Russ kicks off Season 4 of The Russ Perry Show with a new interview format. His first guest is fellow Warrior brother, entrepreneur, and podcast host, Nick Long.
In this episode, Nick tells his unique book the ticket moment that forever changed the trajectory of his life. If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, book the ticket, it was first discussed in Episode 28 of The Russ Perry Show.
Watch the interview below to hear Nick’s personal story about booking his ticket:
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Each week we release an Action Guide filled with relevant exercises from the latest Russ Perry Show episode to help you expand your sobriety across all core areas of your life: body, being, balance, and business.
This week’s Action Guide is from Episode 28 of The Russ Perry Show: Book the Ticket.
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BONUS: No need to take notes – we transcribed the episode for you!
Decisions are important, but making them quickly is the key to getting what we want. It guides us down a path of reality based on the feedback of those decisions.
But here’s the secret trick:
The most important decision you can make? It’s the first decision.
And so, book the ticket is just that: taking the first step towards what you want. This phrase has now grown from a college party rallying cry to a motivating concept in all areas of my life. But I know from repeated results, the only step that matters is step one: booking the ticket.
Hey everyone, how’s it going? Welcome to another episode of The Russ Perry Show. This is episode number 31, and it is the kickoff to Season Four.
I can’t believe that we’ve already gone through 30 episodes, three seasons. And what’s special about this new season is the new format that we’re gonna be taking for the next 10 episodes.
So, I’m coming to you, actually, from Florence, Italy. I am here in a coworking space just south of the river called Nana Bianca, and we’re gonna be doing a special season focused on what I talked about in episode number 28, if you didn’t catch it: this phrase called book the ticket.
So, I was talking to a lotta people. Everyone loved that episode. And I was thinking, well how could I explore more book-the-ticket moments in people’s lives, people that I knew personally that either have been influential to me, my friends, my inner network. And so that is going to be Season Four here.
We’re gonna be diving into interviews, yes, that’s right, interviews with some incredible people, some people you know and are pretty famous. some people that are close to me, maybe to be famous one day, and maybe people you would have never ever heard of ever before that I just think have profound book-the-ticket moments that I want them to share.
So my first guest is actually a close friend, business partner, Warrior brother, just an amazing family man. His name is Nick Long. Nick lives in Southern California, and we actually both had a book-the-ticket moment together that he’s gonna share all about here shortly.
So I want you to enjoy this episode with Nick Long and his book-the-ticket moment inside The Russ Perry Show. Sit back, relax, and thanks again for tuning in.
RUSS PERRY: Nick Long, welcome to The Russ Perry Show. I’ll have you know, you are literally the first guest ever.
NICK LONG: Dude, that is awesome.
RUSS PERRY: Yeah, shut that window. You are the first guest ever on The Russ Perry Show. It’s been kind of an art project of mine. I did sort of a training style. We did some really high creative concepts in the summer. I’m doing a whole interview series on the phrase book the ticket. So if you’re new to this and haven’t watched the episode on book the ticket, Colton, remember what episode that was? I don’t know. We’ll put it in the show notes every time. Basically, the concept of book the ticket is that life-changing decision where you just kinda had to put all the chips in on the table and not look back. And you now look at that moment in your life where it was a pivotal moment to where you’re at today.
NICK LONG: Yeah, absolutely. Actually, Steve Jobs gives this talk, it was a commencement speech at Stanford University, and he calls it connecting the dots, and how it’s very hard to connect the dots looking forward, right? But it’s very easy when you turn around and you look back, and how him getting fired from Apple actually was the greatest thing that ever happened in his life, and that defining moment where things just snap and they shift into place and you’re on a whole new trajectory. I mean, I think that what you’re kind of getting at with book the ticket, right?
RUSS PERRY: Right, and it’s the confidence to know that you’re resourceful enough that the universe can line up enough to serve wherever it is you wanna go. But what people struggle is, they think there has to be a plan that connects the dots. And then they never make the first decision, which ultimately, and the analogy of book the ticket, it was just make–
NICK LONG: Make the decision.
RUSS PERRY: Yeah, buy the plane ticket and everything else will fall into place.
NICK LONG: Yeah, I mean, my book-the-ticket moment was literally that: buy the plane ticket.
RUSS PERRY: All right, let’s start. Give us time, give us some set-up. Let’s dive into your book-the-ticket moment.
NICK LONG: Oh, I mean, how far do you wanna go back? Pack your bags, kids, we’re going back in time, down memory lane.
RUSS PERRY: I mean, I would say what’s relevant to who you are as a man today.
NICK LONG: All right, so just fast-forward, Reader’s Digest version is, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur. I’ve been a millionaire and broke multiple times. So I’ve had a great capacity to create money, and I’ve also an equally great capacity of losing it and letting it fall through my fingers.
Most of the reasons why it came and it went is because I never valued myself. And so because I didn’t value myself, I didn’t value the money, which was a representation of the value that people saw in me. And then I would just let it pass through like a toll booth, literally.
And so, fast forward to five, six years ago, I had a defining moment where my grandfather died. And I was watching him take his last breath, literally. And he retired very wealthy, but he lived almost as long after he retired than he did in his working years. So he died at 91. He retired at 55; he died at 91 years old. And so he outlived his money.
And so he was leaving this Earth with not even two nickels to rub together, but what he was leaving behind was a legacy, myself included in that. And so I looked around this room, and it was like a Hollywood movie type thing, where you kinda have this out-of-body experience. And I was thinking about my life, and at that time I had all the trappings of the world. But I had nothing, really, because really what you have is when you strip away all the bullshit, all the materialism. What’s left is what really you are as a man, woman, or person in this Earth. And I had nothing.
RUSS PERRY: Where are you living at the time?
NICK LONG: I’m living here. Well, right now, we’re in Orange County, California. I was living in Newport Beach, driving a red Ferrari. I had an all-black Range Rover murdered out, black on black. You literally thought LeBron James or Kobe was gonna step out of it.
RUSS PERRY: And then you would come out.
NICK LONG: Then I would come out, a backwards trucker hat, unshaven for–
RUSS PERRY: Who’s the valet guy?
NICK LONG: Yeah, unshaven for, like, seven days with a, I specifically remember one overly douchebag-y watch I had.
RUSS PERRY: That’s huge, that’s the size of your hand?
NICK LONG: It was a Jacob And Company watch, and it was gigantic, and it was a $75,000 watch. It was all black diamonds. And I thought it was so cool because it had this thing that you could rotate the head of the watch. So you had one side, then you could flip it over, and there was a whole new side, you know? So it’s so stupid.
Anyways, so I had all this money, but I was so empty inside. So, I’m sitting there watching my grandfather die, and I go, “This is not how I’m gonna die.” And I had a girlfriend at the time who might as well have just been a stripper. And I was as addicted to her and her problems as I was ignoring my own.
And so that moment shifted everything. And for those that know me, that led me back to my now-wife, who was my estranged girlfriend. We now have two beautiful children, and we’ve created this amazing life. And I started placing a value on myself, just a little bit at that time. And it’s slowly but surely gotten better, and so I’ve been able to keep my money. This is the longest run that I’ve had of being able to keep my money, build up reserves, build a profitable business with purpose that matter, invest into the people. I went from nothing when I got together with my wife, $14 in the bank account, to building two eight-figure businesses, on the way to building the third and the fourth, and possibly even a nine-figure business.
But it’s crazy now, ’cause I’ve worked so hard, and I actually have money. And so my book-the-ticket moment was actually making me part with that money again, but not like it was in the past. Before, I would just part with it because I didn’t respect it, and I didn’t respect myself, so I’d buy things like Ferraris and 75,000 black diamond douchebag–
RUSS PERRY: But that had two sides to it.
NICK LONG: Double-sided douchebag watches, yeah, yeah. I mean, come on. Why have one level of douchebaggery when you can go, “Mine has two”?
So, I finally built up this life where I had security and comfort and reserves. I didn’t even know what the fuck reserves was. I thought that was just the gas tank on my Ferrari when it got below a certain level. You know, a lot of times we’re holding onto the wrong things in our life. And for me, I was sedating. I didn’t really fully love myself, so I would drink, and–
RUSS PERRY: By the way, if you’re not clear, sedating is a really cool term for getting drunk or getting high or checking out of life or whatever addiction.
NICK LONG: Yeah, just disconnecting. Sedation is a fancy word for disconnecting, like ignoring your feelings. It could be porn, it could be food, it could be a lotta things. For me, it was alcohol. And so I didn’t fully love myself, even at this stage in the game. And so I would drink, and then because I drank, I wouldn’t fully love myself. So you can see where the fucking problem kinda, it was like a merry-go-round of insanity.
And so I decided, with your inspiration and your book, really, I mean, I’ve watched your journey, and you’ve watched mine inside of this. I said, “You know, I’m gonna try this sober thing.” And so I let go of alcohol. And I let go of alcohol for the first time for me. Every other time, it was like, I’d get in a fight with the wife, or do something super stupid, and I’d operate from a place of shame and guilt, and I’d let it go and that. So, for the first time in my life, I was just ready to just let it go.
RUSS PERRY: And I would say that that is the same, that is loving yourself, choosing to love yourself first. Just like with the money, you were making decisions around money for other people. Then you started making em for Nicole, Nevin, and Noah, your family, and the same thing with drinking. You were drinking, or not drinking, for other people. And now you decided to do that and get sober for yourself.
NICK LONG: Yeah, and it was one of the very few times I’ve actually done something just for me. I’m a twin. I have a twin sister, and so I always tell everybody, “I went from the womb to the room.” I went from sharing a womb with another human being. So literally, imagine that.
The moment I was conceived, there was another heartbeat. And it wasn’t mine; it was my sister’s. And then, so I was connected with her in that way, and then we shared a room, and I have two brothers, and I shared with them, and then I had roommates and then got married. So I’ve literally never been alone in my life. So I’ve never had to actually figure out who the fuck I am. And alcohol actually allowed me to continue that barrier between who I was, and so I let it go.
And I actually did two things at the same time. I went all in on me, and you’re a certified Warrior trainer. And I was a certified Warrior thinker. And I kept thinking about getting certified. And it’s crazy, ’cause as soon as I decided to go all in on me and let go of the alcohol, it just opened up. I mean, I just poured myself into the work. And I don’t wanna say I became addicted to the work, but I found this love of self-discovery at a deeper level. And I’m a fairly deep person. I’ve been on this journey for a while.
But I finally let go. And all these doors started to open up, massively. I launched my podcast and started having a tremendous amount of success with that. And my businesses, they were already doing great, they just somehow seemed to manifest even more. And I think it’s because I was more present and I was pouring my true, authentic self into them.
And then I come across this guy who was helping me with my podcast, and he invited me to this event. And this event was a curated audience. And curated is another fancy word for meaning hand-selected. And so they hand-selected the entire audience. You had to be picked. You had to be invited to come to this event, and you had to pay a large sum of money to be there. So it’s kinda weird. Like, “We wanna invite you to spend a lot of money with us.” But the overall premise of the thing, and I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about it or not, was that we’re all humans. Before we’re anything, we’re humans. And so it’s just this gathering of human beings. But these humans are super-humans
RUSS PERRY: Super successful humans.
NICK LONG: Yeah, super successful humans: athletes, gold medalists, actresses and actors, billionaires, millionaires, companies that you know and you trust, like The Honest Company, founders, and the guy who started Make a Wish Foundation. And, I mean, the list goes on and on. Mark Cuban’s business partner.
And so I got the opportunity to come to this. And I was there, and I was sober. And so, again, the authentic me was starting to come through, and I was having genuine connection with people.
Now, typically, I would’ve gone to an event like that, I wouldn’t have been fucking wasted, but I would’ve been having cocktails and just like, “Hey,” like that, and I would’ve been very surface-level, very 30,000 foot-ish. And because I was there and I had this absence of sedation, I was able to connect with people on a very genuine, authentic level.
So then that led to, the guy who runs this event reached out to me, and he said, “You know, I like the way you showed up. “You showed up differently than “a lotta people show up to my events,” even the billionaires, millionaires. And by the way, people, I’m no fucking Mark Cuban or Mark Zuckerberg. Much better looking, first of all. Second of all, I’m a small fucker. I’m like the pebbles they feed to those fish in the pond. And in this room, I was very much that same way, but I just had nothing to hide. And so that, I feel, made me even more powerful than most of the people there.
RUSS PERRY: Right. And would you say that one of the driving forces for drinking in the past was because you felt uncomfortable?
NICK LONG: Yeah, yeah. And it’s weird, ’cause I’m a fairly confident person. If you ask people, “Does Nick have confidence?” everybody would say, “Yeah, yeah.” But I think I used the alcohol to try to force the confidence out of me. But there and in that place, I was authentic. So I think I was always confident. One was a forced confidence, and this was a very authentic–
RUSS PERRY: Confidence is the result. One came from being authentic. The other came from alcohol.
NICK LONG: Alcohol, yeah. And so I’m there, and he just says, “I like the way you showed up. “And I just have this kind of calling “to talk to you about maybe expanding “our relationship on a much bigger level.”
And I said, “Okay.” And so he started talking about what he wanted to do with the movement that he was leading. And he knew the movement that I was building and leading because he was listening to all my podcasts. He’s producing em and he’s listened to all of em. And he goes, “Have you thought “about investing into real estate?” And I said, “Yeah, of course.” I said, “Actually, I just went to Scottsdale “to visit Russ, ’cause we’re thinking “about buying a building that was “inspired by your move that you did, “and possibly moving my family.” And just a different perspective.
I live here in this, we call it the Orange Curtain, the Orange Bubble, whatever you want. And we live in a beautiful part of the world, but sometimes there’s a lotta ugly people that come with the beautiful parts of the world, because that’s where the money is, and people are chasing that money. And going back to my original story of my grandfather, I didn’t want it to be about that. Legacy is the word that drives me.
And I started thinking about my childhood and when I was the happiest, and it was on my grandfather’s property. They didn’t have tons of acreage, but it was connected to these acreage, and we’d ride quads, and me and my brothers would go shoot fucking squirrels and all sorts of stuff with our BB guns. And it was just raw, pure, no cellphone, just connected connection, authentic connection.
And so he said, “Well, have you been to Idaho?” And I said, “No, but I’ve been very curious about Idaho.” He said, “Well, there’s probably some cool places “that you could invest in up here.” And I said, “Okay.” Well, he said, “Would you be open to that, “and would you be open to us kinda working together?” And I said, “Fuck yeah. “Yeah, I would,” you know? And I don’t know why. I just felt like there was a calling there.
And so I said, “What timeframe are you looking at?” And he goes, “You know, probably six months from now.” I’m like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, of course,” you know? And there was probably a bit of posturing on my end, ’cause not thinking it would happen fast. Well, so this conversation took place on a Thursday. On Sunday, he calls me and goes, “You’ve gotta get up here.” I mean, it even brings back chills right now as I say it. And I said, “What?” He goes, “I found something. “You need to get up here.” And I’m like, “Um, dude, it’s Sunday, “and we talked on Thursday, and we were talking about”–
RUSS PERRY: Six months from now.
NICK LONG: “Six months from now. “It’s been three days.” And he goes, “You gotta see this.”
And the crazy part is, he was calling me from a part of this property that’s the only fucking place that gets cell service. And he was there, and his book-the-ticket moment I think in his mind was like, “I gotta make this phone call right now.”
And so, I went to my wife. And he started telling me details about it. I hadn’t told my wife yet, but I text him. I’m like, “Put in an offer.” I don’t even know why. I just said, “Put in an offer.” ‘Cause he said there was two other offers. But his confidence and clarity, I just felt it. It was weird. It just came right through me and it just, I texted those exact words: put in an offer.
And he’s like, “Well what do you think we should offer?” I’m like, “Well I’ll tell you what I can afford.” And so I looked at the available liquid cash that, now I’ve worked fucking hard for this shit, tooth and nail. And building a business, as you know, is difficult, especially without any outside investors. And to build to the size that I’ve built with these hundreds of employees and multiple millions of dollars, people just think you click your heels and businesses arise. You’ve gotta invest that shit back in. I went two years without getting fucking paid. Two years. And so I looked at my available cash, and I’m like, “Um, fuck. “Uh, shit.” And I had this magical threshold in my mind that I said I would never go below, just not gonna happen.
And I was like, “Well, okay, how much do I,” and I kinda looked, and I’m like, “Ehh.” I think it was 70 or, I don’t know, it was a lot, 70 or 80% of the liquid cash that we had. And it was all kinda tied up. There was some that was sitting in my bank account ready to fire off. Then most of it was in my investment accounts, you know? ‘Cause that was my, “Oh shit, no matter “what happens, you don’t touch this.”
So I text him back a number. I’m like, “Do this, this, this, and this. “Offer this right away, and then when we close, “we’ll do this, and then in 30 days later, we’ll do that.” ‘Cause it was kind of a unique deal. And so he puts in the offer, and literally, not even 12 hours later, he’s like, “Dude, the offer was accepted.” And I’m like, “What the fuck?” And he’s like, “You gotta get up here.” And I’m like, “Nicole, we gotta book”–
RUSS PERRY: So, I wanna clarify, because we’re kinda, it’s like, moment after moment after moment after moment. When would you say the specific book-the-ticket moment came a reality? Was it when the offer was accepted? Did you believe it was gonna happen, or–
NICK LONG: I think–
RUSS PERRY: Responding to West when he was on the mountain?
NICK LONG: You know, I think if you’re asking me for that specific, defining moment, because even though you put in an offer, right, at that point I still wasn’t fully emotionally committed. The book-the-ticket moment, I can actually vividly remember it. It was after the ticket was already booked. So I had to physically book a ticket. I had to book an airline ticket, and–
RUSS PERRY: The symbolism works perfect.
NICK LONG: Right. And not only did I have to book one for me, I had to book one for my wife. ‘Cause it was always about me. It’s always been about me and my money and just light it on fire. But now, going back to that moment with my grandfather and legacy, it was more than just me involved. And so I wanted my wife to come along.
And I told her, I’m like, “Uh, yeah, “we put in an offer to buy a place up in Idaho.” And she’s like, “What the fuck?” And I’m like, “Yeah, and we gotta put “this many hundreds of thousands of,” “What?” She’s like, “What the hell?” And so I was like, “Let’s just go. “Let’s just go. “Let’s just book the ticket. “Let’s just go, and let’s just see. “We’ll just see. “We could always say no. “We could always, ahh, just kidding, ha-ha, we’re,” and so, by the way, the offers that were in front of us were seven figures more than what we offered, right? Which was fucking crazy.
And so, the actual book-the-ticket moment was when we drove onto the property, and we came up to the main cabin. And we started walking down the grass. And I see this beautiful lake. And I could literally see my kids. They weren’t there, but I could see my kids running down this grass hill towards the water. And I could see their future. I could see my future. And I just fucking knew. I was like, “This is it. “This is the place. “We are signing the deal.” And within, I don’t even know, four hours of being in this new state, I was setting up the first wire to go into–
RUSS PERRY: So you knew.
NICK LONG: To go into escrow.
RUSS PERRY: You knew.
NICK LONG: I just knew. I just knew. As hard as it sounds to part with tons of money, it was the easiest fucking decision I ever had to make. In fact, we are here at this convention, and the first exercise, the very first moment that opened up was like, “Write down the amount of money “that you can wire right now without a problem.” And it’s the lowest fucking amount that I could wire in my entire tenure in this game. You know? But I have the most peace about that number than I’ve ever had in my entire life.
RUSS PERRY: Dude, thanks for sharing that with us.
NICK LONG: You’re welcome.
RUSS PERRY: You know, I hope you can hear this. I’ve known Nick a long time. He’s the first guest we’ve ever had on the show. And we’ll link to the stuff he’s creating. But your book-the-ticket moment, the beauty about the book-the-ticket moment, as I hope you’re gonna discover through this series that we’re running is, once the decision is made, you will never look back at that decision any other way. And that’s how you know it was critical. And it’s not an easy decision.
NICK LONG: No.
RUSS PERRY: It never is. However, once it’s made, it’s like, you wouldn’t trade it for the world.
NICK LONG: I wouldn’t, man. And you know what’s happening right now, from that moment, the things that have compounded. I think one distinction I would like to make, to what your last comment was, I think the decision’s already been made for you. It’s just whether or not you’re willing to recognize it and accept it.
RUSS PERRY: Dude. We’re gonna end there. Thanks everyone for listening to this episode of The Russ Perry Show, the new interview edition. You can definitely check out past episodes. And stick with us this summer. We’re gonna be doing a bunch of these interviews on the book-the-ticket moment.
You can check out Nick and everything he’s creating over at ownthenext90.com. He has a killer podcast. It’s actually hilarious. He’s one hell, as you can tell, he can tell a good story. And he’s a close friend and a brother of mine. Nick, thanks so much for coming on the show.
NICK LONG: Hey, you’re welcome, man. Love all the shit you’re doing. Can’t wait to continue to watch your journey.
RUSS PERRY: All right, thanks.
NICK LONG: See ya, bud.
Learn why sober equals success at russperryco.wpengine.com/show. Get past episodes, a free action guide, and download the first chapter of my book, The Sober Entrepreneur. Follow me on Instagram: @RussPerry.