This week on The Circuit of Success, Brett Gilliland interviews guest John Ruhlin. John shares his background growing up on a farm in Ohio and his initial plan to become a doctor. However, a mentor’s generosity and the power of meaningful gifting changed his trajectory. He became the top rep for CutCo knives by gifting high-quality knives to CEOs and building strong relationships. The conversation touches on lessons learned during the pandemic, including the value of remote work and setting boundaries. John mentions his strategy of leveraging technology and being selective about in-person engagements. Tune in for insights on John Ruhlin’s journey and the Giftology approach.

The Circuit of Success

Brett Gilliland: [00:00:00] All right. Welcome to the Circuit of Success. I’m your host, Brett Gilland. Today I’ve got my buddy John Ruhlin. And John, what’s up dude?

John Ruhlin: Thanks for having me. How you doing, dude? I’m great. Did you

Brett Gilliland: throw up, punch anybody today

John Ruhlin: playing basketball? I did. I, I throw, uh, Scotty, so I did. I felt so bad, and then he drained to three and I’m like, I didn’t, I didn’t throw.

Chop ’em hard enough. Exactly.

Brett Gilliland: Didn’t hit you hard enough, man. Well, uh, you are John Ruland. You are the author of Giftology. You are an advisor, you’re a speaker, man. You’re going all over the world and, uh, you’re making some things happen, man. It’s been fun to watch. Well,

John Ruhlin: it’s, uh, I’ve been very fortunate. I got a lot of people in my corner,

Brett Gilliland: so.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, that doesn’t just happen by accident, so we’re gonna, we’re gonna get that out of you today. I know you’re a humble guy and you won’t wanna chat about it, but it’s my job to make you talk about it. You can, we can go anywhere you want to go. All right. Well, uh, if you can though, man, uh, we, we did this about five years ago, maybe five and a half years ago, right?

When I was starting the podcast, God, probably almost six years ago. And, uh, now here we are again, but for those people that don’t know John Ruland, man, give us a little backstory. What’s made you, the man you are today, kind of your upbringing and, and kinda get us [00:01:00] to where we’re at now and what we’ll talk about here

John Ruhlin: in a little bit.

Yeah, so I didn’t grow up in any, you know, any of the cool towns, LA, Austin, Nashville. I grew up in Ohio Farm kid. 47 acres, you know, milking goats every morning. Uh, so learned what I didn’t wanna do the rest of my life. Yeah. Although ironically, we just bought 40 acres. I think I was talking to you about land early on.

Um, and just got 20 chickens and it’s kind of going back to my roots Yeah. Of, uh, of, you know, the farm, the, the, uh, baling hay, all that kind of stuff. And, uh, I thought I’d go make my mom proud and is gonna go be a doctor, uh, chiropractor, do some something holistic, functional. And, uh, God got ahold of my life.

I had had a, a mentor who is a law firm owner and he, when you’re poor, you grow up poor. You notice some people are generous, like that just seems weird. And he was always doing things radically, generously. And because of that, he was the most light, trusted and top of mind dude in town. Yeah. Every deal came his way, every referral.

And I saw how seeds he had planted 30 years before with no, like, wasn’t like [00:02:00] an expectation or like strings attached, like. He would love on somebody, do something. 30 years later, they’re in a position of, you know, inherited real estate or whatever it was. And who did they call? They called Paul. Why?

Because of the relationship. So I was interning with Cutco at the time, desperate to pay for med school, uh, hoping it would last this summer in my fourth appointment, I pitched Paul the knives and, uh, which is, you know, everybody thinks they have hard, like selling insurance, financial services like pro sports, like.

Selling knives to your girlfriend’s dad, right. The most weird, awkward, but Paul didn’t make me feel weird. He’s like, John, I, uh, he bought a set for himself and his three unmarried girls, daughters. And then he comes back to me with this question, which, like, who asked this? John, I wanna help your, your goals.

What else can I do for you? That’s literally how he led his life. So I rack my brain. I’m like, Paul’s always giving things away. Clients, employees, all of his, all of his clients were like CEOs of million and billion dollar companies, and they’re all into the outdoors. So I pitch ’em, the pocket knives are like a few hundred dollars.[00:03:00]

And, uh, so a week later before church. Weird, you know, but he didn’t make me feel weird. He said, John, I don’t wanna wear the pocket knives. I’m like, I, I understand. He’s like, I do wanna order something though. I’m like, What’s that? He’s like, I’m gonna order a bunch of these, you know, the chef knives, the pairing knives, like you wanna give a bunch of CEOs of like million and billion dollar companies, like Kitchen Tool Y.

And he said, John, the reason I have more referrals and deal flow and access all these outcomes we want in business is I found out if you take care of the family and business, everything else seems to take care of itself. So that was the lightning bolt moment. I started to, instead of buying beer in college, I was buying knife stats for CEOs of big insurance companies.

And Coco’s worked with about 2 million reps in 70 years, we became their number one rep in the history of the company. Wow. By, you know, we call it Giftology, but really it’s, it’s how do you show up in powerful, unique, memorable ways for relationships, whether that’s your employees, whether that’s your clients, your suppliers.

And so I put med school on hold and started this little business around it, and that was 23 years ago. Amazing.

Brett Gilliland: Absolutely amazing. So now what’s [00:04:00] the, uh, what’s the vision with your 40 acres? What, what do you see there? Yeah,

John Ruhlin: well, I mean, it’s, uh, the goal is to slow down. I read a book recently, a venture of mine’s been challenging me to, to shift my thinking.

Actually, Matthew’s one of the guys that’s been challenging me to like, Matthew Kelly. He’s like, you know, book’s done well. It’s sold a hundred thousand copies, you know, as a self-published book, multiple languages. Like that’s, you know, average business book sells four or 500 copies, and then it fizzles out.

So I’m grateful for that, but he’s like, you’re, you’re only leveraging your IP like 3% of what it could be. Mm. And uh, and then the other book that I read called Becoming a King talks about how as men, we’ve kind of outsourced everything and all we do is think and we don’t get our hands dirty and it’s not good for our soul.

And so like, I’ve been like things on a, on a spreadsheet that normally I’d be like out, you know, delegating, like mowing the lawn or picking up a chainsaw or a weed eater. Yeah. All those things I’ve gone back to. And I’ve noticed it connects me to my girls. It connects me to nature, it connects me to like my faith.

It’s like it’s been a [00:05:00] shift, but it doesn’t make sense on paper. Yeah, right. And so for me, part of the 40 acres was to be more intentional about slowing down. And everybody says they wanna slow down. Everybody says they wanna be less busy. But a lot of times, myself included, our priorities are not geared towards where I’m putting boundaries in place and shifting things and actually doing the things I say I want to do.

I’m just talking about it. Yeah. My wife will call me like, You’re good at talking. Are you like, are you, you really

Brett Gilliland: slowing down? Yeah. You’re really good at at

John Ruhlin: talking. Like, are you really gonna follow through on these things and actually do the things with the girls? And so we got chickens, but like I drug my feet cuz I was like, man, that’s gonna be time and energy and effort.

It’s like, dude, clean up all this stuff. Yeah. If you’re. You know, talk about slowing down and, and getting your hands dirty and then just like talk about it for five years, which I did. I did, I talked about it for a long time, but like once we bought the land and now like actually doing it, I’m like, man, like it feels good.

It’s one thing to get a workout at the gym, it’s another thing to go out and freaking work in the sun with the chainsaw. I’ve worked muscles. I haven’t worked in [00:06:00] 40

Brett Gilliland: years. I, you know, I like it, man. I, we have some land as well, but I like being out there and I like my boys knowing how to work a chainsaw and a knife and an ax and all that stuff too.

And I think. For me, it is fun to get out there and just kind of take it all in, man, take in nature and, and enjoy that stuff. And I’m sure we could compare stories. You’ve got four girls? I do. I’ve got four boys. You know, Different worlds at our houses. Very,

John Ruhlin: yeah. I, Michael Hyatt has five girls and he, and he jokes that he, you know, he consistently has estrogen poisoning.

Exactly. And, uh, and so like you have, you know, plenty of testosterone running through the house. There’s

Brett Gilliland: there’s plenty of it. There’s plenty of it. No doubt. Let’s, um, one of the, I usually like to ask it at the end, but it, it’s been on my mind a lot lately, is what did you learn from the pandemic Man? We were, you know, we’re shut down for all this time.

What was some of the biggest learnings that you had as a leader? You are, and the people you surround yourself with? Some thoughts you can share with our listeners on that? Yeah,

John Ruhlin: I, I mean, I think, I mean, we’re fortunate, we’ve been virtual for 14 years, so all of our employees outside of a videographer are out.

Inside the area. I’m the only [00:07:00] one that’s here. Yeah. Um, so it confirmed that it’s possible to, to run a business remote and Yeah. And uh, but I think one of the biggest things for me, and I think part of it is just my wiring. I have a fear of missing out and like, I wanna be in the room, I wanna be doing the thing.

And I realized I don’t have to be in the room all the time. Like I could say no to probably 60, 70, 80% of the things. And still like, Have a successful business. And so I doing things from afar and, and really, you know, the core part of our agency on the gifting side is I can help somebody hit, you know, 400 cities and one day without jumping on an airplane, without going to a stage.

And I knew that, but I, I didn’t always practice, you know, like I would still have that inkling of like, wanting to show up in it. And I’d be in a room and I’d be like, I didn’t really need to be here. And I think that the pandemic got me more focused on, and so my travel’s down from the peak, you know, probably 10, 15 years ago, it’s down 80%.

You know, with the video, I look, I’ll take the [00:08:00] same stage I’m on, you know, big stage. I’ll cut it into 40 clips. So it looks like I’m on 40 stages, right? I’m really on like one a month, two a month at the most. Mm-hmm. And so I, I’ve, you know, tightened up the boundaries and I still have some room to go on Yeah.

On that of saying no and, uh, and being able to, to leverage being home.

Brett Gilliland: So what’s the ultimate vision with that though? Because, I mean, I think it, you still gotta be out there, right? I always say you gotta go play in traffic. Yeah. So you gotta go play in traffic and your business and, and whether it’s my business, financial services, or your business, So how, how do you do that?

Stay home more, but yet still play in traffic.

John Ruhlin: So one of the things I, I’ve realized is, um, I’m in a different season with my kids being 12 to three. Yep. I’ll, I’ll buy somebody’s plane ticket and fly them to me. Okay. I’ll host them here versus me going to them. I used to just, I’ll jump on the plane. Well, there’s power in being able to say, You know, come, let’s, let’s hang here, let’s do this.

Like, I’ll fly, I’m gonna fly you. Or like, so I think there’s ways to get creative about that. And I think [00:09:00] that there’s, um, you know, once I shake somebody’s hand and spend time with them, like, and, and build that bridge, like, it’s amazing what you can do with a text or FaceTime or Zoom once you’ve established that connection.

And so I do think that, and picking the right rooms to be in, like if I’m gonna go somewhere, typically it’s gonna be on stage. Why? Well, I’m able to impact thousands, hundreds, or thousands or tens of thousands of people. And the power of the podcast, I mean, I’ll sell more books off of being on a mid-level podcast that nobody’s ever heard of than being on Fox News nationally.

Why? Because somebody’s getting to spend 60 minutes diving into and connecting with. I mean, what would you like? A big stage for me would be on, you know, a 10, 10,000 person stage. I. Yep. I mean, there’s plenty of podcasts that have 10,000 Yeah. Listeners and sometimes the right listeners and they’re getting more intimately connected and then they have a follow up to go connect with you on your website or whatever else.

So I’ve realized like, you know, there’s a lot of pieces of technology that allow us to scale and I think [00:10:00] most people, myself, at times included, are more busy with all of these leverage points. Like that doesn’t make any sense. Yeah. Like, we should be able to do more with significantly less. And I, I find myself, you know, yeah, I need to play in traffic, but I need to pick the right intersection.

Right, right. And then go be really intentional and fricking dominate that intersection and then get the heck out. Yeah. Versus like piddling around and doing stuff that really doesn’t need to be done. Tell us just

Brett Gilliland: for, uh, perspective, right? Because being the author of Giftology, the author of Giftology, you, you’ve had some amazing stages you’ve been on where you’ve given pretty amazing gifts.

And then you’ve done things that nobody sees that maybe you sent something to somebody and it opened up the door for you to get what you wanted. But I, cause I know the price tag on some of these things and, and I know, but, but you believe enough in gifting that thing, whatever that widget is, right? That, that will you have enough faith that it’s gonna open up a door [00:11:00]that’s gonna pay for that.

Thing again that you bought 10 x because of what you’ve done. So walk us through some of those examples so people can get a perspective of what you

John Ruhlin: actually do. Well, what’s what’s interesting is almost even small companies will have marketing budgets, biz dev sponsorship, affiliate, Facebook ads. Like if you look at somebody’s like overall sales and marketing and even HR budget to bring in the right talent.

Yep. You know, even a small company is probably investing seven figures in that. Like if you have a hundred employees, even your health insurance for your employees. Yeah. Probably is $2 million a year. Yeah. And, and business owners signed that check, they don’t even think twice about it. Yeah. And nobody’s like crying or writing home and being like, oh my gosh, they offer a health insurance and 401K match.

Right. But it costs us, as business owners a crap ton of money. We get no upside. It’s table stakes. So what we’ve, what I’ve realized with gifting is it’s really just a way to be the purple cow Seth Godin’s concept of, you know, or a blue ocean. Yep. And. I might not win every time I do. Like, you know, for Vaynerchuk, we did a 40 or 50,000 [00:12:00] art piece on stage at a crisp event.

One of the biggest, I couldn’t, it was pit bull’s old stage down in Atlanta. I couldn’t make it from one side of the stage to the other side. It was at the big Marriott Marquis, you know, it was, I bet you they invested just in the stage in the speakers alone, $6 million. And the guy I know that like 10, 10 years ago was operating out of a one bedroom apartment.

Like he’s grown this stage incredibly now. So can I stop you there

Brett Gilliland: for a second? So, so Gary V you get the deal, you get the, is this the rec I’m speaking? Yeah. Okay. You’re okay. So you’re speaking, you know he’s gonna be there, you know, you want to obviously meet Gary V. He’s, yeah,

John Ruhlin: I partnered with Michael.

We split the cost on this piece and, um, And so people are like, dude, like 50 grand or even 25 grand, why would you do that? And I’m like, if you wanted to get, you know, if it said you’re gonna hire an assistant, you’ll pay 50 grand a year. Yeah. If you wanted to get Gary as a sales rep for your brand, you could offer him a few million dollars and he’d turn you down.

Right. I’ve literally like, like the guy we did, the Brooks Brothers, we did 25 grand for him, Cameron Harold, five, six books. People are like, dude, 25 grand, why did you [00:13:00] do that? I’m like, I can tie back. Over a seven. Over seven figures of deals that have come from that one relationship. Mm-hmm. Show me that’s a 50 x r o r return on relationship, show me another Facebook ad or whatever else like you.

There’s no, it’s usually like put in a dollar, get $2 back. But with the right relationships, you put in a dollar into the right employee and you get a hundred dollars back, you put in the right client or center of influence or partner, you get $50 back or maybe a thousand dollars back. Like it’s usually humans.

Yeah. And so, so many people are like John, like you’re just being lavish and ridiculous. And I’m like, no. Like I’m actually a practical farm kid. And I’ve seen that this little area over here, because nobody takes it serious. It’s like this redheaded snapshot, like really gifting, like Yeah. Oh, that’s cute.

Oh, that’s fun. Like isn’t that the thing you do at Christmas? Like no. Like this is how you show up powerfully to move people to influence. And what do I win every time I do that? No. I might have, I might do that for 20 people and five of them might turn out to be duds, or they might be dormant for a decade.

Like [00:14:00] the Cubs took me seven years to land. Dr. Horton the largest builder in the, in the country, seven years to land. Most people give up after, but most people say they’re playing the long game and they give up after seven days or seven months. Right. And so my challenge to people is, is that you say people matter.

You say you’re all about relationships, but most people only do things at transactional times and when you can show up powerfully for people, when most people are doing the dinners and rounds of golf and ballgame tickets, which is all fine, but everybody in every industry entertains and loves on their relationships the exact same way.

What do you do for your employees? All we offer health insurance. Cool. What do you do that’s unique that makes people tell your story at dinners that they’re at and gets their family to want to come work for you? Yep. Well for us, we pay for house cleaning every of the week. Every employee that works for a Giftology costs us a few grand.

That’s the benefit they tell at dinner stories. That’s that at family gatherings and whatever else. There’s a line of people that wanna work for us because we’re showing up differently for employees, clients, partners. And so it’s not about being lavish, it’s [00:15:00] actually about like, I need to be different cuz I can’t outspend my publicly traded competitors.

Right. So I gotta be creative. I gotta be thoughtful. Not just check a box, not just give, you know, oh, we, we do referral gifts. That’s dumb. Don’t do a referral gift. That’s transactional. Yeah. Show up for your clients and your employees and your partners and your centers of influence as it just because, so the timing matters.

So there’s all of these different things. So, so at Gary V. Yeah. 50 a lot, but there’s, you know, there’s other times where it might be five K or $500. Or $50, right? Like it’s not the dollar amount. It’s like, but it, most people put themselves into a box in this gifting realm and they say the same person they’re taking to the Super Bowl or the Masters for 10 20 grand a person, and then they’re giving them a hundred dollars Patagonia vest with their logo on it, right?

One one’s level 10 and one is like a negative three. Yeah. I’m gonna go over in this little negative three area, and even if I just get somebody to be a five, Everybody else is like, it’s just stands out so far and above. So [00:16:00] it’s uh, it’s a fun game to play. Just most people don’t understand the game. You gotta

Brett Gilliland: be creative and you gotta have the.

You know what’s to do it right? I mean, to spend the 25, 50 grand to go out and do it with the hopes that Gary v gives you five minutes.

John Ruhlin: Right? Right. Yeah. And so, I mean, you know, Vayner is a client now. S like, actually they, he was a client before I, I, why not? Because of Gary is because of cmo. Like what we were doing.

Yeah. DRock, his video guy liked what we were doing. His president of his, of Sasha, the consulting firm. Yep. Like what we were doing. So, so many times people are like, John, I wanna take care of my clients. We’re gonna do golf, we’re gonna do bourbon. I’m like, I don’t care what the guys or gals like that are the decision makers.

What’s their spouse like, what’s their assistant like? So a lot of the things we do are like, to this day, we still do a a crap ton with the knives. Why? Because most people, what do they do when they gather? Whether you make 50 grand or $5 million, you gather in the home, you break bread with loved ones, your inner circle, and you spend time together celebrating.

And so 80 to 90% of the things we do in all industries, all sides of the companies, whether employees, clients, partners, doesn’t [00:17:00] matter. They’re humans. Are still kitchen oriented, are still hospitality oriented. It’s silly.

Brett Gilliland: You sent me knives probably six years ago and they’re still maybe even longer. Yeah, maybe even longer ago.

They’re still in my kitchen. The number one knife used, it’s Brett and Julia Gillan and family. It’s got a visionary logo on it. It, it’s phenomenal. Right. And the kids like the knives. I mean, they’re the best knives you can get.

John Ruhlin: I got a call. This month from somebody. They had three partners. They’re one of the larger real estate investment firms.

We had worked with them eight, nine years ago and, uh, it kind of fizzled. One of the, one of the partners didn’t like the idea and I get a call from the, one of the other partners he had left. He said, John, I’ve been thinking about you every single day for the last seven years. And as soon as I went out on my own, I partnered with these billionaire guys out of Wisconsin.

We’re doing, we’re doing industrial real estate. He’s like, I got a bunch of relationships I need to appreciate and engage. And who was the first person I thought of you? You, cuz the stupid knives. Subconsciously. Consciously, right? I’m thinking you, [00:18:00] you have the one like. The one square foot of real estate on somebody’s countertop.

Yep. If you can be like, trusted and top of mind, well, most people might be liked, right? Hey, you’re fun. Hey, trusted. Yeah. You’re good at what you do. Yep. But they’re not top of mind cuz most people are getting bombarded with a hundred thousand texts and tos and whatever else. And so who gets the referral?

Who gets the deal? Who gets the phone call? Yep. The person who’s thought of in those scenarios and most people just aren’t thought of.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. That’s crazy. Good stuff, man. What, um, let’s talk about some of the personal side that we can, like from a daily habit standpoint. Yeah. So like, what are the things, I walked in here day, I’m like, man, you’re looking kind of buff, right?

So, so what are the habits that John Ruland is doing every day? To make sure you’re living and being there for your, your wife, your kids, your business. What are those

John Ruhlin: things? Yeah. I mean, you can’t take care of somebody if you don’t take care of yourself. Yeah. And so for me, um, about five and a half years ago, I, I started, I ballooned up, I was at two 80 and part of it was the travel stress where tear entrepreneur, [00:19:00] all those things, all those excuses.

And you go to dinners and like the wines pour and the, and the, the bread. Bread and all that, steaks and pasta and appetizers. And so I was like, man, I’m, I’m, like I say, I’m all about like holistic health and wellness and like, I’m not. I, I mean, I look at, I look at pictures that people will find for podcasts and they, they’ll find the old ones of me in like a suit jacket.

Like, no. And I’m like, please don’t do that. Like when we went to Australia, that was the one that they put on the screen and I was like, talk about like eating humble pie and like, just like humility. So for me, like I starts with health. I get up early. Um, I. Either I play basketball a couple times a week or I’ll go to the gym and lifting is big for me.

Like I’m not a big cardio guy. I think, um, I have mentors that are in the health and wellness space and like we have a lack of muscle. And as you get older, if you don’t have muscle, like that changes everything. Uh, and so for me, like lifting, um, sauna almost every day, if not every day, and then cold plunge and then fasting and so [00:20:00] like, um, last, last year.

I probably fasted 10 times. Uh, five day water and coffee only. Um, for me, like I’m not a moderation kind of person, so like I, I can be like, like the people that are like, oh, I just, I ate a, I ate a subway, a Turkey sub, and I just cut out Coke and I like dropped 40 pounds. That wasn’t me. Like, I had to be like all in, all in and really diligent and, and keto and, and, and really focused on that.

Um, and for me, like, I spend a lot of time, you know, reading and, um, and diving into podcasts like I’m a learner. Um, you know, I, I love, uh, being around other people and so I, I do have. Um, you know, some, some, uh, masterminds and things that I’m a part of, but in general, like my day-to-day routine is focused on overall health and, and slowing down enough.

And then the last thing I’ll just say is breath work. Um, for me that’s like tied into like almost a meditative state. Um, but the whim hof stuff kind of tied in with the cold plunge tank, um, has been huge for me. It’s a [00:21:00] game

Brett Gilliland: changer, isn’t it? It is really? It, the, the, the cold plunge doesn’t get easier.

John Ruhlin: No.

Brett Gilliland: Are you, do you have an actual plunge? Like

John Ruhlin: Yeah, I do. Yeah. Yeah. Mosco. Yeah. It, the, you, um, built friendship with the guys who started the company. They, they, uh, they’re really kind of like engineers at heart. Yeah. And, uh, They the same one that Rogan uses. Okay. Yeah. Um, so it’s not a cheap date. No, but it’s the, the wood kind of more of like Yeah, yeah.

Like rustic one. Yeah. Uh, and we’ve actually started to gift those to people, like talk about like a fun gift, like Steve Weatherford, NFL’s fitness guy. We sent one to him with his favorite Bible verses and whatever else. And you know, now it’s a part of his daily practice. Right. But to me, like that’s one of those things that most people wouldn’t necessarily go buy for themselves.

But talk about weaving into somebody’s daily practice. Like the

Brett Gilliland: whole, so, so again, even go there with that gift to Steve. So, you know, I follow him on social media, dudes. He’s, he’s crazy. Oh, he’s fun.

John Ruhlin: Next time he comes through to preach, he pro he preached up in, um, not St. Joseph, two or three, three hours north of here at a big church in the middle of nowhere.

Uh, and we had to, [00:22:00] I, I met up with him yeah. Near the airport and we hung out for like an hour. Yeah, he’s a wild dude. But he, he seems like loves. People loves Jesus. Yeah. He’s just a great human.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. So what is your hope for that? Obviously you care about people, you love on people, there’s like an ulterior motive there, but like what’s your hope when you send a however many thousands of dollars of Asana to

John Ruhlin: Steve?

Um, so I split it. So a lot of times the bigger things like that, um, I’ll find somebody else that wants to love on him or bless him too. In this, in this case, probably one of the most radically generous humans I’ve ever met is Joel Marion. He had, he had a company called BioTrust. Okay? It’s a huge podcast called, uh, born to Impact, and I’m born again.

Like his, I, his, he feels called to impact people from a faith perspective, but he built a few hundred million dollar, uh, uh, Supplement company and sold it. Uh, him and his partner, um, incredible. But he’s, he was the guy that would like, get all of his competitors together, love on them, and bring ’em together to learn.

And he literally, like, we probably have done eight art pieces together. [00:23:00] Like I, if I have an idea, nine out of 10 times, Joel just says, yes, okay. Hey, you wanna split this Cuz that he just, but because of that, And there’s never an ask. It’s not like give something and then like ask for the deal or the referral.

Right? Like he’s just planting seeds and kind of the Harvey McKay concept of Dig your Well before you’re thirsty. Yeah. And for Steve, I didn’t ha we didn’t have an ask. There’s a dude who’s out there who’s busting his butt. Yep. You know, dealt with addiction and almost got divorced, but he’s out there like, Crushing life and and impacting people.

He’s gonna influence a lot of dudes. Like Yeah, oftentimes, like it might be five years from now, he’ll be with somebody in a boardroom and he’ll connect and say, Hey, you need to connect with Ruland. Yeah. I don’t know what that’s gonna be, but I know if, if I, I identify somebody who’s a leader, a giver, and up to big things, um, you know, You make a deposit there, it’s gonna grow into something.

It’s gonna, yeah. And, and if it’s not that it’ll pay it forward

Brett Gilliland: to somebody else. And I, I think about, so in, in the circuits of success, hence the name of the podcast, attitude, your beliefs, your actions get results. [00:24:00] But from beliefs to actions, I have this thing, it’s faith. I mean your faith, obviously there’s faith in God, but there’s also faith in gifting, right?

Oh yeah. I mean, your faith in the fact, I don’t know. I got nothing I need from Steve. But maybe one day he’s gonna turn around and he’s gonna say my name, and then all of a sudden it’s, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars, whatever it

John Ruhlin: may be. That’s how God’s wired the world. Whether you believe in a God or not, like a man reaps what he sows.

Like, we all know that. Like if you do good, even if you believe in something like karma, like right. Um, like what do you, what is that like if you do good things? It comes back to, and oftentimes not in ways that you like, I’d like to think like I have this perfect script of like, And I do try to play the four 4D chess game, which at some level probably has some selfish manipulation involved.

But to me, like when you can give with an open hand and know, like, and not keep score and know that like, Hey, if it doesn’t happen because of you, like something good is gonna come out of that like halo effect. And I think so many people will do that in faith in [00:25:00] other areas. So. Like experientially, but they won’t do it physically, and I don’t know why.

I think most people, guys in particular, struggle with gifting, even their spouse, right? Like the idea is to seem weird and woowoo and like, uh, what I might look weird or be uncomfortable, or they, they’re gonna think I want something from them. And so they talk themselves out it right from the start. Um, but I, it’s a universal principle.

It’s gonna be

Brett Gilliland: tough, man. When you’re the Giftology expert in the world and your

John Ruhlin: wife, I mean, oh, my wife calls bs my, like you make business so you’re not

Brett Gilliland: either

John Ruhlin: business. I can, I can handle gifting for the, the most elite pro sports teams in the world. Yeah. But at home. She knows all my tricks, all my hacks, all my crap, all my excuses, all my, I see where this is going.

Yeah. Like, but you know, there are times where I like, you know, knock it out of the park. Yeah. And like, it’s like a grand slam. And there’s other times where I strike out and she will let me know. Yeah. Um, and so yeah, home’s the hardest.

Brett Gilliland: I’m not, I’m, it is hard. I’m, I’m not great at it. But I will say my, to brag on [00:26:00] myself for this, I hit a home run.

I interviewed, I didn’t put it out as a podcast, but I had her mom and dad come in. And I interviewed them and it was amazing. I mean, it was absolutely amazing. And talk about their childhood and when they met and having kids and what it was like when they were growing up and now, and see their, their, their grandkids.

It’s, it actually made me think about a business idea. I’m like, I need to do that more often. Right. Yeah. With people like

John Ruhlin: you read a couple of those interviews and probably turn it into a book. Yeah. That’s a great idea too. Talk about being able to pass down to your kids grandkids, great grandkids like.

Some services. Services out there. Huh? Do a gilland ruling book. I mean Yeah, dude. I mean it’s, but I mean, the power of being able to pull the wisdom from them and the stories Yeah. And then put it like, there’s something powerful about it being in, in written form. Yeah. And you know, I think a lot of times people have a story to be told, but nobody’s asking the questions.

Right. And they have wisdom to share and Yeah. And, and something that, like, from a legacy perspective, I know there’s companies out there that do it, but to be able to do it personally. Yeah. And, and a lot of the companies that are out there that do books, I. You know, [00:27:00] like Jesus wasn’t out there writing things down.

He spoke. Yeah. And most people throughout history didn’t write things down. They spoke, somebody else wrote it down. So you could, yeah. That’s If you had a, you had a couple, you had a couple more interviews with them. Yeah. Like you’d have enough for a book. Yeah. And, and would blow them away. And I think it would be, Impactful for the whole family.


Brett Gilliland: So let’s, let’s talk about, um, big things right now that you hear all the time. All over the world, right? Chat, g p T. Yeah. And obviously saw yesterday, but Apple Vision Pro. Yeah. The, yeah, the, did you see, I mean, did you watch any of the videos at all? I

John Ruhlin: watched one and it’s, it’s unreal. It’s amazing.

It’s, to me, it’s like, I think people in general like, are, you know, myself included, like, You know, the phone’s not far. Right? Right. It’s always in our hand. It’s always around. And like the more, like I, I went to a leadership conference and I left my phone in the room all three days straight. Didn’t, didn’t check it once during the day.

Wow. Until the evening. It felt weird. It felt weird, but it ended up being freeing. Yeah, like it was amazing, like how [00:28:00]addicted I was, even if it was turned off, but it was in my bag and like, it it like constantly like pinging you in your head, right? Like just mentally like the amount of emotional ed energy there.

And so yeah, the, yeah, chat G G P T I think is powerful. I think it’s scary. I think it’s awesome. I think it’s, and, uh, I think that, um, you know, it’s gonna accelerate a bunch of things, like from a, even from a gifting perspective. Yeah. Like you can like type in and like get to know somebody or like if we’re pulling, we started doing these like bigger crazy gifts where like a big 10 K knife set, we might put quotes of that.

They’ve said, well, I can get like anybody that’s relatively famous Right. I can get 80 of their quotes of wisdom instead of having to research and have my team research. Yeah. I can pull 15 seconds. 15 seconds and pulls it all up for, for some of these big celebs. So like there are elements of it that are cool, but there’s also like, can you, you might need to confirm that they actually said it, because right now it’s not, it’s not a hundred percent accurate.

And sometimes the info that you get back, it’s like that’s what’s on the [00:29:00] surface. But like a lot of times, like in order to get somebody to cry or be moved at a soul level, like you have to get to the 1% of the 1%. Yeah. And. It’s hard to get the essence of a human just by the headlines. You gotta go a little deeper and ask the deeper questions.

And I think that that’s the area where there’s nuance that Yep. That, uh, whatever your industry is like, if you have the ability to speak into the 1%, like, I think at least for now, like you, you know, you’ll be able to chop or charge top dollar for that. Yeah, for sure.

Brett Gilliland: I, I think what, what scares me about it is the critical thinking that I hope it doesn’t take away from our kids.

Right. I, I forget us. We’ve been around long enough, we’re gonna be able to use it, use it to our advantage, but still have those relationships and different things. But are these kids gonna have, you know, I wanna know, blah, blah, blah. And they find out in 13 seconds versus having to, you know, when we were kids, you had to go back and look for the, in the DS or the encyclopedia, right?

Yeah, yeah. And now with Google and Chad gpt and all these things, I’m not trying to sound like the old crabby guy, but it’s just, I hope they continue to think for themselves and think [00:30:00] differently. Versus the computer doing it. And then, then we’re not all wearing these goggles that look amazing and do all these things, and it looks like you’re in a movie.

That, that’s my fear. And I love technology. I hope it does the right thing, but it, it is a little bit of

John Ruhlin: a fear for me. Yeah. Well, when the person walked into the room and she was wearing the, the goggles, they, the person wasn’t, yeah. Like that to me is like super awkward. Right. And they can

Brett Gilliland: still see each other.

She like waved at

John Ruhlin: her. Yeah. Oh yeah. You can see through the, yeah, you can see that person’s eyes, but it’s still like, There’s an element of like, and, and maybe it’s like the phone thing, like you just get kind of used to it. Yeah. Um, but at some level, like there’s something powerful about old school. Like Yeah.

You know, you’re not putting it into a, a device. You’re, there’s something powerful about writing it down. They probably see it right

Brett Gilliland: over your shoulder. All those, those are some July of 2005, these journals. I mean, there’s power in that man. Yeah. Um, you said earlier, R o r Return on relationships. Yeah. Talk to me about that.

John Ruhlin: Well, I mean, I think in, in business, I think gifting and in what we talk about is viewed very much as like an expense, or it’s viewed [00:31:00] very much as like a nice two, not a have to, and in any part of your business you’re, you know, you’re measuring things like operations, finance, marketing, you know, hr, like, Stock market, whatever, like you’re measuring it, there’s metrics there.

And I don’t think most people have put a metric to, you know, the power of their network, the power of their relationships, the power of the people that work for them. And I think that to me, there’s no greater return than investing in humans. And whether that’s physically or experientially or whatever.

Yeah. But like the investment there and like when you start to think about the businesses that people have created, it typically was a lot of humans that. Allowed them that inve, mentors, coaches, teachers. Yeah, for sure. Like bankers, suppliers, you know, advisors, all of those people allowed them to get there.

And I think we undervalue the power of the right people being in our corner. And so, like, to me, RO r is like one of the most powerful tools of like thinking about like, Hey, yeah, ROI on marketing. Cool. But like, are you, are you measuring the relationships and the return on [00:32:00] relationship is, is, uh, To me is one of the, the best things on the planet.


Brett Gilliland: Well, I mean, ROI in my business, right? Returning investment, but returning relationship with the investment with our clients is, I mean, that

John Ruhlin: relationship is huge. Yeah. I mean there’s, I mean, how many financial wealth man, like what people that put themselves in that, that, yeah. That bucket. Half a million.

Yeah. There’s Yeah.

Brett Gilliland: Hundreds of thousands of them. Yeah. Yeah.

John Ruhlin: What, what it comes down to what the hu Like do they know me? Right? They do. Are, are they on my, they care about me. Do they care about me? Like it comes down to an emotional Yeah. Connection, though. You can justify numbers all day long and you’ll actually take lesser performance if you’re like, this person’s in my corner, they care about me and they’re in this for the long haul.

For sure.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. I call it Pandora’s Box. My job is if you were a client sitting there, right? I gotta unlock that box and find out what truly matters, what’s important, what makes you tick, what you wanna leave behind. I mean, all those things are, they’re, they’re critically important. So, um, as we close, actually, before we go there, so what, what would you tell the person that’s listening right now that says, oh man, this dude’s talking about [00:33:00] sending $50,000 saunas, or whatever.

Right. They have a $500 budget. Right. What, what can they be doing that they’re not doing right now? Yeah.

John Ruhlin: Well, what I would say is that what we’re talking about isn’t industry specific or business size specific. Like I have, I have sales reps that, you know, work for technology companies that are reinvesting a percentage of their business and treating it like they’re the owner.

So if you made, you know, 200 grand last year, reinvest a tie, 10%, that’s 20 grand. So when people say they have a limited budget, right? I’m like, Well, you, you’re spending, you know, 40 grand a month on Facebook ads, or you’re spending this much to sponsor this conference for a hundred grand. Like I always challenge the numbers, right.

Cuz even I have college kids that are like investing $500 a month in this. Yeah. So there’s, there’s always dollars there if you view it to have value. Right. And so to me it’s not so much the dollar amount. It’s like if you don’t, if you’re gonna send something expensive or cheap, if you don’t put a handwritten note with it.

There’s no thoughtfulness Meaning context. Yeah. It’s not [00:34:00] one-to-one. So a lot of the clients, like, we’ll work with casinos or insurance companies, and they’re like, yeah, we wanna send this out to a thousand people. And uh, I’m like, and they’re gonna order it from, you know, they’re gonna take our consulting, they’re gonna order it from Amazon.

I’m like, you guys might as well just. Stop right there. Yeah. If you are gonna automate it through some technology platform and it feels like a marketing thing, don’t expect a deeper relationship and don’t, don’t expect the r o r cuz it was marketing, right? It’s not relationship. And so a lot of the details around how it’s packaged, even when it shows up, most people do ABC gifting, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas.

They do expected obligatory things. If I do that for my wife, if I show up on Valentine’s Day, I get no credit. Right? If I, you gotta do that, you have to do that. And so if you show up for relationships, so a lot of the recipe isn’t in the dollars spent, it’s in the thoughtful thought. So many people are like, John, I, I spent this money, it didn’t work.

And I’m like, you can’t be a douche bag and give great gifts. Like you have to be a person. You have to do the details. Like there’s parts of the recipe that are not just the [00:35:00] cost.

Brett Gilliland: Recipe’s a good way to

John Ruhlin: put it. Yeah. And so $500 you could do something amazing. Um, $5,000, $50. It doesn’t, the dollar amount doesn’t matter.

It’s more around the overall like thought process. Yeah. And put in the odds in your favor where you’re not doing it once like. You’re like, this is a, like, there’s compound interest of like showing up for multiple people this way over time versus I did it once, it didn’t work. And I’m like, that’s not how life


Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Does not. Let’s, um, I pulled up my phone here. We’re gonna have some fun. We’re gonna go to, uh, what’s your Instagram

John Ruhlin: at John Ruland?

Brett Gilliland: John Ruland. Have a little fun here.

All right. Pick a number between one and 10. Three. Okay. Now pick a number between one and three. Two. Two. Hey, we already talked about this. This is you. If you can see it on the camera or not. This is you picking up Steve Weatherford in the minivan. Exactly. [00:36:00] With the Superbowl trophy. Lamborghini baby. Oh yeah.

So let’s talk about that. So I, I like this game and I’m gonna pick another one that’s on that same row. Uh, Sarah Blakely shot you out here. Yeah, that’s pretty cool because of the nice Spanx. So talk about

John Ruhlin: that. Yeah, so Sarah, well, she’s an EO person, so eo ypo, so that’s a group that I speak to a lot. Um, you know, it’s CEOs that are leading companies and, and, uh, there’s chapters all over the world.

Sarah’s been a member for 20 years. I’ve built a friendship with her and her husband, Jesse Itzler, who’s, you know, stud. Just a stud, stud speaker. Started marquee jets, sold it back to net jets, started zco. Is it Ziko Water? Yeah. Yeah. Ziko Water now. He’s one of the best speakers in the world. Yeah. But I, it, it, over a number of years I built a friendship with them.

He became a fan of Giftology Of the book. Yeah. And, um, but I was like, I’m gonna make deposits in, and you know, she has certain quotes. She has her little mugs that she drinks out of. Yeah. Yeah. And, Uh, we sent her like one of these crazy, you know, couple thousand dollars treasure chest. And, but I put a knife in there because I know that she, [00:37:00] she loves Casa Deese tequila.

Yeah. And she travels literally with her own fresh grapefruit juice. So I, I sent her a grapefruit knife with, with, you know, her name on it, but the quote, And um, and you know, people send her a lot. These kinda people get things all the time. Yeah. It’s the story and the personalization. And she was using the knife years later and she’s like, I’m thinking about, you know, John rule.

I love this knife. And she posts about it, you know, to her hundreds of thousands of people. Same with itzler. Like, you know, we’ve, uh, you know, I’ve been invited over to their house to hang out with their four kids and of course we sauna, steam and cold plunge and do the thing, but. We’ve made deposits in those relationships to where we’re top of mind, we get shout outs, but more importantly, like we, you know, we always want people to, to return our phone call or texts.

Like you just wanna be in relationship with them. Yeah. And those deposits help. Yeah.

Brett Gilliland: That’s incredible, man. Well, um, working our listeners find more of John Ruland.

John Ruhlin: I would say, I mean, if, if, uh, if you wanna avoid the worst gifts on the planet just to like [00:38:00] get into the top 5%, you can go to the givers with an s the giver’s edge and get a little download of kind of like, you don’t have to go by the book.

Yeah. Just go like, just go right there. Just start to get like a framework of like what to do and not to do. Um, I mean, at John Ruland on, on Instagram and, um, you know, Giftology Group is the main website to, uh, to dive into

Brett Gilliland: Giftology. Yeah. Got it. Awesome man. Well thanks so much for being with me on the circuit Success.

Always great to catch up and, uh, great to see you, my man. And, uh, love watching you, what you’re doing. It’s awesome. Thanks brother. So thanks so much.