PR Jonathan | Selfless Service


What is the meaning of selfless service? One thing it’s NOT is being a doormat to other people. Jonathan Keyser is the Founder of Keyser, the largest occupier service commercial real estate brokerage firm in Arizona. Through sheer determination and focus on selfless service, Jonathan is disrupting the commercial real estate (CRE) industry. He abandoned his ruthless ways and reinvented himself as a selfless leader, which skyrocketed his brokerage firm to eight figures in five years. In this episode, he joins Adam Markel to define selfless service and why it’s a worthwhile pursuit for any business or practice. The path to success isn’t defined by cut-throat behavior. Change it up and you’ll be seeing a change in the world very soon.

Get the newest Conscious PIVOT Podcast episodes delivered directly to you – subscribe here. And, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please give us a 5-star rating on iTunes! For instructions click here.

DOING THIS for 10 Seconds Can Change Your Life! Click here to watch Adam’s Inspiring TEDx Talk!

Watch the episode here


Listen to the Episode Here


Read the Show Notes Here

Making Room For Selfless Service With Jonathan Keyser

I feel very good to be here. I’m blessed to be alive and sitting in a seat doing what I’m doing, which is working what I absolutely love. It’s a contrast to the way that I would start my days years ago when I was a full-time practicing attorney. I was conscious of the days in particular. I remember, I used to feel crappy in midday, right in the middle of a football game that I was watching on Sunday. I’d start thinking about and dreading work on Monday and starting a new week. Every day had its own feeling. Not that this is necessarily something to aspire to but these days, I don’t have a clue what day it is for the most part. I don’t have a sense of energy in a day. Every day is wonderful with wonderful challenges. It’s not that my life is easier. If this is easy, it’s hardly the case, but I know that because I’m doing work that my heart is committed to not just my business bottom line is committed to or some other things.

The days are not defined by so much or anything that feels like an obligation or that kind of energy. I feel great to be here. I’m loving this show and the loving the feedback we got from all of you and our community for the last several years. I have a great guest again. It’s somebody we’re going to dig and we’re going to have a great conversation. I’m looking forward to this one. I haven’t met him before. I’ve seen a number of things about him. I’ll read some of his bio and we’ll dig in as we normally do and start to find those choice pivot stories to share with all of you. His name is Jonathan Keyser. He’s the Founder and thought leader behind Keyser, the largest occupier services commercial real estate brokerage firm in Arizona. Through sheer determination and focus on selfless service, Jonathan is disrupting the commercial real estate industry and beyond.

An Inc. 5000 company, Keyser, has rapidly become one of the fastest-growing firms of its kind in the country serving companies in their real estate needs globally. Award-winning and nationally-recognized, Keyser is an active member of the Forbes Real Estate Council, voted top ten best places to work multiple years running and is a proud host company for Conscious Capitalism. When Jonathan entered the cutthroat dog-eat-dog world of commercial real estate brokerage, he became the worst version of himself and hated himself because of it. One day, Jonathan decided he’d had enough. He realized he was sacrificing his values in pursuit of success.

He abandoned his ruthless ways and reinvented himself as a selfless leader, which skyrocketed his brokerage firm to eight figures in five years. His approach to business has resonated with corporations and individuals seeking a competitive edge to acquiring and maintaining clients. Jonathan’s bestselling book, You Don’t Have to be Ruthless To Win and online Kaiser Institute courses inspire others to activate selflessness in their life and see how and why this counter-intuitive strategy can create extraordinary long-term success. Jonathan, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me, Adam. I appreciate it.

What’s not in that bio? What’s not written, something that I’ve said that you’d love for people in our community to know about you personally?

The thing for me is I’m on a mission. I want to change the world. I want to change the business world more specifically. I want to show people that even in arguably one of the most ruthless, cutthroat industries in the world such as commercial real estate brokerage, that you can create extraordinary financial success by helping others. There’s this misnomer that somehow selfless service is this soft, squishy, weak, tuck your tail between your legs and let people trample all over your mindset. For me, it’s the exact opposite. To me, the biggest competitive edge in business is a culture of self-services, a mindset of self-services is an approach to the business of selflessly serving other people around you. That sounds all well and good, but how do you do that? That’s why I wrote the book to take all the things that I’ve learned over my process of self-reinvention and have the reader be able to put those into practice for themselves in their own industries and their own lives, etc.

I don’t normally dive into this granular level of detail, but I hadn’t heard of occupier services. Give us the down-low on what is occupier services commercial real estate.

If you think about traditional commercial real estate firms, the majority of their revenue comes from representing landlords, developers and real estate investors. It all comes from the supply side. The people that made real estate profits or profitability possible are the users or the occupiers or the tenants are the ones that are utilizing this real estate that’s built. As a result, because these firms are heavily conflicted tying to represent the landlords and also trying to represent tenants, trying to get deals put together, tenants don’t get a fair shake. As a result, tenants have been traditionally underrepresented. We created a firm to give tenants a real voice, to give the occupier of space, someone who’s exclusively on their side. We don’t represent landlords. We don’t represent developers. All we do is give the power back to the user who needs the space to run their business, but it’s not some big commercial real estate investor developer.

There's a misconception that selfless service is about letting people trample all over you. Click To Tweet

You are tenant advocates. Thank you for clarifying that for me. I appreciate it. One of the other things that I was struck by when I was reading more about you was that your place of business has been voted one of ten best places to work several years running in Greater Phoenix. I’d love to understand better why that is.

Culture is everything for us, but culture carries a lot of connotations. I want to make sure I’m clear. To me, culture is not ping-pong tables or beer koozies. Culture is a created way of behaving within an organization. A lot of cultures are accidentally made where they bring people in and those people don’t have a guiding north principle. For us, we’ve said from the very beginning, we’re creating a company to change the industry to prove that even in an industry like ours, you could create success by helping other people. For us, we have a culture of selfless service. We have a culture where we all try to help each other succeed. We all try to help the people that we serve succeed.

While that may seem almost rudimentary and basic, for our industry, it’s revolutionary. I remember the first time we were awarded that. It was a shock to me to be honest because we were so young. They put the microphone in my face and they said, “Jonathan, what is it that makes your firms so different from every other real estate firm?” What came to me at the moment I would answer to this day is at Keyser, everybody within the firm is trying to help everybody else succeed. At traditional firms, everybody is guarding their turf. They’re fighting, scratching and clawing for themselves. They’re constantly fighting, negotiating, undermining over fees. For us, we believe that the more that I can help you, Adam, the more that we all collectively win, which also enables me to win individually. It’s this sense of collective wellbeing versus zero-sum game. That’s the culture that we created. There’s a whole bunch of other things, but at its very core, that’s where it all stems from. That’s the heart of it.

That’s very reminiscent of my days as a Jones Beach lifeguard. When I keynote these days, I typically will tell stories about those days on the beach and our lifeguard core is what we called it. The fact that we had a “Got your back” culture versus a “Watch your back” culture. That sounds exactly like what you’ve cultivated at your firm. People are truly working collaboratively for the benefit of the team because everybody wants one thing. Here’s the difference between a sports team. This is my observation. I want to get your thoughts on this. There’s a difference between a sports team and a team at work. It’s a typical team inside of a company. The sports team has one goal and one goal only. What’s that goal? It’s to win a game. That’s all they want to do is win a game. It worked.

There are cross purposes. There are other agendas other than simply winning a game, whatever winning a game looks like for the company. What do we do about that? There’s a lot of people, first of all, in this community who are in startup mode. We’ve got a lot of small business owners as well as a lot of executives and people that are working inside pretty large and very large organizations that sometimes think, “I’m too small.” Somebody inside of a big organization, they don’t believe that they have the power to create a change, to have any real impact. Somebody that’s getting started and maybe has 2 or 3 employees or maybe they’ve only got 2 or 3 outsource solutions contract. “I’m too small to be thinking about culture. That’s big boy stuff. I don’t have the money to hire McKinsey to come in and tell me what I should do to change my culture. I need to make a buck and pay my bills.” What do you say to those two different groups?

If somebody wants to work out of their house and not interface with people, truly, culture doesn’t matter. If you have any desire to have any employees or to have any organization that scales, culture is 100% relevant. The smaller the organization is, the more potent the embedded culture within each of the individuals are. We also have the Keyser Institute which is in place to train, empower and ultimately certify the next generation of selfless leaders. We do it both for individuals as well as provide certification processes for employers. At its very core, the fish rots from the head. If the leader of the organization, which is all of you entrepreneurs reading right now, if you’re not embodying, if you’re not living what you espouse the culture of your organization to be, you’re never going to have the culture you want.

The hardest part about this whole culture stuff is that you have to live it. As part of the Keyser Institute, we teach three levels of reinvention process, reinvention from the inside out. Start with yourself. You got to become the change. You got to be the change you want to see in the world. You create a company culture around it. You interface, as John Mackey says, with all the external stakeholders, partners, clients, vendors, collaborators, etc. It has to start on the inside. What a lot of people do is they say, “I went to this nice seminar. I heard this great leadership speaker and he was talking about how I should be a selfless leader or how I should create a culture of whatever. Here’s our new mission statement everybody and onward go.”

Yet that individual, the leader is not adhering to those principles, is not living in it and as a result, everybody calls BS on it and says, “I’m not going to do that. Our leader doesn’t mean that.” For all you entrepreneurs, the beautiful thing is like I did when I started my own company, I could build it from the ground up. I could build exactly the framework I wanted. I could build exactly the culture I wanted. I could hire the people that were aligned with what I wanted to build. As a result, we were able to very carefully shape a culture that has grown and continues to grow without me having the spark. The hardest part for me is I have to live with this stuff.

It is an essential element in the founder’s vision that you think consciously. This is about the conscious pivot. This is like conscious planning for the culture you want to see. It’d be no different than if you wanted a garden, you wouldn’t assume that certain flowers you wanted in that garden would grow by themselves. I love the way you gave us three steps to that as well. It’s tangible. This inside out approach is very much about modeling. I go back to my days as a lawyer, my days as a CEO or as a lifeguard even, every significant culture I’ve been part of.

PR Jonathan | Selfless Service

Selfless Service: Even in arguably one of the most ruthless, cutthroat industries in the world, you can create extraordinary financial success by helping others.


From the top-down, people were living the values. They weren’t things that were written on some plaque that hung in the break room or wherever else they have these things. It was something that was tucked away neatly in people’s desks. This was something that they were literally living day by day. Not living by the mere speaking about it, but the actual things you see people do, their behaviors in fact, because that’s much what culture is.

Peter is right because most leaders have a perception of their own behavior that’s significantly different from external perceptions of their behavior. As a result, as part of any culture, you have to have feedback mechanisms that don’t have any negative loop associated with it because otherwise, you suppress all the information that would help you improve as a leader. Part of this means you have to be vulnerable to your entire team and say, “This matters. I’m committed to this. Every time you catch me not doing it, call me out.”

Here at Keyser, one of the things we have is we call it the Courage to Disagree Award. You could give it to another leader. It’s designed specifically for me for someone to go, “Jonathan, you said you’re committed to blank. We saw you doing blank. That’s out of alignment.” When those kinds of things occur, we celebrate those things here. We have them stand up at our monthly meetings and we give them the award. Everybody claps and we tell the story. For us all to achieve this idealistic, optimum level of culture, love and service that also creates success, people have to be willing to be transparent, to be vulnerable and hold each other accountable. A lot of times, people want to keep their opinions to themselves, but those opinions, if they’re received, have the opportunity to shift the entire culture on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute and second-by-second basis as they occur.

I love the fact that you give out an award for that. It reminds me of something I read with Patrick Lencioni some years ago about healthy conflict. It’s about how healthy conflict is so important because it ultimately is the way that people are seen and heard because you’re not going to agree all the time. In so many ways, a company is not a democracy. I’ve been a CEO a long time and I sometimes get a little agitated from folks when I say this on stage. It’s not a democracy. Leaders are going to have to make difficult decisions. That’s part of being a leader at whatever level you are, even in regard to your own self-leadership.

You can’t make those decisions and have people buy in to what you decide if they haven’t been heard and sometimes what they have to say is, “That sucks. I think that idea is going to rock. There’s no way it’s going to work. You’re being self-interested. You’re unaware,” or whatever it is. The feedback is on whatever it is you’re talking about. If people don’t feel at liberty to express themselves fully, it will be reflected in the culture. Secondly, they walk. This is what Millennials will do. Eighteen months in, they’re gone.

What will be very interesting on that point, Adam, is when there is a shift in the market. I’m not talking real estate market. I’m talking to the general economic situation we’re in now, which is high growth and low unemployment. It’ll be interesting to see there’s almost this pressure for CEOs and HR leaders to develop cultures because talent is so competitive. It’ll be interesting to see when that pressure valve is released a little bit how companies react because my inclination is if you’re doing it only because of economic motivation, it’s probably not sustainable. You’re going to see this race to culture discussions while the job market is tight. You’re going to see a loosening. That’s where you’re going to be able to separate the truth from the riff-raff or from the people that are putting it forward.

That is the biggest problem with culture from what I see is either it’s an utter delusion, which I cannot believe leaders are that delusional. Sometimes I’m sure they are where they believe they’ve created this amazing culture and other people go, “Are you kidding me? This company sucks.” Those exist. Those are the extreme examples. I think what I’m describing is there’s a lot of leaders who artificially want to project this image of being a great leader or having a great company culture. Part of the challenge with all of this discussion is there’s a lot of noise. There’s a lot of fake conversations. There’s a lot of stuff that is truly inauthentic. A lot of the people that champion themselves as the greatest leaders are often the worst.

Part of what I’m trying to advocate for is this idea of authenticity. I am the farthest thing from a perfect dude. I’m not an amazing leader in some ways. I’m an amazing leader in other ways. Truthfully, I’m so tired of all of us trying to be perfect. That’s an impossible thing. I make mistakes every day and I embrace them. One of our cultural premises is we never punish mistakes. The fear of mistakes makes a person timid and keeps them out of bold, fearless, massive action. That’s exactly where values are created. From my perspective, what I’m trying to usher in is an era of authenticity where we all give each other a little bit of space, a little bit of a break, “You made a mistake there. I’m not going to try to crucify you.” How about, “You made a mistake, let’s learn from it and move on.”

I think part of the problem as it relates to culture is everybody is so afraid of what’s being said, “There are gaps in your culture. Leaders don’t want to acknowledge that because in their mind, it makes them appear as if they’re somehow less than a leader.” To me it’s like, “I want to know all those things. Tell me where I suck. Tell me where I could improve. I’m not saying I’ll do them tomorrow, but I’ll start working on them.” That authentic conversation that guys like you can help get out into the world is helping leaders realize that it’s okay to let down their guard. It’s okay to not pretend to be perfect and that the very thing that they think is going to alienate their people from them, showing them their flaws or their fears. Those are the very things that make everybody want to rally around you as a leader and go, “Let’s go and take the hill,” because they can finally sense that you’re authentic.

In real estate, tenants have been traditionally underrepresented. Click To Tweet

I’m thinking about a few different things and one is this book, Karmic Management, which I read years ago. There are three authors, but one of the last names is Roach. Karmic Management looks at all of your karmic business partners. Why I’m thinking about that is in listening to you, I’m thinking, “This is about your stakeholders.” In Pivot, I referenced this as well, about how important you’re identifying your stakeholders are. Often in a corporate context, stakeholders are your shareholders, whether the board of directors or the owners, etc. What you were saying is incredible because you’re looking at your own employees, you’re looking at the people inside the company as the stakeholders.

That’s key because it’s those stakeholders who can reflect on the kind of leader that you are. They can be transparent and brutally honest or sometimes we like to say, “Give you feedback that’s laced with ruthless compassion.” What’s great about that is that it’s the truth. It’s transparent. There’s no BS about it. If that’s what’s encouraged, that’s what’s rewarded even inside of an organization, then you’re not going to have people walking around demonstrating the emperor’s new clothes. That’s the worst thing that can happen because those are massive blind spots that can easily lead to a lot of unpredictable bad results in a company.

I’m curious about this. You’re in the commercial real estate space and you’re on the side of standing up to big brother. You’re already positioned from the services side in a way that allows you to own a higher ground that fits. Real estate has always been a leading indicator in my mind. I was in commercial real estate myself as an attorney and worked with a lot of people on the transactional side as well as on the finance side. Do you believe that the real estate market, commercial real estate in particular is an indicator of what’s happening in the economy as a leading indicator or as a lagging indicator?

It’s leading typically from 6 to 9 months depending on where you are.

It’s not that kind of show, but people that are following the thread as I am would be curious to know what is the commercial real estate market telling us about where the economy is 6 to 9 months from now.

It’s strong. We have never been in this sustained upturn since well before you and I were born. We’re in new territory now.

Are there demands for retail space and relatives?

Office, industrial and healthcare. Even with all changes in retail and all the Amazon effect, you still have retail popping up all over the place. You still have all kinds of new concepts. We have this one concept that my kids go to now. It’s like what you and I wished we had as a kid. It’s everything from scooter park to trampolines to climbing things and everything you can imagine. There are all these entertainment things, but that’s in the retail space. If you’re speaking from a macro perspective, people are not fearful. People are not one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes. There’s massive uncertainty with the election. There’s a lot of fear in the business of the Warren candidate. Outside of that or some big 9/11-type event, there appears to be some pretty smooth sailing for the next eighteen months.

There’s always a boom-bust cycle when it comes to commercial, right?

PR Jonathan | Selfless Service

Selfless Service: Culture is a created way of behaving within an organization or structure.


Always, and that’s what I was going to say is anybody that’s telling you they can predict when the next downturn is going to happen is guessing at best. All the experts are saying the next few years look pretty good and maybe in the next few months, there’ll be a correction but that’s guesswork. There are so many macro-economic factors, political and global events that could occur. The comments I’ll make is one of the things that drives me crazy is this prediction bias. This idea that somehow I better be the first one to predict a downturn because if I’m not, I’ll look like the idiot that didn’t. Everybody starts doing that. Everybody starts getting fearful and we create our own reality. There is a possibility. I’m not saying it will, but there is a possibility that we can be thoughtful about what we’re speaking into existence, plan for the worst and hope for the best.

This is a decent segue to talk about resilience because having been through a number of those cycles, myself personally, in my professional life. Some of which were in hindsight, predictable like the 2008 financial crisis. It was predictable if we’d been looking in the right places and listening to the right people and we weren’t. Who knows what’s happening now that we’ll only be able to know, write about and see as obvious several years from now? We do know one thing, all markets operate in cycles. As much as you want to hang on to summer, wherever you are, you cannot.

You may want to live in winter. You may not like the snow melting, but rest assured the snow is going to melt and all the other things are going to happen. Change is the only great constant we can count on and it’s a wonderful thing we can count on. Change is going to happen. The essence of our brand is in terms of what we consult about and train about as resilience and how important it is that you created a resilience inside of the company or even a culture, let’s call it resilience. What’s the importance of resilience to you? How do you define it? Is it something that you’re very intentional about as a leader of an organization that you want to create resilience before you need it?

I’ll go into my story a little bit because it sets it. I was raised by parents who taught me to love and serve. I was a Christian missionary kid. My parents hauled me off to Papua New Guinea where I grew up. When we came back to America, I had this realization that I was poor and I had no concept of being poor before. I decided at a young age I didn’t want to be poor. I got into commercial real estate because I wanted to make some money. As I got into commercial real estate, I realized quickly, “This is a cutthroat industry.” It’s like boiling the frog, I became ruthless. One day I woke up and went, “I do not like who I’ve become. I found a different way, reinvented myself around it.”

What gets lost for a lot of people in that you’ll look to the end and go, “Now, he’s like kicking ass and taking names. He’s got a successful company. He’s interviewed in all these places.” It was a long, hard road of reinvention. When I decided to go from being this ruthless, cutthroat commercial real estate broker to someone who lived his life to serve other people, it’s five years to reinvent myself. In the process, I went broke. Everybody questioned me. There were so many times that I’d be staring up at the ceiling looking up and going, “Am I crazy? Should I change the course?”

At that moment, that’s where my resiliency kicked in. I’m not going to quit. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep moving towards the goal that I’ve set. There’s been a number of those points across my life where if I didn’t have this deep-down determination, that no matter what external feedback is coming my way, I’m committed. I’ve decided, “This is what I’m going to do.” For most people, that’s the thing that keeps them from greatness in my opinion. That whole adage, “It’s the darkest right before dawn,” that is a very true statement.

When I first got my first big referral, I almost couldn’t believe it had been so long since I had made any money. There’s an element of intentionality that goes into it, of willingness to stand in the face of no results and continue what others may think, but that’s how anything great has ever been created. If you’re doing what everybody else does, you’re not creating. To be bold and to do anything big in the world requires resilience. For me, resilience is one of those things that’s a very personal trait. It’s something where if you have an organization, you say, “Our culture is resilient,” and you fill it with a bunch of people that don’t even know how to spell resilient.

You’re probably not going to have a resilient culture. One of our principles is we are disruptive. We embrace change. We’re forward-thinking in all that we do. We continuously explore and integrate new tools and innovations with the goal of maximizing personal efficiency and providing best in class service to each and every client. Our mindset is constantly about like, “We embrace change. We welcome change. We always want to be improving and growing.” If you don’t have resilience, when things get tough and you’re tempted to quit, you’re probably going to take the easy way out. It’s through that struggle, pain and toil that greatness lies.

One of the things that’s helped me in terms of the multiple pivots I’ve had an in my life and those personal and professional reinventions, which can be very tough and I couldn’t agree with you more that there’s no egg timer or a predictable egg timer for how long it takes to reinvent some area of your personal life or any aspects of your business life. It takes how long it takes. For us, it was 2.5 years and that was in the first major pivot out of practicing law, etc. There’s no question that you’ve got to sustain yourself in those times.

Keep moving towards the goals that you've set. Click To Tweet

To do that requires a number of things that you’ve mentioned and I’ll add one to them. That is your rituals, the rituals that you’ve got. In fact, there is a great Harvard Business Review article that studied the highest performing professional athletes and Olympians with very successful business operators, executives, etc. They found that they all had one thing in common. These athletes and these business people have one thing in common. That one thing was the rituals that they had to create resilience.

These weren’t physical rituals for example. They weren’t about endurance. It wasn’t perpetuating the idea that you have to be like Rocky Balboa and every time you get hit, you get back up until ultimately you end up looking like Rocky and you don’t even win the fight. That’s not the goal. It’s physical for sure, but it’s also mental. It’s also emotional and even spiritual in a lot of ways. I’d love to know what one or more of your rituals, things you do on a consistent basis to be at your best. What’s one of those that you can share with our audiences?

I believe in morning rituals. I believe in the creation of myself daily. I’ve written what I call, “I am” statements. My “I am” statements are a coupling of things that you create for your future. Everybody can get from Rich Dad Poor Dad to states of being that I want to create for myself to who I want to be with my family. I have those written out and I have a voice. In the morning, I like to do spin. Spin is my workout of choice. On the spin bike, I can go through my morning “I am” three times. For 45 minutes in the morning, I get 45 minutes of cardio and I get 45 minutes of me creating who I am. That’s how I start my days.

I love the fact that you’re integrating multiple of different disciplines or different parts of that holistic concept of resilience into that one practice because obviously, if you’re doing something physical, it’s good for your health.

If you can’t see it, you can’t create it. For me, the “I ams” are what do I want my life to be and speak it into sense. Lo and behold, it starts to show up.

Give us a couple of examples of those “I am” statements.

“I am JK and who I am is far more real than anything outside of me.” That means that everything that I’m about to say, no matter what feedback comes in from the outside world, I decide who I am. My next one is I’m the best there ever was and forever will be. That does not mean I’m better than someone else. That means that for me, in every situation I walk into, I want to bring my very best self-channeling the very best that anyone could ever do in that situation. If that’s my mindset, whatever I do in that is going to improve the material.

One of our students years ago, we’ve done a lot of seminars over the years and somebody brought me an “I am” box, which had all these “I am” statements inside of it, which was thoughtful and profound. Those statements of “I am” are, as you said, very powerful no matter when you use them. Certainly, I think ultra-powerful when you start your day in that respect. I’m going to share my start of day ritual in a second, but I’ll say even this past weekend we were leading one of our speaker training and keynote speaking and TEDx speaking is something we trained people for. We have an “I am” statement that you’d appreciate, which is that before they even begin, they state their name and they say, “I am a world-class speaker.”

It’s remarkable to see and some of these folks have been speaking for years. We get experienced people and CEOs have been speaking of groups in high stakes situations for a long time and people that are beginning. To see the physical transformation, I do mean in a moment when somebody owns that statement, stands up in front of other people and says, “I am a world-class speaker.” You could see physiologically there’s a change that occurred. That’s something completely snaps and changes inside of them where they realize, “I want to own that.”

PR Jonathan | Selfless Service

Selfless Service: If you have any desire to have employees or an organization that scales, culture is 100% relevant.


One of the cool things that I put into practice a few years ago that is my favorite part of my morning routine is I love to drive my kids to school and my kids have all written their own personal “I ams.” We have a family “I ams.” First, we start with a breathing exercise. We have our family “I ams” that all recite together and each child creates their future. Those were theirs. I don’t dictate them. They get to decide what they are and they’re held with reverence and solemn appreciation for each child. What cool way to go to school in the morning when most cars are filled with screaming or radio or whatever. They’re getting to create their future selves with accountability to their siblings. It’s probably my favorite thing that I do is be a part of that process.

You and I are simpatico as we said that we both have four kids. We’ve got three girls and a son. You got the exact flip script to that. One of the things that I’ve been doing for a number of years that has certainly infected in the best possible way infected our kids, our family and thank God, a lot of other people as well is the simple way that I wake up in the morning. In fact, this was the subject of my own TED Talk was about in the midst of the chaos, in the midst of all the change, in the midst of challenge that is going on. In fact, I want to use your words. You said, “In the midst of standing in the face of no results.” We all know what that’s like from time to time. It’s that, can you love your life with you being alive? Can you be grateful for that? Can you appreciate that at a deep level, even in the midst of the crap flying? Those words for me are, “Can I love my life no matter what?” My simple waking ritual every day is three simple steps. The first step is to wake up and I’m going to check in with you, did you wake up this day?

I did.

We know that waking up, Jonathan, is not physical too. It’s waking ourselves up on multiple levels to be a little more aware, a little bit more awake, a little more conscious now than yesterday. That’s a good trajectory for any of us. Nobody’s perfect. If we’re on that trajectory, things are going well for us. That’s the first piece is to wake up. Second is, in that moment of waking, can you have a realization of truth? It’s hard to call things truth. It’s pretty audacious. I dare not do that very frequently, but I will say that this to me is true that in the moment that we are taking a waking breath like we did this morning, which wasn’t guaranteed when we went to bed the night before. When we wake up, there are people at that moment that are taking their last breath. That’s the truth of the situation.

Knowing that it’s true, can you find something at that moment to realize and to be grateful for that you’ve been given that new day, even if that day is going to be tough? That you’ve been given this opportunity to do something that other people don’t always get, didn’t get in that in that instance. The second piece is gratitude to be grateful, even if it means sitting there in ten seconds of anything that feels like gratitude. Lastly, if you’re inclined to say the words out loud, these words can be said from the bed. That can be said when you hit the floor when you feed or on the way to the restroom or whatever, I love my life. These four simple words change so many things for me. I love my life, no matter what. I’ll ask you, Jonathan, do you love your life?

I love my life no matter what.

I knew the answer to that question before I asked you. It’s simple.

I try to get my kids as part of it. If we have time to say what’s one thing they’re grateful for in their life, and I did that this morning, and why, it’s changed everything.

I’ve enjoyed this conversation. I know our audience has. You can check out more about Keyser and their work in the world and about Jonathan in particular and the books and ways that you can be learning more. I know we’ve all learned a lot. I appreciate your time, Jonathan. Thanks for being on the show.

Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it very much.

Everybody, remember to do one amazing thing for yourself now, create that “I am” statement. That’s a great place to begin. Ciao for now.

Important Links:

About Jonathan Keyser

PR Jonathan | Selfless ServiceJonathon Keyser is the founder and thought leader behind Keyser, the largest occupier services commercial real estate brokerage firm in Arizona. Through sheer determination and focus on selfless service, Jonathan is disrupting the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, and beyond. An Inc. 5000 company, Keyser has rapidly become one of the fastest-growing firms of its kind in the country, serving companies and their real estate needs globally. Award-winning and nationally recognized, Keyser is an active member of the Forbes Real Estate Council, voted Top 10 Best Places to Work multiple years running, and is a proud Host Company for Conscious Capitalism.

When Jonathon entered the cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world of CRE brokerage, he became the worst version of himself and hated himself because of it. Then one day, Jonathan decided he’d had enough. He realized he was sacrificing his values in pursuit of success. He abandoned his ruthless ways and reinvented himself as a selfless leader, which skyrocketed his brokerage firm to eight figures in five years.
His selfless service approach to business has resonated with corporations and individuals seeking a competitive edge to acquiring and maintaining clients. Jonathan’s best-selling book You Don’t Have to Be Ruthless to Win and online Keyser Institute courses inspire others to activate selflessness in their life and see how and why this counterintuitive strategy can create extraordinary, long-term success.

On the personal side, Jonathan prioritizes family first. Alongside his wife Susanna, he is a loving and devoted father to his four children. Jonathan is extremely committed to personal development and self-improvement and stays active with mountain/water sports, spin, and hiking.