Look at yourself in the mirror and then look at yourself again the next day. Did you become a better version of that person you saw in the mirror a day before? If your answer is yes, then you have reached one step closer to leveling up. Join your host Ben Baker and his guest, good friend, fellow podcaster, and founder of Time to Shine Today podcast, L. Scott Ferguson. Come and sit back with Scott as he talks about his life from his crazy upbringing, his service with the navy, and his reason as to why you should level up today.
I’ve got Scott Ferguson. I was on his show. We had so much fun and so much to talk about. I had to have him on my show because he is a dynamic individual. Scott, welcome to the show. Let’s Time To Shine Today, that’s the name of the podcast we are going to talk about it.
Thank you, Ben. You’ve been on the show twice. I remember we did a 2.0. We did you and Ms. Claire Chandler. I loved it so much. I had to bring both of you guys back. It was awesome. You guys level up awesomely.
You were so much fun. You were fun as a host. We had such a great conversation. Claire, me, and you had a great conversation. You and I had a great conversation. I sat there and said, “This guy’s interesting.” Seriously, I get interviewed all the time. I do about 50 episodes on other people’s shows yearly because it allows me to become a better podcaster. Quite honestly, that’s why I do it. I do it because I become a better podcaster by listening to other podcasters and watching how they do stuff. I enjoyed being on your show so much. I’m like, “This guy’s a dynamo. He’s got so much to say and give. He gives so much to other people.” I had to have you on the show, so welcome to the show.Do things for the intention, not the attention. Click To Tweet
Thanks. It’s seriously a privilege to be here. I have been looking forward to rocking the mic with you for a while now from this side of the microphone.
What is your story? We talked about it a little bit before the show, but I want you to share it with the audience. Give everybody a synopsis about where you came from, where you are, and then we’ll talk about where we’re going.
I appreciate you having me on. I was born in 1972, which is the later end of the Vietnam War. I was born in the Philippines. I’m half-Filipino and they say half-Italian because I don’t know who my father was. My father was an American GI and, for lack of a better term, knocked up my mother, who was Filipino. They said that he got killed in Vietnam. At that time, mixed-breed bastard males were very much frowned upon because I’m 6’1. I’m 265. I’m pretty well put together. If you even had 1/2 or 3/4 of that person, you had tens of thousands of those males walking around. They were afraid that physically they could take because Filipinos by stature, the average male is 5’5”, 5’6”, and just a little man. They were afraid of that. They’re taking those children and shipping them to Spain because the country of Spain controls the Philippine Islands. No one knows what happens to those male babies. To this day, I did research and no one knows.
My mother gave birth to me, and there was an Air Force couple that was stationed there. They had a couple of children of their own. They were looking to level up their life and bring in an adopted baby. This is in the ‘70s. Skin color was still a big thing and my skin was darker. They were very white. They started the adoption process. During it, the woman who was going to adopt me, her father, got sick in the United States. They came back. I still have the temporary passport that I had when I was a little guy. They came into the United States. Her father dies. She goes schizophrenic. They can’t raise me because I’m a newborn and then the father is taking care of the two older who would have been my siblings. They put me at an orphanage there in California.
As I grew up a little bit older, I got passed over and passed over again. It was a skin color thing where the white people didn’t want to adopt me because I was darker. Finally, my dad, who is my best friend in the world, who I call my dad, who adopted me is as white as you are, Ben. He’s a white dude and he didn’t care. If you met my dad, you’d understand because he’s like 6’6”, a big guy, and no one’s going to say anything to him. He and my adoptive mother could not have children. They adopted me, but my dad had some problems with Vietnam, had some drinking issues, and ended up passing me off from family member to family member. I was raised by a plethora of people.
I got a little bump on the back of my leg. This is fast forward to around 2001. I reached out to a gentleman that I served within the Navy. He’s a private investigator. I asked him to find my family because I wanted to see if there are any health issues going on in my family. He’s like, “Are you sitting down?” I’m like, “I never sit down.” He said, “Would you sit down because I got something to tell you? I found your family. They all live in New Jersey now.”
This is the original Filipino family?In active duty, you’re responsible for the man to your right. Click To Tweet
Yes. I ended up having a twin sister, Jovi, that nobody told me about. I didn’t know anything about it, but my mom had kept her because it wasn’t the mixed-breed females. It’s the mixed breed males. I had had a lot of dark times, being passed around, a lot of abandonment issues that carried me forward. That’s the backstory that led into my military career and also the basis of Time To Shine Today, where we don’t want to have anyone to feel like they have no one.
It’s interesting because this is radio, so I can’t show anybody. You’ve got the darker skin. You’re a little bit larger, if anything, I would assume that you were Samoan, but the fact that you have that Filipino background is interesting because there’s a lot of history, especially in the ‘70s. You’re not the only person I’ve ever heard of these types of situations where you end up becoming, I hate to say it, almost like a gypsy, an immigrant to no fault of your own based on that. It’s, “What if we learned from this?” We all have tragedy in our life. Some of us more, some of us less, some of us more traumatic, some of us less traumatic. The question is, “What do we do with it?” We’re going to get into the stage, into leveling up, and to the Time To Shine, but I want to get into what has this enabled you to do? How have you taken these challenges of finding out, “I have a twin sister,” having all the things that went on in your youth, and taking that and channeling that to becoming the amazing person you are?
It was channeled through certain people that I didn’t even know were invited into my life. They just showed up. As I look back in retrospect, a lot of it was because I was putting that vibe out there to attract the people. I was like, “There’s something better.” I always carried a chip on my shoulder. I’m not going to lie to you. I was always out to prove to myself. Even when I was younger, that led to a lot of arrogance. By wanting to prove stuff, I detracted the people into my life that would help me, as we say at Time To Shine Today, “Level up at all times.” Whether I was using it for the good of everything or to get over on people, there were two sides of the coin to that. I was doing things to prove to other people instead of doing things in the service of others for a very long time.
Once you realized, “I’ve got these people in my life. They’re coming into my life and I don’t know why.” They keep coming into your life because this has happened to me. People just show up and lessons get learned. Sometimes you pay attention and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes it’s five years later that you understand what that person was there to teach you. What can you look back and sit there and say, “As an amalgamation, as I look back at these 5 or 10 or whatever people that came into my life, they enabled me to do what?” What have they taught you in an amalgamation that has allowed you to move beyond what could be an extremely tragic childhood? It’s good to be able to move into a place where you’re now living in a life where you help serve others and you help make other people’s lives better.
My aunt that helped raise me during that time when my mother and father couldn’t raise me showered me a lot of love. Not so much in affirmations but I got a lot of love from her. I excelled at sports. I was a good wrestler, a good baseball player, but I didn’t excel in school. The scholarships that people were looking at in schools, they’re like, “We don’t like the 1.8-grade point average.” My dad’s like, “You’re not living under my roof.” I was like, “You didn’t even raise me. You’re not offering me a place to stay.” I was mad at him for a minute but then I just went to the recruiter and was like, “Where should I go?” He was like, “The Navy’s the way.”
I went to the Navy. I made a bond of people that I am so close with to this day. I’m a phone call away. They’re a phone call away. As we move through life after we got out of the service, we stuck together and kept enabling each other in great ways to help each other level up. I’ve crossed paths with other people. I used to work as a personal trainer for eight years in a very high affluent area and I would make connections with these people, then they would put me in connections with people. It was always people coming into my life. I was able to use the leverage I got from that to help myself.
It didn’t come until about 2010, when my little brother killed himself. I was sitting there, and the real estate market crashed. It was there when I was like, “You need to start doing things in the service of others and love what you do in the service of people that love that you do it.” That’s what it was. It was these certain events in my life from the time I went in the Navy to my brother’s suicide. From 1990 to 2010, there’s a lot that happened there and a lot of people came through that door. As I look back now, they helped.
Let’s go back to the eighteen-year-old self. First of all, thank you for your service. What are the big things that you took out of the Navy? What are the things that smacked you and kicked you around a little bit and made you a better person? The military has the ability to do that for a lot of people. It tears you down and then builds you up and enables you to see parts of yourself that you’d never would have seen otherwise. My question to you is, what were the things that you were able to learn through that military service that made you better when you went from military service to civilian life? That in itself is a transition but let’s start at the active military.
The active duty, you’re responsible for the man to your right. If you look at any Special Forces movies or whatever you see, you always see the guys are looking after the person on your right. The strongest person of the pack, the alpha, is always on the left because he’s got his own flank or if you have overhead protection, cyber, whatever aircraft. That’s another thing, but it taught that you become selfless. It’s not about your life. It’s putting your life in someone else’s hands and protecting the other person’s life. That’s one big thing. You became selfless. Secondly, I believe that it instilled so much responsibility in me that it was my fault for everything that happened in my life and even it went back to a kid, I still took responsibility for that.
As years went by, I always took responsibility, but I would always still use it as a crutch. A good friend of mine, Rod Hairston, who has a company, Envision-U. He’s a Navy Seal and he’s a good friend. He’s was like, “Fergie, responsibility is rooted in the word. Responsibility is the ability to respond.” What I was doing is I was responding to things differently. It’s more reacting but the military makes you take responsibility and makes you build trust and camaraderie that your freaking life is on the line. It’s not just like, “I had nothing against people that do spreadsheets but the spreadsheet is like your life and you’re counting on them and they’re counting on you. I wouldn’t say you’re fearless, but you can face anything going forward in life after the military. If you use the principles that they helped instill you there,” and I did but I didn’t always do it for the good of others. It was about the good of Scott. I’m the first to admit that now. It was a lot of arrogance and stuff that I had to push through.
Let’s talk about the person to your left. The person to your right, you know you’re responsible for. You know that you’re responsible for protecting your flank, getting their back, make sure you’re taken care of. It’s the person to your left that you are fundamentally trusting with your life. The person that you’re not looking at, not paying attention to, but you know they are behind you, making sure that you are safe. How do you get to a point where you don’t have to look, you know that person is over your left shoulder, is taking care of you, and is willing to die to protect you? In turn, you’re willing to die to protect the person to your right.Responsibility is rooted in the word. Responsibility is the ability to respond. Click To Tweet
If you’re in the military, you know the game, Spades. It’s a card game and even civilians play it. In the military, you have so much time in your hands. You play cards with these guys and you read reactions, you read tells, you read stuff, and that’s how I got to know everybody. When you go in the military, usually people are not like, “I’m just going to go in the military,” unless it’s ingrained in their family. “My great-grandpa’s a general. I’m going to go in because they are.” In the military, you go in one because you don’t want to go to jail. The judge is like, “Do 2 to 4 years,” and you’re going in, or you’re like me who didn’t care about grades. I had no real place to live and when you’re offered three hot meals and a place to sleep for free. That’s it. When you can take 88 people or more and put them into a boot camp and then make them marching cadence from all of these different backgrounds, it’s incredible.
To answer your question is you read mannerisms, even though if you don’t know that you’re reading them. You’re like, “I’m going into pretty crazy chaotic situations.” Even as a young man, your brain is not fully formed yet, but you still instinctively, from back in caveman days, recognize your surroundings. A lot of it comes with the training, too. That’s how I built trust is through lots of card games. It’s weird. It’s the craziest thing because you’re spending so much time together that there’s no place to go drink a beer. We’re stuck on a ship ready for our next operation. You do a lot of cards. It’s crazy to say it, but I look back and I dreamt about it then. I found that that’s what it is. It was lots of card games and hanging out.
It’s what the card game enables you to do. It’s being able to read other people. It’s those conversations. It’s how do people interact and engage. I think that’s important. Let’s get into the arrogance factor because we all have it when we’re all young men and even young women. Some of us outgrow it, some of us don’t. What did you realize, and when did you realize that the arrogance was getting in the way of allowing you to succeed? When you finally came to that realization, how did you help yourself move beyond it?
I was a personal trainer. I had a lot of people that were in real estate saying that, “You’d be perfect. You’re born to the real estate game,” so I did. In 2003, I had a seven-figure year. I made so much money. I didn’t know what to do. My dad, I love him, best friend in the world, he’s a line worker at General Motors. He didn’t have that identity so much to make money. When I had the money, it was the theory of relativity that happened. You make money, and everyone’s your relative. People would come to you and you’d be lending it out or basically giving it away. I was arrogant about it, I was like the awesome baseball, football or basketball player just shooting money out and saying, “The real estate market’s always going to go up. It’s fine.” I didn’t listen to my mentors. I had some awesome Jewish mentors out of Detroit, Michigan. They were trying to tell me that like, “You need to settle down, slow your roll, maintain your lane.” Whatever they were saying, I was like, “No. The market is going to go up.”
It was 2009, and Bear Stearns went down. I was at the gym. I was watching them. I called my underwriter. I’m like, “Rachel, how many deals we have under underwritten by Bear Stearns?” “We have like nineteen and they’re all going to die.” There was a tipping point there with, “I didn’t listen to my mentors.” I was keeping people around me with arrogance and money but when I ran out, those people disappeared, including family. There was that tipping point where I knew that I was arrogant, but I can take care of it because of everything I’ve been through in my life with the abandonment stuff. I’ll fix it, but it crushed me. Not just with money but with confidence and with everything that I had built up through that arrogance. That’s how it built up in 2009. It came crashing down.
It’s amazing when we’re flying high and everything’s good, everybody’s our friend. Everybody’s willing to come to the table, wants to be around you, takes your phone calls. As soon as things start going south and start going wrong, it’s amazing how quickly you find out who your real friends are and who you can trust.
It was a great learning experience. The best thing that ever happened to me but the hardest thing I ever went through.
Let’s get into leveling up in the Time To Shine Today Show. First of all, I want to find out what came first and why. Was leveling up the underwriting thought process that came to you and you’ve had forever, and it’s just been a mantra, or was there a tipping point where you just say, “I get it now?”
The leveling up was a joke at first because a lot of the guys that I was in the Navy with were gamers. This is back in Nintendo and Sega. I’d leave and they’re like, “Come on, Ferg. Let’s play.” I was an outdoorsy. I was in San Diego. I wanted to go bodyboard. I was never a surfer but bodyboard, hiking, lift weights, get out of the house, go. I was on a ship for 6 or 7 months out of the year. I’m like, “You guys sit here and level up. I’m going to go.” I would joke about it. At the gym, I’d be like, “Get a lift in,” or in Jujitsu, rolling with a guy. I’m like, “It’s time to level up. Time to level up.” I always say that. It was a joke that parlayed off of working my guys and friends of mine, even to this day, that were gamers.
They say that in gaming. I didn’t make-up level. They’re all, “Level up. Great job.” It was a joke. “You guys see our level up?” I then took it into my life and said, “I’ve got to level up this client, a personal training client. I’ve got to level up this.” Then it just rolled forward. Time To Shine Today was born in 2010 as an affiliate marketing platform. Leveling up came way before Time To Shine Today but I was like, “Let’s level up,” is perfect for interviewing people like you and other people that help others level up. To answer your question in my long way, level up came way before Time To Shine Today.
With that in mind, forget about the gaming, forget about everything. What does leveling up mean to you now? When you’re asking people to level up, what are you truly wanting them to do, and how are you helping them do it?
What I want them to do is look at themselves in the mirror the next day and say, “Were you a better version of that person than what you looked in the mirror the day before?” I always ask my clients, whether they’re Fortune 100 or the professional baseball player that I coach, “Did you sin today?” The first time I always say it to them, they’re like, “What do you mean sin?” I’m like, “Did you sin today?” They’re like, “I’m not even religious.” I’m like, “Let’s go back to the Greek origin of the word sin. It just means missing the mark.” I always joke with them, “Tell me about your sins,” whoever I’m coaching. “Let’s write down our sins. Where did you miss the mark?” That’s where I start my day and end every day with my sins. There’s no religious connotation to it. I’m sorry if I offend anybody out there, but everything to me revolves around sinning. Sinning just means missing the mark.
That’s where Time To Shine Today we put people, whether you are somebody that’s looking to level up your business or a phone call that I got. It was like “Scott, I listened to your show. I’ve commented on your posts. I’ve even emailed you but I called you this time because I want to kill myself. I heard you interview a suicide counselor. I’d like a warm introduction to him. I need to talk to him.” Jared talked to him and he’s still breathing to this day. That’s the kind of stuff that fires me up. What levels me up is to help other people know that our tagline or our credo, whatever your mission statement, we don’t want to have anyone to feel like they have no one.
If you’re making $300,000 a year and you want to make it to a millionaire, I got 6 or 7 people I can introduce you from who I’ve interviewed. Being able to take that and build it on a platform for affiliate marketing, we’re all getting. We’re open to that reciprocation like my good friend, Bob Burg, the author of The Go-Giver. He says, “You have to be open to reciprocation,” and that’s what we did. We set ourselves up on a platform where we get compensated for the introductions that we make to the people we interview. It’s a cool thing that we’ve set up.
Bob has been on this show and he’s an amazing guy. His partner, John David Mann is going to be on the show. If anybody hasn’t read the book, The Go-Giver or the series of books with The Go-Giver, go get the books. Read the books. I want to get into the sin and we can talk about this quickly because it’s important. They’ve got to be your sins. There are many people out there that say, “You’ll look at what Bill Gates is doing. Look at what Zuckerberg is doing. I didn’t level up to their level.” Who cares? There are many of us that are fixated on what other people are doing and what other people’s vision of success is that they forget about their own accomplishments and they step on their own successes because they’re trying to achieve somebody else’s.
They’re sinning because they’re missing the mark of their potential, trying to reach somebody else’s. Some people will say, “That makes me happy to strive for that.” That’s fine. As long as they’re doing it in incremental steps, knowing that they might not ever reach that, but it’s great to shoot for it. You’re sitting against yourself like you had said, “They’re your sins and you’re missing the mark.” Daily, try to crack down the amount of sins you make.
I have these visions of these kids that I mentor. They all want to become the next unicorn. They’re all these 23 or 25-year-old young startups that all want to be the next unicorn, but they haven’t sold their first whatever yet. They haven’t sold anything. They haven’t made a dime, but they’re all going to be the next unicorn. I go, “Sell your first product. Get your first three incredible clients. Work it out. Figure it out, then get your next 10, then get your next 50, then get your next 100. You can then sit there and say, ‘Now, we’re a million-dollar business, what is it going to take me to be a $2.5 million business, a $5 million business, a $10 million business, a $40 million business?’” You get there over time. You’re going to get to that billion dollars. Never think you’re going to go from zero to a billion overnight.
We break it down on my clients or when I talk to them. I say, “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. By the yard, it’s hard.” You either can break it down and inch by inch your way. Other people use, “How do you know if I went by that time?” I learned this from Rod Hairston too. A Navy SEAL guy I was talking about, a great speaker, great man, and good friend. It’s how I take everything. People try to be the next unicorn, but they’ve got to be their own horse for a little bit.
Go out there and sell something. Go talk to a customer. Go figure it out and then build the company. There are still many people who are fixated with stars in their eyes and dollar signs that they forget that they have to go out there and do the hard work. Let’s talk about Time To Shine Today. Let’s talk about the whole program because, as you said, it started with an affiliate marketing program. You have consulting that goes with it. There’s the podcast and a whole different thing. Talk to me about the philosophy behind that, where that started, and where is it now?You can face anything going forward in life after joining the military. Click To Tweet
It started with writing articles in 2007, but it wasn’t called Time To Shine then. I would write articles and put them on eZine and all these other publication formats, and I would sell something within the article. The one article that I wrote that made the most money for me was Ovarian Cyst and Remove Them Naturally. I would write ten different articles around that and sell a $45 book. They were paying $30 on it. I sold a thousand of them. I then worked into the ClickBank and the JVZoo. I’d take digital products. I’d buy them for the $8 and see what their funnels look like, and I would sell them to my list. I started concentrating on going out to people with newer products, whether they’re digital or physical and building my list up. I got over 90,000 subscribers to Time To Shine Today. Back then, I didn’t have near that. I would do a product review and send it to them, to the list, and then they buy it. I’d get paid an affiliate commission, which I’m sure you’ve explained on your show.
Affiliate commission is no different than McDonald’s. The owner of McDonald’s does not own the restaurant and doesn’t own the rights to the burgers. It owns the rights to sell them. McDonald’s will pay you an affiliate commission for selling their burgers. That’s all affiliate marketing is. I built a platform with affiliate marketing. I’m looking at the Atlantic Ocean and to my left is a room full of swag. I got $50,000-$60,000 worth of merchandise sitting to the left of me. I take stuff and I will do a review. If I like it, I send it out to my list. I’m very segmented with my list. I have people that are into mountain biking. I’ve got people that are in real estate investing. If it helps level up your health, wealth, or mindset, that’s what I want to see. I wouldn’t take a Fitbit or something like that to sell something that’s already out there. It’s all brand new. Some of it is revolutionary stuff.
What’s awesome about it is because I built a platform to where it’s at, I get stuff for free. I’m able to do the reviews and it’s awesome. What turned Time To Shine Today over from the affiliate marketing to the podcast is that I interview people now. I like to give until it hurts so good. I interview Ben. Ben gets exposure to my list in whatever social networks. I get a free Masterclass with Ben.
You’re like me. I do this because I learn way more than I teach on my everyday podcast.
With that, I turned around. We ran a beta test with six different people that I interviewed and started running marketing out to the masses. I’ll tell you how I do it. I go to Tony Robbins’ and Jim Rohn’s Facebook page. I go to all those Facebook pages. I run ads that are only seen by people that are members of those pages, that are looking to level up their life, looking for coaching and consulting. They answer a questionnaire from me that takes about fifteen minutes. They fill out the questionnaire. My intern, who now is on my staff, wrote an algorithm to match the answers with the answers from the coaches, and then we put them together. We make the introduction. I built an affiliate platform within Time To Shine Today by giving. The affiliate commission on the back end with the coaches, they sell a package, and Time To Shine get some.
To break it down in 2020, we started that in July. We did $112,000 in coaching commissions. We’re already double that in 2021. I’m able to give so much content, which brought on sponsorships to Time To Shine Today. I’m sponsored by some companies. I’m able to get the word out there. I’m going on XM Radio in May 2020. It’s grown. I’m so blessed, but I couldn’t have done it without people like yourself and other people that are just giving until it hurts so good to them. That’s how it comes back.
Bob Burg will tell you, “You have to be open to that reciprocation.” It’s no different than a plant that’s sitting in your room. You breathe in oxygen. Breathe that carbon dioxide. The plant does the exact opposite. That’s how I look at it. I’m going to get mine. I don’t care how it comes. My god-daughter who never calls me unless she needs something. I love you Kelsey if you’re reading. She called me out of the blue. That is a reciprocation to me, just to shoot the crap. I’m open to anything. Blessings like this, being on here.
It’s symbiotic relationships. The reason you’re on my show is because you were such a giving host. We had such a good time. We had such a great conversation, both on-air and off-air. I love you as a human being. It wasn’t just the fact that. “He’s going to be a good interviewee. He’s going to level up the community,” which is great. It’s the fact that you’re a great human being. We all need to surround ourselves with people that make us better to level us up. I want to thank you for being one of those people.
I appreciate you. You and I have not even reached the tip of the iceberg of stuff we’re going to do. We got some good fun stuff coming up.
Here’s the question I ask everybody as they walk out the door. When you leave a meeting or you sign off the air or whatever you do, you get in your car and drive away, what’s the one thing you’d want people to know about Scott when you’re not in the room?
That he does everything for the intention and not the attention, it’s all I care about. As long as my intentions are true and I’m helping you level up, I don’t care about attention. I do it for the intention, not the attention. That’s what I want people to remember.
If that’s not quotable, I don’t know what is.
That comes from a good buddy of mine, Julian Harrison. He told me that’s how he felt. He was like, “Ferg, you do stuff for this and not for that.” That’s what I live by now. I’m a real estate agent by trade. I’m looking at it going, “We get paid a lot of money as realtors,” especially here in South Florida. “Am I doing it to make sure that they get the right thing? Am I doing it to make my name bigger?” That’s how I check everything. You’re doing it for the intention or the attention, and just leave it be from there. That’s what I want to happen.
Scott, thank you for being such an intentional person. Thank you for your energy, for your passion and for being an amazing guest.
Thanks. I appreciate you. I love your guts.
L. Scott Ferguson is the host of the Time To Shine Today Podcast. His mission is to NOT have ANYONE feel like they have NO-ONE. Scott’s story was highly sought after by people in the entertainment business, which he was not ready to share until now. At Time To Shine Today Scott shares Knowledge Nuggets to help individuals and teams to Level UP both in business and personal. Scott is a Veteran of the United States Navy with multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia etc in the early to mid 1990’s. An active podcaster and real estate junky/investor – Scott loves to give, live intentional, loves the beach, Jiu Jitsu, fitness, yoga and volunteering.
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