DAVID LALLY: Welcome to “The Brian Buffini Show,” where we explore the mindsets, motivation, and methodologies of success. Here’s your host, Brian Buffini.

Well, it’s not your host just yet. It’s David Lally again and we went into the archives today to bring you an inspirational message that Brian gave at our Mastermind event a number of years ago. The reason you might find this presentation so pertinent is that Brian loves to teach from principles, and he always says, “Principles don’t change, only the tactics do.” The title of this message is “A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback.” This was true coming out of the last recession and will be true coming of this pandemic too. We hope you enjoy.

BRIAN BUFFINI: Will there be setbacks in your life in the years to come, yes or no? Yes, so what we’re going to do here to start with is we’re going to diagnose and pull apart what it looks like. What a setback looks like and what a comeback looks like, and we’re going to start pulling it apart. We’re going to diagnose how to do it, what it looks like and what we need, so that we have tools in place. Because you’re going to need different tools for different times. You’re going to need different skills for different seasons. There are different challenges with different comebacks. Some of them, they’re self-imposed setbacks. Is that true?

Then, there’s things that are total blindsides. You never see them coming. Those things that happen in life. The car wreck. A buddy of mine just going and he’s diving and he jumps in, breaks his pelvis, okay? This changes everything. It changes your work, changes your life, changed your body, changed your health, changed you attitude, changed your minds, a boom.

Just things happen, health issues, financial issues, something happens to a family member, a loved one. Things in the greater economy, communities, okay? There’s things you could differently, but when our house burned down — Southern California had a fire it hadn’t seen in 100 years. There’s things that you just are not prepared for. Okay?

There are different comeback strategies and plans needed for different types of setbacks, different seasons, than different types of setbacks you have in different seasons, and so this what we’re going to do. We’re going to pull it apart and we’re going to equip you. Are you guys game for this? We’re going to get to work, we’re going to go hard right now. If you’re ready say, “I’m ready.”

AUDIENCE: I’m ready.

BUFFINI: Come on here we go, a season of trial and testing. We’ve been through collectively a season of trial and testing, but again, there’s seasons of trial and testing at all times. Seasons of tests and trial happen all the time, all the time, some more severe than others. What is a test? It’s to refine gold or silver by destruction, by applying intense heat and reducing by abrasion, that’s what a test is?

That’s according to Noah Webster, to refine gold or silver by destruction, by applying intense heat and by reducing by abrasion. Have any of you been in any intense heat the last couple of years, lets me see your hands, please. You always thought being hot was a good thing, didn’t you?

Now, last year, in fact, it was two years ago I introduced the concept of the crucible, do you guys remember this? I talked about being in the crucible and the crucible of life. The crucible, this is how they refine gold and it’s a powerful thing, they take gold, is gold valuable, yes or no? You take valuable gold and you put it into the crucible, intense heat and as you go into the crucible, the intense heat melts you down.

Now, the purpose is, that those impurities, those things that actually create less value in you get burned off. What comes out the other side is a gold that’s more valuable and more precious. As you go up the different levels, you go 14 to 18 to 24-carat gold. What happens is it’s a more pure form of gold, it means it’s been tested in the fire more. It means it’s had that stuff burned off. Well, that’s what being tested is like.

Now, what happens is we can run from it, we can hide from it, we can medicate away from it, we can numb it out, we can run away from it. We can drink it out, we can eat it out, we can TV it out, we can do whatever we want, but the truth of the matter is what we need to have is a plan. When you’re in a crucible it’s not fun. We just need to know that we’re in the crucible, we’re being tested. It won’t be forever, it never is, but you come out the other side pure like gold. That’s what testing and trial is all about, a trial is suffering that puts strength, patience, or faith to the test. It’s interesting, say those three words with me, strength, patience, and faith. One, two, three. Strength.

AUDIENCE: Strength, patience, and faith.

BUFFINI: It’s interesting how a trial does that, mentally and emotionally I’m pretty strong. Faith, defining part of my life. Where do I get the trial? Hurry up, say it, hurry up, good grief, you people are slow. No, I don’t struggle with any of these. It’s funny, every time I declare to the family, “Here it is. God’s put me in the crucible. I’m just dedicating myself to be a more patient guy.” Here’s the one thing, never pray for patience. Never, never. No. It’s bad, because it comes out, it’s waiting out. I was putting a little outline together. Beverly will die laughing. This is true. I was putting this stuff together and I was writing my notes and I wanted to make copies to bring into the office and whatever else on trial and patience. I was doing all this stuff on patience, true story.

Now, I’m not exactly Mr. Techno Wizard. I have all the techno-wizard people around me, so I just say it, write it down. This is my laptop. Are you following me? Here I am, I’m doing a presentation on patience. It’s supposed to take five minutes. It’s true as I’m standing here, four hours later, see these scars on my hand? That’s from going jihad on a copy machine. Now, when my wife walks into my office, true story, I have my hands stuck in the copy machine and she goes, “How’s the presentation on patience coming?”

“Real good.”

True story. Another definition of trial, its applications are temptations that prove the graces or virtues of people. See, it’s a good side. When you’re under trial, the truth of the matter is you’re at your best too. You’re at your best. You’re at your very best. The graces and virtues, the character qualities, the toughness, the ability to stick it out, the ability to tough it through. Everyone in here is a survivor. Everyone in here has battled through difficult things. Everyone in here has demonstrated in their life, everyone, character qualities and virtues that are admirable, that are gifts to your future, and trials get us better at that. It’s like a workout for your character, and that’s the beauty of them. There is good that comes from all this.

Yes, it’s tough in the crucible, yes, it’s hot. Some of you are in the middle of it right now. I know that, but hang tough. You’re going to come out the other side. Lean into the graces and the virtues of your character and you will come outside, pure gold.

Setbacks, it’s a reversal or interruption in progress. It’s a reversal or interruption in progress. Above progress, a good word is momentum. Momentum is powerful. You see, momentum works a couple of ways. When you feel like you can do no right, momentum’s coming at you and it’s like, “What’s the point?” What we have to do is get some positive momentum and all of a sudden you get some wind at your sails. Some good things are happening, and even though people around you are saying, “Hey, this isn’t so good and that’s not so great and this is not so good,” you get some good things going and you get some momentum. Very, very powerful.

That’s one of the things about setbacks. It reverses things, and we’re going to talk about that because there’s a sense of loss with that. It’s an interruption and it takes out your progress. Henry Ford said the world was built to develop character. Powerful, and we must learn that setbacks which we endure help us keep marching forward. We’re going to read this together, I love this quote. One two three, “The world was built to character, and we must learn that setbacks which we endure help us set up for a comeback.” It’s a great line. It’s a great principle. A setback is a setup for a comeback.

Now, what do we want? We want it instantly. Okay, I’ve had the setback, let’s go. Had the setback at nine, the comeback by two, and the victory parade by five, yes?


BUFFINI: And in the bank account by nine o’clock tomorrow morning. That’s what we want, is that true? We understand all this stuff intellectually, it’s the emotions and the timing, it’s the emotions and the timing, that’s the issue. We go through these emotions with the setbacks. We want them to be over right away. Have you ever said out loud, “I can’t take anymore”? How many of you have ever said that to yourself? Let me see your hands. How many of you found out that was not actually true? You could take more. Let me see your hands.

This has got to be the bottom. No, you are in the forefoot section right now, sweetheart. Oh no, this has got to be the end, and it’s not. It’s kind of amazing, and you find out when you hit the bottom and you go to the bottom, there was a lot more in me than I thought. Is that true? Powerful stuff.

Let’s get to the happy place. Are you ready for the happy place? Comeback is a return to a former condition, prosperity or success, a return to a former condition, prosperity or success. Now, I got to pause here for a second. It’s a return to a former condition, prosperity or success. This is very, very important. Last night I mentioned something that I think is a big deal, which is one of the reasons this era has hurt so many people so bad, is that false expectations became the norm, expectations that weren’t rooted in fundamentals.

What’s happened is the reason why so many people are struggling, they want to go back to what they considered normal. We had a false thing happen, that becomes our new normal and we want to go back to that. Now there will be peaks and valleys. However, when we talk about the return, it’s one of the things we sometimes we want to return to the false expectation, and there’s a tremendous amount of dissonance and we feel like we’re out of sorts because we took this high point, we said, “That’s the way it’s supposed to be.” No, that was a high point. It might not have been all that great by the way, it’s just a frame of reference.

We’re going to give great definition today to what a real return means, to a former condition. The real former condition I’m interested in for you is your confidence. The real former condition I’m interested in you is your self-image, the real former condition I’m looking for you is understanding your value and who you are. My bride is always talking. Whenever she’s encouraging people, she’s always reminding them of their value, always reminding them of their value. That’s the former condition, the former condition, you’re winning ways when you were at your best.

Another definition of a comeback is you come back sometimes to a place you never even been. It’s a resurgent, an improvement or a rediscovery, and insurgents and improvement are rediscovery. Resurgence. There’s a movement to that word, an energy to that word, a resurgence. It’s like a wave that has power to us. Improvement. You get better. What’s the point of going back if you don’t get better? Or a rediscovery.

You know as we go through life, we go through different seasons. When your kids are little, you see all these gifts and abilities in them. We had those things as well and as life goes on and we get busy, sometimes certain things got to get put on hold. Things get pushed to the side. Sometimes skills and abilities and gifts we have, they get pushed aside and sometimes it creates a dissonance. Now I think it’s okay to say, “Hey, for right now, this has to go on the side, but it’s also as we go through these things and we come back around, sometimes it’s great to go rediscover those gifts and those abilities and those dreams and those hopes and go use them for the future.

Let me tell you a little comeback story. 1993 Edinburgh, Scotland. Guy walks out in the middle of the night, leaves his wife and two kids. She’s a homemaker. She goes on welfare, has to move in with her sister, so they’re living in one room in her sister’s house. Her and her two kids decides. Decides, “Okay, I need to get a job. I’m going to become a teacher.” Even though she had gone to college to become a teacher, should take a year to get her teaching certificate. She goes back to school to get her teaching certificate for a year while on welfare. Starts writing, because the writing was her dream as a kid. Her dad had championed her. You got a gift, you’re a writer, you need to write. Her dad had passed, got married, had kids.

She starts writing on welfare, getting her teaching credential, writes a book, sells her first book for $4,000. At the end of that year, gets her teaching credential, goes teaching full-time and at night, enjoy the process and the $4,000 help pay some bills. She writes another book, sells that book for $12,000. In her third year, she’s teaching full-time, writing at night, her third book sells 5.8 million copies in its first print. Reprint, another million-five. Gal’s name, J. K. Rowling. Most books sold in the world in the last five years. Movies that have been made from her books, a billion dollars.

Here’s a great quote from J. K. Rowling. “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve. Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” Now, understand that when people quote things, it’s because the thing they’ve learned, embodied or have to come to embody. Guess what, this was a big deal for her to do. For her to write a book was a nerve. That was, you got some nerve. That’s what she was saying to herself, I guarantee you. “Who are you to be writing books? You got some nerve.” You know what, it turned out she did, and that’s a great gift that she gives to the rest of us. Comeback stories are everywhere.

Now, let’s again diagnose the comeback. You get the setback, you want the comeback, but most people’s comebacks never get started. It’s the comeback trail. Have you guys ever heard that phrase, the comeback trail? Well, I actually want to change that just by one letter. I want to call it the comeback rail, because to me, it’s a train that gets back on a track. For the young folks who are here, it’s getting that train on the track right upfront and don’t let your buddies get you sidetracked.

You young folks, you need to know even though you got buddies that you’re friends with, who you hang out with, they often don’t have your best interest in mind. Your mom and dad are the only people in this world you can count on to have your best interest at heart. Get on the rails. Get on the rails. When you’re on the comeback rail, there’s one thing that derails us, and that’s emotions. Our own emotions. Most comebacks are derailed by ourselves.

Here’s the first comeback derailer, it’s a sense of loss. It’s a sense of loss. I was in Europe for a couple of weeks. There’s a couple of guys I have a great relationship with, they own the largest real estate company in Europe. They’re two partners. Brilliant guys, among the most influential people in the industry in the world. One of the guys is 72 years of age and he said, “I came over here- ” He was Canadian, he went to Europe, built the largest real estate organization in Europe, just dominating the marketplace. He said it took 15 years to build this, 15 years, and this guy is a high-energy guy. He said it took 15 years to build this, working at it every hour of every day, and it seems like it took six months to destroy it. He goes, “I don’t have another 15 years.”

Now, this is big, because some of you here are feeling this type of stuff, not necessarily with the timeframe. It took all these years, all these years, all these years, get derailed, now I have the sense of loss, that not the deal.

Here’s the understanding, is during that 15 years, do you think nothing was accomplished? During that 15 years, do you think your character wasn’t developed? During that 15 years, do you think you didn’t get some experiences? During that 15 years, you didn’t think your skills became sharper? How many of you today honestly are better business people than you were three years ago? Let me see your hands. Nice and high. Nice and high. Great. You got a college education. It was an expensive one. How many of you would be better with your money today than you were three years ago? Let me see your hands, please. How many of you wish you had listened to me better three years ago? Can I see your hands, please?

15 years to build and six months to tear it down, sense of loss. There’s people in this room who’ve handed the keys back to the bank on their home. There’s people in this room who’ve probably filed bankruptcy. There’s people in this room who’ve had to make some very tough choices. There’s people in this room who’ve done difficult things. By the way, there’s a whole bunch of people not in this room who’ve gone through these tough times and the sense of loss is very difficult, and it’s an emotion that derails. Why? Because I want to go back to that which I had in my mind, and every time I’m not there, now, you are better today than you were when you were there, you are better your value who you are, you learn more, you’ll be a little more cautious. You’ll be a little more careful. You’ll have a better plan. You won’t be so loose. Is this true?


BUFFINI: It won’t take 15 years. A comeback doesn’t take as long as it takes to construct something. It just doesn’t. It just doesn’t. A sense of loss. It’s one of the emotional side effects. Number two is a feeling of overwhelm, a feeling of overwhelm. Now, I get this a lot and if you’re into details at all, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. My Bride is gifted with the heritage profile. How many of you have had a heritage profile? So you know what global is, right? Well, Kevin Buffini will tell you that Beverly is a special category all of her own, and she calls her Hyper Global. When our first child was born, she was talking about, I wonder who he’s going to marry. I’m like, “I’m trying to think how do we get them in the car seat?”

She’s thinking of grandchildren. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed because I’m actually into the details, right? True story. One night she sends me a text message. It’s true story. She goes “Honey, could you pick up Island Brothers’ chicken for dinner tonight?” I go, “That’s going to be tough. I’m in Toronto.”

Now when we talked that night, I said, “Honey, I could never have married a clingy woman, but I would like you to know I’m out of the freaking country, that would be helpful. Okay?”

Mama, she doesn’t get overwhelmed. I tend to get overwhelmed, and when you feel like you’ve had a setback, when you feel like you got a lot to overcome, when it’s like, “Oh man, I’ve taken these body blows. This is how far I have to go. Here’s how much I owe. Here’s how much I weigh. Here’s how bad it seems to be with my kids. Here’s what’s going on with my family. Here’s what’s going on with my career, here’s what’s going …” and then you get into the other stuff, but we get all screwed up about a lot of things. Is that true?

I’m going to go back to give you one of the great gifts that I was given, and again, I mentioned many mentors here. Dr. Alex Lackey, the late Alex Lackey, he did some remarkable things for me. He would say, “You know what, Brian, let’s say you got a big block of cheese.” He says, “Think about that stinky French cheese, like the bad cheese.” He goes, “That’s the size of your problem.” He says, “Your problem is you want the details and you want them quick.” Now he was diagnosing me. He says, “So you want to fix it, but you want to fix it now.” He says, “Because of that, it raises tremendous stress for you,” and he says, “your chance of success are very low.” He said, “Here’s all I want you to do. All I want you to do is focus on this. Knock one hole in it, that’s all, just one hole in it, just that.”

He said, “Forget that anything else exists.” Now, he says, “This should be the most important stuff. This should be number one, or number two, and that’s what you got to focus on. Forget that anything else exists.” He says, “You can’t control the whole thing. You can’t do it all. There’s only many hours in your day, you only have so much physical energy. You only have so much capabilities at this time. Forget everything else exists,” he says, “When you get that knocked out, that’s success.” He said, “Then we go for this one, and that’s success.”

I can tell you this. This sounds bizarre, and everyone’s got to find their own little rhythm to it. I have staged personal comebacks by cleaning up my desk and office. What’s happened is, for sometimes because I’m a guy who likes to have his workspace in a certain way, and so on so forth, whatever else and lock the door so kids can’t come in, do the whole thing, one thing, boom, I got one thing, and now I’m set up. Okay, I got one thing done that was important to me. Now, it’s not the highest priority thing maybe, but now I’ve got one thing.

Now, in this case, it might be a small little piece of the cheese, does that make sense? Now I can actually go, “Okay, now what’s the most important thing?” Because sometimes those small things are the things that actually derail you. Is this making sense? Let me quote from Og Mandino and I’ve quoted a lot of quotes here. It says, “Sound character provides the power with which a person may ride the emergency of life instead of being overwhelmed by them. Sound character provides the power with which a person may ride the emergency of life instead of being overwhelmed by them.” Sound character. See, that’s what tests and trials do.

The truth of the matter is this, let’s be honest. In our culture today, we want a pill to fix it. We want an infomercial-type fixed, that’s what we want. The thing about is we don’t want to work on our character. We just want the outcome. We want the details, we want the payoff. All of this stuff is character-based. We get this overwhelm, we understand, character is the key.

Number three, a feeling of apathy, a feeling of apathy, nothing I do makes a difference. Nothing I do makes a difference. I think there’s a hopelessness that comes with that. We got to get our head out of the sand. We got to get in the game. The next emotion that derails a comeback is a constant frustration, constant frustration. This again, now we build it all together. We’ve got the false expectations. We’re looking for a return to that. We’ve had the trial and by the way, the heat keeps coming. There’s a feeling of overwhelm, sometimes a little apathy. It’s just this constant frustration. You find yourself complaining, you find yourself this is wrong and that’s wrong. The attitude that we talk about starts to sink.

Now, again, attitude alone is not enough, Zig Ziglar is the first guy to tell you that. Zig says, “Negative thinking will allow you to do everything, positive thinking will, but– positive thinking will let you do it better.” Does that make sense? You can’t just positive think your way out of this. What you have to know that the cost of frustration and the negative energies it’s a drain, energy is the key, emotion is the key.

Having your fire and your purpose is the key and if you have a drain that’s draining off your energy, and it’s draining off. Here’s the thing, the negative emotions drain off the good emotions, that’s the key thing. The negative emotions, they take the good emotions away and you need the good emotions to be good. You need the good emotions to stay tough, you need the good emotions to stage your comeback. You can’t have a comeback running on negative fuel. Now, some people will start one, “All right, I’m mad, I tried to get into my jeans, that’s it. I jumped off the mantelpiece, still couldn’t get them past the knee.”

“That’s it, I’ve had enough.” You can start with the negative emotion, you can’t stay with a negative emotion, you can’t grow with a negative emotion. Is this making sense?

Number five, the feelings of depression. I’m just going to touch on this, I’m not going to get into pop psychology one way or the other. What I know right now is the radical increase in the medication that’s being pitched out in America right now, and I just want to clarify one thing.

I want to give you the definition of a feeling of depression is different than depression. It’s feelings of dejection and hopelessness. It’s low in spirit. Okay? Feelings of dejection and hopelessness, low in spirit. Now I’m not getting in any of the bio-chemical stuff, I’m not getting into any of the serious things that go on in people’s lives all the way up to mental illness. I’m not getting into any of that stuff, but I’m just going to say this, here’s what I want you to know.

You can be a positive person, a fired-up person, an enthusiastic person on the comeback trail living your life in coaching, doing whatever else, coming to seminar fired up, and have feelings of depression. It’s not something you need to hide, “I need to take my ribbon off for a few months.” Those are human emotions, it’s a feeling. It’s a feeling. Sometimes it’s not fleeting, and a feeling of hopelessness is that everything I do doesn’t seem to work out.

I finally said, “Okay, I’m going to do something,” and sometimes when you decide to move forward, a next shot setback comes and it’s like– and I think the dynamic is that we can be consistent. We always won’t be happy, we’re going to talk about where the sources of our joy come from. Joy and happiness are two separate things. Is everybody with me on this? Joy is connected to purpose, joy is connected to what’s your value, joy is connected to what’s you’re all about, what you stand for, what you’re striving for. Happiness is how you wake up and how the day goes. Are you guys with me, yes or no? A lot of people confuse the two. You can have great joy in your heart and have an unhappy day. If that makes sense, say aye.


BUFFINI: So what’s the answer to depression? A feeling of depression? What do you think the answer is? It’s hope. It’s hope. We’re going to talk about how to have hope. Let’s talk about what fuels a comeback. What fuels a comeback? Just so I’m sure, are you guys ready for a comeback?


BUFFINI: Come on now. Big time. I’m not just talking about getting back to where you were. I’m talking about a resurgence, an improvement. A vision for the future is the first thing, you got to have a vision for the future. You got to have a picture of what it looks like. Now, you know it’s not perfect and you won’t come down off the mountain with a tablet of stone here, but you got to have something in mind.

You got to have something in mind. What am I trying to get accomplished? Lou had a vision in mind. Here’s what I’m going to try to do. He kept painting the picture and he kept selling those kids on us, kept selling them on us. Here’s where we’re going. Here’s where we’re going. A vision for the future. Next. A sense of purpose. A sense of purpose, and just so you know, the self-help industry took off with Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. He was doing seminars in the 1910, 1912 all the way up 1920, then Napoleon Hill came along with Think and Grow Rich and those two men and then George Clason with The Richest Man in Babylon. Those three guys were all living at the same time. Those three guys actually even did presentations together. Do you have liked to been at a seminar those guys gave? Come on. No DVRs. That would have been cool. Well, we get their books, don’t we?

Just so you know, America really led the way in this. I’m telling you right now, when I came here as an immigrant, I had never even heard of self-help seminars. There were no self-help seminars in Ireland when I left. Here’s how you help yourself to 11 pints again as opposed to 12, okay?”

I mean, we just didn’t have them. I never heard them. Maybe they were there, I just never saw them. I come here and it’s like, man, I start working. I get this mentor of mine, Gene Coleman. He says you got to go see Zig Ziglar. That was my first couple of days. “Now you got to go here,” and then I got into real estate, “Oh, you got to go to a seminar every day, because it beats working. Let’s go. Let’s go to these seminars.”

It was all this kind of stuff. What you need to know, as much as that is part of the American culture and I believe a huge part of what makes this whole place go in North America is this stuff’s been around a long time. This sense of purpose. This is not something that came up in corporate America or whatever else. I’m going to take you back to 150 AD as a ruler. This man ruled over two-thirds of the earth’s surface. You only know him as a character in gladiator, is Marcus Aurelius. Emperor Marcus Aurelius said this. He said, “Everything, a horse, a vine, is created for some duty. For what task, then, were you yourself created? A man’s delight is to do the things he was made for.”

Now, that’s a big statement. Okay? A persons delight is to do the things he was made for. This is one of the reasons we love the heritage profile. You do the things you’re designed to do. When people get down to this whole dynamic or purpose, it freaks them out, because they think it has to be this grandiose thing and maybe here’s what Nelson Mandela did and here’s what Mother Teresa did, and here’s– Those are people whose purposes became enormous and they’re very valuable.

Here’s a couple of things. We’re going to do this and we’re going to do some work specifically tonight on giving you some tools and empowerment for your purpose. Clarifying it, sharpen it, and define it. I want to give you a couple of thoughts, you might even want to write these down. Let me tell you when you start on your purpose, it starts with values, it starts with values. A little quote I’ve been saying for years, “When your values are clear, your decisions are easy. When your values are clear, your decisions are easy.” Say it with me, “When your values are clear, your decisions are easy.” That’s the start of your purpose. When your values are clear, decisions are easy.

Now, let me give you a couple of other thoughts on the whole concept of purpose. Don’t start with high and lofty, don’t start high and lofty. A purpose must start close to home. If you can’t start with the people around you– Here’s the dynamic. I’ll talk about Mother Teresa, because we all know this incredible icon. Mother Teresa, like all great things in life, started in Dublin.

Mother Teresa was raised in a convent about a mile right there away from our house. Mother Teresa takes a call to go to Bangladesh. She had no design to start this great order that would work all over the world. That was not her design. Her purpose was this. She started helping out in these hospitals and then she saw there was these areas in the hospitals where they had sick children, and they put the sick children there to die in Bangladesh, in unbelievable poverty.

Her purpose statement was this, “To bring a smile to the face of a dying child.” It wasn’t this, “I’m going to be known, I’m going to win the Nobel Prize, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that.” She didn’t know who Nobel was. She knew about this warm little room that was off of a hospital, and she wanted to bring a smile to the face of that child.

Well, I believe all purposes need to start close to home, about things that are important, about things that resonate. Here’s the deal. If I have this great purpose to go do all this stuff and I can’t take care of my own family, then I have not earned the right to go do all this stuff. Does that make sense? That’s why many organizations and many people have toppled, because they didn’t take care of what was close to home. Your purpose needs to start close to home. Values are clear, decisions are easy, don’t start high and lofty. Let that develop if that ends up being your destiny. Let that develop. Don’t get caught up in that. Start close to home.

Number three, fulfilling one’s potential. Now, how many of you in here have that untapped potential in you? Let me see your hands. Nice and high, nice and high. You have untapped potential, means you have unused what? Talent. You want to get on the comeback trail? Talent fuels the comeback, always. Talent. Now, talent to me is underneath this potential, it’s talent, opportunity and desire. We’ll touch on these things. Talent, opportunity and desire. You can have the talent, you can have the opportunity and the talent, but you got to have the desire. You got to be willing to do it. Why did I show you Rocky every time? Did he have the talent? Yes or no? Did his couch say he had the talent? Yes or no?


BUFFINI: Yes, he did. Once he got the goal which was his purpose, what did he do? He went to work. He went to work. You got to have the desire. We’ll talk a little bit about that. Everybody has degrees of desire. The key is, whatever level of desire you have, you got to get it all. You got to get it all working. You got to use it now. How many of you believe you’re capable of more? Let me see your hands. Here’s my question to you. Are you waiting for a bigger recession before you use it? What are you holding it on for? “Oh, no, no, no, there’s another big one coming. I’m just going to stay cool for right now.” Would you agree now would be a pretty good time to bring out all the cannons? Yes or no?


BUFFINI: Right now. If it’s not know, when are you going to do it? When the humor strikes you? Doesn’t work like that. Fulfilling your potential. Talent, opportunity and desire. There’s two things we found in coaching. Two things. Number one, people have blind spots. People have blind spots. I’ve used the illustration many times of the lady who came out of the bathroom running into the seminar with her skirt tucked up not wanting to sing. Have you guys heard me tell that story?

We all got blind spots. We all got shortcomings. It’s why we need people. It’s why we need one another. We need one another to say, “Hey, you know what, you got a blind spot over here.” We do it in a gracious way. Do it in a truthful way. “You got a blind spot over here.” The other thing that people are blind to is their gifts. People are blind to their gifts every bit as they’re blind to their shortcomings, because the gifts are just natural to you. It’s just what you do to the point you don’t even think it is a gift.

One of my favorite authors in my whole life growing up. This is interesting because I wasn’t a particularly spiritual kid growing up, but for whatever reason I always liked St. Augustine. Anything I ever read, or any quotes and little pamphlets I’ve seen on him were very powerful. This is one of my all-time favorite St. Augustine quotes. He says, “Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars and they pass by themselves without wondering.” People are blind to their shortcomings and to their gifts.

We’ve seen this in you and you’ve seen this in you. There have been times you surprised yourself. There’s times you’ve done stuff, man, I didn’t even know I could do that. There’s times you’ve gotten certain results and you got a nosebleed, wooh. Woo-hoo, this is going too fast. I’m doing more than I thought I would. [whistles] Let me go back. We’re all blind to this.

The opportunity for gain is the next thing. The opportunity for gain. I made a promise and I understand– please, in this room, 2,400, 2,500 people, we’ve got people from many different perspectives. Okay? Here’s the deal. I’m not a politician, not interested in politics. I’m not going to talk about politics. I want to talk about something though that’s I think is important and it’s this, I believe deeply that part of what makes this whole thing go is that a free society tends to be built on a free market. Does that make sense? It’s a big deal.

Here’s the dynamic. Capitalism is a good thing. Capitalism is a very good thing. Is that a perfect thing? No. In a free market of capitalism, do people ever get greedy? Do people ever do dishonest things? Sometimes very powerful people do greedy, dishonest things that impact a lot of other people. Is that a true statement?


BUFFINI: I’m just going to share with you. I grew up in a culture which was conflicted. We had a socialistic economic country with very, very ambitious-driven people who wanted to improve themselves. That’s why for over a century, Ireland’s greatest export was its people. Millions of people left Ireland for years and years and years looking for a better life. Now to try to control this and contain this, they tried to do the best they could. They came up with an environment that became socialistic. Ireland had a peak period, because what they had was they had this Celtic tiger, where all these folks who’d been gone away for years, all of a sudden there were some opportunities. They gave some breaks, they gave them incentives for American companies to go to Ireland and they gave them tax breaks.

I remember we bought this big IBM mainframe deal in our company and our guys on the phone, he says, “Can you help me with something?” I’m walking down the aisle and our head computer guy’s like, “Hey, can you help me?” I’m like, “With computers?” He goes, “No, I just need some help.” He puts on the phone and he puts it on speaker and he says, “I called this number, I can’t understand a word she says.” I go, “Hi, IBM. How are you doing? What’s your problem?” Relax, relax. Now he’s just like, “I don’t understand a word she’s saying.” Here it is. I’m calling the IBM 800 number and it’s in Leixlip in Ireland. Ireland went through this resurgency and people who’d been leaving stayed home, and all of a sudden we had this 10 year run-up, was unbelievable. I just want to share this. When you go to set your goals, you need to feel zero embarrassment about gain. You need to have a pride and a joy in no, no, no, when you work hard, you deserve certain things. Is this making sense? This is the way it’s supposed to be. This is the way it’s supposed to be. If I work harder than that guy, I shouldn’t get the same result as that guy. Would you guys agree with that? Yes or no?

Okay? No bloody way. If I work harder than you, if I’m willing to put my neck on the line, you want to know this? You’re not an entrepreneurial until you sweat at making a payroll. I’ve written checks to make payroll. I’ve written checks to keep the doors open. I’ve put it all on the line. I’ve stayed up nights. I’ve gotten up early. I’ve put in the time, I’ve put in the energy, and so have you, and we’re starting to get this little creepy thing and say, no, no, no, everybody got to be the same. When did that ever happen in the course of human history?

One of the things that made this place go is that people came here and they said, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are or where you come from. Right now, you know one of the reasons why Toronto is going through such a great resurgence? Is they have people coming from all over the world to Toronto. There’s over 60 languages spoken in Toronto.

People come and looking for a better life. You talk about recession. People are getting off the planes and coming to America today and going, “You got to be kidding me?” I ordered my phone service and I got it in two days, right? Today, Ireland, the more advanced country, you order phone service, 11 weeks before you get a telephone, “Sir, what’s your hurry? Relax. Have a pint. No one’s trying to talk to you anyway.”

“Relax.” I’m going to share this with you, because I believe your goals need to be laced with this. Human beings are designed for this. If you put in the time, if you put in the effort, if you put in the risk, you deserve the reward. It’s the way this life is supposed to work. It’s all over this life. If you put seed in the ground and you fertilize in your water and you tend the garden, you should get a crop. Is that a true statement? Yes or no?

I sit down, I wait for it to happen, and then I complained that it didn’t happen. Those two people cannot be compensated the same way. When you go to set your goals, there should be gain. There should be opportunity. There should be no embarrassment about it. There shouldn’t be no hiding this. Now, you don’t want to be braggadocious about it telling other people. You just need to know there should be that in there and we need to get back to that. We need to get in that game, because when people see winners, they go, “I want to be a winner too.” Does that make sense? It becomes infectious.

We had a guy in Ireland by the name of Eamonn Coghlan. Now you got to understand this. Listen, America, if you don’t win a gold medal, they don’t even– “Oh. Oh, you finished? You got a silver? Oh.” You won a gold medal– unless you’re in one of the key sports, people won’t even remember your name. Ireland won three gold medals, two silvers and three bronze in our lifetime.

I can tell you every one of their names. Our first winter, Ronnie Delaney. 1954. I still remember it today, because we showed it every single Sunday.

We’re in this little culture, we haven’t been starved for success. Guy comes along called Eamonn Coghlan in the early 1980’s. Goes to college in New York, wins the Wanamaker Mile, sets a world record. You got to be kidding me. He goes on and on and he wins world championships and world records and does this, and does this, and does this. All of a sudden, skinny little guys in Dublin go into a track club where Eamonn Coghlan is. They all trained together, all trained together, all trained together. Ireland within 10 years had five of the top 1,500 meter runners in the world from having none, because they saw the example, that guy can do it. That guy’s winning medals. That guy’s being successful and if he can do it, what?

That’s the way this is supposed to work and that’s what you’re supposed to be. You’re supposed to be a pebble on a pond. If you’re going to come to the seminars and do the coaching and put in the effort and put the positive stuff in, it should show up. What are you doing and it should show up for you. You’re winning. What are you doing? How do I get to be more like you? Well, here it is. Pebble on a pond, pebble on pond, and you all know, you’ve all shared how you become successful. You’ve all shared why you’ve stayed up. You’ve all shared your attitude and some take it and some don’t. Is that true? It’s still your job, opportunity to gain. Powerful thing, which I believe leads to number five, making a difference.

I believe we can make a difference in our world, in our economy, in our market. Mother Teresa made a difference where she was, whether it was Calcutta, Bangladesh, wherever she went, she helped the people who were directly in front of her. Okay? Making a difference. I love this quote from her. She says, “I found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there’s no hurt but only love.” Powerful stuff.

I believe wherever you are, you’re to have that purpose for where you are. I believe that your comeback story is going to make a difference for other people. It should start close to the ones you love and the ones you’re around and your immediate friends, family and loved ones, and then it’ll broaden itself out and then it’s like a pebble on a pond and it starts to impact, an impact, an impact, and the ripples grow, when the ripples grow. Every single person, listen, every single person in this room can do this. I believe everyone in this room is destined for this if you will embrace your future destiny. I truly believe that with my heart. That’s not seminar speak. I believe that.

Sylvester Stallone knows a lot about setbacks and a lot about comebacks. When he was born, there were serious complications with the birth. Doctor had to go in at the last minute to save his life, use the forceps, bring him out head first. All the nerves on this part of his face died, dead to this day. He wasn’t acting in Rocky. That’s actually the way his face looks. He grew up in a very tough circumstances. Mom and dad divorced a very young age. He was in 6 foster homes and 11 schools growing up.

When he’s 15, he finally moves into his mother’s apartment in Philadelphia. Now, Rocky believed he was supposed to be an actor. That was his dream, and he wanted to pursue it. He goes to New York and pursues it and ends up meeting the gal who’s another aspiring actress. They get married. They’re trying this, they’re trying that. They’re trying this and people are like, “Look at you.” Now, I think he’s a good looking guy, but people were like, “No, we don’t have a part for you. The way you talk, we don’t have a part for you.”

He kept striking out. He’s washing dishes, he’s doing this, he’s doing that. At the end of the couple of years, he and his wife divorced, he’s by himself. He gets very down on, look, for a period of time he starts buying into what other people say. When other people told him to stay down, he started to believe it to some degree. Because someone said, “You seem to communicate stories very well, but maybe you’re not designed to be an actor.” What he actually did was he started writing, he started writing, and he actually wrote a script for a movie called Paradise Alley. Now he sold this script. It was the first thing he made money at. He sold this script. He later made the movie years later. He sold this script for $100.

You think he knows a little bit about setback and come back? This guy was down to the very end. True story. Now, there’s a lot of urban myths about Sylvester Stallone, and that’s why I had to do a lot of research to validate what was true and what was not, including talking to his agent and everything else. Here’s the true story. He got so desperate and so defeated, he went took the only companion left in his life was his dog, and he went down to the corner in 42nd street outside a liquor store and sold his dog for $50 so he could eat. True story. Not Hollywood. True story.

Two nights later, he’s meeting a friend in a bar. It’s a sports bar, and on the TV in the corner, they show a fight. This is before pay-per-view. We used to actually be able to see this stuff, and there’s a fight between Chuck Wepner and Muhammad Ali, and this is the story that the movie is based on. Chuck Wepner was a journeyman, heavyweight. Muhammad Ali, the greatest fighter, the greatest entertainer perhaps that’s ever lived. Ali didn’t take the fight to seriously, came out, first round, Wepner knocks him down.

Ali gets up and punishes this guy and beats the living tar out of him. Round after round after round after round, he is battered, he is bruised, he’s bloody, and he keeps on coming, and he keeps on coming, and he keeps on coming. Sylvester Stallone is looking at this and he becomes stirred, just stirred at watching someone else’s courage. Over the course of the next three weeks, he goes to the New York City Library. There’s writing materials for free, there’s books for free, and they serve muffins in the morning.

True. Over the course, it takes him three weeks. He’s up all day up all night, can’t sleep, and he writes a screenplay for the movie Rocky. He takes the screenplay back to the people he sold the script for Paradise Alley for for $100. They read the script, they love the script. True story. 1976, they offer him $150,000. Can you imagine how much that was? That’s a lot of money today. One problem, what do you think the problem was? He says, “I’m going to be the main character.” They go, “No, not a chance because you talk funny, you got a strange looking mouth. You’re a good writer, be a writer.” He’s like, “I’m an actor. I want to act.” They go back and forth, back and forth. Listen to this now, he turns them down. True story. Heard it from the horse’s mouth.

They go back to him three weeks later, they offered him $250,000 in 1976 to a guy who just sold his dog and he says, “No, I ain’t doing it.” He says, “If I’m not in this movie, as this–” he says, “I am this character. I know what this man lived. He’s in Philadelphia, he’s me. I am this guy. I’m playing this role. I’m going to be this guy.” They came back and said, “All right, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to make it. We think it’s going to be a VHS-type movie. We’ll pay a $35,000 for the script and we’ll pay you $23,000 for acting.” Because that was the lowest rate they could pay a full time actor who was not an extra. Okay?

If you were a union actor and you were only kind of character, main character, the lowest you could pay was $23,000. “We’re going to take our offer off the table at $250,000. We’ll pay a $35,000 for the script $23,000 for acting.” He said, “Okay, that’s fine. I just want 5% of the gross.”

They say, “Well, it’s not going to1 make any money at the box office. You don’t get the VHS stuff.” He said, “Fine.” $200 million. 200 million bucks. It went on to become a billion-dollar business. Rocky 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10 11,12,13, 14, 15 16.

Son of Rocky, Cousin of Rocky, Mother of Adrian.

Let me ask you this. What do you think was the first thing he did with the money? He went down, stood on the corner outside the liquor store, three days, three full days. The only thing he did during those days was workout and then go to the liquor store, go to liquor store, go to liquor store. Offers the guy 100 bucks, the guy says no. Offers the guy 500 bucks, the guy says no. Offers the guy a thousand bucks, the guy says no. Now remember, he’s only gotten $23,000 upfront. There’s a lot of discussion over what he eventually paid. He paid in the thousands and had to give the guy a part in the movie.

You remember in Rocky II, Butkus? Butkus was his dog. This guy knew something about setbacks. This guy knew something about comebacks and this guy kept certain principles that were true. I think that’s a better story than Rocky. I believe he was able to play that character, because this guy knew something about comebacks. This guy knew something about setbacks. This guy wasn’t handed anything with a silver spoon. This guy had to overcome. This guy takes a lot of criticism. He’s not, Laurence Olivier is an actor, he’s not teaching classes in diction down at the local college, but it’s amazing what happens when a human being knows who they are and what they are.

He had a goal. He had a goal to be an actor like Rocky had a goal to go the distance. It didn’t matter what punches he took or what hits he took in his Rocky and it didn’t matter how much money they offered him, that was going to derail him, that was going to get him off the track. “Here, take this here.” $150,000, a lot of money for a guy who just sold his dog, 250 grand. He’s sitting down at the table. People who paid him 100 bucks for his previous script. This is what I know I’m supposed to do.

We are going to put you on the track to know when exactly in your life what you want, where you want to be and what you’re supposed to be doing, not my definition of it, your definition of it. When the punches come, when the hits come, it doesn’t matter how many setbacks you encounter, how many blows you take, how many challenges you face, how much enticement there is to take you off track. You’re going to stay on the rails, you’re going to fulfill the purpose that I believe God has for you in your life, and you’re going to be the comeback kid yourself. Then your responsibility is to go shine a light and help other people in their comeback. Sound good to you?

LALLY: Great stuff. Brian always reserves our best content for events like our Mastermind Summit and The Peak Experience. I hope we can get back to hosting those really soon. For a final word, here’s Brian’s mom.

THERESE BUFFINI: May the road rise up to meet you and may the wind always be at your back. May the rain fall soft upon your fields and the sun shine warm your face. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand. See you next time.