"I launched underdog empowerment for selfish reasons first. It was out of that pain and frustration of not wanting to stay in that box that people were trying to keep me in. But I also wanted to empower other underdog entrepreneurs. I learned that you have to fill up your cup before you can fill up other cups."
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From living with convicted felons in prison for over 5 years to rubbing elbows with multi-millionaires every day, Zachary Babcock is the host of the top-rated podcast Underdog Empowerment, where he interviews celebrities and industry leaders.
He is a student of psychology, business, and marketing with a broad perspective from both extremes of life. He runs a podcast production company, Podcast Penthouse Media, and helps entrepreneurs launch and produce top 200 rated podcasts on iTunes.
Listen to this episode to hear about Zach’s journey from prison to being at the top of the podcast game. His principle that he lives by is, “Speak your truths and don’t act further along than you really are.” This has helped him to connect with the right people in life and make a difference where it really counts.
00:45 – Zach shared his backstory and how he describes himself growing up.
02:25 – He shared his story about why he ended up behind bars, the general tribe mentality inside and the human desire of connecting to people.
06:15 – What it was like for him interacting with women when he got out and why he ended up going back to prison.
09:20 – Zachary’s life now after tough times.
11:00 – How he started his podcast career and how he monetizes it.
13:30 – Rock’s insight on how to deal with the label that other people say.
14:40 – The 8 traits of highly successful people and let’s find out Zach’s score.
20:00 – Books Rock and Zach recommend to read.
“I launched Underdog Empowerment for selfish reasons. Out of pain and frustration. Out of not wanting to stay in that box that people were trying to keep me in.” – Zachary Babcock
“Some things happen and you don’t have control over it, but you have your reason and the power to choose what to do next.” – Zachary Babcock
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Why knowing what you want and your truth can lead to your success in life.
What are the traits of highly successful people?
How to transform your pain and your power and choose to make a difference.
And much more!
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Hi, I'm Rock Thomas, the founder of M1. The tribe of healthy, wealthy and passionate people, also known as fulfillionaires. You're listening to the I am movement podcast where we believe words that follow I am follow you. Join me and the world's greatest thought leaders as we discuss the power of transformation and making success a part of your identity.
I think you're going to love my next guest, Zachary Babcock. This is a guy who spent time in prison and today he interviews multi-millionaires. He's got a ton of passion and a ton of heart. He runs a podcast production company, Podcast Penthouse Media, and helps entrepreneurs launch and produce some of the top podcasts in iTunes. Welcome to the show, Zachary.
Hey, what's going on? Rock. I'm excited to be here, man. Thanks for having me.
You know what? It's a gift to have you on the show because I have a feeling that we're going to talk about some things that people aren't used to hearing and we're going to talk about how you've transformed your identity from what it was to who you are today and some of the trials and tribulations and some of the tools you use. Then you're going to tell us about one of your favorite books and we're going to also talk about the eight traits of highly successful people. And your going to see how you rank in that department.
Oh man, this suspense is killing me, man. Let's do it.
All right, so let's give a bit of background to the listeners so they can have an idea of, um, you know, my home messages, the I am movement, what are, what is the description that you give yourself today? But before that, when you were growing up, when you're going through hard times, you had a way of describing yourself to yourself. Tell us about that.
Man I used to describe myself to myself. Uh, before, you know, I, I don't know if there was a specific word, but it was more of like a, it was more of like a people pleaser. And the reason why I says it's, uh, I mean my dad died when I was seven, so I always wanted to fit in with the crowd and I would do things out of my character to fit in. I mean, we all do to an extent, we're social creatures, right? Um, and we want to fit into the tribe. Anybody says that they don't like that's, you know, that's bull. But I went overboard with it and I just took that a little bit further than a lot of people, I guess would normally do.
So in your mind, you were a people pleaser. Give me some more adjectives. What are you say? Did you say I was a, I'm big, I'm strong. I'm an athlete. Uh, I'm a nerd. I'm really smart. I'm stupid. Give me some words.
You know, I, I would, I, I thought that I was cool. I really thought that I was doing stuff cool to fit in with the cool kids. Um, so I was like, I'm the, uh, um, I'm the cool kid. I'm the, I'm the, I'm the bad kid. You know, I'm, the bad ass would be a, it'd be a word or I'm a bad ass, or I'm a, I'm a rock star. I would say things like that.
And how does a rockstar, a badass, a cool kid behave? What are some of his habits?
The complete opposite, like, you know, it really, I thought it was cool then, but it was really douchebaggery. It was like, you know, being, being mean to other kids and getting in trouble and, and just doing literally stupid things, you know? And so it really wasn't that cool. I just thought it was cool at the time.
Okay. And then tell us about what happened to you. You ended up in prison. Tell us a bit about that.
Yeah, man. Um, by the time I was 17, I had caught some cases. Um, I was, uh, I started smoking weed when I was 9, but by the time I was 17, I caught some cases for being a knucklehead. We sold a bunch of stolen property and we're a robbing things out of people's garage doors that were left open and I went away for five. I had a seven year sentence and I did four years flat, went away at 19 and I got out for about two years. You know, I didn't want to go back to prison, but then I ended up catching a DWI, being a knucklehead again and went back to prison. Uh, just 20 days for my twin sons were born in Rock. Like that was it. That was my rock bottom moment. Like there was a, the moment I, it was so painful, man.
Like I was sitting there in Ferguson Police Department learning that I'm missing out on my, my, the birth of my twin sons when all I ever wanted was to be the father that I didn't have growing up. And I'm missing out on it because I wanted to be a knucklehead and it was so painful. I mean, I just, there's like no real words to put it in, but I felt like big enough to sit up, sit on opinion, swing my feet from it. And at the same time know that pain was the best thing that could ever happen to me because in that moment, my entire paradigm shifted. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. And from that very moment, I started moving in a completely different direction in my life.
What was the general tribe mentality in the prison?
Yeah, it was uh, it was really simple. Mind your own business, stand on your own shit and um, and, and don't, you know, just that's it. Mind your own business and your own shit. Uh, if, if somebody, even if you can't fight, even if you're not strong, as long as you stand up for yourself, then people won't continue to mess with you. But if you let people bully you, then you will get bullied.
So don't be a pussy.
Yeah. Don't be a pussy. And same in mind your own business. Yeah.
Okay. And how was it then that the, there's a human desire to connect with people and belong. How did you navigate that?
You know, it was a, it's really weird to try to explain it, but like, I feel like that experience because it was so different unlike, and you know, I, I understand that I haven't visited every country in the world yet, so there's probably a lot of different other cultural things that are going to be complete cultural shock. But that was so different than anything else I've experienced because literally nobody would walk around with a smile on their face. Nobody, when I just put it into context, man, when I got, when I got home from prison the first time after doing four years flat, my mom and dad came and picked me up. And I remember I went in at 2008 when we had flip phones and, and at the time the cool clothing, baggy clothes, I was wearing baggy clothes. And I remember putting on the clothes, it's 2012 now. And I'm like, mom, I'm not trying to be a free load or anything, but can we please go to target and get a pair of clothes that fit? She's like, yeah, well I went in there, man. And I was so freaked out, my anxiety kicked in because everybody's smiling and being nice and you can talk to women and stuff. So it was just freaking me out. I haven't been actually adapted back to society, but it was a, it was, it was weird, man.
So your inner narrative must've been really, really interesting. And um, what do you do? And you don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but what do you do? Um, with, I've always been curious literally with your sexual urges in a prison. Like what do you do with that?
Yeah, I'll be straight up. That's funny though. I made, there'd be, there's spots where you can go and you know, handle your business, you know, by yourself. And they make these things called FeeFee's who have rubber gloves, lotion and towels that you wrap around it. And you just go to town, man.
It's not like we haven't done it at home, you know, you know, but, uh, interesting. So now you've come out of prison and you can talk to women. What was that like? I mean, you just, you, you had, you had a girl, you had a wife or,
Yeah, so the first time I went away, I didn't have a girlfriend or a wife. And when I came home it was weird man, because, you know, the whole time I'm conversating with just, you know, mostly alpha males and no interaction with women hardly at all except for the few CO's. And you didn't even really get to talk to them that much. So it was really weird at first for like the first week and a half. It was like a lot of adjusting, but then I started coming into it and, and uh, getting readjusted to normal society.
So then you, um, that you met this girl, you had, you got her pregnant and you went back. Is that what happened?
Yeah. Well, you know what happened, man, I was working at a bar and grill 50, 60 hours a week. Uh, you know, that was like one of the only jobs that I could find. And, um, I then I was shopping at this other barn or at this other bar, this other store where they sold clothes. Uh, cause I liked it. And then I ended up getting hired there cause he was like, Hey, you want a job here? I'm like, yeah, absolutely. And I put in my two weeks at the bar and grill where I had some stability in my life because two days into my job at the clothing store, I sold 3000, a whole sort of 9,000. I've always loved sales and connecting with people. Well, after I put in my two weeks at the bar and grill, they called me back, said, Hey, you're a convicted felon, you got to kick rocks. So I was out with nothing. And in that moment I had a choice to either keep my chin up and search for other opportunity, but Rock I, I was being a pussy and started throwing a pity party and became an alcoholic. And that's what led me back to prison. And yet at the same time, uh, my, I got my now wife, which was my girlfriend at the time, pregnant with twin boys.
Really cool. Really cool. I want to break that down for the people listening. So events happen in our life. You had a job, you're feeling good, you're excited, you're in a zone where you feel like you're confident you can win. And men need that. I think maybe even more than women, um, is they need a place where they know they're a badass and they can compete and win. Sometimes it's tattoos, sometimes it's winning quarterbacks, sometimes it's, you know, spelling, winning the spelling bee, whatever works for you. And then you get tossed out on the curb and now you change your focus and you go, okay, I don't belong. What am I going to do now? Um, and so you, you start drinking. And most people have addictions. They just have them and they cope with them or they make them socially acceptable. So they overwork or they gossip or they, uh, you know, jerk off to porn and FeeFee's in prison, right?
And they, and they, so they have a way of what we call coping, but at the end of the day, they're not happy. They're not fulfilled. They're actually not really productive. And they may not even, they may be in a relationship, but it's not a very fulfilling relationship. It works because you take the garbage out, she does the dishes and she cleans the diapers and you know, you cut the grass or whatever. But how do we get, and now let's go to where you are today and I'll work my way back and I'll finish into that question. So where are you are today?
Today? It's a really crazy stark contrast compared to where I was today. Um, you know, I, I was in prison for over five years of my life and now I rub elbows with multimillionaires every day and I've had 20K plus months as entrepreneur consistently. Um, which I'm so grateful for, man, but I really get to do what I love. I love podcasting, and I get to help other entrepreneurs launching, grow and monetize their podcasts. Become a top 200 rated podcasts or in five weeks or less. And I, and then we also get to free up their time with our podcast production agency that we also run. So it's really cool, man. But, uh, I'm just really grateful. You know, it's, it's, it's crazy to think about that, you know, even when people ask and I was like, wow, you know?
So who are you today?
I am Zachary Babcock, man. I am a responsible father. Uh, I'm a loving husband. Uh, I'm a fierce underdog entrepreneur. Uh, and, and I, I just, I think that's it, eh, man.
Yeah that's beautiful. And, and that came out just so fluidly for you, which shows congruency. Right. I love the fact that you could get that because a lot of times, you know, unfortunately people are not clear on who they are. I work with a lot of people and if you ask them who I, well, uh, uh, I'm a real estate agent, uh, but they don't really know in their soul what shines and, and what can come out. So you've been doing this for five years now.
Yeah, it'll be fine. I'll be out of prison five years. October 2nd, 2019 we'll be five years. Exactly.
And you had a passion to what interview people talk to people. You're curious what, what got you into it?
The what got me into podcasting, I just, the podcast, April of 2018. Um, and the reason why, so before podcasting, I was just, every time I tried to collaborate with any entrepreneur, nobody wanted to give me any anytime of the day they were all, it was like, it was like I was just the ex-convict turn entrepreneur, afterthought and could never collaborate with anybody. And out of that pain and out of that frustration, man, that's why I launched underdog empowerment for selfish reasons first, it was out of that pain and frustration out of not wanting to stay in that box set. People were keeping trying to keep me in. And so also it was to empower other underdog entrepreneurs, but you've got to fill up your cup, before to fill up other cups. And so that's why, that's why I launched it, man. It was crazy. Cause then the next week after I launched it, it became a top 200 a podcast. And we had Billy Jean Is Marketing on the very next week versus the week before that. Nobody wanted anything to do with me. And then ever since it's just been like celebrities or industry leaders ever since. As really a more importantly though, it's been great way to connect like kind of what over you're talking about beforehand to make really solid relationships.
So where, where's home for you?
I'm here in St Louis, Missouri.
Okay, cool. And so for the entrepreneurs listening to this call that is sitting at home going, man, that sounds super cool. I, I'm in a tough spot. Maybe not in prison but I'm not where I want to be, et cetera. Um, how, how, how are you monetized? How are you getting to 20,000 in a month?
Yeah, absolutely. So one way is where we bring in people that don't have a podcast at all, like an entrepreneur. And I run offers, I haven't even been touched advertising it, like this is all organic. So I can't wait to really start to begin to scale it. But we run offers through Facebook, through my personal Facebook Page and I'll have it like 10 spots available to get it in. It's a $5,000 program. Boom, that's a 50K a month right there. If we sell up all 10 spots. And then the real like the actual money though, this ability and stuff is like the agency side where we only charge $750 a month to do up to eight episodes for you, which is twice a week that you're putting out podcasts. We have other plans as well, but that's just our basic plan. We're, we're constantly freeing you up of that time and taking all that stress and the tedious work. But that's how it goes hand in hand with each other. And then there's other ways of, you know, affiliate income that you earn through your podcast and you know, so there's a bunch of different ways to.
Very cool, awesome. Well not that you need to hear from me, but I'm super proud of you. It's really easy to stay stuck in a rut around an identity or a label that you've been given. My brother called me pizza face when I was young, cause I had a lot of acne. And for 20 years I repeated that in my mind until I really believed that I was ugly and didn't belong. And, and, and I didn't go to school and I didn't want to be friendly and outgoing. And I used alcohol as a way to medicate myself to get my confidence. And then a mentor came along and he says, you can just change the label by choosing a new vision. And he goes, who's somebody that you admire? And I said, Clint Eastwood. He goes, okay, what would you, what would you give him as a label? And I said, ruggedly handsome. So I changed pizza face to ruggedly handsome. And I repeated that over and over again. And that is the power of our identity is when we can take, you know, I'm an amazing father. I'm a responsible father. Whatever it is that you choose. I'm a, I'm a badass, um, podcast hosts when we repeat it because we were having a conversation with ourselves all the time, aren't we?
Yeah. That's all we do all day long.
Yeah. So you might as well make it an intelligent, empowering conversation. And that's really the kind of things I'm trying to highlight here. So let me segue to ask you those eight questions. And these are the character traits and these are things that a human can learn. They're not something you're born with. So you either choose to develop that part of you or you choose to ignore it and in my opinion, not get the results you want. So the first one is what I call a Tracker. And it's somebody who knows their numbers, they know their weight, they know how many times they go on a date with their wife, they know, um, how many people are listening to their podcast. They pay attention to the numbers cause you can improve something you don't measure. From a scale of 1 to 10, how good are you at tracking things in your life?
I might be too much at it cause my personal trainer tells me to quit stepping on the scale every day. Like I literally will track my downloads on Libsyn every day. I look at the rankings on iTunes every day, I look at the scale everyday, my body weight, like literally I'm, I'm, I kind of do it obsessively. Probably a 10.
I love it. I love it. So listen to this guys. You're going to see there's a trail of evidence. Success leaves clues. All right, the next category is Asker. Somebody who is not timid. Somebody who is bold, somebody who is willing to negotiate, someone who's willing to ask for the table they want at the restaurant or for the soup to get warmed up, 1 to 10.
I can. So I'm obviously, I'm going to give myself a 10 right here, but I'm almost wondering in my head of like, am I being biased here? But I'm literally looking at the facts like that's how I get all these top, you know, people on my podcast. That's how literally I get, closed mouths don't get fed man. Like, this is a, a golden rule, rule. So I mean, yeah, I'll give myself a 10 again. I'm going to give myself an 8 cause there's some times where I know I could actually pull the trigger where I don't.
Okay. All right. I appreciate the honesty. That's still solid. And by the way, let's be totally candid here. Let's not try to get a good score if it's not there because it's not going to serve. Here's what we do is when I work with people, we identify where you are and where's the opportunity. If you're a 10 across the board, you can improve and we can all improve, right?
So the next one is called Self-care. And it really has, you know, three categories, your nutrition, how conscious are you, your exercise, how methodical are you and all the other parts of your life like sleep and, and, and, and your boundaries. 1 to 10.
If I could my sleep and habits down, I would crush that, but I give it a 7.
Okay. Now this one is Self-aware. Um, and the way I describe that is you notice your patterns. Um, you know, somebody cuts you off and you get angry every time and you still doing that 30 years in a row, uh, you, you, you find yourself not responding in a way that is empowering and you're maybe not even conscious of it. Somebody goes, man, you're, you're, you're picking your nails or your chewing your nails. I am. Oh, I didn't even know. How conscious are you? How self-aware?
Nine. Nice. Okay. Leader. Um, you're able to motivate, inspire, train, hire, uh, communicate. People get your vision and they want to be part of it. You're a decision maker.
I really do truly believe like I'm a 9 or a 10 right there. That's like one of my superhuman powers.
Cool. Now this one is simple. It's a Learner. Are you curious? Are you listening to podcasts? Are you reading books? Are you listening to audio programs? Are you going to seminars, hiring coaches, mentors? Do you have a trainer? Obviously? How do you fare in that one?
That's another one where I'd probably do it too much and I actually scaled back this year on the consumption. So I'm going to give myself a 9 or a 10
Okay. Level of Commitment. When you say you're going to do something, do people generally go consider it then.
10, sweet and then your Emotional, um, IQ. And that's basically are you in control of your emotions or are your emotions in control of you? And then you have to, you know, Oh my God, I'm pissed off. I've gotta have a drink or I'm really frustrated. I'm going to go, you know, for a run or I'm going to punch the wall.
I'm going to give myself a 9. But I like to say one big thing is like just the other day, like it was, everything was going wrong. Like the internet. I was doing a, I was doing a podcast and mega tour going on 50 plus podcasts in 48 hours and my internet started messing up towards halfway through the day. And then everything else was just going to shit. And one thing I've learned, man, is that sometimes there's external, and I, I learned this through prison and I learned at Reddit and the Victor Frankel man's search for meaning book. That's what I'm going to bring up when you ask me about the book. But, uh, you know, there's things that happen that you don't have control over, but you always have your response and in between your response and things you don't have control over is your freedom to choose. And I literally just like, Hey, what can I do about this? You've been through a lot worse, bro. It's the day roll with it or whatnot? And, and that kind of gave me power in that situation. So I'm gonna give myself a 9 on that.
Yeah, I would agree. That's awesome. And uh, I, I talked to people about, there's no meaning, but the meaning we give it, which is really what you're talking about is that pause, right? Stimulus, pause, choose how you're going to respond. And I wish they taught that in school. I think that would be probably one of the most useful things because a lot of people think that they don't have a choice. So before we talk about the book, you want to talk about what's one of my favorite books as well. Have you read the David Goggins book yet? Can't hurt me.
I got it right here on my shelf. I haven't read it yet.
Oh man, dude, you're going to love that book. You're going to love that book. I'm going to invite you also. So what I did it, I read it and then I got the audio version because he does a mini podcast in the audio book. So he has a reader and at the end of each chapter, him and the reader talk about the chapter and they go deeper. It's really, really cool.
I think that's pretty cool. That's a unique idea man.
It is. So Viktor Frankl talk to me.
Dude, that book, I've read it, I read it and the end of 2017 it wasn't too long ago and I was like, God, why haven't I came across this sooner? Cause like, you know, there's books where they got that are really good and there's some that just got like one or two golden nuggets. This book was just completely transformational. Like it's one of those books that like, it'll change the way you look at things. Like here I was, I thought I had it bad doing over five years in prison. And I'm like, damn. I was like, I like a little daycare compared to what the shit he went through. Dude, dude. Like it was brutal and like to be able to go through that like literally like, Oh my God, that torture of senior people, uh, friends and people you know, die and wither away day by day by day, being starved to death, being brutally beat down, mentally stripped of everything except for that freedom to choose.
It was empowering. And, and that, that lesson where he talks about, man, like, I mean, if you think about it, man, uh, a tornado could come through right now and tear down your house and destroy everything you love, kill your family, all like, God forbid that happens. But that could happen. And there's nothing that you could do about that situation, but you could choose, are you gonna, are you gonna respond negatively and let that, that, that kill your spirit and be go the rest of your life can be bitter and miserable and kill yourself or, or are you going to let that pain eternalize and transform it into something powerful and go out and pack the world and do good with it? Whichever one you choose, it's still your choice. It's your freedom to choose how you respond no matter what happens. And that was like one of the best takeaways I got from that book, man.
Yeah, you've internalized it bro. You, you are a badass.
Hey, right back at you, man. I'm just trying to be like Rock one day.
So listen, if people want to connect with you, follow you, obviously listen to your podcast. Is there any other way that they can connect with you?
Yeah man, the podcast. I love the podcast. I love just having those conversations. It's an underdog empowerment. You can check it out on any platform you listen to podcast to make it real simple for you guys. It's on underdogempowerment.com right on the front page, iTunes, Spotify, Google play, Stitcher, whatever you like to listen into. Hope to see over there and thank you for having me Rock.
Alright man. It's been a pleasure. I just want to remind our listeners that the words that follow, I am follow you, so describe yourself in an empowering way and use the words that juice you. They're not words from somebody else. I might, my trainer once called me a ripped athletic machine. I'm like, dude, I'm adding that to my identity. Thank you. That feels good. So have fun with it. Build it strong and thanks again. I really appreciate you being on the podcast.
Man. Thank you for having me, man. This was a blast.
This is the #IAmMovement podcast. To find out more about how you can join the #IAmMovement and take your life to the next level, go to GO M1 dot com, GOM1.com.
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