Real estate developer and CEO, Brett Kaufman, took time to chat with host Michael Redd about entrepreneurship as a form of creativity, how he decided to build “communities centered on wellbeing, expression, and impact,” and his passion for creating “spaces that optimize the human experience.”
The building is just the beginning. The true value is what happens in and around it. We design communities for individuals who seek something more.Brett Kaufman
Brett is a “champion of innovative, curated communities filled with purpose” and the founder and CEO of the Columbus, Ohio based Kaufman Development, who has worked in real estate development for 20 years. Over that time he has developed, leased, and/or sold over 10,000 homes and developed a variety of commercial, retail, land, and office projects.
He’s also a philanthropist who has dedicated much of his professional life to helping community organizations and Kaufman Development has donated numerous resources to philanthropic organizations including Besa, KIPP Journey Academy, Community Shelter Board, Ohio State University Star House, Hunger Alliance, Ronald McDonald House, OSU James Cancer, Columbus Jewish Federation, and many others.
Kaufman is a lauded and award-winning community leader who “… has been recognized as one of the top 50 leaders in the region for his ability to drive innovation within his organization, impact his employees and the community-at-large… In 2015 and 2016 Brett [was] honored with Smart 50 and Fast 50 awards and was recently listed at #657 on the Inc. 5000.”
In this episode Michael and Brett talked about:
- The freedom of betting on yourself
- How to succeed in business with nothing but a piece of paper and an idea
- Why embracing the things that make you different (and stepping into fear) can be so empowering
- On finding tools to uncover your deeper identity and the power of daydreaming
- The critical importance of mentorship, the essence of entrepreneurship…
- And more!
- Brett Kaufman on Instagram
- Brett Kaufman on Twitter
- Michael Redd on Instagram
Brett Kaufman: I had a one-page proforma that a friend of mine at the bank I used to work for helped walk into a bank and I got financed with nothing. I had no money, I had a piece of paper, I had an idea and I was off and running. And that was really my first big bet of myself.
Michael Redd: Hey everybody, this is Michael Redd and welcome to the Betting On Yourself podcast where I interview successful entrepreneurs, athletes, and other top performers who rose to the top, took success into their own hands and bettered themselves.
Michael Redd: On this episode, I'm talking with Brett Kaufman, the CEO and founder of a real estate development company and one of the most generous people I've ever met. His company, Kaufman Development, is a massive force for good of the Columbus area. He has developed, leased, and/or sold over 10,000 homes and donated resources to organizations like Community Shelter Board, Hunger Alliance, Ronald McDonald House, OSU James Cancer, Columbus Jewish Federation, and many others. But none of that would be possible without his drive, commitment, and surprising insight that he discovered in his high school art class. Here's my conversation with Brett.
Michael Redd: For all the listeners out there, Brett Kaufman is a force of nature here in the city of Columbus and he is the founder and CEO of Kaufman Development, a commercial real estate firm that is what I believe on the forefront of what's happening here in Columbus as far as the development. Been knowing you for some time, Brett, and the list goes on as far as your achievements, accolades, and what you've been able to do for our city has been incredible. And our first question is what does it mean to you to bet on yourself?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah, that's a great question, Michael. And thanks for those words and for having me. I will tell you it's really been a pleasure to be your friend and happy that you're doing this podcast because I think it really does make a difference for people to hear from other people's journeys and stories. As far as betting on myself, what does that mean to me? I think really what it means is freedom. When you start to take control of your own life, you have the potential to really access freedom in a way that otherwise I think is very difficult to access and potentially even unavailable. It doesn't mean that it's easy, doesn't mean that it's not without challenges and obligations but you are now in control of your own life when you start to bet on yourself. And that's been my experience and really what comes to mind when I hear that question.
Michael Redd: Was there a pivotal moment early on in your life where you said, "You know what? I'm going to take a risk on myself," and really begin to just go down your own path and own journey?
Brett Kaufman: There's been a lot of moments and my world view is that all of the moments, all of them, and this is a lot of what I'm talking about on my podcast and the work that I'm doing. I believe it starts early on in your life, in your childhood and it's ultimately all woven together in this perfect puzzle. So I could point to the moments in my entrepreneurial journey where I started to take a leap and make some bets on myself. There were moments where at a prior company that I was working for I started to do some of my own projects on the side. I had a sense that maybe I could do something that felt like it was a little bit more me and that I was a little bit more passionate about. I was somebody that studied architecture in college but didn't have the confidence to be an architect, to get all the way through schooling of what it took to ... I got to physics and statistics and thought, "I'm out. I just like the design."
Brett Kaufman: And so I was a design junkie constantly sitting on my couch going through magazines after magazines, had them piled up to the point that I had to move them to my office. And I started to take some of that passion and see what I could do with it. I started to buy duplexes in German Village, the Short North in the late '90s and started to flip them with the idea that we could build high-design homes for people at affordable prices in an urban core. And so that was my first bet on myself and it's this really cliché stereotypical story but I think it's important because it's true, it happens. It's not just a cliché but I bought a duplex, one at a time, and I had a one-page proforma that a friend of mine at the bank I used to work for helped walk into a bank and I got financed with nothing. I had no money, I had a piece of paper, I had an idea, and I was off and running. And that was really my first big bet on myself.
Brett Kaufman: The much bigger bets came later when I started Kaufman Development. I think to the prior point, there was a whole lot of learning to bet on myself and take risks as a child which wasn't real calculated. It was more almost unconscious reactions to other childhood experiences I had but I was a risk taker, not in the business world, but as a kid in high school and college much to the dismay of my parents. I was getting comfortable taking risks early on.
Michael Redd: Did you come from a family of risk takers?
Brett Kaufman: Not really. I think if you look back in the bloodline, you would say yes. My mom's father and my dad's father both were entrepreneurs and started businesses, came from nothing, came out of the war, started businesses with their brothers and had success. My family then went into those businesses. And my stepfather, I would say, really maybe took the biggest risk of anyone in my family and he went off and started his own business out of a family business, took the leap to do his own thing. And I watched that and I learned from him and I worked with him and I learned what risk looked like from his standpoint. But when I think about risk and I see what people are doing today, I wouldn't even put myself in the same category as some of the real venture back, startup stuff that I'm seeing now that I'd say is true risk.
Michael Redd: So for all the listeners out there, Brett and I have been knowing each other for a number of years now and him and his wife Katie have had a profound impact on Achea and I, my wife. We've had multiple conversations about what I'm about to ask you now. And you make a great quote, I was reading and doing some research, and you say, "What makes us weird is what makes us great." I want you to explain that.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. This is really the core of what I believe is the secret sauce to my success and my success not just in work but in life and really I think it's a key thing for everybody. When you start to really embrace what makes you uniquely you, and that's true for all of us, we get so caught up in a parental, societal, generational set of programming that really takes us on a path usually pretty unconsciously. We have all kinds of judgments and beliefs about what we're supposed to be doing with our lives and that can be fine but I don't think it's really our highest and best use and why we're here. And so that thing that's uniquely you, that thing that might be weird to others. In my case, that's the feeling that I always had that when I discovered the art room in high school it was like the freaks and there was something about them that felt so alive in me that it was the creatives is what it really was. It was the people that were breaking out of those societal norms and really expressing themself fully.
Brett Kaufman: And that has been an energy that I've always been really attracted to. When I started my company, it was simple things like we were starting to wear jeans and T-shirts instead of the normal business attire back in 2006, '07, '10. It was unique to have a meeting with a banker and not put on a sport coat. And to talk about then how yoga and community gardens and meditation was an important part of a proforma was weird. That was not something that was really understood or well received or accepted. Now, it turns out today that those very things are the reason why the bankers are wanting to work with us. And when they come see us, they're wearing jeans because they know that's how we dress. That's what I mean by that is that thing that was just me, it was just things that I was passionate about, things I wanted to be a part of, things that felt energetically appealing to me, energizing to me. Those things which were weird at the time, certainly in my business, turn out to be the very things that set us apart and make us in part successful.
Michael Redd: I often say, Brett, and I think me and you have talked about this over dinner or coffee or what have you that there's fear attached to discovery of self. In fact, for most people, the most scariest thing in the world is actually realizing who they really are. How have you been able to approach fear when it comes to discovery of you and what your dreams and what you sanity and your happiness all entails?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. Fear is a great conversation and I'll be pretty open about this. I grew up from the ages of birth to about 10 years old living in Akron, Ohio with my mother and my father and my sister. And my father was a very strong, really abusive addict, alcoholic, gambler, sex addict, you name it he had all the goods. And he instilled a ton of fear in me. He was really big on this idea of what it meant to be a man that you had to sit up straight and look people in the eye and shake their hands and mind your manners and dress the part and look good and be successful and be an athlete and all the things.
Brett Kaufman: I followed suit because I was scared to do otherwise. It wasn't really who I was. I was much more sensitive, I was much more different than he really wanted me to be. And that fear at that age as an early child gets to become an embodied thing, it becomes a thing that you then take with you and you live with and it's taken me years and a lot of support to really start to unpack that and understand to the extent that fear played a role in my life.
Brett Kaufman: I will say the getting to know yourself thing is something that I think is an ongoing process, it's still very much a work in process for me. The depths of what that means continue to reveal themselves. As you peel it back, you realize just how early on you are in the process. And so it becomes more even almost a physical thing for me in recent years where I've started to understand what it means to feel like I'm really myself. Intellectually, I started to understand the kinds of things that I wanted to do, the kinds of actions I wanted to take and how that was in alignment with who I really was. But I didn't always feel that way and so that's been the next layer of really stepping into that in a physical embodiment of being you. Really, I think might even be more important in stepping into fear.
Michael Redd: Wow. So identity is almost like the beginning of the journey, right, like being able to shed off the expectations of people. And only you allows you to begin to pursue a life that we never thought we could dream. Does that make sense in essence of what you're saying?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah, it does. I think that's right. I've been blessed and one of the key things with my betting on myself, taking that jump really started with some coaching that I got. I had three events that really transformed my life at a critical time. I went to something called The Landmark Forum, which a lot of people have done over the years. I found a coaching program which was something I had no idea what a coach was 10 years ago, I thought that was something that was reserved for sports. And then I went to something called Summit Series where there was a whole bunch of people that were already authoring their own lives, betting on themselves up to really amazing stuff. At Landmark, I learned what it meant to really author my own life and the concept of that. That my past didn't have to become my future, that I could really create from a totally clean place, that the fact that I grew up the way I did actually didn't impact me as much as what I had for breakfast that day if I didn't let it.
Brett Kaufman: And ultimately the coaching really helped me understand my worldview, my identity, and my purpose. And so that identity is a big part of understanding who you are. And then, as I said, over time really stepping into that has been the next layer of being that truer, higher, deeper self.
Michael Redd: Yeah. Yeah. Man, you said a mouthful there. But I want to ask you a question about your mindset. What's been your mindset to find success in the midst of adversity? I know we're going through a really tough time right now with this pandemic but you've I'm sure have faced adversity throughout being an entrepreneur, even as a person. What's been your mindset to face adversity or to find success in the midst of adversity?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. I've got a lot of mouthfuls. None of the answers are going to be straightforward. What comes to mind there is, like I said, I believe our entire lives are happening perfectly in a divine intelligence that sometimes we don't always understand. And so when I go back and look at those early childhood memories, I feel so much gratitude, I feel so blessed to have had the experiences that I've had because I don't think I could be the father that I am. I don't think I could be the human being that I am if I didn't know what it was like to have it a different way. And then really understand it in a way that allows me to really want to make it different.
Brett Kaufman: And one of those things that created my mindset was that I ended up in therapy as a kid. When my parents were getting divorced, my mom took my sister and I to a therapist and my recollection is my sister cried the whole time and wanted nothing to do with it. I couldn't wait to go back. I loved learning about the mind, I loved learning about the self. It's part of my DNA. And I don't know what it was if it's a DNA thing or the experience I was having but that remained true as I went through high school. I ended up in a thing called group where a few kids were pulled out, it was probably the troublemakers, and we would sit around and it was a very much therapeutic kind of dialog. I found myself being a closet book on tape junkie where I was listening to Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra and others, years ago watching The Secret over and over again when that came out on and on. That kind of stuff has really helped me form my mindset.
Brett Kaufman: It's not something that I think happens without work. You have to really, really work on your mindset. And I'm guilty still today of having my mind shift a bunch including especially during these times. There's been times where I've been really struggling and can get really down and be really fearful and worried and negative. But I know how to come back, I know how to use the tools to find a book, find a podcast, I'm actively in therapy still today regular probably doing more than I ever have. I've got support friends, family, Katie, others that you lean on friends like you to talk and to make sure that you move through it all. But ultimately, I believe that we are creating the idea of being created in God's image. To me, that means we are creators, we are god, we are the same, we are one and so we get to create. We get to create whatever it is that we believe is our purpose. And in order to do that, you got to have a mindset that understands that that's true and it's possible and that it's up to you to create it starting with your mind.
Michael Redd: I couldn't agree more. I've watched you live this. This is not just theory, ladies and gentlemen. This is actually how he lives his life. And you have continued to push the boundaries on creativity even within your business, within your family. Talk about how important it is to have imagination because I think a lot of times we go through life and along the way our imagination is suppressed. And talk about that how you've been able to keep that imagination on life and creativity.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. I think this is one of those things when we talk about the weird thing. I think historically, at least as I was a kid, and I think the conversations changing today around creativity but when I was growing up being a creative, an artist, a thinker was not valued not, I think, in the way that it should be and not in the way that I think it is today and I think we have a long way still to go. I, in fact, when my dad was yelling and screaming and doing all the stuff he was doing, I learned to disassociate. I would go into my mind and do what we call daydreaming. And in fact to the point that I struggled in school, my dad was often yelling at me to quit daydreaming. And it turns out that the daydreaming which was a tool to escape turns out to be a superpower. It's where all my ideas eventually came from. All of that still comes in the thought process.
Brett Kaufman: Now, it's something that I've had to learn to utilize a little bit more productively in that it can be unhealthy to be constantly daydreaming. I was missing out on a lot too, I wasn't quite as present as I should've been because I was so disassociated. But through meditation and other things, I've learned to really learn how to be present, to quiet the mind, and still utilize my ability to be creative and to get into my head and to figure out problems. I think that this idea of being creative at times is often reserved for the arts and it really shouldn't be. I think creativity can be problem solving, I thing entrepreneurship is one of the greatest forms of creativity. And I do love the arts and I paint, I love music, I love to find that outlet too but I think there's a lot of ways to become creative and really it's just all inside you.
Brett Kaufman: I believe, and this is something that I've debated with others, I believe we were all born creative and we just don't understand the definition of it and we don't know how to access it. And it's inside of us, everybody, and it's just a matter of learning how to access it.
Michael Redd: Wow. Well, you've done that. You've been able to be an example of that in our city. I want to talk about with all of that creativity and what you've done and what you're doing, how do you balance family time and what you're accomplishing within our city and around the country?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. I think that it's been something that I've done with mixed results. There have been times where I wasn't quite as balanced. I believe that the definition of balance is really not staying over in one place for too long. So sometimes, you might be a little bit more focused on work than you are at home. And sometimes you might be a little bit more focused at home than you are at work and vice versa. There might be times where you're more focused on yourself and sometimes you're more focused on your spouse. Sometimes you're more focused on your friends and sometimes you're more focused on your community. I think it's unrealistic for people to do anything really great and be perfectly balanced across the board. I've given up on that idea. And I think there's a lot of stigma around that that you should be all in on your kids or all in on your community or something. We have a lot of judgments around people that are working hard.
Brett Kaufman: Believe me, this last few months I've been home, I'm like everybody else I haven't left my house to go anywhere since we loaded up on groceries on March 12th. I've been to the office maybe two or three times to sign a check and it's empty. I have spent more time with my family in the last few months than I had, I don't know, in whatever time period before. We're having lunch and dinner every day, every day for the last two and a half months. And it's been amazing, I love it. I can't tell you what a gift it is. I have two kids that are one graduating and one that'll be graduating the following year and one going into high school. My time with my kids is starting to end here in this phase of our life and it's been so beautiful. It's been such a gift, we've just had a blast making the absolute best of this situation. We're so fortunate to be able to do that but it's been amazing.
Brett Kaufman: But I don't regret having done what I was doing before. I think it was necessary for us to have the good fortune that we do to be able to enjoy this time and I think it's good for my kids to see that I was committed to going out and making a life for our family and doing good in the world. And I think it's also good for them to see me calibrate where I ... When I say I don't regret it, it's not that I didn't work too much or travel too much. It's that that's just where I was and now I'm calibrating it. And I think that's equally as important for people to know that you don't have to get it right all the time, that what you want to do is just course correct all the time. So, that's how I look at balance.
Michael Redd: No condemnation at all. I totally agree with you. Even within my career, I had to experience a level of selfishness to achieve the heights I was able to achieve but it was for the family at the same time, it was synonymous. So, that totally makes sense.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah, you get it. Performing at that level, I'm sure you've probably been, I don't know, maybe because you're a Olympic gold medalist you don't watch this stuff but we've been glued to The Last Dance [crosstalk 00:27:30]. And look at Jordan, he said those guys probably hated him at times but they wouldn't have those trophies if it weren't for him kicking their ass. Sometimes that's what it takes.
Michael Redd: Absolutely. Me and you've talked about that. How much of that has really been really great for you and Katie and the kids to see, The Last Dance?
Brett Kaufman: It's been wonderful. I think that this is the silver lining of this event for us to be able to sit around and watch movies. I've totally adjusted my schedule, I'm staying up until midnight, sometimes one in the morning watching a movie with my kids every night, sleeping in a little bit more and coming straight downstairs to my office to work. It's been one of the real gems of this whole thing. And that was really great, we loved every Sunday having something to look forward to and I remember those days well. My kids are more LeBron guys so it allowed for a lot of great debate at dinner about who the goat is but I don't know that I won them over with The Last Dance but they're definitely a little bit more open to how great Jordan was. Maybe you could settle that for me, Michael. You want to just tell me right now who the goat is?
Michael Redd: That's easy. For me, Michael Jordan. And that's no disrespect to anybody else. I think when we say and quantify who the goat is, people automatically feel like you're being disrespectful to their opinion.
Brett Kaufman: Right.
Michael Redd: That's not the case at all.
Brett Kaufman: Right.
Michael Redd: All of them are great and I had the privilege of playing against Michael, Kobe, and LeBron. But MJ was just really, really on another level. It's hard to describe, it really is. You saw it though.
Brett Kaufman: I wanted to get that on the recording just so I can make sure to tell my kids because they'll listen to you. They won't listen to me but you got some credibility.
Michael Redd: Yeah, it's a easy call for me. But I will ask you this question because I know how much you love Katie and your kids and I know how much passion you have for what you do in business and creating beautiful communities for people. I know you said you don't have any regrets but quantify and define success to you. What is success to you?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah, that's a great question. And just to clarify not having regrets, that's not to say that I haven't made a lot of mistakes. I'm an imperfect human being, I've made a lot of mistakes but I just believe that generally we're always doing the best we can. And I have a belief that if we weren't, we would be doing it a different way. Even when you're making mistakes, even when you do something that you know you shouldn't do, there's some reason why you do it anyway. And so theoretically, I believe we're always doing the best we can and that's how I look back at my childhood, about my career choices, about the business, and about my family. Even when my kids were little and I wasn't the father that I am today, I was doing the best I could and I know that. And to me, success is a self-defined thing if you're doing it right because there's a lot of other metrics for what society will tell you is successful, money, things, stuff. Today, with social media, it's easy to look successful based on where you're traveling and what you're doing and who you're with and all that stuff.
Brett Kaufman: But really to me, success is a feeling, success is an embodiment of a feeling that you can just put your head under your pillow, you can sit down, and you can feel like you've done well. I get a lot of that maybe I'm still a little stuck in the form of it all but I do get a lot of that through my family. I am really proud of my children. They're doing the things that I would like to see them doing, mostly being the kind of people that I want them to be. They're kind and they're considerate and they're smart and they're thoughtful and they're funny and they've got good friends and they're doing well and working hard and self-motivated. And that makes me feel like maybe, mostly Katie's done something well, and maybe I've done something well by getting Katie to bear with me.
Brett Kaufman: But I feel like family, for me, is a big part of success and I'm proud of our family. We've, like I said, we've had a lot of great time together over the last couple of months and that gives you a lot of pride that this group has stayed together. They're happy, they like each other, we're having fun together and that's a big part of it. And then I think certainly, for me, there's a lot of different areas in which I want to be successful. I do like making money, I do like my things, I like my stuff, I like to travel, I like to be able to explore. To me, success is freedom like we started to talk about at the beginning. I love my freedoms. And I want to have success mostly, mostly I think, the thing that I'm most passionate about is what kind of an impact we can have on other human beings. I believe that our work is really aimed at trying to make the human experience a better one.
Brett Kaufman: And so that might be speaking and coaching and podcasting. It might be building communities where people connect and meet and collaborate and learn and grow, find a meditation technique or a friend or start a business or whatever. I've seen it all. We've had people that work for us fall in love and get married. To me, if other human beings are improving their human experience, improving their lives because of something I'm doing, that to me is really success.
Michael Redd: As I hear you and I've known you for some time, I want to ask you this question. Who inspired you? Who was your biggest inspiration? Who did you glean from in life?
Brett Kaufman: Well, I've had a lot of great mentorship. I've had a lot of people that have mentored me, I've had some good role modeling in my family, my mother and stepfather have really been great role models for me, my coaches and therapists and mentors. I could tell you along the way a lot of different people that inspire me. I've been inspired by some tragic events too where you see people die too young or get sick or go unexpectedly and it inspires me. It inspires me to, it's sad, it's horrific, but then you go, "Well, what am I doing with my life? How do I want to be?" And to me, that's inspiring. I get inspired by architects and designers, there's a lot of art and music that moves me to, inspire me to do things. I often get inspired by the problems that I see in the world.
Brett Kaufman: Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach who I'm a part of his network, his group, he often says he doesn't understand why people don't watch the news because, and I don't watch the news, I don't like it, to me it's nothing but negativity. He says, "I don't understand why people say that. That's where all the solutions are. You look at all the problems in the world and you go, 'What am I going to solve? I got to solve that problem.'" And so I have learned to be inspired to solve the problems in life that I've faced or that I've seen other people facing. That might be my greatest source of inspiration.
Michael Redd: Isn't that the essence of entrepreneurship? I know you mentor entrepreneurs to be able to find the pain and offer a solution.
Brett Kaufman: Yeah, I think so, Michael. I think that it's not always what drives entrepreneurs but I think it should be. I think that unfortunately there's a lot of sexiness to the unicorns and the exits and the billion dollar companies. We've all probably seen the stat of the companies that were founded in the last downturn, Ubers and Airbnbs and all the big billion dollar exit companies that will, again, emerge in this time. But I'm more interested in the kind of entrepreneur that is really creating from their essence, that's saying, "I want to really heal myself and build an organization and a product that's going to make a difference in the world." And I think that's our way forward that if we're going to actually change as a humanity, as a society, we've got to start healing ourselves and then creating from that place. To me, that's where I get excited.
Michael Redd: Like I said before, you always push the boundaries. I want to ask you this question, what is next for you within this new reality? We have a new reality that's upon us obviously with this pandemic. What's next for you? And what are you advising entrepreneurs with this new reality?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. That's a great question and to some extent I think the future is still very uncertain but I continue to remain focused on what we're doing with Gravity. We're building a second phase here in Columbus.
Michael Redd: Talk about Gravity for a second, Brett.
Brett Kaufman: Sure. Yeah. So Gravity is a, has a physical asset which is typically what would be called a mixed-use real estate development and consists of apartments, an office, and co-work, and coffee shops, and micro breweries, and all kinds of other miscellaneous events, nonprofits, Palitania, their headquarters is there, an event space for hosting hundreds of events. People coming through to really try to do what I was talking about earlier, elevate the human experience. We're really trying to bring people together around well-being, around creative expression, around impact and so there's a lot of educational events and content, programs, and opportunities for people to meet each other to collaborate, to learn, et cetera, et cetera. Tons of art murals and all kinds of activities.
Brett Kaufman: And so that first phase is complete and now we're going across the street to do a much larger second phase. And really, it's the vessel for everything else. It really is this physical hub that I saw a problem in the Midwest in particular that if I wanted a, and you and I have talked about this, but if I wanted to find a good holistic healer, doctor, acupuncture, juice bar, yoga studio, you name it, they were on every corner in Los Angeles but not quite as prevalent here in Columbus. The inspirational speakers, gurus, others that were involved in some of the things that I was seeing emerge in the world that were interesting. Wasn't quite as centrally located at a minimum, and to some extent was really no place at all for it to exist.
Brett Kaufman: We've tried to bring what I was seeing on the coast and loving to travel to, tried to bring that here to Columbus and bring people together. And it's growing. It's growing into other things. It's growing into my podcast, the Gravity podcast, where we're interviewing people on their journeys, letting other people learn challenges and traumas and how successful creatives and entrepreneurs and others have managed through their journey into life. I'm speaking a lot more, writing, and coaching. I'm really working now with entrepreneurs and others that are struggling or excited or needs some help and that's become a part of what Gravity is too.
Michael Redd: I think me and you were born in L.A. in another lifetime.
Brett Kaufman: I know, I know. And hopefully we'll die there too.
Michael Redd: Right. Me and you both love the coast, man. And you've done a wonderful job of cross-pollinating what's happening out there to bring it to the Midwest which has been really special to watch.
Brett Kaufman: Appreciate that. It's still evolving but it's been fun.
Michael Redd: As we wrap up, I want to ask you this question and you may chuckle at it. But if you had to go back to having a conversation with your 16 year old self, what would you tell that young 16 year old?
Brett Kaufman: Yeah. No, I think it's a great question. I think, a few things come to mind right away. One is that I would tell him it's going to be okay, just be patient and slow down and don't worry, it's going to be okay. Because I think I lived with a lot of worry about that for a long, long time. And with that knowledge of being okay, I think what I would really want the 16 year old to know is to love myself and trust myself and believe in myself and do what I believed was best always and not fall into the societal programming norms, fears, and insecurities and worries and doubts about life that I really lived into for most of my teenage and young adult years. When I graduated from college, I wanted to be either an architect or a psychologist. But as I said, I was not ever of the belief that ... I never really did well academically. And I never really believed that I could. And it was just a confidence issue and a focus and passion issue.
Brett Kaufman: So I never went on to graduate school. I never trusted those instincts because I didn't have the confidence to do it, I didn't have the belief to do it. I thought, "I got to go into business. I got to go get a job that'll impress Katie's parents," we were dating since I've been 20 years old. And so that's what I did. I went and got a job at a bank and I put on a suit and tie every day and I hated it. I absolutely hated it but I did it because I thought it was what I was supposed to be doing, that it would be the way to be an adult, to prove myself, to be successful, all the kinds of things that I had been programmed with. Again, I have no regrets because at the bank I learned what I didn't want. I learned that I didn't want to be a part of a company that had this framework to it, that I wanted something more creative and open.
Brett Kaufman: And so it's all worked perfectly but I think if you're going back, I would say, "Skip all that, just go do what you love, that the rest will follow, that following your heart, your passion, the things that you love is really the way forward and everything else will follow along with that."
Michael Redd: Wow. I think we should end on that. That was fantastic, fantastic, fantastic and I think it's pertinent even for our listeners today, for those who struggle with not having that ability to have that drive. What great wisdom, man. You are a dear friend of mine and I'm grateful, man, that you were able to spend time with me today on this podcast. Ladies and gentlemen, he's a great father and he's a great husband. And to me, that's the hallmark for you, man. So thank you again, brother.
Brett Kaufman: Hey, thank you, Michael. You're a great friend and we love you guys and it's an honor to have this conversation with you and I'm excited for what you're doing with this podcast and everything else that you and Achea are doing. It's awesome, it's important, it's necessary. And back at you as a father and husband and friend and so much more. So my pleasure and yeah, thanks again.
Michael Redd: Betting on yourself. What a gift Brett is. He's the whole package, kind, successful, inspirational, generous, and humble. Let's take his advice to heart and embrace what makes us weird and unique. The world needs more of that. To stay up to date with Brett and his development company, visit their website livekaufman.com. Thanks again for listening to today's episode. To read the show's notes, learn more about my work or connect with me, visit michaelredd.com. New episodes released every week on Monday so make sure to subscribe if you want to stay up to date. Until next time, I'm Michael Redd. Remember, you are the secret to your success.
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