Episode 184 – Joel Gandara – Level Up Your Life

“I have a dozen first cousins that I’ve never met. I met them when I was little but then we left [Cuba] and I don’t remember them, it was many years ago. I feel like I’m here for a reason, almost like I’m the chosen one. They didn’t get this opportunity and if one of them would have gotten that opportunity, and it wasn’t me, I would want to them to succeed, I would want them to build a great life, provide employment, and mentor people, and guide them to a better life. So, I have that responsibility and that pressure on me, and I welcome it.” – Joel Gandara

  • Joel Gandara, was born in Cuba and came to the United States in 1980. Even though he was a kid, he knew they had landed somewhere life-altering. Joel started earning money at the age of 10, and his first business plan was to buy products that he could resell in the schoolyard. Joel’s original purpose was to get out of poverty and feel safe. Through a life of hard work, focus, and seizing opportunity Joel went from a poor immigrant to a renowned life and business coach, who is dedicated to empowering men to be the best versions of themselves.
  • Through his unique coaching approach, Joel helps men achieve goals, unlock potential, and find true fulfillment in both their personal and professional lives. With a wealth of experience and passion for sharing insights, Joel guides his clients to improve relationships, career, health, and overall well-being.
  • Listen in to this episode to hear more about Joel’s journey as a young kid, the lessons he learned from his parents that sparked his entrepreneurial path and why he and his wife Jessica take such time and effort with their four kids to teach and demonstrate good manners, good habits, accountability and relationship building. Joel shares the organic evolution to his book “31 Days To Become a Better Man”, alongside his 31 Daily Challenges program, for which he now has a goal to directly impact the lives of 10,000 men. Joel and Patrick offer their perspectives of being a man in our current society, surrounding ourselves with people who inspire us to level up, the value of extreme ownership plus so much more!
  • Show Notes
  • [00:42] Patrick introduces his next TEDM guest, Joel Gandara.
  • [01:42] Joel and Patrick kick it into high gear to talk about who Joel is, what he’s up to beyond the bio, and who he’s works with alongside his wife Jessica.
  • [03:35] With a quick pre-emptive story of his background (coming to the US from Cuba, buying and selling to make money as a kid), Joel describes the business he has recently exited after a great opportunity came along.
  • [6:42] Nature or nurture? Joel explains his parent’s path to better understand how his entrepreneurial spark was lit. It all started with The Garbage Pail Kids trading cards of the ‘80s.
  • [10:38] Patrick and Joel dig a little deeper into why it was important to Joel as a young kid to make that cash buying and selling to get little things like toys. Joel brings the story forward to the present, and what is so important to him about teaching his own kids how to do better.
  • [15:00] Patrick shares the story of his past TEDM guest Mark Warkentin and the opportunity he is giving them to have a fuller life without things being handed to them. He’s giving them the chance for self-realization through their own challenges, pitfalls, opportunities, and wins which is very aligned with Joel’s approach.
  • [17:52] Joel shares a heartfelt story about his kids, the hustles they’ve got going on to earn income, and how his oldest son Ryan bought his first car. In Joel and Jessica’s home, financial independence starts at the age of 16 and life lessons start early on.
  • [21:16] “31 Days to Become a Better Man.” Joel shares what his book is about, how it organically came together first in support of his own discipline, then a group of men he knew, then to the book and the program that came together in 2023.
  • [26:35] Joel talks about the relationship he has with his wife and best friend Jessica. After 21 years, successes, challenges, and 4 kids they continue to build, improve, work, and thrive.
  • [31:00] Purpose. Joel’s original purpose was simple – get out of poverty and feel safe. Joel came from Cuba to the US on a boat with only the clothes he was wearing. He keeps that shirt he wore in his closet to see every day to remind him of who and what he left behind which fuels his drive to succeed, in part, for them. His new purpose directly involves the lives of 10,000 men.
  • [34:24] Joel offers his perspective on being a man in current society. The messages, the medicating, the portrayals on shows, can all cause a great deal of difficulty and confusion. Joel talks about how he and Jessica show up for their kids, the boundaries they hold, and lead by positive example.
  • [40:31] We are a product of our environment which Patrick illustrates through a comparison of two kids raised in the same way but who out of school took two different paths. This speaks to what Joel had described earlier and why they take such time and effort with their kids to teach and demonstrate manners, good habits, and relationship building. These are the foundational pieces to Joel’s success.
  • [48:03] Boys learn how to treat women, not by their father’s example, but their mother’s. There are so many nuances to parenting and showing up for our kids. Joel feels that once a person becomes aware of this, it is 100% their responsibility to do and be better to be a positive influence in their kids’ lives.
  • [53:33] Self-assessment and review in all areas of his life has become an ingrained part of Joel’s day as well as part of the open communication he has with Jessica. He puts a lot of intentionality into his day.
  • [56:53] Joel and Patrick riff on the notion, that our life is a reflection of who we are being and who we surround ourselves with. Joel tells a story about the neighbourhood he now lives in, where the caliber of people who live there have had a huge impact on upleveling his physical fitness.
  • [63:07] Joel shares the consistent patterns he sees in the men he works with through his 31 Day program. Communication, relationship building (not transactional), extreme ownership (blame all the problems on you), and purpose are common themes in conversation. Joel shares a book that changed the way he looked at life and brought him far more success in business.
  • [71:15] Extreme Ownership! Joel shares a great story about his relationship with one of the authors, Jocko Willink.
  • [75:25] Winding up with some rapid fire: Apple or Android; swearing only in Spanish; favourite movie; with an eclectic taste in music there’s no one tune or band favourite for Joel, but he does share a song that pumps up his energy; room-desk-car; message at the pearly gates.
  • [79:26] Joel’s gratitude.

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