We all have dreams of being successful and achieving excellence in our lives. But we inevitably experience resistance, challenges, and obstacles in the pursuit of our dreams. In Search of Excellence provides us with the inspiration we need to overcome these obstacles and accomplish our goals. In Search of Excellence takes us through the stories, routes, and strategies of people from hundreds of different backgrounds who have achieved excellence in both their professional and personal lives. Guest features include Sharon Stone, Kevin O'Leary, Sammy Hagar, Lara Logan, Sam Zell, and many more.
#025 – From Last Place to Olympic Gold | Apolo Ohno
Apolo Anton Ohno is the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. Between the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Winter Olympics, Apolo earned eight Olympic medals in short-track speed skating. Even as a child, Apolo’s athletic ability was evident, at the young age of 14, Apolo won his first major speed skating title, after just six months of training.
But, despite his incredible talents and drive, Apolo faced setbacks and struggles from managing his mental health, navigating adolescence and his rocky relationship with his father, to tuning his competitive spirit. Apolo attributes his massive success as a speed skater and athlete to his fear of failure.
In this episode, Randall and Apolo talk about what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and Apolo shares how the struggles he faced growing up and his unique relationship with his father shaped him into the athlete and man he is today. Apolo talks about what he learned from his failure at the 1998 Olympic trials, talks about the four foundations of mental health, and shares tips on how to set a regimen for mental health.
- Advice to people afraid to fail
- Winning his first big race
- How to sustain performance level after success
- Advice for parents navigating relationships and experiences with their children
- The role of genetics in sport and excellence
- Experience of 2002 Olympic Games
- Going the extra mile and the role of extreme preparation
- Elements of success
- Passion and money's role in success
- Five golden principles for overcoming challenges
- Philanthropy and the importance of giving back
- And other topics…
Apolo Ohno is America’s most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, earning eight Olympic medals in short-track speed skating across the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Winter Games.
He was an NBC sports analyst for the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games and is a global ambassador for the Special Olympics and the Winter Olympics. Among his other athletic accomplishments, Apolo won season 4 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and participated in the 2014 Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii.
Apolo is also the author of the New York Times best-seller, Zero Regrets, A Journey, the autobiography of Apolo Anton Ohno, and his latest book, Hard Pivot. He is a regular speaker at hundreds of organizations from Fortune 100 companies to nonprofits.
Apolo Ohno Website: www.apoloohno.com
#024 – Rise, Grind, and Accomplish Your Goals | Daymond John
Rise, Grind, and Accomplish Your Goals | Daymond John
If there is someone who knows the power of hard work, it’s Daymond John. As a young man growing up in the neighborhood of Hollis, Queens, Daymond's entrepreneurial talent took off when he started a clothing line with a $40 budget. At the time, Daymond was hand-sewing hats between his shifts at Red Lobster. And today, Daymond's company, FUBU, has over $6 billion in sales.
Daymond is not only one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation but is also a sought-after motivational speaker and branding expert. He is a beloved “Shark” on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank and a best-selling author. Daymond is an incredible example of how a combination of hard work, overcoming obstacles, passion, and creativity is a recipe for success.
In this episode, Randall and Daymond talk about Daymond’s experience with dyslexia, starting FUBU and the struggles he overcame on his path to excellence, the importance of keeping an open mind and entertaining all opportunities, and Daymond shares the meaning behind his S.H.A.R.K. acronym.
- What Daymond learned from seeing his mother struggle
- Why you need to have an entrepreneurial mindset no matter what
- Hacking yourself and the importance of ownership
- The reasons why people buy clothes
- The name FUBU and what he was trying to create
- Cold calling as a factor in success
- The “Boom” moment of entrepreneurship
- The growth of FUBU
- The importance of work ethic
- When to give up your day job
- Why he decided to host Shark Tank
- Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich
- The importance of creativity and persistence
- How Daymond defines success
- Advice on finding the right work-life balance
- Philanthropy and giving back
- Fill in the blank to excellence
- And other topics…
Daymond John is an American businessman and investor, best known as the founder and CEO of the American apparel company FUBU. Daymond is also the New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Broke. His most recent book is Rise and Grind.Daymond also stars as a "Shark" on ABC's hit show Shark Tank.
Daymond’s impressive accolades include Brandweek Marketer of the Year, the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, Crain's Business of New York Forty Under Forty Award, and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: https://www.amazon.com/Think-Grow-Rich-Landmark-Bestseller/dp/1585424331/
#023 – Becoming Indefatigable | Caryn Seidman-Becker
In 2002 Caryn Seidman-Becker created and ran a successful hedge fund that ultimately grew to $1.5 billion assets - an amount that was unheard of for a woman to manage at the time. When the financial crisis hit in 2008, Caryn - like thousands of other funds - closed her fund. She loved managing money, but decided to do something different - buy an airport-focused biometric-identity company that had raised $90 million and had filed for bankruptcy. She bid $5.87 million at the bankruptcy option, renamed the company CLEAR, raised $150 million in capital from various investors including Delta Airlines and United Airlines, and took the company public on June 30, 2021. Today, CLEAR’s market capitalization is $3.5 billion, landing Caryn on the Forbes list of America's Richest Self-Made Women (2021).
Caryn’s journey to incredible success is one of pivoting, grit, instincts, determination, and leadership. When she decided to close her hedge fund, it would have been impossible to predict that she’d go on to reach massive success with the purchase of a bankrupt biometric-identity company. But if Caryn’s story teaches us anything, it’s that with insatiable curiosity, transparency, determination - and was she describes as being indefatigabel - you can accomplish your wildest dreams.
In this episode, Randall and Caryn discuss how her childhood experiences and time attending the University of Michigan shaped her future, the importance of great teachers and mentors, the ability to overcome challenges and make tough decisions, the experience of buying a bankruptcy company and turning CLEAR into a company with $450 million in annual revenues, and advice for female entrepreneurs trying to find funding.
- What values her parents instilled in her
- Her first job in NYC in risk arbitrage
- Why she started her hedge fund Arience Capital Management
- The decision to close Arience in late 2008
- Advice for people who want to start over and pursue their passions
- What is CLEAR?
- Transparency and real-time feedback in the age of social media
- The impact of COVID on CLEAR and creating CLEAR Health Pass
- The importance of preparation - and EXTREME PREPARATION - on the path to excellence
- Caryn’s ingredients for success
- Her view on making money
- Fill In The Blank For Excellence
- And other topics…
Caryn Seidman-Becker is the Chair and CEO of CLEAR, an expedited airport security service that allows its members to quickly pass through airport security lines. Caryn and a colleague bought CLEAR's predecessor out of bankruptcy in 2010, and after raising $150 million from investors including Delta Airlines and United Airlines, she took the company public in June 2021 at a $4 billion valuation.
Caryn serves on the boards of Home Depot and Lemonade, and in 2021 Forbes named Caryn the 27th wealthiest self-made woman in the United States. Caryn is also a dedicated philanthropist. In 2004, Caryn created The Happy Elephant Foundation which supports education, child wellness, and the New York City community, and she serves on the Board of Trustees of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and on the board of the Department of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from the greatest college on the planet - the University of Michigan.
#022 – Nothing Replaces Doing the Work | Rachel Zoe
Rachel Zoe is an icon in the fashion world. But before Rachel became a household name, she was 25 years old, styling celebrities like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys out of her West Village studio apartment. Rachel continued to make a name for herself as a stylist by putting together some of Hollywood’s most memorable red carpet looks and collaborating on iconic fashion lines. But, when she discovered that she had a unique platform to empower and inspire women from all walks of life, her creative and entrepreneurial mindset took over. And the rest is history, she became a best-selling author, a Bravo star, the Editor in Chief and publisher of The Zoe Report, and more.
Rachel attributes her success to working hard, being open to opportunities, and always being the most prepared person in the room. But, being in the spotlight comes with fear, doubt, and criticism, all of which Rachel saw as learning experiences and opportunities for growth.
In this episode, Randall and Rachel talk about how Rachel became the fashion icon and influencer she is today, how growing up in a well-off family surrounded by beautiful things influenced Rachel’s career, the experiences Rachel had starting as a freelance stylist, the importance of taking risks, why she’s always the most prepared person in the room, how she faced and overcame criticism and tabloid rumors, and everything she’s learned along the way.
- The influence of her mother’s style
- Education’s role in future success
- The important advice she got from her father
- Rachel’s advice for people who hate their jobs
- Why getting over our fears is crucial on the path to success
- Failure as a necessary ingredient to success
- Rachel on designing her own style
- How to deal with adversity at work
- Rachel’s views on styling
- Perceptions vs reality of being famous
- Advice for achieving success in the real world
- Qualities she looks for in applicants
- The importance of proactive thinking and planning for things to go wrong
- Rachel’s ingredients to success
- Marriage and life with Rodger and the secret to working with a significant other
- The defining moment of Rachel’s career
- The importance of philanthropy and using your platform for good
- Fill in the blank for excellence
- And other topics…
Rachel Zoe is an icon of the fashion world. She is a distinguished designer, editor, author, TV personality, and entrepreneur. She is the Creative Director of the Rachel Zoe Collection, which comprises ready-to-wear, footwear, and accessory lines.
Rachel is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, Style A to Zoe and Living in Style. Rachel had a reality television series, The Rachel Zoe Project which aired on Bravo and ran for five seasons (2008-2013). In 2009, she founded The Zoe Report, a daily newsletter about what she was coveting in the worlds of lifestyle, beauty, and fashion. With the success of The Zoe Report, Rachel launched another paper focused on beauty, entitled Zoe Beautiful. Rachel and her husband Rodger Berman co-host the podcast, Works for Us.
She is also a board member at Baby2Baby and an artist ambassador at Save the Children International.
Rachel’s Podcast Works for Us: https://podcasts.apple.com/us
#021 – The Dark Times Made Me Strong | Giada DeLaurentiis
In the historically male-dominated culinary industry, Emmy-award-winning TV personality, celebrity chef, and New York Times best-selling author Giada De Laurentiis has not only helped pave the way for female chefs but has also shined a spotlight on the culinary arts as a whole.
Giada has always been a trailblazer: from being the first in her family to graduate from college, to being the only woman in her class at Cordon Bleu in Paris, to being the first female chef to open a restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip at The Cromwell Hotel in Las Vegas. But along the way, Giada faced a great deal of adversity - getting bullied as a child, experiencing the devastating loss of her brother, and fighting the sexism and discrimination she faced in the culinary industry. For Giada, these challenges only fueled her fire - with her passion, a love of great food, and tremendous amount of perseverance - she had built an empire.
In this episode, Randall and Giada talk about how Giada discovered her passion while working at her grandfather’s restaurant DDL Foodshow, the cultural Italian norms that impacted her life, how she launched her career, how she overcame challenges and practiced resilience, how her time on The Today Show gave her confidence, and everything she’s learned along the way.
- Growing up in a traditional Italian family and her experiences in childhood
- Getting bullied as a child
- Being the first person in her family to attend college
- Applying for and attending Cordon Bleu in Paris
- Starting GDL foods
- Landing Everyday Italian on the Food Network
- Does practice make perfect?
- Sexism in the culinary industry
- Being the first woman to open a restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip
- Giada’s Restaurant at The Cromwell
- Challenges she had to overcome
- How her brother’s passing influenced her life
- The three most important ingredients to success
- Advice for changing eating habits
- Establishing the right work / life balance
- Giving back and Stand Up To Cancer
- And other topics…
Giada De Laurentiis is an Italian-American celebrity chef, writer, and Emmy award-winning television personality. She was the host of Food Network's Giada at Home and has been the host or co-host of 18 television shows, and she also appears regularly as a contributor and guest co-host on NBC's Today show. She is the founder of the catering business GDL Foods, and the founder and CEO of Giadzy.com, an e-commerce platform which sells culinary goods and contains recipes, entertaining, and travel tips. Giada is also the author of nine cookbooks including the #1 New York Times Best-Seller Eat Better, Feel Better.
Giada’s Website: https://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/
Giada’s Books: https://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/books
Giada’s Restaurants: https://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/restaurants
#020 – Fight For What You Believe In | Mayor Eric Garcetti
From homelessness and the housing crisis to traffic and education, Los Angeles County Mayor Eric Garcetti faces challenging, pressing issues day in and day out. But how did a young kid who grew up in an immigrant family in the San Fernando Valley become the leader and change-maker he is today?
All of Eric’s life experiences contribute to his ability to search tirelessly for solutions and lead the Los Angeles community towards a better future. When facing new opportunities, Eric considers the quote “only do this if you can’t not.” This motto has supported and encouraged Eric on his journey to becoming the 47th (and youngest) mayor of Los Angeles. We all have a lot to learn from Eric’s commitment to community, work ethic, and leadership skills.
In this episode, Randall and Eric talk about how Eric’s childhood and early education shaped who he is today, how he learned the value of hard work, why he ran for public office, political issues Los Angeles is facing, why giving back is the most important thing we can do, the four most important qualities to have on the path to excellence, and all he’s learned along the way.
- How his trip to Ethiopia as a 16-year-old changed his life
- Value of odd jobs and his work program for young Angelenos
- Importance of both classroom learning and “real-life” learning
- The ‘Will I regret this?” Test
- Advice for people who want to be politicians
- Why we should be more afraid of succeeding than failing
- Why he views himself as “Storyteller in Chief”
- The value of transparency and accountability in politics
- The three C’s of leadership: convene, coerce, and convince
- The importance of sharing power and using soft power
- The education and housing crises in California
- How to end homelessness
- LA’s foster care system
- His experience fostering seven children
- Controversies he’s overcome
- Why you can’t take yourself too personally
- Value of having a great team
- And other topics…
Eric Garcetti is a fourth-generation Angeleno and the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles. In 2017, Eric won re-election by the widest margin in the history of Los Angeles. He was recently appointed to serve as the US ambassador to India.
Prior to becoming Mayor in 2013, Eric spent four terms as Council President on the L.A. City Council. Beyond his time in government, Eric served his country as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve, and taught at Occidental College and the University of Southern California.
Eric received his B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and later at the London School of Economics.
He is also a jazz pianist and photographer. He and his wife, First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland, have been foster parents for over a decade, and are the proud parents of a daughter, Maya.
College Student-Love this podcast
I couldn’t more strongly recommend this podcast. If you are interested in improving yourself, business, or learning about the stories of other interesting people, this is a podcast for you. A great balance of fun and learning.
Inspirational AND down to earth
What sets this podcast apart is the vulnerability on display that Randy is able to draw out from his guests. There is a standard script one might expect these big names to stick to, but the research going into the interview and general tone Randy guides with allows listeners to really get a behind the scenes view of what makes these folks tick. I appreciate that there is real intention behind the questions - you’ll feel like you’re walking away with helpful frameworks, tips, even career paths and not just inspirational fluff. A Perfect listen for those moments where you feel desire for more or something different in life but need a fresh perspective.
Engaging, Insightful and Unique
In Search of Excellence is terrifically insightful, engaging and entertaining. Randy’s ability to ask the curious questions and dive deeply into the untouched areas of the lives of these iconic guests, creates a particularly deep shared connection that reminds us how even these super stars are vulnerable humans and have experience very relatable events along their path to success. Randy’s care with his research and preparation for each interview sets this podcast apart. If you’re a fan of Tim Ferris, Joe Rogan, Rich Roll, All-In and the like, I would highly encourage exploring the inspiring In Search of Excellence library.