for that anymore. Everyone on the team has to be engaged, right?

Frankie Russo: Especially if we’re trying to augment for this world where no one gets left behind. All right. So that’s where we then come into the next wall. So the first wall is people are wearing masks. They’re not showing up as themselves and it’s hindering it. That’s the authenticity. The second wall is I don’t identify as imaginative.

Frankie Russo: Mhm. And that’s where the work becomes about. All right, let’s take a beat and let’s start talking about what were you into at five, six years old?

Judd Shaw: Yeah.

Frankie Russo: Like the middle of my keynote experience, I take a break and the whole room erupts because they’re all telling their neighbors what [00:26:00] they were into at five or six.

Frankie Russo: And then they share that and we start talking about the fact that their science behind this, by the way, is that every single person is imaginative at a genius level at one point in their life. And that’s at five years old. And you’ve, I don’t know if you’ve heard any of these studies that have come out.

Frankie Russo: NASA had done one where they test, gave the same test to give their, uh, their employees. The

Judd Shaw: genius dropped down as they got older.

Frankie Russo: That’s right. The genius taught to be more convergent, more math, more logic. And look. Yeah, you have to have logic, but we already know that. I don’t need somebody to tell me that we need to hit our sales goals.

Frankie Russo: I don’t need someone to tell me that we’re off on our KPIs. Like, uh, clearly I’m getting slapped in the face every day at breakfast with that. What I need to do is create more space where people can be imaginative. So one, you have to actually create the time for that and you have to introduce exercises.

Frankie Russo: Like one I like to use is called what if it’s the, what if [00:27:00] exercise, right? What if the clients or what if the budget or what, if whatever constraints we have, we’re not an issue or what if I was trying to solve this as my five year old self and as silly and dumb and ridiculous as that sounds, Give it a shot because right now, whatever you’re doing, a lot of times isn’t working.

Frankie Russo: You’re not coming up with anything new. You’re doing the same things as you’ve always done and expect a different result, which obviously is insanity. And so these are ways to start to change the culture of, of what matters. In what we do. And so, but so, and here’s another one. So what if it’s an awesome one?

Frankie Russo: Like you should be doing at least once a week because that leaving that space. And then the second thing is when you do create these spaces, right? Where you’re brainstorming or you’re, you know, all these different things, ideas, and you’re, you’re bringing everyone together. This is only works by the way, if you already have created that space where people feel like they can say something and it’s dumb, right?

Frankie Russo: So that’s where, that’s why the authenticity has to happen first. But then if you create the space, one really [00:28:00] easy tool. Okay. That we did was that, um, we started making a rule that when we were going to brainstorm ideas, we were never going to make a decision on what the action was going to be in the same meeting.

Judd Shaw: So this

Frankie Russo: is a super simple thing that any company or any team can do, but like really challenge ourselves because there’s never enough time, right? So you’re, you’re always got this gun to your head, like, okay, we’ve got to figure this out. Let’s do a five second brainstorming and then we’re going to make a decision and we’re good.

Frankie Russo: Okay. Awesome. Thanks. Glad everybody gets to see each other. See you next week. And so that type of thinking, that type of mentality, you have to create a space where there’s more time for things that are nonlinear. Okay. You’re not going to come up with novel innovation, the stuff that’s going to keep your company surviving in a time of disruption.

Frankie Russo: If you don’t create space for imagination,

Judd Shaw: And

Frankie Russo: so those are the two big ones [00:29:00] and the third killer. Okay. So let’s just say you’ve got this company, everybody’s showing up with their unique brand of weird. They’re they’re all themselves. Everybody’s super safe. Weird is like in the core values and they create all this time to be able to imagine and ideate and create and do all these things, right?

Frankie Russo: They may be even play at work. So they’re really leaning into that, right? Even if you have both of those and you don’t have this third part, you fail. I started studying bigger companies as well. I got my company did it, but I was a smaller company, right? Less than 200 employees, but even the big companies that really succeed right now, and they continue to level up their innovation, Google, you know, Tesla, whoever, and I looked at all those types of companies and there’s one thing that I kept seeing, and that is that they had created a culture where collective ingenuity was baked in.

Frankie Russo: All right. And this idea of like, we welcome all ideas and celebrate all ideas. And we have clear [00:30:00] cut paths and mechanisms to turn those ideas or their make believe if you will, into a reality, that is the key. You’ve got to have a mechanism where you actually can take ideas and put them into action and turn them into reality.

Frankie Russo: I call that collective ingenuity. The oil for the collective engineering machine is generosity. You have to be able to create a space. Where everyone succeeds. So you’ve heard about like certain companies, like, you know, they have Rev shares or they have, you know, they, they own, you can own parts of the company or different things like that.

Frankie Russo: That’s great. Right. But that’s, that only matters if you’ve created these other components, but it is important that all the, the rising tides raise all the ships in the organization, people need to feel like they can give without having to take score or without wondering if they’re going to get rewarded, you know, That’s one of the other, the, the, all these pieces are what [00:31:00] corrode the ability to create these cultures of continuous innovation, but that’s the short story.

Frankie Russo: If you have those three pieces, right, that’s the love your weird framework that that’s what it takes to have continuous innovation at an organization,

Judd Shaw: you know, in, in, in, and what a great framework. It is important part two of that at second prong. I remember. You know, I was speaking to a guy who I think is the magical dude.

Judd Shaw: He used to work for the creative team at Walt Disney World. Like when Disney World got stuck on creative ideas, this is the people they called in to help, you know, unlock more creativity.

Frankie Russo: When the Imagineers needed, needed to unlock it. Exactly.

Judd Shaw: And what he had pointed out was that from the start, Most people don’t find themselves to be creative and what he did was he would ask, like, what are some of the roles or responsibilities you did?

Judd Shaw: And so and say, well, I would create this spreadsheet and I would track this data, whatever. [00:32:00] And, you know, that’s creation. That’s creative. That’s innovation,

Frankie Russo: right?

Judd Shaw: That’s right. You’ve created a thing of a system of product, whatever. And so he has people thinking of creativity, not in the way like, Oh, I can’t draw for shit.

Judd Shaw: It’s not, that’s not innovation in the business place. That’s not creativity. Unless you’re an imagineer, we need you doing different, you know, things. And so his thing was to get people at a starting place where they realize that we’re all creative. Absolutely.

Frankie Russo: And you know what I, what’s a big thing that I touch on is this idea that when you’re creating a culture of continuous innovation, it’s not just about the product, creating a product or some tech or, or even a brand campaign.

Frankie Russo: That’s not, everybody thinks that’s the creative folks. And the fact is, is that it takes creativity to put a deal together with three different uh, organizations or vendors that don’t like each other. That takes creativity. It takes creativity to figure out how to solve whatever spreadsheet issue you were [00:33:00] having for the accounting department and to make it work with this weird way that the leadership wants things to be visualized.

Judd Shaw: And so

Frankie Russo: I think that’s where it gets, it gets interesting is that not only is everyone imaginative at five, everyone can be imaginative of whatever day they are living

Judd Shaw: and

Frankie Russo: it, but it’s, it’s, if they reframe. The way that they’re going to approach these things, just the practice of reframing it is a, is a huge component of that.

Frankie Russo: And, but yeah, I love that you mentioned that because that is such a big misconception. You know, you have to be innovative to figure out how to break into certain relationships and sales.

Judd Shaw: Yeah.

Frankie Russo: I mean, you have to be, sales are some of the most innovative, creative people alive, and most of them would say they’re not.

Judd Shaw: You have to innovate today. If you want to go on a dating app.

Frankie Russo: Ain’t that the truth? I mean,

Judd Shaw: all of that is innovation. All of that is creativity, right? But so, you know, taking, so, so my framework, your conscious awareness, understanding, [00:34:00] renewing, and expanding is how to get from a place where, uh, maybe you’re not showing up authentically or your true self and how to be able.

Judd Shaw: To get to that stage of what I would say in your terms as radical honesty. Uh, right. And so love, love, you’re weird. You have this, this framework, right? So that’s the, the base of it. And let me see if I can tackle this, uh, so that I can implement it in my workplace, right? Let’s get some actionable thing here.

Judd Shaw: First thing is I have to ensure that I create an environment Where my team comes and goes, I got something to say, right? Like at its core, they have to feel like, so in your prong, one step, one, whatever, which is creating the environment, the upside to companies is people raise their hand. They give feedback.

Judd Shaw: They feel, uh, they’ll tell a company, maybe this is a [00:35:00] mistake. We’re heading in the wrong direction. This is a great idea. You know, they’re, they’re engaging, right? So there’s a place of safety, a cone of safety.

Frankie Russo: You’re you’re invent. You’re really taking what feedback you get seriously. So yeah, you’re really inventory.

Frankie Russo: You’re really going to use that for the other pieces. Yep.

Judd Shaw: So you can’t. I always say, uh, in my side, you can’t show up authentically until you feel safe, right? Because Stephen Porges and Holly Vagel theory says, uh, threat is not the is not, you know, it’s not the absence of threat, but the presence of connection.

Judd Shaw: Right. And, and so in there, you’re creating a place of safety where people come in beyond purpose, meaning, et cetera, that they feel that they can offer their opinion, that they can express themselves. That’s like in the right. And then two is realizing all of us have something interesting to input, have all of us something to say.

Judd Shaw: All of the entire [00:36:00] team can collaborate on that. And then third, that the true innovation comes at the end when it was like, uh, whose idea was this anyway, like Jimmy, Sally, who came up, who knows anymore? It was a blend.

Frankie Russo: Yep. It was a community.

Judd Shaw: I love that.

Frankie Russo: It’s a community of imaginary imagineers. If you will, I don’t use the word imagineers, obviously, because Walt Disney stole it, but, uh, when does the book come

Judd Shaw: out?

Frankie Russo: So love your weird is going to be probably October, November. The, I will be honest that the, I haven’t decided yet if the kid’s book or the adult book is going to come out first. So I have an illustrated version. I probably would put the kid one out first cause my kids are pushing me. I’ve got six kids by the way.

Frankie Russo: Uh, cause I got remarried

Judd Shaw: and yeah,

Frankie Russo: so that, that was awesome. And I’m loving that. Um, but you know, one of the biggest things is, uh, I really want to do something different. And in the spirit of Love Your Weird, in the spirit [00:37:00] of like doing something different, I want to put out two different versions of the book.

Frankie Russo: And the one’s fiction, one’s nonfiction. So obviously the nonfiction is kind of like the business book. So, you know, for the people want to read that, but the fiction one is shorter, probably 25, 30 pages. And it’s actually about

Judd Shaw: what age do you want to do it?

Frankie Russo: Yeah. Okay. So watch this. So Yeah. You mean what?

Frankie Russo: Who’s the audience?

Judd Shaw: Uh huh. Who’s your reader?

Frankie Russo: So the reader is going to be between five and honestly, eight or nine, five and eight or nine will be the audience. But in my house, it’s going to be five and 13 because that’s all my kids are. Right. Um, and I have an 11 year old about to be 12 that wishes they were five.

Frankie Russo: So, you know, I’ve, I’ve got some Peter pans still living, living strong. Um, But anyway, so the, the illustrated version, the fiction version is actually a story about a man, our age, kind of middle age is stuck and going through a lot of the same things I’ve, I’ve gone through. And he just so happens to stumble upon a time machine.

Frankie Russo: And this time [00:38:00] machine is actually has one button in it. There’s no controls or anything. There’s just one button. And so of course he’s, you know, so desperate and doesn’t really know he doesn’t ask any questions. He just pushes the button, right?

Judd Shaw: Go back to five.

Frankie Russo: And so he goes back to. When he was five or six years old and back, so this, for me, that would be like 1986.

Frankie Russo: So he goes back to 1986, but it’s an alternative 1986. Uh, not like Marty McFly’s alternative, where it got worse, but an alternative where it got better. So in 1986, he goes back to a version of 1986. That is the imagination land of his, of himself at five. So the whole middle of the book is this experience where he’s in this.

Frankie Russo: Alternate universe that is the imagination that I had created at five. And during that, they, he re unlocks who he was back then. He, he like remembers all these things. I was like, Oh, I forgot that I even was like this. And so [00:39:00] he ends up finding, you know, authenticity. They play with imagination. They invent all kinds of things.

Frankie Russo: And in this version of the reality, they work. So the hoverboard works, the time machine works, all of that. Everything works. In fact, it was his five year old self that had built the time machine to begin with. Okay. And so, and then when he comes back at the end, he, it’s kind of like this, like Ebenezer Scrooge type.

Frankie Russo: journey where he is able to bring that kid with him, even though it’s just the spirit of that kid into existing reality and the present. So, um, yeah, so there you go. So I’m pretty excited about that version. Obviously.

Judd Shaw: I love it. Get that one. You know, uh, for me, I wrote, A children’s picture book. I, I have two, I

Frankie Russo: forgot that.

Frankie Russo: Okay. Awesome. One is published in

Judd Shaw: Barnes and Nobles and Amazon. You could order online. And it’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Remind me

Frankie Russo: which one is the Sterling the

Judd Shaw: night? Uh, the first book, uh, my series book series is intended to teach [00:40:00] children, emotional, social developmental skills. The first book started the night and nugget, the dragon teaches empathy.

Judd Shaw: The second books, which will be published June 4th is Sterling the night. Yeah. Um, no, I already, oh, Sterling the night and the Sloan fall tournament, uh, book three will come out in the holiday, November, December of next year of this year. Uh, and that’ll be, uh, Sterling the night and the connection cure.

Frankie Russo: How did I not know all this?

Frankie Russo: I mean, okay, so I didn’t know what, I didn’t even ask questions with your background. I mean, I knew it was a weird background for a podcast, but like, now that makes sense. I’m like, what? What is, what the hell is he like doing the podcast at a school or something? So it’s sterling the night. Okay. So,

Judd Shaw: you know, well, so, you know, for me, that was my inner child work.

Judd Shaw: Starting the night is really my inner child. It’s my ability to go back and be this little knight in shining armor that I always wanted to be and go in service to others and be this, you know, hero. And, but that’s, [00:41:00] and, and writing the book really was Deep way of being able to connect with that, that, that self, right?

Judd Shaw: And I love that you did the inner child work too, because I think it was so important for me to first feel heard, seen, and valued in my five year old, my 11 year old version, right? I wrote that letter myself. I wrote that version to the 11 year old who actually attempted to commit suicide. That was a real attempt at 11 years old, Frankie.

Judd Shaw: And so I had a right. a note to that version in saying, I’m sorry, wasn’t there for you at that time. Right. But I’m here for you now. I’m creating healthy boundaries. We’re making good decisions, you know, and I went down that way, but the children’s book was my way of both, uh, exploring the depths of human connection.

Judd Shaw: There’s nothing more connecting than a caregiver and a child and a picture right on your lap. And, and, and, and so I, you know, I, I’ve, I’ve focused on keynote in the workplace, but the children’s [00:42:00] picture stuff was, was, was my jam and is my jam. And I’m happy to help you in any way. Absolutely. The book has to be 32 pages, by the way, you can’t see how many it has to be minimum 32 pages.

Judd Shaw: Yeah. Well, there you

Frankie Russo: have it. So my book will be 32 or more pages. It’s just in no, you know, and it’s so easy with a kid’s book because you just add more pictures. Yeah, right You know, I Love that. I know that I see every day I uncover some other connection with another thought leader that I didn’t expect.

Frankie Russo: I mean just this morning I was on the phone. I called her and Just to congratulate her on this incredible new like slogan that she came up with. It was Brit Frank. I don’t know if you, if you saw that this morning. So I immediately called her cause I owed her a call. And like, you know, I knew she was in psychology.

Frankie Russo: I knew she had this new great book, the science of stuck. And what I didn’t know was that in her previous life, she did unscripted TV shows. And so we’re like talking and she’s like, okay, I got to ask you a question. And she says, um, you know, what do [00:43:00] you, what do you see like The in, in result of this whole keynote speaking thing, like what’s next?

Frankie Russo: I’m like, I don’t know. I just, I just love helping people. I want to do that at scale. She’s like, all right, I’m going to put something out in the universe. And I, you know, I don’t know if this fits. And I was like, Oh God, what is she about to say? You should run for president or some crap like that. And, uh, she was like, you know, You need to do a TV show where it’s the home makeover type version, but for businesses and you come in and all the B rolls with your six kids and you come in and you, you do the love your weird framework and you help companies unlock continuous innovation on TV.

Frankie Russo: And I was like, wow, holy shit. Brit, uh, and apparently that’s what she used to do. She was in TV. Um, in fact, she created a show that I really got to laugh at. It was called hookers for Jesus. And, um, it apparently it got onto discovery. It was these ex hookers that now help people find Jesus. It was pretty awesome.

Frankie Russo: So anyway, absolutely. I’m definitely taking that was a long way of saying like, I’m [00:44:00] today’s, so far I’m two for two for awesome people that are going to be on the journey.

Judd Shaw: You know, another thing I have in common, let’s talk about this is a dad, your stepdad, blended family of six. I think your oldest daughter is 13.

Judd Shaw: Right. That’s right. You know, um, coming from that perspective, um, how do you, uh, and, and by the way, Louisiana. Right. Mm

Frankie Russo: hmm. Um,

Judd Shaw: I was in a blended family of six. I had a stepdad, my mom, my two half sisters, and my biological brother, and we grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Frankie Russo: Shut up.

Judd Shaw: Yeah, I lived there.

Frankie Russo: Now, specifically, which part?

Judd Shaw: I, I lived in Metairie and I went to Newman, Isidore Newman School.

Frankie Russo: Beautiful. Beautiful. You

Judd Shaw: know, growing up. Love it. Um. And, uh, yeah, just down downtown, you know, when I, my, my mom, uh, moved down in New Orleans from New Jersey, when she first moved there, we lived down in Jefferson and, and, you know, in the shotgun [00:45:00] house and,

Frankie Russo: uh, grew up in

Judd Shaw: New Orleans.

Judd Shaw: So, right. So down

Frankie Russo: there two days ago, visiting some of our friends. I don’t know if you saw that. I was hanging out with Seb and, uh, Rachel D’Alto, which is some of our friends from the community. And I, I drove down there. It’s New Orleans is such an amazing thing. And we’re, we’re not that far from there, but you would know where we are.

Frankie Russo: Cause you live there. We were in Lafayette.

Judd Shaw: Yeah.

Frankie Russo: And so with, with

Judd Shaw: your kids, maybe, maybe the oldest, it’s probably somewhat different, but let’s start with your 13 year old. Yeah. How do you, because that really is the difficult age of that, that masking, right? To keep that off is a tough thing, fitting in and judgment and others opinions and blah, blah, blah, and whatever.

Judd Shaw: How are you? You know, out of the workplace, away from the business, back at home. How do you take love your weird and teach your 13 year old to be more authentic?

Frankie Russo: Wow. Great question. And, and it’s interesting you asked, um, cause I don’t know before I answer, were you at the, [00:46:00] um, the deal we did, was it in Detroit in July or June?

Frankie Russo: Were you at that one with Seth?

Judd Shaw: I was in Detroit. Yeah.

Frankie Russo: For the, for the masterclass part.

Judd Shaw: Uh huh. Yeah.

Frankie Russo: Yeah. Okay. So I, I don’t know if you remember, but I, I, I was like weeping that whole day. Like I cried like eight times and I’d never do that kind of stuff. And so it was because I was, I, it was actually September having all these epiphanies around how this love your weird.

Frankie Russo: Is part of everything that I’m doing, especially the legacy for my kids. And so it’s interesting that you asked that because I’ve never, this is the first time in my life where I’ve had something that like actually permeates all aspects of my life without being compartmentalized and it’s the through line is this love your weird thing.

Frankie Russo: And the fact that like my credibility, I’ve always thought was from my companies, my success, blah, blah, blah. It’s actually, cause I have six kids. That’s actually the most credibility I have to talk about. The nature of. What the childlike [00:47:00] spirit can unlock. And so to your point, it, I, my wife and I both, probably my wife, even more than me, believe that the most important thing is that The kids feel like they can always come to us and talk to us like that is above all other things.

Frankie Russo: It’s above rules. It’s above discipline. It’s above. Did you say a curse word

Judd Shaw: being able to

Frankie Russo: Yeah, because here’s what happens. Okay. And because I went through this The reason why my my mission is honesty is because I have very familiar with what it’s like to be a liar

Judd Shaw: Yeah,

Frankie Russo: so you don’t get into honesty as hard as I have unless you’ve lived the maximum you’ve already How did denzel say it in the that movie flight You remember flight?

Frankie Russo: Did you see that?

Judd Shaw: Yeah.

Frankie Russo: What? Okay. First of all, flight is an incredible movie as it relates to drugs and alcohol. But at the very end, he has an opportunity to tell a lie and he would be free [00:48:00] as opposed to like go to jail for having flown an airplane drunk. And. He’s in, you’re hearing his thoughts and he’s like, I could not tell.

Frankie Russo: I had, I had used up the maximum amount of lies that I could tell in my lifetime. And he tells the truth. And then the rest, he’s like, get sober and the ending he’s in jail, but he’s sober and he’s happy and it’s, it’s beautiful. You got to watch it. But the. My point is, is that I feel a lot like Denzel in the sense that, like, I’ve used my maximum allotment for lies, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so big on honesty.

Frankie Russo: Um, and, and again, we could do a whole podcast on honesty as my, which is, it’s essentially become my religion. Um, but with kids, it’s like, here’s the thing. So I always had this pretense growing up because my family was Christian and had all these ideas that, you know, you know, all those ideas that, like, That kind of traditional Christian background would have.

Frankie Russo: And I’m not knocking them by any means, but what I will tell you is that people like me, [00:49:00] and maybe like yourself, we, we are not able to live up to the standards of that type of Christianity. So the only option we have, if we’re forced to still be in that setting is to fricking fake it. And to lie, to wear masks.

Frankie Russo: I mean, that’s basically what those are born out of is because I feel like if I show you, I really am, I’m not going to be enough or you won’t accept me or you reject me or kick me out or whatever the hell it is.

Judd Shaw: Right. So you’re a sinner.

Frankie Russo: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And so all those things are in there, right? But what did we do?

Frankie Russo: So we just did it, not in front of it. We hit it from them because they said, this is this, this is how it has to be. So if I do that with my kid, my 13 year old, right, I tell her this, how it’s going to be, she can either reach that or she can’t, but in most cases she won’t be able to. And why would I want to create a space where I’m not the person that she’s coming to, to talk about and learn about these things because she’s going to do it anyway.

Judd Shaw: Exactly.

Frankie Russo: They’re going to do it anyway. I love like, yeah, this rose colored glass type of parenting, [00:50:00] like Tracy and we caught it early to where like. We’re not parenting the same way that everyone’s always parented. And there are plenty of parents that have done what we do. And I think those are the parents that have great relationships with the kids right now, by the way, having a relationship with your grown kid, as I watch other people, and I’m terrified of what it’s going to look like when I’m an adult and have grown kids.

Frankie Russo: Um, I w you want that? I desperately want that. And, and I think that the same. I have for the frigging framework we talked about. I have to give that back to them. My wife constantly slaps me across the head and says like, you’re over here unlocking all this stuff with, with everybody else, like we’re right here.

Frankie Russo: So she’s always keeping me accountable to, to make sure I’m implementing, prioritizing. Authenticity, imagination and generosity at the house. Okay. Cause it’s way harder to do at the house than it is to do at work. I’ll tell you that.

Judd Shaw: But not, not, not the [00:51:00] least less important. Oh, no. You’re talking 10 times

Frankie Russo: more important.

Frankie Russo: Yeah.

Judd Shaw: Is generational. Yeah. You, by. Frankie, that’s why I say authenticity is your superpower because when you’re mirroring your vulnerability, your honesty, your ability to say, this was my 1. 0, it’s not who I am. It’s part of who I became and own that your children get to mirror that they get to see that.

Judd Shaw: And so instead of passing on the baton of the negative coping mechanisms, the addictions, the things of that nature, uh, they have seen. The, the power of loving your weird, of just being you being unique. And I also love the ability that by being honest and open, you don’t cut off the power of what you can do with that.

Judd Shaw: In other [00:52:00] words, if Your daughter feels okay to come to you. She now gets all of the loving, compassionate, forgiving wisdom and experience as opposed to shutting down and doing the same thing. Wearing a mask. Yeah. You, uh, you got it, dad. Right. And then going out and having to feel like they have to be someone else.

Frankie Russo: Just like we do at work. So like essentially where this mask is, we’re supposed to be X so we don’t show up. And so what we miss though. Is the opportunities we miss the opportunities that come from moments of discomfort, moments of pain, moments of fear, that’s where we can grow together. But if I don’t know about those, like, so a lot of times leaders, they fuck it up and they don’t even know they’re fucking it up.

Frankie Russo: You know why they’re thinking they’re being authentic and like they’re doing things right. Because guess what they’re basing it off of. Whatever mask their people are showing them. So it’s just as much the people’s problem as it is the leader’s problem. This is not just like an all leadership problem here.

Frankie Russo: [00:53:00] Okay. This is a people problem. That’s all of us. I don’t care what you are. And as far as a role or a job title, like it is just as much the people’s problem. For not standing up and being themselves as it is the leaders. We’re not caring about who these people are. So you’d has to come together and the leaders have to show who they are.

Frankie Russo: It, this idea that we’re supposed to be this one thing at work and then something else, the rest of our lives, it’s not sustainable. That’s why people burn out. That’s why people are miserable. That’s why they, they end up leaving and everybody’s like, well, how do I get more people to stay? It’s like, we’ll start by letting people be who they are.

Frankie Russo: Like, this is not like a trendy concept or idea. That’s just like a good thing to catch on to. This is non negotiable

Judd Shaw: if you

Frankie Russo: expect to build a great company. And I think if you go back, this isn’t new either. Like you can thrive in your own personal life.

Judd Shaw: And thrive in your own personal life,

Frankie Russo: right? Of course.

Frankie Russo: Yeah, of course, but it is way harder with kids because that is like the ultimate mirror, ultimate test. [00:54:00] And I know we’re doing the right thing. It’s scary. Cause it’s so much easier to just be like, what, no, get, get that done and get it done now, how dare you. And like, this is the way things are and you need to do things the way things are.

Frankie Russo: And then I get on stage and try to talk about how the world has changed us into being this convergent thinking. And I just walked out the house and did it. That’s not going to fly my wife. Dude, she will remind me, like if I even remotely represent what I’m saying that we need to change, like, dude, it’s, it’s, it’s bad.

Judd Shaw: So, you know, you have, uh, you’ve done so much for many, many companies, the bottom line, Innovation. Efficiency, driving innovation, increasing culture. You’ve done so much for your own family at home with so many, uh, you know, tagging on your time. Cause I know that one kid multiply that by six. And that’s a lot of energy you got to bring to, to playing family as well.

Judd Shaw: And so, you know, you [00:55:00] have roles that are making up your, your, yourself, right? How do you, Frankie, Authentically connect with yourself. Yeah. How do you give yourself that?

Frankie Russo: Yeah. So here’s the interesting thing that I’ve found. Um, part of connecting with myself happens. In real time of connecting with others.

Frankie Russo: So there’s a couple of different ways. First of all, obviously, the traditional kind of meditation exercise stuff and looking at at all of that. I do that every morning, sometimes for 45 minutes to an hour. Um, and some of that is not just like, you know, homing the whole time. Some of that is thinking about the day ahead.

Frankie Russo: Organizing my thoughts. It’s not like just like the Buddhist sense of the meditation per se. Um, but it’s, it’s that as well. So it’s a combination of things. So I try to at least once a day stay connected there. Um, I do anytime there’s a negative feeling [00:56:00] that I feel not as much the positive, but the positives too, I like to look at, but really mainly the negative.

Frankie Russo: If I’m feeling a certain way, like I was feeling this way yesterday morning. Um, I, I constantly do a check in because I know that there’s. There’s something there. I lived a long time downplaying that, right? It’s not that big a deal. Right? I’m talking about the small feelings, not the big ones, not like the big traumas or the big pain or the losing a job or somebody dies.

Frankie Russo: I’m talking about like, just like that nagging anxiety that you have about, am I like just a feeling? It’s not even a thought. It’s like, and it’s usually somewhat vague, but I try to make it unvague by inventorying that looking at it. So I’m constantly, yeah. investigating myself, but I’ll be honest, like the, one of the best ways to get to know yourself is to, is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Frankie Russo: And so at this point, I’ve probably sponsored like almost 300 guys, real talk in 16 years. Yeah. And, [00:57:00] and that is, that’s changed my life by the way, and, and helped me find myself in as I’ve helped them find themselves. So it’s, it’s not an. It’s not something you can do in a silo. I think that’s where a lot of people get this wrong.

Frankie Russo: They think that like getting to know themselves can only happen in the woods or should happen in the woods. And it, it does. There’s times when you need to be in the woods, but you will find more about yourself by being in the service of others than you will being by yourself. And that’s the beauty of human connection and human community that I believe is.

Frankie Russo: By design, um, to force us into community with each other,

Judd Shaw: Frankie, two time best selling author book coming out. It’s going to be another bestseller. Love. You’re weird. You’re a future children book author. I can see that in your future. You’re renowned keynote speaker. Really? You’ve done so much. And I can’t thank you for peeling enough.

Judd Shaw: Even just a little bit of your time today to [00:58:00] To offer, you know, the insight that you have. I’m so grateful for you being on the show, Frankie.

Frankie Russo: This is awesome. Look, not every show is created equally and you got a good one. I love your interview style. This is fun, man. You’re, you’re on the right track. I’m digging it, man.

Frankie Russo: Thanks so much for having me on. This is great.

Judd Shaw: Appreciate it so much, Frankie. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to you. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please follow us on your favorite platform or share this episode with a friend. You can also follow me on Instagram at Judge Shaw Official. A special thank you to personal injury law firm, Judge Shaw Injury Law.

Judd Shaw: For their support in helping us bring this podcast to life. Remember friends, authenticity isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being real. It’s about embracing our vulnerabilities, celebrating our strengths and owning our stories. Until next time.

Orange Star

Behind the Armor:
Judd Shaw

Hey, there. I’m Judd Shaw—a lifelong adventurer, storyteller, and emotional intelligence speaker. Growing up, I grappled with feelings of inadequacy, tirelessly driving me to prove my worth in every aspect of my life. As a successful attorney, I reached the top of my field, but success came at a cost. Pursuing perfection left me emotionally drained and disconnected from my true self. It took a global pandemic and the breakdown of my marriage to shake me awake.

Amid the chaos, I embarked on a profound journey inward, delving into mental health, trauma, and the power of authentic human connection. Through therapy and inner work, I learned to regulate my emotions and cultivate a deep sense of self-love. I’m on a mission to share my story and inspire others to embrace their authenticity.

Orange Star

Behind the Armor:
Judd Shaw

I’m Judd Shaw—an adventurer, storyteller, and EQ speaker. Raised in adversity, I internalized a belief that I wasn’t good enough—a belief that drove me to chase success at any cost. As a workaholic attorney, I climbed the ladder of achievement, but a deep sense of emptiness lay beneath the façade of success.

It took a series of personal setbacks, including the upheaval of COVID-19 and the dissolution of my marriage, to jolt me out of my complacency. In the wake of chaos, I embarked on a soul-searching journey, diving into my psyche’s depths to uncover authenticity’s true meaning. Through therapy and introspection, I learned to confront my inner demons and embrace my true self with open arms. Now, as a leading speaker on authenticity, an award-winning author of the children’s book series Sterling the Knight, and a podcast host, I’m dedicated to helping others break free from the limits of perfectionism and live life on their terms.

Orange Star

Behind the Armor:
Judd Shaw

Hi, I’m Judd Shaw—a speaker on human connection and authenticity. From a young age, I battled feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Determined to prove my worth, I threw myself into my career as an attorney, striving for success with unwavering determination.

As the accolades piled, I felt increasingly disconnected from my true self. The relentless pursuit of perfection took its toll, leaving me emotionally exhausted and yearning for something more. It took a global pandemic and the breakdown of my marriage to finally shake me out of my complacency and set me on a new path.

Through therapy and self-reflection, I began to peel back the layers of my persona, uncovering the power of authenticity in forging deep, meaningful connections. As a leading speaker on authenticity, an award-winning author of the children’s book series Sterling the Knight, and a podcast host, I’m on a mission to inspire others to embrace their true selves.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh. euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna.

Listen Now


Circle Graphic

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh. euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna.

Learn More

Brand Strategy & Development Alchemy + Aim
Branding & Site Design Daydream Graphic Design
Brand Alchemist Nick Onken