In this episode, I have the pleasure of talking with Rael Bricker. As a seasoned entrepreneur who turned a health scare into motivation, Rael leverages his diverse experiences from finance to education on two continents and two listed companies. He serves businesses globally, having navigated challenges from starting companies to managing billions in loans.
His partnerships are a blend of real world experience with academic qualifications to guide people and companies towards excellence. From being 6,000 foot underground in a cold gold mine to starting an education business that grew to have 4, 000 plus students to spending years working in venture capital, Rael has seen it all.
He has listed companies on multiple international stock exchanges and his financial services group has settled more than 3 billion in loans over 20 years. Rael has a unique distinction of having sold more than one billion in mortgages from stage. Rael holds two master’s degree, an [00:02:00] MBA and an MSc in software engineering.
He is currently a fellow of the Mortgage and Financial Association of Australia, a certified speaking professional with the Professional Speakers Australia, past chapter president of the PSA and WA, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2018, Rael published, Dive In, Lessons Learned Since Business School.
Rael, welcome to the show.
Rael: Good morning. Great to be here.
Jewels: Rael, take me back to when you were a 22 year old engineer in South Africa and the drinks incident on the
Rael: plane. thank you. It’s an interesting idea. I was this 22 year old probably a little bit arrogant engineer. I worked on the mines for about 19 months on the gold mines, and then I got a promotion to head office, which was unheard of in a corporate structure like Anglo American.
You normally spend 10 years on the mind before you got to head [00:03:00] office. I just probably annoyed enough people that they didn’t want me around and they moved me. I got to head office and I was the junior engineer and in an organization that was incredibly hierarchical, and that’s critical part of the story.
In other words, I was a level engineer, which meant I parked in the third parking lot away from the offices. But if I was one level higher at D1, I would have parked. at the second parking lot. That’s how hierarchically structured this organization was. I got there as this junior engineer and the only office available was a corner office.
So I got the corner office at age 22. Now that was a really annoyed a few people who had designated been there 20 years and wanted the corner office. Anyway my first trip to a diamond mine about four hours out of Johannesburg. I got told, yes, you’re flying on the corporate jet. So that was quite interesting as a 22 year old.
I arrive at the private hangar for [00:04:00] Anglo American, which is, in an Australian context , is a BHP, a Rio Tinto kind of size organization. I got to the private hangar in jeans and an open neck shirt. And all these, my fellow travelers were being delivered by their chauffeurs. In fancy suits and Italian shoes, and I was this 22 year old in an open neck shirt.
So I didn’t know any better. And I was going to a mine site, I was in jeans, and work boots. So anyway, got on the plane and I went right to the back and took the seat and, and in those corporate jets, this, the back seat was always the one over the toilet, like they’d actually turn the toilet into an extra seat on the plane.
Anyway, I was sitting in the back of the plane, we take off, the pilot looks around and says you can move around now, you can take off your seatbelts, and I saw next to me on the floor was a cooler box, in Australia we call it an esky, but it was cooler, a drinks cooler on the floor. I opened it up and I sort of stood up to offer people, because they were all my seniors, [00:05:00] offer people some drinks, and I got a tap on the shoulder and when you’re at 40, 000 feet, tap on the shoulder is not the hand of God.
Thankfully, it’s a little bit more, was the most senior person on the plan, the most senior director of Anglo American and in South Africa, they were, on the right hand of whatever being you believe in, because they were like a dynasty, a family dynasty. And he turned around to me and he said, no, in our planes, the most senior person has to serve the drinks, not the most junior.
And it was in that moment as a 22 year old, that the idea of corporate culture was starting to resonate in my head. I thought in this totally structured, hierarchical organization, where you really, they had different dining rooms for staff, depending on the level that you were in the organization.
But suddenly in the confines of the corporate jet, everything got turned upside down. And I thought, wow, [00:06:00] if an organization can go to that level in their corporate jet and turn it upside down, maybe there is hope. Maybe there is culture hope for the future. Maybe organizations can become, fun places to work.
It’s taken. somewhat that was I was 22 and now almost 60. You know, It’s taken a long time to get to the great resignation and quiet quitting and all the events of 2022 and 2023 that are reflective of bad corporate cultures. But, I had this hope as a 22 year old from that single incident.
That also got me to enjoy flying, by the way, and I ended up getting a pilot’s license a few years later. So it sparked a lot of things, but what it sparked was my interest in corporate culture. And that’s an area I work in today as a professional speaker, is working with organizations to improve their corporate culture.
Jewels: So Rael, what was the significance of the flip in that particular instance? Why was it the [00:07:00] case ,
Rael: in that regard? Because in every other place in the organization, the junior served the senior. Right. in the plane I asked the directors afterwards because we had time to chat on the plane and, I’m a networker.
And so those are people that I still. Got their phone numbers. We had no mobiles in those days and their emails. and I still managed to keep in contact with them, even though they were so many more years, more senior than me in the corporate world. But they obviously saw a spark in me and interest in what they were doing.
But what was interesting was that, that they decided they didn’t want to, in the confines of the plane, and have the most junior person knowing that they’re going to be serving the seniors. And so they also wanted to, when you think about the concept of the corporate jet, you do expect it to be only directors flying in the corporate jet, but because the mine sites were so far away, they knew they had to take a range of people from, junior [00:08:00] engineers to directors.
And so, I just thought it was a great cultural showing that, there was some level of humility at board level. Which wasn’t evident in the public space. And I think that was what really made me believe that there was some great corporate hope.
Jewels: And so take me through the journey that you took from that moment on to where you’ve sort of ended up today as
Rael: a culture.
I went on that journey and then I left Anglo American about six months later to go to business school. I was 25 or 24 when I got to business school and. For me, it was business school. I went to because I knew, and this is, I guess, an inherent understanding. I knew that I wanted to learn lots of things about a lot of things, and I didn’t want to dive deep into any one thing.
I had done that in my engineering undergraduate, and that’s what the NBA did for me. It taught me about business in a variety of sphere. So I did my MBA. [00:09:00] I joined a software house in South Africa selling product to mining houses, very related careers. And about 18 months later, I went, I’d got married in the interim about a year later and six months after marriage, I turned around to my wife who is still married to me today, thankfully.
And said, darling, I hate the corporate world. I’m going out to be an entrepreneur. And so my business partner and I were 26 year old MBA graduates. We decided we were going to teach the world how to run their businesses, even though we’d never run a business ourselves. So that didn’t phase us. We were that probably arrogant, overconfident, whatever you want to call it at that time.
And we ended up and started a consultancy, trying to consult to about being better at what they do. And we never really saw the limitation of not having done it ourselves as anything. We went from there to morph that into an education business, not by design. [00:10:00] And I think if I’m talking to entrepreneurs, that’s always my message is when you got 27 spreadsheets trying to work out whether your business model is going to work, that’s 26 spreadsheets too many.
Because we ended up by through a series of meetings, someone suggested, Why don’t you guys start an education business? You so well qualified? Why don’t you run a and in the Australian context of private TAFE, effectively a private college? And it was the right time in South Africa. It was six months after Nelson Mandela was released.
There was a hunger for education from the previously disenfranchised in South Africa. And so All the stars align, but we didn’t think about the business too much. We went, yeah, let’s try it. So we ran a few adverts. We got a few students, we started a business and that was the start of IMD education centers in mid 1990.
By 1996, we had 4, 000 students, six campuses around Australia, around South Africa, and an opportunity arose to reverse list that into a shell and make [00:11:00] acquisitions to grow that business. So we did that. We then took it from a 90 cent share to a 14 range share. That’s. 17 times multiple by doing nine acquisitions over the next 18 months.
And then I decided to leave the organization. So I took off a year at did. I was under restraint of trade for a year. I was paid handsomely to take off the year, went traveling for four and a half months with my wife and two small children, and did a pilot’s license and a course in holistic healing and massage.
Why holistic healing and massage? Just because it was an interest. No particular reason. And then I went into venture capital. So because we’d done all these mergers and acquisitions, venture capital was a natural space. This was pre the tech boom. It was, I have a master’s I had done with my MBA. I had also done a master’s in software engineering.
And so I was good for a venture fund to look at tech acquisitions in the start of the tech boom. And so, I joined a venture [00:12:00] fund in South Africa a start that’s the start of the tech boom, looking at a venture acquisitions for them. I then moved to Australia and a fund in Australia, stepping me up as investment manager.
I listed that fund raised 22 million with the team. I listed that fund on the ASX in late 2000, there was a crash in March. 2021. And in June 2021, the other managers or directors wanted me to move to Sydney. And I said, no, I like living on the West coast. I think I’ll stay here. And I became an entrepreneur again, had no idea what I was going to do.
I thought I’d help companies raise capital. So I started that and had a few clients and they went, that was great. Can you get us a business loan? And I went, I’m sure I can. And I think again, philosophically, that’s a view of mine that if you admit That you may not know the right answers, but you know where to find the answers.
That’s a good start. And so I started a finance breaking business [00:13:00] and I still own that today, 22 years later and over 3 billion in mortgages. 10 years ago, I was training for a marathon. That’s 2013 and I used to get neck pain. I finished a season of triathlon and every time I ran more than 10 or 12 kilometers, I got neck pain.
And I went, that doesn’t make any sense, went to physiotherapy, didn’t help, and I went, my doctor said, why don’t you just go and have a CT scan of your heart, you’ve got family history of heart disease, but, you’re fit and strong, go and have a CT scan. They picked up that I had two blockages, so I dodged a bullet, I never had an incident, a heart attack or anything, ended up with two cardiac stents in April 2013.
But also with a new philosophy on life, that is, I must pursue what I’m good at. So if I go all the way back to the 1980s in South Africa, I was South African Toastmasters champion in the eighties at age 20. And so I went, I’m really passionate about being on [00:14:00] stage. I’ve sold a billion dollars of mortgages from stage.
I want to now tell my story from stage. And that’s how I transitioned to being professional speaker. So I still work in the financial services group when I’m in Perth. And when I’m not in Perth, I’m traveling, speaking and talking about excellence and how businesses become more excellent. So, so it was a long version of the short journey.
Jewels: No, that’s a good story. Thank you so much. It seems like you’re the kind of person who just takes the opportunity as it arises, not necessarily too much thought. I’m sure there was some, background thought behind them, but you grab it by the horns and go, is is that your character?
Rael: I believe that we can was only when I became a professional speaker and I met professional speakers who were so much better than me. I thought I was good. Until I met a lot of people who were brilliant and I went, geez, I’m really not good and I need to improve. And I got mentors and people who helped me improve.
would say self, I’ve always been self confident. , and in the opening of my [00:15:00] book, I talk about the difference in my life between confidence, overconfidence, and arrogance. And that sometimes you mix those three up, but I’ve always believed that if you believe in yourself and your own abilities, you can do anything.
nO, I wouldn’t do brain surgery, but that’s pushing the limits. but I just believe that if you, if you have enough confidence in your own ability and today with the amazing resources of the internet and being able to literally research and find anything you want. I believe we can do anything we want.
And I see too many people stuck in a rut, like a hamster on a wheel. they’re too afraid to stop the wheel because they think their life will
Rael, take me back to the comment that you made just there in your journey. You said you’ve sold like a billion dollars in mortgages from stage. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Rael: I started the mortgage business 2000 and late 2001, 2003, late 2003, early 2004. I was approached by a property sales group called the proper, [00:16:00] it was called the investors club at the time, but subsequently rebranded as property club.
We’re looking for a finance broker, mortgage broker in Western Australia. And so I met with them and then in talking with the chief executive and the founder. He said, wow, you actually quite a good speaker. You explain things in non bank speak. And that was one of the things cause I had started my business and chose not to employ ex bankers, which is kind of weird in finance, broking because everyone just employs ex bankers.
I want to employ people who I could train to think like I did rather than people who thought like they were in the bank. And he said, wow, you actually explained finance in a way. That is not bank speak. It’s it’s human speak. And I went great. And so he said, well, what about next week? Can you do a seminar for our clients on?
Mortgages or finance or retirement or whatever and I went sure and I did that and it was rave reviews [00:17:00] And there were queues of people standing at the end of it wanting to make appointments to see me and I went Oh, maybe I’m on to something now And so over the years I refined as presentations. I refined what I was doing.
But what it came down to was that I ended up doing seminars for this organization right around Australia and a lot of their international conferences. And when I go back and total up the standing on stage, people coming to talk to me and then helping them with their finances, that’s over a billion dollars worth of finance.
So, wasn’t the hard sell from stage, but I explained things in a way that people got it. And for me as a finance broker, from an ethics point of view, that was very important. You know that I see so many clients who’ve seen another broker and I say, what was your structure? Oh, I don’t know the broker just said I’ll do it and don’t worry about it.
And for me, that was an ethical problem. I wanted people [00:18:00] to truly understand what I was doing for them so that if I fell off the perch tomorrow, they could explain to someone else exactly why I had done that. And I think that may was my difference and that’s why, as my business has done over 3 billion in mortgages over the 20 years because of that ethical framework on which
Jewels: we worked.
Tell me a little bit about that sort of storytelling capability where making something that’s somewhat complex into something that’s simple, simple enough for somebody to share and share on to, to others. Tell me a little bit about how you do that and, some of the structure behind that.
Rael: So yeah, so a few things I firstly don’t use, or if I do use bank terms I’ll use one LVR, right?
So you’ll find ex bankers will talk about your LVR, your LVR. And I would, stop and I’d say, look, I’m going to talk about this thing called an LVR and this is on stage, but let me tell you what it means. It means loan to valuation ratio. And then put up a little slide showing the value of your loan, the value of your property and how it’s [00:19:00] calculated in English, in simple terms, that was the first thing. So that was part of the storytelling was not using, which is humorous in and of itself, TLAs and TLA is a three letter acronym. And TLA is a three letter acronym. It’s just an interesting circle. So I’ve tended not to use TLAs or three letter acronyms, which is common bank speak.
And a lot of it was that a lot of ex bankers or finance brokers wanted to make themselves sound good. And then made themselves, inaccessible. And so I went the other way. So that was part of doing that. The second part of being on stage was I was influenced a lot by a course that I did by a guy by the name of Michael Grinder, an American who’s probably the world expert in nonverbal communication from stage.
And so part of that storytelling was, , a few interesting things that he taught me. So we see in, in the Western world, and it’s a problem if you’re talking in the Middle East because they read from right to [00:20:00] left, not left to right. But in the Western world, we read from left to right. We see a journey as going from left to right.
So firstly, as a speaker on stage, I would be starting on my right, which is my audience’s left. So get them into perspective, and I would start telling them that what I’m going to tell them about today is the journey that they’re going to go on. So I would move to my right and say, this is where you are now.
You may be in a different place, but for the majority of you, this is where you are now in your journey of your property investing. This is the beginning. And then you’re going to be in this middle section of your journey when you’re going to talk about, the growth in your properties and you’re sitting on your growth and you’re waiting for it to accumulate.
And then you’re going to get to your retirement phase over here. And so I’d established three spots on the stage. [00:21:00] one relating to each phase. So that’s the first part of it. Then the second part of the storytelling is I would walk myself back to that start point and tell them about starting the journey and what they need to do from that point.
And then I would move to the middle point and tell them about the middle part of the journey. And almost in their brain, they’re seeing three different people on stage. And so that’s part of that storytelling with being able to tell the story in simple terms, not complicated terms. I use that journey analogy.
that it is a journey. It’s not a destination. It’s a journey that you’re going on, but using those three points on the stage. So that’s one of the ways that I was able to where people got it when they came up to often said, I got it for the first time in my life. I understood the finance. Because and even in my, presentations that I would run on the screen behind me or next to me, whatever those presentations didn’t [00:22:00]have lots of words.
It grates me still today when I, I see people so called professional speakers who have screens full of words and they almost read the words off the screen. Well, we’re all intelligent. We can all read them ourselves. Everything I did was. Graphics. And I early on because of my software background, I worked out how to have graphics that told the story.
So we’re talking about buying property, little houses that move around on the screen and little houses that grew on the screen as your equity grew in your property. And people got those analogies. So it wasn’t just the words. It was also the graphic that was growing when I was talking about property growing.
And so those things combined help tell the story. How much
Jewels: of your personal success do you attribute to your ability to tell those stories and to get up on stage and actually simplify things? A
Rael: lot. A lot had got to do with it. Did I, actively go out and pursue learning about [00:23:00]storytelling? No. As a speaker, I’ve developed that because I’ve watched amazing storytellers.
Develop this, their craft and just I’m, part of professional speakers, Australia, and we have our convention every year and in 2024 convention, I have one of the greatest humorous storytellers from America coming out and telling his keynote story. And then he will dissect it for the people in the audience as to, because they’re all professional speakers, as to what made that his signature keynote story.
So it’s people like that. I saw him speak when I was in Orlando in June, July this year, 2023. And I just saw the way the masterful craft of storytelling. And I went, wow, I’ve still got such a journey to go in learning how to tell stories like that. So,, it’s an amazing skill and I’m improving every day.
I hope on that. And[00:24:00] there are people who have tried to commoditize storytelling and make it a formulaic thing. And I, I don’t believe it’s formulaic. I believe there are certain elements. But at the end of the day, it’s my own style. It’s comes down to my own style of how I present that story.
Jewels: For those listening, there’s a whole bunch of people that have probably got some fantastic businesses that they’re either running or they’re a part of but I call them, some of these people, I call them the world’s best kept secrets. They’re somewhat afraid to get out and, and tell their story. What advice would you give to people that are perhaps either early in their journey of, either public speaking or just publicly telling their story?
In whatever format that may arise in, sort of advice would you give somebody who’s perhaps starting out? I
Rael: guess the advice is to, to get out of their own way. I know that’s kind of weird, but, we all suffer. I still suffer from imposter syndrome. I will be doing something and go, [00:25:00] Hmm, does anyone really care about what I’ve got to say?
And so, it comes down to getting out of your own way. And sometimes when I’ve spoken or I’ve been working with clients and they send me a testimonial and I go, wow, did they actually write that about me? That sort of changes perspective, but at the end of the day, it’s about a level of, not overconfidence or arrogance.
It is about the first time you tell your story, everybody fears being told off that they told a bad story or that no one cares. And the truth is there are, seven plus billion people in the world. There are people who care and there are people who will appreciate your story. was with a professional speaker in America and I asked him a question about his story because I knew his story, I’d heard him speak on stage and there were other people sitting around in the circle, we’re having a drink at the bar and I, he was very shy actually as a professional speaker was quite [00:26:00] shy and I sort of prompted him to tell his story.
Now, one of the things I’ve been told is, you’ve got your elevator pitch, your 30 seconds. Get people’s attention. And this guy took a deep breath and then started talking. And I thought, wow, this guy, and I wasn’t going to tell him, that he needed help, but uh, cause I just wasn’t my place at the time.
I don’t know him that well, but that was part of it. It was about, so one of the things I teach people about how to get over themselves and get in front of people is if we talk about, you meet someone for the first time. And you’re at a networking function, okay? The standard question you get asked is, Hi, my name is Rael, what do you do?
Standard question, right? No, no problem. And most of us will answer with what we do. And then if it’s vaguely interesting, they might ask you, well, how do you do that? But the third and deepest level of that is, why do you do that? And most people [00:27:00] don’t get to that. And so what I do with all my clients is I say very simply write down what you do, how you do it, and why you do it on a piece of paper.
One sentence or one and a half sentences or two sentences max for each. Then turn the piece of paper upside down. And so, and they say, what do you mean? I say, when someone says to you, what do you do? Answer with why you do it. Not what you do, but why you do it. Because that prompts the next question, which is, how do you do that?
And then the third part of it is, what do you do? And so now you’ve engaged with someone in three conversations or three interactions as opposed to one. And the classic, people say to me, what do you do? And I say, I work with corporates on optimizing people and process to maximize profit and productivity.
And I go, Oh, wow. How do you do that? And so what are, it’s my answer when they say, how do you do that is I [00:28:00] design customized programs based on their corporate needs to help them optimize their people and their processes. And somewhere in those two is the right solution for the business. Oh, so what do you do?
Oh, I’m a professional speaker, mentor and an author. So now we’ve had three conversations and in those three conversations or three sentence conversations. I’ve given them a lot more depth and understanding of my motivation, my methodology and the truth of what I actually do and, and we’ve communicated a lot more.
And so that’s one way of doing it without, I do a lot of training in the real estate space and the average real estate agent, you walk into a home open, what do they do? They go, hi, nice to meet you. And they take a deep breath and they tell you everything possible about that house. They don’t stop for a second.
They don’t actually know what you’re looking at. You just could be the nosy neighbor from up the road coming to [00:29:00] have a look. And so part of that is about just understanding that sometimes you have to start with that why. Simon Sinek made it famous start with why. that’s really about personal motivation.
Starting with the why and understanding your deep why. I’m talking about a pure getting your story out there. If you tell people your why, the rest of it makes much more sense. And
Jewels: so for the entrepreneurs out there who are thinking, okay, this is something I should do. Do you have a, like a preferred format or do you think there’s a good starting point for people to test the water?
not everybody can just jump on stage as the first port of call as a way of getting their, their business out. Where would they start and what sort of format do you think is appropriate?
Rael: Well, there’s multiple depending on the business. So, social media today, particularly LinkedIn is a, a good strategy.
It’s about, if you’re not comfortable standing up and speaking, do it through blog posts through [00:30:00] everything that’s written. That’s a good way to start because the more times you write down the blog, the more times you post on social media, and I’m not talking about The salesy in your face.
This is what I do. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Come and book me over here. Kind of social media. That’s not what I’m talking about. They say that the LinkedIn experts and the marketing experts tell you to give, give, give, give, give, and then ask. And maybe give a, give, give again, that sort of approach.
But it’s about being, ask makes my storytelling interesting is because I’m observing the world. So I use something, use an app on my phone called Otter. It’s an AI app been around for a number of years, long before chat GPT came to fruition. And I will be driving in my car and I’ll go, Wow, I just saw something on the side of the road.
There’s something in that. And so I will open up the Otter app and just talk, brain dump [00:31:00] at the time, or take my dogs for a walk, and brain dump while I’m walking, and then it becomes a Word document on my desk. And so that’s how I start getting my ideas out, and my observations on the world. A lot of it is just that.
It’s about, wow, I was walking down the road and I saw this the other day and that relates to something I was doing with a client, but it’s in a context. I think that’s the storytelling context. It’s I often when I’m on planes and this is professional speaking, you spend a lot of time on airplanes on your own and as glamorous as that sounds.
Sometimes it can get quite tedious. But I often will put on a series that I wouldn’t sit and watch at home because I don’t have the patience. At home, and I’ll put it on, put my headphones on and then open my laptop and be working and writing and thinking and doing while the series is playing in the background.
99 percent of the time it’s weird things happen. I’ll hear a line in the [00:32:00] series and I’ll pause it and I’ll rewind and I’ll listen to that line again. And then I’ll open up a word document and type that line out and that line will spur me on to a whole lot of other stories. Thanks. And so it’s just about being aware of your surroundings and I’ll use with your indulgence one particular story.
There was a show called Billions, series that’s on multiple streaming channels, and I don’t really have the patience to watch the seven seasons or something, whatever it is at home, but I watched the entire seven seasons on the planes. There was a line in it where Taylor is her name in, in the story.
He’s talking to a potential investor and says to investor, I’ll be down there with my troops in the trenches, fighting it out.
And the investor turned around to her and said, and her was the wrong term, by the way, because in the show, the preferred pronoun is they, but I’ll [00:33:00] just say her for now. The investor turned around and said, no, that’s not what I want you to do. As a leader, concept of having a sidearm and putting your gun away and standing on the mountain behind your troops with a broad view of the landscape is much more important.
Because when you’re down in the dungeons, in the trenches with your troops, you’re looking through the narrow sights of a gun and you have a very narrow focus. As a leader, you need to be standing on the hill. And that was just, it was a fictitious story. A script writer wrote that line.
And I wrote seven blogs out of that. One line, because I was inspired by the concept and then I quoted Sun Tzu’s Art of War and a whole lot of other things in those seven articles that I wrote. But it’s amazing, that’s what you need to be aware of in your life and a lot of people are too blinkered to be aware of that.
So that [00:34:00] entrepreneur who doesn’t know how to put their story out there, don’t try and tell your own story all the time. Try and tell someone else’s, not, don’t steal someone else’s story. But relate to something that everyone can understand. So in this case, I related to the story of the movie Billions that everyone’s seen advertised on TV, right?
We’ve all seen the adverts and the short sum. A lot of people have seen the series and how you could relate one line to it to seven different blogs and articles. I
Jewels: think the key there, and you’ve it beautifully, is that to come up with these stories, it’s not necessarily about coming up with a blockbuster movie yourself, but what you’ve done there is showing that just by being observant in your day to day, whether that’s walking down the street, walking your dog, driving your car, being on a plane, watching a movie series, your natural day to day is, it’s just that.
There are stories within that you can find, there might be something that you’ve seen physically, it could be some language, some [00:35:00] words that you heard, it could be a beautiful scene that’s appeared in front of you. It almost doesn’t matter where the inspiration comes from, but having that ability, I think the ability to be observant and to take note.
And then to do something with that, to take that one line and turn it into seven blogs just doesn’t happen by chance you have to stop, you have to think, you have to start writing, you have to articulate, you have to edit and then, becomes a story in itself. So,
Rael: yeah, absolutely. But it is, it’s just about being observant.
was in Orlando in July and part of. The way I manage my travel is that I exercise, try and exercise at six, between six and seven every morning. And I was lucky enough that I got into Orlando and I had no meetings on until lunchtime on the first day. So I actually had for the first time in a long time, three hours to go and exercise and be in the gym.
And I went out for a run. It was on a golf course. It was beautiful. [00:36:00] And I was out on the golf course. And I love the dawn. Because of my, weird thing of being out early in the morning, I often see the dawn and I often see the sunrise. And so I’ve got lots of photographs I’ve taken in great places around the world of sunrises.
And a lot of those sunrise pictures inspire my stories. Because there’s something magical about that, that you can capture and the fact that you’re out there at that time of the morning, your brain is fresh, you’ve got fresh oxygen, and so I use a lot of that, I use a lot of that, that time exercising, going out for a run going out for a walk just to brain dump.
And because the biggest problem, and you commented on there, you got to write it and edit it, whatever. The reason I use Otter, and there was a guy by the name of Howard Berg, who calls himself the world’s fastest reader, and, in interviewing Howard on my podcast, he said the problem in our minds is that when we write, And then we look back [00:37:00] three lines and start editing and then we lose our creative streak.
He said the best thing you can do is to dictate, and that’s why I use this app called Otter. I dictate everything. It comes up as a Word document, so all my creativity is done in the dictation phase. And then my other end of the brain kicks in when I edit, and that does stops me doing this. Oh, I’ve written three words.
Let me go up and edit that. And then you lose your creative train. So part of that process is being able to separate out the creative from the editing. Nice.
Jewels: Rael, tell me a little bit about your book, Dive In, lessons learned from business school. Can you share a couple of lessons perhaps on what you learned?
Rael: Sure. So, the book itself is, started out, in 2015 14, I was asked to speak at a mortgage conference about how I built my mortgage business. It was about 2 point something billion. I was one of the few in the country [00:38:00] who had done 2 billion at that point. And I said, sure. And I wrote what I called it tips and traps from the trenches.
It’s a terrible name right now, but it was 10 tips that I put together. anD that became the basis of that talk and a number of my speeches over that period while I was evolving as a speaker. and so that’s what evolved. And when I was started actually getting it into the book format. wHich, by the way, big imposter syndrome, I finished this first conference in 2014, got on a plane, had an iPad with me, and I started writing on an iPad, which is incredibly complicated because you have no tactile feel.
You got to watch your hands all the time. And I wrote 2000 words on the four hour flight back to Perth. And I went, there’s a book in that. And so every morning for the next year, I got up and I wrote for an a half an hour every morning. Didn’t have Otter at the time, so it was really complicated, because I was doing this [00:39:00] edit stuff all the time.
Yeah, that’s what I did. And then I put the book away, because I didn’t think anyone wanted to see it for two and a half years. No one ever read it. And I ran into my cousin in South Africa, whose wife was a book publisher, and I sent her the manuscript and I said, tell me how bad it is. And she said, just write another 5000 words and we can publish it.
And so I got that in terrible imposter syndrome that no one wanted to hear my story. So I’ll give you some ideas. I have a live display as well as the electronic version like that. But the chapters in the book, the very first chapter says tips and traps and a bird’s eye view. And so that’s what the physical book looks like.
It’s available on Amazon, but I’m happy to give your listeners a free PDF download, which I’ve sent you the link to previously. So what are those tips? The biggest one, which actually became the working title of the book before it was called Dive In was. Give up control to gain control. It is what took [00:40:00]my mortgage business from small to big because the traditional mortgage broker in the early 2000s did everything themselves.
We saw the clients, collected the paperwork, submitted the deal to the bank, followed up with the bank, went to sign documents with the clients and settled the loan. Simple process, but that’s what it was. 2004 and four, five, I employed my very first assistant and. I gave up control. I gave up control of that process because I trusted my own instincts in employing that person.
They had a commerce background, didn’t know anything about mortgages. I thought I would train them, which is what I did, but I gave up the day to day control of that paperwork because I realized, and that’s something entrepreneurs often forget, they control freaks and they try and do everything. Do what you’re good at.
Do the 500 an hour revenue generation and leave the 10 an hour admin to someone else. [00:41:00] And so that is probably the biggest lesson from my book was that that was how I grew at that time. I had 18 brokers working for me. I’ve then I subsequently dropped to five and then I’m up to nine now, but by dropping to five and having a team of four admin staff, we were 10 times more efficient than we were with 18 brokers.
And so giving up control to gain control, hard work for an entrepreneur, because we all think that no one else can do things the way we can. We’re the best at it. And then we’d suddenly realize that we shouldn’t be doing those mundane tasks. We should be letting other people do that and concentrating on what we do best.
And that’s probably one of the greatest lessons of the book. That’s, I mean, there’s lots of them in the book that that’s probably the key one. The other key one is that everyone is in sales. Doesn’t matter what your job is. don’t tell the marketing guys, but everyone’s [00:42:00] in sales. At the end of the day, marketing is great and I get people phoning me and saying, can you speak at this conference?
It’ll be great for your profile. And I’ll say great for my profile, but doesn’t put food on the table. And yes, occasionally, and I will do a couple of those a year because I do think it’s good for my profile. At the end of the day, it’s about me selling. It’s about me going to corporates and selling to them what I can do for them.
you know, sales has a sleaziness associated with it. People don’t feel comfortable saying they’re in sales. The truth of it, if you’re working in government, in corporate government organizations, and you go into a meeting and you’re trying to convince them to do this project, not this project you’re selling.
And as soon as we actually learn that we’re all selling The world would be a much easier place to deal with people. I think that’s
Jewels: fabulous advice. It took me a long time personally to understand that concept that everybody is in sales and particularly the entrepreneur, right? The, the person at the [00:43:00] helm doesn’t matter what role they may play within their organization.
They are the key salesperson, if anything within that, and they should always be trying to sell it. As you say, it doesn’t have to be a sleazy endeavor, but it does have to be a conscious effort. So it took me a long time. So fabulous advice. Thank you, Rael. I have enjoyed our conversation, but I have to ask you one more question.
of you who are listening to the podcast and can’t see what I can see, behind Rael there is a bookshelf, and on top of the bookshelf there’s at least six, I think fedora style hats, there is a gold sequenced one, a bright fluoro green, a red tartan, I think a silver shiny one, a black one.
And I’m not sure of the uh, six one, a blue one. Is it? Yeah. What.
Rael: So there is a, facilitation methodology called the six hats. Yes. The six thinking [00:44:00] hats. And so I just had them in a pile. And when I was setting up the bookshelf here, I went, why not put them up? They’re a talking point. So, yeah, so I use the six hats sometimes depending on the group.
Dynamics. When I find there are too many dominant people in a group. And I have to actually give everyone a chance to contribute. I will revert to using the six hats because therefore everyone’s role is defined in contributing to the conversation. And so as a facilitator and I interestingly, I find that if it’s a very big group doesn’t work because you can’t control it, but if it’s a boardroom style, 10 people around the table using the six thinking hats, methodology really gets free people focused on particular aspects of a problem.
Jewels: there had to be a story behind that. So thank you so much.
Rael: These are all pieces of wood with magnets on [00:45:00] them. And often on stage when I’m talking about, say, culture, I will get a board, a magnetic whiteboard and stick these on. So these travel with me all over
Jewels: the world. So for those who can’t see again, there, there are a number of words on the pieces of timber, as you say, with the, with metal backs it says business excellence, culture business systems, ethics,
Rael: growth, potential, and it all forms a house.
It’s a blocks that make a house again. This is a classic and probably. simple story. I was sitting in a coffee shop trying to work out a model of how I could explain me as a business generalist to businesses because everyone wants to find someone in this very narrow lane and I’m a generalist because I love every aspect of business and I was sitting in this coffee shop.
My son was at his guitar lesson across the road and it was a Saturday morning ritual. I sat in this coffee shop with my [00:46:00] laptop waiting for him to have breakfast. And I saw this five year old, maybe six year old kid building a house with wooden blocks. And the kid instinctively knew that a house needed a foundation, walls, and a roof, a pointed roof.
And I watched this and I said, there’s my model. I wasn’t, it sounds a bit creepy that I was watching a five or six year old kid, but it was just another table within the coffee shop. And I sat there on my laptop and I flipped the screen over and I drew on the screen a model of a house. With underlying foundations being culture and ethics, and those are two of the areas that I work in.
And then I looked at systems, people, processes, human resources, all those other things that fitted into this model. And then I drew the roof on it, and the roof represented growth potential. Why? Because it pointed up to the sky with no limitations. aNd that became my business excellence model, my model of an [00:47:00] excellent organization has this culture and ethics as the strong foundation and all these other components that lead to their business growth.
Jewels: Fabulous Rael, as they say, with any good storytelling is they explain it to me like a fifth grader. So, fabulous analogy. Thank you so much for your stories. Thank you so much for your time. Where can the listeners find out? A little bit more about you and I’ll add all this into the show
Rael: notes. So, LinkedIn, I’m very active on LinkedIn, Rael Bricker on LinkedIn, or my website, raelbricker.com and there are videos, there are blogs, there are lots of things on there. And in the show notes will be raelbricker. com/freebook. And people can download a free PDF version of the first book I wrote called Dive In.
Jewels: Fabulous. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.
Rael: Pleasure. It’s been great sharing stories today.