Ep. 134 – Casanova Brooks: Defining Moments

“As long as it’s a calculated risk, take it, don’t look back.” – Casanova Brooks

About Our Guest:
Casanova Brooks is a highly sought out speaker, author, entrepreneur, an award-winning real estate agent. Who would have thought that a man who once had no home to house his family in and no job to earn income, would’ve locked in 46 real estate deals in his first year as a real estate agent! Casanova is the host of the DreamNation Podcast which offers real-world tips and guides for all entrepreneurs who want to get to the next level with real-world thought leaders and pioneers! As the founder of DreamNation Academy, Casanova leverages his skills as a speaker, real estate agent, investor and CEO to inspire a generation of dreamers into determined doers.

Episode Summary:

This episode is powered by God Girls Making Millions

I remember hearing this Kevin Costner quote – “When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment, or the moment defines you,” and when I think about the story of every entrepreneur on the Move to Millions®, defining moments happen almost every day.  In today’s episode, I sit down with Casanova Brooks and we have a conversation about the defining moments in his life and more importantly how, by taking heed to what is happening and creating a systematic approach to working through defining moments, you can truly change your life. If you are tired of letting the fear of “what if” keeping you from living the life you crave, you’re gonna love this conversation!  It’s filled with gen after gem, all of which align to create your own winning formula for navigating your next level.  Grab pen, paper and maybe some tissues and listen in to discover:

  • Why defining moments exist and how to maximize them
  • The 3 steps in leveraging any defining moment for your next level
  • 3 Keys to success
  • How to shape your story so that it helps others
  • Why building relationships is the new currency
  • And so much more

Powerful Casanova quotes from the episode:

  • “Trust comes with agreement and peace of mind on the same wave length.”
  • “Listen to speak; listen to solve.”
  • ‘If you struggle at building relationships, the reason you struggle is because you’re being selfish.”
  • “Motivation is short term.”
  • “There is glory in your story.”
  • “I will always think really big no matter what I do.”
  • Ensure that it inspires you, not motivates you, because there’s a difference between inspiration and motivation
  • In building relationships, you must show up as being more interested than trying to be interesting.
  • People usually don’t listen enough because they’re always “listening to speak” rather than “listening to solve.”
  • “Comparison is the thief of all joy & success.”
  • If you didn’t come from a loving father, then a loving father must come from you.
    Last Book Casanova Read: Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter 50 Cent

Favorite Quote: “Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain.”

Tool Casanova Swears By: Relationships

How to Connect with Casanova:

  • Website: casanovabrooks.com
  • Instagram: @casanova_brooks

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In this episode, I sit down and chat with Casanova Brooks. I’m not going to lie. I cannot wait for you to hear this conversation. He blew my mind so often in this conversation that I am shaking my head at the amount of power that this man brings into the world. Let me read his quick bio. Casanova Brooks is a highly sought-after speaker, author, entrepreneur, and award-winning real estate agent. He is the host of the DreamNation Podcast. I’ve had the opportunity to be a guest on his podcast.

Your whole life is about to change. I do not want to steal the thunder of our powerful conversation, so here’s what we are going to do. On the backside, on the flip side, on the B-side of our conversation, I will come back, and I will share some of my favorites with you but here’s what I need you to know. Your mind, body, spirit, and soul are about to get better because of every seed that this man plants into your life experience. Grab a pen, grab a paper and let’s jump into my conversation with Casanova Brooks.

Casanova, I have been waiting to have you and have this conversation with you. I’m so excited that you are here. Take a quick moment and tell everybody who you are in your own words.

Thank you for having me, first off. It’s a pleasure to be here. If I could describe who I am, I’m a father and a husband but more importantly, I’m a dream activator and a relationship builder. My whole life, I’ve always tried to focus on how can I bring good energy and how I can make sure that I cultivate and nurture the right relationships. That has been a key part of me getting to where I am now.

I love that you consider yourself to be a dream activator. My name Darnyelle means the secret place where dreamers go to dream. This is like a kismet thing going on here. I shared this with you before we started recording. I first heard you on Patrice Washington’s podcast and was blown away by your story. There’s no way in the world that I can let this conversation happen without you taking everybody on a journey of where you have been and where you are going.

Share a little bit or as much as you feel comfortable sharing about your story because I know that energy you spoke about before we started recording, first of all, it’s going to come from there. Second of all, you are going to be the epitome of inspiration for many people who have thought about giving themselves permission to give up because of all that you went through and how you still kept going. I don’t want to steal your thunder. Go ahead and tell them the story.

I always say that I’m no stranger to adversity because a lot of people see me now and are like, “He’s made it,” whatever made it looks like in their eyes. For me, when I say I’m no stranger to adversity, every day I think about how blessed I am. We are all blessed in one way or another because we see someone else’s story, especially with social media nowadays. Social media shows that somebody else has been through some challenges. They have been through some storms, and maybe they are going through the mud now and you are like, “I’m going through my own set of problems but I’m grateful that I don’t have those problems. That’s something that I always keep my positive energy up.

On top of that, I have an amazing wife and also two kids but I always love to give people the backstory and that you are allowing me to share it with your audience, your platform, and your tribe. When I first ever think about me and my story, it all goes back to me being raised by a single mom on the South Side of Chicago. My grandma’s stepped in early to be that father figure in my life because my dad was never around. The last I knew, he is alive. I grew up as an only child on my mom’s side. My mom only had me, and the last I knew, I had thirteen brothers and sisters on my dad’s side.

That was probably about a few years ago. Could I have a couple more? I absolutely could but my dad never did anything to bridge the gap or the relationships between us. I grew up and had to figure out my own path and create my own blueprint. There is so much trial and error on my own because nobody was there to show me what the ropes look like. Trying to raise a young Black boy in the South Side of Chicago, and you are a single mom robbing Peter to pay Paul. There are so many things that my mom couldn’t control.

I was never a bad kid but she couldn’t keep her eye on me 24/7. She had to let God create or somebody play mode to say, “I pray that he’s safe this day.” For me, I was trying everything, and it felt like all the time, I was fighting myself in storms. The first storm that I talked about was when I was eight years old. I had two best friends. We did everything together. We were like the little Three Musketeers. They came over one morning, and it was Sunday morning. They said, “We are about to go to the beach,” which is a normal routine. I’m like, “I’m going to sit this one out.” I come to find out a couple of hours later that they are both crying and pounding and offer a beer at Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Why I wasn’t right there with them, who’s just normal and everything that they were doing, I don’t know. There was no rhyme or reason. I always say, “God, my creator, someone had a bigger purpose for my life and what I was supposed to do on this Earth.” That was the first one that I had to navigate, and saw myself then being looked at as a victim, as a young kid. People are like, “Are you okay? You just lost your two best friends.”

I didn’t know how to receive that because it felt like people were trying to help me but then, at the same time, it felt like something was wrong with me. That was the first time where I started to develop a little bit of a callus to be like, “I’m good.” Regardless of what that pain was on the inside, it was almost that never let them see you sweat, even at a young age. Fast forward to about 10 or 11 years old, and I’m now really starting to be inundated with drugs, gangs, and violence. That’s all I’m seeing when I’m coming out of my apartment and on the streets. My grandma saw that too and she always wanted the best for me.

She was my heart and soul. My grandma is still alive now. I’m still very close to my grandma. She’s still amazing. A couple of my cousins wound up migrating to Sioux City, Iowa. I don’t know if anybody who is reading this and they’ve ever heard of Sioux City or been through Sioux City. Before I moved there, I never have heard of it but basically, what happened was my grandma, and I hopped on a Greyhound. She wants to take me up there for a weekend and go check out Sioux City. The next thing I know, less than two months later, all of my stuff is being packed into a U-Haul. My grandma makes the decision. She’s getting me out of Chicago and moving me to Sioux City, Iowa.

My mom didn’t have a choice because I was an only child, and she wasn’t going to leave me there but my mom didn’t go willingly. She went kicking and screaming, and my grandma was like, “We got to get him up out of here.” As you can see, for me, this is another kind of storm because it’s a huge culture change for me. Think about coming from big-city Chicago, where people only look like you and me. The only time I saw people who didn’t look like you and I was when I was Downtown at Harold Washington Library or something like that.

All of a sudden, I’m in a town of 80,000 people with cornfields and cattle with almost no one who looks like me. I’m like, “What am I supposed to do here?” There’s a silver lining in everything and what it did for me was it taught me that I couldn’t grow up with an ignorant mindset. What that means is that just because you did not look like me didn’t mean that you couldn’t be with me, and you had to be against me.

I was forced to build relationships early on. Again, playing it to where I am now was a key point in my life. When I’m fifteen years old, I was a normal kid. I’m pretty popular. I’m playing basketball and football. I’m running track. I’m in the dance squad. Things are going well for me, and I find myself in my sophomore year in high school, walking through the hallway, and I’m having a hard time breathing. They are like, “It’s probably because basketball was only starting up. You left football early. You probably are out of shape.”

I’m like, “You are probably right.” I come home, and I’m taking naps. My mom was like, “What’s up with you? This is unlike you.” I’m like, “I don’t know, to be honest with you. I’m tired.” She’s like, “If it persists, we are going to go to the hospital. Over the next couple of days, it did persist. The next thing you know, we go to the emergency room, and since it has to deal with breathing, we are going to keep him a little bit longer and run some extra tests. I’m not thinking anything of it because, as a child, I was never ever sick. I never broke bones, chicken pox, measles or the Coronavirus.

There was no Coronavirus when you were a child.

There is none but I didn’t have anything of the equivalent. I was pretty healthy. I’m like, “I’m good.” I was thinking in my mind, “This will be fine. I will be back at school tomorrow. I’m going to get a hot nurse, maybe a sponge bath, some candy or ice cream. It’s going to be good.” They come back in at about 11:00 later on that night and they are like, “We got public transportation. We are going to ship you guys to the other side of the state at the University of Iowa.” My mom was like, “What are you talking about? Why?” They are like, “We think it might be more serious.” My mom was like, “What’s more serious?” They are like, “We think he might have cancer.” My grandma was like, “Whoa.”

At this time, I didn’t know the C word. I’m like, “What does that mean?” I found myself six hours later over at the University of Iowa. They then ran emergency tests, and I wound up having to get a port put in my chest connected to my jugular vein. First off, I got diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma cancer. I was two weeks away from death. I could’ve died naturally, is what the doctors had said. They did all those tests, and for the next two years, I went through chemotherapy, bone marrow, and about anything that anyone knows does when it comes to the C word.

Again, it was another that I had to navigate. We can talk about the intermediaries but fast forward to the next storm, which is probably my biggest storm. I just moved down here to Omaha, Nebraska, which is where I am now. We moved down here because I had a job opportunity. I have my wife and my son at the time. I was working in Corporate America, and it was my first time experiencing corporate. Everybody could tell you, no, it felt like but nobody could tell you yes.

If anybody is doing that now and they are like, “I’m crushing it. I’m getting all these awards and these accolades.” For me, what happened was that I wanted to try my hand at management. Within nine months, I finished number eight in the entire company for inside sales. I was crushing it and everybody was like, “Casanova, you are doing so great.” They had me lead in all these emerging leader programs and stuff but there were no promotions available for me and there were so many excuses.

I’m looking into real estate, and I wound up getting my real estate license about three months after this timeframe where I’m like, “I got to do something different with my life.” We have other transitions going on at that time, which is one, I then say, “I got to get out of inside sales to go to outside sales so I could build my real estate career.” The second one was that my wife and I had put our first house under contract for us to live in. This was an exciting time for us. My mom and grandma called me up at that same time and say, “We want to move down to Omaha to be closer to you, Julie and CJ, my wife and son, because there’s nothing left here in Sioux City for us.” I’m like, “All right. Cool.”

If you didn’t come from a loving father, then a loving father must come from you.

Within 24 hours of moving my mom down here, she wound up going to the hospital here in Omaha. Within one week, I lose my mom at that hospital. Subsequently, because of the transitions that I was in, when I got the call, I was up in Rochester, New York, doing the training for this big company that I was at. That’s where they send to everybody. I got the call. I got to take the first flight back at 4:00 AM. I handled all the funeral arrangements.

This was a week and a half later. My manager comes back and she says, “Casanova, I know it’s a trying time but we need you to go back out to Rochester to finish out your training.” I said, “With all due respect, I can’t. My grandma, my wife, and my son need me here.” She’s like, “I get it but this was corporate. You are brand new. You don’t even have a territory. I can’t keep you on this job if you don’t finish out this training.”

I was thinking and am like, “I’m about to close on this house in three weeks. I already have this real estate license. I’m doing nothing with it. If you would allow me to close on this house, I will be out of your hair, and you’ll never have to hear from me again.” I’m grateful because she was like, “I got you.” She let me put it in a three-week notice, and I didn’t even have anything going on. I’m like, “Cool.” We are gearing up for this for these three weeks. They are going to close his house. My grandma is going to move in with this. We will figure it all out.

Two days prior to us closing on the house, the underwriters came back and said, “We want more information on his student loans that are in deferment from the University of Iowa.” By the time they get this information, it’s the following Monday, and for anybody who has bought a home before, this is post-2008. What do they do? The day we are supposed to close, they go to re-verify employment and call up, and that company says, “As of last Friday, three days ago, Casanova no longer works here.”

My loan officer calls me. I don’t get the loan approved. All within a matter of 2 and a half to 3 weeks, I lose my mom, my job, and my home. I got no family, no friends, and no church group. I’m in a brand new city and state. What am I going to do now? I was going to go back and get a W-2 job and figure it out. My wife is like, “You got this real estate license. You’ve done nothing with it. You are either going to jump all in. You are going to make some shake or always be wondering what if?” That’s what I did within the next nine months. I did 46 deals, $8 million in volume. I got the Rookie of the Year here in Nebraska, and that’s where my journey started to take off. Since then, we have owned multiple businesses and a whole slew of other things but that’s how we get to this point.

That was good, and I purposely wanted you to get the story out because I knew we could come back and unpack it. There were a couple of things that you said that I want to pull on. I know you use the word storm but they are catalysts, and here’s why. Making the decision to not go with your friends to the beach is the reason why you are still here to live the story.

Deciding to go with grandma and mom kicking and screaming to Sioux City is the reason why you were in a position to get the support that you needed when your cancer of Stage 4 was identified. Having gotten the foresight to get a real estate license when you took another job was the reason why now you are the real estate man.

They are catalysts and not storms. I wanted to offer you that reframe because, “It’s the little things that we do that make the unassailable difference.” Aristotle said that. I can’t claim that but it’s those little things that weren’t so little that were very significant that allow Casanova to be here telling the story now about how they faced two very distinct opportunities to have perished. Neither of them took you out because of the purpose that God put on your life so that you could be sitting here talking and having this conversation with me and leading DreamNation and doing all of the things that it is that you do.

It’s a catalyst and not a storm. I want to offer that to you so that if, as you try it on and you like it, you decide to rock it, and going forward, you present it as such. When I think about your oratory skills and the way you show up in your presence when you are speaking, if you presented those as catalysts and then offered your audiences the opportunity to identify their catalyst, that would be even more powerful. I only wanted to offer that to you.

Yeah, absolutely, and I receive it. I thank you for that. I’ve told my story and shared the glory behind it but no one has ever offered me that reframe. I take and receive it. I appreciate it. I will look at how I can reframe the way that I say things. Also, what’s the silver lining, and how can someone else take my experiences and use their experiences to find their own types of catalyst moments?

When I first heard you on Patrice’s podcasts. Shout out to the Redefining Wealth. For anybody who’s reading, if you are not listening to Patrice’s podcasts, stop playing yourself and go on over there and subscribe because it’s the Bomb.com. We have so much love for Patrice around here. When I first heard about you there, that is what made me go follow you on social media. Go look at you and see what you were doing because I was so impacted by your story and the way that you are now.

I know when you were going through it, it didn’t flow off your tongue with the eloquence with which it does now but to know that you have done your work enough to be able to tell this story, these catalytic moments with such power, passion, and energy, instead of victimization and, “Woe it’s me,” that is a recipe for impact. When you add that to the fact that you said, “By going to Iowa is where you realize the importance of relationships and learn how to build relationships so early.”

When you marry the two of those together, I can entirely see why DreamNation is as powerful and even catalytic as it is now because of the person who spearheads and runs it. I know that your ability to look at a desire to leverage the power of relationships to impact the lives of others is something that has been instrumental in your own journey. We can talk about all the more accolades that you’ve gotten in the last six and a half years and millions of dollars in real estate and all of that stuff but I know that what’s near and dear and close to your heart is this power of relationship building.

I would love for you to share a little bit about what are probably maybe the three best-demonstrated practices that you will offer to someone who may be at their own catalyst moment trying to figure out how to pivot, which was the buzzword of 2020. To take the things that have happened to them and use them for their good, instead of using them as an excuse as to why they can’t. What would you offer to them about how to take where they are now and instill the power of relationship building to help them to get to a different place?

First off, there was a book that I read, and it’s a little bit more of a cliché but it gave me the foundation to know what I was already doing in my day-to-day. This was a proven formula, and this book was How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. That was huge for me because I was already doing it. One of the first keys, when I’m focused on building relationships with people, is I look for, “How can I be more interested than interesting?”

I’m interested in what they have going on because, at the end of the day, it goes back to that Maya Angelou quote, “People won’t care what you said. They will care how you made them feel.” Most people want to be acknowledged. They want to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. As I was growing up, I did want to be acknowledged. When you talk about catalytic moments, for me not having a dad, I use that to fuel me to be the father that I am now.

If you look at any of my stories, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, anybody who follows me, you will see my family, my kids, and my daughter. There was a quote that back in 2020 was the first time that I saw it and it said, “If I didn’t come from a wealthy family, then a wealthy family must come from me.” You talk about how can somebody else take something and use it for their own journey.

For me, I looked at that and said, “We all want wealth, especially if you don’t come from it,” a lot of people look like us, we don’t come from wealth. I wanted something that would be near and dear to my heart. I said, “If I didn’t come from a loving father, then a loving father must come from me.” That was the thing because all the time, when I’m hearing and seeing something, I’m always trying to reframe it to how can I make sure that it inspires me, not motivates me because there’s a difference between inspiration and motivation.

Motivation is that carrot that they can dangle in front of your face but that’s always going to be short-term. I’m looking for something more inspirational because it makes me find out a little bit more about who I am and what is my desires in the life of who I want to become. That has always been huge for me. Going back to it, when I talk about being more interested, I’m always trying to be interested in someone else’s story, hence the reason why I have a podcast and why I created this platform.

For a lot of people who are trying to build relationships, if you struggle with building relationships, the reason being is because if you are honest, you are being selfish. Why? It is because you are thinking only about yourself. You are thinking like, “This person’s not going to like me. I don’t have anything to say. I don’t have anything to bring to the table. It’s always about the I.” Something that I learned and was from a mentor, Dean Graziosi. He had said, “Here’s what you got to do. If you are struggling with all those Is, take that pressure off of yourself, and if you’ve got to say the word I, say, “I have to show up and serve.”

A lot of the time, if you think about it, if you can create something that allows other people to get their message out, you are winning, which is part of the reason why I love having a podcast. I love that you have a show too and doing other people’s because you allow people to come on and share their message. It has been said, and I’ve heard this before that the glory is in the story. All of my expertise comes from my experiences.

Ensure that it inspires you, not motivates you, because there’s a difference between inspiration and motivation.

That’s what I try to give other people an opportunity to share their expertise because it’s going to come through their experiences. When I think about how I build relationships, the first thing I do is I show up as I’m more interested than I’m trying to be interesting, which means I got to listen more. The second thing of what I try to do is as I’m talking to you, that instantly, no matter where we meet, if I’m in your home and let’s say I’m doing a listing presentation or something like that, I’m looking at what’s on the back of your wall. I’m seeing all the purple. I’m being aware and cognizant. I’m seeing grateful. I see that you have pictures.

I want to see what is that picture on the left side. I want to see what connection can I have with that. Maybe that’s somewhere that you’ve traveled. Maybe it’s The Bahamas. You say, “My grandma is from The Bahamas.” It can be something so subtle but it would be, “Has my grandma ever been to The Bahamas?” I’m trying to find a connection to you, and through that, the more that you talk, the more of the connection that we can find somewhere because people do business with people who they know, like, and trust. The way that you have that trust factor is you have agreeance. You have some type of peace of mind that is on the same wavelength. It could be sports. It could be autism or breast cancer. It doesn’t matter what it is. You have to find some way to connect with that person.

The last thing of what I’m doing is as I’m listening and getting you to reveal more about who you are, and we’re making this connection, I’m always trying to find a pain point. If you and I met at a networking event, there are 150 people. You and I hit it off. I’m like, “Darnyelle seems so dope.” I’m then going to bring up something I’m sure throughout the conversation of even five minutes. Something was going to be like, “Yeah.” What do you like to do in your spare time? It’s not what you do working because most people don’t like to talk about work. If you are like, “I’m an entrepreneur. I’m doing this. I’m doing that.”

What’s the thing that you are doing? Are you doing Amazon? Are you doing a podcast? Find that thing. You are like, “I’m launching a podcast now.” “How is that going?” The podcast is going great but I tell you, it’s a lot of work. The editing and all that other stuff but I do love talking to people. Even though we had that quick snippet, you told me about a problem. What was that problem? Editing and all these other things.

Now, what I’m doing is even though we are going to continue to conversation, I’m not going in right there. I have that in the back of my mind, “Editing.” If I know anybody and should, I’m trying to be a true relationship builder. I should probably know somebody or know of a resource that I can offer you. you’ve given me your business card, your contact or we’ve connected on social media.

Over the next day or two or even a week, however long it takes me, hopefully, it’s in a day or two if you are trying to build relationships. I’m going to reach back out to you on whatever that medium is that you gave me permission to, and then I’m going to say, “Darnyelle, I hope all is well. I wanted to connect you to my guy, Jason. He edits podcasts. He’s local here or outsourced.”

The other thing is, I’m going to say, “Here’s a resource. I found this free Facebook group. I have been a part of it for a couple of weeks. I was looking at the content. This could be a phenomenal resource for you as you are getting your podcast off the ground. I’m trying to uncover whatever that pain point was for you. It can be big, small or whatever, and then I’m trying to add value to you.

I’m not looking for anything in return. That’s the other thing. I offered that because here’s what happened. It’s the Law of Reciprocity. If I can help to make your life easier in some way, as we continue to build a relationship over time, you then have more like and trust in me. Now you feel like you know me that much further, and then if I ever do have an ask or do start a business up, who’s the person that I know that’s going to support me? It’s Darnyelle.

Those are the types of things. When I’m building a relationship, that’s the free flow right there every single time. It doesn’t matter if I build this relationship to do to a podcast. People are always going to talk about some frustrations that they had if they can trust you and you are listening. Most times, people don’t listen enough because they are always listening to speak rather than listening to solve.

I want to pull back the layer on what you said because you are right. A lot of people do listen to speak and be heard instead of listening to solve the problem or be of help. I want to pull back the three tips that you gave everyone. For those of you who are taking notes that want to learn how to become more effective in your relationship building because the more relationships you build, the more impact you will have. I think about the Zig Ziglar quote, “If you help people get what they want, you will get what it is that you want.” The cool thing about it is that you don’t even have to often ask for it.

In that Law of Reciprocity, when you support and serve people right where they are and feel safe, they will turn around and say, “Casanova, what can I do for you? How can I help you? You have been such a blessing to me.” Number one, you need to be more interested than you are interesting. That means that you are going to have to make it less about you and more about the person you are in communication with.

Dr. Maya Angelou says, “People will forget what you said and forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Being interested is being tuned in and fully present in that particular moment so that person feels seen and heard. As soon as that happens, they lower their defenses and start to build up an admiration for the possibility or feasibility of a relationship with you. Number two, you’ve got to be aware and cognizant so that ultimately, you can find the connection. It’s because the connection is what brings an element of synergy, and it gives you a common ground.

As Casanova said, it puts you on the same wavelength so that you can continue to break down the walls and open up an opportunity for a true relationship. The third is that you need to be listening for the clues. There is a saying, “Success leaves clues.” Listening for the clues, the pain points, the opportunities, the problems that they have not been able to solve on their own that you have access to.

Now that access could be directly through something that you may have to offer them at the time that’s appropriate. It could be because you know somebody who knows somebody. It’s about being tuned into what their problem is and having a real finite desire to solve that problem while being detached from the outcome. It’s not about you because you don’t start the conversation from a selfish place. You start the conversation from a servant’s place. That is what makes a difference.

That’s what I heard. That’s what I wanted to make sure I broke down for each of you because what I want you to know is that Casanova is giving you an amazing blueprint to be able to establish better relationships and connections with people that are going to lead to greater impact to those you are called to serve but also to your own existence.

There was something else you said, and it popped back into my spirit to pull it out, “All of my expertise comes from my experiences.” The other thing that is important based on what Casanova said is that as you are listening and tuning in, in the back of your mind, to how your expertise can help them, you can create a new experience with this person you are building a relationship with.

Casanova, it was the Bomb.com. That was so good. We can drop the mic right there and send the people on their way but we have a little bit more we have to talk about. That was awesome. People who realize what business is about will realize that it is as much about relationships as it is about sales. If they would start focusing on building the relationship, the sales will come. It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen.

I think about how, when we are working with our clients, the way we show up for, connect with, and we are interested in them, they are not just some number or some amount of dollars that come into the bank account, and that is why they refer people to us. That’s why they renew and continue working with us and it’s all the same formula. This blueprint that you’ve laid out for everybody. I want to thank you for that.

In your own journey and how you’ve made this come alive for you, talk to us about some of the benefits, if you will. I know you are not doing it for the benefits but what have been some of the benefits of being more interested than interesting and connecting with people and then looking to be a resource to solve a problem that they have?

This is the epitome of what DreamNation is. When I created DreamNation, I understood that I was building a personal brand and had a story but here’s what I learned. This was early on in my real estate career. There was a story that was told at my sales meeting, and this was in the first couple of months of real estate. This set the foundation. Someone had asked Warren Buffett, “Warren, how did you know when you became successful in life?”

Anybody who knows Warren Buffett knows that. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s an atheist. I guess I’ve never heard that out of him but that’s how he’s described. He doesn’t talk about the afterlife and the whole nine. He said, “You will never know how successful you have been in life until you die.” Instantly, the room was like, “What is Warren talking about the afterlife? This is crazy.” “Until you die and see how many people come to your funeral but more importantly, you will never know how truly successful you have been until you see how many of those people cry at your funeral. Those are the people who you truly impacted their lives.”

In building relationships, you must show up as being more interested than trying to be interesting.

That was the big thing for me. The story of how I believed or how DreamNation came to be and why I believe that it was something that needed to be created was because I wanted to build something bigger than me. I wanted to build something that could inspire people to go out there and live a life by their design because no dream is too big, and no dream is bigger than any other dream.

This all was huge for me. To give you the story around it, and then I will answer your question about how this has impacted me and the relationships that I have been able to build. There was a point when CJ, my son, was going through this phase, as all kids do, where he was afraid of the dark. We built our house, moved into it, and his bedroom is upstairs. It’s a two-story home. His bedroom is right next to his sister’s bedroom, and she would be in her crib sleeping. He would go upstairs and, all of a sudden, will come back downstairs. He would be like, “I heard something. Somebody is up there.”

I’m like, first off, the stairs on the backside, the way you walk into my house, you can’t even get to the upstairs without walking past. He’s like, “I know I heard something. Someone is up there.” I’m like, “What would I have to do?” I would then have to go upstairs. I would turn on a light, walk them down the hallway, and walk him to the back. Turn on the light in his room, show him under the bed, in the closet and I would say, “There’s nothing to be afraid of.” He would go to sleep, and it was fine.

This gave me chills because I would always tell the story. If you’ve heard me tell this story on any other show or whatever, I would always say, “What’s going to be the big deal about this?” In a couple of years, his sister would then go through that same phase of she’s afraid of the dark but hopefully, if I did it right, then dad will not have to go upstairs. Why? It’s because her brother will take her upstairs. Turn on that light and show her, “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

This just happened. He did that, and we have the cameras upstairs in the room. She’s like, “I hear something.” He opens up the door. We are watching it. He’s like, “There’s nothing to be afraid of.” It showed me that it was like, “That’s exactly why you do what you do,” and I think that it was Patrice. The funny thing is Patrice was the first person who I think they came on, and I was asking her like, “What happens if you feel like you are not already a 10, 8 or 9 and you are not an expert in something?” That’s what a lot of people feel. They feel like they get a little bit of Imposter syndrome.

Patrice was like, “You got to understand that even if you only consider yourself a 3 or 4, they are still 0s, 1s, 2s, and even 3s and 4s that are out there that need you to show them that the way is possible. That’s why I created DreamNation. What has DreamNation been able to provide for me? When I first started out, I always think big, no matter what I did. I sat down and I had about at least 20 to 25 people, really big names like grant Cardone, Dean Graziosi, and Jack Canfield. All the people who had impacted me over the last few years on my personal development and personal growth journey.

I wrote their names down and say, I want to get these people on my show. I want to be able to allow them to talk. I’ve seen it as a Robin Hood effect. Why? I know that there are a lot of people out there that don’t have access to the Patrice Washington’s and people like that. To me, if I can get them on my platform, now I get to kill 2 birds with 1 stone in a sense because I can get to give to the people who didn’t have it but then at the same time, someone like Patrice, who already has a huge tribe of Purpose Chasers but then I get to bring it back and bring somebody else that could potentially be in her tribe.

What that’s done for me is it’s allowed me to have access to the world’s biggest and brightest minds. I will tell you the story of how this was huge. For anybody who isn’t on personal development, one of the biggest people in my career was Jackie Canfield. For anybody who does not know Jack Canfield, he wrote the book, The Success Principles, which has been huge for me. He also wrote the book, which a lot more people know, Chicken Soup for the Soul.

How this happened is my team wound up getting a guy by the name of Dr. Ivan Misner. If anybody doesn’t know him, if you’ve ever done any type of corporate networking, there are chapters all over the country called BNI, Business Networking International. I wound up having Dr. Misner on the show. We built a relationship quickly. We talked for about an hour to an hour and a half and he said, “I love your story. What can I do for you?”

I don’t know how it exactly came about but he asked me who has been impactful on my journey. I said Jack Canfield and Michael Gerber were a couple of the names that I mentioned not knowing that he had relationships with them. He just smiled and said, “Casanova, right when we get off of here, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to send me two separate emails, one for Jack Canfield and Michael Gerber. Both of them are very good friends of mine. Not saying any promises that they will do it but I will put in a good word for you.”

I sent him that right when we got off. Within ten minutes, I get an email back from him on both of them. He says, “Casanova, good news. Both of them agreed to come and do your show.” That was amazing. Jack Canfield came on, and we talked for about 2 to 2 and a half hours, and it was free. I’ve not paid anybody to be on my show, and then on top of that, Jack Canfield gives me a testimonial, and I tell him about my second book that I’m working on writing, and now it’s completed.

He was like, “When you get done with this, send me the manuscript. There are no promises but if I feel like it’s something that I can get behind, I will write the foreword for your second book.” Michael Gerber came on. Those are a couple of the ways. I have been able to build relationships with some of the biggest names but it has been such an amazing journey. It all came from the power of being a servant, rather than trying to look at people transactionally. I’ve always focused on relationships.

I love all of that, and I know that everybody who’s reading now has a blueprint to be able to help them to figure out how to establish a relationship and be more interested instead of focusing on what’s in it for them. That’s powerful. I don’t want to let you go but I have other things to do. Before I let you go, I want to give you the opportunity to share anything that we haven’t talked about in closing that’s in your heart or spirit to share with our community. Secondly, I have a few questions that I always like to round out every interview with. Is there anything you want to share?

When people ask me, what are my keys to success? I always love to tell people the three keys to my success come from the three Es. Number one is Energy. What’s the energy you bring into every single day, into a conversation, and into a relationship that you’ve had the ability someone to touch their lives? The second thing is the Environment. You have to put yourselves in environments that will continuously challenge you, not only on a personal level but even on a business level.

That also means that you have to invest in yourself. The biggest room that we have that we can ever be in is the room for improvement. Every single day, we have to be working on ourselves because we all want these skillsets so we can make much money. Before you can level up your skillset, you have to level up your mindset because it doesn’t matter the skills you have, if you don’t believe that you are worthy enough to, 1) Have those skills, but then, 2) To be able to capitalize on those skills and create a life by your design.

The third E is Exposure and I think it is huge because a lot of the time are so closed-minded and we fear what we don’t know or that we’ve never learned. The more that you can continue to expose yourself, the more that you are going to feel like a kid every single day. When you think about it, kids are exposed every single day to something on YouTube, a video game or whatever it is.

As parents, we want our kids to be exposed to those things and try everything. Let’s figure out what you love and what you have a passion behind. That’s where I want to support you at. Once you become an adult, don’t think of losing that because there’s still somebody out there that I wouldn’t say they are going to be a parent to you but want to be a supporter for you, but you got to have that exposure, which makes you come alive.

Those are the three keys that I’ve always tried to live on every single day and what are you learning? How are you growing 1% every single day. Something else that I learned was key for me and I always say this to myself, “The comparison is the thief of all joy and success.” You don’t want to compare yourself to anyone else because understand that somebody else might be on their 14th step and you might only be on your 2nd. That’s like you getting into the league and expecting that you are going to become an all-star. You are going to be able to drop 40 on Michael. It’s not the same. Allow yourself that grace to operate on your journey. Those are the things that I would say.

I talk a lot about grace and then exposure. I always say exposure creates expansion. If you have been exposed to something new, you have to expand. Oliver Wendell Holmes says, “Once a mind has been expanded, it can’t return to the same place. It does open you up.” This has been phenomenal. Before I let you go, you’ve given me a lot of powerful quotes but I do always ask, what’s your favorite quote?

For me through everything I have been through, I always say, “Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain.”

What was the last book you read?

People usually don’t listen enough because they’re always “listening to speak” rather than “listening to solve.”

The last book that I read was Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter by 50 Cent.

What is the one tool that you swear by to grow your business?

It’s relationships.

A tool is whatever you want the tool to be. Relationship works. This was phenomenal, Casanova. I want to say thank you again for coming on here and dropping the mic so many times for sharing your story and being a source of inspiration. Also, more importantly, giving actionable tips and strategies that people can begin to implement so that they can continue their journey on the Move to Millions. I’m excited you were with us. Thank you so much.

It’s an honor and a pleasure. Thank you so much. We appreciate how you are showing up in the world, Darnyelle, and I’m sure there are so many more people that will be impacted by you, your journey, and everything that you have going on. I’m appreciative that you allowed me to come on and share my story.

It’s my joy.

Didn’t I tell you that Casanova was going to blow your mind? Minute after minute of learning to him share his powerful story and more importantly, the nuggets that he took away from it and how that has made him the man, the father, the husband, and the entrepreneur that he is now. I was so inspired, quite honestly. I knew this conversation was going to be important for you. I cannot wait to hear you share with me when you leave your review, how this particular conversation made the difference and what specifically clicked for you that puts you in an entirely different paradigm.

I love how he said, “Motivation is short-term and that we have to reframe everything to experience transformation because the glory is in our story. It’s what we have been through. All of our expertise, ours, as well as Casanova’s comes from the experiences that we have. What about those three tips that he gave us to make the connections that are going to lead to the deals that are going to change the game inside of your own life and in your business?

Be interested, be aware and cognizant, and find a place of connection and find a pain point that you can help them to solve. Look at how you can add value instead of expecting someone to add value to you. I know that you are going to come back to this conversation that I had with Casanova over and over again. I know that every time you read, you are going to get something new, some new mantra that you can take away. There are a lot of powerful mantras that he spoke right inside of this episode.

I think about all that he shared and that we can take from it and make our own by upleveling our energy, by being focused on our environment and increasing the amount of exposure that we get to have because that exposure is what’s going to create the expansion that we need to go to our next level. Thank you so much, Casanova, for being here. You have blessed my spirit in ways that I can’t even begin to tell you but I know that this is not going to be the first time that you and I will sit down and have a conversation.

I get excited thinking about all his journey has been so far and what is yet to come and how he will continue to inspire the lives of many others. Thank you so much for being here, Casanova. For those of you who were tuning in, listen to me. Stop playing and make sure that you leave us a review of what you got from this powerful conversation. I know it blessed you as much as it blessed me. I will see you guys next time. Take care.