Welcome back to another episode of the playbook, today, Jason and Craig are joined by the amazing Gary Cooper, who shares his life’s journey that is nothing short of remarkable.
Facing many adversities and challenges, Gary talks about how adopting the infamous “fake it till you make it” motto and lifestyle helped him.
Delving into his personal struggles, Gary talks about his transformation and turning point, which required a lot of commitment and room for personal growth and development. The discussion further emphasizes the crucial transition from being an operator to an owner and eventually a chairman, shedding light on the challenges of relinquishing one's identity tied to a specific role.
Join us to learn valuable lessons in resilience, decision-making, and achieving lasting fulfillment.
📻 Tune in to begin your journey of Pro Insurance Success.
The Insurance Dudes are on a mission to find the best insurance agentsaround the country to find out how they are creating some of the top agencies. But they do not stop there, they also bring professionals from other industries for insights that can help agents take their agencies to the next level.
The Insurance Dudes focus on your agency’s four pillars: Hiring, Training, Marketing and Motivation! We have to keep the sword sharp if we want our agencies to thrive.
Insurance Dudes are leaders in their home, at their office and in their community. This podcast will keep you on track with like minded high performing agents while keeping entertained!
About Jason and Craig:
Both agents themselves, they both have scaled to around $10 million in premium. After searching for years for a system to create predictability in their agencies, they developed the Telefunnel after their interviews with so many agents and business leaders.
Taking several years, tons of trial and error, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on lead spend, they’ve optimized their agencies and teams to write tons of premium, consistently, and nearly on autopilot!
LEARN MORE BY Registering for TUESDAY’s LIVE CALL With The Insurance Dudes!
Bio of Gary C. Cooper:
Gary C. Cooper is the Executive Chairman of Palmetto Infusion Services which provides home healthcare, medical equipment, nursing, hospice, and Ambulatory Infusion Clinics to thousands of patients across the Carolinas. Gary is also the Founder, President, and CEO of The Carolus Group, a healthcare consulting firm which serves the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Dedicated to helping businesses thrive, the focus is on guiding organizations and leadership teams to maximize their potential. This involves providing financial insight and sharing methods to prioritize company missions over personal ego. The ultimate goal is to assist individuals in reaching their personal and professional aspirations. Collaborating with co-author Will Wilkinson, a recent book titled "The Success Paradox: How to Surrender & Win in Business and in Life" explores the importance of letting go for success.
I thought I would have character when I became successful. But I had to build character to be successful. So I thought I would have character once had the house and the car and the family and all that stuff. So I worked hard to get all that stuff. And I got all that stuff. And instead of having character, I became a character.Craig Pretzinger:
Insurance dudes are on a mission to escape being handcuffed by our agency.Jason Feltman:
Now, by uncovering the secrets to creating a predictable, consistent, and profitable agency Sales Machine.Craig Pretzinger:
I am Craig Pretzinger.Jason Feltman:
I am Jason Feldman. We are agents. We are insurances. It's funny, though, the clearer you do get on those things, right? Because I mean, business and life are very, should be synonymous, right? Like that's what we were talking about before where you have the identity of the, of what you do and your business. This happens a lot to sports people. My mom was a gymnasts and she went to the Junior Olympics. And then she had a aerobics company, and was very successful. And then got a little bit older, had some injuries, couldn't do the back walkovers and back handsprings that she wanted to do when she was 90. You know, she had to stop doing that. I think in her late 50s, something like that maybe early on doing that in her 50s. Yeah, but but like, but like she was hell bent on doing it in her 80s. But that was her identity. And when she couldn't do it anymore, and that had been her identity. It was tough for her. And we've talked to other people on here. It happens in sports a lot, you know, you see like somebody in sports like football player, that I mean, they trained for that their whole life. And then, you know, No one plans for the after party, you know what I mean? So, so then that whole shift becomes crazy, kind of like what you were talking about earlier, there's a grieving phase of that. You know, I did that early on in my life when I played music and, you know, used to tour with bands, and we had some success. And I just, that was all I was going to do. And at some point, I wanted to get married. And I had to say, You know what, that's not the lifestyle for me. And I had to move on from that. But I had a super bad grieving phase that I didn't know about is in my late 20s. I didn't understand what was going on. And I just found myself lost. And just sad and crit I had anxiety, like there's this whole thing that came with it. And I think everybody does that with certain things. And nothing is permanent in life. And it's scary when you get so attached to these personas. And it's like, you know, for us men, we get into business, because you know, we have a family, we have this this goal. And then when we achieve it, sometimes we get wrapped up a little bit too much in business. And then it's we're putting all those things ahead of our family and then we get wrapped up our identity and it's like, wait a minute, we got to reassess what's going on here because it can tear a family apart and all that stuff. It's it's tough.Gary Cooper:
Man, I'll tell you you're spot on again. It's um, he's witnessed. I have witnessed my whole life. mature man, I witnessed at first was my granddad. But then being in healthcare, my entire career my entire life. I've witnessed men retire and die shortly thereafter. And now I'm in a 12 step program here at a retirement beach area. We live in South Carolina right on the coast. So a lot of northerners retire here. They're been harassing our South Carolina coastline. California is now harassing Arizona and Texas. They're not allowed. So when I say harassing, I mean that as a joke, right? They've been great for the economy and a lot of other things. But what happens is now that I see these guys, you know, these guys retire up north, they moved down here in South Carolina, and two years later, they're in a 12 step program. They have like their sailboat, when no mast up in the ocean. They had direction every day when they woke up, and now they're like, I don't know, maybe Happy Hour starts at noon. Yeah, you know, and I don't think they would have done that at home. And so I totally agree with what you're saying. I think, you know, I don't really talk about religion a lot. But I do talk about spirituality. And until I had my relationship with it turns out to be that much outside religion, but in Till I had a relationship where this was a story I tell, I tell him because it's funny. This huge, beautiful, beautiful African American man, he looks like James Earl Jones. And he sounds like him too. And I'm sitting there just busted, man. And I'm like, I'm just like a hopeless hobo. And he looked at me said, Boy, I don't care if you believe in God, boy, as long as you believe you ain't God. And that's a powerful statement. Because I think what as men do, we go through life being self sufficient. And and if you're an agent, if you eat what you kill, that is tough. You're only as good as your last deal. Yeah. And yeah, every day, you're keeping score. And so there is some relationship there where you have to play God in your life. You know? And so, if you do well, I can see why you get a big ego. Yeah. And if you're a surgeon, and you're open and people's chest and fixing their hearts, can you imagine why your ego would be pretty big? I can't imagine how big Mine would beCraig Pretzinger:
right? And then you're hanging out with all the other surgeons, solidified each other's big egos. Right.Gary Cooper:
And so I think that happened to me. This success came fairly easily. Don't get me wrong, I work my ass off. But I've seen other people work harder than me and didn't have the success. So I had all this success, and then didn't necessarily make me quote unquote, happy. So then this beautiful African American man says, basically, you've been playing golf with your life. And so I think spirituality can really help that stuff you were talking about Jason? Yeah. It's like the good stuff in my life. And the bad stuff in my life. Really? Isn't? Oh, me. Mm hmm. You know, so when something's really I used to have these really high highs, and really low lows. Yeah. Imagine a huge commission check. Come in. Yeah, look what I did. Right now. I'm like, hey, that's cool. Yeah, yeah, you know, and then now, something really bad happens. I'm like, All right. Right. Now I look at him as seasons. Yep. And I get through the great seasons, just as easy as I can get through the rainy seasons. And so I didn't have I had just about as much to do with a really positive stuff as I did a really shitty stuff. Right?Craig Pretzinger:
And you know, and we everybody here on this and also listen to it probably agree that you learn the most during the rainy seasons, right? You don't learn anything, you learn how great you are, in the in the ones where you're winning. Right? And I'm being sarcastic, right? You think you've figured it all out? Right before the frickin other shoe drops. And you and and it starts raining again, right? Yeah, important. We learned so much when it rains right. COVID the people that went all in during COVID learned, like we learned a lot like we grew $10 million company during COVID. Right? Like because know how to do it. And just working through finding the opportunities when when it is in that low swing, and being able to go for it.Gary Cooper:
See, I think, I think I'm sorry, Jason. No, no, go. I think what happened with me, is over the years, I would run from those low periods. Because I didn't want to experience the pain.Craig Pretzinger:
Right. And we were talking earlier, I cover mine up with alcohol. I probably covered them up with boats and cars and fun things too, you know, but or exercise that was a big one for me. But look, we're not the only people in the world that cover their their their problems up. There's eating. There's sex porn. I really do believe there's Amazon addiction. There is because look, you can have BA and then that's it feels good for a little while. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got this thing come in, and it's all cool. So we all run from pain, who doesn't? It doesn't feel good. And then we find something that's temporarily good. But that's why again, go back to the spirituality. That's the only thing that lasts good for a long period of time and it doesn't cost die. Right?Craig Pretzinger:
Yeah, I don't think you can connect with that any moment, right? Like any second, you can connect with that versus the other thing. If you hold that attachment to the thing you bought on Amazon. Eventually you're going to be disappointed. And because right like wheneverGary Cooper:
I don't get fat, I don't have to clear my browser history.Craig Pretzinger:
I mean, who really clears it?Gary Cooper:
I'm an insurance dude I can get.Jason Feltman:
Yeah, I personally love this conversation. I mean, this is something that I've been, you know, thinking about and working on for for years now. And I love I love. And I think it's something that we all need to think about, I think I almost look at it as like a blessing. If you're able, it's like Maslow's hierarchy of need, right? If you're able to get to a point where you're just really thinking about yourself and you, you can do a little self work, what a blessing it is to be in a position that you can do that. A lot of times, there is a pain in the background. And that's how we get to the point where we start doing that inner work. But one of the, that's beside the point, what I was going to bring up is Dr. Benjamin Hardy. He's one of my favorite authors, right now. He talks about your future self, and he talks about this whole construct of, you know, our, the way that society has believed in the past, it was psychology and stuff is that our past kind of determines our present, right? Like, all the things in the past brought us to the present. And then whatever we feel in the present will bring us into the future. But he kind of breaks it down in there's a, I forget the different type of psychology is where the, actually the future, the future determines your present, your the future will pull you into the will pull your present into the future. So, you know, like, it's like, who you want to be and what we're talking about identities and, and everything will pull you forward. Instead of those past things determine who you are, it's kind of like, you're gonna let your future self determine who you are now. So now you start doing the actions of that future self. And then in our present self, we can reattach new stories to our past identity, our past stories, all this traumatic behavior, right, or traumatic stories that have happened to us. You can take something like you were saying crag the rainy seasons, you feel like crap in those moments, you might lose things you might, you might have done something to hurt someone, but like, what did you learn through that. And if you can have a you know, you can change that story in the present of your past and attach new meanings do it, it could have got, you know, it made you who you are now. And who knows, like there might be a story of I know, for me, like my dad wasn't around a lot when I was young. And I used to be really mad about it. A lot of that fueled, it helped me get where I am now. So I literally do not feel any pain towards it anymore. I feel if anything more sadness for who he was as a person. But I'm not mad at him. And so my story on my relationship with my father has changed over the over the years, because my present self has changed. And it's changed my past. Well,Gary Cooper:
that makes sense to me. You know, I got it. If I didn't put maybe my two cents on it. Yeah. Another weird way to say that is fake it till you make it. You know, because I am so stupid, simple. You know, if I'm an agent and an agency, and everybody's always thought I was a loser, or a non producer, and always dress like it, and always carried myself like it and always didn't make eye contact and stuff. Go to a new agency. And start dressing different. Start acting different. Start carrying yourself different. Start projecting who you want to be like you were saying in the future. Yeah. And forgive yourself. For whatever you thought you were. Because that guy's gone. Yep, I call myself Oh, Gary and new Gary. Oh, weCraig Pretzinger:
do that all the time. You know? Oh, hereGary Cooper:
he was. He was a knucklehead. Oh, Gary showed up late. He showed up late every meeting. He would be unprepared. You know, he didn't call people back. He you know, return emails whenever the hell he wanted to. He was a knucklehead. He was also pretty damn creative. You know, he's really creative, but he got away with murder. Near Gary is very punctual. Oh, he's prepared. He does things that he says he's gonna do. You know, he tries to have more integrity than he ever had before. He gives people the gift of time, you know, where before he didn't have time for you. Or if he was talking to you, he was looking at his watch or looking around the corner, you know, to see if there's somebody else he needed to talk to. So, you know, if I was another agent, kind of to use that thing that you were talking about, fake it till you make it become new, Jason, pretending to be who you want to be. And if you do that, enough reps, it's like a muscle. You do that enough reps every day. And people will notice who you are before you do.Craig Pretzinger:
Yeah, true. The thing that you're doing the actions, right, like, the only reason that it's faking it, is because of in your own head, right? Like you're doing it. You're not faking it, you're actually doing it, but you don't believe it, that you can do it or believe that you are doing it. So you think that you're faking it. Right. Like and I don't mean you I just mean the royal Yeah, I know what you're talking. Yeah. So I think there's this, you know, you have to basically move your it's like this total mind shift to the new place, right. And the only way to do it as a trick is to say, I'm faking it,Gary Cooper:
and then writing the story. Yeah. And then there's gonna be haters saying, Oh, look at Jason. He's dressing Oh, yeah, you know what, screw those people. IfCraig Pretzinger:
you got those, then you're on to something, right. And there's people trying to pull you down than you are doing something. Yep.Gary Cooper:
Screw those people. Yeah, they weren't your friends to begin with. ItJason Feltman:
is funny. It's like you do not achieve anything without the actions. And they will always come first. So it's really having that belief, that belief like, Hey, I, if I do the same actions as this other person, I can receive the same result. But it's hard to I mean, it is it's hard to do that in our own head. And it's hard to do that because of those around us.Craig Pretzinger:
I have one, I think that so we were talking about moving from operator to owner, right. And I know that that Jason like, obviously you did that Gary, Jason has done it. I've done it in our agencies, and we see it over and over so many agents that are still stuck in the they own it, but they also are are operating it. And they're also a producer, and they're doing everything. And and if I you know, maybe this will break through with them. But there was a time when it was very uncomfortable to hear the phone ring and not answer it was very uncomfortable to have somebody come in and say they're going to cancel and not run over there and try to save them. But once all of those things were completely Lego, like it's been three years since I've taken a call here. Like, I can't imagine getting on the phone now. Because it's endless, right? There's 200 calls every day, like, what am I gonna do? I'm not stopping any anything or fixing anything or moving the needle. I'm doing much, much more effective being here. Even if I'm only here for one hour to meet with the team and do a run a sales meeting. That's way more effective than me running around my hair on fire, trying to stay at solve all the world's problems.Gary Cooper:
Yeah. You know, Jason, you were touching on something earlier. But the Maslow's hierarchy of needs and all that stuff? Yeah. Here's the way that I've seen it work in my life. And here's the way it was described to me. I thought I would have character when I became successful. But I had to build character to be successful. Hmm. So I thought I would have character once had the house and the car and the family and all that stuff. So I worked hard to get all that stuff. And I got all that stuff. And instead of having character, I became a character. And instead, what I worked on the last six years, almost seven years, is when I work on every morning before I get in the shower, I work on building my character. Build on integrity. And then I think success comes after character building always. And if we get success before character, we're always scared of losing itCraig Pretzinger:
puts us in a scarcity. Yeah.Gary Cooper:
So that's probably one of the biggest lessons I've learned.Jason Feltman:
I love it. And I want to dive in to the book. When When was the book released?Gary Cooper:
I think we released it in June.Jason Feltman:
And it's called the success paradox.Gary Cooper:
Here's a copy of it right here. We're gonna go right there. ThereUnknown:
it is. Awesome. He's holding up shiny new uniform. infestCraig Pretzinger:
How long did it take you to write the book?Gary Cooper:
It took about a year and a half to actually write it. And, look, I never wanted to write a book. I never dreamed of being a book writer. I don't. Part of my identity is not being an author. So I got, you know, they normally get a ghostwriter. And I'm like, Look, all my friends are no, I didn't write it. So I'm putting the guy's name on the front of the book. Who helped me? So the the reason why I wrote the book is one of our best friends, Kid committed suicide. And all these problems we're talking about. Kids are dealing with them. And the biggest one that I dealt with, I believe, was comparing myself to other people. I think that started when I was really young. And I think a lot of you were talking about your dad, not being around mine was comparing myself to my dad. He was really successful. And I think I transferred his success to, um, nothing if I don't become as successful or more so than him. And when he died, I just picked somebody else. And I started chasing them. And when Jack Buffington killed himself, I was about a year and a half into this, this 180 direction in my life. And I was like, man, it's gotta be hard to be a 20 year old kid. Jack was 20 years old. And he was my kids best friend. And my wife's best friend from childhoods son. And we raised them together. And then 10 other kids in this small town of 10,000 people killed themselves that same year.Jason Feltman:
How many 10 Huh, wow. AndGary Cooper:
so I had no desire to write a book. And I wanted to write a book about kids. And Forbes. Cohen said, Have you ever thought about a book? And I was like, yes. I'd like to do it about kids. And they said, well, that's not your story. Your story is you put these things into your business, in your business went from 60 million to 400 million. And that's your story. So I set it up and then nonprofit, and all the proceeds go to the nonprofit. And I would love to get somebody like Demi Lovato or LeBron James or Roy McElroy, to write a book for kids to say, Hey, Dan, he's very vocal about our stuff. I would love to get Demi to write a book say you don't have to compare yourself to anybody. Because your perfect way God made you, you know, for that age group. Because there's a section in the book about social media. And I'm not a social media basher. The way I describe it is, did you know Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. Ah, the Nobel Peace Prize guyCraig Pretzinger:
invented dynamite.Gary Cooper:
So his brother dies. And he goes to his brother's funeral and they screw up. And they put Alford's obituary on the front page of the newspaper in Paris. And they call him the master of death. And he's like, holy crap, I invented dynamite. It's a good thing. Why are they called me to master death. So he spent some, he spends the next couple of years changing his obituary. And he invents the Nobel Peace Prize, and he's as rich as Bill Gates at that time. And he donates all of his money to create the Nobel Peace Prize. Wow. So I would like to change my, you know, my dash, you know, was born in 72. I would like to change my dash to say, how can we, you know, not bad social media, but say It's explosive like dynamite? Depending on whose hands it's in. You know, so, if you go on, set a timer, you know, you go on, you know, don't compare yourself to a supermodel. You know, or don't compare yourself to Elon Musk. Or don't compare yourself to the fastest man in the world. If you're a white kid like me, you know, who can't jump you know, if I buy Nike, about Michael Jordan shoes. I can't dunk like him. I tried that and I was gonna do In work I actually had Ralph Sampson sure you remember him? Oh, yeah. Yeah.Jason Feltman:
Super cool. Well, how can we get a hold of the book? How can our readers learn more?Gary Cooper:
So you can go to Amazon? That's probably the easiest place to get it. You know,Craig Pretzinger:
they're gonna let you after you said those things about Amazon.Gary Cooper:
I hope so. Go to like, wait a minute, you can go to success. paradox.comCraig Pretzinger:
Yep. Super cool. It's great, man, I love it. I'm gonna pick this up, I'm going to sign up for your newsletter there on the webpage too. And you're goingJason Feltman:
It's awesome, man, you have gone through quite the transformation. And I just want to say it's, it's so awesome to see somebody. A lot of people that do become successful. Don't go that direction. Right? They become maybe a little bit more part of a problem rather than solution. So just want to say thank you for for putting all this good out into the world and now being a leader for for good rather than you know, showing showing people what they can do and putting God first I think it's super cool, man. dudesGary Cooper:
that is want to know do I get a t shirt? Or like a hat or any kind of merch?Craig Pretzinger:
Yeah, we can arrangeGary Cooper:
insurance do church.Craig Pretzinger:
Are you gonna take you got to take a picture with it. Put it on this.Gary Cooper:
I'll put it on onJason Feltman:
LinkedIn. Nice. Yeah. Yeah, that will be sent to you for sure.Gary Cooper:
That'd be fun. Have fun with that. Cool.Craig Pretzinger:
Awesome. Very good to have you on here man. Thank you for for coming on. And you went the distance. The whole hour crazy.Gary Cooper:
Is made havin fun talking to you guys. You're a lot.Craig Pretzinger:
Thanks, man. Thanks, Gary. Take care.