No Excuses with Dave LeteleNov 30, 2022
Born the son of Auckland Mongrel Mob leader, Dave once said, "I should definitely be in jail or dead, one of the two ... but because I'm not, I feel like I'm blessed. I share my story to give hope and help to others."
Dave Letele is an author, a community leader, life coach and motivational speaker. Dave is well-known for his professional boxing and days playing in Rugby League. He has recently released a book titled “No Excuses” which is about his journey from rags to riches, and fat to fit.
Dave also runs Buttabean Motivation, which helps people lose weight and learn to keep it off and lead healthier lives. He also has a food bank for people in need.
Dave has been through a lot of adversity in his life and he refuses to let it break him down. He is a true inspiration and we are honoured to have had him on the show!
These were my top take aways from my interview with Dave:
- A good leader leads from wherever they're needed. Don't ask others to do something if you aren't willing to do it yourself. People in positions of power need to remember to remain humble. Be kind. Hierarchy in the workplace is not always a good thing and can actually lead to a negative work environment.
- Don't be afraid of failure. From failure and struggle, great success is born. Embrace the struggle because life is not always easy.
- Choice implies an equal start point. We don't choose what family we are born into. We don't choose what our start in life is. But we can choose where we are heading now.
- Get up and start. Get up and talk. If you want something done, don't wait for anyone else to do it for you. You will be waiting forever.
Dave Letele, James Laughlin
James Laughlin 00:00
Welcome to lead on purpose. I'm James Laughlin, former seven-time world champion musician, and now an executive coach to global leaders and high performers. In every episode, I bring you an inspiring leader or expert to help you lead your life and business on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today and investing in yourself. Enjoy the show.
Would you like to connect personally with some of my podcast guests? They are arguably some of the most influential leaders and high performers on the planet. Each month, members of my HPC, the High Performers Club, get to connect with a leadership titan in an intimate Q&A. They also get access to powerful high-performance leadership coaching, and monthly masterminds. There are only 20 seats at the leadership table. You can apply today by going to www.jjlaughlin.com/HPC.
James Laughlin 01:06
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I don't know about you, but sometimes I get home and I think, what am I eating tonight? It's the last thing I want to do. I don't know what to cook, I don't know what's in the cupboard or in the fridge. And it often leads to poor choices like ordering some takeaway. So recently, Caroline and I started eating green dinner table and it's absolutely amazing. After a long day, when I'm knackered, I know that when I get home, there's going to be a great recipe and all the ingredients I need right there in the fridge. And look, I absolutely love it. I've been doing it for several months. And it means I don't have to think at the end of the day, and I just know that I'm going to get good, nutritious, wholesome food. And look, it's plant-based, which has so many benefits. So, if you're a meat eater, perhaps you might want to start on maybe just three three-day plan. So, you've got three evening meals for you and your partner or you and your family depending on what option you want to go for. That the food is delicious. It's so nutritious and it means we don't need to think and as leaders of families, teams, and organizations, what we put in our bodies is just so crucially important. So, I urge you to go and check it out and I want to give you 20% off your first order. So, you can go to greendinnertable.co.nz and use the coupon code purpose.
James Laughlin 04:18
This week's guest is none other than Dave Letele. Look, his incredible life has taken him from foodie to failure, crime to community, fat to fit, and riches to rags, and back again. Today he is an award-winning community leader and life coach who is the face of Butterbean motivation, BBM helped literally 1000s of ordinary people achieve their goals. He provides targeted health and fitness programs to help young people find jobs and runs a food share for those in need. But it wasn't always like that he has overcome poverty, obesity, intergenerational trauma, depression, the lure of a life of crime, and his own demons. As Dave says, I've been at the bottom, and I've been at the top and everywhere in between. If I can do it, you can too. No excuses! So, folks, sit back and enjoy the show.
James Laughlin 05:32
Dave, a massive welcome to The Lead on Purpose Podcast.
Dave Letele 05:37
Thank you for having me. No excuses, we got this.
James Laughlin 05:40
I love it! So great to connect. Now just to get started, and get the ball rolling, I'd love to know, what is your definition of leadership?
Dave Letele 05:48
Wow. My definition of leadership is really leading by example. And leadership doesn't have to be someone who's always at the front. You know, to me, I guess a good leader leads from wherever they're needed. Sometimes I set the back sometimes in the middle of the pack, and then sometimes at the front. So, I don't know if it's the meaning of leadership. But for me, the most important thing about leadership is leading by example. Never ask anyone to do something you're not willing to do. There's nothing worse than being in you know, even just within health meetings. And no one's even trying to be healthy. That to me is not leadership.
James Laughlin 06:35
I love that. That's so clear, I love that you're right. It's like we're particularly young people looking up to us adults, doesn't matter what we say. It's really what we do, right?
Dave Letele 06:42
100%. I had a conversation yesterday, we just opened our Tokoroa our first venture out of Auckland, we're at about a first gym down there. And again, it's all free these things. And last Monday, we launched our social supermarket. So, we've got a couple of new employees, and a couple of team leaders and like potential team leaders and mentors coming through, I spoke to them yesterday about leadership, about exactly what I just said, they're making sure that we lead by example, you know, it's a small town. So, we can't be preaching one thing, and then being seen at takeaways every day. You know, we got to adjust our lifestyle, like it's not, you know when you're a BBM, Team Leader, this here, this means something, you know, and it's a way of life, it's not just something we do while we're in the BBM gym, or at our, you know, anywhere, it's you got to do it everywhere. It's how you live your life when no one's watching, you know, so I just talked about, you know, we're going to lead by example, we can't be you know when we can't be out drinking all the time, you know, you can't be seen at takeaways all the time. You know, no one's saying you can't eat takeaways, but you know, it's fine to have a treat. But you've got to watch, you got to be mindful, they'll be mindful of the people you're hanging around with, you know, the company you keep. So, there's a whole bunch of things around. And I talked to them about, you know, leadership yesterday. It's very important, the role that we have in the community, so we've got to not only talk about it, but we've got to do so many people I see in leadership don't actually do what they preach, you know, lack of congruency.
James Laughlin 08:29
So amazing. They'll just watch you talk about leadership, and listen to your passion, and your tonality. Clearly, where you're at right now you're doing something that makes a true difference to people and you're passionate about what you do so many of our New Zealand listeners know who you are, there may be some listeners from overseas who don't. So, I would love to just rewind the clock a little bit. And you know, you're here at this point, doing incredible things being you know, a speaker all over New Zealand, and around every weekend, you could imagine doing great things. But what led you to this point? What were your struggles? What's your story?
Dave Letele 09:05
Well, there were plenty of struggles in my life, unfortunately. Well, I shouldn't say unfortunately, I should say I shouldn't say, fortunately, you know, out of the struggle greatness was born. And I always let people know and encourage people don't be afraid of failure. You know, if I didn't fail, there'd be no group that's helping hundreds of 1000s of people right now. You know, for me, I guess for people who don't know, I was born into a gang family. My father was the president of the mob, the Mongrel Mob. So, I saw a lot of things, you know, that a lot of the kids even now think is normal. You know, we always talk about choice, right? So often I have arguments with people about choices. The thing about choices is that it implies an equal starting point. And for people like me, we couldn't even see the start line. So, it's not a choice. We're born into situations that we have no control over. I've managed to break that cycle. But it was tough. You know, my father went away when I was five, he went away for a bank robbery. And you always get caught. You know, and that's why I spoke to you a couple of days ago and talked about because this gangster life, so glamorized, you know, being a gangster. And it's just so far from glamorous, it's not even funny to always talk about everything crime took from me, but my dad was away. But I never used that as an excuse. I really wanted to do well, and I hated being poor. So, I worked hard. I studied hard. I went to uni. The only problem is that's all I did, I went there. But when I was 21, was really the first time that I had to, I went through some mighty struggles, and I had to rebuild my life. That was the first time I'd do it as my father got caught cultivating marijuana. We had warehouses all over South Auckland, one of the warehouses got raided, and my life took a massive detour, where I thought I was doing well and breaking the cycle, you know, but that happened, and my uncle was already serving 15 years in jail, my dad's going away again. So, it's only me. And I just thought, geez, I have to protect my mum. So, you know, that's, they never tell you that in that life, that when the men are gone, your family is open. You know, no one comes to check on us. So, I ended up quitting uni. And moving into a tiny house, which is a house, we just sell drugs, you know, I was fighting, drinking, and just behaving really badly just to build this reputation. So, no one would come near my mom, you know that. That's all I was doing. Making sure everyone knew I was still here. And I can still do something to protect my mom. So, I was doing out their things. I never talked about it on camera. But you know, it all culminated one night, I ended up putting a steak knife into my chest. Because I was so I hated my life so much. And I had to rebuild from there. Rebuilt, and done really well. I'm trying not to give too much away because I want people to buy my book. You know, I was sitting on the back doorstep of this tiny house thinking, jeez, surely my life made for more than this. I'm not religious, but I believe in God, and I just stared at the sky. So surely, surely, God is more for me than this. I didn't know what but I knew it wasn't this. And, you know, I got up and I worked. And I always encouraged people. And I always encourage my people, and by my people, I mean, anyone struggling, anyone stuck in a rut, looking up thinking life's impossible. That's my people. And I always encourage my people just to get up and start to get up and talk. Don't be afraid to talk to people. But whatever you do, don't wait for the system to help you. Because if you're going to wait for the system to help you, you wait all your life, you know, so I've got up from there. And I ended up being very successful and things. I need to lose it all, you know, and I moved back in 2014, with not one cent, not one cent. And I was this where I understood how we're all driven by material things were driven by money to get material things to give to our kids and all this type of stuff. But I understood from this, that material things don't matter. Here, they're nice to have a course. But when I moved back here without my family, because I was such an idiot, I lost them. I understood that I didn't miss any cars, didn't miss any other material things all I missed was my kids, I wanted my sons back, and I worked hard to get them back. And from the end, I rebuild, you know, I got I had that moment. Like I did at the tiny house. I was laying on a bed on a single mattress. I couldn't even fit on this thing. And I'll stand at the roof thinking now that I don't know if I'm allowed to swear.
James Laughlin 13:54
I'll go for it. Absolutely.
Dave Letele 13:56
How did I fuck things up so badly? That's what I was. Mike King talks a lot about having this inner critic and all of us. And my inner critic was deafening constantly in my head saying, you fucking idiot, you had her all look at you now. You loser, you had nothing. But listen, you know, I just got up and I went for a walk. And that's how my journey to losing 100 kilos started. And that's how BBM started. So incredibly cool to go from, from that to you know, sort of like not staying down to get up. And I think about it now, if I'd stayed down in 2014 there literally be 1000s of kids going asleep right now with no food. You know, there'd be people that would no longer be here because I died of a heart attack or type two diabetes, you know, if I'd stayed down so it's really the importance of making sure whenever you're knocked down, you get back up, you know.
James Laughlin 14:48
What a story they have, like, there's so much for me to unpack there. It's just Wow, it's amazing. So, I want to go back a little bit, to weight to your childhood and just to talk about your obviously your dad. He's got four boys you've got. Yeah, four wee boys. So, the role of dad is such a gift, it's such a treasure, and you experienced your own experience as a son. So, when you talked about crime, taking so much away from you and your dad being a part of that crime, what did it remove from your takeaway from you as a wee kid?
Dave Letele 15:22
They took my dad away. But that was gone for when he got caught it when I was five, because since the 10 years, and I had to move to Australia and my grandparents were so embarrassed, his parents are so embarrassed by him that they move countries, they took me with them, which is probably for the best, my sister who's no longer with us passed away of cancer. She was meant to come over with us, but my mom had to kidnap her, of me of my grandparents, you know. So, I took a took my family away, the other day, my mom and dad from five to 11. So, as a pretty important year. And most people it's a good time, but for me, it wasn't you know, and then later on my cousin killed herself. You know, my uncles who are very close with my uncle who was also a bank robber, and a mob member, you know, we had warehouse, a warehouse filled with all these nice cars, you know, Lincoln's Cadillacs and Range Rovers and the seas, all these nice things that they thought we wanted material things, right. But my cousin hung herself in that warehouse. So, I always think of that, you know, what's, what's the point of all these things, all of our kids want is, our parents or all they need is you and you being the best version of yourself, your time. My cousin only wanted time he didn't give it she's no longer here, you know, and the crazy thing about that, as she put a cord around the door around her neck and sat down anytime, she could have stood up. But she's strangled herself to death. And that's what crime just it's so people only show the highlights of gold cars, bikes, girls, and that's the problem now is this, in all these deprived areas, these kids that are at the bottom with nothing. And if they've not got good at school, and not that good at sport, that only role models they have with what they think to success, which is material things. And the gang members, drug dealers, that's what they have to aspire to. So, it's quite topical at the moment, all these RAM arrays and so this talk until we address that poverty and decrease the gap between the people who have nothing and the people who have a lot. Nothing is going to change. It's I'm expecting it to get worse.
James Laughlin 18:00
And what's interesting, is when I hear you share that, you know, as a kid with no dad around, there are obviously things in terms of a male role model that may have been not there for you. So, you had the opportunity in your teenage years to go south. But actually, you wanted to break the cycle you said so what was that? What was that influence from your mom's side? Where did the influence come to say you can break the cycle?
Dave Letele 18:24
Yeah, I was lucky because I still had a good family. Like the wider family. So, we talked about generational stuff, right? It was only in my family, it was only my dad and my uncle that went off track and said one generation everyone else was okay like I had, but I had a particular uncle who had done really well in the business. All of the men in my family are leaders. It's just that, my dad and my uncle applied it the wrong way. But I had him a role model myself. But I always tell parents, be careful what you can see, you know, because I never wanted to be like that. But I saw it. So again, when times get tough for me, I went back to what I saw as a kid. What I saw as a kid was when times get tough. I didn't see my parent's budget and knuckle down and you know, stop going out for dinners and cut off the sky and all that type of stuff. You know, I saw the crime. So, when times get tough for me, that's what I go headfirst into. So, it took me a while to break the cycle, because it's very hard to break it but you got to imagine, you understand that there are kids out there, that it's not just one generation, it's every generation has been fucked. You know, they have never known anything else. It's a lot harder for them to break the cycle. That's why it's important that people like me, that we're there to show them you know, so breaking the cycle is to me having your grandkids see life differently. I spoke to a black power guy that we have been helping. Let's say you've changed now, you know, you're on track, but your kids still saw it. So, you know, it'll be your grandkids where you've completely broken that cycle because they won't have to see life the way we did. And that's what it's about. That's, and that's what it's going to take. It's just like a generational thing. You know, that's so I always talk about with governments when they want to try and change things, not just this government's every government, with it's a long-term thing with it's not just throwing money at things that are going to fix up.
James Laughlin 20:35
Your story, Dave is really, to me the ultimate story in personal leadership. And, you know, we can look at leadership as CEO, we can look at leadership as principal of the school but actually remove the titles. And we look at what leadership is about. And it's, you're a prime example of what that looks like. So, you went down this path, and it got rather scary or rather dark. A lot of people don't get out of that. What was the catalyst for you to actually take the first step out of that?
Dave Letele 21:09
You got to have a strong why, and a purpose. You know, I remember in 2014, in February when I was in Baquianos, and I was laying on this bed, and just cursing myself. But what made me start was I wanted my why and my purpose was to get my kids back. You know, I just wanted my kids back. I close my eyes and dream at night. And I dream of the moment that they'd run up to me at the airport, you know, and that's what drove me. I didn't overthink it. I just started. And my starting was going for a walk. People try and people over, overcomplicate things, you know, just do something simple and small. And, you know, that's that small steps have led to this. Now, the thing is, I just never stopped stepping, though, you know, you get knocked down, you're always gonna get up. And that's really what it's about.
James Laughlin 22:11
Yeah, that whole idea of incrementalism, like just taking small micro steps constantly, rather than I have to change overnight. It's like, I'm just going to take one step and then another.
Dave Letele 22:20
Yeah, that's what it's about.
James Laughlin 22:24
And if we should unpack a little bit as well around your physical self, so you know, obviously, your physiology, your physical self has a massive impact on the psychology that's, undoubtedly. So, you had a very physical life, you know, rugby league, and boxing, and tell us a little bit more about that professional side of where you took your physical self.
Dave Letele 22:44
Yeah, I always chase the dream of trying to be a league star. Because, again, coming from where we come from, it was like, you know, cracking it in sport was like our way out. It was like our way of okay, we can look after our families. You know, I was like, either make it illegal or become a drug dealer. So, I really tried really hard at making the league and I've done pretty well. I was dogged by injuries. I've had nine knee operations over my career and my body's wrecked but, you know, I play for North Sydney Bears. I make schoolboy kiwis. I played sometimes in France, I got contracted to Manly Sea Eagles. So, I got a lot out of it. And what are out of that stuff really what I got is the psychology of it all. I love psychology and uni actually did you know psychology as a social sciences Psych 101? A lot of what we do here, we're not a weight loss group. You know, we're changing mindsets. And I got a lot out of Adelaide. I remember manly. It was the hardest training I've ever done in my life. But it's built me you know that mental toughness, you know, comes from that. And I applied that throughout all the tough times. But we had this particular guy called the Sandhill warrior. And he was one of the trainers that they got in and he trained I go others, you know, famous sports people were at this beach where they film Home and Away and it's got heaps of sand dune, which you have never seen in the show, but they're there. This guy turned up in a kayak. He appeared from nowhere, like jumps out of the kayak and he goes let's go boys and we're running around, and we run to the sand dunes and seem like what seemed like an hour's you know, and then that we finished off with doing shuttles up the sand dune and they use water bottles as the cones as the markers that go up and back. And you weren't allowed to drink any water. It was their full bottles of water that were there at every cone and you weren't allowed to touch them. If you touched it, you're gone. Contracts will be torn up. And we weren't the full times ours were a part-time squad. So, we knew like, oh yeah, this is quite likely like it says that psychology and what he said was at the end, like, you know, you can walk onto the pitch and look at your opponent in the eye and know, there's no way that he tripped he trained harder than you. And that's what we're saying. And then in the gym, you know, with the programs that we're doing around getting people to work, getting people off the couch, that same thing like there'll always be people in life that are faster, stronger fitter than you. But don't let it ever, ever let anyone outwork you, you know, I pride myself and I pride myself with BBM that will walk in any gym, and I'll know that we can outwork everyone here. And less like in life, you know, when life happens, and you're down at the bottom, just know, you can come back, you know, you've done this before. I talked about, you know, being you're only uncomfortable, you're not actually in pain, you know, we're just uncomfortable. What we're trying to teach people is to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Being, you know, we're so when you go through life, and you're in a dark place, it's okay, you're not going to panic, you know that you've been here before, and you can work your way out of it. So, it's all mindset, that's mainly what I got from the league. That's the, you know, everything else I got was injuries. What I got from it that I apply now is the mindset, you know.
James Laughlin 26:30
So, the terms of that journey, so 100, kgs. I mean, that's, that's amazing. So that starts with 1 kg at a time. So, during that process, what did you learn about yourself as it was 1 kg and then 2 and then 4 what were the lessons you learned?
Dave Letele 26:47
Yeah, so let's start with boxing to that of 1420 10 kilos. And what I learned through that process is that it's it is a process, and not to be in a rush. So many people I see are in a rush to lose weight as quickly as possible, you can't maintain that the main thing I learned is that I can work hard, you know, I know I can just keep grinding away, keep grinding away. And that's evident with what we've done here in BBM, the organization we've built, like we've it's quite a behemoth now. It's, you know, we've kept the principles the same. Not many people can do what we've done, build what we've built, you know, with next to no money, no guaranteed funding at the beginning. And, and we've managed to build this, you know, a lot of faith, it's gone into that.
James Laughlin 27:40
It's incredible. And I truly believe, before we lead others, we've got to learn to lead ourselves, and your redemption and your commitment to taking yourself to that next level that's leading yourself and now you have this platform to lead others. Now, not everyone wants to lead others, why are you driven to help others through BBM?
Dave Letele 28:02
Because I can, you know, I always think if you can help you should if you can help someone you should, doesn't matter how big or small, it doesn't have to be 1000s of people, one person is enough. You know, and what I mean? Those are a handful of people that really helped me at the start, you know, from a gym, my best mate, one of my really good mates opened at the same time that I sort of started my journey. He invested so much time in me all for free, without any expectations. You know, my boxing coaches, there's, you know, even, you know, some people they, that society wouldn't deem as savory characters that would come over and bring me food, you know, drop off 50 bucks here. 50 bucks, you know, there's I had nothing, you know, and so what we're doing now is paying all of that forward, you know, just on a mass scale. Do you know? That's right, twice the people that helped me in the beginning. That's why they're so happy and proud because, you know, they helped me and now them helping me It's led to this.
James Laughlin 29:12
Incredible! Well, let's talk about this. Let's for the listener that doesn't know anything about BBM What is it about? What's your mission?
Dave Letele 29:20
Our mission is to help as many people as possible, it started off, but we always get pigeonholed as a weight loss group for overweight, brown people, you know, but we help everyone. So, we started helping one person out in West Auckland, I helped my father lose weight. And then we started our South Auckland and a public toilet with one person in a driveway. And then we just thought, geez, we should see if anyone else wants to do this. Like we had our Facebook group that was a private group. And that's how it started; you know? Then we moved into our gym for isn't our first premises because before then we were just in fields and school halls, wherever we could train, the gym or Monaco was our first one. That place costs cost us 140,000 a year, and we don't charge our members one cent, you know. So that requires a whole lot of hustles. And then, we also run our program called From the couch, our, our attitude and fit, which is a work program to get people fit not just physically but mentally fit to work, you know, get them to get them used to turn up routine, being accountable, all that, you know, life skills, people take for granted, like, not everyone is taught life skills, you know. So that's what we do there. We also got a community kitchen, where we Educate, so we really, that's what you know about education. So, how to cook healthy on a budget, how to shop healthy on a budget, that's what we do in our kitchens have standalone kitchens or commercial, you know, it's epic, we have our Foodshare where I am now it's a food distribution center. And that started out of a game because we can't help liking, you know, one, a friend of mine who's a social worker, the organization couldn't help this family because of the area that the family lived in. Excellent use their funding to help one mom, or a single mom with no food, no money, 4 kids, the day before the first-ever level for so that day, we started this, you know, because we could, he can't help you should. And we've done this again, no funding for it just had faith. And we've done it. And now we've got some, some great support from the Ministry of Social Development. But our model of what I guess what we've done is that we haven't waited for funding to do things, we just do it. You know, and the good thing about that is when you do it, and because we have a good profile, and people are seeing it, the government now of coming on board and saying how can we support you? The good thing about that, when it happens like that is that you're not you're becoming part of the system, but you're not confined by it. So, I don't change for anyone. What we do works the way we do it, you know? And it's such, it's great now that we're forming those relationships. So we just opened in Tokoroa so I guess, look, we're a safety net for people and we education was so much, you know, but the main thing is what we are as a village and what I, you know, a community, you know, where people belong, you know, people want something to belong to, you know, whether it's gangs or religion. You want some you want people to belong to something positive. The old saying, well, that takes a village to raise a baby, well, that's, that's gone. You know that everyone, everyone's too busy trying to survive, you know, we're bringing it back. So, I guess that's really what we are. We're something positive that people can belong to that, and we help each other.
James Laughlin 32:55
It's incredible. And there's going to be people listening right now that are going, woah I'm inspired, I need to take my first step and take action. There's also going to be people going hey, how do we support you on your mission? So, if people you know one of the listeners was listening wanted to support you, how could they go about doing that?
Dave Letele 33:12
Yeah, just go to our website. And you can donate on there even if it's like $5 A month or $5 a week at all, it all adds up everything we get, we give you know there's no nothing soaked up by bureaucracy. So, it's www.thebbmprogram.com I'm sure you put it in the description or somewhere or even just going like starting your health journey with my online programs BBM.fit that's like seven bucks a week. So, you can not only can you support us by doing $7 A week, but you're so getting great meal plans or workouts to yourself.
James Laughlin 33:53
I love it. And the other thing I guess I want to talk about as well is no excuses in your book so for the person that's listening right now, I know you're listening on your phone the vast majority of you're listening on your phone get it now. Go to amazon.com. Is that the best place to get it on Amazon?
Dave Letele 34:08
For my book? Yeah, no best place to get it is a yeah just go online you can get it from MightyApe, Paper Plus, Paper Plus is the best because it goes towards it counts towards sales.
James Laughlin 34:24
I want to say international listeners can international listeners get it.
Dave Letele 34:27
Yeah, MightyApe. I'm sure that's International.
James Laughlin 34:31
I'll put that link in the show notes. So, anybody that's listening, just go to the show notes. You can get the book you can support Dave support the mission. So, what inspired you to write no excuses?
Dave Letele 34:43
I didn't want to do it at first because going over a lot of painful memories. And also, the time of it but it was the mad butcher who convinced me and what he said was about legacy for your kids. You know they can one day have a look. And you know, when they're older and have issues when you're gone and see what you've done. You know, I feel like it's only the start. You know, I feel like it's just like, there's going to be a chapter 2, 3, 4, 5 I cannot believe. But I just again, it's about helping people. Like this book has now made its way into prisons. You know, I've gotten some letters from prisoners, about how much it's helped them. And I'm actually going into prison to see them in there, you know, it's because everything BBM does, bro. And so, I take pride in our logo, you know, BBM that I take pride on this when I see it on a building. And when I see it going into town, it took it all it represents hope. You know, it's, it's that lights and in a dark room, you know, it's that light at the end of the tunnel, where people are down to the bottom. And I always think about that movie Shawshank Redemption, you know, where he's calling through a tunnel of shit. To get to the beach in Mexico. You know, we've done that with crawl through that tunnel, we got to the beach, but now we're coming back to show, everyone else is another way. You don't have to crawl through that tunnel of crap. You know, I want to show you another way to get to the beach. And we can all enjoy the beach together.
James Laughlin 36:30
So great. And for the person that reads the book, you know, what, what could they expect to walk away? What's the feeling they might take away, or the AHA, they might take away after reading the book?
Dave Letele 36:41
I think, you know, it can affect so many people in different ways. There's so much in my life, it's been a roller coaster. There are so many bits of it that so many different people from all walks of life can attach to, but you know, I think they'll walk away if just feeling like, man, if he can do it, I can to you know, they'll be inspired to do it, to start, you know, and I live, you know, I talked about all my tips. There's really, you know, platforms of how I lived, you know, how I live now. And the pillars of BBM? That's what's in there, you know?
James Laughlin 37:21
And do you ever face self-doubt? Still, to this day idea of first knowledge, you're like, Oh, I'm not enough? Or geez, I don't know if I can do that you have those moments?
Dave Letele 37:35
Not really. But I do wake up and sometimes I question a lot, it adds a lot of weight to my shoulders. We've got you to know; we've got 18 workers that rely on us. We've got 1000s of people that rely on us. And I could think about, you know, we talked about the choice before, like I choose this, this life is what I've chosen to live. I've given my life to help others. But there are days when I wake up and think Man, I could very easily live a comfortable, very comfortable life with no stress, selling my online fitness programs, and doing speaking engagements around the country and around the world. You know, but that's what sometimes I wake up but then I think about the children, you know, that we're impacting, and it's about breaking the cycle. So, to break the cycle, and you've got to help the parents' people always talk to me about it, you know, they get they totally Are these just lazy and all these things, you know, some of the house we go to, like, you wouldn't think that that's happening here in New Zealand. And you feel like Man, why am I giving this food to these people, they're partying, all that type of stuff. But then you see the kids you think, well, we have to help the parents to help the kids. It's not the kids' fault, you know? And three weeks ago, I was in my car feeling sorry for myself at a gas station driving to Rotorua and I was at the BP just past Papakura in my car feeling sorry for myself. So busy, you know, my wife and my family, all that type of stuff. I get a knock on my window and it's a guy, so I start talking to him and he's there begging for money. So, I just wanted to I'm just having a conversation with him, you know, didn't want to fob them off. That I asked him if he was okay, so I'm not really my partner and my baby. Newborn Baby is sleeping in the van over there. So, I went over to the van to make sure I'm not being hustled on that to give him some money. And sure enough, this is what they should sound embarrassed about. She's got the blanket pulled up, pulls down the blanket a newborn baby there. And that's what it brings. It brings home to me, that it's what we do to give these people hope. Because yeah, the parents have made some bad choices and bad mistakes in life, but that kid hasn't. So, anytime I'm feeling down like the pressure is getting too much, I just think of kids like that. That's my why.
James Laughlin 40:19
That's incredible. And you mentioned Dave, about your legacy for your kids. And it was the Mad butcher that kind of inspired you to think about that with the book. How do you want to be remembered as a dad?
Dave Letele 40:35
I never thought about that. You know, I want to be remembered as a dad is a good dad, obviously. But a dad that, you know, my kids can look back at this, what we've created and think, man, my dad helped a lot of people, my dad impacted a lot of people. You know, and even though, you know, when I think about, you know, that's what we're creating with this BBM, we want to leave that legacy for them and to think, like, you know, there'll be people, you know, that might not be here, if it wasn't for my dad, my dad helped to save lives. But then, you know, on a personal, you know, I want my kids to remember me with them, you know, which the balance is not there, you know, I don't have the balance right at the moment. You know, it's tough, trying to, I need to spend more time with my family because we do things and we're doing things for our families to give them nice lives. And whether it's, it's funny, you know, I talk about it, whether it's crime, or helping the community, they both take you away from your family. But at least what I'm doing now is positive. And just about having some non-negotiables on their sons, I'm changing things up to make sure I'm home at night, to make sure I'm not working on the weekend. You know and booking holidays with my family. So, we went and saw a travel agent a couple of weeks ago and said, we want to just, but we want to go to Hawaii end of the year. Book it in! It was funny because he got shocked when I paid for it. But you just got to do things. And as soon as we booked it in, I was like, pumped. We're all pumped, you know, I had something to look forward to. So just doing more stuff of that. Because that's what, yeah, that's what our kids will remember. Those, you know, experiences in that time with you. And so, on a personal level, I want them to remember that the time together, you know, the stuff that I didn't have with my dad. And then, you know, on another level, I want them to look back and go, wow, so proud of my dad what he's done, you know?
James Laughlin 43:01
And I'm sure they will, it's incredible, just that level of awareness from yourself. I imagine running an organization like you're running and leading a lot of people, it must be difficult to get the balance, right? So, with your partner, how do you find that as well in terms of finding that balance to connect that in that way?
Dave Letele 43:21
Yeah, it's not the best, again, is like the mud, there's zero balance for me at the moment. But I'm very lucky, I've got a supportive wife, but it's hard on her because she has to share me with, you know, with the work that we do not home very often. So yeah, again, there's something that I'm working on like I'm consciously working on it, and I'm making changes to what I'm doing to make sure that I can be there more. Because there's no point in doing all this stuff and working the way we are working. If I don't, I don't have my family to come home to. I've lost my kids once I don't want to lose them again.
James Laughlin 44:04
100% I think that's just so important. It's great to hear you say that and you know, I can relate to the challenge of running a business and being in different places, and it's not easy and on time. And when we look at that time, it's how we put those non-negotiable boundaries. And so, you mentioned the non-negotiables which are those couple of things on a daily basis for Dave. What is Dave got to do for Dave to make sure that Dave's happy fulfilled?
Dave Letele 44:30
I got to train like, I have to for my mental health. I have to go out and do something active. Which, you know, no matter if I'm traveling around, I've got to do something and it's just the walk. And that's really a non-negotiable for me and making sure that I am non-negotiable is to spend time with my family. That's really it. everything else. I'm just doing this just to help as many people as possible. And then yeah, and again, non-negotiables if I can help someone I will people, you know, people ask me for something and I have it, I'll give it. Because why not? If we all live that way, this world will be a better place.
James Laughlin 45:19
So great, and for the fact that you've done so many incredible things, and you've gone through some major adversity, your role models and other leaders you look up to must have played some part is there anybody you look up to dead or alive? That has been a great leader role model.
Dave Letele 45:39
Yeah, obviously, you know, I've had, I've had my dad, and my uncle, who always good leaders, that just again, applied it in the wrong way. But with the work they're doing now, you know, I got a good friend called Rob Campbell, who's the chairman of health NZ, and he was the chairman of all these different things. When I met him, I first met him, but he's probably one of my main advisors, one of the only people I will listen to, and, and my mom, so it's no real, like, you know, great world leaders, that I follow that I want to be like, because, you know, I believe that I'm me, you know, but I make sure I have a good network of people around us that advise me. That's, that's the important thing, you know that. Because there's, you know, lots of things. Sometimes I'll react to things. Like I saw that I make sure there are filters in between what I'm saying.
James Laughlin 46:42
And what does that reaction look like? So, when you have a moment, something triggers you, what does that look like?
Dave Letele 46:46
Ah, just start swearing. Yeah. Usually, if it's around community staff, or around helping people, and if I see something that's happened, or I'll get really upset, and I'm, you know, we have a so example is that my last sort of episode was with corrections, you know, where I had a parole officer ring me about someone that is wanting to put on. And I didn't like the way she talked to me, because she was talking to me like I was a piece of crap. And if she's talking to me that way, and I'm the employer, imagine how she's talking to the person, she's meant to be, you know, looking after. So, I went after them, you know, and I had corrections, come in here and sit down with me and talk. But, you know, I made sure that I had a few people to look in the video before I posted it, you know, again, just, but using our platform for good, you know, but I've definitely had to have some good advisors around me to say that I don't want to be a lot, sometimes in the early part of my journey, I'd cost us stuff. Because I was so passionate. But there's, there are ways of doing things now. And I've learned, you know, over time, that a lot of the stuff and a lot of the activism that I do is behind the scenes, you know, so it's only when that's not working, that I'll do the public stuff.
James Laughlin 48:08
I love that, to me, again, a real sign of maturity, and self-awareness, you're getting the right people behind you because you are on a mission. And you could actually harm the level of impact of your own mission by reacting inappropriately.
Dave Letele 48:21
You got to make like one of the first things I've done as we start to grow was build put good infrastructure around me, to enable us to grow. And part of the infrastructure is having, you know, good people like that can manage relationships. So, I can build these connections, and they can get a team now they can come behind me to get the work done. And they can go to meetings because I can't deal with Bureau crap. I know that now I just can't deal with it. And I'll cost that stuff, I'll cost less money or cost us funding if I have to go. So, it's good now I've got a team that can go and does all that. And people know why I am so. So that's good.
James Laughlin 49:00
I love it. That's so great. Well, then I'm looking forward to getting to know more about you over the next couple of years. And at the same show. We're going to cross paths here in New Zealand. But one last question, I'd love to really ask you, and I want you to fast forward, it's your last day or two here on Earth. And you've got a very young person in your life, maybe a grandchild and they come up and say hey, how can I lead my life with purpose? What would your advice be to them?
Dave Letele 49:34
You got to have a purpose. And as I when I talked to people just had a real basic level, I just say go write down some things that mean a lot to you. And try and choose the one you know, try to use one and it's like you're why my why have I wanted my kids back and I'd write that thing down and put it everywhere. You know, I used to close my eyes like I said a dream of that moment my kids will run up to me. You know, now it's time to get it tough. I'll close my eyes and think about the feeling I have. If I'm at the edge of a cliff, and I'm holding my content, feeling alone, I'll never let go. I'm not going to drop you. You know, I harnessed that feeling when times get tough. And it's really that's what it's about living a life with purpose. But you got to have a purpose. You got to have a strong why that you're, you're willing to overcome anything. Do you know? That would be my bit of advice if you're wanting to live a life of purpose, while what is your purpose? What is your WHY with a strong why you can overcome absolutely anything? Anything, any obstacle, and I won't always work. Because no one's perfect. But I should always get you back up. A strong why, when you fall down, you can think of it, and we'll get you back on the wagon. That's why now is my family but it's also my people. You know, I want to show people and show our youth that as possible. You can have nice things, you can have a nice car, a nice house, a nice family. You don't have to sell drugs and Rob to get it. You can get all those things by helping people think positively. Yeah, I don't know if that answered your question.
James Laughlin 51:23
Honestly, it's great insights, Dave. And I think for adults that are listening right now, what you said is just equally as powerful. I'm sure it will land with a lot of people around getting centered on what your purpose is. Because a lot of us do live day to day, very mediocre, not fulfilled doing things we don't enjoy doing, and to hear you talk about what you do. That's incredibly fulfilling. And if every other person listening to this can find their purpose and their why, as you find yours. We have a very different world that we will live in.
Dave Letele 51:52
Yeah. 100% 100% Man, it's possible.
James Laughlin 51:57
It's possible. I love it. I call out the possibilitarian mindset you definitely have it.
Thank you, Barbara.
That's amazing. Well, David, you want to say a massive thank you for joining us today. And I don't think it will be the last time I have a feeling we're going to cross paths a few more times.
Dave Letele 52:11
Yeah, I'll see you down in Christchurch.
James Laughlin 52:12
I look forward too! Take good care.
Thank you, brother.
James Laughlin 52:31
Thanks for tuning in today and investing in your own personal leadership. Please hit that subscribe button. And I'd love it if you'd leave me a rating and review. I've got some amazing guests lined up for you in the coming weeks. And leaders. It's that time to get out there and lead your life on purpose.